Enfield No.5 Mk 1, the ‘Jungle Carbine’: Introduction

Cold War, Lee-Enfield, No. 5 Enfield, Weapons, WWII

Mention the No.5 Lee-Enfield rifle and you will always get a reaction. It is one of the most controversial British small arms, beaten only by the SA80 system and the EM-2.

 

 

The idea of the No.5 was to create a shorter, handier and lighter version of the British service rifle, the Enfield No.4. This had already seen some upgrades from its predecessor the No.1 MkIII. Contrary to popular belief, this effort to lighten and shorten the Enfield design was not specifically to aid in jungle fighting (though this was clearly on the Empire’s radar) it was, in fact to provide Airborne troops with a rifle less awkward to carry in the confines of an aircraft.

PARATROOP TRAINING AT NETHERAVON,WILTSHIRE, NOVEMBER 1942

Climbing into a Hotspur glider during training. Although glider design improved on this compact format you can see where the desire for a handier weapon came from.

 

This it certainly achieved, it is around 2lbs (0.9kg) lighter and nearly 5″ (125mm) shorter. Most of this saving was achieved by shortening the barrel, though also through lightening cuts around the receiver to remove excess material and lightened versions of certain components (such as the bolt handle and trigger guard/magwell).

 

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As a result of this shortened barrel, a flash hider was added. The length of the standard rifles meant that most of the .303 cartridge load was effectively used and produced only a (relatively) usable muzzle flash. The No.5 however has a significant muzzle flash, which could be blinding to the shooter in low-light conditions. The flash hider is not actually there to hide the flash from the enemy, it’s to hide it from the user.

 

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As a result of the lightening, perceived recoil is also greater. To counteract this, the designers added a rubber butt-pad in place of the traditional brass or steel plate. A good idea, except that they made it very small, a bulging pad missing out a lot of the butt’s surface area. So that increased perceived recoil was forced into an even smaller part of the shoulder. Thank goodness it was comfy, soft rubber right? Err, well concerns around durability meant that a pretty hard rubber compound was used. Not great at the time and 70 years on they have only grown harder.

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The controversy was that these rifles allegedly suffered from a ‘wondering zero’. This means that once sighted in, the rifle would not hit the same aimed point consistently. This was the reason the War Office gave for discontinuation of No.5 production in 1947, only three years after is was introduced. This makes it one of the only military service rifles to be outlived by its predecessor.

Several aspects of the rifle design have been suggested as causes including:

-The lightening cuts causing the receiver to flex when fired. This could cause headspace issues or inconsistency between shots over time

-The flash hider if fitted incorrectly or damaged may cause gas imbalances around the projectile, allowing shots to wonder of their typical course

 

Modern No.5 MkI owners have been unable to reproduce this wondering zero effect, which makes it look likely that this was only given as an excuse to shift bolt-actions to the rear echelons and give them in aid to allies to speed up introduction of the self-loading rifle that every other major power was adopting or had already.

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Nevertheless, the No.5 saw limited service in Northern Europe, notably during the liberation of Norway, but most of its service life was post WWII, in Korea and Malaya, where they were not only used by British troops but also local forces.

malayan-emergency-no-5-jungle-commando-short-magazine-lee-enfield-smle-dayak-tracker

For an outline on the No.5 MkI, see Ian’s video at Forgotten Weapons.

For some in-depth information, see C&Rsenal’s article on the rifle, including how to spot the many fakes available.

When the build posts go up, you can see the progress here.

8ff67f7d5e1b5af4c1ae461625c83b0f--malayan-emergency-british-soldier

 

 

If enjoyed this piece 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.

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Pritchard-Greener Bayonet: History & Build

Edged Weapons, pistol, Pritchard Bayonet, Weapons, webley, WWI

The Webley Mk VI .455 service revolver is an awesome bit of kit. It is the iconic sidearm of British and Empire forces during the Great War.

 

Incredible stopping power, six shots in single and double action and very handy used as a club. What could make it better? A bayonet of course.

