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.

 

If you are interested in this project or have an idea of your own, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog or 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 through Etsy.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The MP28 in context

Custom builds, MP28, Products, Sub Machine-guns, Weapons, WWI, WWII

Yesterday, the owner of the MP28 came to collect his new gun and kindly brought his WW1-era Sturmtruppen impression for some photographs! The whole impression is mildly terrifying and it’s fair to say you wouldn’t want him appearing in front of you on a dark night…
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Although the MP28 isn’t a small fire-arm, it is very compact compared to the standard German service rifle, the G98 and even compares favourably to the K98a then in service with  advance units. Add in that the rate of fire is significantly higher than any bolt-action rifle and you have a fearsome new weapon for trench raiding.

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Jim has made and modified much of this uniform himself.

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Particularly noteworthy is the gas mask, in which he has replaced the glass vision ports with  mesh.

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He hand-painted his Stahlhelm based on photographs of originals, that distinctive block-camouflage was used by both sides in various forms, sometimes including unexpected colours like vivid yellows and sky blues.

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And of course, a vital part of any Sturmtruppen’s outfit, the spade:

“But the bayonet has practically lost its importance. It is usually the fashion now to charge with bombs and spades only. The sharpened spade is a more handy and many-sided weapon; not only can it be used for jabbing a man under the chin, but it is much better for striking with because of its greater weight; and if one hits between the neck and shoulder it easily cleaves as far down as the chest”

Eric Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front.

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You can follow the long process of building the MP28 here. This version has both a safety catch and a select-fire system built in with elevation and windage-adjustable rear sight.

If this replica firearm 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 many of our complete products via Etsy, though builds like this are made to order.

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….

Lanchester to T100 conversion: Complete

Custom builds, Products, Sub Machine-guns, T100/44, Weapons, WWII

This has been such a good build. A really enjoyable conversion where I could take time shaping a beautiful, authentic stock and assemble some simple fittings to produce a reasonably authentic and very distinctive piece. Another enjoyable aspect was learning about a gun I didn’t know much about before, from a firearms design culture somewhat divorced from what I am used to in the west.

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First picture: The completed T100 with the Lanchester parts it came with (not made by me but a home-build Sten project).

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And a view of the T100. As you can see, this has a new fore-end and a standard Sten magwell.

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Close-up on the front band, on which the foresight post and front sling mount is placed. Underneath the paint the sling mounts have been oil blacked to resist wear for longer.

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The rear sight is not correct for the T100, this came with the Lanchester but would need entirely removing to be more correct. Early T100s came with a laughably small tangent sight at the very back of the receiver tube, but when I make another T100 I will equip it with the later fixed peep sight, which is more suited to such a gun.

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A close-up of the new trigger, guard and the cavalry sling mount.

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And a final view of the far side of the stock and rear sling swivel. You can also see clearly on this side the join in the stock used by the Japanese to improve material use efficiency.

 

This is clearly not a 100% true replica. In terms of inaccuracies, I have already mentioned the rear sight. Also, the T100 fed from a curved magazine with the magazine housing inclined slightly forward. This is a project for the longer term. The operating handle and the slot it runs in is higher while the ejection port is lower. The overall shape is slightly lower profile but there would be no way of using the Lanchester without massive, irreversible modifications which somewhat defeats the point!

 

For use, I think the gun’s owner will be very please with the ergonomics, coupled with the Sten’s excellent internals it should serve very well.

 

If you like the look of this gun and would like one, or a build of your own that we don’t currently offer please do get in touch! Email us on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com or get in touch via our Facebook page.