Just bought a VG1-5...mostly


May 2, 2012, 02:00 AM
I have a new addition to my gun collection - the rarest and worst-condition gun I have yet bought. I was at the big militaria show in Ciney Belgium last weekend, and found this at a table:



I promptly attempted to ask the seller what he wanted for it. He didn't speak English (just German and Romanian, I think - the Ciney show is like that), and pulled out a book to show me what it was. Took me a minute to convince him that I knew what it was, and wanted to know the price. Turned out he was asking 100 Euros (~$140). I whipped that out with no hesitation (in retrospect, I probably could have bargained him down, but oh well). Now it's all mine! :D

The gun is (or used to be - it's a bit more distinguishable in person compared to the photos) a Volksturmgewehr 1-5 (which is actually a misnomer; the German designation was Volksgewehr Gustloffwerke, after the factory where they were made). It was a last ditch German design in 7.92x33 Kurz. Basically a straight blowback mechanism - there were ports in the barrel that directed gas into the slide mechanism to theoretically delay blowback, but they aren't really effective.

Most of my friends think I'm a bit nutty for buying this thing in it's current condition, but I'm pretty sure it's the nicest (and only) one I'll ever be able to afford. Shootable examples are bringing tens of thousands of dollars at auction.

FWIW, this one appeared to have been in the middle of being cleaned when it was dropped. The slide locking pin is clearly gone, and the front locking nut and mainspring are missing. Those are parts hefty enough to have survived if they had been on it, and that is the disassembly process for cleaning. That's also why the slide is all the way rearward now - normally you only have an inch or two of barrel exposed at the front, when the gun is ready to fire.

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May 2, 2012, 02:11 AM
Well, I'm glad you're happy with it. I personally have no use for anything-regardless how rare and collectible-that is damaged beyond recognition, but to each their own.

May 2, 2012, 09:44 AM
You have, without the shadow of a doubt, a significant appreciation for history.


loose noose
May 2, 2012, 09:56 AM
So tell us Ian, what do you plan on doing with it? I don't see how you could clean up all the rust. maybe restock it. I just don't know?:confused:

May 2, 2012, 11:34 AM
You could put it in an electrolytic rust removal bath!

May 2, 2012, 11:37 AM
You could put it in an electrolytic rust removal bath!

From the looks of it, you'd have nothing but a pile of soggy rust afterward.

May 2, 2012, 11:56 AM
Ah.... Little steel wool, some WD-40, that'll buff right out.....

....of existence.

May 2, 2012, 11:58 AM
Let us know how it shoots.

May 2, 2012, 12:01 PM
That's a pretty cool piece of history you bought, I've always thought that all of the German volks weapons were cool ideas.

May 2, 2012, 12:14 PM
Mine there is much too far gone to attempt restoration - I'm just going to hang it on the wall and grin whenever I see it. :)

I have shot a different VG1-5, though, and will be posting some video of it on Forgotten Weapons in a couple weeks. The recoil is harsh compared to other guns in 7.92 Kurz, but not bad overall. It's a surprisingly heavy gun.

May 2, 2012, 12:23 PM

May 2, 2012, 01:00 PM
Of all the unusual last ditch weapons of that war, that's the one that has as always fascinated me the most. It's especially interesting to realize that the HK P7 uses a very similar retarded blowback system with much better results given the differences between 9mm para & 7.92 kurz.

I've always thought it would be interesting to try something similar built around .30-30 just for the fun of it (yeah, the rim is a pain for the mag, but it makes head-spacing much simpler ;) ).

May 3, 2012, 01:48 AM
It would be fun to build a new VG 1-5, but it will never happen commercially. There's way too much opportunity for a spunky handloader to blow up the gun, and so no company with even the slightest understanding of liability will ever sell one (IMO).

May 3, 2012, 02:32 PM
Yeah, the reason they are so heavy is the same reason Hi-point pistols are so clunky and heavy... both are simple, cheap guns that operate by the blowback method, with loads that are on the heavy side for such a method of operation. They retard blowback mostly by making the slide so heavy that the chamber pressure has dropped to a safe level by the time the considerable mass of the slide actually moves rearward enough to unseal the chamber!

Not the most elegant solution to the problem, but it works well for simplifying the design and allowing them to be produced cheaply.

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