Enfield No.4 VSR: Complete

Cold War, Complete builds, Custom builds, Lee-Enfield, No. 4 L-E, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

Some heads up on this No.4 in the aim of full disclosure!

Firstly, this is a custom build for Sniper Mechanic, using one of his base rifles. As a result the trigger group and internals are different to the standard. As he is a sniper chiefly, the way I have mounted the scope is different to the way I would do for a British WWII/Cold War Airsofter with the focus on stability rather than authenticity. I have also performed a minor heresy in producing shall we say… a non-standard accessory for it (more of that later).

Although in due course I hope to produce a No.32 scope mount that is both authentic and very stable it will require more work (though for the record the one I have made previously is fine, just not as stable as I would like for a high-powered sniper rifle). Watch this space for more news on that.

The Rifle

Right side.

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Left side

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The buttplate, a rubber cast copy as originals are becoming very difficult to source.

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The foresight and muzzle. Dimensioned to take accessories. Note the original front band.

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Top view of the receiver: from here you can see the hop-up adjustment screw in the top handguard. You can also see some of the modifications I have made to the receiver to fit the scope. As this is an older designed receiver I have used some Polymorph to add material to the structure.

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The VSR magazine well. This is the newer MkII version.

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Scoped

This replica uses my No.32 scope option. Although I tried using modern pattern scopes, alas they just don’t look right on Enfields. The No.32 scope is a very distinctive shape, which really changes the silhouette when mounted.

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Side view showing the more modern scope mounts. As you can see, with these mounts it is necessary to fold the rear sight back to fit them.

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Rear view.

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Spike Bayonet

Although I have shared pictures before, I thought it would be nice to share a picture of it mounted on the rifle.

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Suppressor

And finally, the heresy. Dan (Sniper Mechanic) wanted a way to mount a suppressor. I at first thought about making a screw mount adaptor, but this custom suppressor suits the rifle rather well, attaches to the bayonet lugs and keeps the tube out the way of this sights.

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Front view.

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Keeping the suppressor off-centre from the barrel means it is quite nicely in line with the rest of the rifle.

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To remove it, it has the same system as the bayonet catch.

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Pushing the button in allows it to be twisted and pulled off.

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If you like this build you can see other complete projects here. If you have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

 

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

 

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No.32 Scope model

Cold War, Custom builds, Optics, Products, Weapons, WWII

Producing as I have been airsoft replicas of the No.4 and L42A1 rifles, I had need to mount a scope. Unfortunately, the British issue No.32 was a very distinctive optic, even for the time when such scopes looked very different to modern ones. I tried mounting normal modern scopes but they just didn’t look right and ruined the lines of the rifle.

While a very nice replica can be acquired from the Far East, the cost is quite high once import duty has been added, so a lower cost alternative is in order.

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This 3D printed shell fits around a small and inexpensive scope. It gives the profile of the No.32 and still gives access to the adjustment for zeroing the scope.

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My hope is, in the longer term, to also change the reticule so that it too is correct.

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P.S.: Since I wrote the rest of this article, I have been experimenting with reticle modification and construction. This is very far from perfect but it’s a start.

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If you like this build you can see other complete projects here. If you have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

 

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

 

Airsoft G3: External upgrades and safe bayonet

Cold War, Complete builds, Custom builds, G3, G3 Bayonet, War on Terror, Weapons

Most of this work I did a little while ago, a friend asked me to fit their wooden original furniture to their airsoft G3. This work was a lot of small, fine adjustments so I didn’t really photograph the process. You can however enjoy the end result!

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On the other side. If you look closely you can see that the thread for the front sling mount has been replaced with a steel nut as it had stripped out (threads in aluminium don’t last that well).

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A closer view at the buttstock end. Although the receiver shape is about right, it needed thinning out in a few places to fit the stock.

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I added a real steel magazine catch, the AEG one was aluminium and quite fragile in my opinion. This steel one needed a collar machining so that the parts would move smoothly in the AEG trigger group.

