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German Troop Trials “Push-Button” Gewehr 41(W)

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When the German Army wanted a new semiauto service rifle in 1941, it received submissions from two companies; Walther and Mauser. Walther’s design didn’t strictly meet the criteria set forth, but it was clearly the better rifle and would eventually win the competition. This involved conducting troop trials, and Walther got an initial contract for 5,000 rifles for those trials. That first batch of rifles differed in several ways from the version that was ultimately put into mass production. Most substantially, the first version of the G41(W) had a push-button bolt release on the left side of the stock. After loading two stripper clips, one would push the button to close the bolt. Of course, one could also simply pull the bolt handle back slightly and release to do the same thing – and so the bolt release button was removed to simplify production. In addition, the bolt guide rail on the receiver would be lengthened on production, optics mounting rails were added (although never really used), and the serrations on the spring guide rod were dropped.

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