The photos below show the dramatic discovery of a German Gewehr 43 rifle in the Ardennes in 1999.
Above left; The signal of the detector pointed out that there was something quite large at a depth of about 40cm on the bottom of a creek. So a little dyke was built to get rid of all the water. At first the archaeologist tries to feel in the water to locate anything by touch. Even a US Army mess tin lid (found nearby) is used to dig. Eventually a long black leather strap as used on (German) rifles comes into view. The combination of this and the strong signal from the detector is a good sign of something special. With most of the water gone, they had to make their way through dozens of rocks and a lot or red clay. (not mention a lot of nasty little buzzing mosquitoes and bugs).
Because of the clay, weapon-oil and grease combination what was unearthed was a near perfectly preserved Gew '43. After a little bit of restoration they managed to slide the bolt back and found that besides a full magazine of ammunition there was an 11th round in the chamber (photo above). This is presumably why the rifle was discarded by it's owner. He was likely either a Volks Grenadier of 277th VG Division or perhaps a Paratrooper from the 5th Fallschirmjäger Division, both units being operational in this part of the Ardennes during December 1944.
Chronicled in the composite picture below is the restoration of another example of the Gewehr 43. The build begins with a relic barrel rod and receiver obtained for 60 euros. It is missing many parts but the metal is in basically sound condition. There are some serial numbers and waffenamt marks visible but the maker mark in not. By rights this should be a Walther (AC44) example. The reproduction stock fits well with the metal parts although the maker has omitted to cut a channel for the front bands spring. This has to be cut out later. Thirdly a front band has been sourced from Austria and fitted onto the end of the woodwork, a butt stock plate has been also added - this is actually a K98 one until the G43 example with bolt cleaner door can be sourced. A 10 round relic box magazine is also fitted. Lastly a restored foresight is fitted along with the trigger guard and trigger mechanism. There are still some internal pieces to be sourced but this is only a display example and so we think it is an excellent job. A real G43 for far less than a modern fantasy example.
The latest addition to the G43 restoration above can be seen in detail below;
Although not easily seen in the photograph a muzzle nut and bolt carrier lever have been fitted. Both items are facsimile parts rather than original (such parts are very rare to find). Both parts have been aged in order to match the rest of the rifle.
Below: Is a third fine restoration of a German G43. This weapon was found in the Netherlands and we think has been restored very sympathetically. See on the inset picture below that the ironwork, although heavily rusted, as can be seen in the inset photo still bore signs of the rifles pedigree. The 43 being plainly visible. The G43 was an updated version of the G41 (most of which were used in the East). The G43 used a 10 round box magazine and soldiers carried ammunition in a single two-section pouch, carrying a total of 20 magazines (200 rounds). The box magazine can be seen below, as can a close up view of the restored foresight. In view of the value of a museum quality example of the G43 we think this is as good, if not better.
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