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A closer look at the fore-end. Fitting the hand guard was mainly shaving away material at the top to fit around the barrel support.

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The buttstock is already hollow, to reduce weight I would imagine. This has the added bonus of allowing you to fit a LiPo battery inside. The cable runs from the gun, through the hole which the support column uses on the real thing (you may also be able to drill through this if you want to keep it).

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Now, the bayonet; a rifle really isn’t complete without one. This is cast from an original in hard rubber.

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The gas plug needs drilling out to take the stem that locks the bayonet in place on this AEG.

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Unusually, the G3 bayonet sits above the barrel, just ahead of the foresight. On a rifle of this format I can see this providing better leverage for twisting out of a body. Not that this concerns us with airsoft/re-enacting of course…

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This photo has been taken with the rifle at a slight angle to show the natural flex of the bayonet blade.

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If you like this build you can see other complete projects here. If you have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

 

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. including this G3 bayonet. Our larger items can be found here.

 

MAS 36: Complete

Cold War, Complete builds, Custom builds, MAS 36, Products, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

Though I say so myself, she’s rather nice. When I first took on the MAS 36 build, it was just an interesting commission. Now, I rather want one. A fascinating rifle and it’s satisfying to have an airsoft version of it.

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The far side, showing the sling arrangement.

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The rear sight is designed along the same lines as the original.

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To adjust the elevation, you press down the leaf and move the slider. The markings are visible in this picture as well, recessed deep into the receiver like the originals

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The VSR magwell, shared between the foreguard and receiver. As you can see, this is the MkII magwell, which allows you to fit an extension if you struggle with the catch, useful for cold weather if you have to wear gloves.

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The 3D printed middle band. It should be strong enough for use as I thickened it quite significantly, not to mention the steel screw running through it

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The original woodwork really adds to this build. As and when I can do another I may make the top guard a good bit skinnier.

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The bolt, all oil finished. Though I say so myself it looks the part.

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The bolt handle operates at 90º, like the original.

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At the front, something important was missing. I realised it was the bayonet. I had a MAS bayonet mould made up already for the FG42, so I made another and adjusted it to fit.

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Every rifle wants a bayonet really, but especially when it is built in. This one has a plastic stiffener running through it to prevent excessive wobble.

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If you like this build you can see the rest of the project here. If you have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

 

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

Enfield No.4 Rubber Spike Bayonet

Cold War, Complete builds, Edged Weapons, Lee-Enfield, No. 4 L-E, No.4 Spike bayonet, Weapons, WWII

With a VSR No.4 Enfield in the works, I got ahead of the game by making a bayonet for it. I initially started making this for an RWA No.4, but we all know how those went down (if you don’t know, they went badly).

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The bayonet is composite plastic and rubber, to make the most of the complimentary properties of the materials. As you can see, I’ve kept the markings on the socket.

The best thing is that it locks onto the rifle, so as well as being less likely to drop off the gun, you get to enjoy fixing bayonets with that distinctive twist and click of the socket.

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And of course it fits in an original scabbard.

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If you fancy a spike bayonet of your own, you can buy it here on Etsy. You can see the build posts for my VSR No.4 Enfield here when they are posted.

 

If you have like this project or have an idea of your own, drop me a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ the Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

The DeLisle Commando Carbine: Build

Cold War, Delisle, Lee-Enfield, Suppressed, Weapons, WWII

The DeLisle is VSR based, so this acts as the joining unit between the different parts. Due to the sheer size of the suppressor however this will pretty much be joined as part of the chassis.

At the fore-end, the front cap is 3D printed, as is an internal spacer.

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At the back of the suppressor is the rear sight, a simple V-notch on an elevation leaf.

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The woodwork on this is in three parts, the buttstock, receiver housing and forestock. Once I had carved out the internal shapes for the receiver and magazine well, I could shape the outside.

