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Top 5 WWII Rifles

– [Voiceover] Hey guys,
it’s Alex C with TFBTV. Today we’re going to discuss
what we believe to be the best five infantry
rifles of World War II. To qualify, the rifle
has to have been used by a nation engaged in the war,
so this disqualifies firearms from nations like Sweden or Switzerland. Also, this is a list of rifles
firing full-power cartridges, so submachine guns like the MP40, machine guns and assault
rifles are not eligible. Sorry Stermgewehr fans. Things taken into
consideration for this list are reliability, innovation, legacy, total production, and user friendliness. First up is the French MAS-36. If I had to choose a bolt-action
rifle to take to war, this one would be it. Brave French soldiers
equipped with MAS-36 rifles alongside brothers with
Hotchkiss guns and Chatelleraults held the Wehrmacht at
bay during the blitzkrieg and allowed over 300,000
soldiers from the French Military and the British Expeditionary
Force to escape to Britain to fight another day during
the battle of Dunkirk. Many brave French
soldiers lost their lives, and Churchill spoke of these men saying that these Frenchmen,
for four critical days, contained no less than
seven German divisions. This was a splendid
contribution to the escape of their more fortunate comrades. Britain could not have
continued the war without them. The future of France seemed dim, but the free French forces
eventually struck back with many wielding the MAS-36. It’s short, light, handy as hell, accurate, rugged, and simple. The rear-locking bolt provides excellent mud and sand resistance, and the rear aperture sight is precise and provides a long sight radius. The 7.5 French cartridge is also short, making the action shorter
and easier to cycle compared to rifles like the
Springfield 1903, or M1917. The MAS-36 is easy to
load with stripper clips, and I’ve never had a hangup with them when loading with haste, which I’ve actually done quite a lot. The bolt handle is optimally placed, and the action is fast,
which makes follow-up shots very easy to line up. Aside from this, the MAS-36 is probably the easiest rifle to maintain on the list, and taking the bolter out
requires one motion of the hand. The MAS takes the number
five spot on this list because of its utilitarian nature and overall practicality. While it is not as well known
as other World War II guns, it certainly deserves
more credit than it gets. Next up is the Arisaka Type 99. The Arisaka rifles were
tested by US ordinance after the war, and the men
conducting the experiments were astounded by how
strong the actions were. The carbon steel used
was incredibly strong, and P.O. Ackley said this receiver was not only carefully, but even elaborately heat treated. To make such heat treatment
and results possible, the materials must be good. Bear in mind that this
quote came from a man who was famous for taking
existing cartridges and hotrodding the hell out of them, so this is high praise. The Arisaka rifles are a
modified Mauser action. The ranks of the imperial
Japanese military were largely filled with
members of the peasantry, and higher ups would often joke that a new soldier cost
only one yen, five rin, which was the cost of
mailing a draft notice. Imperial troops, starting in 1939, were beginning to be
issued with the Type 99. Every Type 99 or 38 rifle was engraved with their chrysanthemum, the
seal of the Japanese emperor. It was considered a great honor to serve under the
highly-revered divine Hirohito, and in the Imperial Rescript to soldiers, it stated that duty is
heavier than a mountain, death is lighter than a feather. The Type 99 is strong, light, handy, and the 7.7 Japanese cartridge is stout. The riflers also are equipped
with a number of features that make it stand out among its peers. The rear sight is of a ring design, and has small wings that in theory allow for more precise
volley fire at airplanes. The monopod allows for
stable shooting when prone. The dust cover, while noisy, also keeps debris out of the action. Perhaps the most interesting
feature of the type 99 is its chrome lined bore. This was the first infantry
rifle to make use of this, and it provided troops with an excellent and much-needed corrosion resistance in the humid environments of the Pacific. The Type 99 is essentially
a modified Mauser action that is light, handy,
and ridden with features to enhance its overall effectiveness, earning it a well-deserved
place on the list. Next we have a crowd favorite, Lee-Enfield No. 4. The No. 4 is an improvement
over the old SMLEs as it has an excellent
rear aperture sight, is lighter, has a stronger action, and is one of the smoothest
rifles you’ll ever find. The 10-round capacity of the
No. 4 gave it a slight edge over its competitors,
which usually held five, but the use of rimmed ammunition makes loading it with
chargers a bit tricky. Lee-Enfield rifles are
extremely quick to cycle, and using the thumb and
forefinger on the bolt technique, even an average marksman
can expend all 10 shots in the magazine in no time. The action of the No. 4 is a variation of the old Lee-Metfords, which was introduced in 1888. The resourceful British
