Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The military collectors dream come true, the prototype model for what would become one of WW2's finest assault rifles, the Walther MKb 42.

In 1942 the German Ordnance Ministry was searching for the ideal assault carbine. It was felt that the 7.92 mm cartridge was too powerful for full automatic and that they needed to develop a new cartridge. The cartridge they developed was the 7.92x33mm round.
The companies of Haenel and Walther were both tasked with creating trial rifles that utilized this new ammunition.

This Walther designed prototype rifle is very unique in that it is comprised to 2-3 different sheet metal sections that were riveted/pinned together.
The front section is very similar to the Mkb.42(W) with an extruded barrel jacket, which is keyed into the integral front sight base/bayonet lug assembly that was held on by the muzzle nut. The rear half of the receiver is also a stamped sheet metal housing which covers the rear half of the rifle, which is riveted onto the stamped trigger guard and box magazine.

Internally the front and rear halves of the rifle are joined to a machined internal receiver that acts as the rear barrel trunnion/locking lugs and rear support for the sheet metal receiver. This piece was the real key to this design as it is one of the very few all machined and critical parts on the weapon.

The other real interesting feature is that inside the upper receiver it has a sliding sheet metal bolt carrier to which the actual machined bolt body has been riveted to. This carrier extends from the larger bulbous middle section of the barrel jacket to the rear of the receiver opening, approximately 12 inches long.

The buttstock is attached to the rear of the receiver via a through bolt type arrangement. The large hole in the buttstock is covered by the stamped buttplate.

From the pictures, it is obvious that the Walther was experimenting with an early detachable box magazine. This magazine design would eventually evolve into the standard box magazines for the G/K43 series of rifles.

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