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Once all the parts were roughly shaped and strapped down to the VSRI added the re-enforcing band. I’m not sure this was strictly necessary, but it was on the original so on it goes!

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The band had to be cut back for the magazine well, but it will make quite a nice tactile reverence point if the gun is used in the dark.

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Fitting the faux magazine well in permanently, this 3D printed part is fitted with a machine screw through the stock so it’s pretty solidly mounted.

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At the front, I turned the inner barrel down to the correct length.

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At this stage, it’s mostly finishing and painting work to do, which isn’t very interesting to see so the next time you see this, it will be the finished item!

If you are interested in this build you can see the rest of the project here. If you have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

 

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

Sten Suppressor MkII

Cold War, Complete builds, Sten, Sten Suppressor, Sub Machine-guns, Suppressed, Weapons, WWII

I realised the other day that I hadn’t updated my Sten Suppressor pictures in about two years, in spite of making this much nicer model for some time.

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This replica can be used correctly on the MkII and Mk5 Stens, the latter format would make it a Mk6 if you were so inclined.

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I’m using a thicker canvas for the cover than before and a thick cotton cord, ready laced up in the correct format (straight laced, like British Army boots).

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A securing screw locks it into place on the barrel.

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The front cap is made from cast rubber.

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If you want a suppressor of your own, you can buy it here.

Don’t forget you can buy many of our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here

 

If you have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

MAS 36: Introduction

Cold War, History, MAS 36, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

During the 1920s and 30s, the French Military undertook an extensive project of re-organising and updating their small arms. Although this seems rather contrary to the Treaty of Versailles, the French had a real hodge-podge of weapons after WWI.

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The Infantry rifle program had three tiers: Firstly to convert all of their existing rifles to a new cartridge 7.5mm rimless, a semi-auto rifle for frontline combat troops to follow up on the largely successful experience of the RSC1917 during the Great War and finally, when these developments took longer than expected, a new bolt-action in the new cartridge.

This bolt-action was designed to be a simple, cheap second line rifle to equip those not needing a semi-auto.

In spite of development starting in the 20s, the new rifle was adopted, as the name suggests, in 1936.

This rifle is an integral magazine, stripper clip fed rifle of epic simplicity, with 65 parts only. This was designed to have minimal user-operable and modifiable parts (what today may be called ‘soldier proof’), with most of these being the bolt and its components for cleaning.

The sights were armourer adjustable, with a simple elevation adjustment for range for use by the soldier. These were a rear mounted aperture and chunky front post protected by wings. Later versions had a fully encircled foresight.

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The bolt handle is bent forward  to be above the trigger for faster cycling, reminiscent of the Metford and Lee Speed series of rifles.

The locking lugs are at the back of the bolt, in the hope that they would be less prone to mud fouling and the bolt itself could be removed and stripped without tools.

An interesting feature carried over from previous French small arms: the MAS36 lacked a manual safety. The French taught soldiers to carry the rifle with an empty chamber, full magazine, so a manual safety was unnecessary.

MAS40

The MAS40, France’s intended frontline rifle.

French rifle manufacture accelerated in the lead up to the German invasion in 1939/40, and a good number of MAS 36s were in solder’s hands by this time. The MAS 40 semi automatic being just ready for adoption but not for production, the MAS 36 was the most modern rifle available.

French WW2
With the capitulation of France, the MAS 36’s future looked bleak. The Vichy French kept theirs, Germany captured some and some made their way out of Dunkirk. A handful even ended up with the Resistance.

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In use with Axis forces, here Latvian SS.

They saw service in some remaining French Colonies and some very limited use by the Germans. Postwar, the French picked up production again very quickly, producing the standard rifle, paratroop version as well as versions to fire French 50mm or 22mm NATO standard rifle grenades. The ’36 was sent out to Indochina from 1946 with French forces where it was used against Viet-Minh forces effectively until their war aid from the Soviets improved from bolt-actions to SKS self-loading rifles and AK47s. The ’36 was passed over to local forces and captured in reasonably large numbers by Viet-Minh.

