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Discussion Starter #1
All text and images that follow are copyright 2014 and are not to be used without the written permission of the author (me). In this thread, we'll be taking an in-depth look at a modern reproduction of the second model FG42 built in Decatur, Texas by Rick Smith and his team at Smith Manufacturing Group (SMG). The FG42 as originally built by the Germans in WWII has been well and extensively documented by a number of sources both in print and online with much of that material applicable to the SMG FG42 as well. Therefore, we will be touching on design characteristics and operation theory only in general terms and only when salient to the analysis. The main focus of this work is to provide detailed information about the rifle as built by SMG in an effort to assist you, the reader, in deciding whether or not this rifle is for you. Let's face it; this is an expensive rifle and I know that potential owners have many questions about it...I know I did. It's hard to drop $5000 on a firearm when the vast majority of information to be found encompasses nothing more than glamor shots and superficial descriptions. You need details and lots of them. Hopefully, I can provide at least some of those details.
I sat on the fence about this rifle for literally years. I really wanted one since sometime in 2010. That was when I first heard that they were being reverse engineered (that is an accurate description as SMG didn't even have an original rifle to work from). I was aware of SMG's reputation but, as a general rule, I almost never buy firearms that are not actually built by a military manufacturer. I've always found that they just don't hold up to heavy use. That thought was always in the back of my mind as I searched for information about this "new" FG42. But the more I looked, the more frustrated I became. There were always plenty of pretty pictures to be found but very little substance. Ian McCollum's range and disassembly videos, while excellent, still didn't answer all of my questions. Finally, I decided that the only way to get the answers I sought was to buy one for myself so I resolved to pick one up when the opportunity presented itself. That opportunity came in the form of a complete package including rifle (unfired other than by SMG), bayonet, sling, Meopta scope, Estes Adams scope mounting rings and 8 magazines.
Well, I've gotten a lot of answers and I'll get more as time goes by. The answers I've gotten so far are the substance of this thread. I'm going to take this thing apart as far as is practical and post detailed pictures with descriptions as well as my thoughts about the SMG FG42. Later, I'll update this thread with range reports, tests in various adverse conditions and continuing thoughts as time goes by. If I do my job correctly, you will be provided with enough information to determine whether or not this is the right purchase for you. As always, please feel free to contact me if I've missed anything or do not answer a question you may have. I will be happy to help if I can.
Prior to writing this, I contacted Rick Smith for some statistical information and to notify him of my intentions. He was very helpful in his answers and heartily encouraged me in my work. To quote Mr. Smith: "It can cause some anxiety for the maker of that weapon but that's just the way it is! It works and is good or here are its failings."
As always, this is going to be a multi-post essay created over a number of days simply because there is so much material to cover. Please bear with me and check back now and then. Okiedokie, I think that covers all the preliminaries so let's get to work!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here we have the 7.92x57 (8mm Mauser) semi automatic only FG42 as built by SMG:


According to the manufacturer:
Barrel length: 19.69"
Overall length: 38.4"
Weight with loaded magazine: 12.9 lbs.
While it looks and operates very much like an original FG42, there are many differences. Some of those differences are out of necessity. For example, the original rifle made extensive use of stampings wherever possible including the receiver. SMG does not have the manufacturing capability to produce stamped parts. Therefore, other than the springs, a few rivets, the handgrips and bipod legs, EVERY SINGLE PART of this rifle is machined from solid stock. The receiver alone started as a roughly 13 pound block of steel and was machined down to around 2 pounds in its completed state. Nothing was an "off the shelf" part. All of it was specially built for this rifle. Because original FG42's are so rare SMG did not have a working rifle to take measurements from, relying instead on Shoei non firing replicas as well as lots and lots of research. It is also important to note that SMG did not have access to original spec sheets so metallurgical requirements had to be worked out through experience as well as trial and error. While they had a working prototype within three months of deciding to go ahead with the project, it took almost another year to get everything running to their satisfaction before finally shipping out the first rifles to customers in January of 2012. That leads us into differences from the original rifle intended to improve the design. Some of these changes include a stainless steel gas piston and gas regulator to combat the use of corrosive ammunition and a chrome lined barrel for the same reason.
The above changes are only a few of the MANY changes implemented. Some of them I am completely unaware of. Others I know about and they will be discussed as we go along. I say all of this in an effort to make it crystal clear that, although close, this rifle is by no stretch of the imagination an exact copy of the WWII FG42. But, although I have never held or shot an original, I have researched them quite a bit and I am confident in saying that, from a material and build quality standpoint, this rifle is almost definitely superior to one. Time for some close-ups. We'll start at the front and work our way back.
 

