Johnson M1941 Prototypes

PROTOTYPE JOHNSON SEMI-AUTO MILITARY RIFLE.
Cal. 30-06. SN MR3.
Early prototype for the famous Johnson rifle, one of the first three built for Johnson by a company named “Taft-Peirce” of Woonsocket, RI in 1938. These three rifles were numbered MR1 thru MR3 and were made with single column magazines of either five or eight shots. One of the rifles was made to minimum tolerances, another to maximum tolerances and a third to middle of the road tolerances. We do not know which one we have. All three were chambered for 30-06 and marked on top of the receiver “PROOF MODEL” which is exactly how our rifle is marked. This information was obtained from the book Johnson Rifles and Machine Guns by Bruce N. Canfield. This specific rifle is pictured on page 40 of the same book in its original commercial configuration. This rifle is described as having a 20” rnd bbl in a 1-pc walnut stock with pierced metal hand guard, integral with the receiver. It has a winged military-style front sight and the long Johnson 1,000 meter stamped metal rear sight. The wood is very distinctive in its grain patterns and readily identifiable in the picture. It now has a light parkerized finish on the bbl & receiver with blue trigger guard. It is apparent that it was experimented with, as there are several arsenal type repairs and fills to the forestock. The top of the receiver is marked “JOHNSON AUTOMATICS / SEMI-AUTO. 30-06 / PROOF MODEL” and the right rear of the receiver is stamped “MR-3” with a strange proof mark above it. It is accompanied by six original 5-rnd magazines and seven books relating to military rifles & machine guns, one by Canfield (above) and six by Johnson himself or Johnson & Haven. The titles are Automatic Weapons of the World, Rifles and Machine Guns, Ammunition, Automatic Arms, For Permanent Victory and Practical Marksman ship. CONDITION: Fine to very fine. Retains an even light gray/green parkerized finish over the bbl & receiver. Stock has a hairline in front of the magazine well, otherwise retains a dark oil finish with light soil and a few light nicks & dings. Magazines all show light to moderate wear with some fine surface rust. Bright shiny bore. There is a hairline crack at the right rear of the receiver in line with the rear receiver pin. Books are fine. 4-51040 JR883 (12,500-17,500)
 
 



M1941 Prototype Johnson Semi-Automatic Rifle 
 30 06 
Serial #:  4969  Manufacturer:  Johnson Automatics MFG Co
Barrel Length:  22 inch round  Finish:  parkerized
Grip:  walnut  Stock:  walnut
  
Description:  This rifle is one of a group of five rare 1941 Johnson semi-automatic prototype rifles that Rock Island Auction company has to offer for sale in this auction. These early prototype rifles were used as the basis for the development of the later and highly successful, 1941 Light Machine that was used by the USMC and early 1st Special Forces units during WWII. Each one is a "One of a Kind" design with unique features unto it's self. The 1941 Light Machine was developed during the early stages of WWII and although proved successful from a design stand point but it did have it's drawbacks in the field. One of the advantages of this weapon was that the Light machine gun and the standard Johnson semi automatic rifle used several common components, which helped cut down on the logistics burden and the manufacturing costs by not having to stock multiple configurations of parts. This specific model of rifle is like the others in that it started out as a basic Johnson semi automatic rifle receiver forging although an earlier version since it doesn't have any letter prefix in the serial number and it has the earlier cut-down walnut forend that has a steel block riveted to the underside of the barrel jacket (directly behind the take down latch) that was intended as a mounting position for a folding bipod. Otherwise this rifle has the same basic receiver forging, barrel assembly, and bolt assembly as the other ones, that was just mated to a completely new lower receiver, trigger group and buttstock assembly. As previously noted the standard 10 shot rotary box magazine was removed and replaced with a completely new lower assembly that featured a side mounted, 20 round, flat box magazine. Additionally the right side of the receiver or magazine assembly retained the sheet metal cover that was machined with stripper clip slots allowing the box magazine to be loaded from the right side with stripper clips or with a single round, similar to the original rotary magazine design. The most notable feature was that these light machine guns fired from an open bolt when on full automatic and then fired from a closed bolt when firing in a semi-automatic mode, similar to the German FG42 rifle. These rifles employ a folding rear sight with two rear sight apertures due to the straight line stock configuration. The windage knob for the rear sight was on the base and it had a knurled center ring that raised and lowered the rear sight aperture, similar to the Lyman tang sights. The front sight was a unique high mounted, one-piece base with a blade machined into the top rear. These light machine guns all featured a straight line recoil mechanism with a lowered butt stock to help reduce muzzle climb. As noted this rifle is actually a semi-automatic version of the 1941 LMG and the top of the receiver is marked with the standard, four line patent dates next to "CAL. 30-'06 SEMI-AUTO./"JOHNSON AUTOMATICS"/MODEL OF 1941/MADE IN PROVIDANCE R.I.U.S.A/4969". The front end of the barrel recoil lug is marked "30-06 and 41, with a small letter M" stamped at a 3 0'clock position. The right side of the lower receiver has the two position selector switch that is marked "SAFE" and "SEMI". It has the three-piece walnut stock, short walnut forend and walnut pistol grip plates. It is complete with three, super rare 20 shot spare magazines.
Condition:  Excellent overall with 98% of a light gray parkerized finish showing light wear and handling marks overall. The walnut stock, pistol grip panels and short forend are all in very good condition, with all three have dark brown color with minor handling marks with a small 2 1/2 inch crack just starting on top of the comb of the butt stock. A nice example of a scarce prototype rifle



