L42A1: Build 4

Cold War, Custom builds, L42A1/Enfield Enforcer, Rifles, Weapons

It has been quite a while since my last L42 post, which I finished with the famous last words: “There’s really not much more to do on this now.”

Well, there wasn’t on that one, it was alright when finished and I used it a few times in games but there were a few ways it could be improved, so I’ll share the improvements here taking over from the last build with my second model.

 

Most of the build so far has been very similar to the last L42 model. Where it differs mainly is around the receiver area. Previous models have been quite skinny and lightweight, but I’ve found them a little unsatisfactory so have beefed up the latest design and built it around the rail that is mounted on the standard VSR I use. This should help to pin it down and keep it solidly mounted, which will improve accuracy with iron sights and provide a more solid mounting for scopes.

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The side plate in place, this will need permanently affixing.

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The side plate protrudes slightly further forward than the rest of the faux receiver, a minor mistake I will correct in a future version of this.

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The top guard now slots in under a securing bracket that is part of the receiver. I’m hoping to do away with the securing screws used in the previous rendition so that the only hole will be for the hop unit adjustment.

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The new rear sight in place. This is a slightly nicer one than my previous sight with some milled parts rather than being entirely pressed steel.

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The inner barrel cut to length and re-crowned on the lathe. I made a barrel support and spacer plug in plastic.

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A dry assembly of nearly everything. I need to get the scope mount finished and fit the foresight guard.

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The receiver isn’t lined up perfectly, this is the sort of thing the dry assembly is to pick up. I can make these tweaks before applying the metal and wood finishes.

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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. 

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Enfield No.5 Mk 1, the ‘Jungle Carbine’: Introduction

Cold War, Lee-Enfield, No. 5 Enfield, Weapons, WWII

Mention the No.5 Lee-Enfield rifle and you will always get a reaction. It is one of the most controversial British small arms, beaten only by the SA80 system and the EM-2.

 

 

The idea of the No.5 was to create a shorter, handier and lighter version of the British service rifle, the Enfield No.4. This had already seen some upgrades from its predecessor the No.1 MkIII. Contrary to popular belief, this effort to lighten and shorten the Enfield design was not specifically to aid in jungle fighting (though this was clearly on the Empire’s radar) it was, in fact to provide Airborne troops with a rifle less awkward to carry in the confines of an aircraft.

PARATROOP TRAINING AT NETHERAVON,WILTSHIRE, NOVEMBER 1942

Climbing into a Hotspur glider during training. Although glider design improved on this compact format you can see where the desire for a handier weapon came from.

 

This it certainly achieved, it is around 2lbs (0.9kg) lighter and nearly 5″ (125mm) shorter. Most of this saving was achieved by shortening the barrel, though also through lightening cuts around the receiver to remove excess material and lightened versions of certain components (such as the bolt handle and trigger guard/magwell).

 

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As a result of this shortened barrel, a flash hider was added. The length of the standard rifles meant that most of the .303 cartridge load was effectively used and produced only a (relatively) usable muzzle flash. The No.5 however has a significant muzzle flash, which could be blinding to the shooter in low-light conditions. The flash hider is not actually there to hide the flash from the enemy, it’s to hide it from the user.

 

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As a result of the lightening, perceived recoil is also greater. To counteract this, the designers added a rubber butt-pad in place of the traditional brass or steel plate. A good idea, except that they made it very small, a bulging pad missing out a lot of the butt’s surface area. So that increased perceived recoil was forced into an even smaller part of the shoulder. Thank goodness it was comfy, soft rubber right? Err, well concerns around durability meant that a pretty hard rubber compound was used. Not great at the time and 70 years on they have only grown harder.

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The controversy was that these rifles allegedly suffered from a ‘wondering zero’. This means that once sighted in, the rifle would not hit the same aimed point consistently. This was the reason the War Office gave for discontinuation of No.5 production in 1947, only three years after is was introduced. This makes it one of the only military service rifles to be outlived by its predecessor.

Several aspects of the rifle design have been suggested as causes including:

-The lightening cuts causing the receiver to flex when fired. This could cause headspace issues or inconsistency between shots over time

-The flash hider if fitted incorrectly or damaged may cause gas imbalances around the projectile, allowing shots to wonder of their typical course

 

Modern No.5 MkI owners have been unable to reproduce this wondering zero effect, which makes it look likely that this was only given as an excuse to shift bolt-actions to the rear echelons and give them in aid to allies to speed up introduction of the self-loading rifle that every other major power was adopting or had already.

