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.

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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.

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….

MG08/15: Internals

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

Some of my followers will remember that I have had many, many issues with my lathe. Recently I have managed (with not a little help) to get it back into working order! There were quite a few jobs waiting for this, one of which was the MG08/15.

This required a hop-up chamber. I turned this from a piece of 20mm aluminium. One hole drilled through the centre all the way kept everything aligned as I bored out the front and back to their appropriate diameters to take the nozzle and barrel.

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I then filed down the top create a flat surface, then drilled a feed hole to allow BBs to feed into the chamber and another hole that was tapped to adjust the hop-up. A second screw holds the barrel stable.

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I attached two barrel spacers to the barrel to centre it in the outer barrel. This done I attached the gearbox to it. I could line up the gearbox mounting plate with the holes used to attach it to the frame and marked out their locations.

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These could then be drilled and fitted permanently.

More to follow soon! 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.

MG08/15: Bipod and woodwork

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

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So, this is what the MG08/15 looks like now! As you can see there are a few changes. The main development of importance as far as I am concerned is the addition of the bipod. This gun finally stands up on its own!

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A close-up of the bipod mount in progress. A series of disks keeps friction to a minimum. I was thinking of using 6mm bearings but it runs smoothly as-is. Given the gun will be used in (very dusty) South Africa I reckoned on simpler being better.

_DSF5434The bipod itself is folded 2mm steel sheet. Designed in CAD and laser cut, I folded it by hand. I’ve never been so hot in the workshop! This was then welded to the bottom of the pivot mechanism.

_DSF5425Woodwork is the other obvious development. Took delivery of some lovely Trend router bits that I have had my eye on for some time and set to work on the buttstock (rough cut above).  Using the convex curve of a Roman Ogee bit I rounded off the faces other than the front and back.

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Curved faces and Roman Ogee bit in the router.

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Another treat in the delivery: These rubber sanding drums fit in a standard drill chuck. A left hand thread puts pressure on the rubber to hold the sanding cylinders in place. Once you get used to setting them up, these are really effective for sanding large curved faces and even small flat faces.

_DSF5329Now I just need to get the finished buttstock to match the staining job on the pistol grip covers!

Still to go: I need to fix up the feed mechanism. All the components exist, they just need fettling to get them all working together smoothly. Then attach the ports (in and ejection). With that it will be painting and testing!

 

If this has inspired you to want a gun of your own, let me know! Drop me a line on: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com, I’d love to hear from you!

M72 LAW outer shell

Anti-Tank, Cold War, Custom builds, LAW, Weapons

For those of you with excellent memories, you will remember the LAW M72 project I had going on. It was at a stage where it looked a bit like this:

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Since then, progress has been made, the trigger mechanism housing (above) is now mounted on the pipes that make up the main launcher. A healthy dose of poly-cement tacked it in place so it would stay still for the permanent fixture.

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A close-up of the trigger and rear sight. The sight units are laser cut and the trigger made from Polymorph.

_DSF5390The whole unit after poly-cement. Looks a bit rough, but I have a solution to that!

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Fibreglass. Vile stuff but very useful for lightweight constructions like this. For the uninitiated, fibreglass is extremely fine strands of glass formed into sheets. These sheets are bound together with epoxy resin (the really nasty part) to form a stiff, strong structure. Carbon Fibre is the same idea.

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To get the sheets into all the detail areas I had to cut the coarse mat into strips before applying the first covering of epoxy. Epoxy underneath, apply the mat, apply more epoxy. Don’t use your nice paint brushes for this folks, they ain’t coming out of it alive!
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After the first couple of layers, I left it to dry for a bit so I could flip it over and do the bottom.

No pics for that, much the same process as the top! Once dry, I applied more resin and a finer sheet of fibreglass mat. The coarse grade is seriously uncomfortable to hold so this will provide a smoother finish.

The last coat is now drying, results next time!

If this has interested you at all, do drop us a line! We will be developing further anti-tank airsoft guns, if you have one you would like email us at: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com!

MG08/15 shell

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

Yes, you read the title correctly, more progress on the MG08/15!

External parts this time, the whole build  is really starting to come together now. It’s best expressed in photographs so I shall let them do the talking…

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Right side of receiver soon after welding the grip. On the right of the picture you can see the magazine mounting for the portable 100 round ‘snail’ magazine (technically it isn’t a snail magazine, it is a belt box, I refer to it as a snail to differentiate between it and the box magazine I am building for fixed positions).

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A slightly soft-focus shot of the left side after tinkering with the safety switch mounting.

_DSF5326Close-up of the pistol grip. This shows the back where you can see the screw used to attach the trigger mechanism inside the gun.

