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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Walked into a gunshop today to see if they had any vintage guns, and low and behold I get shown a 1941 johnson "sporter", having supposedly been shot and has been completely refinished, unfortunately why it was so cheap is that all the markings on the top of the receiver except serial number have been ground off, doubt they would have been visible before the fine parkerizing job. But hey, it was like an offer I couldn't refuse, a local buy able to inspect, and maybe the last one I will ever get chance to purchase for less than two grand plus.

Anyway, shop owner said 1941 johnsons require m4 ammo, higher pressure ammo to operate. Unsure what m4 is, surely I will fire this with, or try to with m2 ball or m2 spec ball, thats all I have. Bore excellent, has original military sight up front, sporter buttstock and handguard. Hey, it is supposedly guaranteed to be okay, we'll see tonight when I take it apart, it supposedly shot, maybe was slam firing some rounds sometimes, likely sticking firing pin or soft primers.

Well, one doesn't see even lowly low cost sporters, at least I hardly do, an auction sites has several for sale right now, all high dollars "don't take to the range" condition and no "shooters" to compare what I paid for one. Frankly, I am unsure if I want to take this to the range, lest something happens to it, but I would love to shoot some rounds through it.
 

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Picked up a 1941 Johnson..M4 ammo only?

I own a 1941 Johnson and as far as I know it shoots the M2 ball or whatever the Military was using at the time. Sorry to say; I've never fired mine, but am not afraid to. Just into scoped rifles and mine came out of re-arsenal and has only been test fired according to the Old Marine it came from....I'm sure there are those in the know out there, but it would have had to fire what was being used at the time...:)
 

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A 1941 Johnson for $1500

I'd hang onto it and think about returning it to normal if you can find parts.
They are going up in value and bring as much as $6500 in pristine shape. Mine came from an Old Marine that came down with cancer and sold his collection to my local gun shop and I bought all I could afford at the time, but had been looking for a 1941 Johnson for quite a while. (the guy took his gun money, bought a Corvette and drove it around the country as a last hurrah) I felt bad about it, but am taking good care of his babies...:)
 

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Johnson INfo

My Johnson likes M2 ball. Its been shot not a lot but has made a couple of visits to Camp Perry National Matches and local matches. I never heard the M4 story before and mine really operates just fine on M2 ball (USGI Lake City or the CMP Greek HXP).

I would suggest you get on ebay or the Jouster Johnson site and learn what you can before you start taking it too far apart. They are tricky and not easy to get back together. ON ebay there is generally someone selling repro's of the original manual which is very useful and probably only costs about $10. On Jouster there are a number of very knowledgable people. One guy in particular has many replacement parts.

Speaking of replacement parts - they are expensive so be careful with it. Firing pins are one of the fragile items in them and they are not easy to find.

For $1500 it sounds like you did well. Have fun with it and learn about them. They are neat to shoot but in my opinion not nearly as accurate as a M1 Garand. Probably why it did not get adopted along with some fragile parts.

Just my opinion for whatever thats worth.
 

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I bought the Johnsons Rifles And Machineguns book. Yes, it was fifty bucks.

You did great with a $1500 buy, mine was two grand.

Anyways, for ammo, according to official literature, the Johnson shoots any .30-06 between 147 and 180gr just fine, and was designed and meant for M-1 and M-2 ball. If you use heavier than 180gr hunting ammo, it screws with the timing and can tear caseheads.

The johnson is a really easy rifle to field strip. First, take out the barrel, by pressing the button that frees the barrel retaining widget- it's hidden in the hole on the right side of the forestock. Then, flip the springloaded thing out (straight down), yank back the bolt to disengage the bolt-lugs from the barrel, and pull the barrel out.

Now for the tricky bit. With the barrel out, swing the head of the little cross-pin that's behind the charger guide on the right side down (90* counterclockwise), and pull it straight out.

There was a Johnson takedown prototype that had two press-tabs instead of the standard cross-pin, but they only made one or two.

But once the pin's pulled, just grab the forestock and buttstock and pull it apart.

To get the bolt out, there's a little button in the centre of the bolt handle, pull that out and slide the bolt handle forward off the bolt.

The triangular hump-guard by the triangle marking comes off by pressing the button and pulling it up, this is necessary for reassembly, but not for disassembly, as I recall.

It sounds complicated, but it's FAAAAAR simpler than an M-1 or even a SVT.

Mine's much more accurate than my M-1s, it reloads with chargers faster than zip's ass, and the recoil is much less than other rifles. They're excellent rifles.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Several things I figured out today on my johnson "sporter", of which the first one is the recoil tub relies on a wood plug under the plastic buttplate to keep it in place, but I turned the slotted screw while pushed inward from the bottom and it seems to cam possibly in place, jeese, I guess I will find out when I shoot it, the recoil assembly is held in there by some sort of wood otherwise it would have just fallen out, just wants to slop back and forth.
Then I tried to remove the buttstock with trigger assembly off the rifle, pushed in the button and won't budge, and button won't pop out again either, maybe it will if I shoot some rounds. Plan on a range trip now, since I inspected the bolt and receiver for cracks and are none, visible, best to shoot the two 412 marked m2 ball I have and some m2 spec reloads through it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Shot that johnson a few rounds just a while ago, one 1941 dated original m2 ball shot fine and ejected fine. The next two rounds were 2850 fps loaded 150gr softpoints, of what I thought was m2 ball spec(can't remember rightly, and it aint noted on the card), ammo fed both rounds, they both ended up with some case mouth denting, ejecting about 8-10 ft. Cases look okay except for the reloads with case mouth denting. Rifle definitely worked out nicely with the 41 dated m2 ball round. I don't know what problems they had, no slam firing or touching off of reloads either.

