TM L96: 308AWS to SMLE conversion

.308 SMLE, Cold War, Custom builds, Lee-Enfield, Rifles, SMLE, Weapons, WWI, WWII

Quite some time ago, a client proposed making an Enfield with the magazine in the right place. Now, this is after the Matrix SMLE (Gas) but before the newer Red Wolf No.4, making it among the few with a magazine in the ‘correct’ place.

The simplest way to achieve this was to take a TM L96, which uses a feed ramp to take BBs from the magazine (located in the correct place for that rifle) forward to the chamber as it is effectively a VSR with an added on magwell/feed ramp system.

The first job was to modify the action/magwell to be as small as possible. I kept trimming it down until it was as small as possible without losing the rigidity required for this system.

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I could then fit to to the fore-stock.

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An original trigger guard was not an option sadly, as it did not fit around the dimensions of the donor.

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As a result, I designed a custom one. My first attempt didn’t quite look right.

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My second attempt was much better though.

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The next step was to attach the nose cap unit and top guards. 

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As with the VSR builds, I fit the metal parts before doing the shaping so that the shape fits around these. In the picture below, you can see the rear top guard has been cut away for the rear sight and sight guard.

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Cut down to size and part of the shaping done.

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It still needs to be shaped round the back end a bit to improve the grip, but the overall shape is coming together. 

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It interested, you can see the other rifle builds here and a potted history of Lee-Enfield development 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 complete products via Etsy.

FG42: First production model: In pictures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Japanese T89 ‘knee’ mortar

Area effect, Area-effect, Custom builds, Inter-War (1918-1939), T89 'Knee' Mortar, Weapons, WWII

I was recently given this replica T89 mortar replica to convert to fire TAGS. I hope someday to make my own from scratch with a bit more detailing and moving parts.

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The first step is to fit a firing pin. This is quite simple, I tapped two disks and threaded them onto a bolt to create a stable unit. This can be pushed down to the bottom of the barrel.

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The shells are steel tubes with custom-made caps. This is the prototype, there is a second hole in the production versions to allow quick refiling of the TAGs. The bottom plate is held on by spring pressure.

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There are two rows of spacers. The bottom one keeps the shell centred in the barrel, the top, thicker row allows the user to line up the shell before dropping it into the barrel for firing.

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The completed shells.

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I’ll be taking lessons learned from this design to apply to my other mortars and heavy weapons. I’ll also be offering these quickfill shells as an alternative to the standard 2″ mortar shells I’m providing with the SMBL mortar.

 

If you want a mortar of your own, 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.

FG42: First production model: Improvements

Battle Rifles, Custom builds, FG42, Weapons, WWII

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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In position on the gun. 

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The bipod locked down, so far, so good!

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The new gas tube cover.

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

 

If this build is of interest to you, please get in touch at: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com or join us on our Facebook page. Don’t forget you can buy our complete products via Etsy.

Spring SMLE: Complete.

Imperial Era, Lee-Enfield, Products, Rifles, SMLE, VSR SMLE, Weapons, WWI, WWII

At long last, the first spring rifle is complete! I’m quite pleased with my first attempt at a VSR based SMLE, though there are a few tweaks I shall be making to production versions.

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I think in future versions I shall sit the action lower down in the stock to achieve a lower profile. Then I can add things like a charger bridge, maybe even splitting the back of the receiver for added authenticity.

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This example is using an original rear sight leaf. In future versions I hope to make reproductions to minimise the number of irreparably modified originals. The rear sight will also host the TDC hop adjustment mod, saving you a helpful upgrade.

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I may have to use No. 4 Enfield swivels unless I can find a way to reproduce these, swivels are becoming harder to come by.

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After the success of the 3D printed Sten MkV foresight, I have continued to use this technology here to create the outer barrel impression and foresight unit.

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The barrel has been trimmed down to fit. The VSR barrel is a little long so I removed it, cut and re-crowned it on the lathe.

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Here’s an important feature, I have lined the magazine well with steel which means magazine release should be consistent and not pinched by the wood. Other VSR Enfields don’t have this lining and I have seen magazines get stuck. There is a new design for this which I will use in the production versions to allow very fast magazine changes.

