Hill & Mac Gunworks Sturmgewehr StG-44 Update | SHOT 17

One of the most interesting firearms for me at the 2017 SHOT Show was Hill & Mac’s quasi-reproduction of the WWII-era StG-44 Sturmgewehr. We’ve covered this weapon twice before at trade shows, including SHOT 2016 and the NRA 2016 Annual Meeting, and I am very pleased to say that the progress that HMG has made on this project is very apparent in the examples that were present at this year’s SHOT Show. A year ago, I had been fairly critical of the weapons the company had brought to the show, as they were in a very rough state and not very convincing as reproductions, but this year the weapons HMG brought looked extremely promising.

The rifle from SHOT 2016:

SHOT 2017:

To me, what makes the HMG StG-44 so interesting is not the rifle it is intended to represent, but the effort that it has taken to make the reproductions. In a market filled with weapons that all share a handful of basic designs and carry a few modest improvements that set them apart, HMG presents a weapon with a locking mechanism that hasn’t been used in a serially produced firearm since the Kel-Tec RFB (and that weapon is itself exceptional in this respect), and which is built using an architecture that hasn’t been seriously applied in over 70 years. These things don’t make the HMG Sturmgewehr the Next Great Thing in firearms design, but it is fascinating to watch this company wrestle in what is essentially uncharted territory today. For more details, I recommend checking out the Military Arms Channel’s interview with Mac of HMG, embedded at the bottom of this article.

HMG’s representative told TFB that he hoped to have the very first production rifles released to the wild by April, but made no promises as to the timeline of the rifle’s release. Given what HMG is undertaking and their stated standards for the finished product, I think some reservation about that is perfectly reasonable. The weapons shown off at the show were, according to HMG, very close to the final production versions. Almost all production engineering has been completed, and development is down to testing different gas port sizes to ensure function with all four calibers. Also, the finish on the cast stock socket, gas block, and front sight base is slated to change to better match the glossy finish on the rest of the gun.

The HMG StG-44 is a pretty different kind of gun, targeting a novel segment of the market. It is neither a perfect reproduction of an older firearm, nor a cheap wallhanger, nor a next-generation show stopper. With it, HMG aims to find a middle ground between the real thing, a visual clone, and an affordable rifle that people can actually own and don’t feel bad about using. More than anything I think HMG wants to make something that gives the true experience of shooting and using the originals, but at an affordable price. Achieving this has presented a lot of challenges to the company, but if they pull it off I think the market will reward them for it.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Edeco

    10mm, Glock mags plz. Kidding – seriousely never would have guessed these would get brought back – how do they get those shapes in sheetmetal? Making them with military-industrial resources in the 40’s when 1/5 men was a tool & die maker was one thing, but to do that today O.O

    • MarcoPolo

      Didn’t like fury, eh? Are you one of those purists who don’t think that WW2 tanks fired Star Wars type blasters then? Where it really fell apart for me was the finale with the stranded tank. Became completely absurd, quickly.

      • Graham2

        It was as though all those SS troops had never attacked anything before! I’d have just lit a fire under Pitt and his crew- that might have ruined his hair!

        • MarcoPolo

          Ok, I’m not a tanker, never been in the military, but off the top of my head… There’s a dense column of German troops approaching, but instead of firing an antipersonnel round into the middle of them, it’s better to first let them swarm your immobilized tank, because? Also, I’d put your chances of surviving a grenade explosion INSIDE a tank at about 0% but fortunately Brad Pitt only got tinnitus for a minute. It’s like a decent director did the first 3/4 of it and Michael Bay filmed the finale.

        • andrey kireev

          To be fair, not all of the SS units created equal. There were quite a number of them that were pretty much glorified paramilitary units, that performed worse than regular infantry divisions.

          • Malthrak

            While true, the issue was having an immoblized tank hold off a large infantry force for a ridiculous amount of time while dudes just ran headlong into machinegun fire in the open, german officers standing and yelling orders on their feet in the open, SS dudes doing things like trying to climb onto the tank (and not carrying any panzerknacker grenades or anything), seemingly nobody brings any of the multitudes of Panzerfausts to bear, while Brad Pitt sits behind the turret on the M2 gunning away requiring a ghillie’d sniper to take out, and other such ridiculousness. Not even early war soviet conscript human wave attacks were that inept.

