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The MG 42 at least used hammer forged barrels in its construction. Hammer forging had been invented in Germany ca 1939 and was a very good method for creating heavy-duty barrels very quickly. The Allies instead used button rifling.
I am interested to know if anyone knows what material (ie. what steel grade) the German barrels were forged from?
Hammer forging is quite a demanding process for the steel as the forces it must tolerate are quite substantial. It should also work harden properly so that it becomes a suitably rugged barrel, but not too much, because it would either break during forging or become unforgeable due to extreme hardness.
So, does anyone have any information regarding the German manufacturing process for these weapons?
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It is referenced in Appendix V of Backbone of the Wehrmacht by Richard D Law. Seeing as you appear to know what hammer-forging is I will not repeat it here, because sadly it does not contain any information about the materials, only the machine and the process. If this is because the report mentioned above did not contain this information or because the author didn't see it as important, I don't know, but at least it's a start.
The report should also contain some information about the BLM barrel straightening machine which I found to be quite interesting.
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