Experience WWII’s First True Combat Rifles through .22 Replicas

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German Sport Guns' StG44 (above) and Chiappa's M1-22 (below).

German Sport Guns’ StG44 (above) and Chiappa’s M1-22 (below).

There is one big barrier in collecting World War II era firearms — the price tag. But high quality .22 replicas have made stocking your gun safe with the finest guns of the Allies and Axis accessible.

The First Assault Weapons

As currently defined, an “Assault Rifle” is considered to be a lightweight battle arm firing a cartridge of intermediate power (somewhere between a pistol cartridge and a full-blown traditional battle rifle cartridge like the .30-06) capable of being fired in a semi-automatic or full automatic mode from a high capacity detachable box magazine.

Most people consider the German StG44-Sturmgewehr 44, literally “storm (or assault) rifle, which fired the 7.92mm Kurz (short) cartridge to be the world’s first assault rifle under that definition. It was an outstanding weapon for that time, and was likely to have been at least in part, the progenitor of the Soviet AK-47.

Fortunately for the world, Adolph Hitler, besides being a psychopath, was also a micromanaging psychopath. He believed that since the M98K bolt action rifle had been good enough for him in the First World War, it was good enough for his troops 25 years later in the Seccond World War.

Development of this weapon had to be kept under wraps from him until it was perfected AND Germany was in such dire straits that a weapon of this type was needed to turn the tide of battle(s).

Fortunately again, the allies had so severely interfered with the ability of Germany to manufacture what it needed that not enough of this revolutionary arm could be produced to have much effect on the outcome of the war. But there was another assault rifle that was invented before the Stg44 that made an impact, before it was even envisioned as a weapon of this type. Our very own M1 carbine.

As many of you know, the M1 Carbine was designed originally to replace the .45 pistol as a more effective, yet easily carried weapon for rear echelon types, or specialty troops such as mortar crews. It provided much longer range accuracy and firepower than the great .45 did. But it was never intended to be fielded as a frontline.

Or was it? Well, yes and no.

There were other specialized troops that needed a weapon that was lighter and more compact than the M1 Garand or Thompson-so paratroopers were in line for the weapon-which was initially designed to have a selective fire feature. Apparently that feature was deleted by the military as being too costly, or slowing the initial development and fielding of the new weapon.

5 thoughts on “Experience WWII’s First True Combat Rifles through .22 Replicas

  1. Gunguyohio

    My wife purchased the STG 44 for me last Spring. I have had a blast with it. I was concerned about it shooting very low . The rear sight is replicated so closely to the original that it isn’t set up for .22 rimfires . A simple fix is to take the rear sight apart., clear down to the screw pylons on the barrel. stack 3 small washers on each pylon and reassemble the rear sight . This puts the sight adjustments into alignment and I was impressed ,as is everyone else who has fired my rifle, with it’s accuracy. Can hardly wait for the MP-40 replica to hit the shelves.

  2. markpro

    I own an STG44 and it is one of the best .22s in my safe. I also own real M1 carbines and I don’t know where you get your ammo but right now I can get .30 carbine as low as $12 for 50 rounds of FMJ compared to .22 ammo (if you can find it) for as much and in most cases even more than the .30 carbine. I also own other Chiappa .22 replicas like the 1911/22 and yes there junk. But I really do enjoy the STG44. Its one of those guns that works better as a point and shoot than actually aiming. Plus at over 8lbs NO recoil at all. Every shot follows the first. But at over 5 bills one must really want the STG.

  3. Lt. Dan

    The STG44 is a blast to shoot. Companies producing new and interesting products is what’s keeping interest going in the firearms world. Some very early ones had a fit issue with the stock. Mine is tight. I love it! Puts the fun back in shooting.

  4. bhp0

    Like mostly everything else these days its a hunk of junk. The German .22 look alike assault rifle is made with a junk zinc frame as is the new Walther PP .22 pistol. Pure trash. The .22 rifle’s stock was also found to be attached in a very flimsy way which resulted In the stock wobbling when in use. What a piece of trash.

    O course when one looks at .22 rifles and pistols darn few were ever made of quality. The few that were are long gone except the old Browning bottom ejecting rifle that has been around since 1900. Buy one of those if you want quality, the balance of most .22 firearms today are just pure junk.

  5. whooziss

    FWIW, the Chiappa .22 LR M-1 Carbine replica was tested by the NRA, and written up in the American Rifleman some time ago, and was not highly thought of. Apparently the ignition/combustion/firing (whatever you want to call it) gasses tend to blow right back into the shooter’s face, which isn’t cool. I dunno if they do or not, that is just what the article said.

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