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Look forward to your analysis. Always wanted an FG-42, but they are unobtainable (for me, anyway), but at 73 years old, maybe the repro isn't practical for me either. But I still look forward to your review.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy the analysis. At 73, it might be a total pain for you to charge the rifle. It's a pain for me and I'm 42!! The design of the rifle makes it the hardest rifle to charge that I own. It does seem to be getting a little easier with use though.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
First up is my favorite part of the FG42, the muzzle brake:



It is certainly NOT a flash hider because this thing make rather large balls of fire due to (I think) the short distance between the gas tap in the barrel and the end of the muzzle. There are 92 little holes drilled in this contraption in an effort to combat recoil.


Sticking out forward from the base of the front sight is a sprung muzzle brake retaining latch that looks a little bit like a wishbone:



Notice how it fits into a notch cut into the rear of the brake. This holds the muzzle brake in place. To remove the brake, lift up on the front the wishbone retaining latch and turn the brake counter clockwise until it falls off the threads and into your hand.


Here's a view down inside:



It's threaded partway down and then just smooth steel after that. The hole is plenty big enough to get your finger down inside for cleaning. If you're shooting corrosive ammo, just wash it out with water but make sure you dry it well before installation so as not to rust the threads. About reassembly....don't crank the muzzle brake down tight. Just snug it up until it stops and then back it off until the retaining latch engages the slot. The muzzle brake will wiggle on the threads just a little when properly locked on but this is normal.


Here's the muzzle with the brake removed:



Hey! That barrel crown looks to be chromed! It is. Approximately the first 30 rifles had original MG42 barrels recontoured for this rifle. After that, production stopped for a bit while SMG looked for a manufacturer that suited them. They eventually selected Green Mountain as that manufacturer. The barrels are button rifled and chromed lined. While I am thrilled about the chrome lining since I am a huge fan of Combloc firearms which almost universally use chromed bores, I am far less enthusiastic about a button rifled barrel. IMO, hammer forging it THE way to go but I also know that is cost prohibitive to all but the largest of manufacturers. As much as I hate it, I just have to swallow my pride on that. I'm sure it'll outlast me as I don't plan on shooting 5 billion rounds out of this thing. Notice the large threads for the muzzle brake. This is an adapter screwed onto the barrel and held in place with locktite. Apparently, original adapters were peened in place but SMG felt more comfortable using locktite. Later, we'll look at the gas block retaining nut. It too uses locktite instead of being peened in place. SMG found that these two parts WILL disassemble themselves in use unless they are suitably locked. The muzzle brake adapter also holds the bipod and front sight assemble in place on the barrel. Hanging below the adapter is the bayonet. We'll look at that later. The big screw is holding the right bipod leg to the bipod mounting yoke. We'll look at that later too.


Next up it the front sight:



The little line seen running up the side of the sight hood is a machining mark, NOT a cast line. Remember, everything is machined; nothing is cast EXCEPT for the bipod legs which we will discuss a little later. At the base of the front sight is the muzzle brake retaining latch. If you look closely, you can see its spring and the pin that holds the latch to the sight base. Sticking out the back of the sight base is a square bar. This engages a flat area machined out of the barrel and keeps the sight from spinning on the barrel. Rising from the sight base is the six piece front sight assembly. At present, we can only see three of the six parts. Starting from the top, they are the sight hood, sight body and sight pivot pin. The unseen parts are the sight post, detent spring and detent plunger. Notice that the sight hood is dovetailed onto the sight body. On the original rifle, this was how you adjusted windage. You can do it that way on this rifle as well but it is NOT recommended because you run the risk of breaking the rather thin sight body. Rather, the rear sight has been modified from the original design to allow for windage adjustment. We'll look at that later too. (that's an awful lot of "later's" in there but I promise that we will get to it all.)


