Stopping Rifle: Introduction

History, Imperial Era, Inter-War (1918-1939), Sporting Arms, Weapons

The Stopping Rifle is an oddity today, a hang-over from the Golden Days of trophy hunting in the deepest, darkest parts of Africa and the sub-continent.

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Theodore Roosevelt, prolific trophy hunter. Famed for sparing a bear cub and inventing the ‘Teddy’ bear. This elephant was not so fortunate.

The stopping rifle is still part of the (now much rarer) expedition through dangerous game country. When dealing with large and dangerous animals such as the hippopotamus, lions, elephants and tigers, you need a gun that is capable of not only killing the animal quickly, but dropping it on the spot mid-charge.

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While many conventional rifles may be capable of killing an animal at range, if an animal is close enough to your party to make a charge such projectiles can go clean through even a critical area, with the animal not realising it is dead until it has mauled you.

 

As a result stopping rifles fire heavy, slow bullets. A typical 7.62 NATO bullet is 10-11g, a .450 Nitro Express bullet on the other hand is closer to 32g. .700 Nitro Express at 65g is another level entirely.

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.500 NE compared with some more common rounds. Bigger than this you really only have heavy military use rounds and oddball cartridges like the .950 JDJ.

So, why two barrels? Well, given the need for a quick follow-up shot has been around since before the invention of the modern cartridge a second barrel was the only option. However this design classic has survived through not only the bolt-action era but even beyond semi-automatics.

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A taxidermy exhibit at the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, Yorkshire, Great Britain. The hunter appears to be using a double percussion gun while his guide reloads the first one.

Firstly, you can switch between triggers very quickly, far faster than operating a bolt. Although modern semi-autos could handle the pressure of these large cartridges, they are far more prone to being affected by the dirt and dust which on long expeditions is a fact of life: especially for a gun that has to be carried ready to fire at all times under severe pressure.

Express sights feature a huge V-notch, with several separate leaves for different fixed ranges. This unusual BSA design also has an adjustable leaf. This design allows for some precision use at close range when there is time, but also allows the shooter to use the foresight as a bead in emergencies.

 

So this hold-over from the Victorians still has its uses and these rifles are still some of the most beautiful examples of private and custom gunsmithing around.

I will be building my own stopping rifle for airsoft use of course, for a safari-type load out, probably paired with the Webley MkVI.

 

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.

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G43 AEG Mk2: Complete

Battle Rifles, Complete builds, Custom builds, G43 MkII, G43/K43, Weapons, WWII

I know some people are quite excited about this project so let’s get straight stuck straight in with some pictures!

Left side:

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Right side:

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The 3D printed receiver.

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The rear sight, adjustable for elevation via the leaf. The rear sight adjustment is controlled by the bar across the leaf which is held in place by teeth and spring tension.

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The receiver open. You can now see the finishing touches to the slide, which has been painted up using a mix of acrylics and coarse sand. This simulates the rough cast surfaces left over that were not milled flat as a manufacturing expediency.

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The foresight unit, 3D printed and pinned in place. The blade is adjustable for windage once the hood is removed.

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The barrel is black painted. Production versions of this may be oil blacked, though the fore-end cap will likely be printed rather than metal.

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The magazine well and trigger guard. I may have to beef up the trigger guard in future versions. The magazine release is the small catch between the  magazine and the guard. Although not greatly ergonomic, the original was designed to be fed with stripper clips to be fair.

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A second view.

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The buttstock needs a bit more work for production, but it’s a satisfying result. For production I am going to try and put a sling mounting through it as per the original.

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The buttplate comes off to access the battery compartment.

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A quick view down the gun from the back.

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I’m very pleased with this build I must admit. It looks the part and has a nice heft to it. Of course there have had to be some dimensional changes to fit the airsoft internals, but they aren’t any worse than AEG M1 Garands and without a direct comparison it ought not stand out too much.

Finally WWII airsofters have an option for a rifle that isn’t a K98k or an STG44.

 

If you have enjoyed 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.

 

 

G43 AEG Build 2: Part 3

Battle Rifles, G43 MkII, Weapons, WWII

The last leg of the G43 build are the details that will make it really look the part. First up: the rear sight leaf. This is adjustable for elevation, using a spring and teeth that engage on the right side of the leaf.

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At the front, I’ve had a spring 3D printed. This slots into the nose cap provided by the client.

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At the back of the receiver, the new one has the disassembly lever.

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The rear sight in the flesh. It is kept down by the spring in the front of it.

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Eagle eyed viewers will notice that the receiver has changed a bit, there are now two scoops in the side up by the chamber. There are also stronger rails which had proven a little bit weak to stand up to repeated disassembly.

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The rear sight in place on the new receiver. 

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The foresight is pinned in place with two 3mm pins. The foresight blade is adjustable for windage, so with the rear sight elevation adjustable you have a good range of adjustment.

