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MKb-42(H) Assault Rifle with ZF-41 scope


Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to
another video on Forgotten Weapons. We have an extremely cool piece to show you today. I’m at the Rock Island Auction House and this gun is going up … for sale in the September 2014 premier auction. It is one of the most desirable German machine
guns out there, it is the Maschinen Karabiner 42. These were made by the Haenel company, and this
is the direct predecessor to the German Sturmgewehr. In fact, this is the original German
Sturmgewehr, it just didn’t have that name yet. This particular rifle has a ZF-41 optic on it, that was
a German designated marksman optic, also very cool. These rifles were all designed to have this
optic with them, although not all of them… in fact very few of them, were actually issued with the optics. Now like a lot of countries, Germany was
working on developing an intermediate cartridge semi-auto combat rifle during the
1930s before World War Two broke out. … Now in most countries that development
pretty much came to a halt when war broke out so that industry and government could
focus on mass production of known good working standard-issue firearms. In Germany
a lot of that R&D continued to go on. This design started out, like I said, in the 1930s with some
small calibre research being done by the Vollmer Company. And initially there wasn’t a whole lot of army
interest, but the Luftwaffe was interested. And so it was Luftwaffe interests that
really pushed this development program. Which is a bit ironic, in fact it ended
up becoming a major army project. The Luftwaffe went on to continue to develop the FG 42, which also was looked down
upon by the Army for quite some time. At any rate, a company called Polte developed
the 8×33 cartridge. It was finalized in 1940, it was actually formally adopted
in 1941, and kind of simultaneously Haenel was given a contract to develop a
shoulder-fired combat rifle using that cartridge. Now there isn’t a lot of documentation on why Haenel
was chosen, but it appears (it’s a pretty good guess), that the reason is that their head
of R&D was Hugo Schmeisser who was a very famous, very well-respected
name as an arms developer in Germany. He was responsible for Germany’s first submachine
gun and a whole slew of other developments. And basically on the basis of his reputation, development
of the Maschinen Karabiner, or MKb, went forward. Now, the intention of this rifle was
actually to replace the Kar98 bolt action, and the MP40 submachine gun, and also the
light machine guns in German service. It didn’t quite work out, but it turned into an
extremely effective tactical weapon regardless. The first of these was … the first
prototypes were finished in 1940 by Haenel. They went through some testing and
then they were ultimately redesigned a bit for better efficiency of stamped components. Haenel was great at … firearms development,
they weren’t really experts in metal stamping. So the guns went out for some
outside help with the stamping work, they came back by late 1941
in basically this configuration. Now around the same time the Walther company
also submitted a proposal for a
competitive Maschinen Karabiner rifle. They looked remarkably similar from the outside,
but the Walther version operated entirely differently. And the Walther version ultimately was found to be too
complex and not reliable and it was pretty quickly dropped. Only a couple hundred of the Walther guns were ever made. Meanwhile the MKb(H), the MKb-42(H),
‘H’ of course stands for Haenel, went on into, more or less, mass production. In total
about 11,000 of these rifles were made. Production on these was slated to start in late 1942. Just due to wartime exigencies it ended up
starting in early 1943. The German military wanted and contracted for 10,000 a month, although
that rate of production was never quite achieved. And, in troop trials these were
very popular, troops liked them. Obviously they are a fantastic
combat rifle, especially for the 1940s. The small cartridge gives you light
recoil, it’s controllable in full-auto. The limited range compared to a full-size
service cartridge like 8mm Mauser, as many countries had learned,
that it really is immaterial. The vast majority of combat is
taking place at much closer ranges and the 8mm Kurz is perfectly
acceptable at those ranges. The two things that troops didn’t really like as
much about this rifle, one was the muzzle flash, and the other was simply the difficulty in shooting
this prone. This does have a … 30 round magazine and because the 8mm Kurz is a fairly wide,
squat cartridge, you have a very long magazine. And you can see that you can’t shoot this
prone any lower than this magazine will allow you. They never did make shorter magazines for combat
use. So despite that, these were very popular guns and the troops are going to find something that
they don’t like with with any weapon that they get. But they were willing to overcome those problems to have
the other outstanding features of the original assault rifle. Mechanically, what makes the MKb-42(H)
interesting is that it fires exclusively from an open bolt. It doesn’t have a hammer, it’s a fixed firing pin gun.
There is a notch cut back here as a safety. So we can pull the bolt handle back
and then lock it up into this cut-out, very much like many open bolt submachine guns. There was a second safety designed in
addition, that’s always a little bit concerning. Too much of a bump on the back of the gun and it is
possible to bounce the bolt handle out of that safety. So there is a secondary safety,
which is pushing the bolt handle in. There’s a catch on the far side of the
bolt handle that locks into the receiver when you … push the bolt handle in. And that can be done both when the
bolt is closed and when the bolt is open. So, that’s a more secure locking system. So the Sturmgewehr was always
a constantly iterating design, and as major changes happened
the name would be revised. This of course was basically the first version, and what
