Here are a selection of manuals for Johnson rifles and machine guns. They are hard to find but not exceptionally scarce. With a little research and looking around they can be found at good collector's gun shows and at specialty antiquarian booksellers. Prices are higher than those for similar military weapons.

Rifle Manuals

Model 1940 Manual

This manual measures approx. 9 1/4 inches x 7 inches, has a brown card cover and the pages are a shiny magazine quality paper. It has 40 pages and gives detailed description of the rifle and the Ft. Benning tests. Pictures contained within it show a custom made test rifle (one of the R-XX series made by Taft-Peirce) with a lot of early features. A strange point to note with this manual is that in the two identical copies that I have seen pages 5 to 8 inclusive are both missing. These pages are concerned with detailed description of the parts.

Cover of 1940 Rifle Manual

Cover of 1940 rifle manual

Model 1941 Manual

The issue manual for the '41 rifle has an buff coloured card cover and measures 7 1/4 inches x 4 1/4 inches. The card having a raised grain texture to it. It has 70 pages and a pull-out schematic in the rear, again printed on the shiny magazine quality paper. detailed within are stripping, loading and immediate actions in event of stoppages. It contains 30 photographs, mostly showing Mel Johnson operating the rifle. (Click image for some inside detail)

Cover of 1941 Rifle manual

Cover of 1941 rifle manual

Machine Gun Manuals

Model 1941 Light Machine Gun

This manual has the same dimensions (7 1/4 x 4 1/4) and general layout as the 1941 Rifle manual. It has a blue coloured card cover with the same raised grain texture. Same type magazine paper as the above two. It has 93 pages plus a pull out schematic in the rear and is profusely illustrated with photographs and line drawings. Again most of the photographs are of Mel Johnson.  This is the revised pattern as the original type has the orange coloured cover .

Cover of 1941 LMG manual

Model of 1944 Light Machine Gun

This manual brings with it a new format. Instead of being in the 'portrait' style it is printed in the 'landscape' style. It has a red coloured cover with a line drawing of the 1944 pattern LMG superimposed upon it. The manual has 20 pages this time, printed on a lower quality book paper, probably due to wartime constraints. Again many photographs but interestingly only a few of Mel Johnson, another unknown person is featured in most of them. As a side note my copy has hand written in pencil on the last page, I presume that this was a USMC detachment or raider battalion........any suggestions?

Cover of 1944 LMG manual

Cover of 1944 LMG manual

last page

The inscription on the last page

Model of 1944 Light Machine Gun (French Version)

This French copy of the Model 1944 LMG manual is exactly the same in all ways as the version above except that all the text is in French and that the last page has an extra photograph that is not featured in the English language version. This extra photo graph shows Melvin Johnson at Taft-Peirce discussing the Model 1944 LMG with two T-P engineers who helped him in the early stages of the LMG's development.

French language version of the 1944 LMG manual

Note: All manuals shown SLIGHTLY LARGER than actual size.