LS26: Build 1

Custom builds, Inter-War (1918-1939), LS26 LMG, Machine-Guns, Weapons, WWII

This build will be another based on the ever trusty AGM Sten! The first step is to strip off the unneeded bits, grind down the unwanted protrusions etc…

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Then I could start tack welding the cradle together to form the receiver. Once all the parts are in place and squared up I’ll weld them in place permanently.

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Next up, I’m assembling the bipod. With builds like this it’s good to reduce the number of floating parts as quickly as possible, otherwise things have a habit of vanishing into the ether.

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The top part of the bipod pivots forward and folds back under the barrel shroud. The legs spread only as far as the limiter allows. At the bottom of each leg is the distinctive  ski-pole depth limiter. A spiked bipod is great for a solid mounting on soft ground, but once it gets too soft they tend to dig in so these will stop it from going in so far that you’d have to be King Arthur to remove it.

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The top cover is to be 3D printed. This allows me to get some of the awkward shapes and dimensions.

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Once printed, some small tinkering to make it fit nicely but not much.

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The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation, with the windage leaf dovetailed in. The elevation adjustment uses a variant of my usual system with teeth locking it in place securely using spring pressure.

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The magazine in the magwell. This part is all 3D printed, I’ll be joining it up to the Sten using a spring much like an LMG magazine for an M249 or similar.

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I’ve been putting off making the barrel heat guard as I knew I’d soon have access to my Mill, which would be a much tidier and faster way of making this part. I started by drilling four holes at 90º to one another around the circumference of the tube, then went in with my end mill and cut the first four slots.
 
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I could then skip the left material, plunge into the next slot, then rinse and repeat until the line was done. Then rotate the workpiece 90º and do the same.

The end result is both accurate and tidy, much better than if I had done it the way I used to have to (with a drill and a grinder)_DSF0059

 

There’s still a good bit of work to do on this, but that’s for another post.

 

If you would like to see the other posts for this build, you can do so here.

If you want to check out a similarly obscure Light Machine-Gun, you can see the LMG25 articles here.

If you enjoyed this content join us over on Facebook and check out our Etsy store. If you have an idea for a custom build of your own get in touch on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com.

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LS26: Introduction

Custom builds, History, LS26 LMG, Machine-Guns, Weapons, WWII

There isn’t a great deal written in English that I can find on the LS26 light machine gun, but let me share a general outline here and any Finnish fans can come in and correct  all the stuff I get wrong…
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In 1925/26 the Finns ran trials for a light machine-gun and the LS26 won. Production began the next year and they were produced for both the Finns and the Chinese, though very few made it to China due to the Japanese putting pressure on Finland not to deliver them.
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In the West, it served in the Finnish actions against the Soviets during WWII, and against the Nazis in 1944/45. It had a mixed reputation, with some gunners liking its accuracy and others despising it for its unreliability during its early days of service.

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When posed against the Soviet DP-28, you can see why some Finns swapped for the Soviet gun. With a 20 round box vs a 47 round pan magazine, the DP has a significant advantage for suppressive fire. It is also simpler to strip and with wider tolerances it was more reliable in field conditions. Weight is mentioned as an issue with the LS, but given the DP is around the same weight I suspect this is more a case of weight vs capability making soldiers prefer their Russian captures.
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If you want to see some footage of an LS26 and DP-28 being fired as a comparison to one another you can do so in this short video from Forgotten Weapons.

Vintage Airsoft is currently working on an LS26 for a customer, being an AEG this one should be quite nice to fire in comparison!

 

If you want to see something completely different, check out my side by side stopping rifle build here. If you 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: 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: 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.

Lewis Gun: Build 2

Custom builds, Inter-War (1918-1939), Lewis Gun, Machine-Guns, Weapons, WWI, WWII

At the end of the last build post, I had made the bipod legs but not the bipod itself. I designed the bipod leg mounts and assembled them. I missed out the hinge on the cut list (something has to be missed out, it’s Sod’s law) so had to hand-make them.

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The distinctive bands at the front of the Lewis cooling jacket are welded into place. The rear one will also house the bipod unit made previously.

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The rear sight block is another piece of laser cut steel, welded into place at the back of the receiver. I’m going to braze together the sight leaf itself together and use a 3D printed aperture to give elevation adjustment. (P.S.: Yes to other welders this weld is obviously pretty dire, I literally ran out of gas on this seam, I’ll clean it up).

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The donor is held in by two screws pinching it from either side…

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And a plate that will be welded into place at the back that holds under the buffer tube mount on the AEG.

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I brazed together the parts for the rear sight leaf. The aperture is adjustable and is based on an ‘upgrade’ Lewis sight that gave a clearer field of view in low light conditions. The flat spring underneath locks it into upright or stowed positions.