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The paratroop version, shortened, lightened and with a folding aluminium buttstock.

The French were not finished with the rifle however. In Algeria and Morocco, it saw extensive use with French forces throughout the conflict even after the self loading MAS 49/56 started to be made available. It still took until the 1970s before this prewar rifle was relegated to its proper (and originally intended) place in the reserves.

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A MAS49/56, the replacement

The penultimate version of the ’36 was developed by the Navy for line throwing, these were still in use during Desert Storm and are likely still in storage, with the last being a .22 conversion for training.

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Senegalese soldiers with US Officer Cadets on exercise, 2009.

The MAS 36 ended up being distributed to and used by former French colonies in the main, with the highly unstable Central African Republic being the last to use it as a frontline combat rifle officially. It still serves in a number of countries as a second line or unofficial arm for militia units.

 

Or it did, until the Syrian Civil War. It was still in use as late as 2015 there with use only tapering off due to ammunition sourcing issues.
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I am of course working on an airsoft MAS-36. It is VSR based and will use the MkII magwell, 3D printed parts and original woodwork.

I would very much like to recommend these articles 1 and 2 if you want to read more about MAS 36 use.

You will be able to follow the build progress here as it is published.

If you are interested in this project or have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

MAS 36: Build

Cold War, MAS 36, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

The first step was to fit the woodwork as far as possible. Due to the split woodwork I have to estimate it to some extent as I’ll have to fill the gap with a receiver.

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I’m using the MkII magwell, a much easier design to fit than the previous version.

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Rough fitted, I can design the receiver.

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Three days and many cups of tea later…

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This has been done in two parts, the trigger guard tang is being done separately, which gives me a bit more flexibility if a dimension is out slightly.

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And on the other side, markings. I’ve really got into doing these lately, they are satisfying to reproduce and add an air of authenticity to the replica.

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The rear sight is the early pattern one to go with the rest of the gun. Finding photographs of this variant to work from was very tricky, but the end result works just like the originals.
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The receiver, now printed, arrives!

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And amazingly, this fits first time. As does the rear sight unit.

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The underside looks a bit rough now, but a bit of filing down will smooth it off nicely.

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The rear sight is adjusted by pushing the leaf down and adjusting the slider forwards and back, a pretty unusual system.

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Once I’d cleaned out the peep hole it’s quite a nice light sight.

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The top hand guard was a bit of a puzzle. The wood of the original stock was a mystery, certainly not like anything I’ve worked on before, it has the appearance of beech but is much easier to work. I’ve decided it must be something tropical, given the French had Colonies in Africa and the Far East it’s not beyond the pail to think they may have shipped in some durable, rot-resistant timber that would be perfect for gunstocks.

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The timber I have used is also a mystery wood. Given to me by a friend its previous life was as some window frames, but this use is much better. Nothing else matched the original wood quite as well in grain structure and once stained or oiled to match it should blend in nicely.

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Unfortunately due to having to house the VSR I couldn’t be completely true to the original shape of the rifle. Once the middle band is in position it should break up that slight slope quite nicely though.

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And the nose cap or, as the French call it: Mouthpiece. This is the late type as the early type (when they are available) are about £50 at the time of writing. Understandable as they were only used on the first two/three batches of guns or so compared to the six or seven runs that came later. I’ll be modifying it to look correct for this early model.

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The next step was the bolt handle, as I was making a batch of Enfield bolts already I added this to the parts list. The main shank was turned on the lathe, left just a smidgen longer than an Enfield bolt. The haft is 8mm steel bar bent to the correct shape.

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This was a really tricky one to do, most bent bolt handles  have one bend in them and are then straight down or slanted back. This one is not only slanted forward, but has a kink outwards from the rifle as well, this with bolt operating speed in mind as the rifle was designed at a time where the replacement of bolt actions with self-loading rifles was imminent.

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From this angle you can see the outwards kink. I feel I’ve got this pretty darn close to the original though I say so myself.

