Gewehr G43 Germany’s full power autoloader1.Intro
This Forum already have one very extensive review of the Shoei G-43 model (from 2010) so I will try to avoid repeating too much on takedown and reassembly, instead focusing on the use of the real G-43 and some more pictures.
Germany's early quest for a semi-automatic infantry rifle resulted in two G41 designs – both of them proved more or less unreliable in combat. The problems with both designs came from a technical demand of not using holes drilled into the barrel, powering the automatic loading mechanism.
Evaluation of captured Soviet SVT-40 revealed the use of a simple gas mechanism powered from a port cut into the barrel, and replaced the conventional stripper reloads with a modern box magazine. It was clearly superior to the G41's, and simpler too. In 1943, Walther combined a similar gas system with aspects of the G41(W) providing greatly improved performance. It was accepted and entered into service as the Gewehr 43, with production amounting to just over 400.000 between 1943 and 1945. The simpler, sturdier design and mechanism of the G43 made it lighter, easier to produce, more reliable and also much tougher than the Gewehr 41. The G43 was intended, like the G41, to be loaded using 5-round stripper clips without removing the magazine. Soldiers armed with the weapon typically carried one standard stripper clip pouch and a Gewehr 43 pouch with two spare magazines. The Gewehr 43 was placed into production in October 1943, and followed in 1944 by the Karabiner 43 (K43), which was identical to the G43 in every way except for the letter stamped on the side. The name change from Gewehr to Karabiner (carbine) was due to the fact the rifle was actually two centimeters shorter than the standard Karabiner 98k and therefore the term Gewehr (meaning: long rifle) was somewhat unfitting.
Gewehr 43s were made by Berlin-Lübecker Maschinenfabrik in Lübeck (weapons coded "duv", and later "qve"), Walther (weapons coded "AC") and the Wilhelm Gustloff-Werke (weapons coded "bcd"). Walther used its satellite production facilities at Neuengamme concentration camp in addition to its main production facilities at Zella-Mehlis to make the rifles. The total production by the end of the war is estimated to have been 402.713 of both models, including at least 53.435 sniper rifles: these G43/K43s were used as designated marksman/sniper weapons, fitted with the Zielfernrohr 43 (ZF 4) telescopic sight.
G43 in service
The Gewehr 43 stayed in service with the Czechoslovak People's Army for several years after the war. Likewise the East German Border Troops and Volkspolizei were issued reworked G43 rifles, which are recognizable by a sunburst proof mark near the serial number and the serial number engraved on removable components.2.Box and content
The box is straight forward cardboard, plain cardboard with a printing on the lid – Shoei logo and text naming the content.
Do please note that the original box also have the serial number of the actual model printed on the lid. I do not know other manufacturers that serialize their models, but Shoei models have individual numbers.
Inside the straight looking box is where the excitement begin
Plastic bag and Styrofoam blocks ! – they obscure the quick glimpse but protects the model well. I guess if you don’t like it, throw it away. I have kept all mine, I like my model and want to keep it safe.
But once full unwrapped the content is
• Box of dummy cartridges
• Instruction leaflet
My G43 is one of 2 dummy models assembled at the end of the 2019 manufacture of a larger series of GBB versions of the G43. So for this model it’s the oldstyle 4 page glossy instruction leaflet.
Comparing it to the original German issue instruction book it’s the needed information in a leaflet. The original G43 was issued with a 16 page booklet explaining in detail and pictures how to maintain and use a gas operated semi automatic rifle. In 1944 a small version, that fitted in the stock compartment followed.
real gun instructions
The Shoei instruction is fully sufficient to model owners, for the technical / history interested collector I recommend to get reproduced full original instruction.3.Look
For the look of the box I guess it is an individual matter, but its basic and simple but very well functioning offering good protection to the model.
The model is in a heavy plastic bag that effective obscures getting a feeling of the appearance burning am confident it assisting the important purpose of protection.
Ok once the model is out of the bag you have a truly realistic, new condition looking model gun. The wood work is light colored and beautiful smooth and nice. I doubt a real gun would look so nice after a few days in the field, but its new and looks new. My heart cannot bear making one slight dent so i will do my best to keep it like this.
On the Shoei Facebook page I have seen G43 customer darkening the wood with very nice results.
I did note the butt plate is not painted. Surfing the internet, studying pictures left me with the conclusion that this is also how the real G43 was produced – some were painted, some not.
The trapdoor in the but plate is early version with ribbed lid.
There will be more pictures and the last chapter on my feelings on appearance. But short it looks new, really nice and very realistic.4.Markings
Type, manufacturer, serial and proof marks are replicated and stamped into the metal of the model. The model is stamped in 4 areas + plus the stamping on the base of the magazine.
