G43: Part Two

Custom builds, G43/K43, WWII

At the end of the last post on the G43, it looked like this:

_DSF5983

The next piece of metalwork was the buttplate. This elegant pressed steel piece was ideal for the rushed mass production of late-war Germany but this apparently simple shape is actually very expensive to produce as a one-off.I decided to create it in two pieces, the side and back. These were then formed around each other into the correct shaped welded in place. It doesn’t look like much yet but it should clean up nicely!

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The shape of the buttplate for the G43 is very different to the original M14. The stock shape had to be adjusted significantly, especially the back slope along the top.

_DSF5984

Once the rough shaping had been completed, I cleaned the varnish off along the whole length.

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I also welded the rear sight and chamber unit to the rest of the receiver.

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Which could then be fitted roughly into place:

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The eagle-eyed among you will see the hole at the back of the receiver. In an ideal world this would be filled with wood, but I was concerned that this would be a fragile solution. In order to make it look ‘right’ if not ‘correct’, I used a piece of thin sheet steel to cover this area, trimmed to shape.

 

A bit of real woodwork next, the upper hand guard is made from beech. The channel inside was routed out first, then the external shape planed by hand. I then marked out the vents in the side, cut the edges and removed them with the chisel.

_DSF5991

Next, the rear sight. My first attempt wasn’t as tidy as I would have liked so I made a few tweaks to the design and had another go.Largely welded in the main, a little brazing secured the rear end.

_DSF6030

A little cleanup later and the casual viewer would be none the wiser.

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So, this is where we are at now:

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I must confess that i have missed out a few steps on the way to this point.I made side panels for the receiver that fitted the woodwork. There is also a small arch of steel at the front of the rear sight unit that helps holt the top hand guard in place. These features will be refined for production.

 

This project has sparked a lot of interest and it looks likely that this model will be available as a kit and complete gun. 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.

 

G43: Part One

Custom builds, G43/K43, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

_DSF5918 _DSF5919

As regular readers of this blog and the Facebook page will be aware, many of the projects begin with some intense design work and a lot of laser cuttings! I was particularly looking forward to getting these as it was my first venture into mass-preparing parts for hand folding.

I tend to run several components’ production in parallel so that i can be working on one as another cools, but the first job was assembling this little former:

_DSF5925

This shape allows me to very accurately bend the front sight hood by hand.

_DSF5927

_DSF5928

This done, I did much the same with the barrel band and drilled them so that the unit could be assembled with the sight post in the middle.

_DSF5932

_DSF5933

The one screw loosens and fits the whole unit. I may do some more work on the appearance of the foresight itself but it’s not bad as a first attempt!

Next was the front band, the part that ties the top and bottom of the stock together.

_DSF5935

Again I made formers, this time out of wood, for the strips of steel going around the woodwork. These were then viced with the plates that corresponded to them and welded in place. I rather conveniently had a piece of steel pipe exactly the same diameter as the barrel of the M14 I’m working from in order to assemble these parts.

_DSF5971 _DSF5972

Clean, polished and fitted to the gun for the first time. I must confess that even I was surprised at the first fitting with no modifications needed at all!

With the receiver came a lot more bending. Each panel was hand bent over a piece of 38mm steel tube.

_DSF5931

Once the curve was pretty close, the appropriate endcaps and features were welded in place, holding the exact curve needed.

_DSF5930

I then had to fit it to the gun:

_DSF5975

Clamped in place, ready to go! At this point my angle grinder gave out. Typical.
_DSF5977A quick trip to Screwfix later and I could get to work removing the receiver unit from the gun. I had hoped to keep this intact but it turned out to be integral to the gearbox housing so it had to go!

_DSF5978

Once the main part of the receiver was gone, I could trim away the remainder of the receiver that was in the way. At this point I had to make some adjustments to the stock in order to fit the disk at the back of the gun. A straight bit cut away the space needed and a small channel where there would be a curved lead in like the original G43.

_DSF5979

_DSF5982

Cut away stock, also trimmed down at the front for the top guard. I will need to make a filler piece for the lead in to the receiver as the stock was pretty hollow at this point to fit the gearbox in.

The last photograph shows the fit of the parts so far. I’m happy with the back two, but I will need to modify the rear sight and chamber to fit over the hop unit/barrel mount. I will be putting strips of steel down the edge of the receiver to help it fit absolutely spot on.

