Sturmgewehrs: The Original and the HMG Reproduction

While I was busy posting RIA videos last month, my friend Karl and I traveled down to Atlanta to visit Hill & Mac Gunworks. They are making a reproduction StG-44 rifle with a number of modern modifications, and for a very attractive price point ($1800). We did a couple of videos there looking at the engineering on the original rifles and then at how HMG adapted them to modern manufacture. The first video (on the original) should be of interest to anyone who read Forgotten Weapons, and the second one (on the reproduction guns) probably is too…so I figured I would take a moment to repost those here:


  1. Great Videos!

    I think I understand where they are coming from. While on the MP44 purist side, I think I understand most of the changes. Probably the least accepting of the bolt carrier change but I think I could deal with that. The mags will be interesting and I would need to see more there. However looking good!

    Can they make us a run of CETME Model L receivers while they are at it.

    And the obvious question… where is part 3 of this series! Whens it coming out?

  2. These are 2 very interesting videos. They both have enough detail to be very informative. The main reason I have more than 3 guns is to study them and try to figure out why something was made how it was. Time available, cost, machines availability, etc. These 2 cover a lot of that and thing I would never know the reasons for.

    Good to know that I have a bit time to decide between 5.56×45 or 7.92×33.

    FWIW. No body really made great springs back then. It was post WW2 when what was needed to make the springs we consider normal to be mass produced.

  3. It would be interesting to see if one could use this similar to pakistanis who rechamber ak’s to kurz caliber (to use legal caliber,original us banned), but in vice versa fashion- shooting 7.62×39 out of 7.92 kurz barrel (due to the greater round availability), or is it a much wiser option to buy 7.62 interchangeable barrel for the repro.

  4. I think I understand how it works. The one thing I’d like to see added (or simply done for every mechanism) is the kind of animation Othais does at C&Rsensel. (I assume that’s very time consuming and therefore costly.)

    Really quite interesting…..

  5. a .223 MP-44 it’s like the electric harley davidson: working but it’s not the original thing.

    where did you put the recoil spring of the pistol version ?

  6. I wish they had been around back in the 1990’s when I was buying firearms and more to the point had that kind of money. I’d get the StG and CETME today if I had the money.

    I did get a reproduction American Luger and it’s like was said in the video. It looks, feels and handles like an original without having the original cost or worries about not breaking it. My Springfield Amory Mil-Spec M1911A1 is the same way.

  7. Wishing the guys at HMG the best of luck and great success. Whether or not it’s your type of gun, another gun company offering new/old and different choices is always good for the cause.

  8. Wondering about the talk of lead being used to back up the locking block. Something you have actually seen? I’d doubt the block backed by lead even if pinned or screwed in single sheer would maintain headspace. I’d submit that the extractor spring tail is to keep the firing pin from falling out when field stripping not to prevent slamfiring. MKb 42 Does not have and keeping track of the firing pin is something one has to remember lest it end up on the ground. I don’t know that their springs are particularly lacking in quality. Never have had a spring issue with any of several 44’s I shoot regularly, all having original hammer and recoil springs. The rifles will work fine with what would be considered to be way excessive headspace, but not 30 thousandths.
    Interesting videos though.

  9. Excellent videos, thank you.
    Spring steel, or rather good spring steel is a challenge to make, and form into good springs. That is why there are companies who specialize in the manufacture and heat treatment of springs. Not in the same league as a piano wire spring, fed through a wooden squeeze block and wound on a mandrel on a lathe . This is something anyone with a big enough lathe can do, and the only way to make it last without fancy heat treatment is to make it longer than strictly necessary. This way the compressive strain is divided out between a larger number of coils. Certainly the sort of thing you would do if you were relying on dispersed manufacture. One way round this was picked up off a Russian weapon by the French, during the Spanish Civil War (or so the story goes), and that is to wind together 3 thin wires, and wind your spring from that, I don’t know if you invert the winding sense or not. The 20 mm Hispano had such a spring and probably many others since.
    Any chance of a look at a Besal .303 machine gun? This was also designed to be assembled from components made in garages and small machine shops (bar the barrel)? Would be an interesting look at another emergency approach, perhaps your buddies in the Pattern Room can send over some videos…

    • Some non-Soviet/Russian AKs have a wound-wire mainspring like the one you describe. Probably overkill on the AK, but they’re out there. I forget off the top of my head which one(s?) that was in and am a long way from my storage safes right now.

  10. I concur on role of springs. For them to work correctly, not to take to much set and withstand vibrations is art on its own. Not too far to firearms are motorcycles. Part of valve springs (also work in hot environment) the crucial for ride are suspension springs. I recall when I ordered custom springs for front fork to replace factory bits on my Honda. The springs came from U.S. based company Racetech, but the material (wire) to make them came from Germany. Wonder of wonders – the characteristic was impressive.

  11. The way I see it, even with the broken spring i. Half, and something stuffed in the back of the stock to fill the space for broken spring (also served as a buffer), gun could probably work by some degree in semi auto mode.

  12. I like what HMG is doing with these. It’s got to be affordable, supportable, achievable, and available. Using the STANAG magwell and HK trigger group checks so many boxes for actually bringing this to market it’s ingenious. The only box it doesn’t check is 100% originality and this doesn’t cater to that market anyway. So I ordered one in 5.56 after a bitter struggle in my brain. My decision is that I already have a ton of AR mags and ammo and no other STANAG mags for the rest. It can be converted down the road so this gets me started. I have no problem whatsoever with the Mkb42(H) style bolt carrier either as long as it is durable and works and I agree that’s it’s in the same family and will do what it’s supposed to do.

    I would say that Ian and Karl should do some follow ups with HMG to keep us up to speed on the progress. People are betting (i.e. pre-paying) a lot on HMG to actually deliver a quality product and some progress reports would be appreciated. We have what looks like some nicely machined parts and it seems milled parts from CNC is achievable in modern manufacturing, but stampings pose more of a challenge and we haven’t seen that piece of the puzzle. It looks like there’s 3 major stamped parts that would have to be developed (trigger group, rear part of receiver, hand-guard) so that’s a major undertaking.

    But it looks like Mac has his head on his shoulders and has a pragmatic engineering approach to getting this done.

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