LMG25: Build 1

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

The LMG25 is a really weirdly formatted gun, but with a Sten and some modifications I’m hoping to make something really interesting and unique.

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As ever, this started with a load of research and design work. There aren’t too many parts to this compared to some of my builds and they nearly all attach directly to the receiver. The first step of construction was to make this receiver, which I made a template for and centre punched for the drill, before cutting the space needed for the donor.

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The welding begins with the mock-upped ejection port and the trigger grouping/pistol grip.

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I also cut a hole for the magazine feed.

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The magazine well has an awkward and distinctive shape, so it is being 3D printed and will be mounted with metal plates and screws to the receiver.

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In place it fits quite nicely! This replica takes AK magazines which look the part well enough from a distance.

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Onto the stock. I cut it out in the usual way from the blank, but I can’t cut out the action recess in the usual manner due to the awkward lump at the front of the stock. It would have been possible to have this as a separate piece but it’s not a major issue to work around.
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The pistol grip unit is, fortunately, an entirely separate unit. This means making it is a lot easier than a one-piece pistol grip/stock. It somewhat resembles some of the early semi-auto conversions of bolt-action rifles in this respect of its design.

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There is quite a pleasing curve to the back of this pistol grip which is easily missed.

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This means that all the major working parts are in place. The next important step is to get the working parts actually working! Then we can enjoy the detailing, sights and bipod.

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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, and if you have an idea for a custom build of your own just get in touch with us on enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com.

Mad Mondays!

Mad Mondays, Weapons

Facebook followers will be familiar with the Mad Mondays, in which we are taking a look at some of the more crazy and cutting-edge firearms in a rather bumpy history through arms development. I’ll now be hosting it here as this is a better platform for such articles!

I thought we would start off with something you don’t see every day.

XIV.6 / 14-00006 Combined axe and wheellock pistol. Possibly Iberian or German, early 17th century Copyright: The Board of Trustees of the Armouries Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds LS10 1LT Digital Photograph Di 2005-310 Hasselblad 555ELD / Imacon digital back

If you thought being sliced by an axe would ruin your day, try this for size. Although the axe face is blunt, it conceals five barrels lit by several methods, which begs the question of how practical it would be to use.

XIV.6 / 14-00006 Combined axe and wheellock pistol. Possibly Iberian or German, early 17th century Copyright: The Board of Trustees of the Armouries Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds LS10 1LT Digital Photograph Di 2005-311 Hasselblad 555ELD / Imacon digital back

The top barrel is lit by a matchlock, the mechanism for which is under the brass lion. The second barrel via the wheel lock and the rest by a hand-held slow-match. There is another barrel in the handle lit by this match. The wheel lock has an attachment to light this match as it is fired.

 

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You can see the entry for this item at the Royal Armouries Collection here.

 

 

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Browning M2HB .50 calibre machine gun

Cold War, Era, History, M2 .50 Machine gun, Machine-Guns, Products, War on Terror, Weapons, WWII

The Browning M2 has its roots in WWI. By the end of this war, both British and French militaries had large calibre machine guns and the Germans had been in the process of developing theirs. The need had come about with the introduction of armour in aircraft and vehicles that repelled most regular arms.

M2_Browning,_Musée_de_l'Armée

The early Browning designs were only half successful. There were water cooled variants but these were heavy and moves to make them air cooled followed quickly. With some effort and consideration, the design developed until one type of receiver could be used to make seven types of machine gun using different barrels, jackets and internal components. It could feed from the left and right which was important for its use in aircraft and it quickly replaced the .30 Browning, then in use for this role.

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The M2 has been manufactured and in use since 1933 and the design has remained quite unchanged since. It served through WWII with Allied forces, notably by the Long Range Desert Group and the early SAS in North Africa where it was a popular choice for destroying aircraft on the ground in their signature hit and run raids.

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An M2 aircraft variant in use by the SAS in North Africa, WW2.

It also served in Korea and Vietnam, where it was occasionally fitted with a scope and used as an over-sized sniper rifle. As a closed-bolt weapon it was very accurate by MG standards and it was during Vietnam that the longest kill recorded, at 2000 yards (1800m), was set and stood until 2002.

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It has since served in nearly every war of note and many wars you won’t even have heard of. For Western militaries today, it is usually mounted in aircraft or on vehicle turrets, though it is sometimes to be found protecting bases in Afghanistan, where the exceptional range and accuracy is well-suited to the wide, open spaces.

