The Sturmgewehr 45 (aka Gerat 06H) was the first functional roller-delayed blowback rifle developed, and it was slated to replace the StG44 as Germany’s primary combat rifle when WWII ended. We have a reproduction of one made exactly to original spec, and we wanted to see how it would have fared as a combat rifle. As much as we like doing this sort of thing, we don’t want to actually go into a combat zone for a review video, so we did the next best (and available) thing: we took it to an IPSC 3-Gun match. For those who aren’t familiar with ISPC, it is a style of shooting competition using full-power ammunition and firing at multiple paper and steel targets from different positions.
Fair warning, I’m not the world’s greatest shooter. In fact, compared to the other folks competing, I’m pretty damn terrible. But I sure had a good time, and I think that my conclusions remain valid without having to win the match. Also, I had testing our magazines with 10 rounds each, and they worked fine. But when I loaded them up to 25 each for the match, I had a bunch of failures to feed. Not the fault of the rifle, but my fault for not proofing the magazines more carefully (they are all original MP44 mags dating form 1943 and 1944).
Like I said at the end of the video there, my conclusion is that the StG45 would have been a fantastic combat rifle. It has wonderfully light recoil and minimal muzzle climb, combined with good ergonomics. The stock and sights are set up just perfectly. The safety is in a good place (for a righty), and only the mag release really needs to be closer to the firing hand for faster magazine changes. Somehow when the guys responsible for this rifle moved to Spain and built the CETME and then came back to work for H&K, they lost all the ergonomic qualities that had been in this first design.
The 8x33mm Kurz cartridge strikes an excellent balance between power and shootability, and it’s an excellent round for a roller-locked (actually roller-delayed blowback, as the gun it not technically locked upon firing) action. While it is on paper very similar to the Soviet 7.62×39 (125gr @ 2250fps, compared to the Soviet 123gr @ 2400fps), the 8×33 in the StG45 is a far smoother rifle than an AKM. There was a significant amount of experimentation with the Kurz round in the aftermath of WWII, and it’s a shame that only the Soviets chose to really pursue it.
interesting! can we see a slideshow of that rifle with close ups, disassmbled etc?
Yes – we’ll be doing a video on the internals and functioning of the gun as well. For the moment, you can see photos of a real original one in the Vault, under German WWII Rifles -> Gerat 06H.
Let me guess Ian,
You used postwar magazines for MP44??
Whatever the case magazine springs need to be replaced,thicker spring wire should be used instead,Germans was never truely resolved this issues with magazines…
Regular magazine spring loosing tension,after 3 times use of full load magazine spring pressure getting low and than magazine getting load by 27,25 and eventualy 23 rounds…
Germans only fixed problem temporarely by adding devider in magazine thats allows only 25 rounds,this improvemant didnt brought any possitive results anyway…
If we look at AKM,M16 or VZ58 this problem not appearing,spring is proper made…
pretty cool (as ever), but way too short (this is a hint!). Is this a semi auto only replica? i know there was/is a german firm making a stg 44 semi auto replica, but i wasn’t aware of this one. a test with the replica fg 42 (the us made version) would be great.
Regarding the problem with the mags.
I have an STG (original) with one original magazines and six reproductions from Germany marked as if they were made during WWII.
However, there’s a problem to feed with the new 6 magazines. Have to reduce the number of rounds I load into them to (max.) 24, better with 20. I, also, assume the springs in the new 6 mags are just substandard (as I can load 30 rounds in the one original magazine and have no problems feeding. So, given that the problem (I think) has been identified– how to fix the 6 mag? Where to buy new stronger better springs? Anyone know?
My understanding is that many of the new German repro mags have welds that protrude inside the mag body and rub on the follower, which causes problems. Your best bet for shooting mags would probably be to used originals with new springs. Can’t guarantee that’ll work 100%, though.
Who is the lucky owner of this replica?
Where could you find another example for sale?
Did you find any magazines that consistently worked when fully loaded? Were they all lemons?
I don’t know any of these available for sale; sorry.
I had 5 magazines to work with, and two were very tight fits in the magwell so I left them home. At this point, we don’t have any mags that we expect will work properly when fully loaded.
Was it on loan?
Thanks for the video!
Were you using an older handgun as well?
Sort of, but not as interesting. It was a 1964 Argentine Colt.
Am I the only one who had trouble with the audio in this video? The intro and the stages were fine, but the speaking parts before and after the shooting were completely silent on my computer.
Sorry, Tony – I’m not sure what to tell you. The sound is fine all the way through when I watch it on YouTube and through the blog entry.
I’ve tried really hard, but I can’t seem to find any references to anyone making an Gerat 06H replica. Where did you come across this rifle? (And I guess the bigger question is, how can I buy one?)
Great looking run with a good old gun. A lot of people think doing this kind of stuff is so easy… But add in a heavy gun with notch sights that you haven’t had much practice with and high heat; it wears you down. I loved your comment “Somehow when the guys responsible for this rifle moved to Spain and built the CETME and then came back to work for H&K, they lost all the ergonomic qualities that had been in this first design.” I constantly get things thrown at me by HK fans for pointing this out. Not that the HK guns are badly made, I’ve just never been a fan of the majority of their stuff from a technical and end user aspect.
Heh…if you want to really hear the “other” side of H&K, you should check out the Sterling Years book we reviewed recently. Sterling competed heavily with the MP5, and James Edmiston (who ran Sterling for a number of years) has some choice comments about H&K guns. 🙂
Great idea for a test. I remember querying why we were test-firing with full mags when we weren’t firing the entire contents. This, of course, is why!
Who makes this replica? I thought the Gerat 06(H) had the rotary dustcover arrangement rather than that slot with ovoid ejection port opposite.
It does have a rotary dust cover, I just didn’t point it out in the video. Unfortunately, I don’t have any information on who made this one.
“There was a significant amount of experimentation with the Kurz round in the aftermath of WWII, and it’s a shame that only the Soviets chose to really pursue it.”
While the 7.92×33 was very important to the development of the assault rifle, the round had poor ballistics. Post war developments like the .280 British were far superior. The 7.92×33 was designed under the constraints of war time pressures.
It’s important to consider what the intent of any given cartridge is before calling it poor. The .280 British is certainly a more powerful round, but in turn makes it less suitable for controllable full-auto fire.
Nice to see it in action. I was able to see some of the other prototypes at the Springfield Armory a few years ago.
Here is me with my virtual one (did it in PS some five or six years ago):
I’ve seen that photo around – you did a very nice job on it. Most folks think it’s original. 🙂