M1941 Prototype Johnson Semi-Automatic Rifle 
 30-06
Serial #:  A6927  Manufacturer:  Johnson Automatics MFG Co
Barrel Length:  22 inch round  Finish:  parkerized
Stock:  walnut

Description:  This rifle is one of a group of five RARE 1941 Johnson semi-automatic prototype rifles that Rock Island Auction company has to offer for sale in this auction. These early prototype rifles were used as the basis for the development of the later and highly successful, 1941 Light Machine that was used by the USMC and early 1st Special Forces units during WWII. Each one is a "One of a Kind" design with unique features unto it's self. The 1941 Light Machine was developed during the early stages of WWII and although proved successful from a design standpoint, it did have it's drawbacks in the field. One of the advantages of this weapon was that the Light machine gun and the standard Johnson semi automatic rifle used several common components, which helped cut down on the logistics burden and the manufacturing costs by not having to stock multiple configurations of parts. These prototypes were all hand made and originally started out as a basic Johnson semi automatic rifle receiver (as noted in this case by the standard "A" prefix rifle serial number), that was highly modified into this configuration. This version has the same basic receiver forging, barrel assembly, full length walnut forend and bolt assembly that was mated to a completely new lower receiver, trigger group and buttstock assembly. The standard 10 shot rotary box magazine employed by the Johnson rifle was removed and replaced with a completely new assembly that featured a side mounted, 20 round, flat box magazine and the right side of the receiver was machined with stripper clip slots allowing the magazine to be loaded from the right side with stripper clips or with a single round, similar to the original rotary magazine design. This light machine gun design retained some of the features of the basic rifle and also introduced several unique features, one being that they fired from an open bolt when on full automatic and then fired from a closed bolt when firing in a semi-automatic mode, similar to the German FG42 rifle. These rifles employ a folding rear sight with the windage knob on the base with a knurled center ring that raised and lowered the rear sight aperture, similar to the Lyman tang sights. The front sight was a unique high mounted, one-piece base with a blade machined into the top rear. These light machine guns all featured a straight line recoil mechanism with a lowered butt stock to help reduce muzzle climb. As noted this rifle is actually a semi-automatic version of the 1941 LMG and the top of the receiver is marked with the standard, four line patent dates next to "CAL. 30-'06 SEMI-AUTO./"JOHNSON AUTOMATICS"/MODEL OF 1941/MADE IN PROVIDANCE R.I.U.S.A/A6927". The front end of the barrel recoil lug is marked "30-06/41" and the right side of the lower receiver has the two position selector switch that is marked "SAFE" and "SEMI". It has the three-piece walnut stock, forend and pistol grip plates. It is complete with three super rare extra 20 shot magazines.
Condition:  Excellent overall with 99% of the arsenal dark black type reparkerized finish with no noticeable wear with the bolt retaining in the bright polished finish. The stock, forend and grip panels are all in excellent condition with minimal handling marks and all have a nice medium brown color with a oil finish. An excellent example of a very rare Prototype 1941 Johnson.



Model 1941 Prototype Johnson Semi-Automatic Rifle 
 8 mm Mauser
Serial #:  4162  Manufacturer:  Johnson Automatics MFG Co
Barrel Length:  23 1/2 inch round  Finish:  parkerized
Grip:  walnut  Stock:  metal