 

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Arthur Pritchard enlisted in 1915, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Berkshire Regiment and rose to Captain by Armistice. In late 1916, Pritchard approached Wilkinson and their cutlery division produced a prototype (using the tip of an 1897 Pattern infantry sword). However Wilkinson’s factory was at maximum capacity producing bayonets and Cavalry swords and were unable to put the production time aside for this exploratory project.

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Pritchard then went over the road to Greener, a long-time competitor to Wilkinson, who had the time and facilities for the project. As 97 ptn. swords were still technically in service, cutting just the tip off for use in this wasn’t really efficient. However Greener did have a respectable supply of disused Gras bayonets purchased from France which made an excellent replacement.

This design was patented and sold as a private purchase item. This was never issued, nor was it designed to be used alongside the slightly more common carbine stock, in spite of suggestions made by the ill informed to both. The maximum number confirmed produced is 144 by serial numbers, though some confirmed originals have no serial number. It is fair to say that more replicas have been produced than there ever were originals.

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Anyway, I’ve been working on a replica for a long time, trying to work out the best way to produce an airsoft safe one.

When I started, I made parts by hand, but this wasn’t practical for producing an accurate replica with so many curves.

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So I drew out a 2D design and commissioned a friend to make and print a 3D model (this was before I learned 3D modelling myself).

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Once printed, I sanded it down to a smooth finish. If I were doing it again I would use filler paint as I do now on my other 3D models as it would give a nicer finish.

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As per the original, this needed a little hand fitting to the gun. I knew it wouldn’t be perfect on the first attempt with so many nooks and crannies.

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Once fitted, I could paint up, the base coat silver before painting the handle in a brass top coat.

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In place on the gun, it is taking shape.

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Once nice touch of the Pritchard is the sight picture it gives you. You may still use the foresight blade for precision but for snap shooting you can just drop your target in the ‘V’ and pull the trigger.

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I added a little detail to the locking catch to replicate the chequering on the button.

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I made a new blade in steel that is a more authentic shape, which really improves the look of the thing. To make it safe I shall make a rubber mould and cast blades for customer versions. The grips will have to be 3D printed as they will be a bit awkward to cast.

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So the next post ought to be a finished piece!

 

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.

If you would like to see more builds from the Great War era, you can find them here.

Don’t forget you can buy some of our complete products via Etsy

 

Pritchard-Greener Bayonet: Complete

Complete builds, Edged Weapons, pistol, Pritchard Bayonet, Weapons, webley, WWI

The Airsoft Pritchard-Greener is finished, after some significant time!

I’ve been looking forward to this for so long, I can’t wait to use it in the field.

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This one is mounted on my trusty old Wingun. The rubber blade holds its shape well, but like my knives is soft enough to be safe to use on people.

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Although there is no locking catch on this, the friction of the holding spring and the close fit keep it securely in place.

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As mentioned in the build post, the sight picture of this is excellent. That deep ‘W’ shape is great for dropping people into and firing.

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And like the original, the revolver can still break open to reload.

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You can find the build and history post 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.

If you would like to see more builds from the Great War, you can find them here.

Don’t forget you can buy our complete products via Etsy.

LMG25: Complete

Complete builds, Custom builds, Inter-War (1918-1939), LMG25, Machine-Guns, Weapons, WWII

The finished LMG25 is a funny-looking beast!

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The magazine isn’t quite right, the one shown is a standard stamped metal AK magazine. The plan is to modify some more modern AK magazines to resemble the smooth sided LMG mags.

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The leather strap to hold the bipod is correct. Most guns use a mechanical latch to lock bipods in place, but this system overcomes the risk of undetected corrosion or dirt ingress.

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The foresight and muzzle.

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Now they’re painted up, they blend in quite nicely with the rest of the gun.

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The bottom strap on this securely holds the receiver in place.

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The extremely wide rear sling swivel is for a two-piece sling, which allows the gun to be work like a pack.

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The only part I’m not 100% happy with is the magazine well. If I were to do this again, I would attach it straight through into the receiver tube with bolts, rather than with protruding lugs welded on as I did here.

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The trigger placement is strange, but authentically so. This gives it an odd trigger pull, but it is comfortable enough once you get used to it.

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

If you want to know the history of this obscure Swiss Light Machine-Gun then you can check out the pre-build piece 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.