Just in case you plan to be jumping out of airplanes with this rifle, it folds down so as not to get caught on your gear during the jump:


S
imply pull back on the sight and it folds down with the detent plunger and spring locking it in place. To unfold it, simply grab the sight hood and pull up. It then locks in the up position.


To adjust elevation, the front sight must be removed from the rifle. To do this, fold the front sight back slowly until it is resting at a 45 degree angle relative to the barrel:



Then push straight down (relative to the sight body) on the sight hood with the palm of your hand. You will feel the detent spring inside the sight compress. While holding it in this position, use the tip of a bullet or similar object and push the pivot pin all the way out to either side. Then release pressure off the sight hood and remove the assembly from the sight base.

Here's the sight base with the sight assembly removed:



You can see the two notches that the detent plunger locks into to hold the sight in either the up or down position.


Here's the front sight assembly removed from the rifle:



To adjust the elevation, a 1/16 hex wrench is inserted up through the sight body until it engages the bottom of the sight post. The front sight can then be screwed up or down. On the face of it, this way of adjustment seems like a big pain in the arse and it can be I'm sure. However, my rifle came perfectly zeroed for elevation at 100 yards so I had to do nothing. I can only assume that SMG zeros them before shipping them out... or maybe I just got lucky (unlikely).


Here is a shot showing the right side of the sight assembly:



Notice that the lower rear of the sight body (lower left in the picture) is radiused while the lower front (lower right in the picture) is square. This radiused side MUST face to the rear upon reassembly or your sight will not fold. To the right of the sight assembly in the picture is the detent spring, detent plunger and pivot pin. The plunger has a "v" shape to it at the bottom. The way it is pictured is the way it must face when reassembled. Notice that the pivot pin is thinner in the center. This keeps it locked in place when assembled guaranteeing that it will not work its way out in use. The only way it can be removed is when the sight assembly is in the 45 degree position relative to the barrel and pressure downward pressure is applied to the sight hood. Assembly of the sight to the sight base is the reverse of removal. It all sounds very fidgety but it is actually very easy and natural in practice. The only thing that can get a little frustrating is keeping the holes lined up between the sight base and sight assembly while trying to insert the pivot pin. One you do it a time or two thought, you get the hang of it.


Well, that's it for tonight. I've been at this for hours and I'm getting tired. Time to hit the hay! Yeehaaa!!!
 

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Excellent!
 

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At 73, it might be a total pain for you to charge the rifle.
I'm 72 and I don't think it is problem to charge the rifle. I've posted links about my experiences with the first time I shot my FG42.

http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?358172-Semi-FG42-Shooting-Results

The problem I have is with the lack of a magazine hold-open device in the rifle. The magazine follower is the device which holds the bolt to the rear when the magazine is empty, not some catch mounted in the rifle. The empty magazine can be removed but when taken from the gun, the bolt slams into battery as the magazine follower was holding it to the rear.

