Kar98k: Build 1

Custom builds, K98k, Weapons, WWII

Now, this is a build I’ve wanted to do for a while. Having found a keen customer who had all the parts it is now nicely underway!

This is a VSR-based build, the most practical option for a spring-powered bolt action rifle. I’m using an original stock which will be modified to take the new parts. You will be glad to hear that it isn’t a WWII period stock so far as I can tell.

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The action dropped in fairly easily, a square cut for the fore-end, the back being scooped out carefully to fit snugly.

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A view inside.

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The barrel, naturally, goes through the barrel recess.

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I then chased out part of the fore-end of the action recess all the way through the stock for the magazine well. The one slight faff with doing VSR Mausers in this way is that the faux magwell meets the real one but this is not a major issue as I’m expecting to make a new faux magwell from scratch.

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The outer barrel is a piece of ERW tube, which is the perfect size to use the original fittings. This will be cut to size closer to the end of the build.

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The VSR based rifles are still experimental at this stage, I’ve produced about four or five different magazine catch designs which I am putting into different guns for customer feedback.

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I’m very please with my rear sight design for this build. 3D printed, once painted up this will really look the part and gives the user elevation control.

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Best of all it will fit snugly onto the receiver with minimal faff. It would be nice once my casting setup is complete to make this in aluminium.

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On the rifle with its Uncle the G98. What you can’t see is the TDC hop mod which is part of the sight unit. This disposes of the rather finicky and annoying side adjustment arm that is the weak point in a normal VSR system.

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There’s still a good bit more to do on this rifle, but the framework is all there. It’s really, really comfortable and I can’t wait to get the bolt handle in place along with the last external parts and start shooting.

 

If you are interested in the history of the K98k, you can check out the introduction article here.

If you like 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 many of our complete products via Etsy.

 

Kar98k: Introduction

Cold War, K98k, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

After the Great War, the Treaty of Versailles (TofV) put strict limits on the number of weapons, ships and small arms. Germany, like all the major powers, had learned that short rifles were every bit as good as a long rifle for any realistic infantry use and frankly better in any situation other than firing in ranks.

As a result, they disposed of a lot of their G98 long rifles, keeping hold of far more Karibiner 98az models, though producing the so-called K98b (which was basically a G98 with a tangent rear sight and turn-down bolt) during the Weimar years. How many ‘b’s were produced is uncertain, but they don’t feature in pictures of the period.

During the inter-war years, levels of tolerance to the TofV fluctuated, with many civilian hunters and paramilitaries reluctant to give up their beloved weapons. As a result many were hidden, coming out of the woodwork to fight street battles between Communist and Fascist militias, the militias and the government and eventually into service with some government units.

K98k, with laminate stock.

In 1934, the German Army ordered a new design of rifle. The reasons of this are not entirely obvious, but given the timing one could conclude that it is related to: the re-armament of Germany and therefore standardisation on one rifle for all to simplify production and logistics. It would also allow for the removal of the G98/K98b from regular service and finally push those pesky long rifles to the reserves.

 

With this short rifle as standard, the Germans also standardised on the new s. S Patronen (previously used for machine guns) which produced less muzzle flash in the shorter barrels.

 

Early K98ks were blued, with walnut stocks, though changes were made to this as it went through its service life. Over time, laminate stocks were introduced, which were cheaper and required less processing time for the timber. Oak was used as a stand-in from 1943. Parkerisation was used to finish the metalwork on later models, making for a much hardier finish than traditional bluing.

The K98k is one of history’s iconic sniper weapons. Many were equipped with the ZF39 scope (pictured) and these were preferred by ‘true’ snipers.

Most famously, the K98k was the standard German rifle of WWII, but it was also used by Sweden and captured units by the USSR to fill gaps in their own equipment.

Later in the war the ZF41 scope was also issued. This clipped onto a mounting next to the tangent sight and could be removed quite easily. At 1.5x magnification it was unpopular with snipers and had a fairly poor field of view but it did allow sharpshooters to perform something of a Designated Marksman role as it would be called in modern parlance.

Post-war, it saw service with the Viet-Minh/Viet-Cong (Soviet captures sent as war aid), Korea, France, West Germany, Norway and Yugoslavia, all with their own local modifications. They also saw action in Palestine, where they were used against Arabs and British forces. Even in the latest Iraq War and following insurgency they were being used against Coalition Forces.

