G43 AEG Build 2: Part 1

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

The aim of this build is twofold. In the previous G43 build it was a conversion from a wood-stocked M14. There were two problems with this:

  1. The M14 stock isn’t quite the right shape
  2. Wood-stocked M14s have become almost completely impossible to find

So as the G43 is one of my most asked-for builds I have finally come up with a solution. Making a stock from scratch is the simplest way to go, this one has taken a bit of time to get right but I now have a design I’m confident of.

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Laser cut from ply, the parts are stuck together one layer at a time.

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Checking the fit, the ‘lightly’ modified M14 action slots in. At this stage my main concern was the motor space as it is snug by necessity for strength.

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Out of the second side, I have to cut a section to fit part of the M14 receiver. This is chiselled out and is invisible from the outside of the rifle.

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In situ, the only part out of place here is the rear-wiring, which would normally live inside the stock. However it needs re-soldering on the motor here and doesn’t go in easily as such. This will be solved easily enough though.

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The second side glued and clamped in place. I’ve put the battery transfer wire through from the battery compartment (in the buttstock) through to the motor housing. 

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The action fits in snugly, and I fit the repro front cap provided by the client.

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Although the donor action looks weirdly bent, that is the shape of an M14 once you strip the receiver bits off. The nozzle goes up into the feed ramp at an angle. It’s weird, but it works.

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The next step is to create the faux receiver. I designed it for 3D printing. It may need a little tweaking to fit around the gearbox.

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My initial design will need a little tweaking to fit around the gearbox mounting but the majority of the work is done.

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I am hoping to have an opening receiver. Although it’ll have no function, it’s one of those touches that is nice to have.

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More of this build coming soon!

 

If you would like to find out some of the history of this rifle, you can see my long-ago written intro to the G43 here.

 

If you enjoyed this article, 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.

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G43: Part 6: Complete

Battle Rifles, Complete builds, Custom builds, G43/K43, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

As promised, photographs of the finished G43 build. Remember, this was converted from an M14 AEG, so it isn’t a 100% accurate replica.

_DSF6692 copy

This is shown with the short M14 magazines, the standard M14 magazine is much longer but these are a pretty good stand-in for the original G43 mags.

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Side view of the receiver, showing the scope rail.

_DSF6700And with scope mounted.

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A close-up on the foresight. This wedge sight and full hood should make for fast and easy target acquisition.

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The underside for those interested. Unfortunately due to the location of the battery compartment in this AEG, the classic German sling mounted through the side of the buttstock was unfeasible. As a result I have kept the original sling swivels.

_DSF6701 copy

 

This project has sparked a lot of interest so this model will be available as a kit and as a complete gun. If this post has inspired you to want a gun of your own, do drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or find us on Facebook. Remember, you can now buy our pre-made kits on Etsy.

G43: Part 5

Battle Rifles, Custom builds, G43/K43, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

The G43 was looking pretty close to finished at the end of the last post:_DSF6312

Since then, I’ve been working on a last few details. Firstly, the scope mount for this client as he wanted to be able to use this rifle as a DMR in modern skirmishing.

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The scope mounts on the rail which was built into every G43 after the first couple of hundred. This mount just slides into position and can be removed and replaced in game. During the the Second World War snipers in most nations were taught to carry their weapons scopeless the majority of the time, carrying the optic in a special protective case, only attaching them when needed. A scope rail like this would allow a sharpshooter to maintain zero through removal and re-attachment.

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I also wanted to work on the iron sights to make them more realistic and user-friendly. The rear sight leaf is adjustable for windage. A piece of folded steel supports the leaf and it is all brazed together. You can see the first stage of the elevation adjustment here as well

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I turned two endcaps for the tube, one of which I drilled and tapped to take a screw. These could be brazed into position.

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I then made a small screw with a knurled thumb nut to lock and unlock the elevation slide into place once the correct elevation was found.

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The unit is now finished for functionality and just needs to be painted up. I’ll add some markings on the elevation slide to make it easier to track movements.

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To help the markings last longer, I cut recesses for them with a fine file. I could then fill the space with off-white paint. I painted the rest of the sights, though I think if I do any more sights like these I will probably oil black them overall and just paint in the details.

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As it’s an airsoft gun, I have left the range markings off, normally a rifle like this would have marking from around 200m to about 1200m. I’ll leave it to the client to mark in ranges that he wants with a chinagraph pencil.