I don't like the way the recoil system is set up on this sporter buttstock, the most ignorant thing. Also, I am fearing I will never be able to remove the butt, that pin is still stuck inwards, will have to do more reading, unsure what is going on there, the pin won't go farther inward seemingly, won't pop back out, and I don't want to "beat" the buttstock portion off, unsure, after all I can't inspect fully my trigger group yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Okay, I figured it out, how to take apart, meaning is best to take the handugard off, I just figured the pin pushed in and one just simply pulled the disassembly rear buttstock magically.
It appears one can see everything once wood is removed, now I only have to remove the buttstock with more wood screw removal.

Anyway, haha, jeese why don't another hundred thousand come in like the garands, oh wait, I think they only made 50,000 of these total, darned it.

I will have to picture it later today or this week to show everyone what $1500 can in theory get ya in a johnson(as long as I don't discover trigger assembly damage, doubtful) if one is lucky. These rifle are robust, too bad there aint more out there.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I test shot it this weekend and I have shot about 15 rounds through mine, it operates flawless but I need to recrown/refresh the muzzle crown rifling for alot better accuracy, and it shoots too low at 50 meters, I actually had to put it on 400 meters setting to shoot under the bullseye at 50 yards, I have a scary feeling it or all these shoot too high, maybe after I recrown the muzzle I will be okay.
The bore on mine is seemingly excellent, just that the muzzle crown is uneven, maybe too much fresh parkerizing is screwing something up too.
I don't know if the shooting style was supposed to be "aim at the feet of oncoming enemy", I doubt it but I am beginning to wonder, I had a similar problem with an 03A3 and needed a taller front sight blade.

Ya know, I may be one fo the few people across the country who will even jack a round into a "rare" johnson, if mine was worth more money I would not do so, frankly, I can just see myself someday breaking a firing pin or extractor and trying to make a firing pin myself or welding one up/etc.

Since mine lost all its receiver markings about 40 years ago I almost feel it is okay to freshen up the crown, on the other hand since the barrel/bore is nice shape I had better be careful since a nice original looking barrel could in theory look good on another rifle, then on the other hand this barrel was refinished externally so, well, I hate shooting high dollar collector guns sometimes, ya never know just what to do, one can be against refinishing, sporterizing, but then there are gray areas, maybe johnsons were originally know to have uneven crowns and improper accuracy and that is just the way a possible future owner will like the barrel(for a real collector piece), I just hate dealing with "value", I'd rather it grouped tighter, not 400 meters low at 50 yards, jeese, what if I had to rely on saving my life with this, who knows. Will get a recrown job unless someone chimes in I am bulldog crazy, it won't be barely noticeable, THEN I will get to know just how accurate a johnson was capable of.
 

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Hammer block pin's on the opposite side. Typically doesn't come out too easily unless you loosen the screws on the triggerguard a little. Needle nose pliers are your friend.

Also, I forgot, you need to take the little triangular tang thingy on the top rear of the reciever off before you can pull it in half. Press the button on the right side and slide it upward.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Yeah, thanks, I had removed everything including the bolt assembly and the triangle rear tang piece previously when I got to that point, frankly I think a rifle like this was meant to be broken down to three main parts and slipped into a backpack, I wished it had an access hole on the left side of the buttstock to knock out the hammer block pin, the sheetmetal tab on it the other side no way would I pull on it since it will just snap off and leave the pin. The forward pin near the handguard I figured out the pin there is not original and no sheetmetal tab, and gets pushed into wood, I figured that out when I removed the handguard wood the pin was just pushing into wood and it seems those were readily removeable originally, but original wood doesn't seem to have a access push through hole on the other side for the forend handguard at all, I suppose they actually expected a sheetmetal tab to be used to pull a pin from the front.
 

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I had the opportunity to get one once, but turned it down. It was the idea of some stranger coming up to me and asking me "hows your Johnson shooting?"....don't think I could keep a straight face!!
 

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C'mon, why else you think anybody'd pay two grand for a rifle? The puns alone make it worth every penny.

And I highly recommend the Johnson's Rifles and Machine Guns book by Bruce Canfield. No, I'm not one of those "book type" collectors, but I bought it on a whim, and it's really fascinating to learn how a rifle originally made from a Browning A-5 trigger, a '03 barrel, and $400 worth of machineshop tinkering consistently beat up the three-million-dollar M-1.

I just wish they'd made the three-part paratrooper rifle standard. Dismount the barrel, then instead of wiggling out the trigger block pin, you just squeeze two tabs on the hump piece and pull it apart.

And for reference, it works better to slide the screwdriver blade of the bolt handle underneath the trigger block pin tab and lever it out, rather than pull on the tab.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
C'mon, why else you think anybody'd pay two grand for a rifle? The puns alone make it worth every penny.

Yeah, with my brother around, I've already ran into the problem of statements like "I was fiddling around with my johnson at the range the other day", or the other one "I need to stick my johnson in the gun safe before I go to bed at night"(he asked me if it was an alternative to using viagra).

I've been posting at the johson automatic webpage this last week already, thanks. I do understand how to completely take apart my johnson right now(just haven't done it), I just have to remove the wood screws from the triggerguard assembly, this rifle was completely reparkerized, so every pin is stuck where its at and won't budge without being driven out. I have had the bolt assembly out like I said, barrel too, etc.

Yeah, I can think of how nice a quick take down model would be, to have, having quick push buttons like an ar15, or exactly like an ar15.
 
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