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Walther G.41(W) G.41 rifle (Germany)
Caliber: 7.92x57 mm
Action: Gas operated, flap-locking
Overall length: 1130 mm
Barrel length: 545 mm
Weight: 4.98 kg empty
Magazine capacity: 10 rounds
The Walther Gewehr 41 rifle, also known as G.41(M), was developed during 1940 to fulfill requirements for new semi-automatic rifle, issued by German Army Weapons department (HWaA). These requirements had some specific points that severely impacted the final performance of the rifles. Among other requirements, HWaA requested that new rifles should not have gas ports in the barrel, should not have any moving parts outside of the weapon (when gun is fired), and the gun shall work as manual repeater in the case of automatic mechanism failure. Interestingly enough, Walther engineers ignored parts of these requirements (in particular, they used reciprocating bolt handle and partially uncovered bolt group). In spring of 1941 Walther factory received an official contract for 5 000 G.41(W) rifles for field trials, and fulfilled this contract by January 1942. After field trials the G.41(W) rifle was found to be more reliable, less complicated and less expensive that its only rival, Mauser G.41(M), and in December of 1942 the Walther G.41(W) rifle was officially adopted by German army as Gewehr 41, or G.41 in short. Production contracts for G.41 rifles were issued to two companies, Walther (manufacturer code 'ac') and BLM (manufacturer code 'duv'), with the latter manufacturer delivering about 3/4 of entire production of G.41 rifle, which can be estimated at about 115 to 130 thousands of guns. Production of G.41 rifle was ceased in late 1943 or early 1944, with the introduction of the improved G.43 rifle. Despite the fact that Walther G.41 rifle was noticeably better than its rival, Mauser G.41(M), it was still inferior to two other most important semi-automatic rifles of WW2 era, the Russian Tokarev SVT and US M1 Garand. In particular, the G.41 rifle had poor, muzzle heavy balance and insufficient reliability under harsh conditions.
The Walther G.41(W) rifle is gas-operated, semi-automatic weapon. It uses annual (circular) gas piston, located inside the gas cylinder which was installed around the muzzle part of the barrel. Upon discharge, powder gases expanded in the muzzle attachment, pushing the gas piston rearwards. This movement was transferred to the bolt carrier via the actuating rod that ran below above barrel, inside the handguards. Barrel locking was achieved by dual locking flaps, installed at either side of the bolt. When in battery, these flaps were extended outwards to engage cuts in the inner receiver walls. Upon discharge, initial movement of the bolt carrier forced locking flaps inwards, thus unlocking the bolt. Charging handle was attached directly to the bolt carrier and moved along with it when gun was fired. The manual safety switch is located at the rear of the receiver. Feed is from non-detachable box magazine with 10-round capacity. Few rifles also were manufactured with permanently attached 25-round MG.13 curved box magazines. Loading and unloading is from the top, using standard 5-round charger clips. To facilitate quick loading, rifle is equipped with bolt hold-open device. Standard stock is made from wood, with stamped steel buttplate. Tangent type rear sight is marked from 100 to 1200 meters in 100-meter increments. A standard bayonet lug is provided below the barrel.