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Finished photographs of the whole gun will be going up in the next post!

This project has sparked a lot of interest so this model will be available as a kit and as a complete gun. If this post has inspired you to want a gun of your own, do drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or find us on Facebook.

G43: Part 4

Add-on kits, Battle Rifles, Custom builds, G43/K43, Weapons, WWII

While skimming the stock to remove the varnish one thin area gave way in the pistol grip. This proved quite difficult to fill as there was no support to speak of underneath.

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Eventually, I managed to fit a piece of shaped wood into the space and affix it with wood glue. To re-enforce it I filled the space with resin. Once sanded and varnished it should disappear fairly quickly.

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I could then varnish the wood all over to seal it.

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I then oil blacked the remaining parts. I’ll be putting together a video on this process very soon.

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The oil blacked receiver in place. You can see the small, irritating gap between the top heat guard and the stock. I have managed to fix it by shaving some of it off in just the right place and adding a brace inside.

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Looking quite close to finished now! I’m tweaking a couple of bits to make it a little more usable and will be testing it soon. I also have to finish the scope mount for this client.

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This project has sparked a lot of interest so this model will be available as a kit. If this post has inspired you to want a gun of your own, do drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or find us on Facebook.

G43: Part Three

Battle Rifles, Custom builds, G43/K43, Rifles, WWII

At the end of the last instalment, the G43 looked like this:

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Since then it’s improved a lot. Now I know what shapes are required it is possible to get neater pieces laser cut. As before, I bent sections for the top of the receiver over wooden formers.

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This time however I had some checking jigs to ensure that bends were executed correctly and precisely. This will help to reproduce accurate results time after time.

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This means that the bent parts neatly fit their neighbouring components and can be welded into place.

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Checking the fit of the chamber cover:

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One of the nice bits about this stage of development is that everything has its place and you know with a fair degree of certainty that parts will fit together with a minimum of fussing. This is why custom builds take so long, just because there is only one piece produced at the end doesn’t cut out all of that prototyping work!

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Once the receiver unit was assembled, I had to attach it to the action. A nut captive in this piece of polymorph holds it in place. The polymorph (low softening point plastic) is epoxied in place onto the top of the M14’s outer barrel.

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Below is the bottom part of the rear sight unit on first (dry) assembly. You can see clearly that it is made from five separate pieces, slightly differently shaped to make the rough shape of the sight unit. These are then screwed together to make the unit. They could be welded but for this job a tidy and correct appearance could be achieved by countersinking and flattening off the screws.

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A close-up of the tapped hole. Tapping is a relatively simple process that cuts a female screw thread into a piece of material. This means that a much neater appearance can be achieved than by using a nut.

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One of the distinctive features of the G43 is the scope rail that comes pretty well as standard except on the earliest few hundred models produced. One request the client made for this was that it could be used in the DMR role so a scope mount was needed.

No picatinny rails here though. The scope will mount on the side rail. A piece of 6mm steel with holes corresponding to two holes on the receiver makes the rail, I had to put a chamfer on by hand so that the scope will slot on without falling off the side. There was quite a bit of trial and error needed to achieve a fit close enough to allow the scope to be accurate but loose enough to allow it to be removed.

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For those of you who were paying attention earlier, you will remember the use of different shaped pieces being assembled to create a part. The scope mount is a great example of this being used. A 3mm steel plate is used to align and assemble all the parts, of which there are three types. The front cap you can see here, behind it are parts that slot over the bevelled scope rail and the two vertical posts that take the scope are similarly equipped._DSF6145

Once all the parts are assembled, I could tap the holes in the sides.

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These take the spring steel clips that lock down the scope.

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The assembled scope mount with scope.

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My last job for today on this was to oil black some of the smaller parts. This was my first time oil blacking with spent motor oil. In the past I have experimented with WD40, linseed oil, veg oil etc… all of which produce slightly different results.

I use a MAPP torch to heat the parts, though propane or oxy-acetylene (if you are a lucky sod) will also work. I heat up the parts and watch the colour change as the metal heats. It’s important to make sure the metal is clean of grease and rust to prevent an uneven finish.

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When it is the dark grey shown below it is the right temperature to dip.

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The first time you drop a part in cold oil it produces a thick cloud of white smoke. Each time afterwards it produces less smoke as the oil heats up.

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After the first dip, the part is reheated, dipped a second time and heated again.