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The foresight is also 3D printed, this was by far the simplest way to get the weird shapes around that front post. This is secured by a screw and will be painted up to match the rest.

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The buttstock is quite a simple one, secured by machine screws running through from one securing tang to the other. Once shaped it will be stained and finished with hardwax oil.

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At the front end, the 3D printed cooling fins have arrived. They fit well, once painted up they will serve very nicely for the detailing purpose they are designed for.

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Painting up and assembly under way, I have to touch up a couple of areas previously missed.

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Once painted up, you can appreciate the sinister, gaping mouth of the cooling jacket.

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Finished photos to follow!

If you are interested in the history of the Lewis, 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 our complete products via Etsy.

Lanchester MkI*: Complete

Complete builds, Custom builds, Lanchester, Products, Sub Machine-guns, Weapons, WWII

So, the Lanchester is finished! And I am in love, though I say so myself.

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Details, the new magazine well closely resembles the original and is an improvement on the Sten original. I have brazed the mag catch head so that when it wears it looks brassy.

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The foresight and bayonet lug. This should take a rubber SMLE bayonet if the owner decides to do so!

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The trigger is set back, the pull is a little unusual but not bad.

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The buttplate, steel, though a brass SMLE buttplate could be substituted in here.

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The rear locking lug is just for looks on this. A hinge is quite hard to do but may be doable in the future. For now you can remove the lock and back cap to replace the battery. Unfortunately the wrist of this stock is too slim to drill through to a larger battery compartment in the buttstock.

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You can check out the build process for this gun here.

 

If you like this build, you may like to take a look at where it came from, the MP18 and its extended family.

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog or join us on Facebook for more! You can buy some of our ready-made products on Etsy. You can also email to enquire about custom or special builds on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com.

 

P.S.: If anyone wants a Lanchester with this awesome period tac-light please DO get in touch. 

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Lewis Gun: Build 1

Custom builds, Inter-War (1918-1939), Lewis Gun, Machine-Guns, Weapons, WWI, WWII

The base gun for this build is an M4. Nothing too fancy, but with lots of options for upgrade parts if needed. The first step to making the transformation into a Lewis is to build the receiver. I have modified plans I was given some time ago to build a replica to take the donor and be made from steel.

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Inside this I will fit a ‘harness’ to hold the donor.

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The drum magazine, on this I’m not sure if it will be functional, but it will be removable so I may do a very high capacity magazine in the future.

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The external detailing is welded on.

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I designed this spacer to mount on the rails, there are two of them to steady the barrel shroud.

 

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Dry fitting the parts, you can see the space where the rear end of the cooling fins are to go.

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I’m also making use of 3D printed parts for the taper on the fore-end. This part was simply much too big to make on the lathe and this system keeps the cost and the weight down.

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The bipod is the next major component. It will need some feet, and hinges made up for the top, which will have to come in a later instalment.

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Also for the next instalment, the design for the back of the cooling fins is complete (a long day’s work making this!) and it will be 3D printed much like the spacers before being painted to look like aluminium. It may even be a project for the new furnace.

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If you are interested in the history of the Lewis, 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 our complete products via Etsy.

Lewis Gun: Introduction

Custom builds, Inter-War (1918-1939), Lewis Gun, Weapons, WWI, WWII

Before I go any further, if you are seriously interested in the history and workings of the Lewis gun, check out C&Rsenal’s video. If you just want a quick overview, you can skip that and carry on reading…

Issac Newton Lewis, Colonel, US Army designed his machine gun in 1911 and spent around two years banging his head against a brick wall trying to persuade the US Ordinance Department to adopt his gun. In 1913 he left the United States and set up shop in Belgium where he received a respectable first order from the Belgians. In 1914 BSA bought a license to produce it and as war loomed Lewis moved his factory to Britain to keep it out of German hands. Lewis’ BSA license proved very profitable: between BSA and Savage Arms around 50,000 Lewis Guns were produced by 1918 and the license granted him commission on every one made.

The design itself was based on work done by Samuel Maclean, but between Lewis and designers at BSA it was transformed into a reliable and easy to produce machine. It is gas operated, open bolt with three locking lugs at the rear of the bolt. The most distinctive feature is of course the massive aluminium heat sink/fins/barrel jacket arrangement.

Shot of the Lewis receiver. On the right you can see the barrel jacket and the rear end of the cooling fins. On the bottom of the gun, forward to the trigger is the clock-type main spring.

The idea of this was to wick heat away from the barrel as quickly as possible (quick-change barrels weren’t really a thing yet). The large mass of aluminium took the heat into the fins and the muzzle blast would suck air through from the back towards the front. In theory. In reality the necessity of this sophisticated arrangement is dubious, aircraft Lewis Guns were pressed into service on the ground during WWII, even in North Africa and the guns were found to function perfectly well without.

