The Ag 42, or Ag 42B [Halvautomatiskt Gevar 42B] rifle is a Swedish manufactured rifle designed by Erik Eklund. It is also known as the "Ljungman"; according to information provided to me by Darren C. Hunt, "the nickname arises from the the name of the plant owned and operated by the designer of the AG 42, Erik Eklund. Mr. Eklund owned a factory in Malmo, Sweden called "AB C.J. Ljungmans Verstader". This firm supposedly specialized in the manufacture of gasoline pumping equipment! I found this information, quite accidentally, in an article on the Egyptian Hakim in the book "Surplus Firearms". The article was written by Harris Bierman."
Production began in 1942, one year after the rifle was first designed. I believe all original production of the rifle was during World War 2. All are in 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser caliber. The "B" denotes post-WWII (1953) modification to existing rifles, including: adding a stainless steel gas tube without a "reservoir" in it, better gripping surfaces to the receiver cover, a one piece cleaning rod, a rubber buffer to deflect ejected cases, a slightly curved mag for better feeding (also marked with a "B" denoting the improved pattern, same as the rifle), as well as improvements to the sights, extractor and trigger group design. The "B" modified rifles will also be the subject of this article, as I don't have access to an unmodified one. It is an interesting semi-auto, combining features of existing rifles with some new ideas. And some pretty unique ones, like the use of the receiver cover to operate the action, rather than an operating handle.
The locking system is essentially the tipping bolt system of the SVT-38/40 Tokarev series of Russian rifles, also used in the FN-FAL. But unlike those rifles it uses a direct impingement gas system, rather than a piston, to transfer the gas energy to the bolt carrier, and cycle the action automatically. This is the system used on the AR-15/M-16 series of rifles, where a tube conducts gas from a port in the barrel directly to the bolt carrier. The Ag 42 was the first production rifle to employ this system.
The rifle uses a 10 round detachable box magazine, and can be fitted with a bayonet, of the sort used on Swedish Mauser rifles. A copy was also made in Egypt as the Hakim rifle, in 8mm (7.92) Mauser. The Egyptians apparently used surplussed Swedish tooling. The Egyptians also acquired tooling to make the Swedish M45 sub-machine gun at the same time, in the late 1940's - early 1950's. The mags for both the Hakim and Ag 42 will interchange, but the Swedish mags have the usual crown marking, and latch at both the front and rear of the mag well, the Egyptian mags just latch at the back. In my opinion the Swedish guns are better finished than the Egyptian guns, and generally command a higher price.
The Madsen factory in Denmark also apparently made the rifle, but in extremely limited quantities. The Danish version did not use a regular straight gas tube, but rather conducted the gas around the barrel, in a tube. This was supposed to cool it, and lessen the recoil, by using less energetic gas to cycle the action. Apparently Madsen was hoping to get foreign orders, which were not forthcoming. I was told this gun never got past the prototype stage.
Spare parts and accessories are available from Springfield Sporters. They have a blank firing adapter (BFA) and a funky set of night sights, which use allegedly glow-in-the-dark paint and snap over the existing sights. They do seem to be able to get you to align the sights in darkness though, but mine won't glow. They were meant for barrage shooting, not aimed fire.
To install the BFA you unscrew the muzzle nut, which is threaded on the inside the barrel. You unscrew it using the tool in the spare parts and tool roll. It came with my rifle, and most of those imported by Century, or you can order the tool and spare part set for like $30 from Gun Parts Corp. GPC also recently (end of 1994) had a batch of new condition Swedish made mags. There is also a 30 round aftermarket mag, I have no experience with them, but was told they don't work very well.
The Ag 42 has very nice sights, in my opinion. The front sight post comes in different heights, and is also adjustable for windage. According to the manual, (as quoted in the German book on Swedish military weapons, "Die Leichten Schwedischen Infanteriegewehre - Armee und Heimwehr" [Swedish Light Infantry Rifles - Army and Guard] by Schwend publishing company, [available in the USA from Sarco], with the section on the Ag 42B very kindly translated for me by Risto Alanko), one turn of the front sight screw moves the point of impact 8.5 cm at 100 meters. The front sight base is marked with the height of the installed front sight, for example + or - 0.5 and so on. Also from that book; the rear sight, "has two range dials, one for [pointed] torpedo ammunition (cartridge m/41) and one for [blunt] ogival ammunition (cartridge m/94). The installed range can be read between the sight knob and the window hole for the range dial. [Either] a pointed or a blunt bullet [picture] is visible. This picture shows the ammunition to be used. The sight can be adjusted with the knob, with 100m steps, for 100 - 600 meters with the cartridge m/94 and for 100 - 700 meters with cartridge m/41." The rear sight has an open notch. To switch between the dial for the m/41 and m/94 rounds: remove the top handguard by removing the barrel band/sling swivel securing it to the gun. Pull out the U shaped wire retaining pin in the front inside area of the dial. Remove the knob, and the plate below it, they just pull out. Rotate the plate 180 degrees from its previous position, and re-install it, so the appropriate bullet shape is visible from the rear. Re-install the knob (make sure the number "1" is visible, and that it clicks and rotates), the retaining pin and the handguard. For more information on 6.5x55 ammunition, check out Tad Marko's home page, http://www.why.net/users/tad/swede.html.
