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2012 Release for GSG's STG44


mr pink
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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 10 months later...

My neighbor is a dealer and going to the Shot Show next week. I told him to check it out as I am really interested in one after seeing the releases. Since I'll never be able to buy the real thing this would work for me. Besides I'm shooting more rimfire now days than centerfire. Price range I have seen is 600 to 700 and I can manage that somehow. Now to wait for his feed back.

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  • 9 months later...

Here are my impressions of the ATI StG44 the day after I picked it up. A word to those who choose to judge it based on the GSG5, go ahead, it'll leave more available for the rest of us. That is to say, GSG has clearly taken the lessons of their earlier efforts to heart as they developed this one.

I got out today and shot the ATI StG44, let me get to the bottom line, this gun works great. I jammed the magazine with 25 rounds each time I loaded it. ATI advertizes it as a 25 rounder although it's marked for 24 rounds. There were no failures to feed or other mag related failures. I did lube the bolt carrier and bolt with a light spray of CRC white lithium grease before going out and applied a coat of LPS silicone lube (a plastic compatible water based lubricant) to the plastic magazines' feed rails. Other than that and an inspection of the receiver and bore for obstructions, no special care was taken.

First up, twenty-five rounds of CCI AR "Tactical" ammo, ate it all up. Next was twenty-five rounds of the dreaded Remington Thunderbolts, one failed to fire despite a strong primer hit. Twenty-five more went through without incident. Shot up fifty Winchester Super X, no problem. I found some scuzzy old Remingtons, it ate all thirty-five of them too. Tried fifty PMC Sidewinder 40 gr HV, ate them up. I was very impressed with the strong primer hits, examination of the bolt face reveals a large aperture that the firing pin passes through, there appears to be no place for crud to wedge the firing pin in it's passage through the bolt (great design work).

SUMMARY: 210 rounds fired, one ignition failure (ammo related), the gun gave every indication it was ready for much more. Bullets? Didn't seem to care, it went through copper washed round nose and hollow points, lead round nose and those golden sh1t metal gilded Remingtons. Main thing is; feed it HV like it says on the side of the gun. Subsonics and standard velocity will not reliably cycle the action. Ejection, by the way, was vigorous and almost straight out to the right several feet.

As for accuracy, the gun is at least as accurate as I am. I fired at twenty-five and fifty yards with the iron sights. The front post comes to a sharp point and the rear features a military style ramp with graduations from 1 to 8 (presumably a replica of the original 100 to 800 meter optimistically graduated sight). I found it worked best stock at the ranges I was shooting with the rear set between 7 and 8. Posters on another forum report that filing the front sight down slightly to a flat yields a sight that zeros at fifty yards with the rear leaf set at 3 and 100 yard zero set at 5. This sounds ideal, I may just do the same. Windage on my gun was spot on, there is a functional windage adjustment on the rear sight assembly. There are rumors that ATI is working on a replica optical sight. The original was called the ZF4, made during the War by Zeiss and/or Optotechnica (Czech?), later known as Meopta. Originals are expensively crafted of Unobtanium. There are less costly reproductions available, leaving only the problem of finding a native mount for the StG44 platform (such as the excellent, all steel UTG STANAG HK Gen 2 mount).

This is a fantastic plinker/fun gun, it is a ZAMAC "shell gun", but a very heavy and detailed shell with carefully hidden seams. Before beating up on ZAMAC or ZAMAK, one might do well to read up on the zinc "super alloys" on Wikipedia. It turns out that zinc/aluminum/copper alloys have their place, with tensile strengths in the range of 38,000 to 52,000 psi (approaching mild steel!). In short, this is not your father's cap gun. Inside the receiver, the bolt and carrier are ALL STEEL (a plastic buffer rides behind the bolt carrier, the only plastic I've yet found on the gun besides the magazine and the pistol grips) and the trigger mechanism seems sturdy but does not look over engineered. I haven't measured it, but the trigger break seems heavy, like about five to seven pounds, this may be about right for a real StG for all I know. As mentioned, the pistol grips are a decent wood grain plastic with the color dyed through. The butt is wood with an attractive (looks like stained oak) grain, verified steel heel caps and a storage compartment (like the original) with a steel, spring loaded cover.

Controls on this gun are all about the right handed shooter. If that's you, then the safety is large and easy to find, although kinda backward, up for "fire" and down for "safe". A large button on the left (also easy to locate) releases the magazine. The weapons' guts dump out with minimum fuss, should be fairly easy to clean. I take my hat off to the developers. The finish is an attractive replica of a phosphate finish that should look even more authentic with some wear, although it won't ever show rust, like some of the crusty originals.

The most noticeable shortcomings are the huge magazine sticking out of the bottom of the weapon and the weapons' weight ( 9 pounds 15 1/2 ounces with an empty magazine). One other notable peculiarity is the fact the K98 style sling points are on the "wrong" side of the gun. Historically, goofy Germans didn't use the sling to aid marksmanship, just to lug the weapon around. As a consequence of the sling being on the right (wrong) side, if pulled up too snug the sling interferes with the dust cover/ejection port. Lefties may be able to wring some use out of the sling in regard to marksmanship, the rest of us must settle for admiring the historical accuracy of this silly set-up. Of course, it wouldn't be much of a replica without these cons, but few will choose to drag this baby around to squirrel hunt. Finally, as the StG comes to you "out of the box", the butt stock wiggles when mounted on the receiver. I corrected this with a thin layer of JB Weld applied to the scuffed up (for good adhesion) inside bottom surface of the butt stock socket where it doesn't show, to take up some of the space between it and the receiver. No big deal here, but feels much better without the slop.