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The back cap made, I’m going to have to add some detailing to this to make it look right.

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The new middle band/sling swivel arrangement. This had to be 3D printed as there were absolutely none to be found.

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The mouthpiece and front sight guard has finally been modified. I cut the top of the hood off, straightened the steel and added the lips to the wings with the MIG welder.

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The back cap details added, I put the straight lines in with the hacksaw, the letters with stamps. If I did this again I’d probably soften the metal before doing these as it turned out to be a little harder than expected resulting in stampings that weren’t as deep as I’d like.

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Fitting the trigger guard permanently in place. You may also notice I’ve done the first paint coat on the receiver, oil finished the bolt and added a finish to the top guard.

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This is pretty much the job done. There are a few bits of detailing and last touches to complete the rifle but I’ll let you enjoy the overall effect of the finished item.

 

If you want to see the finished item, you can see it here when it’s posted.

Don’t forget you can buy many of our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here

If you have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

The DeLisle Commando Carbine: Introduction

Cold War, Delisle, History, Rifles, Suppressed, Weapons, WWII

The DeLisle carbine was born of a need, usually by special forces units, to dispatch enemy soldiers quietly. This came from the rise of raiding tactics used by British forces against Fortress Europe, the only way that precision strikes could be made against German targets.

Although large-scale raids did occur, many were smaller scale and undertaken by the newly formed Commandos and Parachute units. Taking out one or two sentries discretely before moving up to the target would allow soldiers to get much closer to their objective before the main, noisy assault. 3-1

The carbine itself was the lovechild of an SMLE, (receiver and furniture) a 1911 (magazine) and a Maxim style suppressor. The reason for its near legendary status as one of the quietest arms ever made is that every aspect of it was either chosen for its quietness or modified to achieve it:

  1. The ammunition: .45ACP is a subsonic cartridge. This means that, never breaking the sound barrier, it does not have a sonic ‘crack’. A quiet ‘whizz’ is easily drowned out by ambient noise.
  2. The SMLE has very few ‘clicky’ parts already. The safety is already silent, the cock on close action means there is a fairly quiet slide into battery. The bolt was baffled so that when opened it would not make a loud clack. For when it was being closed the bolt handle had a baffle so it wouldn’t clack against the receiver band.
  3. The suppressor is huge. Much, much bigger than you could reasonably carry on a pistol. It also proved very effective at catching and slowing gasses down before getting rid of them at a low enough pressure to reduce the noise massively.

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It is known that the DeLisle was issued to and tested by Combined Operations (who ran the Commando type raids) in the field, but finding solid accounts of their use during WWII in Europe is pretty tricky. The only account I have found so far is one by a Jedburgh Commander who says that one was used to successfully dispatch two German officers (1944). D1-4

Other more substantial accounts outlining more specific details of their use have been recorded in the Far East against the Japanese and during the Malayan Emergency. They point to it being used very much as a psychological weapon, taking out individuals during ambushes at night or on roads during the day, killing one or two men in a lorry. Being almost silent, the Japanese involved struggled to know they had been fired upon and even more-so where from.

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Similarly it was deployed against bandits and terrorists in Malaya, allegedly by plantation operators. One man caught out alone in the fields had a significant advantage when he could fire on a group of hostile enemy without giving his position away. Just a couple of men so armed would have a significant force multiplying effect. 

 

Just before I wrap up, the folding stock ‘Para’ version does deserve a mention. Originally, these were supposed to make up 50 items of the order, but it looks as though they were left until last. As a result, when the order was cancelled there was only this sample produced as far as we know.

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And in case you are not familiar with the Vintage Airsoft format by now… I will be building a De Lisle carbine! This build will be VSR based, using my new MkII magwell and almost certainly making use of my lovely ‘new’ mill (more to follow on that when it arrives!).

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You will be able to follow the build progress here as it is published.

If you are interested in this project or have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles.

 

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.