they decided really ought to be changed in this rifle was to make it, instead of an open bolt
gun, allow it to fire from a closed bolt. So they made that change which involves some
fairly significant changes to the bolt and bolt carrier. And then the name of that next design was the MP43. That’s when the name changed, due to
German internal politics and Hitler’s goofiness, changed from Maschinen Karabiner to Maschinen Pistole. But effectively, the MP43, which became
the MP44, which became the StG44, those are all the same basic action, but firing
from a closed bolt instead of an open bolt. Ultimately the MKb-42(H) was
manufactured through September of 1943. At that point production changed over to MP43 guns. Like I said, about about 11,000 of these were
manufactured. There are very few of them left in the US. … They are of course machine guns, so they need
to be registered with the NFA, this one is, obviously. So why don’t we go ahead and take a
closer look at how the mechanism on this works? First off, you’ll see this has a bayonet
lug which the later Sturmgewehrs did not. In fact, not even all of the MKbs have a bayonet lug, it’s
kind of random which do and which don’t, but this one does. It has a threaded muzzle cover, that comes off to mount
a cup grenade launcher which was made for these. You can see there are a pair of vents here
in the gas tube, kind of like an AK actually. That allows the gas to vent once the piston is
moving far enough and fast enough to cycle fully. The handguard on the MKb, and on all the
later Sturmgewehrs, is stamped sheet metal. It works, but I’ll tell you what,
that gets hot reasonably fast. Probably kind of nice on the Russian
Front to warm your hand on that a little bit, but, if you’re not somewhere cold that gets uncomfortable
and you kinda want a glove when you’re shooting it. Now, here are the guts of the mechanism. You can see
we have a bolt carrier that operates very much like an MP44. Obviously, … that was developed directly from the MKb. So, this hook right here is attached to the
gas piston and it’s a bolt carrier as well. The bolt is down here on the bottom. You can see there’s a hook coming up from the
bolt and a hook coming down from the bolt carrier. When the gas piston cycles those interlock, and
you can see that it is picking up the back of the bolt. That’s how this locks, as the tilting bolt
drops down to lock, lifts up to unlock and then cycles backwards. It does also have a folding dust cover,
important to keep gunk out of the mechanism. Now the ZF-41 optic that’s on here was developed as a
designated marksman’s scope more than anything else. It’s often called a sniper scope, but it’s really not for a sniper. It’s a one-and-a-half power [1.5x] scope,
has something like a 10mm objective lens to it. It is definitely too small to be a real precision weapon. What it’s meant for doing is being able to take
better shots at 100, 200, maybe 300 yard targets. It does have a BDC on it that’s graduated
up to 800, but that’s really very optimistic. So you’ll notice, of course, that the ZF-41
is mounted quite far forward on the gun. Normally you would expect optics
to be back here, up close to the eye. This has a very long eye relief and deliberately,
you can keep both eyes open when you’re using it. It does allow the iron sights to be used
underneath, it doesn’t interfere with them. And so, for very fast shooting you
would typically use the iron sights, and then when you had a
precision shot you wanted to make you could bring your eye up to the optic
here and get a little more accuracy out of it Alright, so this optic … is canted slightly in its mount.
That’s just a matter of loosening it and replacing it. But you can see the reticle there, pretty small. You can see we also do have the iron sights
(camera doesn’t want to focus on them), but the iron sights are clearly visible underneath
the optic, so you can use those for fast shooting and this optic for precision
shooting (… there are the irons). Disassembly is done by pulling this
pin. You see it’s captive here. Pull that pin out. That allows the butt-stock to come off
which allows the recoil spring and bolt to all come out the back. They are
actually very simple guns to disassemble, which is part of why they’re
really very effective in the field. Now, unfortunately, because this is an auction
consigned gun, we aren’t able to … disassemble that. We have a magazine release button here. … Magazine in. 30 round magazine. This magazine was developed for the MKb-42
and then remained the standard magazine for all of the Sturmgewehr series of rifles
and also a number of the Volkssturm rifles. Pretty much everything the Germans did in 8mm Kurz used
the same magazine and it was the one developed for this rifle. Now you can see most of the major
components on this are stamped sheet metal. That was one of many innovations with this design. The receiver here in particular, the magazine well, the receiver. There are these two vertical grooves, those are pressed in. There is a machined trunnion inside here that holds the
barrel and then these grooves, there are two on each side, and this pin are used to permanently fix the
trunnion in the stamped sheet metal receiver. Very important that the trunnion
doesn’t come loose from the receiver. We have our bolt handle here. You can
see, when it’s ready to fire, this little red dot. When you push it in to lock it in place
as a safety, the dot is no longer visible. … The other side of the muzzle. Alright guys, I appreciate you watching.
I hope you enjoyed the video. This was one of very few chances to actually
see an original and gorgeous MKb-42(H) on video. As I mentioned at the beginning, this rifle is up for auction
in the September 2014 Rock Island Premiere auction. It is lot number 1470 and, if you want
this badly enough, this can be yours. So a very cool piece of German history,
take a look at the Rock Island site, take a look at the high-res pictures of it, and if
you’re interested, drop a bid in. Good luck to you, and, hopefully you will be the proud
new owner of this awesome rifle. [Thanks for watching.]