LMG25: Build 3

Custom builds, Inter-War (1918-1939), LMG25, Machine-Guns, Weapons, WWII

I wasn’t quite happy with some of the pictures from the build post, so I’ve taken some more and added to them.

The bipod, now largely finished, I have welded the ring that goes round the cooling shroud shut and screwed the bipod in place. In some pictures of the LMG25 in use the bipod has been removed and it seems to be used like a heavy assault rifle of sorts, so I’m hoping to keep this removable.

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A better picture of the foresight, the print quality on this piece is really clean and the part is surprisingly solid.

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This was my initial idea for attaching the back-cap/battery compartment cover. Two neodymium magnets (which are very, very strong for their size) meeting the steel receiver. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite strong enough and would fall off easily when running about. I’m adding a bayonet lock for this to keep it solidly attached.

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The bayonet lock is attached to the back cap with araldite. I’ll put two screws into the receiver for them to lock into.

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With the majority of the parts done, I started to prime them to keep the rust at bay.

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The rear sight has been 3D printed in ABS, along with the sight adjustment. I’ll be flipping it upside down so the screw head isn’t visible.

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In situ on the receiver, this gives a surprisingly nice sight picture! The V-notch itself is a little on the small side, but the high position means you get a very nice view of the periphery.

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The back cap locks in really solidly using the new bayonet mount. I’ll have to trim down the securing screw so it sits flat of course.

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The cocking handle has been turned on the lathe, in steel. This was then drilled and tapped blind on the back side so it could be screwed onto the wood.

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The muzzle has been 3D printed in ABS, it will be painted up and secured in place with a screw. The last few bits are just finishing touches, so this is the last build post for this project!

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If you have a thing for obscure Swiss Light Machine-Guns then you can check out the pre-build piece 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.

M2 60mm Mortar: Complete

Area effect, Area-effect, Cold War, Complete builds, Custom builds, M2 60mm Mortar, Products, Weapons, WWII

The mortar is finished, and what a beauty she is too, though I say so myself.

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The adjustable windage is quite smooth, the folding handle giving adequate purchase and leverage.

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While the leg spreading system has its advantages, I can’t help but feel there are simpler designs that would have had the same result. Perhaps the reasoning is plainer with a live firing version.

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The baseplate has a 3D printed socket for the ball to slot into. On the original this is stamped into the plate design and features a lock, but here the ball is left free so that the barrel can be quickly upended and spent shells ejected.

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The spikes on the bipod should keep it raised just high enough to give access to the elevation control in the centre.

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A top-down view, showing the windage lever in the stowed position.

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Once packed away, this mortar isn’t actually too bad for portability. Considering the complexity and the precision you could achieve out to a respectable range on the original, you can see why modern light mortars are more closely related to this package than the T89 or SMBL 2″ families. While they may have portability and speed on their side, the ability to fine-tune fire for only a little extra weight and bulk certainly has its appeal.

P1010103

 

If you liked 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 find the build posts for this mortar here.

Don’t forget you can buy some of our complete products via Etsy. If you would like to commission a build like this, please drop us a line on the above email.

 

M2 60mm Mortar: Build 2

Area effect, Cold War, Custom builds, M2 60mm Mortar, Weapons, WWII

The first job of the next leg is to fit the leg limiter. This has two lugs on the centre column and on the left leg. Between this and the attachment at the head of the tripod it helps the user to keep the elevation adjustment vertical, even on sloped or bumpy ground.

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When deployed, the limiter sits pretty much horizontal. The collar it is attached to on the leg slides up and down, with a stop at the top of its travel to make it level out. In these two pictures you can also see the elevation adjustment handle. This piece of steel bar was bent and is screwed and pinned in position so that it can’t rotate without operating the elevation screw.

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The feet are welded onto sockets that fit over the bottom of the legs.

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And are in turn are spot welded onto the legs. These feet will allow the operator to dig the legs into the ground for stability when firing.

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The windage screw has a metal sheath, which I’ll be adjusting to be a nice, close fit. It will also have to have a tooth of some kind to work against the screw.