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The last heating it is heated until a black, powdery residue is formed. when the part cools this can be brushed off and the finish is left intact.

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The front band:

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The assembly so far:

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Sadly the big parts won’t fit into any suitable container I have. However in my next laser cutting order I have added an oil blacking station which will take all but the biggest parts I do.

 

This project has sparked a lot of interest so this model will be available as a kit. If this post has inspired you to want a gun of your own, do drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or find us on Facebook.

G43: Part Two

Custom builds, G43/K43, WWII

At the end of the last post on the G43, it looked like this:

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The next piece of metalwork was the buttplate. This elegant pressed steel piece was ideal for the rushed mass production of late-war Germany but this apparently simple shape is actually very expensive to produce as a one-off.I decided to create it in two pieces, the side and back. These were then formed around each other into the correct shaped welded in place. It doesn’t look like much yet but it should clean up nicely!

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The shape of the buttplate for the G43 is very different to the original M14. The stock shape had to be adjusted significantly, especially the back slope along the top.

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Once the rough shaping had been completed, I cleaned the varnish off along the whole length.

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I also welded the rear sight and chamber unit to the rest of the receiver.

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Which could then be fitted roughly into place:

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The eagle-eyed among you will see the hole at the back of the receiver. In an ideal world this would be filled with wood, but I was concerned that this would be a fragile solution. In order to make it look ‘right’ if not ‘correct’, I used a piece of thin sheet steel to cover this area, trimmed to shape.

 

A bit of real woodwork next, the upper hand guard is made from beech. The channel inside was routed out first, then the external shape planed by hand. I then marked out the vents in the side, cut the edges and removed them with the chisel.

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Next, the rear sight. My first attempt wasn’t as tidy as I would have liked so I made a few tweaks to the design and had another go.Largely welded in the main, a little brazing secured the rear end.

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A little cleanup later and the casual viewer would be none the wiser.

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So, this is where we are at now:

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I must confess that i have missed out a few steps on the way to this point.I made side panels for the receiver that fitted the woodwork. There is also a small arch of steel at the front of the rear sight unit that helps holt the top hand guard in place. These features will be refined for production.

 

This project has sparked a lot of interest and it looks likely that this model will be available as a kit and complete gun. If this post has inspired you to want a gun of your own, do drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or find us on Facebook.

 

G43: Part One

Custom builds, G43/K43, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

_DSF5918 _DSF5919

As regular readers of this blog and the Facebook page will be aware, many of the projects begin with some intense design work and a lot of laser cuttings! I was particularly looking forward to getting these as it was my first venture into mass-preparing parts for hand folding.

I tend to run several components’ production in parallel so that i can be working on one as another cools, but the first job was assembling this little former:

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This shape allows me to very accurately bend the front sight hood by hand.

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This done, I did much the same with the barrel band and drilled them so that the unit could be assembled with the sight post in the middle.

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The one screw loosens and fits the whole unit. I may do some more work on the appearance of the foresight itself but it’s not bad as a first attempt!

Next was the front band, the part that ties the top and bottom of the stock together.

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Again I made formers, this time out of wood, for the strips of steel going around the woodwork. These were then viced with the plates that corresponded to them and welded in place. I rather conveniently had a piece of steel pipe exactly the same diameter as the barrel of the M14 I’m working from in order to assemble these parts.

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Clean, polished and fitted to the gun for the first time. I must confess that even I was surprised at the first fitting with no modifications needed at all!

With the receiver came a lot more bending. Each panel was hand bent over a piece of 38mm steel tube.

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Once the curve was pretty close, the appropriate endcaps and features were welded in place, holding the exact curve needed.

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I then had to fit it to the gun:

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Clamped in place, ready to go! At this point my angle grinder gave out. Typical.
_DSF5977A quick trip to Screwfix later and I could get to work removing the receiver unit from the gun. I had hoped to keep this intact but it turned out to be integral to the gearbox housing so it had to go!

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Once the main part of the receiver was gone, I could trim away the remainder of the receiver that was in the way. At this point I had to make some adjustments to the stock in order to fit the disk at the back of the gun. A straight bit cut away the space needed and a small channel where there would be a curved lead in like the original G43.

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Cut away stock, also trimmed down at the front for the top guard. I will need to make a filler piece for the lead in to the receiver as the stock was pretty hollow at this point to fit the gearbox in.