            It was like Rambo 2…or a bad videogame sequence. It really killed the whole flick.

            Well, that and the opening scene having a lone german officer on horseback with no escort idly wandering about a battlefield taking in the scenery like it was his backyard just to be stabbed to death by Pitt, and Fury taking two hits from a Tiger and trucking on, as well as multiple hidden and entrenched Pak40’s either bouncing off 75mm early equipped (and relatively lightly armored) Shermans in the open, or missing entirely, at under 500m, but that stuff could at least be overlooked by most viewers that don’t know any better XD

            There was a lot of sillyness with that flick. Great attention to detail in costumes and the like, but awful battlefield choreography.

      • aweds1

        The ending completely wrecked the movie.

  • GhostTrain81

    Maury: Welcome back everyone, this is the moment we’ve been waiting for, I have the results of our DNA test right here, are you ready Mr. Gewehr?

    Gewehr: Yeah I’m ready, I know I ain’t that baby’s daddy.

    Maury: Ok, in the case of baby Kalashie here…. you are not the father!

    Gewehr: Oh Oh ! I knew it! I knew it! (Outkast music)

    • Drambus

      Gas piston operated hook actuated tilting bolt design. The action is a hybrid of the mkb.42h and the stg44. I would want neither operating mechanism in a modern firearm but the hybrid system they created keeps the DNA there while taking the best from both.

      It’s as sturmgewehr as I would realistically want.

      I don’t know why people keep suggesting these things oughtta be pure clones. They’re meant to be modern interpretations using the same action. Like the scar vs the ar18, or the sig550 vs the ak. Same actions, just refined and modernized taking what works and discarding what doesn’t.

    • LGonDISQUS

      Drat, I can only give you one upvote!

  • pun&gun

    I really don’t understand why more companies aren’t making accurate reproductions of important historical rifles. The originals are increasingly rare pieces of history worth collecting and protecting, but some of us just want to own “an M1 Garand” and don’t care that it’s an original, because we want to shoot it and get the same experience. Personally, I’d rather save some money and headache and just get a reproduction in that case. A modern-production C96 would have to sell like hotcakes, wouldn’t it? Imagine the Han Solo open-carry cosplay potential.

    • M.M.D.C.

      Whatchatalkinabout? What about Cimarron, Taylors, Pietta, etc….

    • John

      Old firearms have a lot of hand fitting that drives costs up considerably. A modern production m1 would probably cost thousands

      • Bert

        Everybody always says this, but is it true? If you make all the parts the same, do you really need to hand fit everything? Can CNC’s and other machines not make new copies of old things if an engineer put his mind to it, like the folks at HMG are doing?

        • DetroitMan

          The Springfield Armory Inc. M1A is modern M14 copy, and a therefore good analogue for the M1. With a walnut stock, it averages about $1700.00. That is with a receiver made outside the US with cheaper labor.

          • pun&gun

            How much of that cost is due to exclusivity, though? If someone else came along making the same rifle, I’d expect Springfield could drop their prices a fair bit.

          • Harry’s Holsters

            There are a couple other companies making the guns and they cost more than the springfield. The Norinco guns cost roughly a grand but I’m not sure if their fit and finish are what the US consumer would expect for an M1 grand Repro.

          • BryanS

            Norinco copies are also illegal to buy now in the US.

          • Harry’s Holsters

            Correct. But maybe their costs could be equivalent to something made in Turkey or the Philippines.

        • Edeco

          Good point; with proper specs and enough control hand fitting could be avoided, but the process would be expensive to start and keep running. No biggie with huge throughput, but without…

      • UCSPanther

        The amount of forging and machining that the M1 series needs will drive up price considerably, unless you can get it done in a third world country where workers make pennies per hour (Although quality often dictates that you get what you pay for).

        Ruger has gotten around that somewhat by using the lost wax casting method to form the general shape of the Mini 14 receiver and reduce machining overall.

    • Gary Kirk

      Fulton Armory still makes Garands and decent M1 carbines as well..

      • pun&gun

        I was under the impression that their carbines, at least, were pretty unreliable. Maybe I have them mixed up with another manufacturer.

        • Gary Kirk

          The few carbines I’ve handled from them have all been fine, long as you use decent ammo.. Now all their other rifles (garands, m14s, ARs) have been great by me

        • Audie Bakerson

          I was under the impression that issue was from being an M1 Carbine, which historically weren’t reliable, not from the reproduction’s quality.