 

I will be building a Browning M2 for a client, plus a turret mounting for the top of a Land Rover.

 

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Rifle Grenade Prototype

Area effect, Cold War, Rifle grenades, WWI, WWII

Following my last post about rifle grenades I thought I would show the prototype in a bit more detail.

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The power plant for this system is a 40mm CO2 grenade. I have used the S-thunder mini grenades for this build but there is no reason the design couldn’t be used with a different grenade.

So, how to use! Open the chamber by pulling out the barrel.
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Insert your loaded grenade:

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Insert the barrel. Have the barrel face downwards to stop premature firing of the grenade. The grenade is locked securely in place when the polished steel is no longer visible.

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And bang, you’re ready to go!

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This prototype is for my M14, though I would love to make some more of these for other rifles. You can see the video with the initial test firing below:

 

Let us know what you think in the comments, on Facebook or email us on  enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com. We will develop these for other rifles as they are requested so let us know if you want one!

 

UPDATE: Since this post was made initially, I have also started development of a rocket to go on it. The rocket in the attached video is only an initial prototype and improvements will be made as time goes on.

Rifle grenades-Introduction

Add-on kits, Area effect, Cold War, Rifle grenades, Weapons, WWI, WWII

Firstly, apologies that it has once again been an age since I last posted. I’ll be updating what I have been up to over the last month this week.

A slight diversion from the usual this time, the rifle grenade was developed in the early 20th century to allow soldiers to launch grenades further than they could throw. This technology would fill the gap between hand-thrown projectiles and small bore mortars until the 1970s, when dedicated grenade launchers became popular and the 1980s when underslung grenade launchers became widespread.

The rifle grenade first saw extensive use in the Great War where the high trajectory required to land a projectile in the enemy trench and short-medium ranges between opposing forces made them an ideal area-effect weapon where mortars were not available.

In airsoft, gas powered 40mm grenades are popular with modern players who are able to use them for room clearance and area-effect. However the M203-type launchers are entirely unsuitable for WWII and other pre-1970s era airsoft games. Anyway, this is my prototype answer to those who want to add a bit more ‘oomph’ to their semi-auto or bolt-action. More to come on this concept.

 

I’d really like to build these for WWII airsoft rifles, if you would like to be a test subject let me know! Our email is: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com or you can contact us through our Facebook page!

The FG42

FG42, History, Products, Rifles, Weapons, WWII

The Fallschirmjägergewehr 42 was the product of German lessons learned during their attack on Crete in 1941.

This battle was the first battle in history where Paratroops were used en-masse, approximately 14,000 in all. The Germans won the battle, though with casualties so heavy that Hitler ordered that there would be no further large-scale paratroop operations. Oddly, the Allies saw the battle very differently: that paratroops had great potential and pushed forward the development of their own in order to gain the advantage this type of soldier would give them.

Fallschirmjägers landing on Crete, 1941. bundesarchiv_bild_141-0864

Fallschirmjägers landing on Crete, 1941.
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The reason the battle was so hard on the Fallshirmjägers (German paratroops-literally translates as ‘parachute-hunter’) was that their main weapons; rifles, machine-guns and sub-machineguns were dropped in containers too far away from the soldiers. As a result much of the fighting had to be achieved with pistols and grenades, meaning the soldiers were at times hopelessly outgunned. As a result, the Luftwaffe wanted a gun that was light and compact enough to be dropped with the soldiers.

 

Dr. Bruno Sassen, showing the helmet and camouflaged variant of the over-smock.

Dr. Bruno Sassen, showing the helmet and camouflaged variant of the over-smock.

The criteria were extremely specific and strict, so much so that only a handful  of manufacturers offered up designs intended to seriously fulfil the requirements. The rifle had to:

  1. Be no longer than the standard K98k rifle
  2. Fire the 7.92 (often shortened to 8mm in American parlance) standard full power round
  3. Be magazine-fed
  4. Be select fire
  5. In semi-automatic fire from a closed bolt (for accuracy) and in full automatic fire from an open bolt (for cooling)

The last aspect was by far the most challenging. As this rifle needed to act in both the rifle and support weapon roles this was an arguable necessity but this did make the weapon much more complex.

