Wyoming Sports Distributor

WTS: Johnson Light Machine Gun $57,500

Location: CASPER

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This 1941 specimen is in superb original condition. It comes with a hardbound book entitled “Automatic Arms” written by Melvin Johnson and Charles Haven with the inside of the front cover inscribed by Melvin Johnson to Brooks Potter, his Director of Johnson Automatics and dated December, 1941. Also included is the definitive book “Johnson Rifles and Machineguns” by Bruce Canfield, an original Johnson Light Manchinegun manual and a reproduction manual for the 1944 model of the Johnson light machinegun. The softcover “book” is a copy of “Johnson Rifles and Machine Guns” edited by Donald McLean and published by Normount Technical Publications. The gun comes with 2 magazines.


The M41 light machine gun was designed by Melvin Johnson, Jr., a Boston lawyer and Captain in the Marine Corps Reserve. His goal was to build a semiautomatic rifle that would outperform the M1 Garand the Army had adopted. By late 1937, he had designed, built, and successfully tested both a semi-automatic rifle and a prototype light machine gun (LMG). Each shared a significant number of physical characteristics and common parts, and both operated on the principle of short recoil with a rotating bolt.

The Johnson LMG was one of the few light machine guns to operate on recoil operation and was manufactured to a high standard. The Johnson was fed from a curved, single-column magazine attached to the left side of the receiver. Additionally, the weapon could be loaded by stripper clip (charger) at the ejection port, or by rounds fed singly into the breech. The rate of fire was approximately 600 rounds per minute. Two versions were built: the M1941 with a wooden stock and a bipod, and the 1944 with a tubular steel butt and a wooden monopod.

When firing, recoil forces along with the mass of the weapon's moving parts all traveled in a direct line with the shoulder of the gunner. While this in-line stock can be seen in the M16 rifle today, it was a novel idea at the time. Since recoil was directed back into the shoulder, muzzle rise was minimized. Due to this design, the sights had to be placed higher above the bore.




A very rare magazine backpack filled with 12 original magazines is also available for an additional $5,000



Edited by Wyoming Sports Distributor

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