PZB 39: Build 3

Anti-Tank, Custom builds, PZB-39 Rifle, WWII

The basic components for this build are all in place, now it is time to add in the parts that pull it all together.

Next up was to fit the buttplate, the top half of this is fixed in place but the bottom folds in to help the rifle pack up smaller for transport. 20161129_141747

In the folded position. Once the cushioned pads are in place it won’t fold quite as far as this but it allows it to fold a lot closer than it would otherwise.

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I have now planed the stock down to its rough shape, adding the grooves with the router. If I was doing this again, I would definitely make these grooves sooner as achieving a straight and level cut on this shape is quite tricky!

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The forestock needs another mounting point further back to really solidly hold it in place, I expect I will have to make some kind of band that slips around the action as the bottom of the tubes at the chamber end are all cut open to hold the airsoft parts. It may make sense to combine this with the rear sight, which is still yet to be mounted.

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The rear sight fitted in position. This is welded into place on the front. I decided not to use this at the attachment point, instead adding a second screw well behind the first one.

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Taking the buttstock home, there are a couple of bits of fabric work for this build. Firstly, the leather cheek rest, presumably added to keep the cheek away from cold metal. It certainly doesn’t provide any great cheek weld.

The second part is the cushioned buttpad, to absorb the not insignificant recoil on the original!

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The leather cheek rest is laced on so it can be removed easily. The originals were sewn on but this looks the part and makes it easier to remove and maintain.

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I have to make the carry handle covers, fit the foresight and re-assemble to paint it, but that’s the majority of work to come.

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In the meantime, the trigger unit cover and pistol grip. I already welded the grip together, at this stage I used a bolt to line up the hinge points and the grip over the cover plate. This can be tacked down so the whole unit swivels as one.

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In place. The receiver was slightly out of square, so I used a clamp to hold it in place while I made adjustments.

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Although the pivoting grip unit doesn’t cycle the action like the original, it will be useful for disassembly.

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It opens much like the original.

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At the front, I now have a cover plate for the magazine well, which can be swivelled aside to access the magazines and change them.

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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. 

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

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PZB-39: Build 2

Anti-Tank, Custom builds, PZB-39 Rifle, WWII

The next step is to make the new bolt action. This allows the bolt to be used without cutting out a section at the side of the receiver.

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The front section locks the breech and operates the out of battery safety. The knob at the back keeps this in place and allows the user to grip the bolt to operate it.

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The receiver of the donor rifle (a VSR clone)  screws into the receiver of the rifle.

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The top of the receiver is welded in place, as are the thick back parts of the barrel. These also support the weight and hold the position of the internal parts.

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Slowly, I add on the rest of the barrel. To simulate the tapered barrel of the original I am stepping it down slightly along the length at opportune positions.

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This thing is now huge. It is already longer than the G98, even without the buttstock attached!

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The next job was to rough fit the woodwork. This is always very challenging, especially for the VSR rifles.

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Apologies for the quality of the pictures here, my camera was out of action so resorted to the ‘phone!

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This is important, the carry handle makes something like this just about portable.

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I bent two pieces of steel to shape by hand, two screws hold them together at the top. I will temper the steel so that it is stiff enough to hold the weight of the gun.

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And the buttstock is screwed into place. I will be modifying the top screw so that the stock can be folded and unfolded easily.

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The next few steps are to shape and finish the woodwork, screw said woodwork into place and mount the bipod, foresight unit and buttstock lock.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to getting this finished, it’s making my gun rack look comically small!

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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. 

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

PZB-39: Build 1

Anti-Tank, Custom builds, PZB-39 Rifle, Weapons, WWII

After some extensive design work, laser cut parts and some timber start off the build!

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I started by bending the buttplate components. Part of this folds down to make a more compact package. I designed this with tabs and etched lines to make folding as precise and easy as possible. I could then weld the parts in place to maintain they shape and increase the strength of the parts.

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I then welded the inner pieces of the receiver and the buttstock hinge unit.

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This pivots to shorten the length of the weapon to make it *slightly* more portable, such as anti-tank rifles ever are.

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A piece of steel tube makes the rest of the back of the unit. It will be welded onto the top part of the buttplate. Here you can see the outer plates of the receiver in place, which stops the stock from folding up over the gun when in use.

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The pistol grip and trigger guard unit. In the original this is used to open the breech and eject the spent case. In this version sadly it won’t be possible to do this, but it will be used for disassembly.

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For the front end, the bipod unit is coming together, to keep it light and strong the legs and feet are thin gauge steel plate, folded and welded into shape. These will then be attached to the hinge which is thicker steel for strength.

