Thread: 9mm vs.45
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Old August 21st, 2005, 08:22 PM
johnlee johnlee is online now
John Lee
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Torrance, CA
Posts: 16,141
I just did some Googling and found some more info on that same Cruffler site:

This is the part that I find especially interesting:

"The prototypes manufactured by Rheinmetall were manufactured largely of chrome steel. While an excellent material for gun manufacture, chrome steel was a strategic alloy in short supply. When the Luftwaffe was permitted to build 3,000 FG42 trials rifles, the material specification was amended to permit manufacture from manganese steel. Despite this amendment, Rheinmetall had its hands full producing machine guns and cannon, and could not spare the production facilities to build the new gun. As a result, production was undertaken by the Krieghoff firm. Krieghoff was not immune to wartime shortages, though. After somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 rifles were made, the company was unable to obtain any more manganese steel, and production halted.

"Krieghoff took advantage of the production halt to register a major objection to the amount of forging, machining, and close tolerance work necessary to produce the Rheinmetall design. Given the exigencies of wartime production needs, the objection met with significant agreement in German ordnance circles. In addition to the production difficulties, field reports indicated that the FG42's light weight worked against it in the long range, full automatic fire support role. There were also allegations that the gun was simply too fragile for the rigors of sustained combat. Krieghoff was rewarded with a contract to redesign the FG42 so as to simplify production and remedy the basic flaws affecting performance and durability.


"While the design of the FG42 didn't lend itself to simple mass production techniques, the Krieghoff gun was a dramatic improvement in production engineering. While the original Rheinmetall design's receiver was a complex forging that called for extensive machining, the new Krieghoff receiver was made entirely from stampings. This had some negative impacts, though. To give some of the new parts sufficient strength, the original weight saving components were replaced with solid machinings. As a result, it became apparent that the FG42 was never going to be economical to produce. Additionally, attempts to improve long range full automatic accuracy when fired from the offhand position, overall system weight was increased and the rate of fire reduced from 900 to 600 rounds per minute.

"In effect, these modifications were tacit admissions that the combination of a short barrel, light weight, and a full power cartridge made for a rifle that was very difficult to control. Consequently, further modifications almost always included an increase in system weight. Indeed, the last model FG42 was to be more than two pounds heavier than the first Krieghoff model. Despite this, the rifle suffered from controllability problems up to the end of production. Despite advances in firearms technology and production techniques for fifty years after the FG42's entry into service, the dilemma of controllable, lightweight fully automatic rifle firing a full power service cartridge was never solved. The last generation of full power battle rifles - the FAL, the M14, and the G3 - all suffered from poor controllability in the fully automatic mode."
I'm glad that it was Krieghoff, and not Rheinmetall, that simplified production on the FG42. One of the things that I really like about the late-WW2 German weapons is that they were designed to be as simple as possible to produce in quantity and yet not be hunks of shit like the Grease Gun, Sten, or Liberator. Unlike those pieces of shit, these weapons are very high quality weapons. They're just made with very modern manufacturing techniques. I dig all of the complex stampings and welding techniques used to manufacture these weapons. This is one of the reasons I really like the old-school HK weapons like the G3 and P9:

Almost everything on the P9 is stamped. The slide and frame are stamped. Almost all of the internals except for the hammer and sear are stamped. The barrel is hammer forged and the firing pin block is welded to the inside of the slide. And, yes, the trigger guard is plastic. Ooh la la. And yet the pistol is of superb quality. There's absolutely no battle rattle as on the forged and machined 1911's. The pistol is supremely reliable and is the most accurate pistol I own. It makes the P7 seem inaccurate by comparison. And the trigger action for a DA/SA pistol is superb. The DA pull feels very much like a revolver's DA pull, with very little stacking at the end of the stroke. The glass-rod SA suffers from lots of overtravel, but my P9S shown above has an adjustable overtravel stop (which is also stamped). Best of all, the roller-delayed blowback method of operation is taken from the StG45(M), which was an attempt to simplify the StG44's production even more.

The stamped slide and robot-welded firing pin block and slide tip are probably the only reasons I like the P226. It's certainly not the lousy trigger action and high bore axis on that weapon that get my praise. This is probably the reason why I can't stand other SIG-Sauers like the P228--they have CNC-cut slides.

And this modern manufacturing stuff is probably why I dig the plastic trigger guards on modern German sporting guns. It's the same reason why I love the presence of roll pins, C-clips, and coilsprings in that Krieghoff Neptun hand-detachable sidelock. I love that stuff. I admire these modern production techniques as much as I do the very labor-intensive techniques required to produce a Best gun.

As an aside, note that this Cruffler guy doesn't fall into the trap of classifying the FG42, FAL, and G3 as "assault rifles" despite their modern appearance. This guy knows enough about weapons to know that these weapons are "battle rifles" and not "assault rifles".
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