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The first bit of woodwork for the gun, carefully shaped grips. This wood is ash stained with a blend of dyes to pick out the details. I’ll be needing to order in a special piece for the buttstock as the pieces I have are fractionally too small.

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Flash hider, carefully hand-cut and hammered into shape.

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Flash hider so far. The cone has been welded to a piece of tube that supports this component. The bulk of the rest of this part will be polymorph (the large black part here) which is still undergoing some shaping.

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And finally for this update, the cooling jacket. This close-up shot of the back-end shows the cover plate that attaches to the front of the gun and the hole through which the inner barrel will run.

 

As ever, if this post has inspired you, do drop us a line at enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com!

MG08/15 trigger, hop and wiring

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

It has been a while since I have written anything on the MG08/15 build as I have been slowly working on several small parts that in their own rights don’t make for a very interesting article!

The first of these to be completed is the motor plate. This unit houses the motor and the custom hop unit that I have made especially for this build. The original hop unit would only feed from the bottom left, entirely unsuitable of course for a gun that feeds from the top right!

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Motor plate with gearbox, hop and barrel.

So I designed a unit that would feed from the top, this has a feed tube that runs to the feed tray where the ammunition enters the gun.

Close-up of hop unit. The screw sets the hop, the feed tube sits just behind this.

Close-up of hop unit. The screw sets the hop, the feed tube sits just behind this.

The next part to be finished is the trigger. The trigger block sits just above the pistol grip and is secured by one M4 screw at the back. This screw is set into the grip, meaning that it doesn’t intrude on the use or look of the gun but the trigger block can be removed with relative ease. It also means that I can weld the pistol grip into place, meaning that this potential weak spot will be pretty solid!

Trigger unit and pistol grip out of situ.

Trigger unit and pistol grip out of situ.

Trigger housing and safety slot. The safety engages with the second sear.

Trigger housing and safety slot. The safety engages with the second sear.

Also, the wiring has been completed. Having run a test everything works fine, though I will be finding a stronger spring to reset the second sear to make trigger response sharper.

Where the magic happens...

Where the magic happens…

The next step is to assemble the rest of the outer shell and add the detailing. Then we can run a functionality test.

If this post has piqued your interest at all and you would like something similar of your own, do just let us know! Drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com.

The bolt-action rifle

Cold War, Custom builds, Products, Rifles, War on Terror, WWI, WWII

With the advent and popularisation of centrefire ammunition, militaries around the world welcomed in a new era of accuracy and power. As smokeless powder replaced other propellants, a higher accurate rate of fire became not only possible but necessary to overwhelm the enemy.

British Lee-Metford or 'Long Lee', predecessor to the Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield (SMLE).

British Lee-Metford or ‘Long Lee’, predecessor to the Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield (SMLE).

The weapon of choice most armies turned to to arm their infantry was the bolt-action rifle. The best known being the British Lee Metford/Enfield series of rifles, the German Mauser mechanism and the Russians welcomed in Belgian firearms designer Leon Nagant in order to pilfer his feed mechanism! (OK, this story is a lot more complicated than that but I won’t go into that here).

There are advantages and disadvantages to all these mechanisms, the Enfield by all accounts had the highest rate of fire, The Mauser is a very solid, reliable mechanism and the (Mosin-)Nagant which is a solid mechanism with a good reputation for accuracy.

Gewehr 98 (G98). Predecessor to the Karibiner 98k.

All of these rifles served their countries well throughout their service lives. Consider that these mechanisms were all designed around 1890, the Lee-Enfield served the UK until around 1990 (100 years of service) and was still being used by India as of 2010, the Mosin-Nagant is still in use by a number of countries. The Mauser is harder to pin down on military use but it is still widely used for sporting rifles.

So it would be fair to say that these rifles deserve a fitting tribute in Airsoft too. Although good quality bolt-actions are available they are not often suited well to the Vintage Airsofter. Some are gas-powered and struggle in cold weather, others load through the fore-grip rather than the magazine so lose out on authenticity and ‘feel’ when being shot and some shell-eject which although look good are not practical for skirmishing.

Mosin-Nagant M28/30 rifle, one of the Finnish Nagant variants.

Mosin-Nagant M28/30 rifle, one of the Finnish Nagant variants.

Here at Vintage Airsoft we are developing a spring mechanism that will feed from a magazine in the ‘correct’ location. If you are interested, do let us know as we are looking for ‘backers’ to help us speed up the development of this system. It isn’t far off a functioning prototype at this stage and once it is functional we will be able to produce the main bolt-actions of the Second World War and many other rifles besides.

Do contact us on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com if you would like to know more about this project, we would love to hear from you!