Guns and Gear

POTD: The Karabiner 43, Hitler’s Garand

Today’s Photo of the Day comes courtesy of my inability to keep my wallet closed. The Karabiner 43, or K.43, is a Second World War era semi-automatic rifle chambered in 8mm Mauser. Sometimes referred to as “Hitler’s Garand” (most notably by the book of that title) this rifle was created to replace the more finicky Gewehr 41. The Gewehr 43 (G.43) uses a gas system very similar to that of an SVT-40, a three-part short-stroke gas piston. In fact, a side-by-side comparison of the SVT-40’s gas system and the Gewehr 43’s gas system shows some parts that look almost interchangeable. Though of course, they are not.

The gas system of the K.43/G.43. Note the gas tube on the right, which looks very similar to that of an SVT-40, as well as the connecting rod between the tube and the actuator rod on the left. The gas tube covers a gas piston that is also very similar to that of an SVT-40.

But wait, what’s this about a Gewehr 43? Isn’t this post about a Karabiner 43? Yes! Yes it is! To the best of my knowledge, and I welcome correction on this by anyone who is more informed, the Germans renamed the Gewehr 43 to the Karabiner 43 in 1944. Why? Because the barrel of the rifle was ever so slightly shorter than the Kar98. Since that was a carbine, well of course this must be a carbine as well!

K.43 POTD Body

The Karabiner 43

As far as I am aware, there are no differences between the G.43 and the K.43, other than the K.43 usually being late-war. Late war, and thus subject to more manufacturing shortcuts as German manufacturing came under more intensive strain. This particular example is a 1945 model, code “qve”, or Berlin-Lübecker Maschinenfabrik, in Lübeck.

Can you actually shoot a k.43?

Well, yes and no. Yes, in that it is a fully functioning rifle. No, in that I’m still waiting on my shooters kit to be able to actually shoot it. The G/K.43 rifles were hideously over-gassed for reliability. Unfortunately, that means that they’ll shoot themselves to pieces. A shooters kit replaces the gas piston, tube, connecting rod, and actuator rod, as well as several springs in the recoil system. The gas piston becomes adjustable, and the new springs help diffuse the energy imparted into the receiver.

What do you think? Hot gat or old trash, to borrow half a phrase from my friend Austin. Would you be interested in a more in-depth stripping and examination? If I can get my hands on an SVT-40, would people be interested in a direct 1-to-1 comparison of their actions, especially the gas systems? Does anyone actually read this stuff all the way at the end or am I just padding my word count for no good reason? Let me know!

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