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Nevertheless, the No.5 saw limited service in Northern Europe, notably during the liberation of Norway, but most of its service life was post WWII, in Korea and Malaya, where they were not only used by British troops but also local forces.

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For an outline on the No.5 MkI, see Ian’s video at Forgotten Weapons.

For some in-depth information, see C&Rsenal’s article on the rifle, including how to spot the many fakes available.

When the build posts go up, you can see the progress here.

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If enjoyed this piece 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 some of our complete products via Etsy

Pritchard-Greener Bayonet: History & Build

Edged Weapons, pistol, Pritchard Bayonet, Weapons, webley, WWI

The Webley Mk VI .455 service revolver is an awesome bit of kit. It is the iconic sidearm of British and Empire forces during the Great War.

 

Incredible stopping power, six shots in single and double action and very handy used as a club. What could make it better? A bayonet of course.

 

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Arthur Pritchard enlisted in 1915, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Berkshire Regiment and rose to Captain by Armistice. In late 1916, Pritchard approached Wilkinson and their cutlery division produced a prototype (using the tip of an 1897 Pattern infantry sword). However Wilkinson’s factory was at maximum capacity producing bayonets and Cavalry swords and were unable to put the production time aside for this exploratory project.

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Pritchard then went over the road to Greener, a long-time competitor to Wilkinson, who had the time and facilities for the project. As 97 ptn. swords were still technically in service, cutting just the tip off for use in this wasn’t really efficient. However Greener did have a respectable supply of disused Gras bayonets purchased from France which made an excellent replacement.

This design was patented and sold as a private purchase item. This was never issued, nor was it designed to be used alongside the slightly more common carbine stock, in spite of suggestions made by the ill informed to both. The maximum number confirmed produced is 144 by serial numbers, though some confirmed originals have no serial number. It is fair to say that more replicas have been produced than there ever were originals.

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Anyway, I’ve been working on a replica for a long time, trying to work out the best way to produce an airsoft safe one.

When I started, I made parts by hand, but this wasn’t practical for producing an accurate replica with so many curves.

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So I drew out a 2D design and commissioned a friend to make and print a 3D model (this was before I learned 3D modelling myself).

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Once printed, I sanded it down to a smooth finish. If I were doing it again I would use filler paint as I do now on my other 3D models as it would give a nicer finish.

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As per the original, this needed a little hand fitting to the gun. I knew it wouldn’t be perfect on the first attempt with so many nooks and crannies.

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Once fitted, I could paint up, the base coat silver before painting the handle in a brass top coat.

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In place on the gun, it is taking shape.

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Once nice touch of the Pritchard is the sight picture it gives you. You may still use the foresight blade for precision but for snap shooting you can just drop your target in the ‘V’ and pull the trigger.

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I added a little detail to the locking catch to replicate the chequering on the button.

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I made a new blade in steel that is a more authentic shape, which really improves the look of the thing. To make it safe I shall make a rubber mould and cast blades for customer versions. The grips will have to be 3D printed as they will be a bit awkward to cast.

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So the next post ought to be a finished piece!

 

If you like 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.

If you would like to see more builds from the Great War era, you can find them here.

Don’t forget you can buy some of our complete products via Etsy

 

Pritchard-Greener Bayonet: Complete

Complete builds, Edged Weapons, pistol, Pritchard Bayonet, Weapons, webley, WWI

The Airsoft Pritchard-Greener is finished, after some significant time!

I’ve been looking forward to this for so long, I can’t wait to use it in the field.

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This one is mounted on my trusty old Wingun. The rubber blade holds its shape well, but like my knives is soft enough to be safe to use on people.

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Although there is no locking catch on this, the friction of the holding spring and the close fit keep it securely in place.

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As mentioned in the build post, the sight picture of this is excellent. That deep ‘W’ shape is great for dropping people into and firing.

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And like the original, the revolver can still break open to reload.

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You can find the build and history post here.

If you like 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.

If you would like to see more builds from the Great War, you can find them here.