The magazine follower hold the bolt to the rear when the magazine is empty. So to remove the magazine, follower has to be depressed while holding the bolt back or your end up with an "FG42 Thumb". Once the bolt is back in battery, the magazine can be removed a lot easier.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
LoL, your post said you are 73 so I took you at your word. Anywho, I do find that it can be a bit awkward removing the magazine while holding the bolt back. The recoil spring is so stout while the bolt is locked back that, unless you have the butt in your shoulder, you tend to pull/push the whole rifle in a circle as you are trying to pull the bolt rearward with one hand while your other hand is occupied trying to push forward the magazine release latch and magazine forward. I call it the FG42 shuffle! HAHA!! The Type 1 DID have a hold open but the Type 2 used the magazine as a stop just as this one does. However, the original also had full auto from an open bolt so magazine changes on that rifle in that mode were much easier I'm sure. Semi auto reloading probably still entailed experiencing the FG42 shuffle though. Having said all that, I've found that, like most German equipment, it slowly teaches you it's how it wants things done and you adapt to it instead of the other way around. There is absolutely NO WAY I'd be sticking my thumb in the ejection port so long as there is a bolt under spring pressure in the rifle no matter what the circumstances might be!! That sounds like a quick way to end up with a broken thumb. You must also NOT let the bolt slam home unless there is a round in the rifle. SMG says that is bad on the sear. The only proper way to remove a magazine with the bolt locked back is to hold the charging handle to the rear while removing the magazine and then ride the handle forward. If you are going to shoot it more, insert another magazine and pull the charging handle to the rear again. If you are finished shooting and the rifle is EMPTY. Hold the charging handle again while you pull the trigger and slowly ease the charging handle fully forward. The rifle is now decocked and ready for storage. Never dry fire it and NEVER EVER decock the rifle with a round in the chamber!!
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Picking up where we left off, let's take a look at the spike bayonet:



This part was not made by SMG for some reason nor is it supplied with the rifle. It started life as a much longer French made MAS 36 bayonet and was cut down to the proper length and blued to match the rifle by SMG. If you want one, YOU have to find one of these old and relatively obscure bayonets and YOU have to buy it and send it into them for modification. This rifle is a pretty complex piece of machinery and SMG figured out how to make every single part yet they don't make the bayonet. I must say that I don't quite understand the reasoning behind that one but that's just the way it is. The original German bayonet was copied from the MAS 36 too. Anyways, notice that there is a nub sticking up off the shaft both in front of and behind the knurled part of the shaft. These nubs are actually the ends of a spring loaded rocking bar concealed within the bayonet and are sticking out of holes cut in the shaft of the bayonet. They serve as the locking lugs that hold the assembly locked in either the deployed or the stowed position. Push down on one nub and the bar inside rotates pulling the other nub inside.


The mounting tube that the bayonet fits into is part of the front sight base and is shown here hanging underneath the barrel:



Below the mounting tube is a smaller ring that serves as the attachment ring for the sling carabiner (we'll look at the sling later).


To mount/deploy the bayonet, you simply insert the rear of it into the mounting tube and push until it clicks into place. The knurled part of the shaft will stop the bayonet from being pushed further rearward and the rear locking nub will keep it from being pulled forward. Here's what it looks like deployed:



It doesn't look very substantial but I guess it's better than nothing. Once locked in place, the bayonet will freely rotate in the mounting tube. To remove the bayonet, press the forward locking nub into the shaft and pull the bayonet forward and off the rifle. To stow the bayonet, simply insert it into the mounting tube tip first and slide it rearward until it locks. Again, the knurled ring will stop its rearward movement and the front locking nub will hold it from sliding forward.

As you are stowing the bayonet, notice that the tip engages a hollowed out area in the gas plug shown here:



The tip of the bayonet is seen on the lower right of the picture. The reason for this is two fold. First, it helps stabilize the bayonet when stowed. Second, it keeps the shooter from sticking himself while using the rifle. We only want to stick the enemy!


Here is a shot of the spike just about to engage the gas plug:



I'm getting a little excited for some reason.....


Here is a good close-up shot with the bayonet stowed showing the mounting tube sandwiched between the knurled ring and the front locking nub:



Also of note in the above picture is the sling carabiner affixed to the attachment ring.


One last stowed bayonet detail shot showing the rear of the spike protruding out under the muzzle brake:



Notice the contrast between the many scratches, dents and dings on the old surplus bayonet compared to the virtually flawless machining on the new muzzle brake. Remember....I love that muzzle brake! It worked so well that the Swiss copied it on their ZFK-55 sniper rifle and used it on many of their prototype weapons in the 50's too.