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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.

You can also buy many of our finished products in our Etsy store.

PZB-39: German Anti-Tank Rifle

Anti-Tank, Custom builds, History, Products, PZB-39 Rifle, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

The anti-tank rifle was, for many years, the only device capable of disabling a tank. In the Great War, British tanks were faced with the German T-Gewehr, a huge single-shot, large calibre Mauser rifle, which was moderately effective at short ranges but resultantly terrifying to use. Combine this with the shoulder-destroying recoil and this was a less than satisfactory solution.

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The T-Gewehr itself was supposed to be a stop-gap until Germany could bring its anti-tank machine-gun into production and deploy it. However the end of the war came before this could happen and as a result the only infantry anti-tank technology anyone had seen in action was the T-Gewehr.

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0.55 inch Boys Anti-tank rifle.

In the inter-war period, some development was carried out by all major nations into infantry tank-destroying technologies, all based around the anti-tank rifle. The only other option was the small artillery piece carried by infantry regiments. By the opening of WWII, the most prominent anti-tank rifles were the British Boys rifle, Finnish Lahti, Polish Model 35 and the German PZB 38 and PZB 39.

Asevarikko 1. 8,00 pst. kiv/38.

Polish Model 35. Probably the best anti-tank rifle of WWII. Not that it did much to help them.

The PZB-38 was intended to be Germany’s main anti-tank weapon when introduced, but it proved expensive and complex to manufacture. It was replaced by the PZB-39 as a consequence.

Russland, Deutsche Soldaten mit Panzerbüchse 39

The first thing to note about this rifle is that it is huge. Absolutely massive. 1605mm long. This is one of the downsides of anti-tank rifle technology, they have to have a powerful cartridge, which needs a strong chamber and receiver, plus a long barrel to build the necessary velocity to penetrate armour.

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As a result of this size, steps were taken to make it as portable as possible. The buttstock folds under the gun, such as it helps.

2mxlqooThe second thing to note about this rifle is that it is single shot. Every time to fire, you must open the breech and load a new cartridge, all manually. The action is a falling block, not dissimilar to that used by the Martini-Henry. It is opened by pushing the pistol grip forward, which pivots down at the front of its mounting. This ejects the spent cartridge and allows you to replace it.

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The two large boxes on the sides hold the ammunition, which is held in spring clips within.

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While anti-tank rifles were the only option available in the early war, they were really defunct even before it started. Only hits on a few critical areas of a tank could disable it, and these were quite unlikely under the stress of combat. The Finns had some success with Boys rifles against Soviet tanks during the Winter War, but by 1941 During Operation Crusader (the relief of Tobruk), there was not a single incident of a tank being disabled by the rifles.

The Germans took their anti-tank rifles into Russia, expecting Russian armour to fail readily, though they were disappointed in this not being the case. As a result, many of the surviving PZB-39s were sent back and re-purposed into grenade launchers in the form of the Granatbuchse (GrB) 39.

GRB-39 grenade launcher.

GRB-39 grenade launcher.

In service, these were both effectively replaced by the Panzerschreck and the Panzerfaust which were far superior, and in the case of the former was widely copied.

 

For those interested in learning more about the PZB-39, you should check out Forgotten Weapons’ video on one of these rifles.

 

You can also see the video about the GRB-39 grenade launcher.

Heavy weapons prototype special

Anti-Tank, Area effect, Area-effect, Cold War, LAW, PIAT, SMBL 2" mortar, War on Terror, Weapons, WWII

Nothing too in-depth today, just a short video showing off some of the prototypes we’ve been working on for over a year…

All of these are now available to order by email, we will be putting up pictures of the finished articles in the next few weeks.

If these products are of interest to you, please do get in touch at: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com or join us on our Facebook page. Don’t forget you can buy many of our complete products via Etsy.

 

LAW M72 V0.2 and v0.3

Anti-Tank, Area effect, Cold War, LAW, War on Terror, Weapons

For those of you who have been following the blog for some time, you may remember the first rendition of the LAW M72 light anti-tank weapon built out of plastic tubing and fibreglass. Since then Vintage Airsoft has been working slowly in the background on several anti-tank weapons including an improved version of the LAW.

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When we say a while, we mean it. This is a photo of the new trigger mechanism housing being bent into shape in the old workshop.

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The housing in shape.

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When products are in development, they undergo a LOT of tweaking and changes in design, this photograph is a case in point. A dramatic change to the design of the shell meant that the original spacer would no longer fit, making it time for a gaffer-tape based solution.

