MG08/15-initial designs

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

For this project, I acquired a Classic Army M249 as I knew the gearbox was ideal for the build both dimensionally and for the heavy-duty fire-support role of the gun. Another advantage that cropped up was the incredibly easy to adjust hop, controlled by a wheel that was very easy to access. This will allow the user to adjust hop in the field without having to open up the gun, allowing for longer or closer range work.

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First job: to strip out the parts I need:

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Having drawn out the rough layouts on paper, it was quickly obvious that this apparently simple shape was actually going to be quite complicated to cut out. The sheer quantity of sheet steel required for this gun requires a different take to my usual old-fashioned ‘everything by hand’ approach, drawing out components on paper and modelling them in card was all very well but something would have to give for the manufacture of the gun itself.

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Taking the time to roughly model everything in card, I had my solution. CAD/CAM, or Computer Aided Design/Manufacture allows a designer to create an digital representation of an object and manufacture it on a suitable piece of machinery. Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) lathes, routers, milling machines, laser cutters and water jet cutters are but a few of the machines available. In this case I am investigating laser and water-jet cutting options.

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Once I have all the components cut, parts can be riveted, bolted or welded together as appropriate. Some parts will still have to be made by hand, small details like the sighting system will be cut out and stamped by hand.

Having spent so much time designing on a computer, I can’t wait to get the parts cut and get to work making things properly!

For some background history on this project, see here.

 

As ever, if you are interested in our builds and want to know more or have a project in mind, do let us know! You can email us at enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com.

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LAW M72A7

Anti-Tank, Cold War, Custom builds, Era, LAW, Products, War on Terror

I received an email at the end of last year asking if I would be interested in building an M72A7. This is one of the latest incarnations of a real classic in the world of rocket propelled weapons with its origins prior to the Vietnam War where it first saw service.

M72A2

The concept of the M72 series (also known as the LAW66 in some parts of the world) of rocket launches was to produce a lightweight, single-use anti armour weapon.  Anti-armour technology had come a long way since the beginning of the Second World War: At the beginning of this war tanks could only be dispatched using small direct-fire artillery pieces, though developments were made in the direction of anti-tank rifles (the Boys anti-tank rifle is a classic of the genre) these proved to be ineffective against the armour of newer tanks and were incredibly heavy and cumbersome to carry.

The US introduced the Bazooka to Europe, the first really practical man-portable anti-tank weapon. It was actually so effective that the Germans pretty well copied it when developing their Panzerschrecks. The Germans also developed the Panzerfaust,  a single-use recoilless rifle  that also proved effective against tanks and popular with users.

Sub-calibre training version in the deployed position. Smaller rockets that are designed to replicate the flight path of the real deal are used for training purposes.

Being a single use weapon, the LAW’s rocket is an integral part of the system a soldier has to carry. Many of the improvements and upgrades to the LAW66 are of the warhead or the motor component of the rocket itself, though there are a number of visual differences from the outside including different sights, end caps and sight housings.

The LAW M72A7 features an improved rocket motor to engage targets past 200m and a picatinny rail for night-sights and laser pointers (though who would stick an expensive night sight on a disposable launcher I don’t now, nor what use a laser would be in all honesty, answers on a post-card please!)*.

Another view of a modern M72, in this shot the picatinny rail is clearly visible.

The Airsoft version of this will not, of course have a range of over 200m and this is a very experimental build for me: I have never done anything like this before! Designs sketched out, my first step was to test the trigger mechanism. Once my theory has been tested, I can build it into the end product. More to follow on that later this week!

 

*ANSWER: My client for this build gave me a bit of insight into the use of a picatinny rail and what it was for:

“Bit of trivia RE the night sight rail, if I’m not mistaken it is for a PEQ (Infrared light and laser) box so that soldiers using night vision goggles can aim it because the goggles would prevent getting a proper cheek weld to the weapon, and also the dark would render Iron sights unusable. They’re not so much the throwaway weapons they were in the Nam era as the Americans started to learn the enemy would use them as parts of IED’s by filling them with hand grenades. As a result it is standing operating procedure to retain the spent case and take it back to base with you for disposal or to crush/render useless the tube in which case they would take the PEQ off and probably put it onto the rails of their rifle.”

M72 with PEQ box.