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Although this is now nominally all in place, I need to do some last bits of finishing. Although it is all there there is something missing to give it that ‘X-factor’. I expect it’ll all come together once the painting has been done.

 

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.

 

L42A1: Build 4

Cold War, Custom builds, L42A1/Enfield Enforcer, Rifles, Weapons

It has been quite a while since my last L42 post, which I finished with the famous last words: “There’s really not much more to do on this now.”

Well, there wasn’t on that one, it was alright when finished and I used it a few times in games but there were a few ways it could be improved, so I’ll share the improvements here taking over from the last build with my second model.

 

Most of the build so far has been very similar to the last L42 model. Where it differs mainly is around the receiver area. Previous models have been quite skinny and lightweight, but I’ve found them a little unsatisfactory so have beefed up the latest design and built it around the rail that is mounted on the standard VSR I use. This should help to pin it down and keep it solidly mounted, which will improve accuracy with iron sights and provide a more solid mounting for scopes.

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The side plate in place, this will need permanently affixing.

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The side plate protrudes slightly further forward than the rest of the faux receiver, a minor mistake I will correct in a future version of this.

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The top guard now slots in under a securing bracket that is part of the receiver. I’m hoping to do away with the securing screws used in the previous rendition so that the only hole will be for the hop unit adjustment.

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The new rear sight in place. This is a slightly nicer one than my previous sight with some milled parts rather than being entirely pressed steel.

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The inner barrel cut to length and re-crowned on the lathe. I made a barrel support and spacer plug in plastic.

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A dry assembly of nearly everything. I need to get the scope mount finished and fit the foresight guard.

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The receiver isn’t lined up perfectly, this is the sort of thing the dry assembly is to pick up. I can make these tweaks before applying the metal and wood finishes.

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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. 

G43 AEG Build 2: Part 2

Battle Rifles, G43 MkII, G43/K43, Weapons, WWII

The first job for this part of the build was to modify my receiver design to fit the gearbox with comfortable space around it.

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Effectively I added a slither of extra space down the middle to add width.

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Once printed, it all fits quite nicely. The slide moves freely, needing only a slight tweak to put it in place.

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While there isn’t a function to the action opening, it’s one of those things that is nice to have.

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I decided at this stage to get the stock parts recut to improve the shape slightly.

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The action now fits deeper inside  the stock and the receiver needs fitting into the woodwork rather than sitting on top.

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I routed out the top so that the receiver fitted snugly in. As before it hooks onto the back and screws down at the front.

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I routed out the top guard to fit the barrel and marked out cut lines.

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I marked out some of the shape for the top guard at the same time.

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Fitting the front cap provided by the client, the top guard is partly secured in place here and will be at the back as well.

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With this in place, I can rough shape the stock itself. The top and bottom are rounded off for comfort as far back as possible.

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Even at this stage the stock is developing a pattern quite pleasingly similar to the original!

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I welded up a buttplate, the battery compartment needs still more work to fit an original alas.

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With some careful design, the first version of the trigger guard and magwell just slots straight into the stock. Two screws in the front will hold it in place along with two lugs at the back.

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The build is now starting to look distinctly G43-ish.

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The magazine is a snug fit, but the catch engages nicely.

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A little test piece to see what the varnish/stain will do to the woodwork.

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Much of the rest of the work on this is painting and finishing work with just a few details to add.

 

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.

K98k: Complete

Complete builds, Custom builds, K98k, Weapons, WWII

The VSR K98k is now finished, and she is a pretty one.

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From the outside, the only major giveaway that this is not a real K98k is the VSR magwell in the belly. The eagle-eyed may notice the bolt handle being set back a little (alas unavoidable). 

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The oil blued barrel fits in with the existing metalwork and furniture nicely. As it dulls with age it will fit in better.

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The 3D printed rear sight, which is part of the kit I will be offering people who want to do their own K98k conversion

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The back cap looks the part, even if it doesn’t function. It is certainly an improvement on the original VSR cap!

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Likewise the bolt stop, has no function on this but really adds to the replica. For the uninitiated to the Mauser system, this catch holds and releases the bolt during use and disassembly respectively.

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If you are interested in the history of the K98k, you can check out the introduction article here, or see the whole build process 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.

G98 VSR: Complete

Complete builds, Custom builds, G98, G98 VSR, Inter-War (1918-1939), Rifles, Weapons, WWI, WWII

After the last build post, the G98 is finished! Time to take a look at those last details.

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The fore-end is pretty much unchanged externally.

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At the back, the new back cap crowns the rear of the bolt. Although entirely decorative, it does make a difference to the look of the thing.

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There is also a faux bolt release, used on the real thing for disassembly.

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The Vizier rear sight.

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Which is capable of full elevation adjustment.

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The bayonet will be a useful addition, especially when this is used as a musket for American Civil War airsoft. This is a new design I’ve not tried before and will be trialling it on this and the SMLE.