Don’t forget you can buy our complete products via Etsy.

G43 AEG Build 2: Part 2

Battle Rifles, G43 MkII, G43/K43, Weapons, WWII

The first job for this part of the build was to modify my receiver design to fit the gearbox with comfortable space around it.

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Effectively I added a slither of extra space down the middle to add width.

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Once printed, it all fits quite nicely. The slide moves freely, needing only a slight tweak to put it in place.

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While there isn’t a function to the action opening, it’s one of those things that is nice to have.

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I decided at this stage to get the stock parts recut to improve the shape slightly.

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The action now fits deeper inside  the stock and the receiver needs fitting into the woodwork rather than sitting on top.

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I routed out the top so that the receiver fitted snugly in. As before it hooks onto the back and screws down at the front.

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I routed out the top guard to fit the barrel and marked out cut lines.

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I marked out some of the shape for the top guard at the same time.

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Fitting the front cap provided by the client, the top guard is partly secured in place here and will be at the back as well.

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With this in place, I can rough shape the stock itself. The top and bottom are rounded off for comfort as far back as possible.

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Even at this stage the stock is developing a pattern quite pleasingly similar to the original!

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I welded up a buttplate, the battery compartment needs still more work to fit an original alas.

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With some careful design, the first version of the trigger guard and magwell just slots straight into the stock. Two screws in the front will hold it in place along with two lugs at the back.

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The build is now starting to look distinctly G43-ish.

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The magazine is a snug fit, but the catch engages nicely.

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A little test piece to see what the varnish/stain will do to the woodwork.

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Much of the rest of the work on this is painting and finishing work with just a few details to add.

 

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 complete products via Etsy.

LMG25: Complete

Complete builds, Custom builds, Inter-War (1918-1939), LMG25, Machine-Guns, Weapons, WWII

The finished LMG25 is a funny-looking beast!

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The magazine isn’t quite right, the one shown is a standard stamped metal AK magazine. The plan is to modify some more modern AK magazines to resemble the smooth sided LMG mags.

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The leather strap to hold the bipod is correct. Most guns use a mechanical latch to lock bipods in place, but this system overcomes the risk of undetected corrosion or dirt ingress.

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The foresight and muzzle.

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Now they’re painted up, they blend in quite nicely with the rest of the gun.

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The bottom strap on this securely holds the receiver in place.

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The extremely wide rear sling swivel is for a two-piece sling, which allows the gun to be work like a pack.

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The only part I’m not 100% happy with is the magazine well. If I were to do this again, I would attach it straight through into the receiver tube with bolts, rather than with protruding lugs welded on as I did here.

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The trigger placement is strange, but authentically so. This gives it an odd trigger pull, but it is comfortable enough once you get used to it.

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If you would like to see the build posts for this, you can do so here.

If you want to know the history of this obscure Swiss Light Machine-Gun then you can check out the pre-build piece here.

If you enjoyed this content join us over on Facebook and check out our Etsy store. If you have an idea for a custom build of your own get in touch on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com.

LMG25: Build 3

Custom builds, Inter-War (1918-1939), LMG25, Machine-Guns, Weapons, WWII

I wasn’t quite happy with some of the pictures from the build post, so I’ve taken some more and added to them.

The bipod, now largely finished, I have welded the ring that goes round the cooling shroud shut and screwed the bipod in place. In some pictures of the LMG25 in use the bipod has been removed and it seems to be used like a heavy assault rifle of sorts, so I’m hoping to keep this removable.

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A better picture of the foresight, the print quality on this piece is really clean and the part is surprisingly solid.

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This was my initial idea for attaching the back-cap/battery compartment cover. Two neodymium magnets (which are very, very strong for their size) meeting the steel receiver. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite strong enough and would fall off easily when running about. I’m adding a bayonet lock for this to keep it solidly attached.

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The bayonet lock is attached to the back cap with araldite. I’ll put two screws into the receiver for them to lock into.

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With the majority of the parts done, I started to prime them to keep the rust at bay.

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The rear sight has been 3D printed in ABS, along with the sight adjustment. I’ll be flipping it upside down so the screw head isn’t visible.

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In situ on the receiver, this gives a surprisingly nice sight picture! The V-notch itself is a little on the small side, but the high position means you get a very nice view of the periphery.