        • DrewN

          Probably. FA turns out pretty top notch stuff.

    • Audie Bakerson

      CMP sells genuine USGI Garands for 630 USD and refurbished for 1030. No point in making a reproduction when originals are that cheap

    • valorius

      I’d love to get my hands on an affordable 10″ barrel artillery Broomhandle with detachable magazine, shoulder stock and a top rail. Preferrably in 7.62x25mm (with an action strong enough to handle russian tok ammo)

      • Cymond

        Although the originals are exempt, modern repros would be considered SBRs.
        That wouldn’t stop me though.
        The price tag, on the other hand …

        • valorius

          Ian of Forgotten weapons did a feature video on a sporter broomhandle with wood handguard and custom wood stock with a magnified optic, talk about a dream gun.

    • Matthew Cole Canil

      If the quality meets or exceeds a factory original I’m liable to buy the newer cheaper, I have a few surplus guns and to be honest if they where still being made nicely meeting that criteria I’d probably just get the new one, big exception being project guns where some of its age is part of the things to repair, but in that case I also want a it to be cheap, not super rare gun like Tokarev pistol lol.

    • Harry’s Holsters

      A modern C96 would probably cost 10x what a shooter grade original does. I do like what the Italians do with the old west guns. There are a lot of designs more suited to mass production that would be popular but they aren’t as well known.

      • Bert

        I never understand this arguement against the c96 specifically. In the nineties, there was a cottage industry making virtually every part from c96’s, all priced to allow someone to convert the brick they had to a useable firearm without breaking the bank. So how is it that twenty years later it becomes impossible to produce a gun for less than 5 grand? And why is everyone’s answer to cost of every boutique gun 5 grand?

        Supposing someone wanted to make a c96-esque pistol, in the vein of the hmg stg, what would we need from it to consider it “authentic”? Same operating system, probably. Same complex, pinless assembly…probably not. An Astra 900 or whatever would probably be an easier gun to copy, is that authentic enough? Maybe a new gun altogether, using what parts are standardized out there that would fit the design.

        I bet a c96 clone or successor is within grasp and not at outrageous prices.

        • Harry’s Holsters

          Successor probably but not an exact copy. And there is a big difference between a cottage industry and viable manufactured product. The hobbiest making some money on the side doesn’t have to bring in the money to pay rent, insurance, CS employees and a whole lot of other expenses related to overhead. The time to do this would have been before the last star wars release and come out and also release a blaster kit and limited edition model.

          And also what is the realistic market reach? That largely dictates the price and production methods.

          • Bert

            I agree completely on the timing, and certainly learned some things, so thank you or that. The star wars movies and the associated fan interest is what frustrates me in finding a shooter quality gun, the nerds are buying them up!

          • Harry’s Holsters

            I’m really surprised the Video Game industry hasn’t partnered with gun companies and optic companies to make video game inspired guns. I know a ton of gamers who don’t see the need to own more than a handgun but are making good money and would buy a $3000-$5000 video game edition gun in a heartbeat. A huge market they are missing out on.

    • Paul White

      Not economically viable; a lot of the old auto or semi auto ones were fairly intricate. There’s exceptions of course but things like this or the Thompson are complicated internally

    • LGonDISQUS

      IIRC, new models of a P08 Luger would be something like $1100 due to the wicked amount of pieces. But man, oh man would I love a nickel plated one ♡

    • HMGUNWORKS

      It really and truly is cost. Lets just examine the fire control housing in of itself. Right out of the gate we cannot replicate the original for a number of reasons. Obviously an in battery safety/auto trip is impossible to do due to ATF regulations. Lets forget about that and say we could do it. The original housing has approximately 215 individual parts inside(springs, pins, etc). Thats 215 non-standard parts that we now have to spend time reverse engineering and replicating, vs just being able to drop in a pre-made widely available HK pack. The next issue is the housing itself. the majority of the bosses on the sheet metal were purely for strength and adding rigidity to the housing. The original housings were notorious for snapping or bending in heavy use. Every feature in sheet metal needs to be machined into a die. This adds machine time($$) and not to mention now we are creating a new pocket for the sheet metal to flow. This may create the need for a new die all together.

