In all the time I have been able to look at MP-43/MP-44/StG-44 rifles, one of the comments that comes up over and over is the desire for someone to make a semiauto reproduction of the gun using a caliber other than 8×33. For those of us deep into shooting these sorts of guns, 8×33 isn’t really all that difficult to get – but for the average enthusiast it really is an obstacle. Prvi makes the stuff new, but only sporadically, and it spends a lot more time out of stock than available.
Anyway, a small company down in Georgia has decided to take that desire and make it a reality. HMG (Hill & Mac Gunworks) is making a reproduction Sturmgewehr that will be available in several different configurations of varying originality and tacticality, and at a price point that should be more achievable for lots of people than the other options out there. I spent a few minutes prodding them with questions recently, and here’s what they had to say…
Forgotten Weapons: One of the really interesting aspects of your StG-44 rifles is that they will be in several different calibers. What are the options going to be?
Hill & Mac Gunworks: The primary version of the rifle will have a STANAG magazine well, meaning that it will use AR-15 type magazines. We will be offering the guns in 5.56mm, 7.62x39mm, .300 Blackout, and 8×33 Kurz.
FW: The 5.56mm and .300 Blackout are pretty clear, but how are you doing 7.62×39 and 8×33 out of a STANAG magwell?
HMG: The 7.62×39 will use the AR-style 7.62 magazines that have been made for a variety of other guns, like the Daewoo DR300 and the AR conversions to 7.62×39. Using AK magazines would have required a different receiver for that caliber, which would significantly increase the price. It would also prevent the 7.62×39 guns from being converted into other calibers.
The 8×33 is still something we are working on. The complex answer is that we plan to have a magazine that feeds 8×33 but fits in the STANAG magazine well. We would like to also offer a version using the original German magazines, but our priority is the multi-caliber version.
FW: Well, that would be the much more popular version – maybe not amongst the folks reading here, but definitely in the general market. Now, unless I misunderstood, you said these can be converted between calibers?
HMG: Yes. Our system is intended to be end user convert-able with minimal skills (ie, are you able to use a wrench?).
FW: Well, that would explain the importance of using the same magwell for all the different calibers. Now, when you initially posted renderings of the gun, you caught some flak for having replaced the rear sight with a short piece of Picatinny rail. What’s up with that? No love for the iron sights?
HMG: Heh…the Rear-Sight Debacle of 2015. That was a blunder on my part, had the wrong assembly loaded when I made the renderings. In our design, the rear sight riser block has a threaded section instead of a riveted on rear sight. That block can accept any number of sight systems including traditional rear sight(s), rail section, etc. So folks can choose whether they would like to have original-style iron sights or a rail for mounting a modern optic.
FW: These were all renderings, I noticed, and not photographs of completed prototypes. Seems a bit of a premature announcement, or at least something that will strike many people that way. Why not wait until you had something more concrete in hand to show people?
HMG: We were working on our table reservations for SHOT Show 2016, and we needed to get higher in the priority queue for getting a booth. Right now we sell targets, and that sort of accessory has a lower priority for the show organizers than firearms. In order to get a booth, we needed to make the rifle project public to be listed as a gun manufacturer rather than just an accessory company. Otherwise we would not have made the rifles public for a few more months.
FW: Alright, how about the questions everyone is really wanting to hear. How much will it cost, and when will it be available? I suspect a lot of people are writing this off as another $5k+ rifle that they won’t be able to consider.
HMG: I will say that $5000 is a good bit higher than the intended MSRP of the rifles. Past that? we’re trying to nail down the price over the next 3 months. We’re to a +/-20% number at the moment and we aren’t comfortable setting the MSRP until we have a more concrete number. But…the goal was to make the rifle affordable (well, one of the goals).
FW: Better to make us wait for a definite number than over-promise early, I suppose. How about sales dates?
HMG: We will announce presales in the coming months, with some extra goodies for the early adopters that we all think will be attractive and unique. With rifles available early next year.
FW: Extra goodies, eh?
HMG: Can’t give away all the secrets at once…
[editor’s note: he wouldn’t tell me what the secret goodies are going to be, even off the record…grumble]
FW: Ok, just a couple more questions and I’ll let you go. Since you are using HK fire control parts, will they be able to use registered HK auto sears or trigger packs?
HMG: We are designing it to accept semi auto packs for compliance with all ATF regulations regarding NFA devices. But for those with registered trigger packs, give me a call – we might have something in the mix.
FW: Will the rifles have side rails to mount original ZF-4 optics?
HMG: We are talking about making a few options like that available through HMG directly. That specific example has come up.
FW: Thanks for taking the time! I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on one of these to try out in a 2-Gun match…