The ZF41 Sharp Shooter
A brief history & collectors guide – part 2
ZF41 manufacturing variances
During WWII, German optic companies were to produce a wide variety of optical sights and binoculars for many difference uses. The serial numbers were assigned to optics generally and not to a specific type. For this reason it is very hard to date a ZF41 scope just by its serial number.
Early and Late model
There were two main types of scope issued. An early model, approximately 13cm long, (17cm with rain shields extended) with a diameter of approximately 22cm to the lens barrel.
Later scopes had a wider lens barrel of 24cm. The rain shields and cases are therefore not interchangeable between the two scopes.
The images below demonstrates the differences between the two scope designs, showing the main adjustment drum dials and objective contrasts. In both images, the earlier model is shown in front (lower) with later type behind (top)
ZF41 and ZF41/1 differences
The later ZF41 had a simplified internal lens system, with a slightly smaller ocular and the designation ZF41-1 or ZF41/1. The image below shows the longer ocular length of the ZF41-1 (top) compared to the ZF41 (bottom).
The picture below shows 3 scope. Early ZF40 / ZF41 is at the bottom, the later ZF41 is in the middle and ZF41/1 is on top.
bmj: Hensoldt & Sohne Optische Werke A.-G., Wetzlar
cag: Swarovski, Tyrol, Austria
clb: Dr. F. A. Wohler, Kassel
cxn: Emil Busch A.-G., Optische Industrie, Rathenow
ddv: Oculus, Berlin
dow: Opticotechna G.m.b.H., Prerau, Czech
dym: Runge & Kaulfuss, Rathenow
eso: Rodenstock Optische Werke, Munich
emv: Hertel & Reuss, Optik u. Feinmechanik, Kassel
fvs: Spindler & Hoyer, Gottingen
fzg: Feinmechanik G.m.b.H., Kassel
gkp: Rufs & Co, Kassel
jve: Ernst Ludvig Optisches Werk, Weixdorf
kov: Etablissement Barbier, Benard et Turenne, Paris
mow: Seidenweberer Berga C.W.Crous & Co., Berga/Elster
kay: Ford-Werke A.G., Werk, Berlin
hap: Kohl, S.G, Max Physikalische Apparate, Chemnitz
A large number of reproduction scopes and mounts are now on the market. They all have the cxn code and are in the 970000 number range. The highest serial number range seen on an original cxn scope is in the 193000 range.
All original wartime mounts were manufactured by Berlin-Lübecker Maschinenfabrik and are marked duv with a waffentamt inspection stamp of e/214. This stamping has also been added on the reproduction mounts.
Some later, original rain shields sometimes carry a number 27-1079J2. This is thought to be a stock or order number.
ZF41 Carrying Case – Behalter
The ZF41 carrying case (Behalter) was made only by jvb, Wessel & Müller, Beschlagfabrik (WaA542).
Type 1 – early case
Early cans were a green colour (or blue for Luftwaffe issue) with a leather or web belt strap. The hinge was mounted internally with a tube inside for the dust brush. The serial number of the scope was stamped on the case on the left side of the lid.
Type 2 case
Later cases were still green or blue in colour, with a web belt strap. The case was modified to have an external hinge, with all other features remaining unchanged.
Type 3 case
Later cans then appeared in ordnance tan, dunkelgalbe. The case was simplified with the internal tube for the dust brush being removed.
Type 4 case
The last fourth late war variant was issued with a metal D-ring strap as opposed to a web opening strap.
Reproduction vs Original Cases
There are a number of reproductions on the market, which over time, have been reproduced to a very high standard. There are a number of minor variations between original and reproduced cases, but the most visible difference is on the back of the case, where the belt strap is secured. Original cases will always have three strap rivets. The shape of the steel holder has a slight curve, which is missing from all current reproductions.
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