continued to tinker with the action for decades, and the No. 4 was truly a
world-class combat rifle. British soldiers armed
largely with No. 4 rifles punched their way through
the beaches of Normandy through the low countries to the Rhine, and didn’t stop until
men proudly displaying the Union Jack paraded through Berlin. The No. 4 was not officially replaced until the late 1950s, when
a variation of the FN FAL was adopted as a replacement, but it served in the corners
of the empire for much longer. In fact, a rare variation
developed for snipers, the L42A1 was not officially
retired and deemed obsolete until the 1990s. The No. 4 is regarded
by many as the pinnacle of what a bolt-action combat rifle can be. A well-trained man can
turn this bolt action into a semi-automatic. Next up is the Karabiner 98 kurz, usually referred to as the K98k. The K98k is a carbine version
of the venerable Mauser 98. According to Mauser, over 100 million Mausers have been made, and they are still making
rifles with that action today. Nearly every bolt action in
production is a derivative, including guns like the
Remington 700 and Ruger M77. The K98k was the backbone
of the Wehrmacht, but the Kriegsmarine and the
Luftwaffe used them as well. In total, nearly 15
million K98ks were made by a total of seven factories,
including Mauser, Berlin-Lubecker, and even Steyr. The Germans used the Mauser
rifles to devastating effect. Accuracy is second to none. An 8×57 is a very stout round. The Wehrmacht armed with
Mausers and employing tactics the world had not seen before conquered the nations
of Europe one by one. Men in stahlhelms marched through Warsaw, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Brussels, Oslo, and Paris. The German war machine
relied on the Mauser, and it took the combined might
of the allies to strike back. The Mauser is the quintessential
bolt-action military rifle, and anyone with five
minutes of instruction can learn to effectively use one. The K98k’s turned down bolt handle allows for quick cycling
and ease of carry. The three-position safety is wonderful, and the action is brutally
strong but also safe, incorporating a safety lug
at the rear of the bolt. The gun’s massive claw extractor
allows for controlled feed and incredibly smooth primary
extracting and cycling. The rifle also cocks on opening, accomplishing primary
extraction and cocking in the same motion. The Germans did field self-loading rifles, but the G41s, both Walther
and Mauser variants, as well as the G43s all suffered
from reliability problems, weight, and complexity. Thus, the K98k was produced
in at least some form until the end of the war. More soldiers have entered
into battle with a Mauser than any other shoulder-arm in history, and the iconic K98k
variant definitely deserves a spot on this list. Lastly, we have a rifle that
you may have already guessed, the M1 Garand. This is not me being patriotic or biased in favor of American small arms. It would be foolish not
to put the M1 on the list, as it was the harbinger
of the general issue semi-automatic infantry rifle. There were self-loading
rifles before the M1, like the French RSC1917, but the Garand was the rifle
that truly proved to the world that the era of semi-automatic
rifles had arrived. John Garand, a
Canadian-American toolmaker, revolutionized rifle production while working at the Springfield Armory, and his genius allowed for
cost-effective production of semi-automatic rifles. The M1 beat out the Pedersen rifle, which was the first self-loader
approved for adoption by a U.S. infantry board, and became the symbol of a generation of American fighting men. Officially adopted in 1936, over six million were produced
and used to great effect in North Africa, mainland Europe, and the Pacific, where my
own grandfather in his words gave Tojo hell at Zig
Zag Pass with the 38th. The M1 is a gas-operated rifle
with a long stroke piston and a rotating bolt. It is loaded via
eight-round en bloc clips, which are fast as hell to
throw in and get to business. Accuracy for a rifle that
was designed in the 1920s is excellent, and even today, M1s can be seen shooting
at competitions everywhere. The rifle is famous for the
harmonious ping it makes after firing its last round
and ejecting the clip. Many people over the years have said this has gotten many GIs killed, but in my research, I have not come across a confirmed account, mostly because you can reload
an M1 in two or three seconds. Combat doesn’t usually
happen at 10 meters, and your squad-mate next to you had an M1, the guy next to him had a Thompson, and the guy next to him was
doing his thing with a BAR. The M1 did not completely
exit US military service until the mid-1960s. They were surplussed or
given to friendly nations. In World War II, the M1 was king. It offered quick loading, incredible accuracy, excellent sights, and reliable semi-automatic fire power. Thank you for watching
this episode of TFBTV. In World War II, which infantry
rifle would you have wanted? Put your answer in the comments below, and we’d love to hear your answer. A special thank you to Ventura Munitions for supplying the ammo
for our shooting videos, and a special thank you
to you all for watching. We hope to see you next time.

