RIA: Walther A115 Prototype Rifle

The Walther A115 was one of the semiauto rifles developed in pre-WWII Germany. Apparently only three were made, and it uses a neat combination of sheet metal construction with a rotating bolt and annular gas pistol like the later G41 rifles. This particular example was examined by Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1955 (you can find their photos of it around) before escaping into the private market.

46 Comments

  1. Apparently the three WA-115 rifles were not identical, which is typical of toolroom models. The one illustrated on p. 134 of Walther Pistols and Rifles by W.H.B. Smith (1947, rep. by Stackpole Books 1971 and 2010) has the front sight base/sleeve nearly as large in diameter as the barrel shroud tube, and no bayonet mount.

    I’m wondering if it was intended as an additional expansion space to allow gas bleedoff. In this one, there seems to be no such thing, so maybe the designers determined it wasn’t necessary.

    cheers

    eon

  2. The firing pin looks like it could use a spring, but it almost looks like it rotates along the cam track as it moves forward after being struck by the hammer. Most unusual.

    • It looks like it probably works like the firing pins in Garand style actions, where interaction with the hammer face serves to index the firing pin and the cam surface on the back of the rotating bolt, cams it back into the bolt as the bolt unlocks.

      • At 11:46 the bolt is locked and the firing pin ear can’t move forward except by following the angled surface directly in front of it. I think the hammer is what causes it to rotate which allows it to move forward.

  3. Why Germans were so stubborn in DON’T DRILL HOLE IN RIFLE BARREL if there were evidences that such weapon can work properly?

    • ahh, the wonders of the bureaucrapic mind…

      Do you remember mad cow disease?
      and the fuss that bureaucrats were making about it?

      when the bureautwats themselves were at zero risk; mad cow disease doesn’t affect wood, sh!t or pink candyfloss.

    • Daweo, I asked myself that question often.
      Otto Morawietz, former curator of the Heereswaffenamt small arms collection, once told me that enlargement of the hole due to corrosion had been observed. Probably this was very early (pre 1900) and maybe bad steel quality played a role. But a test result of this sort led to that rule.
      Even the early MKb 42 (as a patent application by Hugo Schmeisser shows) had a gas trap at the muzzle, not a drilled barrel. Note that the early U.S. M1 Garand production also was of muzzle trap design.

      • The erosion around gas port actually does happen as I was able to see on sliced samples. The point at which it may become concern depends on gas port location. With rifle calibers, some last 6in of length are critical.

  4. This is a very fascinating rifle. While there are shortcomings in the design, it is very interesting and I think very significant that Walter were working on a self-loading rifle make largely of stampings at that early date. This is a huge step in terms of manufacturing technology over forged and machined parts.

    By the way, the disassembly plug looks like it has an eccentric. Perhaps this was intended to tighten up the fit when it was rotated into position?

  5. This rifle has all the right elements; rotary bolt, in-line gas actuation (preventing barrel bending), sheet metal and machined components in right combination. And, it is easy to strip down. It’s bit heavy, but this is to be expected given the caliber.

    Voiced concern about gas compartment fouling may not prove to be necessarily true; it does not happen on vz.52 for one.

  6. and maybe bad steel quality played a role.

    Nothing personal
    German steel was typically of a much higher standard than American steel (the American stuff was made behind a policy of Hamiltonian high import tariffs that protected it from competition by better quality and cheaper steels available on the world market).

    German guns, and guns made from German made steel (for example Chinese made Mausers, from pre 1947) do not have the reputation for crappy metallurgy that US made Krag, Low number Springfield and many P13 and M1917 rifles have.

    Even when German guns do have a reputation for structural problems (eg Walther P38 slides cracking, the problem is one of design combined with abuse with SMG loads, rather than a problem with steel quality.

    A much more likely origin for the prejudice against drilling gas ports is in the days of corrosive priming compositions, and again, the extreme conservatism of military bureaucracies World wide, in accepting the non corrosive priming compositions which were emerging post WWi.

    IIRC, “National Match” loadings from Lake City arsenal were still corrosive primed until surprisingly recent times (and may still be).

    The following is an approximate time scale culled from patents, for the introduction of Styphnate priming mixes into the commercial ammunition market.

    One thing that those patents do not mention, is there are two crystal structures for lead styphnate, one of them is much too unstable to form into primers – at least, not without blowing up in your face.

    The first ref for priming with lead styphnate is:
    US 1,443,328
    Granted to Herz in 1919.

