Wallace got wind of an estate sale and picked up a nice Walther K43 semi-auto German WWII rifle with five magazines and a scope on it. Here's his account:
And his range report:
Got a chance to try out the Nazi K43 today. I had some very old (red & green box) commercial Remington 170gr RN soft-pt, and two very old surplus FMJ. One was 1945 vintage, the other 1952 vintage. Both were loaded with the 154gr flat-base FMJ. I'm unsure of the countries of origin. ( '45 possibly Greek & '52 possibly some arab country) Both were definitely corrosive. Believe it or not, every round fired with gusto!
First fired 3 rounds iron sight & 3 w/scope @ 25 yds to see if it was on the paper. It grouped low with both types of the surplus ammo but groups were about an inch.I made some elevation adjustments and began shooting @ 100 yds off the bench.I eventually got everything regulated fairly close. Groups were about 3" to as big as 6.25" with most in the 3.5" to 4.5" range. Scope made no difference in group size that I could tell. Of course, I'm used to using irons, The scope might help a shooter if they dont typically do well w/irons.
Function was not 100%. I fired about 40 rds and had 4 hiccups. Two were w/the RN Remingtons and it was fail to feed, prob due to the blunt SP bullet. The other two were when the bolt failed to completely strip a fresh round from the magazine. Prob could use a new/stronger recoil spring. I drew the bolt back & let it have a running start to then push to round forwar & out of the mag & into chamber.
Trigger was pretty long pull, a bit mushy but not super heavy. Makes one appreciate a Garand trigger!
Recoil wasn't too bad. The rifle is heavy (especially w/the scope & mount which weigh about 1.5lbs) and the gas operated action probably helped too. Ejection was awesome! Most of the time empties were sent into orbit, landing @ 2:00 from 36' to 42' away! Nearly all the cases had their mouths boogered-up from hitting something or, maybe being struck by the bolt carrier? No biggie as long as it's berdan primed & not going to be reloaded anyhow. The extractor in the bolt is very wide which is prob a good thing since ejection is so powerful...prob rip off rims if extractor wasnt so wide.
Sight picture w/irons was pretty good. Front sight easier to see than the thin types on Springfields but narrow enough to be fairly precise. No windage adjustment. Had to set rear up to about 250 yd setting to get bullets to print proper elev @100 yds. Windage was close enough, especially w/the old poor ammo I was using. I was mindful to watch the scope while using it to sight with....didnt want to get cut by leaning too far forward. When using the scope, the cross hair post appeared to cover up about a foot @100yds. I used the point on top of post to aim with. I did make adjustments but was never able to get the point of impact far enuff to the left...close, but not quite enough. Oddly, the windage adj was on the top of scope & the elevation was on right side of scope.
Overall, this is an OK rifle. I could snipe a Russian out to 200 yds or so but better ammo is needed to see what potential it would have @ further distances. The ammo I used doesnt shoot all that well in my K98 so the K43 might be more accurate than observed today. Accuracy was comparable to the 1941 Johnson and Soviet SVT-40 Tokerev, other WWII semi-autos. I believe at this point, the Garand overall more accurate, reliable, shootable.
Since most of the ammo I shot today was corrosive, I had to see about field stripping the weapon for thorough cleaning w/ G.I. bore cleaner. I kinda had an idea of how it came apart so I managed to get the reciever cover, springs, bolt & bolt carrier to fly in all directions as it got away from me...pieces landed in about a 10' radius! Kinda reminds me of an SKS when the reciever cover is removed...the Russians are notorious for copying designs, wonder if the SKS was inspired by the K43? Obviously a different bolt locking method though. The K43 has retracting dual lugs...kinda neat to study how they work. Those Germans were pretty sharp engineers!
Gas port is at the end of the stock. A fixed piston looking thing, about 2.5" long is covered by a sleeve that is connected to a steel piece about 3" long which is then connected to a longer rod surrounded by a spring. This longer rod travels thru the rear sight housing & butts up to the front of the bolt carrier (again, reminds me of a SKS). Looks like the gas propells the rod rearward to tap the bolt carrier & cycle the action. I got it reassembled fairly easily and reinstalled above the medium weight barrel.
I'm letting the barrel soak overnite after swabbing several patches of the stinky G.I. bore cleaner to prevent the corrosive ammo from rusting the bore. I swear, my wife can detect one part of this bore cleaner to 283,000,000 parts of air...she's repeatedly expressed her displeasure at the smell, even though it was only on my fingers....I even showered & she still claims she can smell it. Guess females have a better smeller than men do....
Anyhow, these are a few things I learned/experienced with Hitler's "Garand"...it's a long way from being as good as our genuine Garand in my opinion. However, it's probably a good thing the krauts dint have these in great numbers as they offered a much higher rate of fire than the bolt action Mausers. The 8mm Mauser cartridge is very powerful and effective. It's tamed to a tolerable level in this semi-auto, much like the Garand makes the .30-06 a lot more pleasant to shoot than it is in a Springfield.
As always, your comments/thoughts are welcomed,