The last photograph shows the fit of the parts so far. I’m happy with the back two, but I will need to modify the rear sight and chamber to fit over the hop unit/barrel mount. I will be putting strips of steel down the edge of the receiver to help it fit absolutely spot on.

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So far this had been a really fun build, it’s nice to be able to focus on the cosmetics for a change!

If this post has inspired you to want a custom gun of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or find us on Facebook.

G43: Hitler’s Garand

Custom builds, G43/K43, History, Weapons, WWII

Firstly, apologies for not posting in an age, I’ve been too busy building and not doing enough writing!

The Farquhar-Hill, an experimental British semi-automatic rifle.

The Farquhar-Hill, an experimental British semi-automatic rifle.

Semi-automatic rifles were not a new technology by the Second World War, indeed they were available from the 1890s for those who really wanted to stay ahead of the curve: this not being all that long after the bolt-action/magazine combination was widely accepted. In spite of the seemingly obvious advantage of semi-automatic fire to the modern viewer, it took some time before it was widely adopted.

The 1907 Mondragon, a Mexican semi-automatic rifle. Interestingly Mexico was one of the first militaries to adopt this technology.

The 1907 Mondragon, a Mexican semi-automatic rifle. Interestingly Mexico was one of the first militaries to adopt this technology.

In the interwar years, most of the major nations experimented with semi-automatic rifles though only the US adopted it as their main rifle technology. That said they decided to sit out the first two years of the Second World War so had a bit more time to faff around.

The advent of the Second World War actually put back the adoption of semi-automatic rifles in Europe as there was a sudden need to re-arm without time for developing the new weapons. As a result, pretty well every nation went to war with the same rifles as they fought the Great War with.

Russian SVT-38

Russian SVT-38

On the Eastern Front, German forces generally made good headway against the Soviets, thanks mostly to their major superiority in the air and mobility. One of the few sticking points was where they came up against troops armed with the SVT40 and SVT38 semi-automatic rifles.

As a result, the Wehrmacht put out a tender to German manufacturers for a semi-automatic rifle:

  • No holes for tapping gas for the loading mechanism were to be bored into the barrel
  • The rifles were not to have any moving parts on the surface
  • In case the autoloading mechanism failed, a bolt action was to be included

The latter two make some sense even to modern eyes. The former was the result of paranoia that tapping gas for a reloading mechanism would sap the power of the bullet. The G41 used the ‘Bang’ system instead*. This system uses a ‘cup’ at the muzzle end to capture the blast and move the long operating piston. Sadly this system proved sensitive to dirt, hard to clean in the field and suffered from exposure to the corrosive chemicals used in primers of the era.

As a result of these problems among others, the G41 has earned a reputation of being possibly the most unreliable rifle of the era.

G41 (M), the particularly dreadful Mauser version of the G41.

G41 (M), the particularly dreadful Mauser version of the G41. The swollen fore-end of the barrel is the cup that captures the muzzle blast. If you take this off it is full of lots of small parts.

This was not good enough for the Wehrmacht who had the rifle redesigned, using the Tokarev system for inspiration.

The result was the G43, a far more effective rifle, but the Germans still weren’t quite happy! G/Gewehr meant ‘long rifle’. At only two centimetres longer than the Kar98k the Germans felt It was too short to be ‘gewehr’ so in time renamed it K43.

Left and right sides of the G43. The scope rail is on the side of the receiver above the trigger in the top image.

Left and right sides of the G43. The scope rail is on the side of the receiver above the trigger in the top image.

Beyond this the rifle stayed much the same for the duration of the war with mainly minor alterations. A scope rail was added and featured on most production rifles so that a Zf4 scope could be used, though this was only special issue.

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G43 with ZF4 scope mounted.

Over the next month or so I’ll be converting an M14 into a G43 lookalike, as usual sharing the results here! If you would be interested in an M14 to G43 or G41 conversion let us know on the usual email address: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com. You can also ‘like’ our Facebook page for interesting articles, web pages and incremental developments

 

Fun facts!
  • Later in the war some last-ditch K43s were produced to run on the 8mm Kurtz intermediate round and use Stg magazines
  • The Zf4 was the ONLY scope used by the Wehrmacht in WWII on the G43
  • German soldiers were instructed to make semi-automatic rifles unusable if capture was imminent, as a result many examples are found with broken butt stocks

*named after Søren H. Bang, the mechanism’s inventor