    Synthesis of tetrazene
    US 1,859,529
    Granted to Rathsburg 1928

    Sensitizing styphnate priming compounds with tetrazene
    US 1,889,116
    Herz and Rathsburg 1930 (English patent was 1929) and assigned to Remmington.

    Tetrazene sensitized priming compositions, but specifically describing the compatibility with brass cartridge cases, especially rimfire. As opposed to the need for pure copper or nickel plated brass rimfilre cases with mercury fulminate sensitised priming compositions.
    US 1,905,795
    Burns, granted 1929 and assigned to Remmington

    styphnic acid = tri nitro resorcinate, think of a benzene ring with two OH groups and 3 NO groups.

    It is probable the resorcine (benzene ring with 2 OH groups) content is what gives the phenol-formaldehyde resin used in plastic AK mags and furniture its red colour.

    • I concur with the German steel quality…on seemingly non relating issue. At around 2002 I bought set of stiffer springs for my motorcycle’s front shocks (customised to my weight and riding style). The company making these replacement springs and other suspension components is based in U.S.; the are called Racetech. Reading thru their information I found they use exclusively German steel.

      Who has got some doubts, examine barrels on G36.

  7. An excellent presentation, but I must admit I’m not over-impressed with the design.
    Ian has singled out the flimsy assembly lock that will develop wobble in use.
    The annular piston rides on a barrel that is completely covered, with intense fire the barrel will overheat, expand and reduce even more the clearance with the piston leading to stoppages that can only be cured by not firing the weapon, sort of defeats the object.
    There is no form of gas regulation, which means you cannot adjust to overcome minor fouling.
    The use of a rotating bolt is well thought out and executed, but it adds an extra 3/4″ or so to the bolt stroke, which is already long because of the big cartridge. It works fine with 7.63 x 39 or 5.56 x 45 without lengthening the rifle unduly, and is mechanically very elegant, but with long cartridges we find tilting bolts, flap locks, etc. for this reason.
    The foresight and rear sight are not fixed to the same bit of metal, there is potential here for inaccuracy building up as the fit between the fore-end and the hand guard develops play.
    The pressed steel construction is very innovative and unusual in a prototype, did they make up dies for just a few parts? Make them in stages? I suppose things would be improved upon if it went into production.
    Barrel bending due to gas ports does not seem to have been an issue of practical importance in countless excellent and widely divulged gas-operated weapons, from the Kalashnikov to the FN-FAL.
    Ian has shown us several prototype self-loaders in the recent past, most were more interesting and had more potential as combat rifles, this one is a bit of a dead end from a practical point of view.
    Just one more point, will someone explain to me how you can stripper-clip load a single feed magazine? If the jaws are set apart to retain a round you can load the magazine like a Sten gun/MP-40 by forcing the stack down and slipping in a round from the front, but not from the top. The Portuguese FBP also had a magazine copied from the MP-40, and it was a major p.i.t.a. I would suggest the magazine on this rifle has jaws that just clear a single round, so you’d actually obtain a minimal double feed system.

    There are two very false notions that have been creeping into our collective consciousness:
    Firstly, courtesy of Hollywood, the History Channel and National Geographic Channel, the Americans fought and won WW2 single-handed, both in Europe and the Pacific. This is crap, there were actually more Brits, Canadians, Poles and other Allies landing in Normandy than GI’s, and in the Pacific the British, Australians and other Commonwealth troops had a very significant role. Part of this comes from having rewarded the outstanding American industrial contribution by nominating American generals to top positions, even if their competence or experience did not warrant this. Even a self-seeking nincompoop like Mark Clark was sent home a hero after the Anzio fiasco, he even got a British decoration after blatantly and uselessly disobeying his British CO’s specific orders, instead of being court-martialled or at least being sent to monitor seagull gatherings off Alaska or something.
    The other is that the Germans are a race of geniuses and everything they do is so much more avant-garde, fantastically efficient and generally cooler than what the rest of us seem to manage. More crap, the German mind runs on rails (the gas port question…), which is a disadvantage. Their V2’s were so much ahead of their time that they were actually less efficient than the simple, workmanlike V1 (note: the Brits also had a cruise missile project, by Miles aircraft, but dropped it for political reasons, preferring to suffer 56.000 casualties in Bomber Command, politicians…).
    The Germans fought two WW, lost both and suffered untold horrors because they didn’t know when to call it a day. That’s not too bright, the Italians knew when to quit, in fact they became quite good at it, but they survived.
    There’s a little saying over here, heaven is a place where the police are British, the mechanics German, the cooks Portuguese, the lovers Italian and it’s all run by the Swiss. Hell is a place where the police are German, the mechanics are Portuguese (a bit unfair), the cooks are British, the lovers are Swiss and it’s all run by the Italians.
    Ciao

    • The 1889 Mausers had single stack magazines and were clip fed, so obviously someone made it work. How do you think the G43 was intended to reload? By clip. Smart soldiers brought spare preloaded magazines and clips. Therefore, it would not make sense for this magazine to be forcibly reloaded one cartridge at a time, if it is the predecessor to magazines on the G41W and the G43.

