Legendary MG34 overview (Asahi MG34)

01.04.06

Legendary MG34 overview (Asahi MG34)
Asahi MG34 pictorial

History of MG34

The Maschinengewehr 34 (MG34) was the world’s first machine gun that offered high levels of firepower and speed of movement. It’s sleek and relatively lightweight design allowed German infantry unprecedented tactical flexibility while also made it possible for MG34 to be deployed in great number of roles including providing main or side armament for aircrafts, tanks, armored personnel carriers and light vehicles. MG34 was truly the first ever general-purpose machine gun (GPMG), which laid the standard for others to follow. To give better idea of how German military saw the MG34 they associated term “Einheitsmaschinengewehr” with MG34, which translates to “universal machine gun”. The foundation and drive for developing MG34 was born in World War I where German infantry were forced to use two outdated machine guns “heavy machine gun” Maxim MG08 and “light machine gun” MG08/15 that could not never fill the needs of infantry adequately as they were too unbalanced and lacking in numbers. Combination of the two was therefore required.

Weighting at 26.7lbs (12.1kgs) the MG34 was lightweight in standards of 1930s. Designed by German Rheinmetall company the weapon consisted of bipod, quick-exchangeable air-cooled barrel, wooden stock and receiver assembly with pistol grip. It had also optional field tripods that allowed it to be used in either sustained fire role with extended effective range (tripod MG Lafette 34) or in anti-aircraft role (tripod Dreibein 34, pictured at right). For anti-aircraft role MG34 was also supplied with special anti-aircraft sight. MG34 mechanism was recoil operated selective fire action and it’s rate of fire was notoriously high at 900 rounds per minute. Ammunition feeding options consisted of easily distinguishable drum-shaped 50-round belt carrier, beltless 75-round drum magazine and field ammunition boxes containing linked 50-round belts that totaled 250 rounds in one box.

Maschinengewehr 34 technical data

Cartridge: 7.92 x 57mm
Lenght: 1.219mm (0.05in)
Lenght of barrel: 627mm (24.68in)
Weight unloaded: 11kg (24.2lb)
Weight of Lafatte 34: 23.6kg (51.92lb)
Weight of Dreibein 34: 6.75kg (14.85lb)
Type of feed: 250-round belts, 50-round drum, 75-round saddle drum
Muzzle velocity: 755m/s
Rate of fire, cyclic: 900rds/min
Effective range: 1200 meters, 3500 meters when used with tripod
Production cost: 300 Reichmarks (RM) Quantity manufactured: Heer 354,020, Luftwaffe 348, 10,287 Kriegsmarine and 587 Waffen-SS

The difference of MG34 and MG42

Typical misconception of modern day is that MG42 was significantly advanced weapon system from MG34. The actual main difference lays in war economics. Since MG34 was developed in 1930s well before the World War II it was made in old manufacturing standards with little consideration for maximum effiency mass production. The detailed machine work and precise fitting gave highly accurate weapon, but soared production costs and caused unnecessary maintenance chores. MG34 production was also consuming important raw-material resources when alternative materials could be used for small arm production. To counter these drawbacks Maschinengewehr 42 (MG42) was developed during early phase of the war to reduce costs, manufacturing time and the number of malfunctions due to exposure to field elements in battlefield conditions. The main design feature in MG42 were the use of sheet-steel stampings, which could be rapidly shaped and secured in place. Despite the introduction of MG42 and it's economical benefits, MG34 was still kept in manufacturing till the end of the war.

Asahi MG34 pictorial

Manufacturer: Asahi Firearms, Japan
Release date: 1990s
Production status: Ceased, manufacturer no longer exists
Operating mechanism: BV System, nitroair
Length: 1230mm
Weight: 5800g

In mid 1990s Japanese airsoft gun manufacturer Asahi Firearms manufactured the only known airsoft/model gun replica of this historic general-purpose machine gun. Fortunately Asahi made justice to the original model replicated by maintaining high level of details and quality of manufacturing. Asahi Firearms MG34 is high-end airsoft gun, which is today also collectible vintage airsoft gun. The collectible status originates from the limited numbers manufactured. The production was stopped in latter part of 1990s around the time when Asahi Firearms withdrew from high profile airsoft gun sales and Asahi Firearms itself is no longer regarded to be in business.

