In the mid-fifties, the Swedish army was armed with several types of infantry weapons different classes. There were both outdated magazine rifles with manual reloading, as well as newer self-loading systems. Modern automatic rifles were not yet available. In this regard, the command conceived a large-scale rearmament with the transition to modern standards. Work in this direction began with attempts to improve and modernize the existing Ag m / 42 rifle.
At the very beginning of the forties, the CJ Ljungmans Verkstäder factory, under the guidance of designer Eric Eklund, developed a new self-loading rifle. This sample successfully coped with the tests and in 1942 entered service under the name Automatgevär m / 42 or Ag m / 42.
The rifle had the usual ergonomics with a long wooden stock on which all mechanisms were fixed. Used a barrel of 6,5 mm in length 620 mm. On the trunk, a gas exhaust system was provided with their supply directly to the bolt frame. Locking was carried out by skewing the shutter. The bolt group did not have its own cocking handle. Instead, it was proposed to use a movable receiver cover: when shifted forward, the cover grabbed the bolt frame, which allowed it to be pulled back and released, loading the weapon.
The Ag m / 42 used a standard 6,5x55 mm Swedish rifle cartridge. Ammunition was placed in a box store for 10 rounds. Formally, the store was detachable, but in practice it was not replaced. The reloading of weapons was carried out with clips of 5 rounds. The store was seized only when servicing a rifle.
For its time, the Automatgevär m / 42 rifle was a very remarkable weapon with fairly high characteristics. At least, it was not inferior to foreign self-loading systems, but by the mid-fifties such weapons were outdated and required modernization. Or replacements with a completely new model. The search for new weapons for the army began precisely with an attempt to update the good old Ag m / 42.
The first proposal for the modernization of Ag m / 42 addressed the issue of ammunition. Keeping the Swedish cartridge 6,5x55 mm or abandoning it for a long time has been a topic of active discussion. Various arguments were presented in favor of both positions, and one of the results of such disputes was the redesigned rifle. According to various sources, such a project was developed at Carl Gustafs Stads Gevärsfaktori.
Given the current military-political situation in Europe and possible ways of cooperation with other countries, it was decided to experimentally rebuild the Ag m / 42B under the new 7,62x51 mm NATO cartridge. Perhaps in the future such a rifle could interest third countries and go for export.
To adapt the weapon to the new cartridge, the replacement of the barrel, bolt and magazine was required. We also had to rework the gas engine and return system according to the energy of the ammunition. The old wooden box remained in place, but now smaller clamps were fixed on it. The barrel trim was removed, and the gas pipe was covered with a metal casing. Except for other markings, this was the only significant external difference between the modified rifle and the base model.
The project of processing Ag m / 42B under the NATO cartridge in its original form did not interest the army. The resulting weapon could use a foreign cartridge, but there were no cardinal differences or advantages. At the same time, the characteristic flaws of the rifles of that time remained. As a result, the Automatgevär m / 42 under 7,62x51 mm did not leave the test stage.
It should be noted that another project of transferring a rifle to a different cartridge was successful. At the very end of the fifties, Egypt bought from Sweden a production line for the production of Ag m / 42 and launched the production of its version of the rifle called "Hakim". This product used a 7,92x57 mm Mauser cartridge. Later, Egyptian gunsmiths once again finalized the design of the Swedish rifle. On the basis of "Hakim" made a carbine "Rashid" under the Soviet cartridge 7,62x39 mm.
The Egyptian versions of the E. Eklund rifle were produced in a large series and served for some time. However, the Swedish army was not interested in such ideas.
Like any other rifle of the early forties, Ag m / 42 was long, not too light and not very convenient to carry. In addition, a conditionally detachable store added problems in operation. The Carl Gustaf factory took all this into account and presented the option of turning an obsolete rifle into a weapon of modern appearance.
The basis for such a sample was taken Ag m / 42B with a 7,62 mm barrel under the NATO cartridge. The stock was cut vertically at the chamber level and its rear part with the butt was removed, leaving only the forend. To the existing receiver below attached a new metal casing of the L-shaped form. Its front part served as the receiving shaft of the store, and the rear covered the details of the trigger mechanism.
At the back, a pistol grip and a folding stock from a Kulsprutepistol m / 45 submachine gun were attached to the new casing. The arrow of the shooter was supposed to cover the beveled handle, to which a metal frame butt was hingedly attached to the back. The latter developed by turning to the right and lay along the weapon, not blocking access to the trigger.
An important difference from the base sample was the presence of a full detachable box store. In the shaft with a rear latch, it was possible to place a magazine for 20 rounds of 7,62x51 mm. After the ammunition was used up, the magazine was simply removed and replaced with a new one - without lengthy manipulations with the shutter and clips.
Thus, the introduction of a pair of parts increased the ammunition ready for use and simplified the use of weapons. In addition, there was the possibility of a relatively simple and cheap upgrade of cash rifles on a new project - including in the interests of a foreign customer.
Nevertheless, the army did not like this version of the rifle. With all its advantages, an improved rifle with an imported cartridge and with detachable magazines was just an option for the development of the obsolete Ag m / 42B. The military felt that altering the existing rifles does not have practical meaning and does not provide the desired benefits.
Plans for the future
By processing the original Automatgevär m / 42 rifle, it was possible to provide some new opportunities and advantages, but there was no hope for a major breakthrough. In this regard, attempts to modernize and rework the existing sample were curtailed. However, this did not prevent the use of the achievements of E. Eklund in new projects.
The next step was the launch of a competition for the development of a completely new automatic rifle, which initially meets the modern and current requirements of the Swedish army. The main weapons factories in Sweden soon created and offered two new weapons. In addition, a potential contract attracted the attention of foreign manufacturers. Own Swedish developments for this contest are of great interest and worthy of separate study.