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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.

ZF40 / ZF41 scopes
ZF40 / ZF41 scopes

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)

examples of an early and late model zf41 scopes
examples of an early and late model zf41 scopes
ZF41 Early and late model comparison
ZF41 Early and late model comparison
ZF41 Early and late model comparison

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).

ZF41 and ZF41-1 difference
ZF41 and ZF41-1 difference

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.

Early and late ZF41 scope comparison
Early and late ZF41 scope comparison

ZF41 Makers

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

zf41 maker codes
zf41 maker codes

ZF41 Reproduction

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 rainshield stamp
zf41 rainshield stamp

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.

Further Reading