FG42 Type 2 with ZF4 scope  mounted.

FG42 Type 2 with ZF4 scope mounted. Note the rear sight in the folded down position. The foresight could also fold down for jumping to minimise protrusions that could catch on clothing.

The winning design by Rheinmetall was put into small-scale production and used. Some problems were found and revisions were made. Although there are between six and seven subtle variants of the FG42 altogether no distinction was ever officially made. Today they are generally separated into two types: one and two.

The two main types of FG42 next to one another. Type 1 top, type 2 underneath.

The two main types of FG42 next to one another. Type 1 top, type 2 underneath.

There are mixed reviews in terms of how these rifles performed. Some say that they were impossible to control (extremely light rifle + full automatic = not ideal), some that they were too sensitive to dirt and fouling. However in gun circles small faults do seem to get blown out of all proportion just by being repeated and the SMG Guns replica (check these guys out, they are truly top blokes) seems to shoot very nicely at least in semi-auto. Sadly they are not legally allowed to produce full automatic versions!

Although this was a full power cartridge, remember that the butt was sprung to help with recoil absorption and seems to have been effective.

FG42 with bipod deployed.

FG42 with bipod deployed.

Sadly, very few of these astounding guns were produced. They were extremely expensive to make and the rest of the German military was leaving the standard 7.92 round behind in favour of the 7.92 Kurtz, an intermediate round. In order to standardise production of arms and ammunition the FG42 was shelved in favour of the much cheaper and simpler Stg44. Now buying an original FG42 is almost an impossibility, when they do rarely turn up for sale they reach truly astronomic prices.

Concealed Fallshirmjäger with a Type 1 FG42. bundesarchiv_bild_101i-720-0344-09

Concealed Fallshirmjäger with a Type 1 FG42.
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Here at Vintage Airsoft we are building a prototype FG42 type two. If there is enough interest we will be doing a small production run of them. If you are interested, please do drop us a line in the comments or on our email: enquiries.vintageairsoft@gmail.com. The more people we hear from the more likely we are to make this a reality.

A working progress....

A working progress….

If you are interested in finding out more on this gun, I suggest you take a look at Forgotten Weapons. Ian has a nice summary of the gun and great photos of a US deactivated copy. He also has several ace videos with a video demonstration of the internals, a close look at a functioning original and an applied shooting competition using an SMG guns reproduction.

The MG08/15

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

In the deadlock of trench warfare that epitomised the Western Front in Europe, all sides tried their hardest to develop a tactic or weapon that would allow them to break the stalemate.

The British developed the most successful weapon, the tank. This mobile fortress allowed men to push forward under solid cover which could also lay down suppressing fire. The Germans didn’t really catch on to the tank until later on (Blitzkrieg, anyone?) but they did appreciate the value of lightweight, well-equipped shock troops.

The trouble was that the weapons of the era were not well suited to this sort of combat: small units attacking well-defended, confined spaces. Rifles were too long, swords and bayonets unwieldy, handguns had a limited magazine capacity and range. What their Stormtroops needed was something to suppress enemy positions and quickly re-enforce their footholds.

The ideal would be to have a machine-gun that could be moved forward with the first wave of soldiers, but at the time even the lightest of machine-guns such as the British Lewis Gun was too heavy for long walks across no-man’s land. The Germans found their answer in the Maxim gun that they already used as their standard machine gun.

The Germans took the Maxim MG08 and effectively cut off everything they could. Gone was the empty space in the receiver, the water jacket was made smaller and most importantly, the spade grips and thumb trigger were taken off and replaced with a buttstock, the trigger being moved down to a pistol grip at the bottom of the receiver.

The result of this was a machine gun that could be advanced with the front line of troops, indeed it was supposed to be fired from the hip in a tactic known as ‘walking fire’ (the BAR was designed on similar grounds). This is the singularly worst tactic ever invented-I recommend you do not try this at home-if you are being shot at.

Walking fire.

The Germans also added a 100 round belt magazine that slid onto a carrier on the right side of the gun, though the gun could also be operated from the 250round boxes used for the standard MG08.

The shortage of machine-guns in the lead-up to WWII meant that the MG08/15 saw active service right up to 1945, meaning that it is a perfectly legitimate weapon for many WWII scenarios. In the coming weeks I will be posting regular updates on the progress of an Airsoft MG08/15 for a client in South Africa.