Australian Owen Sub Machine Gun

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by spidge, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    Australian Owen Sub Machine Gun

    Caliber: 9x19mm Luger/Para
    Weight: 4.22 kg unloaded
    Length: 813 mm
    Barrel length: 247 mm
    Rate of fire: 700 rounds per minute
    Magazine capacity: 32 rounds
    Effective range: 100-200 meters

    Owen Mk.1-43 submachine gun in camouflage paint
    View attachment 591

    Owen Mk.1-42 submachine gun, field stripped View attachment 592

    Evelyn Owen, an Australian, developed his first automatic weapon, chambered for .22LR cartridge, by 1939, and offered it to Australian army. This weapon was a strange-looking revolver-type contraption with fixed "cylinder" instead of magazine, and thumb-operated trigger. However, by 1940 Owen produced its next design, in somewhat more potent (but still relatively mild) .32ACP / 7.65x17 Browning cartridge. This was more "usual" weapon, with traditional trigger, dual pistol grips and detachable box magazine, inserted under the receiver and inclined rearward and to the left. By 1941, Owen produced several more prototypes, chambered in .45ACP, 9mm Luger and even .38 Special revolver cartridges; this work was done at Lysaghts Newcastle Works in New South Wales, Australia. 9mm prototype, made by Lysaghts, was tested against Thompson and Sten submachine guns, and found superior to both. Adopted in 1942, this gun was manufactured until 1945 in three basic versions, Mark 1-42, Mark 1-43 (or Mark 1 Wood butt), and Mark 2. About 45 000 Owen SMGs were made by Lysaghts, and these remained in service with Australian forces until 1960s, through World War 2, Korean and Vietnam wars. In general, these weapons were well liked by soldiers due to their robustness, reliability and simplicity. The only downside of Owen SMG was its somewhat heavy weight.
    Owen submachine guns are blowback operated, top-fed weapons that fired from open bolt. Receiver is of tubular shape, with the bolt body separated from the cocking handle by the small bulkhead inside. This precluded the dirt to enter the receiver area through the cocking handle slot, but also required the barrel to be made removable, as the bolt and return spring were pulled forward out of receiver. Barrel was held in place by simple latch, located at the front of the receiver, ahead of the magazine housing. Muzzle was equipped with recoil compensator. Pistol grips were made from wood, detachable buttstock was made of steel wire on Mk.1-42 Owens and from wood on later models. Due to the top mounted magazine, fixed sights were offset to the left.
  2. digger

    digger Guest

    A friend of mine, now deceased, that used the Owen with the 3rd Militia Bn in New Guinea liked it but told me it was "gutless" and the only good thing about it was its reliability under the most severe of service conditions. He preferred the Thompson as it "had oomph and when you hit something it stayed hit" weighed about the same as the Owen but suffered from the conditions.
    An initial report on the Owen can be found here page 59 of the 25th Bde War Diary
    They were used right up to Vietnam as the preferred weapon of the forward scouts until the AR-15/M16 became available in large numbers
  3. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    I have read also that there was a problem with piercing matted type clothing (Korea)

    The big advantage of the Owen with it's calibre was the close fighting that was synonymous with the jungle environments in ww2.
  4. digger

    digger Guest

    The early Owens also had a faulty cocking handle that didn't seat in the recess propery. Any sudden bump or jarring would cause an accidental discharge much to consternation of those close to the carrier of the weapon

  5. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    What do they say, never trust the "A" model of anything!
  6. Cutaway

    Cutaway Guest

    Id like to know more about the later F1 smg used in vietnam.
  7. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

  8. fangster

    fangster Guest

    Funny how the yanks would give their eye teeth for an Owen, and swap their Thomsons for one if given half the chance. The things (Owens) worked in all conditions, unlike the others. The Owens were strange, ugly little things, but to those who have walked and lived in the jungles know that beauty is functionality, and the last thing you need to worry about is reliability.
    The 9mm round is designed for close quarter work, and there were other weapons issued for further out stuff. But in the jungle, with it's rain, mud, and rotting vegetation which got into everything, the Owen was, and still is although outdated, matched but not beaten to those who cannot afford to have reliability issues.
  9. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    Welcome to the forum Fangster,

    Tell us a bit more about yourself in the introduction thread.
  10. Cutaway

    Cutaway Guest

    The 'tommy gun' of Australia.

    The .45ACP one looks cool but the version chambered in .38spc sounds interesting the fact it fires revolver cartridges.

    Although heavy, It would still be a badass SMG even today.
  11. Nostalgair

    Nostalgair New Member

    "The Owens were strange, ugly little things,..."

    Now that just hurts.:becky:


  12. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Well, having seen a picture of you, Owen, I would advise sticking to flying and writing....I'm afraid the catwalk does not beckon :peep:

  13. Nostalgair

    Nostalgair New Member

    I'll scratch that one off my list! (....after the Calvin Klein shoot.)

    By the way, I have actually been asked if I was named after the Owen gun, given Dad's background. However, you know the story on that one and Dad tended to use the Bren.

    View attachment 1394


  14. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Well, why not?! :becky:

    Had a little chuckle about your comment about Owens.

    The picture on the back flap of your book really shows the effects of that Tiger windburn...:peep::becky:
  15. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

  16. Lazyboy

    Lazyboy Guest

    drawings of the Owen Sub machine gun

    Sorry to open an old thread.

    I have spent a lot of time trying to find scale , without any luck.

    Would anyone know where to find them?


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