Stopping Rifle: Introduction

History, Imperial Era, Inter-War (1918-1939), Sporting Arms, Weapons

The Stopping Rifle is an oddity today, a hang-over from the Golden Days of trophy hunting in the deepest, darkest parts of Africa and the sub-continent.

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Theodore Roosevelt, prolific trophy hunter. Famed for sparing a bear cub and inventing the ‘Teddy’ bear. This elephant was not so fortunate.

The stopping rifle is still part of the (now much rarer) expedition through dangerous game country. When dealing with large and dangerous animals such as the hippopotamus, lions, elephants and tigers, you need a gun that is capable of not only killing the animal quickly, but dropping it on the spot mid-charge.

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While many conventional rifles may be capable of killing an animal at range, if an animal is close enough to your party to make a charge such projectiles can go clean through even a critical area, with the animal not realising it is dead until it has mauled you.

 

As a result stopping rifles fire heavy, slow bullets. A typical 7.62 NATO bullet is 10-11g, a .450 Nitro Express bullet on the other hand is closer to 32g. .700 Nitro Express at 65g is another level entirely.

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.500 NE compared with some more common rounds. Bigger than this you really only have heavy military use rounds and oddball cartridges like the .950 JDJ.

So, why two barrels? Well, given the need for a quick follow-up shot has been around since before the invention of the modern cartridge a second barrel was the only option. However this design classic has survived through not only the bolt-action era but even beyond semi-automatics.

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A taxidermy exhibit at the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, Yorkshire, Great Britain. The hunter appears to be using a double percussion gun while his guide reloads the first one.

Firstly, you can switch between triggers very quickly, far faster than operating a bolt. Although modern semi-autos could handle the pressure of these large cartridges, they are far more prone to being affected by the dirt and dust which on long expeditions is a fact of life: especially for a gun that has to be carried ready to fire at all times under severe pressure.

Express sights feature a huge V-notch, with several separate leaves for different fixed ranges. This unusual BSA design also has an adjustable leaf. This design allows for some precision use at close range when there is time, but also allows the shooter to use the foresight as a bead in emergencies.

 

So this hold-over from the Victorians still has its uses and these rifles are still some of the most beautiful examples of private and custom gunsmithing around.

I will be building my own stopping rifle for airsoft use of course, for a safari-type load out, probably paired with the Webley MkVI.

 

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 smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

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Sten MkIV: Build

Custom builds, Sten, Sten MkIV, Sub Machine-guns, Weapons, WWII

The first major hurdle for me was that my Sten was missing the massive chunk of aluminium that houses the barrel and hop up unit. I measured up one from another gun and created a 3D model to be printed. I added a section to the front for the flash hider which is a separate piece. Running through this and the other part is some 16mm steel tube for strength.

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The stock is made from pieces of laser cut steel. For the very sharp bends I made cuts with the angle grinder, made the folds and welded them up.

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The locking bar is kept in place with two screws. These ride in slots that stop it from travelling too far back or forwards.

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The pistol grip slotted into place, welded on the bottom which was then ground flat to allow the stock to pivot. The trigger guard is huge, the bend was made with wooden formers and the shape was checked against my paper template.

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A close-up of the locking system. This is a pretty solid system, with only the wobble you would expect from a typical Sten stock.

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Once the stock unit was welded onto the backplate, this really started to take shape. Shown below with the stock stowed.

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And the stock deployed. So far it’s more comfortable than it looks, the next step is to make the wooden grips.

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These are made from some leftover walnut I had sitting around. I printed a paper template, cut them out and drilled the screw holes. Then fine fitting and shaping was done with files and the electric hand sander.

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Then it was time to strip everything and finish her up.

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The grips got a quick soaking with some dark red woodstain, followed by hardwax oil.

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All that’s left now is reassembly, fitting a foresight and doing some internal work on the Sten. I’ve swapped the barrel out already for a shorter one but the trigger needs some TLC.

You can see the complete item here.

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 smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

Sten MkIV: Introduction

Sten MkIV, Sub Machine-guns, Weapons, WWII

The Sten MkIV has very little written on it, so this introduction will be rather short.

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It was an experimental design to make Britain’s Sub machine gun more compact. This has several possible reasons, but the most likely seeming to my eye (lacking access to original documents) is the Airborne theory. A more compact sub-machine gun than the standard Sten MkII and MkII would make sense for airborne troops and this definitely meets that requirement.