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Making longer bayonets that are stiff enough to look the part and work safely for airsoft is quite tricky: rubber is too floppy, wire stiffening isn’t strong enough and most fibreglass stiffeners are too hard for guaranteed safe use.

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I feel this plastic blade has the balance of flexibility and stiffness just right. For this and the SMLE bayonets it’s about right, though for longer bayonets it may need a couple of layers of lamination to hold shape. That said, there are only so many bayonets that are longer than 17″ for the eras I cover!

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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 the little intro I wrote for the first G98 build you can see it here.

To see the build for this rifle, see here.

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

Kar98k: Build 2

Custom builds, K98k, Weapons, WWII

The next step was sorting out the fore-end. The foresight was 3D printed in ABS, I used filler paint to hide the layers and give it a textured look. It is screwed down to the barrel. The barrel is a piece of steel ERW tube, polished on the lathe and oil finished. This gives it a nice, subtly shiny finish that looks rather like a deep bluing.

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A closer look and you can see the adjustable foresight blade.

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A quick view of the bottom, showing the new fake magwell and real magwell. The receiver screws down into the back of this section, the front of it is supported by the metal frame of the VSR magwell.
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The next step is to make the bolt handle unit. This is made in four parts. I turn the ball on the lathe, drill through it to fit a narrow diameter round bar which is brazed in place. I attach it to another part made on the lathe, which surrounds the haft of the bolt and has a cutout for the out of battery safety.

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The back cap is cast from my original 3D printed model used on the G98.

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And that, pretty well, is that. Just a few last bits of touching up paint here and there. I’ll also be making a scope mount for this soon, once I have worked out how to make one that looks ‘right’.

Finished pictures to come!

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.

 

 

 

G98 VSR: Part 2

Custom builds, G98, G98 VSR, Imperial Era, Inter-War (1918-1939), Rifles, Weapons, WWI

My first major improvement is the back-cap for the bolt. This one is in two parts, to allow friction to be between these two lubricated steel parts rather than on any soft aluminium bits.

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At the front end, I am replacing the biscuit that joined the front and main parts of the stock with a steel tube. Apart form being very strong, this will also allow me to stow a full-length ramrod in the rifle. Although this is far from necessary for use as a G98, I’ll be using this as a musket for American Civil War airsoft until my dedicated musket is finished.

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With enough material removed, I epoxied the steel tube in place.

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In place on the rifle, I leave it overnight to set.

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At the back end of the bolt, I’ve had a 3D printed cap made to replicate the rear of the Mauser bolt. This will go on the K98 builds as well.

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The bayonet is going to be very useful when the rifle is used as a musket, so it’s important to get it right. The grips are 3D printed (dimensions scaled from a photograph) and screwed together. The blade is replaceable and flexible, but not so much as to be floppy.

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When painted up it improves the look, at least from a slight distance. It would be ideal if I could get it to a mirror finish on it to get that threatening flash as it catches the light.

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And that is pretty much that. Just the pictures of the finished item to go!

If you would like to see the little intro I wrote for the first G98 build you can see it 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.

G43 AEG Build 2: Part 1

Battle Rifles, G43 MkII, G43/K43, Weapons, WWII

The aim of this build is twofold. In the previous G43 build it was a conversion from a wood-stocked M14. There were two problems with this:

  1. The M14 stock isn’t quite the right shape
  2. Wood-stocked M14s have become almost completely impossible to find

So as the G43 is one of my most asked-for builds I have finally come up with a solution. Making a stock from scratch is the simplest way to go, this one has taken a bit of time to get right but I now have a design I’m confident of.

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Laser cut from ply, the parts are stuck together one layer at a time.

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Checking the fit, the ‘lightly’ modified M14 action slots in. At this stage my main concern was the motor space as it is snug by necessity for strength.

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Out of the second side, I have to cut a section to fit part of the M14 receiver. This is chiselled out and is invisible from the outside of the rifle.

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In situ, the only part out of place here is the rear-wiring, which would normally live inside the stock. However it needs re-soldering on the motor here and doesn’t go in easily as such. This will be solved easily enough though.

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The second side glued and clamped in place. I’ve put the battery transfer wire through from the battery compartment (in the buttstock) through to the motor housing. 

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The action fits in snugly, and I fit the repro front cap provided by the client.

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Although the donor action looks weirdly bent, that is the shape of an M14 once you strip the receiver bits off. The nozzle goes up into the feed ramp at an angle. It’s weird, but it works.

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The next step is to create the faux receiver. I designed it for 3D printing. It may need a little tweaking to fit around the gearbox.

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My initial design will need a little tweaking to fit around the gearbox mounting but the majority of the work is done.

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I am hoping to have an opening receiver. Although it’ll have no function, it’s one of those touches that is nice to have.

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More of this build coming soon!

 

If you would like to find out some of the history of this rifle, you can see my long-ago written intro to the G43 here.

 

If you enjoyed this article, 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.