M1941 Johnson Run and Gun

    The M1941 Johnson Rifle is certainly uncommon and underappreciated, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good piece of hardware. These unique short-recoil operated long guns served the United States well in World War II and were surplussed after the war, selling for less than surplus M1 Garands. In this run and gun episode, we try and see how the M1941 stacks up against others we have put to the test!

    M1941 Field Strip:

    Transcript …

    – [Voiceover] Hey guys, it’s Alex C. with TFB TV, and for today’s run and gun we’re going to be using an M1941 Johnson rifle.

    The Johnson rifles are pretty dang weird looking, they have a very distinctive pot belly magazine that holds 10 rounds, and yeah, they’re short recoil operated.

    To charge them, you actually have to lift the handle up a little bit and then pull back.

    So kind of hard to get used to realistically if you’re an M1 shooter or something like that, but the barrel also recoils rearwards to unlock the bolt.

    They’re loaded via stripper clips through the side into the pot belly magazine, which is kinda neat.

    You can also single-load rounds, unlike the M1 rifle.

    Now of course you can pop the barrel right out of there, you just insert a bullet tip into that hole on the front, push the barrel in a little bit, make sure that the locking latch is all the way out, the bolt is to the rear, and it pops right out of there.

    So to a Paramarine or something, this was actually quite valuable as they stowed easily.

    But anyways, we do have a field strip video on this if you’d like to check that out, I’ll link in the description.

    As for the run and gun, we’re going to fire a total of 30 shots with two separate 10-round reloads at about 75 yards advancing, so let’s see how that goes.

    Alright guys, so here we go with the M1941 Johnson.

    I gotta admit, I’m pretty excited about this one, this isn’t a gun that I’ve shot a whole lot.

    I shot it a little bit one time when Miles Vining was in town a while back.

    (gun cocks) But mostly off of a bench and never with haste or anything like that.

    (gun cocks) Let’s see how it goes.

    (gun fires) (gun fires) (loads gun) Ah, come on.

    (gun cocks) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) (trigger clicks) Oh, shit.

    (loads gun) (gun cocks) (gun fires) (gun fires) (gun fires) Alright, let’s go talk about it.

    Okay, so that run actually went a lot better than I would have thought, I’ve had kind of baddish luck with these in the past, but I did discover that loading it when the bolt is closed is a hell of a lot easier than loading it when you have it open, I don’t know why.

    It was very difficult as you saw in the last go, I just kind of (gun cocks) crammed rounds in there.

    The loading is the trickiest part, I think I could get it down, but the M1’s loading system is just a superior system with the 8-round en bloc clips.

    So I’m gonna put the total hits versus misses here.

    I would rather have an M1 if I was in combat, or well realistically in most scenarios, but the Johnson isn’t a bad gun at all.

    I actually felt pretty good shooting it.

    It’s got about the strangest recoil impulse I could ever describe though, it’s kind of like a, it’s like you’re being hit twice since it’s a short recoil operated rifle, but let’s finish this one back up in the room.

    So 28 out of 30 is not bad at all considering that I’ve done much worse with modern rifles.

    The Johnson actually shoots very well.

    The trigger is pretty good, the controls take a little bit of getting used to.

    I don’t like that you kind of have to lift the charging upwards and then pull back to charge it.

    It almost feels like you’re running a little miniature bolt action rifle.

    The recoil impulse is strange, it feels like it hits you in the shoulder twice, but I suppose with training all these things could be overcome, and it’s not that the recoil impulse is bad, it’s just not what I’m used to.

    The M1 is a gun that I’d rather have in pretty much any scenario, I stick by that statement, but the Johnson is still a very good rifle.

    Of course, I’d like to shoot it a whole lot more, but parts are scarce and they are kinda hard to find.

    These rifles are a little bit expensive.

    We hope you enjoyed this video.

    Big thanks to Ventura Munitions, and we hope to see you guys next time.

    Alex C.

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