Sadly, I didn’t grow up poring over history books related to firearms. I was more of an aviation buff, so the significance of historical guns has been lost on me. I appreciate the mechanical function of older guns, but I’m a bit of a Johnny-come-lately to the world of old guns. Chances are that if you show me a cool old gun, I’ll subtly be Googling it on my phone while we talk. Given that, my apologies to the folks at Hill & Mac for looking distracted while you were speaking. I just had to familiarize myself with the StG 44 . . .
If, like me, you aren’t familiar with the StG 44, all you really need to know its’ the reason the term “assault rifle” was coined and it was the first large scale battlefield usage of a mid power caliber in a machine gun. In this case, the 7.92x33mm Kurz.
At the time, ze Germans were fielding the 8mm Mauser (7.92×57 mm) in their battle rifles. The StG allowed troops to effectively lay down automatic fire within the confines of ~300 meters in a handy, maneuverable package. Soon thereafter, the Russkies debuted the 7.62×39 powered AK-47 which followed a similar concept by having a shorter, weaker round than the comparatively large battle rifle of the time (7.62 x 54R) in a lightweight machine gun.
Sensing that consumers might very well want to own to own an StG, but don’t find themselves with many, many thousands of dollars burning a hole in their pocket, Hill & Mac has come out with a full powered reproduction available in four loadings. As you’d expect, you can get one in 7.92×33, but 7.62×39, .223, and .300 BLK are also available.
The STG utilizes a long stroke piston operated tilting bolt and feeds from STANAG magazines according to the one pager sitting in my grubby little hands. Furthermore, it uses HK style trigger packs and comes with the barrel threaded for your favorite muzzle brake or silencer. The rep at the Hill & Mac booth indicates that this gun is quite pleasant with a can on the end.
The STG comes in a sixteen-inch barrel configuration with a fixed beech stock termed the STG-N that weighs in at a touch over 11.5 lbs and carries a MSRP of $1799. The thirteen-inch barrel version with no stock — technically a pistol — is termed the STG-P and will set you back $1799 as well. The NFA version, with the short barrel and the fixed wood stock is the STG-K model and it costs $1959.
At the moment, Hill & Mac is targeting a ship date in the June/July 2016 neighborhood. Conversion kits are “coming soon” as well, so you can swap between calibers with one rifle. No price set for those yet.
What Mikhail used as the basis.
Actually, while similar on the outside, the operating principle of the STG and AK is completely different.
The difference is only the bolt to my knowledge.
The STG44 has a tilting bolt design (think SKS) and the AK has a rotating bolt design (think AR), so I assume that is the basis of the comment.
However, both the AK47 and the STG44 have similar long stroke gas pistons, the gas pistons are directly connected to the carrier, both have rear-of-carrier recoil springs, and both have hammer fired FCGs.
IMO they have more in common than not.
I have actually read that the AK has a bolt not entirely unlikely the Garand’s.
That’s where Mr. Kashnikov got it from. 🙂
If you look at the original AK design, you can see bits and pieces from almost all the semi-auto military rifles available at the time. The basic form may have come from the StG 44, but most of the guts didn’t.
Like a proper Communist, Mikhail stole equally from everyone.
That imagery makes me smile 🙂
AK has much more in common with Garand (the locking system) than with StG.
And StG system itself is, arguably, “stolen” from SVT, which has its own predecessors etc.
Ultimately, there are very few basic designs that all firearms use, and they all date way back before either AK or StG. So it should not come as a surprise when you see the familiarities. It doesn’t make one gun a “clone” of the other, though.
Lots of AK ignorance here spreading around. Nevermind the fact that the Russians were already experimenting with assault rifles before the Germans even thought of the concept and had a gaggle of different designs and designers besides Kalashnikov who was a Johnny-come-lately in the grand scheme of things. He became their golden boy because he was young at the time compared to the others and their original “prodigy”, Sudaev, died prematurely so Kalashnikov was a natural replacement.
Forgive me if this is an ignorant question, but would STANAG magazines in 7.62×39 mean those extremely curved mags for the AR and not the regular AK mags? I appreciate the help in advance.