      Would we like to make a perfect replica for sub 2k? Absolutely. It plain and simple is not feasible. We wanted to be able to reach as much of the firearms community as a whole with our product(hence the caliber kits and modernization accessories). Not to mention there were inherent flaws with the original design that prevented the rifle from being as reliable as everyone seems to think they are…. Call it what you will but our option to tweak the design ever so slightly to modernize this rifle while still maintaining the majority of the original design is one we had to do to make as many as we want to! You will still get a tilting block firearm chambered in 7.92 x 33(if you desire) that will easily pass the 5 foot test at the range.

  • Ratcraft

    I’m just sitting here waiting on ATI’s MP40 in 9mm to drop….

    • UCSPanther

      Same here.

    • Audie Bakerson

      Hope we can see a rifle version with integrated suppressor for length once the HPA hits.

      • valorius

        At the speed Trump is moving on his promises, HPA will be approved next week.

  • UCSPanther

    I don’t care if this thing isn’t a 100% faithful replica of the original. A .223 version with AR mag compatibility would be a neat alternative to the AR15 series.

    • Weight and cost wise, it would be a neat alternative to two AR-15s! 😉

      • UCSPanther

        Considering the weight of a Sturmgewehr in .223, I imagine that recoil would be non-existent…

      • valorius

        LMAO…still, in .223 it would have almost no recoil because of the weight.

  • David B

    I might have missed an earlier release, but what are the planned calibers and price for this thing?

    • UCSPanther

      According to their site, they are offering the rifle in 7.92×33 (original), .300 Blackout, 7.62×39 and .223.

      • David B

        Hmmm. Part of me really wants one in 7.92, but since it isn’t a full on authentic reproduction a modern caliber like .300 blackout sounds really cool. I’d they’re relatively affordable, I might not be able to resist.

        • Xanderbach

          .300 blackout is the closest modern cartridge to the 7.92×33 recoil and trajectory profile, from what I read. Plus, STANAG mags are better than proprietary mags.

          • andrey kireev

            Or you can just get 7.62×39 and shoot for at least half the cost of .300…. I can see a draw of 300BLK in an AR platform, but in anything else seems silly to me, especially in rifles that shoot 7.62×39.

          • Xanderbach

            It just worries me that the 7.62×39 version uses x39 AR mags, which aren’t as good as stanag mags. I would rather have a x39 Ak than a x39 AR, because of the mags.

          • HMGUNWORKS

            We will also have our own x39 mags looking the part of the originals. I personally like shooting x39 from the reenact-or standpoint due to the similar size and shape of the cartridge to x33. Add in the fact it is also steel case and it generally speaking looks the part without hunting down 8mm kurz ammo.

          • komrad

            the appearance of these is not close enough to an original for reenacting
            that is if you’re a reenactor that cares about accurately portraying history and not just someone who wants to play Naxi dress up

      • valorius

        Given the weight of this rifle, in .223 it probably has close to zero recoil.

        • HMGUNWORKS

          you got it!

  • Spencerhut

    I got to stop and talk to these guys and handle the guns and and STG-44 in 300BO is on my list to get now. Cool guns and what seemed like great people making them.

    • HMGUNWORKS

      Thanks man!

  • EdgyTrumpet

    Am I the only one who is really bothered by the fact they didn’t replicate the original look of the lower receiver? It just doesn’t look right to me.

    • kregano

      Which part? The part where the trigger pack would be or the mag well? Because w/ the former, I don’t blame them for not trying to duplicate that greebling, and with the latter, they had to make changes to get it to be compatible with AR-15 mags.

    • I spoke with them about that, and about the look of the butt socket as well. They said with regards to the socket that it had to be strengthened to allow for castings to work well, and that with regard to the lower the design changed to reduce cost* and to allow the use of HK trigger packs.

      Specifically, with the lower, the lack of some of the additional bumps and ridges present on the originals was to allow for lower cost, less troublesome stampings. This rifle is targeting a very aggressive price point for what it is, so every cost saving measure helps.

      • valorius

        Is the MSRP still $1800?

  • DetroitMan

    I like what they are doing and I wish them success. I just hope that all the people that have been clamoring for something like this step up and buy it.

