WWII German G41(W) Field Strip

The German G41(W) was Germany’s first self-loading rifle issued in any significant quantity during WWII, but it’s many flaws led it to not be appreciated or coveted by the soldiers who were issued them. Using an unusual operating method, the guns were subject to excessive fouling and other troubles.
That said, the rifles are mechanically fascinating, and in this video we take a look at what makes them work.

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Transcript …

– [Voiceover] Hey guys, it’s Alex C.

with TFP TV, and for today’s field strip we’re going to take down a pretty interesting rifle, this is a German G41 Walther, there were two versions of the G41, the Walther and the Mauser.

The German government’s solicitation for a semi-automatic rifle was bizarre and had a lot of bizarre listings and desirable characteristics, but the Walther version simply ignored some and actually won the contract as a better gun, which is kind of humorous, but a subject for another video, I suppose.

I do have a G41 Mauser version that I can show in a future field strip, and, yeah, that would be kind of cool to do as well, and show both side by side, but you can see this one has some battle damage near the rear, which is kind of neat as well, it makes the rifle a little bit more storied, and it has some character, of course.

You’re going to want to lock the carrier to the rear, by pressing that tab, and put the safety on.

At this point, you can press this little button on the rear of the bolt and carrier group and then lift it up and out.

Now, go ahead and set that aside.

Now, these do actually trap gas at the muzzle to function, I go into to this in the shooting video a little bit and talk about how it works, but for the purposes of the field strip video, just press this little detent, and unscrew the nose cone, the nose cone has some lobes that redirect gas backwards towards the rifle, which is interesting.

This allows you to remove the sleeve that contains the actual piston, and the sleeve does have the front side on it, which is kind of strange, you’d think that it would heat up and shift the point of impact.

Remove this barrel band here, I do a quick time lapse, just so you don’t see me struggling with it, it is kind of a pain to do.

And then go ahead and remove the second barrel band, or I guess, hand guard slash barrel band.

This is actually the hardest part of field stripping this gun.

I really hate messing with those little flat springs, and this beat up my fingernails pretty good.

Now, once you’ve got that removed, you are free to go ahead and remove the hand guard.

Under the hand guard you can actually see what would be akin to an operating rod.

And it does rebound, it is set on top of some recoil springs, or return springs, I should say.

Now, that we’ve done that, let’s go ahead and disassemble the bolt group, which is identical actually to a G43, we’ve done a G43 field strip and it is remarkably similar.

Just press that tab and make sure that the bolt sleeve and the bolt don’t go flying across the room, they are under a tremendous amount of spring tension.

And you can see how the system unlocks, when that operating rod, or link, impinges upon that sleeve it pulls the flaps in.

Now, flapper lock guns are kind of interesting, they’ve kind of faded out of popularity, the RPD is a flapper lock gun, so is the DP28, and a lot of the Degtyarev guns.

The DShK is the last one that’s really holding on with any significance, but they are mechanically interesting.

The EM2 also is a flapper locked gun.

So, as you can see, I basically just pulled out the center piece there, removed the flaps, pull out the firing pin extension, and remove the firing pin, which looks just like a giant roofing nail.

And there you go, you’ve got a fully field stripped Walther G41 rifle.

These are an example of when a semi-automatic rifle is not as good as a bolt action counterpart, in my opinion.

When you’re done shooting with these for a day of corrosive ammunition and then you go to clean it, they are just a b,i,t,c,h to take apart, the nose cone especially, it really likes to stay on there after you’ve let it sit for a few hours in the humid Texas sun, but all in all, these are reliable, I can’t say that I’ve actually had any malfunctions, but I also haven’t taken one to war and let one sit for more than it should have.

I can see, however, how basically, I would have written it off as problematic, I would have preferred to have a Mauser or any alternative to this.

The G43 was a better gun, and that’s saying something, the G43 wasn’t especially good either, but if you’d like to see me shooting this gun, I do have a shooting video, which you can click the link in the in card to access, or click the link in the description for mobile users.

Special thanks to Ventura Munitions for making our videos possible, especially thank you to you guys for watching.

Hope to see you next time.



Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


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  • Vitsaus

    Each time I see the innards of a G41, I’m always struck by how terrible a concept it was. Perfect reflection of how truly inefficient, top heavy, and crony-oriented the German war machine was back then. Even at the time simpler designs were around.

    • SP mclaughlin

      That didn’t stop them very much though during the first half of the war….

      • Only winning the first half of a war don’t mean too much.

  • Lance

    Too complex like Alex said see why the Mauser G-98 still was the backbone of the Wehrmacht till its end in 1945.