Next up is the bipod. The FG42 was to be a multi-purpose weapon that would replace the submachine gun, rifle and light machine gun. One of the things necessary for it to fulfill the LMG role was a bipod. But being that the rifle was intended for use by airborne troops, it was designed light to save weight. Both proving grounds tests and use in the field proved that it was designed too light and was prone to failure but they kept on making it light anyway. The original was made of pressed steel but remember that SMG doesn't have the capacity to produce stamped parts. To replicate its many contours and details by machining would be neither cost nor time effective. So, SMG decided to outsource the legs (the rest of the bipod assembly is made of steel in shop) and decided on cast aluminum legs made by Shoei, a company that produces a non firing replica of the FG42. Now, if the original stamped steel bipod legs wouldn't stand up to the rigors of combat, I'm sure that I won't be doing push up or drop tests on the aluminum one because I'm sure it would fail. The good news here is that they seem to be plenty stout enough to last a lifetime of noncombat use. It is also notable that the Swiss considered aluminum to be a good enough material for use on the SIG 510, their standard issue battle rifle for approximately 35 years:




Let's take a look at how the bipod functions by flipping the rifle over and looking at the bottom of the bipod mounting yoke:



Here we see the right leg stowed and the left one deployed. Notice that the screw which holds the right leg to the yoke is peened in place so that it won't back out. You can see a notch cut in the bottom of the yoke for the spring loaded leg detent to lock into when the leg is folded down and you can see the spring loaded detent currently engaged in a similar notch in the rear of the yoke.


Here is another picture showing the right leg deployed:



The notch in the rear of the yoke is clearly visible. The bipod yoke will not swing all the way around the barrel, being stopped by the legs hitting against the bayonet mounting tube.


Moving back the barrel, we come to the gas block:



The one shown is not my rifle but belongs to a friend of mine. I chose this picture for two reasons. First, it illustrates that the various parts on the rifle are available in three different finishes. These are blued (barrel and gas block retaining nut shown), phosphate (not shown but of the typical rough textured greenish gray) and bare steel (gas block and gas plug shown). The second reason for choosing this picture is that it makes distinguishing between barrel, gas block and gas block retaining nut a simple task. The barrel has a step machined into it that the rear of the gas block rests against. There is also a flat area on the barrel that is matched by a similar flat area on the block to keep it from spinning on the barrel. The gas block retaining nut is screwed down against the gas block and is held fast by torque and locktite that was pre-applied to the threads. Like the muzzle brake adapter, this is not meant to be disassembled unless you have the proper tools and know EXACTLY what you are doing. So guess what we won't be doing here....
Sticking out the side of the gas block with a "+" cut into it is the stainless steel gas regulator used to adjust how much gas is bled off to cycle the action. We'll take a closer look at that in just a bit. The black strip fitted into one of the regulator slots and wrapping around the front of the gas block is a piece of spring steel called the retaining spring and it serves two purposes. First, it locks the regulator from turning and second, it keeps the gas plug from loosening until you want it too. The gas plug is the crenelated disk on the front of the gas block with the tip of the bayonet sticking into it. It is threaded into the block and is removed for cleaning of the gas tube.


Now that we know what's what here, lets switch back to the gas block assembly on my rifle and look at some of the parts in more detail.


First, we'll check out the gas plug. To remove it, remove the bayonet. Then fit a wrench over the square lug sticking out the front of the plug and turn it counter clockwise. As you turn, it will click as the crenelations pass over the raised part of the retaining spring. Once it threads out to the point where the retaining spring no longer hits the little notches in the plug, you can turn it by hand until it comes loose.

Here's the front of the plug after removal:



Notice the little dot at the top of the gas plug.

