LMG25: Build 1

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

The LMG25 is a really weirdly formatted gun, but with a Sten and some modifications I’m hoping to make something really interesting and unique.

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As ever, this started with a load of research and design work. There aren’t too many parts to this compared to some of my builds and they nearly all attach directly to the receiver. The first step of construction was to make this receiver, which I made a template for and centre punched for the drill, before cutting the space needed for the donor.

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The welding begins with the mock-upped ejection port and the trigger grouping/pistol grip.

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I also cut a hole for the magazine feed.

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The magazine well has an awkward and distinctive shape, so it is being 3D printed and will be mounted with metal plates and screws to the receiver.

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In place it fits quite nicely! This replica takes AK magazines which look the part well enough from a distance.

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Onto the stock. I cut it out in the usual way from the blank, but I can’t cut out the action recess in the usual manner due to the awkward lump at the front of the stock. It would have been possible to have this as a separate piece but it’s not a major issue to work around.
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The pistol grip unit is, fortunately, an entirely separate unit. This means making it is a lot easier than a one-piece pistol grip/stock. It somewhat resembles some of the early semi-auto conversions of bolt-action rifles in this respect of its design.

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There is quite a pleasing curve to the back of this pistol grip which is easily missed.

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This means that all the major working parts are in place. The next important step is to get the working parts actually working! Then we can enjoy the detailing, sights and bipod.

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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, and if you have an idea for a custom build of your own just get in touch with us on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com.

The LMG25 Furrer

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

The LMG25 is a Swiss Light Machine Gun adopted, as the name suggests, in 1925. It is a real oddity, even for a time when LMG designs were far less standardised than today.

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This Swiss soldier will get a very warm thumb if he opens fire now.

It was developed at Waffenfabrik, Bern by Adolf Furrer over seven years and was produced until the end of WWII. It served into the 1970s with the Swiss military, so must have been a pretty serviceable firearm to have hung around for so long.

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So, why is this an oddity? Well, the magazine is on the right-hand side, when most side-feeders (though not all) feed/fed from the left. There was a monopod at the back for support during sustained fire which wasn’t an uncommon idea at the time, but this could be moved to the front and used as a foregrip, which was.

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Monopod used as a fore-grip in the assault role.

But most interesting of all, this is a toggle-locked design. There are very few toggle locked guns due to the complexity and expense of manufacture as it is. There are even fewer rifle-cartridge toggle-locked guns (especially that went into production). As well as the high level of accuracy required for these to function, they also need to have a very strong recoil spring and a conventional toggle-lock doesn’t provide great purchase when cocking. The LMG25 has a separate operating handle to aid with this.

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The LMG25 is also interesting because as well as being toggle-locked it fires as you would expect a support weapon to do, from an open bolt. It is the only firearm of which I am aware that is both of these.

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The open toggle. When opened, it kicks open the two-part dust cover. Anyone familiar with the Luger will recognise the parts of this.

Just in case this wasn’t different enough for your liking, it is also unconventional in that the barrel does not stop once the toggle is broken open but keeps moving backwards. The shell is still ejected as the toggle moves much faster than the barrel.

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The dust cover in the closed position below, and open above. It is in two parts to fit around the toggle. Very Swiss. 

In spite of all this strange-ness and the alleged complexity of toggle-locked guns (over-egged by those who have spent no time with them) it is very simple to field strip. One large nut at the back of the receiver allows you to remove the recoil spring, then pull out the barrel assembly. What about the bolt? Well the bolt/locking mechanism is all part of the barrel assembly on this so the whole lot pulls out together. Neat for cleaning in the field.

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The barrel/bolt/locking unit, showing the extravagant fluting on the barrel normally hidden by the shroud.

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Top view of the toggle when removed from the receiver.

While beautifully made, this type of gun never really caught on. It served the Swiss well, where money was no object for a relatively small army but for any other military the expense would have far outweighed any advantages. 

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Of course due to never being adopted outside of its home country, which didn’t participate in any conflicts during this period (or ever since about 1847) it never saw active service so it is difficult to say how it would have performed. 

 

If you want to see some footage of the LMG25, Ian at Forgotten Weapons has a nice video talking through one in Belgium here:

He also has some awesome footage of another LMG25 firing, including a lovely bit of slow-motion:

Don’t forget to check out Forgotten Weapons’ page on the LMG 25 here for more information on the gun and high-res pictures.

Vintage Airsoft will be building an LMG25 over the next few months with progress posted up here.

 

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Browning M2HB .50 calibre machine gun

Cold War, Era, History, M2 .50 Machine gun, Machine-Guns, Products, War on Terror, Weapons, WWII

The Browning M2 has its roots in WWI. By the end of this war, both British and French militaries had large calibre machine guns and the Germans had been in the process of developing theirs. The need had come about with the introduction of armour in aircraft and vehicles that repelled most regular arms.

M2_Browning,_Musée_de_l'Armée

The early Browning designs were only half successful. There were water cooled variants but these were heavy and moves to make them air cooled followed quickly. With some effort and consideration, the design developed until one type of receiver could be used to make seven types of machine gun using different barrels, jackets and internal components. It could feed from the left and right which was important for its use in aircraft and it quickly replaced the .30 Browning, then in use for this role.