Yeah. As far as I’m aware, AK mags are a no-go. Also, if you go the 7.92×33 route, you’ll be using proprietary HMG mags. I don’t believe original StG mags will work (originals are pretty expensive anyhow).
I had similar questions reading their one pager. I forwarded over my article to my contacts there, and I’ll lean on them to weigh in here on the comments section.
Cool. Looks like an SKS and a G3 went on a “date”.
NOT entirely a bad observation since the G-3 has heritage from the STG-44, The Sturmgewehr was the father of the G-3 if you will…
I would be lying if I said I didn’t want one of these in my life…
“Chances are that if you show me a cool old gun, I’ll subtly be Googling it on my phone while we talk.”
Chances also are that it’s not as subtle as you think…
Cool gun, but well out of my budget for what would just be a range toy.
This looks like a very well made copy.
I’m curious, I presume it costs quite a bit of money to tool up to produce these guns.
Is there really a market big enough to support sales of $1,500.00 [street-price?] WWII replica guns.
Alas, $1,500 – $1,700 is still real money to me.
Can anyone tell me who buys these and how big the market is?
If you’re a history buff and have always wanted to fire an STG-44 but you haven’t won the powerball, then this gun is probably in your market. $1500 is… Achievable for the average buyer.
Not cheap, or even easily achievable. But somewhere within the realm of possibility.
I didn’t mean to imply that $1500.00 wasn’t an achievable number, only that I think carefully before I spend that much on most items.
We’re certainly not in Holland and Holland territory here.
I put a gun like this in the ‘curio’ category – That’s why I was wondering about the market size and whether it was actually worth tooling up to manufacture this rifle from scratch.
Perhaps prototyping costs have come down so much that this is no longer a problem.
For myself, I have many other funs that I would rather add to my collection first.
Most of these costing less than $1500.00.
Compared to what other WW2 reproductions go for this is a bargain and yes, this is for WW2 weapon buff market/someone who wants something unique not your average shooter.
The irony of the StG 44 is that it overcame resistance from Hitler himself. Hitler didn’t want a new infantry cartridge being made, and as we found out with the M14, it’s darn difficult to field a light full-auto rifle with a full power cartridge. The German military was standardized on the 7.92×57 cartridge for the G98, K98, the Mg08, MgMg34, Mg42, etc, etc – and had been since before WWI. They had lots of it on hand.
The funny bit of history was that by 1944, Hitler was asking his generals what they needed on the eastern front, and one answered “We could use a lot more of these new rifles that are coming out…” and Hitler asked “What new rifle?!” And that’s how the StG44 got as far as it did. A bit over 400K were made, according to records. It was also a significant deviation from prior German light arms manufacturing – a lot less machining, lots more stamped sheet metal, which is decidedly low-rent stuff for the German arms industry.
Hitler was correct in the sense that fielding a new cartridge in the middle of the war wasn’t a great plan. The ammo shortages for the Stg44 are well-documented. If he had been a bit more prescient and not tried to kill Stg44 development so early on, perhaps that would have been avoided… I don’t know.
I would also argue slightly about it being a great deviation in arms manufacture for the Germans. For example, you’ll recall that the MP-40 improved on the MP-38 by transitioning to stamped steel manufacture. This was not terra incognita for them.
Oh, I know the Germans did stamped steel guns before.
But not on a first-time-out-the-gate gun that I know of. Even the AK started as a milled receiver.
The dies and punches for forming sheet steel are hideously expensive to make, and when you’re shaking out the bugs or issues in a gun, it’s cheaper to start with a conventionally milled or machined parts system, get things debugged, then figure out how to do the metal stampings. The Russkies did this with the AK, and that’s how the MP38 -> MP40 progression went as well.
When we put out the M-3 “Grease Gun,” we had the advantage of handing the job to companies that had been stamping steel for pretty much their entire product line, and it was NBD for them to say “Oh, OK, you want a gun instead of headlamps? No problem.”