This corresponds to a notch cut out of the back shown here at the top:



This notch must be aligned with the bottom of the gas regulator upon reassembly so that gas tapped from the barrel during firing can flow into the gas tube and push against the front of the stainless steel piston. If it is not aligned, you will have a single shot rifle because the gas will be effectively turned off. So, when screwing the gas plug in during reassembly, make sure that the dot on the front of the gas plug faces up as shown three pictures above. IMPORTANT: DO NOT crank the gas plug down tight. The dot will be pointing up BEFORE the plug is tight against the gas block. At this point, you will be able to wiggle the gas plug a little bit. That's how it's supposed to be.


Here's the side of the gas plug showing the threads:




Gas block with plug removed showing the front of the stainless steel piston:




Here's a closer look at the right side of the stainless steel gas regulator:



Notice that it has two dimples on it, a large one for more gas(upper right) and a small one for less gas (lower left). Whichever one is positioned on the upper right is the current setting. So, in this case, the regulator is set for more gas (much like me). It should fire on less gas just fine but I haven't tried it yet ( I will be though). To adjust the regulator, the retaining spring must be removed. This is accomplished by pushing the spring forward from the LEFT side of the gas block. Pushing or pulling the spring from the right side WILL damage the spring.

So let's look at the left side:



What we're seeing here is the other side of the regulator protruding from the gas block. It has a notch cut into it for the retaining spring to fit into. So, we use a small piece of wood or brass punch (if you are worried about scratching your finish) or a screwdriver/bullet tip (if you aren't worried about your finish) and push the retaining spring forward out of the groove. The manual says to do this with the gas plus partially installed so that you don't push your spring entirely off and lose it but we're taking it completely off here. Once the spring is no longer engaged with the slot on the right side of the regulator, you can insert a screwdriver into that slot and easily turn it where you want it. After setting the regulator, carefully seat the spring by again pushing on the left side.


Here's the spring removed from the rifle:




Here's the gas block with the spring removed:



The spring slot has a high and a low area so that the spring seats properly and works reliably



And photobucket decided to die on me so that's it for tonight! I guess I'll try again later.....
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Finishing up the gas block is a look at the gas ports:



There are two on each side of the rifle and they leave a nice carbon build up on the front of the hand guard! I like that. Through the holes, you can see the stainless steel gas piston and just a little bit of the rear piston ring. Above the gas ports, you can see the earlier mentioned flat area on the barrel that keeps the gas block aligned properly.


Here's a shot showing the solid walnut hand guards in both light and dark finishes:



Laminated hand guards are available too but are not recommended as they tend to split with use. Inside of the hand guard is a heat shield to keep it from getting too hot. Eight vent holes, four per side, run along the top to help dissipate heat.


Here's a close-up showing the grip ridges tooled into the wood:



The finish on and detailing of the wood equals the Quality of fine furniture. I've been building furniture for years and couldn't do a better job. Notice the pretty gouges above and below the cocking slot. That's my fault entirely because sometimes I'm pretty stupid. I'll go into greater detail about those gouges when I incorporate the first range trip results into this essay.


Next up is the trigger housing assembly. German housings were made of two stamped halves welded together all the way around. The first rifles built by SMG had milled aluminum housings that had a seam applied to them in an effort to make them look more original. They were then painted black. After somewhere in the area of 15-25 rifles, SMG switched to milling them out of two steel halves and then welding them together as originals were. They are currently available with either black or plum plastic grips riveted on as shown here:



Notice that the upper housing has painted selector marks while the lower one does not. They come unpainted from SMG. I've painted mine and I think the rifle looks more polished with them that way. This rifle has astonishing attention to detail and I don't think that's a detail that should be overlooked (Hint hint).
Before we take a closer look at the whole thing, we have to get it off first.

This is accomplished by removing the sprung steel plate located on the right side and running the entire length of the assembly:



There are four pins seen in the above photo, all of which are held in place by the sprung plate. Starting at the front, we have the front retaining pin. The smaller pin right above the trigger is the trigger pin. In the middle we have the end of the selector axle. And all the way at the back we have the rear retaining pin.


To remove the trigger housing, first push up on the front of the plate until it clears the front retaining pin and selector axle:



SMG says in their instructional video (included with each rifle) that this part can be vary hard to remove and must be pushed up with a blunt object and some force but mine pushes up with minimal effort using just my finger. It doesn't move during use though so it must lock on well enough.


