Small German Manufacturer Embraces .22LR

Story and photos by Russell Purcell (@RoadTestRuss)

I am continuing my quest to become a better marksman, but this requires that I spend a little more time at the range.

Range time can be expensive as the cost of ammunition adds up quickly when you have a penchant for squeezing the trigger as much as I do. What can I say? Target shooting is definitely an addictive activity, very social, and an awful lot of fun.

I recently added another .22 calibre rifle to my safe, and after spending a few hours exploring its capabilities I must say that I am very impressed with this new acquisition.

German Sport Guns GmbH is a German firearm manufacturer based in Ense-Höingen, Germany. A relatively new company, having been established in 2002, GSG has elected to build their business model on the design and manufacture of .22 LR firearms, a segment of the industry that many manufacturers tend to overlook.

GSG .22 LR Rifle

In my opinion, GSG has stumbled upon a growing niche that is ripe for expansion as .22LR ammunition is a relative bargain, especially when you consider that the prices for most pistol and rifle ammunition continue to move upwards due to fluctuations in the economy, insatiable consumer demand, and increasing supply shortages.

The reality is, the majority of individuals involved in shooting sports probably learned the basics of gun safety, handling, and marksmanship behind the sights of a .22 calibre rifle or pistol, and as long as .22LR remains inexpensive and widely available, this trend is likely to continue.

The rifle I selected from GSG’s catalog is the GSG StG-44. This near 10 pound, full-sized, non-restricted rifle is an interesting, and very robust replica of one of the most infamous and legendary military weapons ever produced. The Sturmgewehr 44(StG-44) was an intermediate, selective fire rifle developed for the German army during WWII that shot the 8mm Kurz cartridge. It holds the distinction of kicking off the development of a new class of firearms often referred to as assault rifles.

GSG .22 LR 2

The Sturmgewehr- which means storm rifle when translated to English- offered high capacity, low recoil, and plenty of punch, and represented the perfect mix of proven elements derived from carbine, submachine gun, and automatic rifle designs before it.

The GSG version features a much simpler design, and as such, is constructed of fewer components. However, it still retains the look and feel of the historical weapon, and features like the sights, sling mounts, and wooden furniture closely resemble those of the original. The designers even chose to include the trapdoor storage compartment in the stock, as well as the flip up cover to protect the ejection port from sand and debris.

GSG .22 LR 3

Overall the fit and finish of the GSG rifle is better than should be expected for a rifle that retails for about $600 before taxes. I am particularly impressed by the look and feel of the wood stock and checkered pistol grip.

The rifle comes fitted with easy-to-adjust iron sights, and the crisp action trigger is also readily adjustable for pull. The GSG StG-44 ships with a 25-round polymer magazine, which has been made over-sized to retain the look of those fitted to the original. I picked up a second magazine at time of purchase so that I could maximize my time plinking rather than loading.

GSG .22 LR 4

So far I have cycled about 2,000 rounds of various .22LR ammunition through the rifle and I have yet to experience a misfire, malfunction or chambering issue. In fact, the GSG StG-44 seems to be happy consuming even the cheapest bulk ammo. The metal hand guard has a tendency to get warm during continuous shooting, but I didn’t notice a change in accuracy at all.

So if you are looking for something a little different than the commonplace Ruger 10/22 , Savage, or Henry rifle, the GSG StG-44 represents a cost-effective way to develop shooting skills and embrace history in a high-quality package.

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