Participants of the Haganah revolt against British control of Palestine carry K98ks and a Sten MKII.

This really is just to scratch the surface. The K98k and its Mauser brethren went everywhere and did everything, much like its sister bolt-actions of the era well outlasting standard military use to serve in specialist roles even up to today with some armed forces. This is not to even mention civilian use.

 

Vintage Airsoft is currently working on a VSR-based K98k and will be posting the build to the blog as it progresses.

 

You can find more information on the K98 through these links:

Weimar rifle markings

Overview/test of a repro ZF41

Very late WWII Volksturm K98-based rifle

Norwegian Mauser

Israeli 7.62 Mauser

 

FG42: First production model: In pictures

Battle Rifles, Custom builds, FG42, Products, Weapons, WWII

Airsoft replica of the WWII German battle rifle used by Paratroop units. The Fallshirmjägergewehr 42 was designed to give paratroops more firepower than their the standard rifles and SMGs as well as giving them a small enough package to jump with rather than having to drop them separately in a canister.

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This airsoft version is based on a later pattern, with only full automatic functionality. Semi-automatic functionality may be achieved with the addition of a mosfet or rate of fire control unit. 

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The bipod locks up and down solidly with knurled thumbscrews, as does the foresight unit. 

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This will come with a rubber bayonet, modified from a MAS36 but which maintains the look of the original.

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This replica takes standard TM/CYMA M14 magazines for ease of procurement, inserted in reverse. The version customers will receive will also have a false fire selector that is missing in this picture.

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The charging handle can move, the current design is not sprung but I hope to fix this in future versions.

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I have been asked a few times if I will be producing an early pattern FG42. Within a few months I will be producing a conversion kit with additional parts to make it into an early pattern for those who want it.

 

You can see the build process for this here and order the FG42 and many of our other items through Etsy.*

For large items like this, payments in instalments are welcome. Please get in touch to arrange.

*At present Etsy are being awkward about selling replica firearms. Please get in touch directly on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to place your order

FG42: First production model: Improvements

Battle Rifles, Complete builds, Custom builds, FG42, Weapons, WWII

First things first, a locking system for the bipod. It flopped around a lot on the pre-production version so I have added locking lugs. This should hold it in both deployed and carry positions.

The new receiver and trigger group. The shape has been changed significantly, losing the fore-end entirely which allows for a much stronger wood fore-stock. The back has been extended to fill out the buttstock and support it fully.

The pistol grip has also changed to fit the new grips I am making.

I bought in some repro grips from the US and modified them with polymorph to fill in the air gap and make them really solid.

I then made rubber moulds of these modified grips and poured copies.

The new magazine well is a big improvement. It locks up very tightly on the magazine.

I have modified the Sten barrel to fit an extension. The gas port is welded directly onto the receiver.

The new foregrip in place. This is much more solid than the first version and will have a correct-looking curve across the top.

I sanded down the woodwork and stained it. Finishing it with hardwax oil.

I then cut a slot matching that in the receiver up into the gas tube for the operating handle in order to allow it to move.

Some of the new parts having their first coat of paint. I’m looking into 3D printed versions of some of these, but need to test out the strength of the parts.

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In position on the gun. 

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The bipod locked down, so far, so good!

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The new gas tube cover.

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There are a few other small changes, but this article covers the vast majority. I hope to have the first  production model completed this week!

 

If this build is of interest to you, please 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.

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.

Gewehr ’98 Part 4

Custom builds, G98, Imperial Era, Rifles, Weapons, WWI

I used an epoxy putty to fit the buttplate due to the awkward shapes involved.

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I also replaced the bolt handle, which had been secured with a small M3 screw which wasn’t solid enough to endure repeated use. Now it is secured with an 8mm plug and pinned in place. It is now also steel, so it shall wear better and keep its colour.

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I also replaced the front band/bayonet lug with an original, stainless steel one.

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Pretty well finished now! Just got to put the band and top hand guard back together. Completed pictures to follow.

 

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.

FG42 Pre-production prototype complete

Battle Rifles, Complete builds, Custom builds, FG42, Weapons, WWII

Long-awaited by many, the pre-production FG42 is now finished!