Then pull the plate forward and away leaving it looking like this (looks like I went a little crazy with the CLP there...look at all the oil):



Now push the front and rear retaining pins all the way out from right to left and the trigger housing will simply fall away from the receiver.


Here are the retaining pins and locking plate removed from the rifle:



Front is to the right. Both pins are identical and the notches that are engaged by the locking plate are clearly visible. Notice that the front notch of the locking plate has beveled edges. This is done so that it will easily engage with the front pin during reassembly. Original locking plates were removed by rotating them down off the pins. SMG changed the design because they reasoned that the locking plate can't fall off in use if it has to rotate up for removal. I agree 100%.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
The trigger housing is off. Let's take a look a closer look at it.


Here's a view from above looking down into it forward is to the right:



Let's start at the front and work our way back. The first thing we come to is a hollowed out square area. This fits over the front retaining lug hanging from the bottom of the receiver. The front retaining pin passes through the retaining lug. Moving rearward, we come to the fire control group (FCG). All the way to the front of the FCG is the top of the trigger. It has a slot cut into it where the disconnector/sear trip connects to it using a pin. The disconnector/sear trip is one part and it has two lugs sticking up. One is about midway back with the safety axle passing below it and the other is all the way at the rear of the FCG. The lug above the safety axle is the disconnector trip. It is pushed downward as the bolt carrier passes over it, disconnecting the sear trip from the sear and producing semi automatic fire. The rear lug is the sear trip and it pulls forward on the bottom of the sear (mounted in the receiver) as the trigger is pulled. This rotates the sear on its pin and out of contact with a notch in the bottom of the bolt carrier. The bolt carrier then slides forward creating good times and good memories at the range! Behind the FGC is a white rectangle. This white rectangle is where the serial number is etched into the frame but I covered it up. I hated to do that but in todays political climate, and due to the dictatorial state I live in, I feel it necessary unfortunately. All the way at the rear is where the rear retaining lug goes to be captured by the rear retaining pin. The safety is shown in the "F" (Fire) position. To place it in the "S" (Safe) position, the knurled knob is pulled slightly outward and rotated to the rear. This disconnects the FCG from the sear.
IMPORTANT: The safety is to be rotated to the "S" position ONLY when the rifle is cocked or the housing is removed from the receiver! It MUST be in the "F" position before the charging handle is pulled to the rear or when the housing is being reattached to the receiver! Failure to follow this advice WILL cause headaches!!
The left wall of the trigger housing has a small hole with a black dot in it above the trigger axle. This hole is where the safety axle detent and detent spring are inserted during assembly. The black dot is a hole drilled through the safety axle. I assume that it serves as an oil hole for the detent and its spring but I don't know that to be fact. Now, before you deviants go thinking that all you have to do to convert this thing to fully automatic is grind off the disconnector trip, think again. The geometry of the disconnector/sear trip is such that, when the rifle is fully assembled, it will automatically disconnect itself from the pulled trigger anyways. I'm NOT going to go into how all of that works though. If you look very closely at the above photograph, you can see a faint line in the middle of the grip housing where the two halves meet. It is most noticeable rear of the white rectangle and just in front of the trigger. Fantastic fitting is in evidence here.


Let's look at just how well the two halves of the trigger housing are joined:



The above picture shows the non-welded side of the seam. Notice that the part of the seam just in front of the bottom of the trigger is flawless. As you go around towards the top of the trigger, the halves do not fit perfectly with one rising above the other creating a ridge. That is NOT a gap but is where the radius of the left half is less than that of the right half. Please do not construe this as a complaint, only an observation. In reality, this area is so small and the ridge so minor that most would never even notice it. It has absolutely no effect on functioning and is cosmetic only.


Here is the welded seam on the outside of the trigger housing:



In my opinion, the work is impeccable. If anything, it's TOO good for a reproduction.