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The M2 has been manufactured and in use since 1933 and the design has remained quite unchanged since. It served through WWII with Allied forces, notably by the Long Range Desert Group and the early SAS in North Africa where it was a popular choice for destroying aircraft on the ground in their signature hit and run raids.

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An M2 aircraft variant in use by the SAS in North Africa, WW2.

It also served in Korea and Vietnam, where it was occasionally fitted with a scope and used as an over-sized sniper rifle. As a closed-bolt weapon it was very accurate by MG standards and it was during Vietnam that the longest kill recorded, at 2000 yards (1800m), was set and stood until 2002.

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It has since served in nearly every war of note and many wars you won’t even have heard of. For Western militaries today, it is usually mounted in aircraft or on vehicle turrets, though it is sometimes to be found protecting bases in Afghanistan, where the exceptional range and accuracy is well-suited to the wide, open spaces.

 

I will be building a Browning M2 for a client, plus a turret mounting for the top of a Land Rover.

 

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MG08/15: Improved internals

Custom builds, Machine-Guns, MG08/15, Weapons, WWI, WWII

When I went to test the MG08/15 the other day out of the workshop I had one of those frustrating moments when something that worked fine in the workshop didn’t! The gun was firing groups like a shotgun at hopelessly low FPS.

I decided the issue was in a poor BB transition from the chamber to the barrel so a fix was in order to smooth this out.

Instead of one screw locking the barrel in place, which offset it slightly, I added another two screws to hold it centrally. This eliminates the step the BB was having to take to get into the barrel, causing that appalling firing pattern.

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A quick test run at my local indoor site proves satisfactory! Just a little tweak to the hop nub should have this beauty field ready in no time.

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.

You can buy the face mask I was wearing in the second video in our Etsy store.

Cz ZB-26-Bren barrel conversion

Bren, Machine-Guns, Weapons, WWII

A regular client of mine recently got himself a ZB-26 LMG to use as a Bren. There are a few differences between these guns, the main one being the barrel. On the Bren it is a smooth surfaced heavy barrel, the ZB-26 has a fanned barrel for faster cooling. I was commissioned to make the changes.

The original plan was to turn down the fans along the whole barrel, however this turned out to be aluminium and I was concerned about the integrity of the finished product.

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As a result I removed the majority of the barrel from the attachment point that fits into the receiver and turned down that part to fit inside a piece of steel tube.

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As so… a very close friction fit.

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Meanwhile at the other end of the steel tube, the flash suppressor and foresight unit fits nicely over the outside diameter. Underneath is the gas block and two holes that run through the top of this, through which drift pins can be pushed to hold the unit in place.

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At this point I realise I have had a dunce moment. Naturally the barrel is slimmer than the ZB-26 barrel as it hasn’t the cooling fins and the handle mount is much too large.

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Fortunately, making a new one is simple enough, the new lug is brazed onto a piece of steel tube that fits around the barrel.

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The old handle is close enough to the original to be used, so a custom bolt allows this to be removed without tools.

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Finally, the gas block adjustment, which controls the gas flow in the original. Grey polymorph fills in the space.

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And all finished! This unit just needs mounting into the Bren gun and it’s good to go.

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MG08/15: Upgraded internals

Custom builds, Machine-Guns, MG08/15, Products, Weapons, WWI, WWII

A quick video to show you what this gun shot like prior to a couple of improvements!

It was a little inconsistent, though bear in mind that this is without the hop set at all. There are several improvements that have been made since then to improve consistency and power.

Firstly, a large, stiff spring holds both the outer barrel and the hop unit in place against the gearbox.

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At this point, it became apparent that having quick-replacement magazines is a bit pointless as any magazine for this gun will be a high-capacity one. As a result I dropped this idea and went for the far more secure (and better feeding) fixed version.

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This can still be swapped between an electronic hi-cap (stored in an MG42 ammunition box, as used in WW2 with the MG08/15) and a smaller hi-cap that can be stored in the drum itself.

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A drum magazine lock was added to stop the drum from opening unexpectedly. The crank handle on the original was used to wind in the cloth bullet belt. It is fixed on this and the sides of the spindle hold the magazine in place.

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The details on the water tank, filling cap and steam hose connector.

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The small magazine attachment for the drum magazine. This attaches to the top of an M14 magazine.

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A top-up of paint to get it pretty before testing!

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Ready to go!

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The elevation adjustment and rear sight.
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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.

MG08/15: Internals

Custom builds, Machine-Guns, MG08/15, Weapons, WWI, WWII

Some of my followers will remember that I have had many, many issues with my lathe. Recently I have managed (with not a little help) to get it back into working order! There were quite a few jobs waiting for this, one of which was the MG08/15.

This required a hop-up chamber. I turned this from a piece of 20mm aluminium. One hole drilled through the centre all the way kept everything aligned as I bored out the front and back to their appropriate diameters to take the nozzle and barrel.

