Testing No 7

In the last post the high speed video was of the first generation VG1-5 that was built a number of years ago by John. What we here at Gun Lab did was start and finished the first 5 VG1-5 rifles. The remaining weapons are currently being built but the first 5 are going through very serious testing. The rifle in this video is number 7.

Enjoy the video.


Again my thanks goes out to Axel and Carl and Ian from Forgotten weapons. There help in this phase of testing and the use of Ian’s high speed camera was a great deal of help.

More Testing of the VG1-5

Sunday Axel and I got together with Ian and Carl from Forgotten Weapons to do some high speed photographing of the VG1-5. The information that was obtained holds a number of clues to re-occurring issues that have come up. For the next week or so I will be posting high speed and standard videos of all the VG1-5’s, the 05, 06 and stg45 rifles.

Here are a couple of pictures of the rifles tested. The first is the VG1-5’s


The second is of the 05, 06 and stg45.

IMG_9636sThis was a very useful day at the range. My thanks go out to Axel, Carl and Ian for all the help they provided in the testing.

The first video in the series. This one is on the VG1-5 first prototype rifle that was made years ago by John. This rifle has had more rounds put through it then can be counted. These include reloads,WW2 German steel case, Czech post war steel case and all the different types of factory ammo that was made.

The loss of another great guy

For any of you that have been around awhile or have not been on the far side of the moon you would know of Don Bell at Omega. The sad news is that he passed away last night.

I have been to his place to many times to count and he was always a generous and friendly friend to me. I will miss him and visiting his shop.

R.I.P. you will be missed.

Using the MG-51 belt loader for the MG-34

I have a number of belt loaders and one that I picked up a number of years ago is the MG-51 belt loader. This is a Swiss belt loader originally design for the Swiss Maxim gun. Later they were converted from the cloth belt to a metal belt for the MG-51.


In this case the loader has been converted to 8×57 and uses the MG-34/42 belt.

IMG_9351sThis is the box holding the loader.


As packed in the box.



A couple of views of the loader.

This is the video of me loading up a belt of 8×57 for the MG-34 and MG-42.

Needed update to the Gun Lab shop

A while back a friend of gun lab brought over a new press. It will really help with some of the pressings that we have coming up, however it is a 7 1/2 HP 3 phase motor.




I have nothing in the fab shop that can handle that power requirement. My phase converter is a 7HP rotary phase converter. Well worry no more. On Thursday came a knock at the door with the opening statement “friend of gun lab” and I am barring gifts.

On his trailer was a 15 HP rotary phase converter with a fabricated stand.



IMG_9314sNow a new project for me is to wire it into the fab shop and run a 3 phase circuit in there.

Thanks to John U. for the phase converter.

Side note is that all the Budweiser aluminum in the drying rack in the back ground are for the metal casting project coming up and they are not mine. They all come from a certain German fellow.

A day testing guns

This Sunday we spent 6 hours testing a variety of weapons. A few more VG1-5 rifles were tested. The MG-34 had all the springs replaced and was tested as well as the mpi-69. This is a quick video of what was 6 hours of actual work and testing.

Saving a log from the fire pit.

A while back I was a construction site where they were removing a number of trees. One of them in particular was a large and fairly straight Mesquite tree. The guys were going to cut it up for fire wood and that just kind of pushed the wrong buttons for me. After a little chatting with the superintend I convince him  to let me have it.

This is the log and a few of the limbs.



After some clean up this is what I was left with.


The scrap was turn into mulch.

IMG_8104sA quick trip to the saw mill left me with some beautiful slabs.




It is all back home.


and stored for an upcoming project.


It will be stored for a year to air dry out the sun and rain and then it will be kiln dried to the proper moisture content. I cut these slabs at 2 1/2 inches for stocks and to be able to re-saw for a few other projects.

A short video of the process.


Why I still hate the MG-34

Yesterday while out working at the range we also brought out my nemesis the MG-34. Keep in mind this is my 3rd MG-34 that I have owned and they have all been the same. Everyone else’s MG-34 seem to work great,but mine always seem to be to have an issue. The current one that I own used to belong to a friend of mine and it worked like a champ until I bought it. I have had the gun run away when I shot it, multiple jams, the ammo not firing and every other problem that you can imagine.

I brought out spare barrels, bolts ,belts, springs and grips. My friend and owner of a perfectly operating MG-34 also brought out enough parts to rebuild my gun twice including barrel jackets and butt stocks. We had enough parts to make a WW2 German armorer jealous. This gun was going to work or else.

Now for the rest of the story.

The machine gun was placed on the original tripod and would only shoot in semi auto even though it was set to full auto. The Axel fix was a piece of cardboard.


It wasn’t until after we got home that we found the problem with the tri-pod. However that was not the only issue. The gun would fire a few rounds then stop. The primer strikes were heavy, so it was thought to be the ammo. A second strike would always fire the round. This is the same ammo that I use in the MG-42 and 1919 and it always works. Romanian 8×57 is good stuff. A number of attempts were made to fix the issue. Bolts were changed as well as the pistol grip, top cover and barrel. All of this was to no avail. the only time it even ran a complete belt was when we had a run away gun that would not stop firing.

After giving up on the machine gun it was time to go home and start over, again. This time like all the others we went through every assembly and sub assembly. every spring was checked, every contact surface was checked again and all the sub assembly’s were taken apart and checked. extra barrels and bolts were cleaned, oiled and rebuilt as necessary.

It was back out to the shooting spot. This time there was some success.

The video of the MG-34.

It has only taken 6 years, however I only take it out once a year due to the aggravation factor. On the next trip out will see if it still works or goes back on the blink again



Shooting the Frankinfal

A while back I picked up a FN-FAL heavy barrel Israel contract rifle that would not work. If you inserted a single round in the chamber and let the bolt close on it the rifle would fire but not eject. If you tried to load the rifle from a magazine it would feel but the bolt would not close fully. In the video you will see that the rifle would not eject.

After looking at the rifle it was decided to just rebuild the gun from the front to the rear. Every part was checked and and measured. The head spacing was way off, the gas piston was bent and the gas tube was also bent, there was an issue with the gas block and we checked all the components of the fire control group.

Now it is a nice shooting rifle. Enjoy this short clip of it working.

A new piece of equipment for Gun Lab

A friend of Gun Lab showed up at the door yesterday with a new piece of equipment for the fab shop.

This is a nice piece of equipment that help with some of the pressing operations in the fab shop

IMG_8554sA nice size lower plate, I have just the die set for it.

IMG_8556sSome more pins need to be made, but this is serious

IMG_8561sI am going to have the hydraulics rebuilt.

IMG_8559sIt comes with a 7 1/2 hp hydraulic power pack

IMG_8558sNow the real fun happens, moving it into the shop with a door smaller then the press.