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One of the modified trigger units straight after being brazed.

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This is the sear bar straight after being brazed. The protrusion nearest the camera is the sear, which is pushed down inside the tube above and allows the bar to slide forward under spring tension.

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The sear unit in position under the trigger mechanism housing. At the back is the wire that actuates the firing pin.

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Here you can see the firing pin (screw) and the actuator rod that the wire pulls to depress the pin. It certainly isn’t pretty but it did work. However this mechanism would be unsuitable for field use as it is unsafe to drop. However the principal can be applied to a more elegant system…

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The new trigger mechanism. The transfer bar is pulled forward by a tension spring and is controlled by a sear activated by the trigger.

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In place on the launcher, the tabs attached to the trigger unit can be welded down. The trigger unit can still be removed by undoing the screws and lifting straight out for servicing. There is also a tab that lines up with the hole in the cocking handle through which an R-clip or pin will be inserted as a safety catch.

 

And finally, painted up for testing! This will be painted green for production, but as it is a prototype the finish just needs to protect it from the elements.

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If this product is of interest to you, please do get in touch at: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com or join us on our Facebook page. Don’t forget you can buy our complete products via Etsy.

 

Oh, for those of you who want to see/hear the dry-firing….

PIAT: Part Two

Anti-Tank, Area-effect, PIAT, Weapons, WWII

PIAT Part One was quite a while ago now and the project had to take a bit of a back seat for a while. Since then it has undergone a few changes to improve it and get it working!

Firstly, the shell holder is now welded onto the receiver for strength and simplicity. The whole unit now strips from the back.
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The back now uses a bayonet locking lug system to hold the internals in place.

_DSF6892 The trigger mechanism is now also smaller and smoother to operate, so it now looks like this:
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With the prototype shell in place! The production shells will be much more authentic in shape, this is just a proof of concept at this stage.

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Time for a first coat of paint. Panzer green will do to prevent rust for now, though surviving examples are painted everything from a forest green to a chocolate brown.

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Time for a bit of bang:

If you like the look of this piece and would like a build of your own or want to support this project please do get in touch! Email us on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com or get in touch via our Facebook page.

Don’t forget to visit our Etsy page HERE.

PIAT: Part One

Anti-Tank, Custom builds, PIAT, Products, Weapons, WWII

Using CAD has started to become a bit of a habit… The PIAT was no exception!

I wanted to use a massive spring in this, even though there are more practical ways of firing a shell it’s true to the original and has some serious man-points attached!

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This is actually my second design, my initial design was slightly different internally and used the direct power of the spring to drive the projectile. Although this worked in my initial experiments, once I made the piston captive (necessary to stop half a kilo of steel from smacking someone in the face) the ball barely fired. The redesign will use a CO2 shell or blank-firing mechanism depending on use._DSF5532

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The buttplate is 2mm folded steel, welded into place purely for aesthetic reasons, as the original was stamped steel. Once polished up that is how it will look.

Sight units next: foresight and rear sight are different shapes but much the same idea. I fitted them together before welding so that they would line up correctly.

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With these two units complete, I could make the trigger mechanism. This is my version one, I have since then made some refinements that will make it smoother to use.

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One spring resets the second sear. You can see in this photograph that the spring pushes the sear up very high, this ended up being a problem as the force of the mainspring would make it almost impossible to actuate the mechanism. The next version fixes this by keeping the second sear at a usable height against the piston.

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All welded in place, ready to be cleaned up.

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Testing rig prior to making the piston captive. I also ended up making lightening cuts to the piston to improve travel speed. You can see the size of the spring in this shot, at one point I was unfortunate enough to be in the way of the piston when the sear slipped and it gave me a smart upper-cut to the chin. Fortunately it was only at half-cock otherwise I would have been in a pretty bad way!

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So, I’ll admit I have skipped a bit ahead here but the back end of the launcher was pretty well finished at this stage except for some adjustments to be made just before completion. Like the original, re-cocking is achieved by standing on the buttplate and lifting the rest of the launcher. I set to work on the fore-end that would hold the projectile.

This is a spare piece of mild steel tube I had left over from a previous build. I marked out the cutout on the top and removed it with an angle grinder.

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I then cut out a steel disk for the back of the head, drilling the centre for the ‘spigot’ (the steel rod that in the real version would fire the explosive charge in the shell) to come out of. This could then be welded in place along with the collar that attaches the head to the body. Five screws distributed around the circumference hold it in place.

