POTD: It is Coming Back! – The MP44 Sturmgewehr
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Any of us who grew up with the dawn of FPS (first-person shooter) video games probably are familiar with this gun or at least its silhouette of it. Beyond that, if there are any long-time history buffs this gun probably popped up in a great many books on small arms of the past. This is the STG 44 or as it was officially designated, the MP44 Sturmgewehr. These rifles were really the beginning of modern infantry small arms. An autoloading gun that used a smaller cartridge than its high-power counterparts but was still capable and effective at longer-range engagements. The Germans had been developing rifles like the MP44 Sturmgewehr as early as 1935. The idea was to hopefully equip every soldier with this sort of rifle but Hitler and much of his staff thought it would be more effective if it would be chambered in their normal 8×57 Mauser cartridge (8mm Mauser) so other notable German self-loading rifles were produced but never in really effective numbers. The MP44 Sturmgewehr was chambered for the 7.92x33mm cartridge (similar to 300 AAC Blackout or 7.62×39) and used a lot of features found on modern-day sporting rifles.
“This is a very good example of an original late WWII Nazi MP44 fully automatic assault rifle. The “bnz” Steyr code rifle are fairly rare as most of these were actually manufactured by the C.G. Haenel and ERMA Werke factories. This weapon was really the first true production assault rifle. It is estimated that approximately 300,000 manufactured before the war ended by three primary companies: C.G. Haenel, ERMA Werke and Mauser. They used numerous subcontracted parts usually assembled by one of the prime contractors. They fired the new and innovative 7.92x33mm Kurz intermediate length cartridge, which was basically a shortened 8mm Mauser cartridge. The concept with this weapon and cartridge was that by using a shorter/lighter cartridge that average German soldier could carry more ammunition but still had the capability of firing in both semi and fully automatic mode, with a greater, more effective range than the standard MP40 SMG. The side of the magazine well is stamped with serial number “9476/44” (indicating production in 1944) with the model “MP44” stamped farther back on the upper section of the receiver. It is correctly matching serial numbered on the bolt, buttstock attaching piece, and trigger group housing. The remaining parts all appear to be unnumbered. The barrel cross pin is still staked in place, so it had not been messed with. The underside of the receiver is stamped with “bnz”, along with a double “eagle WaA623” Waffenamt proof, indicating it was manufactured/assembled at the Steyr factory. It has an all blued metal finish and a solid walnut buttstock. It is complete with one 30 round magazine correctly stamped “MP-44” with subcontractor code “ayf/280″ and an original WWII leather sling.”
Lot 1569: MP44 Sturmgewehr Assault Rifle – Rare Late World War Ii Fully Automatic Class Iii/Nfa C&R Registered German (bnz Code) MP44 Sturmgewehr Assault Rifle. (n.d.). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved January 18, 2023, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/77/1569/mp44-sturmgewehr-assault-rifle.