The original AK was designed to be and were stamped known here at least as the Type 1. A few were made that were stamped but the high rejection rate made them switch to milling their receivers (Type 2 and 3) temporarily until technology improved for the stamped AKM. However the original stamped AK-47’s when done right were fine specimems with even a photo online of one that has survived to this day still intact and kicking.
All the more reason to repeal the Hughes Amendment.
oh my god, a 300 blk stg 44. be a tough decision between that and the original
I think I’ll be getting one of these in a year or so. Time to start saving! I’m thinking of going 300blk though. Reloading for 300blk makes it fairly cheap to run and closer to the original. Sure I could go 7.62×39, but that is a bit more difficult to reload for.
They have made enough changes to the design that it doesn’t really interest me. By switching the side the mag release is on in order to use AR mags, you can’t use it with the thumb of your left hand when pulling the mag out like on the original and it is too far forward to hit with your trigger finger unless you break your grip.
I’ve always hoped someone would make a “new” model of this. Cool! The tricky part will be choosing the caliber.
Does no one notice the magazine release on the wrong side too far from the users hands? Meaning you have to remove your hand from the pistol grip, awkwardly reach forward to release the magazine. This will be great if your a lefty but crap if your a righty. I wanted one until I saw a guy holding the pg and saw how far from the users fingers it really will be. HMG will have to put it on the correct side of the gun before they will see a dime of my money.
I ordered one the first week of January. The caliber decision was really, really tough. Ended up going 5.56 for the sake of using ammo I already reload. 300 blackout is definitely next up though- Kurz would be a ton of fun to shoot, just a pain in the ass to get around here.
The HMG magazines are now available for pre-order. ~25$ They are polymer and retain the same profile (silhouette) as the original. Regarding reliability (esp. in 7.62×39, without the pronounced “banana” curve profile) and durability (feed lips, mag well locking points, and materials) we shall find out together.
I am just guessing, but good quality NATO STANAG 7.62×39 spec. steel magazines may be more reliable for those of us crazy enough to operate this sort of firearm in a match.
HMG customer support and Ian McCollum (InRange) have both mentioned to me that 7.62×39 cartridge was probably the most popular chambering and bolt ordered during the HMG pre-order period. Makes sense to me, and it is what I ordered myself. The M43 Soviet is arguably the closest intermediate cartridge in design and ballistics to the 8mm Kurz “feel” (albeit a bit more over-powered). Privi Partizan still makes the 8mm Kurz and you can find it now in the US, but it is not cheap and IMHO, not worth fighting over. PPU is one of the only manufacturers of the 8mm Kurz rounds TTBOMK and probably has a few orders pending from MENA/Afghanistan to feed the STG44s still being used in anger. (Large Syrian Al-CIA-duh weapons cache find of STG44s)
The HMG conversion kits (barrel / bolt) are not yet listed for sale by HMG. (As of 2/4/2016) Guessing again, 5.56 fanboys may have the advantage of a cheaper 300BO conv. kit (or visa versa) since the barrel will require swap and the bolt doesn’t change. I think I got that right — not a big AR guy here.
A few people, including myself are already whining about the HMG buttstock design not including a reproduction of the original metal protected shoulders and trapdoor/compartment for the “tool” (removes front hand-guard and gas plug) and pull chain (bore snake). HMG said it was one of the features omitted to reduce costs, but I have to agree with a recent post on HMGs Faceberg page — how much could that possible cost to make, and I’ll pay for it.
I am certainly excited about this repro/replica of a gun that costs 25-50K in NFA F.A. at auction, and over 5K in limited replica production (not considering the .22LR version).
HMG still says the pre-orders are expected be start being filled around June time frame, however they are working to reduce production times.
Would love to have one,but way beyond my means. I have the .22 cal. which is fun to plink with.. A .22 Mag would have been nicer. If the price were to come down say $750 to $900 it would be more accessible to most people. Don’t believe they’ll sell a whole lot at $1,800 Maybe I’ll find a used one someday. (Dream on.)
Saw another picture of one on a different post and it had a rather crude welding job on the pistol grip. Would expect better for $1,800.