      • I suspect that the slight funnel formed by the upper part of those mag lips, allows the incoming rounds to cam the feed lips apart.

        Some of the single stack or single feed position mags that are set up for charger loading, have one of the feed lips hinged or sprung, so that it can get out of the way of rounds coming in from above, but will retain rounds being fed up by the mag spring and follower.

  8. Please don’t forget the contribution of many millions of Soviets in defeating the Nazis. In the west we hear so little about them, yet they had an enormous and critical part.

    • I don’t discount the Soviet Union but Stalin had more blood on his hands than Hitler’s hands. Thankfully there were some good people in the Russian horde who didn’t go well with the instinctual “revenge, pillage, and rape” idea and stopped their comrades from incurring the wrath of the other Allies (a bit too late to prevent an iron curtain from being built, though)… Or am I wrong?

      • You probably have on mind purges of soviet military leadership in years preceding WWII. This appears to be popular version (subscribing it personally to Stalin), but I am not entirely sure of that. There were other factors (competition among Stalin’s cronies etc.).

        What amazes me is the amount of punishment Russian soldier manages to take and still lead the advance. It takes more than guts.

        • “This appears to be popular version (subscribing it personally to Stalin), but I am not entirely sure of that.”
          Is complicated.
          I. Yes, some might be attributed directly to Stalin, but many can’t be.
          One part of history of Soviet Union is gruesome Ежовщина (Age of Yezhov, after Nikolay Yezhov) during which many people were executed for insane reasons (see NKVD Order №00485 for example)
          II. Some deaths are side-effects of industrialization and engineering projects executed at ridiculously super-charged rate of construction (see building of White Sea Canal for example) by de facto slave labour force in harsh conditions. Lives were acceptable price for Stalin for industral progress.

          • I appreciate you trying to add to my general knowledge Daweo. If I may, I’d say I read a plenty about that period, partly because we (in central Europe) were exposed to this strange and tyrannical Soviet element – largely against our will. This is not to say I know as much as I wish to know. I am always open to new knowledge.

            However, with surprise I am observing revitalisation of Stalin’s aura to same degree in current Russia and consequently ask and wonder why. If he was as such evil as popular culture suggests, it would likely not happen. I also recognise however that he surrounded himself with unsavory characters who propped his (and state) might and who were, in order to maintain their posts, committing the most awful acts, just to become a victim of other similar natured ‘characters’. Awful time, awful ideology which spawned them.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genrikh_Yagoda

            So, I lean to believe, that it is not entirely fair to hang whole blame just on his neck. But, I definitely do not count myself as his admired either.

      • Here, you are mistaken. Certainly tovarish J. Stalin/Djugashvili and Herr A. Hitler/Schikelgrüber were radically evil monsters that stained the 20th century with mass-murder, “megadeaths” before the term was developed, and all manner of horrors. Nonetheless, the USSR killed and murdered and tortured more people than the Nazi regime only before the Second World War. Once the World War was produced, the poles shifted, and it was the Nazi regime that killed more people than the Soviet. Obviously a very high number of those were Soviet citizens. The Nazi state was ultimately responsible for a greater number of deaths. Comparisons are somewhat repugnant, I find. The two working together, in tandem, in 1939 to divvy up Europe may ultimately tell us more about genocide and mass killing than considering the two in isolation or on some sort of tally sheet.

        • You really have to wonder what is it about this “socialism” (either version you look at) with such a horrendous record. At the same time the question must be raised why is it that so many are currently sympathetic to his ideology, right in the United States and even have their own candidate to represent them in presidential office. I am left flabbergasted. Are people able to learn, ever?

          • Are people able to learn, ever?

            Worryingly, it seems that they are not.

            Carl Menger (along with Willian Stanley Jevons, and Leon Walras, though their contributions were far less sophisticated than Menger’s) coming up with the theory of subjective marginal utility, as a theory for the prices that real goods sell for on real markets, as a function of real people choosing…
            Is probably what convinced Marx to stop pissing about trying to get a labour theory of value to work in the early 1870s. Volumes 2 and 3 of “Capital” remained in manuscript form until after Marx’ death around 15 years later. Engels finally got his hands on them, edited them and published them in the mid 1890s.

