Avid gun collectors may take notice of a rare gem in the Rock Island Auction (RIA) Company’s September offerings: an original FG 42 paratrooper rifle chambered in 8mm Mauser. The Fallschirmjägergewehr 42, translated as “paratrooper rifle 42,” was used by German airborne infantry during World War II. It is widely considered one of the most advanced (and perhaps overly complex) firearms developed during the war, although it was only produced in very small numbers.
“These rifles were exceptionally unique weapons that were developed by the German engineers that was way ahead of anything that the Allies had,” RIA states in the item listing.
According to firearms historian Ian McCollum, who runs ForgottenWeapons.com, there are only about 26 select-fire, transferable examples of this rifle in private collections scattered across the United States. FG 42s captured by Allied soldiers during the war were brought back and studied, influencing the design of modern firearms like the M60 machine gun.
Want a history lesson? In the video below, McCollum shares just about everything you ever wanted to know about the FG 42:
“It is estimated that only appropriately 5,000 were ever manufactured with most being destroyed after the war with very few surviving intact examples know today,” RIA wrote.
The specific firearm up for auction is believed to have been made in the middle of the 1942 to 1945 production cycle, although the year of manufacture has not been listed. RIA described the FG 42 as a Second Model version complete with a ZF4 scope, two-piece forend, ribbed compensator, folding bipod, spike bayonet, and one original magazine. The firearm is listed as in excellent condition and retains over 97 percent of its original phosphate/blue finish. Of course, at its age, the rifle also has a few blemishes. One that both the auction house and McCollum quickly noticed is that there are hand-scratched English markings near the gun’s fire selector switch and safety. McCollum observed that this was likely done by the American soldier who first acquired the gun.
“I can’t imagine a gun collection where this wouldn’t be one of the very top jewels of the collection,” McCollum said.
Like all jewels, the FG 42 does not come without a hefty price. RIA estimates that the firearm will fetch around $160,000 to $250,000 at auction.
The paratrooper rifle will be one of the many rare and unique firearms up for sale during RIA’s premiere firearms auction on September 12 through 14. Also in the spotlight are eight experimental Colt revolvers, a Kerr revolver presented by Jefferson Davis, and a World War I German Maxim heavy machine gun.