This was ultimately met by the Mk5, which could have its buttstock removed and replaced with a blank backplate.

There were two versions of the MkIV, the ‘A’ which had a hand guard style trigger guard (some say to accommodate arctic mittens) and the ‘B’ which has the trigger and pistol grip advanced to halfway down the receiver. This was apparently an improvement but not enough it would seem!

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The reason the MkIV was rejected during trials was that it was ‘uncomfortable to fire’. This does seem a little bit ironic seeing it was designed to replace the ergonomics-violating MkII and MkIIIs, but judging by what was eventually adopted the general effort was towards a significantly better gun comfort wise rather than a slight improvement.

 

The other possibility is that, being much smaller in the body than a ‘normal’ Sten (especially in the barrel) the recoil, muzzle blast or ejection may have been pretty bad. It’s pretty much impossible to say without access to trials reports or getting to fire the (so far as I can tell) only remaining piece at the Royal Armouries. I suspect it will grow legs and walk out before I am allowed to do that however!

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I’ll be making a MkIVa replica based on the example in the Royal Armouries, as a bit of  change of scene from the bolt actions and machine guns I’ve been building a lot lately!

You can see the build and completed item here. You can see more Sten projects here.

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 smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

P.S.: Bonus photo of a suppressed MkIVa apparently in the NFC, Leeds.

Suppressed Mk 4A(S)Sten - National Firearms Centre, Leeds, UK (Photo by Frank Iannamico)

State of the Vintage Airsoft 2017 1 of 2

Complete builds, Custom builds

So, the New Year has come round once again. It’s time to look back at the last year’s work and forward to what’s coming in 2018!

 

2017’s top projects

The MG08/15 is FINALLY FINISHED! Hurrah! This thing has been the bane of my life for three years. If something could go wrong, it did go wrong. Several times.

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The Sten MkIV. I’ve not shared the build for this yet as it was a quick side project. This is very fun to use and the ability to make it compact very quickly is a really nice feature.

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The G43 (MkII version!). I know there is some excitement around this, although it’s not a world first by any means, I am very pleased with the end result.

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The Webley snubnose was another side project, starting out life as a Well Webley this is now a useful little sidearm to tuck into my battledress for emergencies!

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The Lee-Enfield No.5 Mk1 ‘Jungle Carbine’. A personal build, quite a few people have asked for them but no-one has committed, so I decided to make one anyway! This is my up close and personal sneaky rifle, with a custom piston and cylinder head to keep noise to a minimum. In that respect rather unlike the original…

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The Pritchard-Greener bayonet has proven very popular. Its novelty value and iconic design is so appealing and I’m sure it will prove popular in Great War Airsoft circles. You can find it on the Etsy store here.

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The K98k VSR conversion is a beauty (though I say so myself). This gun was for a friend of mine, I can see these being a great first conversion job for a rookie airsoft gun builder and I’ll be offering kits to help people do this.

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This LMG25 is I believe a unique airsoft piece. Taking AK magazines, this was built for a contingent of Swiss Border re-enactors so you may see it on the UK show circuit this year.

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I’ve done a few infantry portable artillery bits this year. I did a light version of the SMBL 2″ mortar, ideal for mid-late WWII units, this is one of the more practical mortar designs for regular skirmishing.

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A more sophisticated light mortar was the M2 60mm mortar, this has full elevation and windage control to allow for very precise targeting of enemy positions.

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I converted the D-Boys G98 conversion to VSR, I now use this myself with a Mancraft kit.

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The FG42, probably the second most popular project, only beaten to the top spot by the G43. A lot goes into this build, the details of the folding and adjustable sights, trigger unit and bipod, not to mention the intricate hollow furniture makes this an involved process but with a very satisfying result.

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The Lanchester was probably my favourite customer SMG this year, I’ve been wanting to do one for ages, and would love to see it paired with a Royal Navy Commando load out.

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I’ve also expanded the range of rubber knives this year, including this NR-40, for Russian re-enactors and airsofters.

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Stuff I’ve done that isn’t building guns (directly)

One of my major advances this year is building a furnace in which I can melt aluminium. The next step is to build an oven so that I can heat up and dry out my investment moulds more effectively to get production quality castings.

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I got chance to play American Civil War Airsoft in the latter half of 2017, muzzle loading guns and blatting off three shots per minute is so much more fun than it sounds. I sincerely hope to see more of this in 2018.