            Marx was probably smart enough to realise that without a labour theory of value, his whole idea of exploitation and excess value would collapse.

            Eugen von Bohm-Barwerk, (“Karl Marx and the close of his system”) shredded Marx’ in terms of capital theory at the end of the 1890s, showing that the difference between the wages advanced to workers, and the final selling price of the finished product – is explainable in terms of time preference and interest payments. The employer advances wages, before the products are ready, and those wages are discounted by the prevailing interest rate, from the value that would have been realised had the workers chosen to fund the production through to completion themselves.

            Ludwig von Mises, (the problem of economic calculation in the socialist commonwealth, 1921) explored the question (on it’s own terms) of whether socialism is a more rational economic system than “anarchy of production”.

            What he found was, If there is only one monopolistic owner of the means of production, then there can be no exchanges of the means of production.
            Without exchanges, no market prices can emerge.
            Without a mechanism for prices to emerge, there can be no rational calculation of how scarce means of production should should be apportioned between their different competing uses.
            Far from socialism being a more rational system, it is completely irrational and economic calculation is impossible under it.
            In practice the central planners in the Soviet and other “socialist” commonwealths, used the prices arising in the markets in the rest of the world to base their calculations on, but it was still far from being a rational system

            Freddy Hayek (the use of of knowledge in society) explored the question of whether the information necessary for rational central planning was available and in a form that could be communicated in a timely manner to a central planning agency. the paper is well worth reading for it’s reasoning.
            Hayek’s finding was, that the information is so widely distributed in terms of local knowledge, and intuitions. That, no, that information could not be collated for use by a central planner.

            Anyone still reading?

            The reason that none of this stuff is taught in schools and universities (OK, only taught in a handful, places like; Loyola, Auburn, Francisco Marroquin, Anger and Rey Juan Carlos )
            Is the criticisms of the calculation and knowledge problems apply to all attempts at monopoly and legal positivism.

            They are refutations of the idea that any form of government can offer anything better than the market can offer it.

            Instead, what is taught are:

            1) the classical liberal fallacy, that if only good people were put into government, it could be a force for good (it can’t)

            2) the positivistic idea that socialism has not been falsified yet (there are an infinite number of ways that the hypothesis “socialism is good” can be varied, and they haven’t all been tried yet – so therefore socialism has not been shown to be always bad), so we should all be herded into further attempts

            The crappy consequences of each government intervention in the market, are blamed on “capitalism” and more interventions are put in place to try to correct the unintended consequences of the earlier interventions.
            They in turn produce unintended consequences, and calls for further interventions.

            Unless the “I knew an old lady who swallowed a fly” chain of ever more drastic interventions is stopped and the interventions removed, it runs its course to full socialism and “I know an old lady who swallowed a horse – she’s dead of course” is the end point

            Even at that end point, socialism cannot engage in economic calculation, and scapegoats for the resulting failures must be found – surely there must be sabotage…

            who was it?
            was the saboteur Bukharin?
            Was it the Kulaks?
            Was it the Jooz?

            The purges, gulags/death camps and mass graves are an inevitable outcome of that failure and the search for scapegoats and saboteurs.

          • “The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.”
            –Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

            …Who, after the Battle of Jena, proclaimed the “end of history” only to recant later.

          • Thanks for your input Keith. I will look at firstly mentioned reference. I can see tremendous scope of your thought from mechanics to social science. You know from previous encounters that we have lots in common.

          • “Even at that end point, socialism cannot engage in economic calculation, and scapegoats for the resulting failures must be found – surely there must be sabotage…

            who was it?
            was the saboteur Bukharin?
            Was it the Kulaks?
            Was it the Jooz?”
            See description here
            http://www.deansgarage.com/2011/1932-kranzler-sturm-roadster/
            of BATTLE SONG OF THE PROLETARIAT SEDAN, 1965 – CHINESE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC
            When this car (as well others) is fiction description good sum communist industry.

    • Even more forgotten, at least in the U.S. and W. Europe it seems, is that reliance on the Soviet juggernaut to “break” the Wehrmacht and bear the brunt of the German/Axis war effort is that it condemned Central and Eastern Europe to Soviet control after the war ended… Certainly it spared U.S. and W. European casualties however.