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This airsoft model was designed with a number of considerations in mind:

  1. It should be relatively affordable. Obviously work like this is expensive but the price should be kept as low as possible.
  2. It should use standardised airsoft parts as far as possible to allow for upgrade and tech work to be carried out with relative simplicity if/when it must be carried out.
  3. It should use standard magazines. Airsoft guns with dedicated mags for a relatively niche audience become unusable if the magazine malfunctions or breaks.
  4. It should have features as authentic as possible to the original.

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After several years of work, this prototype which roughly shows what the end product will be like. This is NOT the finished product, there are a number of design and manufacture differences that will be implemented in future models:

  • The pistol grips will be replaced with a design that is both easier to make and more authentic
  • Gas port detailing will be improved
  • The forestock will be re-designed: So that the operating handle will move and the shape of the woodwork will be improved
  • Bipod: locking mechanism to improve stability when in use
  • Add turf spike to bipod
  • Improve case deflector
  • Improve aesthetic of rear sight
  • Improve access to hop adjustment
  • I hope to produce a bayonet for it in time (such use as it may be!)

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There are a number of positive features of this design which I shall be retaining however:

  • The base gun is an AEG airsoft Sten, taking upgrades for this model and having its excellent hop-up
  • The magazines are standard, unmodified M14 midcaps
  • Both fore and rear sight fold down for transport
  • The rear sight adjusts for elevation just like the original, you can see a video of a prototype here
  • The construction is, as far as possible, steel. The woodwork is laminate, like the originals (so far as I can gather)

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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.

FG42: Part 6

Battle Rifles, FG42, Weapons, WWII

Through all this section I am working in the background on the furniture, staining and varnishing it for use. This is literally watching paint try so I will just give you an intermediate shot of the process rather than bore you with a step-by-step!

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There aren’t any good photos of the bipod in progress, each fold was handmade in the vise with a few different hammers and other tools until each was at the right angle. For a production version, these will probably be made with a press if I find a supplier who can do this.

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And folded away! This should really look the part when painted up and the furniture is in place.
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Next, shaping the grips. I used polymorph plastic coloured with acrylic paint as a base colour. These are just a rough first pass, they will be re-shaped with a heat gun to get a smoother finish.

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After a bit of work with the heat gun and some tools, the finish is now quite smooth, providing a good base for etching in the chequering.

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I oil backed the rear sight for a really wear-resistant finish. As with previous versions, this adjusts just like the original.
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On the lathe, I turned the muzzle brake in plastic. When this is finished I shall produce a mould to cast more from as it is quite a complex piece.

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I made a mould and took a casting from it. This has been painted up to look like metal!

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And this slots onto the gun! Oh yes, I have now oil finished the foresight unit and bipod, which should resist the wear and tear that will inevitably affect these parts better than paint.

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Pretty much all there at last! Just a few last details to finish off…

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Completed pictures to follow.

 

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.

FG42: Part 5

Battle Rifles, Custom builds, FG42, Weapons, WWII

Since the last post, I have attached the new magazine well, it’s not looking pretty yet but is feeding from the magazine! At this stage function> appearance, though it’s not long before it looks right and actually works.

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My second model bipod legs, these are much thinner and lighter than the first attempt but are the same basic shape. However on completion I found that they interfered with the barrel. Not a problem though, a new design is due from the laser cutters any day now.

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The bipod mounting unit and foresight unit is going to be one part.

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The foresight mounting block, which incorporates the bayonet mount, barrel lug and front sling mount.
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Roughly cleaned up, this will get some attention from the scotch brite pads before finishing.

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And in place on the barrel, the foresight can be folded down for transport. The screw will be replaced with a knurled head screw to lock it in place.

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Next, I secured the buttstock in place. A piece of polymorph prevents the wobble of this piece, I plan to make a front cover to hide the gaps. On the production version I will tweak the design to sit closer to the receiver naturally.2

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At the front end, the fore-stock has been screwed into position around the cocking handle. This one has been welded into position, in time I hope to produce a version that has a moving cocking handle but at present this is where the battery goes.

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So finally we can now see the overall format of the FG42! The sling is from Zib-Militaria, it is effectively identical to an MG34 sling. The metal parts look as though they have been painted while still rusty so I won’t be providing these to customers.

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Not far off now!

  • Details like the selector switch, pistol grips
  • Stain and varnish the woodwork
  • Flash suppressor
  • Gas tube/battery compartment cover

And of course overall paintwork etc…!

All that to come in the next instalment.

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.