Here's the whole thing disassembled:



Starting from the top, we have the housing with the disconnector/sear trip below it. This part has three holes in it. The front (left) hole is for the pin that connects it to the trigger. The next two larger holes serve no purpose other than reducing weight (I guess). At the middle top of the part is the disconnector trip. All the way at the rear is the sear trip. Moving down, we have the trigger/disconnector spring. The top of the spring is pointing at the recess in the bottom of the disconnector/sear trip. The spring fits into this recess. The bottom of the spring is pointing to a similar area in the trigger where it fits. In front of the trigger are two pins. The top pin connects the trigger to the disconnector/sear trip. The bottom pin holds the trigger into the trigger housing. To the right of the trigger is the safety. You can clearly see the spring loaded nub that fits into the "F" and "S" recesses on the housing, locking the safety in the desired position. Below the safety is the safety detent and detent spring.


To disassemble the trigger housing assembly:

1. Rotate the safety midway between the "F" and "S" positions.
2. Wiggle the safety as you pull it to the left out of its hole in the trigger housing. The disconnector/sear trip will pop up.
3. Remove the trigger spring, safety detent and detent spring.
4. Remove trigger pin by pushing out of trigger housing from left to right.
5. Remove trigger/disconnector/sear trip assembly. These parts can be taken apart by pushing out their pin in either direction.
Reassembly is the reverse of the above but be forewarned, it CAN be fidgety to get back together.

The entire FCG has been redesigned from what was originally made by the Germans. The original FCG is quite complex with most of that complexity being due to the fact that it was select fire. All of that mess just wasn't necessary with a semi auto only rifle so, this is the result. The less than ideal trigger pull is due to the design of the rifle, NOT the design of the FCG. In a normal system, the only pressure you have on the sear is the relatively weak force of a striker spring or a hammer spring. In this design, we have the force of both a double wound firing pin spring AND a double wound recoil spring to contend with. Both of these springs are trying to push the bolt carrier home but are being stopped by the sear. In other words, there is ALOT of pressure being exerted on the sear. That accounts for the fairly heavy trigger pull. As soon as get a chance to contrast it to the trigger pull in an original (and that IS going to happen) I will report back on that.


One last picture showing the area of the trigger where the trigger spring fits:



We're looking at the back of the trigger and it's on the left. On the right is a spring cup. This cup fits into the corresponding hole milled out of the back of the trigger. The spring then fits into this cup.



Okiedokie, I think that's it it for the trigger housing assembly.....I think. If I forgot anything, I'll get it in the next post!
 

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You are doing a fantastic job of detailing the teardown and description of the semi auto FG-42. Much appreciated. Somehow, looking at all those parts with no manufacturing code or waffenamt, seems like something is missing. Maybe its just me, but adding those (since we already know the semi FG-42 is a replica of a highly desirable WWII weapon) would add more realism. Maybe I've had a few too many tonight, but just my thoughts...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Even on an original, no waffenamt's are present. The FG42 was an entirely Luftwaffe project so only final acceptance proofs were placed on the top of the receiver just forward of the manufacturer code. SMG does reproduce those stamps and they are seen in front of the fzs (Kreighoff) engraving below:

 

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Thanks for that. I wasn't aware that parts were not marked. I had an MG 42 that had a stamp of some sort on just about every part.
 

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BTW you might be interested to know that a Krieghoff manufactured FG42 recently sold at a Rock Island Auction (Sept 12, 13, 14, 2014) for $299,000! Came with ZF4 Sniper Scope, original mount, grenade Launcher and spike bayonet. Advertised as "The finest known FG42 in existence". At that price it should be.
 

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BTW you might be interested to know that a Krieghoff manufactured FG42 recently sold at a Rock Island Auction (Sept 12, 13, 14, 2014) for $299,000! Came with ZF4 Sniper Scope, original mount, grenade Launcher and spike bayonet. Advertised as "The finest known FG42 in existence". At that price it should be.


Makes the SMG repro a screaming deal ;)


Thanks for the excellent job on this review - outstanding!
 
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