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The fake magazine is solid resin, painted to look right. There is no need to destroy a perfectly good magazine for this build!

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The original buttplate. I’m hoping to make reproduction ones for future versions. As this is an original buttstock you would still be able to fit an original if this happens.

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I’m hoping to improve the bolt handle and back of the bolt shape. However I am pleased with where it now sits, nice and authentic on the rear band you can achieve quite a good rate of fire.

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So, there are some changes to come for production but I’m very happy with this first go!

You can see the whole VSR SMLE build here and a potted history of Lee-Enfield development 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 complete products via Etsy. This will be available soon.

Spring SMLE: Part 4

Imperial Era, Inter-War (1918-1939), Lee-Enfield, Rifles, SMLE, VSR SMLE, Weapons, WWI, WWII

I’ve had the mould sitting about from previous projects for SMLE magazines. I took a resin cast from this, cut it down to size and added some screws into the top to secure to the gun. I painted it with acrylics, which are great for getting metallic and weathered finishes.

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I’ve removed the rear band assembly to do some detailing and finishing work.

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I thought I would attach a few pictures of the band before being cleaned up here as I forgot to show the build process for this part. I’ll let you work out the details…

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Markings will be kept simple for this, no attempt to replicate the originals as they would require a very random set of stamps.

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As I’m replicating various Mks of firearm I can’t use the Mk system to denote changes in the designs of the airsoft versions as ‘SMLE No.1 MkIII MkI’ is a bit confusing! However I’m not going to stamp ‘V0.1’ onto this as it would look out of place, so it will be denoted as MkI. Confused yet? Yeah, me too.

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Now it’s clean and marked up, it’s heated up and into the oil it goes for that lovely, black satin finish.

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Finally, screwing on the buttplate and some last finishing touches before assembly….

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You can see the whole build so far here and a potted history of Lee-Enfield development 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 complete products via Etsy.

Spring SMLE: Part 3

Custom builds, Imperial Era, Inter-War (1918-1939), Lee-Enfield, Rifles, SMLE, VSR SMLE, Weapons, WWI, WWII

The last SMLE build post was a view of the rear sight on its own. It is now mounted on the rifle, awaiting the rear sight leaf.

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The foresight unit for this is experimental, 3D printed in ABS. This design isn’t perfect but it’s not a bad start!

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The ridge on the back was accidental, I considered cutting a recess for this to fit, but decided against it. I cut this off and filed it flat.

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A view of the back of the foresight, which has slumped a bit in printing. The next version will hopefully be more square.

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I cut a flat section at the end to take the nose cap insert. The back of the insert doesn’t reach the back of the nose cap, so there is a piece at the back cut to a curve to fit this part into. The hole drilled through is for the vertical  bolt that secures the nose cap.

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In future versions I hope to have wood going further forward into the cap itself, with the transverse nose cap screw going through it. This system is still pretty strong though as it still has a substantial bit of walnut at the front.

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In place, the eagle-eyed among you may notice that the top guard is different to the last picture of it. I’m making a new top guard that is a bit chunkier and rugged than the original for durability.

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There’s still a good bit of material to remove, but this will just be a couple of hours’ work.

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Then some alterations to the rear sight before sanding, oiling and finishing up!
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You can see the whole build so far here and a potted history of Lee-Enfield development 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 complete products via Etsy.

PZB 39: Build 3

Anti-Tank, Custom builds, PZB-39 Rifle, WWII

The basic components for this build are all in place, now it is time to add in the parts that pull it all together.

Next up was to fit the buttplate, the top half of this is fixed in place but the bottom folds in to help the rifle pack up smaller for transport. 20161129_141747

In the folded position. Once the cushioned pads are in place it won’t fold quite as far as this but it allows it to fold a lot closer than it would otherwise.

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I have now planed the stock down to its rough shape, adding the grooves with the router. If I was doing this again, I would definitely make these grooves sooner as achieving a straight and level cut on this shape is quite tricky!

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The forestock needs another mounting point further back to really solidly hold it in place, I expect I will have to make some kind of band that slips around the action as the bottom of the tubes at the chamber end are all cut open to hold the airsoft parts. It may make sense to combine this with the rear sight, which is still yet to be mounted.