100 thoughts on “MKb-42(H) Assault Rifle with ZF-41 scope

  1. Every time I see these rifles, I just see every other modern combat/ sporter rifle. I know Stoner and Kalashnikov said that the MP43/44 had no bearing on their designs, but the AK47 and M16/AR16, seem like they derived directly from this weapon. Just goes to show how far ahead the Germans were to us, and the rest of the world. I will own one of these in my collection before I die, they are the ultimate in cool

  2. Am I the only person who thinks this thing looks nicer than the subsequent Stg. 44? Especially with that scope, it's just a really cool looking gun.

  3. I hate to say anything negative but people know that RIA is infamous for bidding up their own guns. I believe in the future they will be busted by the FEDS for shill bidding and it will all fall apart.

  4. The whole time I was thinking – you're letting all the weight of the gun rest on the magazine of a seventy year old, 130,000 dollar antique assault rife.

  5. I don't understand, what are the range issues of the weapon? For example, he mentioned that M3 Carbine was effective at 75 yard range – how is it possible that it's that small?

  6. Is that tactical walk around the auction room with the MKB42 how the rifle is displayed/presented during the auction? Lol

  7. Ian, "What if" moment. Do you think this would have made a significant difference in any specific axis campaign if brought into general service at contracted quantities earlier? Say 41 early 42.

  8. Probably the best small arm in the entire world at the time of it's design. It really was a game changer in the biggest way.

  9. This guy has no idea what he has…..stg42 didnt come with a rail….it is very rare to have a scope on that gun because they didnt come with a rail…you would have to put a side attachment to make a rail for a scope this gun isnt original

  10. this was actually the first assault rifle that came, then the mp43, mp44 , and then the STG44, and this gun looks lovely. love this gun and its follow ups. german enginerring at its best. 😀

  11. the german luftwaffe paratroops due to their jump harnesses had to dive forward from the plane and were unable to carry a heavy weapon.they were dropped in canisters seperately.paratroops were used to secure airstrips and other strategic points and their experience on crete was that by the time they had mustered collected weapons etc the enemy knew they were there.what they needed was overwhelming fire to supress what would be a far larger force until relieved. the k98 didnt produce enough supressive fire and the mp38 etc did not have the range or stopping power needed.basically each man was expected to do the work and of ten and needed a weapon that was relatively light but would punch rounds out like a lmg especially if you had everyone firing together and could supress the enemy at a distance.crete cost the germans many casualties due to inferior weaponry for the situation.it was their superior training that enabled them to hold out and beat the numerically superior allies had they had say the fg 42 their task would have been much simpler.

  12. I know this is an older video and this question is unlikely to be answered but, what was the button on the grip that looked like a safety? Since you didn't cover it in the video I can only assume it was part of the take down? Thanks!

  13. So 4 years later I'm just getting to this video. I'm wondering if the guy who paid $150G's for that beautiful thing has shot it. I've always said I'd never own a gun I wouldn't be willing to shoot.

  14. Walter was for small arms what Porsche was for tanks, rejected because too complicated (except the P38) 😉

  15. Im curious why a full AUTO weapon would be considered for a sniper? A snipers expertise and his tool depend on single shots each carefully sighted at 'great' distance. ???????

  16. I remember Ian’s channel in its infancy. He has done a fantastic job at adding an immense amount of material while at the same time keeping it apolitical and purely historical and analytical. Only gun channel I am subscribed to. Thank you Ian!

  17. Interesting. So the ZF-41 has a more precise scope on top of a quicker to use non-magnified scope. That really makes the HK G36 look ancient. Aside from being able to shoot it prone and not burning your hands on metal, because of more plastic use, it wouldn't really have been all that different to have this instead.

  18. There should be a threaded hole in the back of the bayonet lug for a standard 98k cleaning rod to screw into and resting against the bottom of the handguard, the center rib has an enlargement by the receiver end for the cleaning rod slotted end.

  19. This and the level 50 ppsh 41 with the drum mag were my two favorites to use in RO2.

    Only Russian RO2 players know the fear of hearing this loud thing from the german side of the battlefield.

  20. Walking around a high occupancy conference hall with the original assault rifle…
    This wasn't a faux pas a couple years ago.

  21. beautiful gun. if i ever find one for sale the wallet is getting thrown at it about as hard as i'm going to throw my wallet at a VSS or AS VAL. love old guns.

  22. Very nice rifle! I, like everyone else, would like to have one. But this rifle cost more than my house with everything in it.

  23. I'll never understand why the germans didn't put a hand guard on the rifle because the fore end gets so hot when firing

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