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I also jumped forward in time from my usual WWII-era equipment to something a bit more modern. My mid-1970s impressions are developing slowly, with the next major step being to sort a helmet. Then I’ll be covered for most of my Cold War impressions.

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And I finally lost my rag trying to balance my webbing on normal coat hangers. I made a heavy duty, straight backed hanger so that the webbing would stay on it in the wardrobe. 20 minutes well spent preserving my sanity.

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Upcoming in 2018

2018 already has some exciting projects for me. I’ve already got another unusual LMG underway, a couple of rifle builds in the works and I’m hoping to finally have the Welrod done.

I’m also hoping to have a Vintage Airsoft meet up event, once I’ve secured a site I’ll be sharing details here and over at the Facebook page.

 

Wishing you all a happy and interesting 2018,

Dom

 

Sten MkIV: Complete

Complete builds, Products, Sten, Sten MkIV, Sub Machine-guns, Weapons, WWII

The completed Sten MkIV. Perhaps not a looker, but definitely one of the most practical SMGs I have built to date. When folded, this easily fits in a backpack making it a much more portable choice than my usual long rifles.

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The large trigger guard makes it ideal for use with gloves in cold conditions.

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The buttstock when folded also makes a handy foregrip. In CQB this is very practical for when poking round corners.

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When  you want a little more shooting precision, just grab the inner tongue and pull it towards the buttstock.

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You can then unfold the stock and lock it into position at the back.

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This is pretty comfortable in this layout, though I am not sure if recoil would be easy to control. I can see how the flat steel would be uncomfortable for prolonged periods of shooting, but no more so than many of the previous models of Sten gun. Frankly compared to the prolific T-stock this would still be a huge improvement so I don’t understand how this was rejected due to being uncomfortable while shooting.

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If you missed it, you can see the build post for this project here.

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 smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

G43 AEG Mk2: Complete

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

I know some people are quite excited about this project so let’s get straight stuck straight in with some pictures!

Left side:

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Right side:

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The 3D printed receiver.

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The rear sight, adjustable for elevation via the leaf. The rear sight adjustment is controlled by the bar across the leaf which is held in place by teeth and spring tension.

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The receiver open. You can now see the finishing touches to the slide, which has been painted up using a mix of acrylics and coarse sand. This simulates the rough cast surfaces left over that were not milled flat as a manufacturing expediency.

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The foresight unit, 3D printed and pinned in place. The blade is adjustable for windage once the hood is removed.

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The barrel is black painted. Production versions of this may be oil blacked, though the fore-end cap will likely be printed rather than metal.

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The magazine well and trigger guard. I may have to beef up the trigger guard in future versions. The magazine release is the small catch between the  magazine and the guard. Although not greatly ergonomic, the original was designed to be fed with stripper clips to be fair.

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A second view.

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The buttstock needs a bit more work for production, but it’s a satisfying result. For production I am going to try and put a sling mounting through it as per the original.

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The buttplate comes off to access the battery compartment.

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A quick view down the gun from the back.

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I’m very pleased with this build I must admit. It looks the part and has a nice heft to it. Of course there have had to be some dimensional changes to fit the airsoft internals, but they aren’t any worse than AEG M1 Garands and without a direct comparison it ought not stand out too much.

Finally WWII airsofters have an option for a rifle that isn’t a K98k or an STG44.

 

If you have enjoyed 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 smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

 

 

Webley MkVI Snubnose revolver

Complete builds, Custom builds, Inter-War (1918-1939), pistol, Weapons, webley, WWI

As this build was a pretty quick one I didn’t take many pictures. It all started with a spare Webley revolver that wasn’t perfect (being the Well model) but I wanted to do something interesting with. So, I marked  a line on the barrel and…

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Chopped it off. Now, there was a bit more to the job than that.

I had to make a new foresight, held in place by two screws. There is a new muzzle, which supports the inner barrel and keeps the barrel return spring in place. The inner barrel had to be shortened and recrowned on the lathe, as well as having the barrel return spring guide cut into it.

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The eagle eyed will also spot that the rear sight/locking bridge has been shortened to make it easier to draw from a concealed holster. Due to the paint finish being damaged in the process of chopping the barrel off, I decided to take it all off. It looks good in silver.

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But it looks better blacked. This is my first attempt with Birchwood Casey’s Aluminium black. It’s pretty good, better than I expected for sure. It was improved massively by a thin coat of silicone oil rubbed into the surface with a dry cloth, bringing it up to a dull shine rather than just a drab finish.