As well as the mainspring, at this point I added a smaller spring that sits around the spigot to absorb the shock of the piston finishing its travel. This spring just bounces freely off the back of the head.

As I said at the start, this is the point where testing became less successful. Without the weight of the piston carrying the tennis balls I was firing originally they only just left the barrel. As a result, the design is being modified to take CO2 grenades. In the longer run it will also be able to fire blanks for re-enactment purposes.

 

 

If you are interested in this build, have any questions or would like a build of your own, let me know! Our email is: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com or you can contact us through our Facebook page!

Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank

Anti-Tank, Cold War, Custom builds, PIAT, Products, Weapons, WWII

A_PIAT_(Projectile_Infantry_Anti-Tank)_in_action_at_a_firing_range_in_Tunisia,_19_February_1943._NA756

At the beginning of the Second World War, every major nation had a tanks of some description. What very few nations had was an effective way for infantry to counter them. At the time, the only way to disable a tank was with a risky sprint and throwing of a satchel charge (unofficially) or use of an anti-tank rifle. However anti-tank rifle technology was a hangover from the Great War and was already pretty outdated by the quality of armour on most tanks and was only useful against light armour and soft-skinned targets.

After the Battle of France, the British Army studied reports of infantry/tank contacts and failed to find a single example of the Boys anti-tank rifle actually destroying a tank.

Boys_Mk_I_AT_Rifle

The Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank or PIAT was what Britain came up with. Designed by Major Jefferis of MD1, the toy box of the War Office, with a great deal of input from Major Blacker of Blacker bombard fame. The basic design was that of a Spigot mortar, adapted for use as a direct-fire system.

A Spigot mortar uses a combination of a hefty spring and a small explosive charge at the base of the projectile to operate the weapon. The warhead, instead of sitting inside a barrel as per a regular mortar, sits over a small diameter tube and is actuated by a bar hitting the priming cap. A diagram explains this far better than words do:

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In this diagram you can just make out the guide tube in the centre of the projectile support. The missile slots over this and the firing pin travels through it.

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The effectiveness of the PIAT in use is much debated. Some sources cite that ammunition was unreliable, others that accuracy was a major issue at any kind of range and many that recoil was truly horrendous (some users said that you deserved the Victoria Cross just for firing it!). However a study of Canadian Officers ranked the PIAT as the number one most “outstandingly effective” weapon, above even the Bren, so in spite of its many foibles it was clearly well enough liked!

The PIAT was used by British and Empire forces throughout the war both as a direct fire anti-tank weapon and indirect fire support weapon. It was also given to the Soviet Union as part of lend-lease, dropped to partisans throughout Europe as well as by Israel post-war. It was last used officially by the Australians at the start of the Korean War, but it was quickly replaced.

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As progress occurs we shall of course keep you posted on this build (follow the blog to help you keep track!), if this has inspired you to want a project of your own or you have any questions, do drop us a line! Our email is: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com. Also, ‘Like’ our Facebook page for updates and interesting articles.

M72 LAW outer shell

Anti-Tank, Cold War, Custom builds, LAW, Weapons

For those of you with excellent memories, you will remember the LAW M72 project I had going on. It was at a stage where it looked a bit like this:

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Since then, progress has been made, the trigger mechanism housing (above) is now mounted on the pipes that make up the main launcher. A healthy dose of poly-cement tacked it in place so it would stay still for the permanent fixture.

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A close-up of the trigger and rear sight. The sight units are laser cut and the trigger made from Polymorph.

_DSF5390The whole unit after poly-cement. Looks a bit rough, but I have a solution to that!

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Fibreglass. Vile stuff but very useful for lightweight constructions like this. For the uninitiated, fibreglass is extremely fine strands of glass formed into sheets. These sheets are bound together with epoxy resin (the really nasty part) to form a stiff, strong structure. Carbon Fibre is the same idea.

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To get the sheets into all the detail areas I had to cut the coarse mat into strips before applying the first covering of epoxy. Epoxy underneath, apply the mat, apply more epoxy. Don’t use your nice paint brushes for this folks, they ain’t coming out of it alive!
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After the first couple of layers, I left it to dry for a bit so I could flip it over and do the bottom.

No pics for that, much the same process as the top! Once dry, I applied more resin and a finer sheet of fibreglass mat. The coarse grade is seriously uncomfortable to hold so this will provide a smoother finish.

The last coat is now drying, results next time!

If this has interested you at all, do drop us a line! We will be developing further anti-tank airsoft guns, if you have one you would like email us at: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com!