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I then filed down the top create a flat surface, then drilled a feed hole to allow BBs to feed into the chamber and another hole that was tapped to adjust the hop-up. A second screw holds the barrel stable.

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I attached two barrel spacers to the barrel to centre it in the outer barrel. This done I attached the gearbox to it. I could line up the gearbox mounting plate with the holes used to attach it to the frame and marked out their locations.

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These could then be drilled and fitted permanently.

More to follow soon! 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.

MG08/15: Bipod and woodwork

Custom builds, Machine-Guns, MG08/15, Weapons, WWI, WWII

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So, this is what the MG08/15 looks like now! As you can see there are a few changes. The main development of importance as far as I am concerned is the addition of the bipod. This gun finally stands up on its own!

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A close-up of the bipod mount in progress. A series of disks keeps friction to a minimum. I was thinking of using 6mm bearings but it runs smoothly as-is. Given the gun will be used in (very dusty) South Africa I reckoned on simpler being better.

_DSF5434The bipod itself is folded 2mm steel sheet. Designed in CAD and laser cut, I folded it by hand. I’ve never been so hot in the workshop! This was then welded to the bottom of the pivot mechanism.

_DSF5425Woodwork is the other obvious development. Took delivery of some lovely Trend router bits that I have had my eye on for some time and set to work on the buttstock (rough cut above).  Using the convex curve of a Roman Ogee bit I rounded off the faces other than the front and back.

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Curved faces and Roman Ogee bit in the router.

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Another treat in the delivery: These rubber sanding drums fit in a standard drill chuck. A left hand thread puts pressure on the rubber to hold the sanding cylinders in place. Once you get used to setting them up, these are really effective for sanding large curved faces and even small flat faces.

_DSF5329Now I just need to get the finished buttstock to match the staining job on the pistol grip covers!

Still to go: I need to fix up the feed mechanism. All the components exist, they just need fettling to get them all working together smoothly. Then attach the ports (in and ejection). With that it will be painting and testing!

 

If this has inspired you to want a gun of your own, let me know! Drop me a line on: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com, I’d love to hear from you!

MG08/15 shell

Custom builds, Machine-Guns, MG08/15, Weapons, WWI, WWII

Yes, you read the title correctly, more progress on the MG08/15!

External parts this time, the whole build  is really starting to come together now. It’s best expressed in photographs so I shall let them do the talking…

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Right side of receiver soon after welding the grip. On the right of the picture you can see the magazine mounting for the portable 100 round ‘snail’ magazine (technically it isn’t a snail magazine, it is a belt box, I refer to it as a snail to differentiate between it and the box magazine I am building for fixed positions).

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A slightly soft-focus shot of the left side after tinkering with the safety switch mounting.

_DSF5326Close-up of the pistol grip. This shows the back where you can see the screw used to attach the trigger mechanism inside the gun.

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The first bit of woodwork for the gun, carefully shaped grips. This wood is ash stained with a blend of dyes to pick out the details. I’ll be needing to order in a special piece for the buttstock as the pieces I have are fractionally too small.

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Flash hider, carefully hand-cut and hammered into shape.

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Flash hider so far. The cone has been welded to a piece of tube that supports this component. The bulk of the rest of this part will be polymorph (the large black part here) which is still undergoing some shaping.

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And finally for this update, the cooling jacket. This close-up shot of the back-end shows the cover plate that attaches to the front of the gun and the hole through which the inner barrel will run.

 

As ever, if this post has inspired you, do drop us a line at enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com!

MG08/15 trigger, hop and wiring

Custom builds, Machine-Guns, MG08/15, Weapons, WWI, WWII

It has been a while since I have written anything on the MG08/15 build as I have been slowly working on several small parts that in their own rights don’t make for a very interesting article!

The first of these to be completed is the motor plate. This unit houses the motor and the custom hop unit that I have made especially for this build. The original hop unit would only feed from the bottom left, entirely unsuitable of course for a gun that feeds from the top right!

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Motor plate with gearbox, hop and barrel.

So I designed a unit that would feed from the top, this has a feed tube that runs to the feed tray where the ammunition enters the gun.

Close-up of hop unit. The screw sets the hop, the feed tube sits just behind this.

Close-up of hop unit. The screw sets the hop, the feed tube sits just behind this.

The next part to be finished is the trigger. The trigger block sits just above the pistol grip and is secured by one M4 screw at the back. This screw is set into the grip, meaning that it doesn’t intrude on the use or look of the gun but the trigger block can be removed with relative ease. It also means that I can weld the pistol grip into place, meaning that this potential weak spot will be pretty solid!

Trigger unit and pistol grip out of situ.

Trigger unit and pistol grip out of situ.

Trigger housing and safety slot. The safety engages with the second sear.

Trigger housing and safety slot. The safety engages with the second sear.

Also, the wiring has been completed. Having run a test everything works fine, though I will be finding a stronger spring to reset the second sear to make trigger response sharper.

Where the magic happens...

Where the magic happens…

The next step is to assemble the rest of the outer shell and add the detailing. Then we can run a functionality test.

If this post has piqued your interest at all and you would like something similar of your own, do just let us know! Drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com.