LH side marking overview
Markings on the chamber block. Type G43, serial 619, proof stamp “558” and ac43 for manufactured at Walther
Bolt marked with proof mark and serial number
Proof mark visible on internal of bolthttps://i.servimg.com/u/f43/19/76/69/33/pic43414.jpg
Crisp and sharp sight range
Manufacturer (ac=Walther) proof mark and weapon type markings
Note that Shoei serialize all their models individually so this model is number 619 made at Shoei. If this was a real gun serial it was manufactured at Walther in 19435.Technical data
the models have a very high degree of realism so let’s go through the technical function and data for the real gun.
On the technical path:
The G43 used a simple gas mechanism powered from a port cut into the barrel about 1/3 of the way back from the end, and replaced the conventional stripper reloads with a modern box magazine. The G43/K43 hold many features that must have been familiar to the existing infantryman but certainly also a lot of new mechanisms to care about.
Cut away showing the internal parts.
To fire the Weapon is loaded, bolt cycled and unsafed. when pulling the Trigger, the Hammer strikes on the Strike Piece. The Firing Pin is thereby struck forward and the Shot fires.
A part of the powder gas enters through the hole of the Barrel Wall onto the Piston of the Gas Assembly and kicks the moving parts rearward. Thereby the Return Spring is compressed. The cartridge case is pulled from the chamber by the Extractor.
The rearward motion Bolt has pivoted the Hammer rearward until its rear Rest has caught under the spring-loaded Latch, where it stays until the Trigger is pulled again(Disconnector function).
The Bolt reverses under the pressure of the Recoil Spring, thereby shoving the topmost cartridge from the Magazine and into the Barrel. At the end of the forward motion of the Bolt is shoved fully forward by the Recoil Spring. The Weapon is again loaded. If the last Cartridge is stripped, the Follower pushes up the Bolt Hook, and the Bolt is held open.
Sights and Trigger are practically identical to the k98, also the safety flip on the rear of the bolt is similar. Though the G43 could be loaded with the novel external 10 round box magazine the weapon could also be loaded with the classic, well known 5-round stripper clips.
When it comes to basic metrics it looks like this:
Shoei does not supply slings anymore but a sling can relatively easy be found at eBay or similar auctions.
The need for introduction training will have been around stripping and cleaning – see also the very well-illustrated review made “kiwi gunner” on this forum. 6.Stripdown and servicing
• Ensure chamber is empty
• Cock the gun
• Safe by flipping to right
• Press breech release and pull breech block back out
• Take care about spring inside the breech block
I strongly recommend referring to Kiwigunner’s review pictures7.Magazine & loading
Feeding of the G43 is from a Magazine with 10 shot capacity. The Magazine is a flat, double stack, Magazine. The G43 could also be loaded via 5 shot clip/strips issued for the Kar98.
A loaded magazine and an empty ammo clip
Clip loading ready to be inserted into magazine through the gun
Mission complete – 5 rounds loaded. 8.Cartridges & fire
To my research Shoei have, long time ago made a PFC version of the G43. It’s no longer available – most likely to difficulty with stable performance. SO this is the Dummy version and as such the cartridges are plain dummies. Very nice looking but no more.
At first glance the Shoei cartridges appear identical to the real thing but measuring out both reveals that neck and bullet neck are slightly different. For me it still remains to test chamber an inert cartridge but there is a risk it will get squeezed in the Shoei chamber so don’t just slam it in there !9.Conclusion
The Shoei G43 dummy model is a hard to obtain model. In recent years Shoei have produced a larger number of G43 as gas driven BB models but the dummy version have not been produced for several years. At the end of the BB model production 2 dummy models were assembled from spare parts and this review is based on the last of these two.
For me the G43 is a milestone in German infantry weapons. Comparing other nations arsenal the G43 is perhaps less significant and it was, almost instantaneously, overtaken by the more visionary Mkb42/MP44 weapons concept.
No matter the Shoei G43 is the true companion/opponent to the vintage Hudson M1 Garand model.
For the look of the model. Finish and surfaces are superb - deep black and shiny new.
Marking is both nice, crisp and very realistic.
Comparing the model to real gun data is certainly impressive – it matches so fine. Most impressive I must say is after all holding the thing. IT IS HEAVY and cold it feels so real
Stripping is a true joy, metal parts all over – no wobbling plastic. Just remember it’s not steel, be gentle with it – but ok who wouldn’t be gentle with a model at that price
I have to admit I am a great fan of PFC’s that auto fire and the Shoei model cannot honor that. That being said stripping handling cycling is a real joy.
Many comment on the cost of a Shoei model, yes its true is an expensive model. I have been saving up and fortunate to be have the funding at the time Shoei made the G43. I guess all I can say is quality doesn’t come cheap – in my opinion Shoei is unrivalled quality.
Costly, hard to get – why – because it’s a top-class replica.