      • Churchill and FDR’s narcissistic policy of continuing until unconditional surrender, didn’t help eastern Europe.

        The plot that culminated with von Stauffenberg’s bomb only injuring Schikelgruber’s leg, Had wide support amongst the officers in the forces and in the intelligence service.

        Unfortunately allied plans for fighting until unconditional surrender, to followed by implementation of the Morganthau plan…
        were hardly fertile grounds for recruiting people to the mutineer’s side.

        The war began with the land of Denny’s birth, already abandoned and described as a small country, a long way away, about which we know very little… and the land of Leszek’s birth, occupied by a murderous dictatorship

        and that’s how the war to make the world safe for Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Ceacescu etc ended.

        a couple of years of democracy before its subversion into totalitarianism.

        • The funny and tragic on this part of history is that we (Central Europeans) were thrown to Red Bear and consequently were called “communists”. What a disgrace! What an injustice!

          • we (Central Europeans) were thrown to Red Bear and consequently were called “communists”. What a disgrace! What an injustice!

            but you must have been, because the BBC told us you were, and it was never wrong…

            was it? 😉

            A few years ago I worked with one of your Roman Catholic bretherin, from slightly further east. He was a few years younger than me. He said when he was about 8 years old, so probably early to mid 1980s, all of the kids in his class at school had started singing an anti regime song, and the poor young school teacher had run out in tears – she must have been the only true believer in the place.

            after the landslide Republican victory in the congressional
            elections of 1946, Truman had to deal with a potentially recalcitrant
            opposition. the Republicans had promised to return the country
            to some degree of normalcy after the statist binge of the war years.
            Sharp cuts in taxes, abolition of wartime controls, and a balanced
            budget were high priorities.
            But Truman could count on allies in the internationalist wing
            of the Republican Party, most prominently Arthur Vandenberg, a
            former “isolationist” turned rabid globalist, now chairman of the
            Senate Foreign Relations Committee. When Truman revealed his
            new “doctrine” to Vandenberg, the Republican leader advised him
            that, in order to get such a program through, the President would
            have to “scare hell out of the American people.”12 That Truman
            proceeded to do.

            P107 https://mises.org/library/great-wars-and-great-leaders-libertarian-rebuttal

            I suspect that Truman’s seeking justify high post war military spending is one of the reasons that you (eastern Europeans) all got painted red,

            despite there being so few Communists in Eastern Europe that Stalin had to ship specially trained hand picked ones in from Moscow to form the ruling parties.

      • 80% of german war casualties were in the Eastern front, but Hollywood painted a picture of ww2 in Europe being only after D-Day.

        It was a clash of 2 juggernaughts for domination in Europe, and if Barbarossa never happened in 1941. the war between them would come anyway, maybe with SSSR attacking few years later.

        Germans only relied on element of surprise, and despite inflicting massive blow to the SSSR, never managed to Blitzkrieged them like in France and other countries.

        Contrary to popular belief, they didn’t just walked through Russia with no opposition, Wehrmacht fought for every village and town, because Russians, and their communist “no bullshit” management and ideology desperately sent everything available, including women, children and older people (sorta like Volksturm, but in 1941.), which got massacred in battle with better trained and equipped Germans (their whole “armies” were encircled and destroyed), but they still had enough manpower in reserves to fought on; and that was what the Germans never expected.

        I suppose it was the strict communist ideology that saved them. Remember how in ww1, Russian Empire was defeated on the front due to the internal conflicts and revolutions starting in 1917. , so they made peace with Germany in fear of suffering a total defeat and even more territorial losses.

        And after ww2, if it wasn’t for nuclear weapons, you would definetly see ww3 in Europe between SSSR and “West Europe allies”;
        instead you got only a “cold war”.

  9. And I have read that Stalin was killed in 1953 because he was going to do another purge. He did fire most of the W W II military leadership very quickly and got the spot light back on him after the war.

    • He did himself in by his own stubbornness. Had a stroke and died alone. Everyone was too scared to check on him…

  10. I don’t know know that i would buy into the superior quality of steel from Country X or Y these days.

    I’m a mechanical engineer working for an automotive supplier. The core of our product is a stamped and drawn steel part. When I started in the late 1970s, we had to but a premium, aluminum killed drawing quality steel to make these parts. Now, just about any coil stock will work. If anything, advancements in North American steel production has enabled products previously thoight impractical.

    • Some time back I was trying to research where is origin of steel used by Canadian division of Toyota – but it came empty (probably trade secret). My assumption is that drawing quality low-to-medium carbon steel used by auto-industry is supplied novadays either by India or Brazil. They can do what NA manufacture can and probably for less (including shipping).

