Sport Systeme Dittrich Semiauto BD-38 (MP-38)

Sport Systeme Dittrich in Germany is a manufacturer of a remarkably wide range of reproduction German World War Two small arms (including the FG42, StG-44, G43, MP-3008, MP-35, and VG1-5 as well as the MP-38). They have a mixed reputation, as they are magnificently accurate looking reproductions, but the Sturmgewehr in particular suffered from a great deal of parts breakage and reliability problems (in the US, these were imported as the PTR-44 many years ago). For collectors and shooters in the United States, this is generally a moot point, because the Dittrich reproductions are too accurate mechanically to be allowable for import. The BD-38 semiauto copy of the MP-38, for instance, is an open-bolt carbine, which is deemed easily convertible to fully automatic under US law (a similar conclusion was reached by the RCMP in Canada).

At any rate, I had a chance to do some shooting with a BD-38 on Malta, where the open bolt mechanism is not a concern, since collectors are allowed to own fully automatic arms anyway. Aside form a faulty original magazine, it shot quite well, as one might expect. Recoil is basically nil, given the weight of the MP38 design.

The Dittrich reproduction guns are an excellent example of the conundrum faced by manufacturers of reproduction historical guns. The market demands a very accurate reproduction, but these sorts of guns are never popular in mass-market numbers, which means the prices must be quite high to cover the costs of tooling and development. The BD-38 costs 3000-4000 Euros where it is available – which further reduces the number of potential buyers.

Thanks to the Association of Maltese Arms Collectors and Shooters for providing this BD-38 for video!

25 Comments

  1. Of course, there will be some idiots who will attempt to get this gun to fire full-auto should it get into America. They will probably mess with the trigger sear and then ventilate something they don’t want to shoot! Instead of worrying about a “machine gun” used for mass killings, I’m worrying about idiots causing mayhem! You just can’t seem to ban idiots!

    • There are rednecks/ bubbas everywhere. I recall one I used to encounter casually many years ago and he, knowing what was my employ at the time, pestered me repeatedly with question how to convert his .22 semi-auto into full. When I asked him WHY, there was no meaningful reply.

  2. As I have another inclination in my range of interests and that are motorcycles, it strikes me similarity in current “retro” trend. To say it loud, I do not admire either. Why? Because there is a time period for a certain product fitting to manufacturing capabilities an user’s expectation of given time. This time-progress curve cannot be successfully turned back and I consider its reversal attempt futile.

    Overall, IMO this is a lost proposition since there is no authenticity part contained in it. I see similar semi-auto replica “carbines” in vendor’s lists of offers; they sit there before they slowly fade out… and disappear.

    • No kidding. Only collectors and reenactors will want retro-style semi-auto carbines. And even then, it’s a freaking niche market. You may as well sell a .22LR version of the Gewehr 41 (W) with the action set up as closed-bolt blow-back. How would I make such a thing? Have the real iron sight on the barrel and surround it with a removable shell that mimics the gas trap and annular gas piston housing! How’s that for silly?

      • “Only collectors and reenactors will want retro-style semi-auto carbines.”
        Well, we should differentiate retro-style from reproduction from original. Last one should be clear, reproduction is made to match as closely as possible original, while retro-style is simply patterned after.
        Also, what retro exactly means? Does Ruger Mini-14 counts as retro-style as it follows lines of M14?

        • You have a good view of it… and I cannot disagree.

          But yet, look at manufacturing techniques of WWII Germany and todays Bundesdeutschland – home of hi-tech. They liked sheet metal then on everything, now you have 3D printing. So to call it duplicate/ replica fails the definition if you take it literally.

          • “manufacturing techniques of WWII Germany and todays Bundesdeutschland – home of hi-tech. They liked sheet metal then on everything, now you have 3D printing”
            Although it must be note that not all weapons were made this way, take for example MG 34.
            Anyway, it looks that while some III Reich weapons of WWII got enough popularity to get reproduction or look-a-likes, then other Axis are less popular, independently from their virtues.

    • “Overall, IMO this is a lost proposition since there is no authenticity part contained in it. I see similar semi-auto replica “carbines” in vendor’s lists of offers; they sit there before they slowly fade out… and disappear.”
      Interestingly, 19th century revolvers reproduction seems to be quite popular, like for example: https://www.uberti-usa.com/top-break-revolver
      unlike early automatic pistol.

      • You hit it right, again. Well yes, Italians (not just Uberti) have a niche in Old West replicas. I do not hold it against them. They went even so far they were making replica jeans, called Rifle – no kidding. They were available on foreign interchangeable currency (vouchers) only – and they looked and felt just like Levi’s.

      • The “old West” replicas sell in substantial and profitable numbers because Cowboy Action competition requires specific designs, and because single action revolvers and lever action rifles are only banned in the most repressive places.
        Replica submachineguns and automatic rifles are more likely to be restricted or banned and appeal to a much smaller market. Also reenactors have less need for fully functional weapons and may be satisfied with non-firing or airsoft.

  3. What about the GSG MP40P? Basically a newly-made MP40 style gun, except it fires from a closed bolt (hence should be capable of better usable accuracy), and doesn’t have a shoulder stock, therefore it’s classed as a handgun.

    It even has something that no MP38/40 ever had; an actual safety.

    And it generally sells for under $700.

    I think all things being equal, I’d go with it rather than worry about importing this one.

    cheers

    eon

    • True, but I think Denny mentioned that it was still a bit steep for a small rimfire gun. There are conventional blow-back rifles for the same cartridge that cost less than $150.

      • The MP40P isn’t a .22, it’s a 9 x 19mm. BTW, it’s specifically engineered to not take original MP-38/40 magazines, instead it has its own specifically-made mags, which are 25-round instead of 32. According to the manufacturers in Germany, that’s because the originals never really worked that well, and even when they did, most Wehrmacht users only loaded them with 25 rounds because they’d jam with more than that in them.

        Yes, it comes with a magazine loading tool, and yes, it’s a definite must to load the magazine against its seriously-strong spring.

        cheers

        eon

        • Thanks for the corrections! Even if it’s a semiautomatic long receiver blow-back pistol, I’d hate to be caught on the receiving end.

  4. This conversation didn’t go where I expected. Whether it’s truly useful or not, this repro is cool, and I wish I could buy it in the U.S.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. A Wish List of Favorite Firearms - Metallicman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*