The magazine is also worth mentioning, coming in 47 and 97 round versions. This Pan magazine is NOT a drum magazine (which relies on a spring to feed, keeping ammunition aligned with the bore) and is manually rotated and indexed as the gun operates.

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The indexing system for the Lewis. If you want to know how it works, see the C&R video above for the animation.

Last but not least, the mainspring is a spiral clockwork type, mounted in that distinct protrusion from the belly of the receiver. This is very efficient and saves space over a much larger conventional mainspring, also allowing for easy adjustment to account for field conditions to make for reliable firing in all weather.

 

The Lewis gun’s service was long and varied. Before even leaving for Europe, Lewis had put the gun on a Wright Flyer and as a result it has the distinction of being the first machine-gun fired from an aircraft (1912).

During the Great War, Britain used them extensively, eventually outnumbering the Vickers by about 3:1 in spite of being more expensive. That the government was willing to spend so much more on these than an established home-grown piece is a comment on the quality of the design.

Due to its light weight, the Lewis was readily adopted by Air Arms where it was widely used for observer’s defensive guns. It was also mounted as foreward firing guns but had to be mounted outside of the propeller’s arc due to firing from an open bolt (therefore being nigh-on impossible to synchronise to a propeller).

By the Second World War, the Lewis was outdated for the role in which it was originally used. After Dunkirk and the fall of France, Britain pulled its Lewis guns out of reserve where it was used by the Home Guard and for low-level anti-aircraft fire. In the Far East it served with Empire forces on the front lines. Throughout the war it remained in use with the Navy and RAF for air defence from boats.

 

As well as versions chambered in .303 British, there were Lewis guns made in 7.92 and 7.7 Japanese rimmed, the Japanese having copied the design from versions captured in the Far East.

 

The Lewis had some limited influence on other designs, the FG42 taking inspiration for its bolt/piston arrangement and from that the M60. There was also a Lewis pistol, which fired from an open bolt.

 

Links:

Lewis gun firing in slow motion

Lewis Gun video, manuals and pictures

The Lewis Pistol

MG08/15: The last furlong?

Custom builds, Imperial Era, Inter-War (1918-1939), Machine-Guns, MG08/15, Weapons

Thos of you who have followed Vintage Airsoft for some time will recognise this and be like: “Is he STILL working on that?”. Well, yes. I swear if something could go wrong on this build, it did. At least once. 

So, here’s hoping this is the last build post at long last!

One of the problems was the air seal between the gearbox and the hop unit. This it turned out was caused by flex between these parts, resulting in variation from shot to shot.

 

In the end, I re-designed the mounting plate to feature a hop-up ‘vise’ to hold the unit in place really solidly. There isn’t any wobble in this sod. 

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I had to make a few mods to the trigger unit design and the bottom of the baseplate to work together, but now the trigger raises a sear which sets off the microswitch in the gearbox itself.

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In place, clamped down! I’m still using the same feed system as before. 

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The feed tube comes out to meet the magazines.

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Oh yes, new grips. I wasn’t happy with the old ones, one wasn’t quite spot on, but as with all things the second attempt was much better. I’ve used hardwood this time (as opposed to laminate) and cut in cross-hatching for grip.

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Topping up the paintwork. 

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I’m really looking forward to having the finished photos on this at last.

 

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.

Lanchester Build: Part 2

Custom builds, Lanchester, Sub Machine-guns, Weapons, WWII

Since the last post, I have welded the rear sight unit and fitted the buttplate into place.

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With the buttplate screwed down, I can do the last bits of shaping on the stock. I always leave a bit of excess to make this fit as close as possible.

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I also took the opportunity to fit the action lock. In the original this stops the receiver from tipping forward on the hinge under the magazine well. As the receiver is screwed into the stock on this it is merely there for the aesthetic.

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The rear sight is permanently affixed. For an SMG adjustable sights are generally overkill.

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This side picture shows how much further back the trigger is compared to the Sten original.

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I then applied finish to the majority of the parts. I am using hardwax oil for the wood as it picks up a patina nicely and looks the part for these period weapons.

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The metalwork is sprayed black enamel on the whole.

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The smaller parts have been oil blacked where possible as this is more wear resistant.

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The trigger contacts gave up the ghost as they do tend to, so I have replaced this with a switch and advised a mosfet. 

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With the mosfet in place, I re-assembled everything and ran my tests. Pictures of the finished item to follow!

 

If you like this build, you may like to take a look at where it came from, the MP18 and its extended family.

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog or join us on Facebook for more! You can buy some of our ready-made products on Etsy. You can also email to enquire about custom or special builds on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com.