Description:  This rifle is one of a group of five rare Model 1941 Johnson semi-automatic prototype rifles that Rock Island Auction company has to offer for sale in this auction. These early prototype rifles were used as the basis for the development of the later and highly successful, 1941 Light Machine that was used by the USMC and early 1st Special Forces units during WWII. Each one is a "One of a Kind" design with unique features unto it's self. The 1941 Light Machine was developed during the early stages of WWII and although proved successful from a design standpoint, it did have it's drawbacks in the field. One of the advantages of this weapon was that the Light machine gun and the standard Johnson semi automatic rifle used several common components, which helped cut down on the logistics burden and the manufacturing costs by not having to stock multiple configurations of parts. This specific model of rifle is similar to the others in that it started out as a basic Johnson semi automatic rifle receiver with a longer integral barrel jacket with a different style of receiver markings and is marked "ymm forging" on top. This rifle has no forearm and has a folding bipod that is mounted on a large metal sleeve which also is equipped with a hooded front sight. The barrel has a flared muzzle break and full heat shield, the forward 3 7/8 inches being a composite material. There is a wooden carrying handle mounted on top of the heat shield near the breech. As previously noted the standard 10 shot rotary box magazine was removed and replaced with a completely new lower assembly (that has Israeli markings on the side) that features a bottom mounted, bar style, box magazine. Additionally the left side of the receiver or magazine assembly has a hinged door that covers the magazine opening when the magazine is removed. The most notable feature was that these light machine guns fired from an open bolt when on full automatic and then fired from a closed bolt when firing in a semi-automatic mode, similar to the German FG42 rifle. These rifles employ a folding rear sight with a single rear sight aperture. The elevation knob for the rear sight is mounted on top of the sight. These light machine guns all featured a straight line recoil mechanism. The stock is two 6 3/8" steel tubes with a steel buttplate. As noted this rifle is actually a semi-automatic version of the 1941 LMG and the top of the receiver is marked "CAL. 8 MM SEMI-AUTO / "JOHNSON AUTOMATICS / MODEL OF 1941 / MADE IN PROVEDENCE R.I., U.S.A. / 4162". The right side of the magazine well is marked "2241" vertically at the front and "2 / D 7177 / six point Israeli star followed by Hebrew characters. The upper rear of the lower assembly is marked "2411" and so is the left side of the barrel. The right side of the lower receiver has the two position selector switch that is marked in foreign characters. It has walnut pistol grip plates. It is complete with four rare 10 shot spare magazines.

Condition:  Excellent. The rifle retains 98% of the gray parkerized finish with a few overall scattered light scratches. The pistol grip is very good with a few minor dings and nicks and there are a few minor chips and dents on the carrying handle. The markings are clear and crisp. A nice example of a scarce prototype rifle



Model 1941 Prototype Johnson Semi-Automatic Rifle
  303 British 
Serial #:  3597  Manufacturer:  Johnson Automatics MFG Co
Barrel Length:  22 1/2 inch round  Finish:  parkerized
Grip:  walnut  Stock:  metal/composite

Description:  This rifle is one of a group of five rare Model 1941 Johnson semi-automatic prototype rifles that Rock Island Auction company has to offer for sale in this auction. These early prototype rifles were used as the basis for the development of the later and highly successful, 1941 Light Machine Gun that was used by the USMC and early 1st Special Forces units during WWII. Each one is a "One of a Kind" design with unique features unto itself. The 1941 Light Machine Gun was developed during the early stages of WWII and although proved successful from a design standpoint but it did have its drawbacks in the field. One of the advantages of this weapon was that the Light Machine Gun and the standard Johnson semi automatic rifle used several common components, which helped cut down on the logistics burden and the manufacturing costs by not having to stock multiple configurations of parts. This specific model of rifle is like the others in that it started out as a basic Johnson semi automatic rifle receiver forging although an earlier version since it doesn't have any letter prefix in the serial number and it has a double tubular stock (the upper is a composite material) with a steel buttplate. Otherwise this rifle has the same basic receiver forging, barrel assembly, and bolt assembly as the other ones. As previously noted the standard 10 shot rotary box magazine was removed and replaced with a completely new lower assembly that featured a left side mounted, 20 round, flat box magazine. Additionally the right side of the receiver or magazine assembly retained the sheet metal cover that was machined with stripper clip slots allowing the box magazine to be loaded from the right side with stripper clips or with a single round, similar to the original rotary magazine design. The most notable feature was that these light machine guns fired from an open bolt when on full automatic and then fired from a closed bolt when firing in a semi-automatic mode, similar to the German FG42 rifle. This rifles employs a folding rear sight with a single sight aperture with the adjusting knob mounted on the top. The front sight was a unique high mounted, one-piece base with a blade machined into the top rear. These light machine guns all featured a straight line recoil mechanism with a lowered buttstock to help reduce muzzle climb. As noted this rifle is actually a semi-automatic version of the 1941 LMG and the top of the receiver is marked with the standard, five line patent dates next to "CAL. 30-'06 SEMI-AUTO. / "JOHNSON AUTOMATICS" / MODEL OF 1941 / MADE IN PROVIDENCE R.I.,U.S.A / 3597". The consignor reports that this rifle is chambered for the 303 British cartridge. The right side of the lower receiver has the two position selector switch that is marked with two Hebrew letters. The top rear of the lower unit is marked "1960" and three six pointed Israeli star proofs. The bottom of the lower receiver is also marked "1960". It has the three-piece walnut stock, short walnut forend and walnut pistol grip plates, bipod mounted on barrel jacket that has an Israeli crest over "1960", and ahead of the bipod is a 4 7/8" composite heat shield. It is complete with three, super rare 20 shot spare magazines.

Condition:  Excellent. The rifle retains approximately 98% of the gray parkerized finish with some scattered minor scratches. The pistol grip is very fine with a few minor dents and dings. The markings are clear and crisp. It should be noted that during the conversion process to 303 British caliber, the rear end of the perforated barrel jacket was lengthened 1/2 inch and rewelded to the receiver forging. A nice example of a scarce prototype rifle