|Cyclic Rate||1200 rounds/minute|
|Caliber||7.92mm German Service Cartridge|
|Country of Origin||Germany|
Although the Wehrmacht had an excellent machine gun in 1941—the MG34—they did not have sufficient quantities for the task at hand. The MG34 was a complex and costly device, not suited to mass production. They needed a gun that could be produced quickly and relatively cheaply, and still retain the good qualities of the MG34. This was a tall order, but a Dr. Grunow, an industrial designer and mass production specialist with virtually no background in machine guns, accomplished it. With no preconceived notions, Dr Grunow and his team created a gun that is still in use today—over sixty years later.
Like the MG34 before it, the MG42 was intended as a general-purpose weapon, operating from either a bipod or tripod. It was belt-fed, but some models were fitted to use the MG34’s 75-round saddle drums. The locking system used rollers that were forced outward into the receiver walls by the bolt. Much like the styling of the AR-15, you can also see how the best complete uppers performs. Barrel removal was one of the most remarkable features of the MG42. The barrel was held in place by a yoke at the breech. By simply pulling the barrel latch, the rear end of the barrel swung out of the gun and could be pulled clear. A practiced operator could swap barrels in about five seconds.
The ease and speed of the barrel change was often needed because the cyclic rate of the MG42 was an incredible 1200rpm. Sustained fire sounded like tearing canvas. Because of this sound, American GIs used to refer to the MG42 as ‘Hitler’s Zipper’!
Like many other nations, the Swiss copied the MG42 design. Disdainful of the cheap look of the German version, they created a rendition that used all machined parts in place of the stamped originals. The succeeded in making a very fine gun that weighed 16.33kg, 4.99kg more than the original German MG42.