  • komrad

    this middle ground bs is gonna kill this rigle
    it looks like absolute hell and is useless for a (good) reenactor, and it’s price and aged design (compared to modern rifles) make it and inferior practical rifle

    they should’ve taken all the effort they put into making it multi-caliber into making it more than a rough approximation of a real Sturmgewehr

    • Stephen Jakubowski

      the goal of this rifle was to keep production costs reasonable, that dictated making changes to the design to simplify it and improve the quality over the originals. I’f they went for an authentic reproduction you would see a MSRP around 5 grand instead of under 2 grand. Case in point SMG’s FG42 reproduction is 5 thousand, with the only major change being a fully supported chamber (to keep 8mm brass usable) and getting the timing correct to run with the new chamber. Hill and Mac will have a lot more takers at their price point. Check out inrange tv’s interview on the gun were they go in to the changes. A lot of them are correcting material/ manufacturing limitations the germans had in WW2; or eliminating unneeded machining steps.

      • HMGUNWORKS

        This guy gets it

      • komrad

        I understand the imternal changes, but the external appearance of the rifle is waaay different
        no attempt at all was made to make the trigger pack look right and the multi-caliber nonsense distorted the magwell and mags

        I don’t care about the G3 trigger internals or the MKb42 hybrid operation
        I can appreciate material changes anf use of more modern manufacturing technoques
        but almost none of the small details match the originals

        just because HMG put in a lot of effort and kept the price point low, but I fail to see the appeal of one of these

        if HMG releases another version later that does away with multi-cal nonsense, uses proper looking mags (that are 7.92 kurz length instead of 5.56 length), and fixes the small details especially on the trigger pack, I’ll buy one gladly even at an increased price

  • valorius

    Me likey very much.

  • andrey kireev

    just under $2K

  • A Fascist Corgi

    The stampings on the receiver look terrible. They should have copied the stampings of the original.

    • HMGUNWORKS

      I disagree whole heatedly. To each his own!

      • UCSPanther

        I think the rifle looks very convincing as an STG clone. If they ever come to Canada, I would go for a .223 version…

  • Graham2

    I admire the company for getting off their backsides and making this rifle but to make it look like a badly rendered Photoshop attempt is a real shame. If GSG can make a pretty authentic looking StG44 in 22LR, it shows that it can be done.

    • HMGUNWORKS

      The 22LR version is really just a cast shell with a 10/22 inside……

  • $1,799

  • Mike Price

    Maybe Trump can get that change made now to allow Chinese guns in here. They sell the Norinco M14 in Canada for $429. It wouldn’t be much more here. I came across ad for them while looking for one.

    • UCSPanther

      Norinco M305s are serviceable firearms, but they sometimes come with flaws like poor heat treating on key components, improperly indexed barrels (Where the barrel is not lined up with the receiver), and finish that tends to be wanting.

      Generally speaking, you get what you pay for…

      • Mike Price

        I have owned two of them over the years and yeah the stocks are whatever wood they have on hand. I have read where some match shooters actually like the Norinco receiver to start with for match gun. The guns are not priced at $1,300 either. Most springfields are out of reach for some shooters pocket book.

        • UCSPanther

          There is quite the cottage industry here in Canada that is dedicated to refitting, tuning and improving Norinco M14s/M305s, and it is very common to see various builds using Norinco receivers as the base.

          I own an M305 and have not done much alteration to it, other than changing out the spring guide rod for a match version, and replacing both the rear sights and flash hider with Springfield Armory versions. The barrel is slightly out of index, but very mild compared to others that I have seen, and the receiver appears to be properly heat-treated. Other than that, it is a nice and accurate rifle.

          Ultimately, I hope to get a proper hardwood stock/ventilated fiberglass handguard for it, and would love to find an M6 bayonet as well…

  • Mike Price

    They sell the blank firing MP40 all over in Europe for $249. Why can’t they sell them here yet? I don’t really understand that deal. One’s that were imported for a few years now bring premium here.

    • UCSPanther

      I want to see a 9mm semi-only MP40 brought over as well, and would love to see GSG bring theirs’ to the Canadian market.

  • Dan Hermann

    This would have to be exactly like the original, minus the auto linkage or I and my WWII reenactment friends would not want it. Close is not good enough.

  • Erik Eyler

    Is it April yet?????? I spoke with ‘Travis’ (I think that was the name) at H&MGW and there was suspect talk of running a possibly offering ‘shooter’s package’ deal with the STG44. Meaning there would be a sling and some other possible peripherals that was once offered just before shot show 2016… Is that still on the table? More importantly, now that it’s Mid-late Feb 2017, are we still on target for April?