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The rear sight fitted in position. This is welded into place on the front. I decided not to use this at the attachment point, instead adding a second screw well behind the first one.

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Taking the buttstock home, there are a couple of bits of fabric work for this build. Firstly, the leather cheek rest, presumably added to keep the cheek away from cold metal. It certainly doesn’t provide any great cheek weld.

The second part is the cushioned buttpad, to absorb the not insignificant recoil on the original!

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The leather cheek rest is laced on so it can be removed easily. The originals were sewn on but this looks the part and makes it easier to remove and maintain.

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I have to make the carry handle covers, fit the foresight and re-assemble to paint it, but that’s the majority of work to come.

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In the meantime, the trigger unit cover and pistol grip. I already welded the grip together, at this stage I used a bolt to line up the hinge points and the grip over the cover plate. This can be tacked down so the whole unit swivels as one.

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In place. The receiver was slightly out of square, so I used a clamp to hold it in place while I made adjustments.

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Although the pivoting grip unit doesn’t cycle the action like the original, it will be useful for disassembly.

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It opens much like the original.

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At the front, I now have a cover plate for the magazine well, which can be swivelled aside to access the magazines and change them.

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If you are interested in this project or have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles. 

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

PZB-39: Build 2

Anti-Tank, Custom builds, PZB-39 Rifle, WWII

The next step is to make the new bolt action. This allows the bolt to be used without cutting out a section at the side of the receiver.

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The front section locks the breech and operates the out of battery safety. The knob at the back keeps this in place and allows the user to grip the bolt to operate it.

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The receiver of the donor rifle (a VSR clone)  screws into the receiver of the rifle.

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The top of the receiver is welded in place, as are the thick back parts of the barrel. These also support the weight and hold the position of the internal parts.

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Slowly, I add on the rest of the barrel. To simulate the tapered barrel of the original I am stepping it down slightly along the length at opportune positions.

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This thing is now huge. It is already longer than the G98, even without the buttstock attached!

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The next job was to rough fit the woodwork. This is always very challenging, especially for the VSR rifles.

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Apologies for the quality of the pictures here, my camera was out of action so resorted to the ‘phone!

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This is important, the carry handle makes something like this just about portable.

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I bent two pieces of steel to shape by hand, two screws hold them together at the top. I will temper the steel so that it is stiff enough to hold the weight of the gun.

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And the buttstock is screwed into place. I will be modifying the top screw so that the stock can be folded and unfolded easily.

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The next few steps are to shape and finish the woodwork, screw said woodwork into place and mount the bipod, foresight unit and buttstock lock.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to getting this finished, it’s making my gun rack look comically small!

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If you are interested in this project or have an idea of your own, drop us a line on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com to discuss. ‘Like’ our Facebook page or follow the blog to get regular updates on projects and interesting videos and articles. 

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

Spring SMLE: Part 2

Cold War, Custom builds, Imperial Era, Lee-Enfield, Rifles, SMLE, VSR SMLE, Weapons, WWI, WWII

At the end of the last post, the SMLE looked like this:

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The next steps were to permanently attach the buttstock and fit the top handguard.

I cut the recess in the top guard to fit around the action and the barrel.

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I then cut space for the middle band. Once fitted this gave a rough idea of the sizes the furniture would need to be trimmed down to.

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In place, it all looks a bit square. Time to put it on the shave horse and put it to the drawknife.

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A bit of working later, the stock parts are rounded off and level.

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There is a slight bulge above the action as it is thicker much further down the rifle than on the real thing, but is isn’t too obvious. Once the rear sight is in place it should break up this bulge and make it almost imperceptible.

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For future models I may do a Top Dead Centre (TDC) modification, which will allow me to make the action a little shorter and reduce the bulge as with this mod there is no longer a large sliding part needing space at the front.

I shall be making the rear sight from steel, laser cut. This will be easier than modifying an original as it has to fit around the spring receiver. It will however take an original sight leaf. 

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At long last, the parts arrived! Welded together and smoothed out, next step is to attach the sight leaf. 

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This will take an original Enfield sight or a copy I’m making. It will be oil finished for maximum wear resistance.

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You can see the whole build so far here and a potted history of Lee-Enfield development here.

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