Swedish m/41B – Best Sniper Rifle of World War Two

The rifle in this video is coming up for auction here.

Everything was going great in Sweden until 1940, when they looked up and realized that on one side they were next to a bunch of Finns busy trying to fight off the Russians, and on the other side were a bunch of Norwegians not being quite so successful at fighting off the Germans. It was a dangerous looking world, and Sweden realized that it somehow had never bother to get any scoped snipers’ rifles. So, they made a quick deal with the Germans to buy 4x AJACK telescopic sights and shirt rail type mounts, and the Carl Gustaf factory complex quickly put into effect a program to build sniper rifles, which were designated the m/41.
These rifles were built on existing guns which showed particularly good accuracy – and so m/41 snipers exist with markings form all three of Sweden’s rifle sources (Mauser, Husqvarna, and Carl Gustaf) and from a wide range of production dates. Between 2000 and 3000 such guns were converted before Germany realized that it also needed quite a lot of snipers’ rifles, and stopped selling the optics to Sweden. At that point, the Swedes turned to domestically-made AGA scopes, which were really not a good as the German ones. In total, 5,300 m/41 snipers were built between 1941 and 1943.
The rifles were never actually needed, and in 1955 Sweden decided to initiate a rebuilding program to bring them all up to the same standard. Virtually all of the AGA scopes were discarded, and AJACK scopes made universal. The mounting rails were now numbered, and their attachment method changed slightly (peened screws instead of additional locking screws). The rear icon sight leaves were also replaced with more precise dial-adjustable m/55 sights, allowing the guns to be used quite well both with and without the scopes. They would remain in Swedish service in various roles all the way until 1991, when the last ones were replaced by H&K PSG-1 precision rifles.

27 Comments

  1. If you have never owned or fired a Swedish Mauser in 6.5 x 55, get one while you can. They are excellent for a general issue military rifle. I used to (past tense regrettable but true) have a carbine that would routinely group, off the bench, at 100 yards, at 2″ or less for five rounds with factory ammunition, using original iron sights. Although the bore was somewhat dark and the exterior of the rifle quite battered, it was light, easy to carry, mild in recoil, and obviously superbly made. I think I paid about $75 for it in 1994.

    Yes, I am kicking myself.

    CG

    • I have a sporterized M96/38 I bought for $165 about 25 years ago. Fajen Premier Grade Monte Carlo stock, Williams irons, and a Bushnell Custom 3x-9x in Weaver steel rings and mounts.

      I’m guessing it was put together in the mid-1970s, because the 1976 Gun Digest had articles on both the 6.5 x 55mm round (“The 6.5 x 55- An Old Swede”) and lightweight rifles in its power and weight class for mountain hunting (“The Practical Light Sporter”). All its components were mentioned in one or both of those articles. BTW, it weighs 8.9 pounds fully loaded, including a military sling on Uncle Mike’s QD swivels and rings.

      It still shoots much better than I do.

      According to the receiver ring marking, the action was made at Carl Gustaf in Eskilstuna in 1904- coincidentally the year my father was born. Most of these rifles were rebuilt and rebarreled on the late 1930s, hence the 96/38 designation, which is marked on the barrel of mine.

      Yes, it’s still a 6.5 x 55. Fun fact; with equivalent bullet weights, the 6.5 starts out about 150 F/S slower than a .270 Winchester at the muzzle, but from 250 meters on out the 6.5 and .270 bullets have nearly identical velocities, trajectories, and energies out to 500 meters or so.

      Why? The 6.5mm bullets are longer relative to their diameter than the .270 bullets; in aerodynamics terms, we say they have a higher “fineness ratio”. as such, they have less base drag than the equivalent mass .270 bullets, and so don’t lose velocity as quickly over longer ranges.

      Put simply, anything you can do with a .270 you can probably do with a 6.5 x 55mm, for a lot less money. When I bought mine, a guy in the store was buying a used Remington 700 in .270, with no sights, for $600. He wanted to know how much a 3x-9x scope, mounted, would cost him.

      The counter man said $250.

      I kept a straight face as I walked out with the Mauser, and never said a word.

      cheers

      eon

      • ““The 6.5 x 55- An Old Swede””
        Wait, now I notice for countries using 6.5 mm caliber rifle battles in mountain environment were plausible possibility – Sweden, Norway, Italy, Japan, Greece. Considering that ammunition supply in such conditions require more effort using light cartridge make sense.

        • There’s still a story going around that Italy and Japan developed their 7.35mm “Carcano” and 7.7mm “Arisaka” rounds because of perceived deficiencies in killing power in the 6.5mms they used.

          In fact, their heavier caliber rounds were originally developed for use in heavy machine guns (HMGs), specifically in aircraft guns by the Imperial Japanese Navy and the Italian Regia Aeronautica. The 6.5mm was considered perfectly adequate for killing enemy infantrymen, but a Mitsubishi A6M2 “Zero” or Macchi M202 Folgore pilot needed something a bit more emphatic for dealing with enemy aircraft. And in spite of the Zeke “officially” being armed with 20mm cannon in the wings and Italian fighters “officially” also having 12.7mm MGs, a lot of them went out with just the “rifle-caliber” MGs due to production bottlenecks in the heavier weapons.