Asahi MG34 is fully automatic nitroair operated airsoft gun meaning it requires external nitroair tank that is attached to the gun via hose attachment. The hose attaches to the bottom of the pistol grip and it can be removed for display purposes. Although Asahi MG34 is a capable airsoft gun with relatively high rate of fire it is safe to say that it is in practice best used as dummy model gun for propping and display purposes because of its collectible status. Exact production quantity is not known but it is believed only several hundred were ever manufactured. Asahi MG34 is supplied with several interesting props such as 50-round belt carrier drum, 50-round ammunition belt and anti-aircraft sight. Leather sling and BB feeding tools are also included.

The Asahi MG34 is built 1:1 scale with real MG34 and its details are impressive for airsoft gun. Especially the air-cooled barrel is outstanding with its perfect cooling holes and steel construction. Receiver is also well done with movable cocking lever, but one negative point is that the feed tray is plastic. Custom manufactured metal feed trays have been seen, but they are very rare and finish is somewhat crude. Manufacturing stamps include “1936” production year and serial number “2331”. These stamps are always same in Asahi MG34s and not running serial numbers. Also evident are Nazi approval marks that can be removed if your country has laws against them. 50-round belt carrier drum can be attached to the receiver to create combat-ready appearance. In fact it can hold both 50-round ammunition belt or hosing related to the airsoft firing mechanism.

Asahi MG34 pictured with related accessories. Accessories from top to bottom: Japanese language manual, leather sling, BB loading tool, feed plate, main hosing assembly and 50-round drum magazine with 50-round dummy ammunition belt. Not visible in photo: anti-aircraft sight. Note the folded bipod and sights. This is as good as the MG34 replica package can get, but its price tells a tale of collectible: Be prepared to pay anywhere between $3000-4000 for top condition Asahi MG34. We have from time to time examples less than $3000, feel free to inquire us.

Asahi MG34 receiver pictured from top side angle. Note the erected rear sight and black colors of receiver and stock assemblys. Under the pistol grip air hose is visible, it can be removed for display purposes. The feed plate is ABS made and it can be opened just like in real MG34. Rest of the receiver is metal. V-notch rear sight is functional and can be adjusted.

Front sight is also foldable. Bipod attachment point slides in machined grooves and works well in Asahi MG34. Bipod itself is metal made and well machined. Note the sling attachment and excellent air cooling holes in metal barrel. Only downside is the plastic muzzle break.

In this close-up photo of the Asahi MG34 barrel Nazi approval marking is clearly visible. There are four more approval markings in the receiver (one on top of feed tray and one on top of stock attachment assembly). Note the authentic green color of the erected front sight and precise machining work all across.

Upper receiver and specifically upper feed tray photoed from close-up. "2331" indicates serial number and alongside serial number you can see two Nazi armament approval markings. These details increase the realism and atmosphere of this airsoft replica of German World War 2 Maschinengewehr 34 general purpose machine gun.

In this photograph you can see the lower part of feed cover and upper connecting part of stock. Note the two Nazi armament approval markings (one in feed cover and other in stock attachment assembly) and air hose extruding from pistol grip. In this close-up photograph some scratching is visible in metal parts.

Stock is quick removable and can be replaced with real MG34 stock to improve the appearance. The factory standard stock is ABS plastic and black colored. Real MG34 stocks were wooden and brown colored, so this obvious cosmetic difference can be easily corrected with installation of real MG34 stock.

Close view of the cocking handle and trigger assembly. The cocking handle can be operated back & forth via independent spring system. Cocking handle, however, doesn't have function with the gun operation itself such as cycling BBs to chamber. Cocking handle is metal made. The "ASGK" stamping means that Asahi MG34 has been approved by Japanese manufacturer association.

Asahi MG34's 50-round drum magazine with dummy ammunition belt. The magazine has dual role, primarily to house ammo feeding hose assembly and secondarily to act as prop together with dummy ammunition belt whenever the gun is used for display only. The drum magazine is metal made and functions perfectly i.e. by opening and closing like real MG34 drum magazine.

Here is a closer look of the hose and magazine assembly, which is fitted inside Asahi MG34 drum magazine. The small box where the hoses attach is the actual real magazine where BBs are stored. It has two feed ports, one for BBs and other one for air hose (for BB feed).

Asahi MG34 fully automatic airsoft machine gun can be purchased from our armory.

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