Airsoft Welrod: Part 1

Cold War, Custom builds, pistol, Suppressed, Weapons, Welrod, WWII

Our long-term readers may remember a long time ago an introduction to the Welrod.

 

While the initial project was for an airsoft model, it ended up being an inert replica for the client in question. Well, the Welrod is back for another attempt at the quietest airsoft pistol around!

The base gun for this is a double-action non blow back CO2 pistol. For those of you who like the internals of guns here is a picture!

_DSF7395

In order to keep things simple (K.I.S.S. or Keep It Simple, Stupid is my motto), I’m keeping as much of the frame as possible as it does a good job of holding the internals and designing a new frame… well suffice to say that life is short. The red coloured areas will be removed over the course of the build.

_DSF7396

The donor with several of the red panels cut away on one side. I actually quite like the slightly steampunk aesthetic of being able to see some of the internals.

_DSF7433

The receiver in progress, the first step is to cut out a recess for the donor.

_DSF7425

Which, with both halves now matching, fits in very nicely. Inside the tube is a buffer that holds the front of the barrel and stops the mainspring. In theory this could be adjustable to make the barrel unit strike the valve harder/softer to control FPS. I’m not sure at this stage how feasible this would be though.

_DSF7553

The front cap and back cap, freshly turned on the lathe! Both parts are in mild steel so will match the rest of the receiver nicely when all finished. The dip around the muzzle is to disperse the muzzle blast more effectively when used at point-blank range. Which it often had to be as accuracy was pretty appalling with the original!

_DSF7554

A close-up of the back end.

_DSF7555

 

The next stage is to make the trigger guard and housing unit, then modify the pistol grip.

 

If you would like to discuss commissioning a gun of your own or want to see more content like this,feel free to drop us an email at: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or join us on Facebook!

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

Advertisements

Welrod Build Part 2

Cold War, Custom builds, Suppressed, Weapons, Welrod, WWII

Further progress was made on the Welrod yesterday! This project is coming together quite quickly as it is already starting to look like the original gun.

DSCF5177

Below you can see the internal cylinder pulled out as if the gun was being cocked. This also aligns the feed system for loading. The gun cocks on opening when the piston locks into the sear.

DSCF5178

Next job is to make the piston (it will be a custom-made piston in aluminium, turned on the lathe) and the second sear. I’ll also have to buy in the barrel and the spring!

If this post has inspired you for a project or you fancy one of your own do drop me a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com.

Welrod build Part 1

Cold War, Custom builds, Products, Suppressed, Welrod, WWII

Last week I collected a whole host of parts for various projects from the laser cutters, among which were the bits for the Welrod MkII.

DSCF5124

It’s always an unnerving time when the parts come back as there’s almost always something missing or slightly wrong that you have forgotten to correct during the development of the design. In this case there was a little to-ing and fro-ing on the size of the cylinder and the guide washers that suspended the cylinder in the original deign became somewhat redundant by the time the parts went for cutting and the stop-post (that prevents the spring sliding back with the rest of the cylinder) was built into one of these. An easy enough fix though and one that will both simplify manufacture in the longer run and make the Welrod much easier to strip.

While I was waiting for the tubes that make up the shroud and cylinder I decided to make progress on assembling the groupings that make up the gun.

Key: Blue-foresight blade and rear sight, Red-spring guide and back cap, Green-loading mechanism, Yellow-front caps, Pink-pistol grip. Purple is a front view of the original stopping post.

Key: Blue-foresight blade and rear sight, Red-spring guide and back cap, Green-loading mechanism, Yellow-front caps, Pink-pistol grip. Purple is a front view of the original stopping post.

In this picture I have left out the spring (as I haven’t bought it yet) and the second sear (as I haven’t made it yet) but as you can see, it’s pretty simple, much like the original. There may have to be a few tweaks to the design here and there as the build progresses but so far, so good!

As per usual, if this post has given you an idea for a project so drop me a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com!

The Welrod

Cold War, Custom builds, Suppressed, Weapons, Welrod, WWII

A client recently contacted me and asked about the feasibility of building an Airsoft Welrod. This is a project I have wanted to do for some time so I came up with an initial design within three days and have revised it a little since then.

Anyway, a brief history of the Welrod is in order:

Design and Variants

By the Second World War, the science of suppression was pretty established. Suppressors had been made for the Maxim gun and were available for automatic pistols. However, the noise of the action cycling was an issue with suppressed automatic pistols and British clandestine forces (and indeed Resistance movements throughout Europe) required something more discrete.

WWII-era suppressed M1911

WWII-era suppressed M1911

The answer came from Major Hugh Reeves of the Special Operations Executive’s Station IX, where a great number of novel inventions came to life. He designed the rather ugly Welrod Model 1. In .32 ACP this design had a few shortcomings:

  • Magazines had to be loaded through the ejection port one round at a time
  • The pistol grip, though short, made the gun an awkward shape to carry
  • The trigger was a thumb-activated push-switch in the left of the gun, meaning that accuracy was impaired through a loss of purchase
MkI Welrod

Model 1 Welrod

Just to confuse you, there is also a MkI Welrod, which looks a little more like the pistol people recognise today:

Welrod MkI

Welrod MkI

Featuring a trigger guard for the more conventional trigger and a grip safety, this design had many features that appealed to the end users. It did however still look a bit gun-like, which for secret operations isn’t greatly desirable!

So, a re-design was in order and led to the MkII and MkIIa. This is the Welrod people recognise, it uses the magazine as the grip and is a simple bolt-action using a knurled round grip to operate it rather like the MkI.

Welrod MkI (bottom) compared to Welrod MkII (top).

Welrod MkI (bottom) compared to Welrod MkII (top).

Due to the removable nature of the grip magazine, this version was significantly easier to hide, the main body of the tube was affectionately named the ‘bicycle pump’ for obvious reasons. When taken apart it could easily hide in a cyclist’s pannier or a plumber’s toolbox and be quite unidentifiable to the untrained eye, made less obvious by the deletion of the trigger guard.

The MkII/a was available in .32ACP and, perhaps more sensibly on the continent, 9mm Parabellum, the standard round of many German submachine guns and handguns.

The nature of the suppressor is also definitely worth a mention here. As well as the usual close-fitting metal rings found in a normal suppressor that eliminate various pitches of sound, the Welrod contained a number of rubber washers with a hole in the centre, just *slightly* smaller than the round that passed through it. This makes the suppressor extremely effective, if a little less accurate! Most Welrods were measured to make about 73db of noise.

 Service History

Obviously a weapon designed for secretive use such as this gets little mention in the annals of history. However, there are suggestions that as well as extensive use with the SOE and Resistance movements through Western Europe, a US version saw service with several of their forces in the Far East not only in WWII but also possibly in Vietnam. Some sources suggest that Welrods were used as late as the 1991 Gulf War by British Special Forces, as well as in Ireland and the Falklands.

If any of you are familiar with the stay-behind units of NATO designed to slow down and harry the Soviets in event of war (Gladio teams), Welrods also featured in their weapons caches.

So much of this is of course, somewhat speculative. There are many rumours and tall tales about who was issued these unusual guns, and they add a romance to a story that a suppressed Browning Hi-Power just doesn’t quite carry…