The safety is at the rear of the action, behind the bolt cover. Looking down the rifle as if aiming it, when the toggle is to the left it is on "fire", to the right "safe".
To operate the rifle if the bolt is closed: put the safety lever on "fire", and insert a loaded magazine. Push the receiver cover toward the muzzle, until it latches on the bolt carrier. Pull them both backwards, when they reach the rear of the action the latch will disengage, and the bolt will fly forward, chambering a round. Then pull the trigger to shoot, or put it on "safe" to shoot later. For some reason this arrangement, and this bolt, have a tendency to pinch my fingers, I suggest trying out all the different scenarios with this system (bolt closed, rack the action, open bolt, empty or no mag in place, open bolt, loaded mag in place) before actually using it, to be familiar with what happens in each.
On the last round the bolt will stay rearward. If you wish to then close the bolt with the mag in place you put the safety on "fire", and the bolt carrier and cover then must be slid forward about 1/8" until a click is heard. Then, depressing the mag follower, slide the cover backwards, and the latch will release and the bolt slams home. Removing the mag accomplishes the same result as depressing the follower of the mag. Depressing the follower with your hand will result in a pinched finger. Or it does for me.
With the safety on "safe", and bolt open, the bolt cover will not release the bolt. To separate them, you trip the latch manually. Push the bolt carrier and cover fully toward the muzzle of the gun. At the rear of the cover, at the top is a metal latch; press the bottom of it, the part that is protruding from the back. This releases the cover from the bolt carrier, and the cover will come back under spring pressure.
It is easier to load the rifle using stripper clips for the Swedish Mauser, rather than remove the mag; the front latch makes it a little clumsy to keep pulling the mag off and back on to the gun. You can also load the mag with single rounds, from the top. If you do load it in this manner, closing the bolt on a full mag is as follows: with the safety on "fire" push the cover and bolt carrier forward about 1/8" inch, until you hear a click. Pulling it back will release the bolt carrier and it will fly forward and chamber a round.
To field strip the rifle: Set the safety to a position in the middle, between "safe" and "fire". The bolt should be closed, and hammer cocked. With the safety in that position, push the receiver cover forward about 1 inch, until the safety assembly may be lifted straight up and out of the receiver. After this the cover and bolt and carrier may be withdrawn from the rear of the rifle. This is all that is needed to strip the rifle for cleaning or inspection, and is in my opinion an extremely easy system, similar to the FN-FAL.
At this point one can also see the ejector block and last shot hold open assembly, at the rear of the mag well area. It is very reminiscent of the design of the FN-FAL. To remove the cleaning rod from the rifle just unscrew it, it uses a conventional right hand thread.
I like my Ag 42B a lot. It is fairly accurate with the recently imported 143 grain Swedish m/41 "sniper" surplus ammo (I got mine from SOG). The iron sights are for me an extremely good design, I have no trouble using them to hit my target, adjusting is also easy with a large knob on the rear sight. However I shot an NRA High Power "clinic" with mine, and while I did OK at 100 and 200 years, I got dogged at 600 yards, my rifle would barely stay on the paper. I am no great rifle shot, but I think the rifle has to share some of the blame. In its defense it was made in 1943. :) The metal butt plate, together with the "sniper" ammo also resulted in a pretty sore shoulder after 50 rounds. Robert Pogson told me that the large knob for adjusting the rear sight tends to roll on his back when carrying the rifle on a sling, and lose its adjustment. He also indicated, when the rear sight is elevated it also will not hold windage. I have not shot my rifle enough to notice these things. Workmanship is excellent, although it is not a high polished, blued commercial type rifle.
As this rifle is long out of production, acquiring one is a question of scouring guns shows, and Shotgun News. In around 1987 Century International Arms imported a quantity of Ag 42B rifles into the USA, apparently all surplussed by Sweden. They came with the tool and spare parts kit roll. In general the rifles were in very good to excellent condition. Century is sold out now (4/95). The Hakim rifle is listed on the C&R list as a C&R. The Ag 42B/Ljungman is not. However any made in or before 1953 will be covered by the blanket listing of all issue military rifles from that period. I believe the Ljungman is not listed because all production falls into that category.
Century International Arms, PO Box 714 St. Albans VT 05478, (802) 527-1252, FAX (802) 527-0470, orders (800) 258-8879. They often have surplus 6.5x55 ammo.
Gun Parts Corp, West Hurley NY 12491 (914) 679-2417, FAX (914) 679 5849. They may still have Swedish made mags, and tools for the AG 42.
Sarco Inc. 323 Union Street, Stirling NJ 07980 (908) 647-3800, FAX (908) 647-9413, for the German langauge book on Swedish small arms.
SOG International Inc., 100 S. Mechanic St., PO Box 590, Lebanon, OH 45036, (513) 932-8148 FAX (513) 932-8928, orders (800) 944-4867. They usually have a selection of 6.5x55 ammo, and have had the Swedish surplus "sniper" ammo.
Springfield Sporters Inc R.D. #1 Penn Run PA 15766 (412) 254-2626 FAX (412) They sell lots of parts and accessories for the AG-42.