Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1658: Johnson Automatics MFG Co 1945 (LMG) Machine gun 30-06

Auction Date: September 10, 2016

Exceptionally Rare Documented Original World War II Johnson Fully Automatic Class III/NFA Light Machine Gun from the Winchester Museum with Accessories

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $50,000 - $80,000

Exceptionally Rare Documented Original World War II Johnson Fully Automatic Class III/NFA Light Machine Gun from the Winchester Museum with Accessories

Manufacturer: Johnson Automatics MFG Co
Model: 1945 (LMG)
Type: Machine gun
Gauge: 30-06
Barrel: 22 inch round
Finish: parkerized
Grip: walnut
Stock: plastic
Item Views: 4802
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 305
Class: Class III

This is an exceptional example of a very rare Johnson Arms Model 1945 Light Machine Gun (LMG). These are extremely rare guns as most were either sold to foreign countries after WWII or just plain destroyed since they were fully automatic. This beautiful example survived both of those fates because it was sold/transferred to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and held in the Winchester Museum as evidenced by the small aluminum Winchester factory museum inventory tag (W 116) attached to the left side of the receiver. Consequently, it has remained in its original unaltered and like new condition. These are very rare item in any condition as they were actually a late WWII design improved LMG, based on the earlier Model 1941 gun. The earlier LMG was in use by the early U.S. Special Forces, i.e. 1st Special Services, USMC Raiders and Paramarines. The earlier model worked extremely well in that it was light weight, used a 30 round detachable magazine and had a quick change barrel. However, based on recommendation by both the Army and Marine units, in 1943, Melvin Johnson set out to improve the original design, which eventually evolved into the Model 1944 and eventually to the Model 1945 as shown here. The major changes were to the internal hammer block design, the buttstock, forend and bipod. The buttstock was completely redesigned by eliminating the heavy wood stock and replacing it with two heavy duty "fiberglass tubes" that held the recoil spring mechanism and a new sheet metal buttplate. The next major improvement was the elimination of the heavy steel bipod with a new folding "monopod" that also featured a heavy duty fiberglass center section with a stamped steel foot on the bottom. Both of these changes considerably reduced the weight and improved the manufacturing process. The next improvement was the elimination of the wooden forend and the use of a stamped sheet metal forend which also reduced the weight, improved the strength and shortened the manufacturing time. This new model also featured a heavier and more robust center barrel support. It still fires from an open bolt utilizing the side mounted magazine. As a side note, these Johnson magazines are almost identical to the earlier Danish Madsen M30 designed magazines. The top of the receiver is marked with the five line, patent information followed by "LIGHT MACHINE GUN/JOHNSON AUTOMATICS/CAL. 30-06/MODEL OF/MADE IN PROVIDENCE RI. U.S.A". Below that it is serial numbered 3131 which is actually very close to several of the LMGs tested by the U.S. Army in 1945. This model has the distinctive high front sight with the fully adjustable rear sight. The beautiful LMG comes with a KERR No-Buckle canvas sling and 5 original magazine (total). This specific LMG has been in a private collection since the 1950s. A very rare opportunity to obtain an extremely rare, well documented WWII Johnson light machine gun.

Rating Definition:

Excellent overall with 97% of the original light gray/green parkerized finish showing light wear from handling and probably disassembly at the Winchester factory. The bolt shows minimal test firing and the fiberglass tubes are all in excellent condition. Mechanically excellent. NOTE: This item is restricted as a National Firearms Act (NFA), Fully Automatic Weapon that is currently registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) that has been classified as a "Curios or Relic" as defined in 27 CFR, 478.11. These weapons are still subject to the provisions of 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44 and 27 CFR part 478.

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