100 thoughts on “Top 5 WWII Rifles

  1. First time i have heard anyone talk good about the french 🇫🇷 (WWII).
    Never heard of this french ⚜ rifle, it looks really nice.

  2. Can I say something without getting roasted in the comments? M1 garand wasn't that accurate, sometimes jammed, and it get rusty really quickly

  3. I currently own my grandfathers original m1. It is the #1 in my collection, it served with him from 43 to 45. I still shoot it, field strip, and clean it regularly as he did. He once said, "this rifle was my woman for 2 years and saved my ass to many times, the only down fall is i cant buy a diamon ring for it!"

  4. I have a 7mm Spanish Mauser. That bolt is butter smooth. It was a gift. I don't take it to the range too often. Mauser cartridges rare are expensive where I live

  5. M1 is my choice hands down. It made all the contemporaries obsolete. For comments by actual combat vets order "America's Rifle" from the CMP store. The Garand, while not as accurate as the 1903 (few military rifles were) it would produce more hits per pound of ammo than the 1903 when the shooters were stressed in testing. It made every bolt action rifle on the battlefield obsolete, inferior and put bolt action armed soldiers at a serious disadvantage. My 1950s HRA with the original barrel will put 5 rounds into 4 1/2 inches from unsupported prone at 200 yards using Greek M2 ball. The "ping" myth is just that and its addressed by Donald Burgett (101st AB, Normandy, Market Garden, Bastogne, Germany etc, at least 2 PHs) in the video cited above. He also details the disadvantages of the bolt action in combat.

  6. The M1 Garand and Colt 1911 is still being use today. We recently killed a lot of ISIS terrorist bastards with these guns. A truly reliable weapons.

  7. I don’t think M1 has “excellent sight”. The sight is too fat, limiting field of vision. The Kar 98K’s is way superior.

  8. I've owned both and there's no comparison between the KAR98k and the Enfield No.4. The Enfield simply has vastly superior sights and a much faster action. The only advantages the KAR98k has is the rimless cartridge and lighter overall weight.

    It's hard to beat an aperture or peep for quick accurate shooting which is what makes the No. 4 and the Garand such great rifles to shoot. The V and pointed front blade of the KAR98k can be very accurate but just don't lend themselves to fast usage.

    If I had to take a WW2 rifle into battle ot would be a Garand. If it had to be a bolt action it would be a No.4 for sure.

  9. once again another yank who knows NOTHING ABOUT WW2 but what he has been fed by hollywood the french rifle was crap, it did not help save the troops at dunkirk that was one thing only the germans STOPPED and to this day no one knows the exact reason they stopped the advance on Dunkirk.

  10. the french did NOT hold off 7 division of german troops the german high command stopped the advance and to this day the EXACT reason is not known but one thing is known it was not the French troops that stopped them.

  11. Great video on long forgotten yet somehow underrated rifles of the 100 or so years.

    Can't believe I just discovered this channel yesterday!

    Will be coming back for more knowledge tmrw & on the regular!

  12. Didn't leave much choice for which rifle I choose, m1 hands down. Semi auto is only trumped on distance. A bolt that stays closed does have more gas to propell the bullet with more force. But a 30-06 solves some of that. Its accuate as hell, so no problem there. And sling way more lead than any bolt action. Keep passing me ammo!

  13. Had the Germans adopted the 7mm Mauser cartridge it would be the Germans that have military bases all over Europe, not the Americans.

  14. Can’t lie. The fact that the M1 would load the round automatically without having to load the rounds individually, gives the shooter a certain speed advantage. The Kar98 seems the sexiest from WW2 though.

  15. Actually, in the case of bolt-action, id use Carcano or Springfield. If we're talking about semi-auto, then either M1 Garand or SVT-40.

  16. Anybody new to milsurp dont fall.for.the mauser myth. All the bolt actions were good
    If.your a shooter the cost and availability is a pain
    Just find one you like.

  17. How in the hell did an arisaka type 99 be a mosin nagant m91 30.I have shot the type 99 and I find it to be a cumbersome piece of s***either has feeding problems or you can't find the ammo much of anywhere else except the internet

  18. google censored//The victors write the history. If anyone cares to get the loser's side of the story see “Europa The Last Battle” at a.r.c.h.i.v.e.o.r.g/ While you still can (whole documentary not permitted/censored on YT)//

  19. You forgot about the FG42. It wasn't used much, but it fires 8mm Mauser and was arguably the best automatic rifle of WW2.

  20. The Sturmgewehr was by far the best rifle to come out of WW2. Had the Germans been able to give every soldier one of these the war may have turned out differently.

  21. M1 then everything else. Nothing after it.
    How do you argue against a semi auto, a squad carrying M1 can fire suppression like a platoon of light machine gun.

  22. everyone saying where's the mosin and no one talks about the carcano, first choice for more than half a century for italian soldiers, has served them for both ww and always improved itself, it is so much under rated

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