          It’s worth noting that neither country considered changing their infantry rifles over to the new heavier calibers to be a particularly high priority, even when planning or engaging in wars of conquest in the 1930s. Which was how both countries ended up with two different “rifle caliber” rounds right through WW2. (In fact, both had more than that, but that’s not germane here.)

          The 6.5mms seemed to work well enough as man killers throughout both World Wars and a bevy of other imbroglios. It’s just machines that are harder to put down, requiring a cartridge with more “oomph”.

          cheers

          eon

          • In case of Sweden cartridge situation was clear – 6,5×55 cartridge for rifles and light machine guns and (after it was introduced in 1932) 8×63 patron m/32 for other machine guns.
            It was also shortly used in rifle, namely pansarvarnsgevar m/40
            http://www.gotavapen.se/gota/artiklar/rifles_se/gev39_40.htm
            which was supposed to be anti-tank rifle, but clearly it was stop-gap solution before more effective portable anti-tank weapon come into production in form of Pansarvärnsgevär fm/42 (recoilless rifle).

            “Regia Aeronautica”
            Wait, Breda-SAFAT da 7.7 mm, used cartridge which was in fact ·303 British, new rifle cartridge for Italian rifles was 7.35×51 mm which was rimless and has smaller bullet diameter, and they have also 8×59 Breda cartridge which was used only in [land, not aviation] machine guns like Breda Modello 37.
            Summing up that they have 4 rifle-caliber (6,5 mm 7,35 mm 7,7 mm 8 mm) in production. While having special cartridge for aviation usage is not big deal, as they anyway had their own supply chain, having two different cartridge for repeating rifle does not look to be good solution (from quartermaster point of view).

            “Imperial Japanese Navy”
            Writing shortly: fuss. In fact they even manage to arm this aeroplane:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yokosuka_D4Y
            with rifle-caliber machine guns which use different cartridges, 7,7 mm for forward firing and 7,92 mm for rearward firing.

      • I’ve become quite interested in the notion of “laser shells” as oppose, large ground based laser… Things. Essentially the notion is to get: A 105mm shell, and make it fire a round… Which explodes after leaving the barrel: But not conventionally, instead it creates a explosive magnetic flux- Which is used to make a z pinch effect – Which in turn compresses a gas to create a light gas gun, type effect to pumped a laser which will hopefully fry Jerry.

        Can you send me £10, in 10 years it will undoubtedly defeat all known tank armour.

        Thank you.

          • The light gas gun is within the (laser gun) that is being fired and it- Then, the laser, is “fired” by z pinch, via the explosive, the laser is pumped by the light gas gun as a projectile.

          • ” laser”
            Ray-emitting device of high destructive power? This reminded me one movie, which you might watch here (keep calm, there are English subtitles available):
            https://sovietmoviesonline.com/fantastic/95-giperboloid-inzhenera-garina.html
            Citing plot summary
            A talented inventor who created the machine of unprecedented destructive power, obsessed with world domination. In his manic quest he commits one crime after another, without assuming the dreadful consequences would be for him.
            (As side note: device shown was rather paraboloid that hyperboloid)

          • Well I thank T.Kameneva for the English subtitles and yourself for this presentation, as it is certainly not something I would have encountered anywhere else so my further thanks go to the Author of this website and that is in no way hyperbole.

            Of course it is not paranoia to infer, automated tanks will be more difficult to destroy. Even partially automated ones, but destroyed they must be, if they are your enemy.

            Zap. I will certainly watch your film, thank you.

          • Meh, toys are aways the best models. Besides if you actually want 10 pounds the only way to get it is to invent something that doesn’t work and get everyone to pay for it, worked for that woman in the news about blood scanning tech.

          • Might work z pinch gets rid of alot of problems with light gas guns… I did read it… Science stuff, look pal just wear an Einstein wig you have a foreign accent it will work.

          • I’ll ruffle it up for you before you go on stage, in your black turtle neck and Steve Jobs Glasses. It’s not entirely baseless.

  2. “Sweden”
    Sweden successfully remained neutral during WW2. It is interesting to see how they manage to arm with up-to-date weapons, using mostly domestic resources.
    While repeating rifles ages relatively slow, bigger weapons often need more frequent replacement with new pattern. Examples of such weapons of Swedish origin made during World War II are:
    Stridsvagn m/42 http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/sweden/stridsvagn-m42.php
    Terrängbil m/42D http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/sweden/Terrangbil_m-42D_SKP.php
    SAAB J 21 https://www.plane-encyclopedia.com/cold-war/sweden-cold-war/saab-21-21r/

    • “Interesting peasant revolutions: Florian.”
      I assume under that you mean Deutscher Bauernkrieg
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Peasants%27_War

      “Nazi Florian Geyer song”
      I assume under that you mean Wir sind des Geyers schwarzer Haufen
      https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wir_sind_des_Geyers_schwarzer_Haufen

      “SS”
      They often named their units after historical figures, other example might be Götz von Berlichingen, he also took part in afore-mentioned Deutscher Bauernkrieg

        • “they do say that assumption is the mother of all fuck ups.”
          Is that following quote:
          It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
          just in post-modern English language?

      • Looked like he missed the first time; in the video, picture. Seemed to be having another look, for a better attempt. Doubtless at a disabled granny walking down the road etc; difficult shot.

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