Last word, what a terror this gun would be chambered for .22 WMR or .17 HMR !

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You know, I don't wish to come off sounding like the Head Shill for this StG, and time may reveal some surprises regarding durability, etc.    In fact, many good guns had early teething troubles.

I think the jury is still out on ZAMAK as a material for firearms. It may just depend on how and where in the weapon the material is used. IMHO high G, cyclic load applications like a pistol slide or other recoiling part is probably a mis-application of this alloy (ZAMAK is actually a group of alloys, consisting of differing percentages of Zinc, Aluminum, Magnesium and Copper). The Alloy used in the StG, we're told, is ZAMAK 3, a zinc and aluminum alloy with ultimate tensile strength of 38,000 psi. It get tougher with age, but the fatigue strength isn't on a par with steel by a long shot. The same is true of aluminum alloys, but it doesn't prevent engineers from building aircraft out of it, they just limit the number of times the airframe is cycled under load.

In the case of the StG, it appears to me the engineers may have gotten it right, taking advantage of ZAMAK's  strength to construct a static shell without directly subjecting it to recoil. That job is handled by steel parts, a plastic buffer and springs.

Edit: At another posters urging, I did a Google search for "cracked P22 slides". The result was a long list of reports of cracked slides on P22's, Sig Mosquitoes, and GSG 1911s, all constructed of ZAMACK . Then it occurred to me to do a search for just "cracked slides". Here, I found accounts of cracked steel slides on S&Ws, Colt 1911's and clones, the EAA Witness (in 10mm and .40) and plenty of other pistols with steel slides. Cracks in guns don't limit themselves to ZAMAK guns. Steel fails too, especially the non-forged variety. It might be helpful to keep in mind there's over 200 million guns out there, we're gonna hear about failures. Sorta like there's 310 million people in this country, it doesn't surprise us any more when one comes off their rail every few days. {End of philosophical rant }

As can be seen in the pictures below, today I received my UTG HK 91 quick detach steel mount. I have a reproduction ZF4 scope on the way, in the interim, I'll make do with the Weaver V7 steel tubed scope from the seventies. The mount snaps on and off and sits solid and level. I had zero issues once I figured out how to work the lever and lock (the middle lever).

Note to the sharp eyed: the scope eyepiece needs to be further forward. It is my hope that the shorter ZF4 will correct this problem when it arrives in a few days.

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These are the last two photos I plan to post in this thread (except maybe, some groups @ 50 and 100 yards).

You're looking at a replica of a wartime ZF4 scope from Sarco (made in Taiwan) constructed of blued steel. Elevation is on the side (nominally 100-800 meters) and windage is on top, reticule is a German #4.  Rather crude adjustments, but plenty fun bouncing wood chips at fifty yards. Exterior lens coatings present a pale bluish reflection as would be expected from WW2 era magnesium fluoride coatings.

The replica mounts perfectly in 30mm UTG low rings. Elsewhere, I read the original tube diameter was 27mm. I'm OK with 30mm. The charging handle looks closer to the UTG HK02 mount in the picture than it is, it actually clears the mount handily. The mount locks up solidly on the receiver rails although the steel mounting feet of the HK02 mount mark up the finish somewhat. Some observers, however, feel the StG replica looks better with a bit of wear. I'm in that camp.

Edit: After I took receipt  of my UTG mount and scope, I took them out and shot the StG with them. At fifty yards, the ZF4 zeroed at 7 (the scope has settings from 1 to 8 ) this left nowhere to go for 100 yard shooting. I cured that by stacking three (3 ) square centimeter pieces of Gorilla brand duct tape on the bottom rear scope ring to point the scope slightly downward in the mount. The result, once snugged down [not necessary (or desirable) to get the ring screws white knuckle tight] was a scope that shoots to fifty yards when cranked to 5 and 100 yards when set to 7. I can live with this.

This time out, I was shooting Winchester bulk "555" ammo. Feeding reliability was not quite as good with this copper washed hollow point ammo as experienced earlier with gilded solids (plain lead round nose bullets seem to drag across the die-cast feed ramp), but a little field cleaning with CLP inside the receiver, on the bolt face and around the mag feed lips improved function. There were several ammo related failures to fire out of 250 rounds fired with this particular brand (about average, it seems, for bulk pack stuff). I'd recommend a brand that is crimped tightly, avoid brands whose bullets are easily twisted with your fingers in the case. These often end up bent when fed from the magazine and standing up between the bolt and breech.

As for the markings on the scope:  Opticotechnia GmbH, Prerau (Czechoslovakia), code "dow",  K43: built for the G43.

The color of the triangle indicated the internally used grease.

Blue: grease for cold climate, most originals are seen with a blue triangle (Eastern front, anyone?)

White: grease for temperate climate

Green: grease for hot climate

Info comes from this fine site:      http://claus.espeholt.dk/zf4.html

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