  11. Keith (in England) proposes a suitable solution for the clip loaded single stack problem. It does need more parts though. Forcing the lips apart is asking for trouble. I still think the lips will clear a round fed centrally but the slight stagger in the magazine and follower will prevent the rounds spewing out again.
    No I had not forgotten the Russians, theirs was another war in its own right.
    Regarding the amount of mistreatment a soldier can endure and keep fighting, the Russians, Poles, Portuguese (during WWI), Scots, all beat the more bourgeois societies. They are accustomed to harsh conditions and have the necessary fatalism to accept what you cannot change and work within that envelope. The Portuguese sent to Flanders in WWI were from rough peasant stock, regiments from the far north, the mountainous regions and Alentejo. They were used to living badly, as were their great-grandfathers that visited hell upon Napoleon’s rear echelons. These boys had cotton uniforms (nearly froze to death, had to have sheepskin overalls sent from home), boots that fell apart (some contractor in Lisbon got rich), shitty rations and were kept on the line far longer than anyone else. When the full brunt of the German attack came they held for a bit but ended up reeling back. The British then poured contempt on them (suitable scapegoat) forgetting that British formations under attack in similar circumstances performed no better. US soldiers (and to an extent British soldiers) are accustomed to a degree of molly-cuddling that ends up being counterproductive.
    Give me soldiers from underprivileged sections of society anytime, they are used to dealing with the crap life throws at you.

  12. Fascinating rifle and exposition, Ian. I had only ever seen this prototype in photographs. With all the stamped sheet metal, it does look, well, thoroughly Nazi. I gather things did not go well given all the reasons stated by the replies and your points: the sights move and wobble on the sheet metal cover [could they have been part of the barrel/bolt-track screwed onto it?], the close tolerances of the annular gas piston surrounding the barrel, the overheating potential, the dirty gas system, the tendency for the latch that held so much together becoming worn over time, etc. etc. I do find myself wondering if the two-piece barrel cover might have been made in one piece with a bushing, rather than as two pieces? Also, could ports for cooling have been fitted in here and there? Lastly, I wonder if there is some relation to the sliding unit/operating slide and the Gustloff Volkssturmgewehr? Sort of opposite, no? The former taps gas from holes to push a slide/operating unit back, the latter traps the gas under the slide to prevent it opening and thereby retarding the blow back action, at least in theory if not actual fact…?

    “Bräuning” would be pronounced in hochdeutsch as “Broy-nink” rather than “Brown-ing.” Anglicization is perfectly common and normal, so nbd.

  13. In reply to some of the comments.
    The MkB42(H) has a 3.75mm gas hole 9.34″ from the breech face
    as does the production MP44’s.
    There is another of these in the Koblenz museum.
    The design was reused in 1941 for the MkB42(W) that I have fired. After a mag full my eyes started running from the
    exhaust gas from the vents in the annular gas piston shroud.
    The oval plate with the small spring prevents the carrier turning the bolt until it is cammed down by the barrel extension. The same trigger mech. was used (with the extra provision for full auto) in the MkB42(W) and the MP44. All the pressings are 1mm thick which gives the feel of a tin toy.
    The mag lips are far enough apart to pass a round from stripper clips but cannot come out again as the rounds are slightly double stacked at the top, similar to the K98

  14. john – Thanks for the post, it is as I suspected, the magazine cannot be strictly single stack and receive rounds from a stripper clip, unless you go for something more complicated and fragile.

  15. Perhaps, if the three WA-115 variants were prototypes, we shouldn’t judge their drawbacks too harshly. The designers could have been well aware of the issues inherent in some of the elements they used (such as the potential for fouling and the weakness of the stamped metal shroud where it locks) and used them anyway as a platform to prove their gas port design, with every intention of improving the fit and function in a later iteration.

    Government funding always, in my experience, tends towards the tried and true, anyway; the resource sponsors are all too often risk-averse. This seems to dovetail well with Germany’s decision to mass produce K98s instead of continue development of a system that wasn’t quite ready for primetime–until it was too late.

    My position, I suppose, is that German firearms designers and developers may have seen the promise of the gas ported barrel but been unable to prove it due to a lack of government support–where the fear may actually have rested. I have read no patents or letters or journals, so I don’t know if this is a concept aleady disproven, but I have seen that the guys with the record books in their hands are often much farther-sighted than the ones writing policy, and I wouldn’t want us to think less of them for their leaders’ mistakes.

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