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The back cap locks in really solidly using the new bayonet mount. I’ll have to trim down the securing screw so it sits flat of course.

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The cocking handle has been turned on the lathe, in steel. This was then drilled and tapped blind on the back side so it could be screwed onto the wood.

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The muzzle has been 3D printed in ABS, it will be painted up and secured in place with a screw. The last few bits are just finishing touches, so this is the last build post for this project!

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If you have a thing for obscure Swiss Light Machine-Guns then you can check out the pre-build piece here.

If you enjoyed this content join us over on Facebook and check out our Etsy store. If you have an idea for a custom build of your own get in touch on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com.

M2 60mm Mortar: Complete

Area effect, Area-effect, Cold War, Complete builds, Custom builds, M2 60mm Mortar, Products, Weapons, WWII

The mortar is finished, and what a beauty she is too, though I say so myself.

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The adjustable windage is quite smooth, the folding handle giving adequate purchase and leverage.

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While the leg spreading system has its advantages, I can’t help but feel there are simpler designs that would have had the same result. Perhaps the reasoning is plainer with a live firing version.

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The baseplate has a 3D printed socket for the ball to slot into. On the original this is stamped into the plate design and features a lock, but here the ball is left free so that the barrel can be quickly upended and spent shells ejected.

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The spikes on the bipod should keep it raised just high enough to give access to the elevation control in the centre.

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A top-down view, showing the windage lever in the stowed position.

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Once packed away, this mortar isn’t actually too bad for portability. Considering the complexity and the precision you could achieve out to a respectable range on the original, you can see why modern light mortars are more closely related to this package than the T89 or SMBL 2″ families. While they may have portability and speed on their side, the ability to fine-tune fire for only a little extra weight and bulk certainly has its appeal.

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If you liked 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.

You can find the build posts for this mortar here.

Don’t forget you can buy some of our complete products via Etsy. If you would like to commission a build like this, please drop us a line on the above email.

 

K98k: Complete

Complete builds, Custom builds, K98k, Weapons, WWII

The VSR K98k is now finished, and she is a pretty one.

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From the outside, the only major giveaway that this is not a real K98k is the VSR magwell in the belly. The eagle-eyed may notice the bolt handle being set back a little (alas unavoidable). 

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The oil blued barrel fits in with the existing metalwork and furniture nicely. As it dulls with age it will fit in better.

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The 3D printed rear sight, which is part of the kit I will be offering people who want to do their own K98k conversion

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The back cap looks the part, even if it doesn’t function. It is certainly an improvement on the original VSR cap!

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Likewise the bolt stop, has no function on this but really adds to the replica. For the uninitiated to the Mauser system, this catch holds and releases the bolt during use and disassembly respectively.

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If you are interested in the history of the K98k, you can check out the introduction article here, or see the whole build process here.

If you like 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 many of our complete products via Etsy.

G98 VSR: Complete

Complete builds, Custom builds, G98, G98 VSR, Inter-War (1918-1939), Rifles, Weapons, WWI, WWII

After the last build post, the G98 is finished! Time to take a look at those last details.

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The fore-end is pretty much unchanged externally.

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At the back, the new back cap crowns the rear of the bolt. Although entirely decorative, it does make a difference to the look of the thing.

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There is also a faux bolt release, used on the real thing for disassembly.

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The Vizier rear sight.

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Which is capable of full elevation adjustment.

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The bayonet will be a useful addition, especially when this is used as a musket for American Civil War airsoft. This is a new design I’ve not tried before and will be trialling it on this and the SMLE.

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Making longer bayonets that are stiff enough to look the part and work safely for airsoft is quite tricky: rubber is too floppy, wire stiffening isn’t strong enough and most fibreglass stiffeners are too hard for guaranteed safe use.

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I feel this plastic blade has the balance of flexibility and stiffness just right. For this and the SMLE bayonets it’s about right, though for longer bayonets it may need a couple of layers of lamination to hold shape. That said, there are only so many bayonets that are longer than 17″ for the eras I cover!

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If you like 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.

If you would like to see the little intro I wrote for the first G98 build you can see it here.

To see the build for this rifle, see here.

Don’t forget you can buy our complete products via Etsy. If you would like a build like this, please drop us a line on the above email.