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With some rather happy timing, these 3D printed parts then arrived. Printed in ABS for strength, if they prove to not be up to the task I shall try casting them in aluminium. I suspect they’ll do beautifully though, these are very solid shapes.

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Roughly put in place, the mortar is really taking shape now. To finish off these parts, I need to fit a large screw to the barrel clamp and screw together the two halves of the windage unit. The windage screw also needs a little modifying to remain locked into the unit, rather than walking out either side.

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The two halves of the windage unit screwed together. This is a very rigid unit, as it needs to be to function. The screw thread is very stiff and it will need a little modification to work smoothly.

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With a little time on the lathe, I reduced the ends of the screw thread down so that they ran smoothly in their mountings. I also drilled and tapped each end for the stoppers that prevent it from leaving the windage control.

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The windage adjustment dial has a folding handle, like the original.
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In place, it sits well and works quite smoothly. I think the barrel vise will need a little re-enforcing for use but it’s not bad even as is.
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A quick demo, it’s a bit awkward videoing and operating it at the same time but it’s easy to use.

M2 mortar windage
 

The last bits are the baseplate and baseplate ball, plus a fair bit of finishing. This thing will take some serious painting!

You can see the previous build post here.

If you are interested in the history of the M2, 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.

M2 60mm Mortar: Build 1

Area-effect, Cold War, M2 60mm Mortar, Weapons, WWII

The project started with a good deal of research, finding pictures of all the component parts. From this I calculated dimensions and drew up plans.

The M2 is quite a bit more complicated than the SMBL 2″ used by the British. For my flat laser cut parts, I’m looking at around 3x as many pieces: plus a number of cast or printed parts.

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The baseplate is the first component to be assembled. This heavy plate is designed to stick into the ground to control and direct the recoil.

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Then the feet for the bipod legs and the hinge parts, Although the M2 is complicated, it does fold down quite tidily, which means a lot of moving parts.

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With the legs in place, the mortar starts to take shape. The tube through the middle will have the elevation control going through it, at the top of it will be the T-piece where the windage adjustment will sit.

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The thread arrived, it is a 20mm trapezoidal threaded rod which should be coarse enough to allow quick adjustments to be made, but fine enough to allow for accurate fire adjustment.

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The elevation adjustment screw in place and the T-piece at the top of the column (where the windage screw will go). There is a slit in the back of the column in which a screw sits that locks the inner column into the outer and engages the screw thread.

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When the elevation is raised to maximum, you can just see the thread through the slot at the back, but this will effectively be hidden by the barrel.

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The next components will be the windage adjustment and endcaps. These are going to be 3D printed in ABS for strength and will also have the barrel clamp.

 

If you are interested in the history of the M2, 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. 

Fighting_in_the_Dark._2_January_1943,_Liverpool,_the_Navy's_Lanchester_Gun_Fitted_With_Illumination_Attachment_For_Night_Operation._A13831

LMG25: Build 2

Cold War, Custom builds, Inter-War (1918-1939), LMG25, Machine-Guns, Weapons, WWII

At the end of the last post, I had most of the large components roughed out for the LMG25. However the cooling ports in the barrel jacket are a little rough at the ends.

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So I welded the outsides edges, so I could grind them down and round out the ends.

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Next I welded up the ejection port.

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And the rear sling swivel, attached to the mount.

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The bipod was an interesting challenge. In order to go from the stowage to the deployed position the lugs all have to rotate, so a little tweaking was needed to make everything move freely.

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The end result is a pretty stable bipod with good movement, allowing the operator to sweep over an arc of fire.

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The dry assembly of the rear sight and ejection port. From this I learned that the ejection port needed a little trimming off the bottom to sit tidily. I also decided to chamfer the edges of the rear sight base to get a deep penetration for the weld.

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The foresight has been 3D printed, it screws into place on the barrel jacket.

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It sits just ahead of the bipod.

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The back-cap is also printed, I may replace this with a cast aluminium version now I have a working kiln.

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Most of the remainder of the work is now detail parts such as the rear sight unit, operating handle and the attachment for the back-cap. 

If you have a thing for obscure Swiss Light Machine-Guns then you can check out the pre-build piece 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.