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MG42:

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History: 
    The MG42 appeared in 1941 to supplement the MG34, though not totally replace it.  The MG42 was easier and faster to build than the MG34, with nearly twice the rate of fire.  The MG42, due to its looser design parameters could ingest higher volumes of foreign debris and continue to function.  Jamming was not a particular problem for the MG34 though.  The bolt was greatly simplified from an intricate twisting locking mechanism to a much more simple dual roller lock which both locked it to the barrel momentarily upon firing and held the firing pin retracted until the bolt was fully seated in the barrel.  Though the barrel removal is interesting on the MG34, it is faster on the '42, reducing time from roughly 7 seconds to 5.  Due to the reduced manufacturing tolerances in some parts of the MG42, and the recoil effect of the higher rate of fire, the accuracy was somewhat reduced.  Keep in mind that the function of a machinegun of this type is firing on large targets such as groups of troops or vehicles, and suppression. The MG42 was superior to the MG34 in both respects. The psychological effect of the rate of fire (for both sides) was significant. The MG34 was a beautiful display of pre-war arms manufacture capability; the MG42 was a wartime functional replacement.  Imagine the U.S. in a big war...  it's doubtful we'd mass produce F-22s for long. 
    In short...  The MG42 could be made faster and more easily by less trained (or forced) labor.  It jammed slightly less per round (but more often over seconds of firing duration- especially with later steel cased ammo).  The barrel swap is improved, but this feature prevents most armored vehicle use.  It was less accurate, but projectile density over area remained the same (ie- twice as many rounds over twice as large an area).  The MG34 remained in service until the end of the war and as the nearly exclusive internal armored vehicle armament in the modified panzer derivative.
  The MG42 is still in service today as the MG3 (among several others), chambered for NATO 7.62.

Country of Origin:

Germany

Caliber:

7.92 * 57 Mauser

Weight:

25.35lb (11.5kg)

Feed/ Capacity:

50 round belt - linkable up to 250 rounds = 1 box (per manual, they can be linked as long as you like).

Rate of Fire:

1200 rpm

Muzzle Velocity:

2650fps (800mps)

Range:

10,000' (3000m) + (on tripod)


Gas Simulators: 

    This is known in reenacting circles as a 'gas gun'. For those not familiar with the term it denotes a unit which mixes a fuel such as propane and oxygen into a combustion chamber. A small computer opens and closes the gas solenoids and times an ignition circuit which fires a spark plug inside the chamber. This type of simulator is safer than blanks, as no burning powder is expelled. NOTHING CAN BE LOADED INTO THE CHAMBER OR EXPELLED FROM THIS UNIT. This makes it perfect for reenactments, living history displays, and movies.  I no longer build gas simulators as it is very time intensive and they can be quite temperamental.  I do offer a small manual that helps with the construction of one for $15.  This manual is explained and available here.  (Still part of my website.)

MG42 on Tripod

Me defending Italy!

An Italian theatre reenactment. I thought the pants of the day were goofy looking, but the unit had to match.
Just to make something clear... I like German equipment because it was high tech and cool looking (though highly uncomfortable).
I do not support the evil that was soundly defeated by the brave troops. I remember the troops of all nations, those that fought with dignity!