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As you can see, there are a few spots around the muzzle where it hasn’t reacted properly for some reason, but I can touch it up later if I feel the need. To be honest I think it helps give it a bit of a worn look, a snubnose shouldn’t look pristine, they’re a working gun.

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I left the foresight silver. Being steel, I’d need to apply a different finish (oil finishing if I were inclined to do so). However the big silver wedge in my sight picture gives me a nice aiming point even on such a small gun.

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Just some last pics from a couple more angles…

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I’m very much looking forward to using this. I may need a 1920s Gangster or Communist load out for it to look the part. Or just tuck it into my BD jacket for if I get captured.

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If you have enjoyed 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.

To see more Webley related builds such as the carbine conversion, shotgun shells and Pritchard Bayonet take a look here.

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

 

 

Enfield No.5 Mk 1: Complete

Cold War, Complete builds, Custom builds, Lee-Enfield, No. 5 Enfield, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

Well, the No.5 Enfield is complete! And she ain’t a bad looker though I say so myself. Not to mention as far as I know the world’s first Airsoft Enfield No.5.

Let’s talk through her from back to front.

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The buttpad is hard rubber, in an ABS 3D printed cage re-enforced with Polymorph.

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The 3D printed receiver covers the VSR internals for the most part. The trigger is a little square, I’ll probably round it off more for a comfort.

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The rear sight. A bit of tinkering and I may even make it so that I can use the ladder sight for longer range use. For my purposes at present however (a 1 Joule rifle for close, quiet use) the battle sight is just what I need.

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When testing, the windage adjustment in the foresight was very useful. I’ll have to add some elevation adjustment as well as that would come in handy.

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The hop adjustment the most discrete I’ve done on an Enfield yet. That little hole in the top guard is the TDC hop adjustment.

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The magazine well is my standard VSR quick-load magwell. Ideal for the close work I intend to use it for.

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Last but not least, the rear sling bracket. Distinct and unique to the No.5 carbine, this makes an odd pairing with the conventional forward sling swivel. That said I have found it quite comfortable in use, with the gun swinging around less than with conventional swivels.

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If you have enjoyed 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 see the build for this rifle here.

Don’t forget you can buy our smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

 

Enfield No.5 Mk 1 Build: Part 2

Cold War, Custom builds, No. 5 Enfield, Weapons, WWII

Part two starts with the receiver which has been 3D printed. I’m very pleased with the way the markings have come out on this, especially after painting up.

_DSC7433 The rear sight fits in quite well, just needing a little filing down in the mountings for a snug fit.

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Fitted in the stock, the receiver sits in a cutout on the left, the right is concealed in the stock itself.

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It took a little tinkering to get the top guard to fit, but it is now secured under the front of the receiver and at the front by the front band.

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Once I checked all the parts fitted well, I stripped the wood away. I applied my red-brown stain blend that I use for my Sten Mk5 kits. 

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Once this had settled in, I applied a coat of slightly thinned hardwax oil, for a fairly hardwearing semi-gloss finish. 

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Finally, the resin faux magazine is expoxied into place. Once set, I’ll paint it up and she’ll basically be done!

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Pics of the completed rifle to follow soon.

 

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 smaller items via Etsy. Our larger items can be found here.

 

G43 AEG Build 2: Part 3

Battle Rifles, G43 MkII, Weapons, WWII

The last leg of the G43 build are the details that will make it really look the part. First up: the rear sight leaf. This is adjustable for elevation, using a spring and teeth that engage on the right side of the leaf.

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At the front, I’ve had a spring 3D printed. This slots into the nose cap provided by the client.

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At the back of the receiver, the new one has the disassembly lever.

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The rear sight in the flesh. It is kept down by the spring in the front of it.

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Eagle eyed viewers will notice that the receiver has changed a bit, there are now two scoops in the side up by the chamber. There are also stronger rails which had proven a little bit weak to stand up to repeated disassembly.

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The rear sight in place on the new receiver. 

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The foresight is pinned in place with two 3mm pins. The foresight blade is adjustable for windage, so with the rear sight elevation adjustable you have a good range of adjustment.

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Although this is now nominally all in place, I need to do some last bits of finishing. Although it is all there there is something missing to give it that ‘X-factor’. I expect it’ll all come together once the painting has been done.

 

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.