_DSF5983

So far this had been a really fun build, it’s nice to be able to focus on the cosmetics for a change!

If this post has inspired you to want a custom gun of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss or find us on Facebook.

G43: Hitler’s Garand

Custom builds, G43/K43, History, Weapons, WWII

Firstly, apologies for not posting in an age, I’ve been too busy building and not doing enough writing!

The Farquhar-Hill, an experimental British semi-automatic rifle.

The Farquhar-Hill, an experimental British semi-automatic rifle.

Semi-automatic rifles were not a new technology by the Second World War, indeed they were available from the 1890s for those who really wanted to stay ahead of the curve: this not being all that long after the bolt-action/magazine combination was widely accepted. In spite of the seemingly obvious advantage of semi-automatic fire to the modern viewer, it took some time before it was widely adopted.

The 1907 Mondragon, a Mexican semi-automatic rifle. Interestingly Mexico was one of the first militaries to adopt this technology.

The 1907 Mondragon, a Mexican semi-automatic rifle. Interestingly Mexico was one of the first militaries to adopt this technology.

In the interwar years, most of the major nations experimented with semi-automatic rifles though only the US adopted it as their main rifle technology. That said they decided to sit out the first two years of the Second World War so had a bit more time to faff around.

The advent of the Second World War actually put back the adoption of semi-automatic rifles in Europe as there was a sudden need to re-arm without time for developing the new weapons. As a result, pretty well every nation went to war with the same rifles as they fought the Great War with.

Russian SVT-38

Russian SVT-38

On the Eastern Front, German forces generally made good headway against the Soviets, thanks mostly to their major superiority in the air and mobility. One of the few sticking points was where they came up against troops armed with the SVT40 and SVT38 semi-automatic rifles.

As a result, the Wehrmacht put out a tender to German manufacturers for a semi-automatic rifle:

  • No holes for tapping gas for the loading mechanism were to be bored into the barrel
  • The rifles were not to have any moving parts on the surface
  • In case the autoloading mechanism failed, a bolt action was to be included

The latter two make some sense even to modern eyes. The former was the result of paranoia that tapping gas for a reloading mechanism would sap the power of the bullet. The G41 used the ‘Bang’ system instead*. This system uses a ‘cup’ at the muzzle end to capture the blast and move the long operating piston. Sadly this system proved sensitive to dirt, hard to clean in the field and suffered from exposure to the corrosive chemicals used in primers of the era.

As a result of these problems among others, the G41 has earned a reputation of being possibly the most unreliable rifle of the era.

G41 (M), the particularly dreadful Mauser version of the G41.

G41 (M), the particularly dreadful Mauser version of the G41. The swollen fore-end of the barrel is the cup that captures the muzzle blast. If you take this off it is full of lots of small parts.

This was not good enough for the Wehrmacht who had the rifle redesigned, using the Tokarev system for inspiration.

The result was the G43, a far more effective rifle, but the Germans still weren’t quite happy! G/Gewehr meant ‘long rifle’. At only two centimetres longer than the Kar98k the Germans felt It was too short to be ‘gewehr’ so in time renamed it K43.

Left and right sides of the G43. The scope rail is on the side of the receiver above the trigger in the top image.

Left and right sides of the G43. The scope rail is on the side of the receiver above the trigger in the top image.

Beyond this the rifle stayed much the same for the duration of the war with mainly minor alterations. A scope rail was added and featured on most production rifles so that a Zf4 scope could be used, though this was only special issue.

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G43 with ZF4 scope mounted.

Over the next month or so I’ll be converting an M14 into a G43 lookalike, as usual sharing the results here! If you would be interested in an M14 to G43 or G41 conversion let us know on the usual email address: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com. You can also ‘like’ our Facebook page for interesting articles, web pages and incremental developments

 

Fun facts!
  • Later in the war some last-ditch K43s were produced to run on the 8mm Kurtz intermediate round and use Stg magazines
  • The Zf4 was the ONLY scope used by the Wehrmacht in WWII on the G43
  • German soldiers were instructed to make semi-automatic rifles unusable if capture was imminent, as a result many examples are found with broken butt stocks

*named after Søren H. Bang, the mechanism’s inventor