The Mauser project at Gun Lab

It has been a  while since my last post ,but as always we have been busy. About 4 weeks ago I obtain a large number of old rusty Mauser rifles, mostly from China but a number of European ones as well. It took two weekends to pick them all up.

How they were stored.


The first load.

IMG_1621sAfter Axel started removing them from the truck and taking a break.

IMG_1622sThe second load that was in the truck, I forgot to take a picture of the trailer.


We, meaning Axel, have been separating them out to different grades and countries of origin. It has been a ton of work to do this.

IMG_2291sThere are actually twice this number.

I have a few pictures of some of the interesting markings.

Mauser 98 Spandau 1890s



IMG_2297sEven a few GEW 98s

IMG_1700sAfter cleaning one of the GEW 98



There were even Mexican Mauser rifles


A few of them we cleaned up using vinegar to check out the condition of the receivers.


IMG_2301sThe bottom rifle was just soaked in oil and not vinegar to show the difference.

There is still a great deal of work left to do. A number of these will be for gunsmithing projects in the future.

The Walther model1and 2 self loading 22 rifles

The Walther self-loading rifles Model 1 and 2


These interesting rifles have been manufactured mainly in the 1930’s in Germany by Carl Walther.

Sadly we couldn’t find any more detailed information on production numbers and exact time frame.

But there seems to be some confusion on the model designations.

We’ve seen both variants designated as either Model  1 or 2.

But we will stick with the manufacturers designation as used in our video linked at the end of this post.

The Model 1 with sliding tang safety, shorter stock (fore end), shorter thinner barrel and folding type rear sight.

The Model 2 with 3 position lever type safety, longer military type stock (fore end), heavier longer barrel and sliding type rear sight graduated up to 200m.

Model 1

Model 2

And here the parts diagram as shown in the video from the same website:


Here independently from safety (all sliding tang safety) called Model 1 or 2, depending on stock/barrel configuration:




Since it is possible to combine upper and lower receiver of each model with each stock/barrel combo, there either might have been some mixed parts models coming directly from the factory or they were later assembled that way from leftover parts.

We will stick with the designation as used in the original parts diagram linked above.


Walther Model 2 (in the video incorrectly referred to as Model 1)


WALTHER Model 2 (actually Model 1) No. 35654 (muzzle threaded)


Walther Model 2 (actually a Model 1): No. 5658

Walther Model 2: No. 14448

The highest serial number on  the Model 1 we’ve seen is 35654 and on the Model 2 it’s 38667 (see above – if it is a Model 2).Which would indicate that both models were manufactured parallel. Not as sometimes claimed first the Model 1 and later the Model 2.

The extension on the hammer of the Model 1 is also an indicator for both models being manufactured at the same time. Otherwise why would you introduce a feature like that on the “first manufactured”model where it doesn’t serve any purpose?


Pic 1

Walther 1Pic 2

Walther 2Pic 3

Walther 3

Model 2 rear sight graduated in varying steps of 20, 25 or 30 meters.

Pic 4

Walther 4

Pic 5

Walther 5Pic 6

Walther 6Pic 7

Walther 7

Such oldies should not be used with modern HV ammo. In this case CCI Mini Mags Varmint.

I use these in all semi-autos that won’t work reliably with other .22 ammo.

The shells bulged pretty “nicely” in the feed ramp area.

In the demo video standard velocity ammo was used and worked just fine.

Additionally it’s not the most rugged design. The bolt assembly is stopped on it’s rearward travel by the bolt handle hitting against the upper receiver. That can cause the bolt handle (brazed/soldered to the bolt carrier) to break off.

Pic 8a

Walther 8aPic 8b

Walther 8b

Lower receiver Model 1 (below) and on top the Model 2 with the lacking cut-out for the sliding safety.

Pic 8c

Walther 8c

Model 1, upper, lower, barrel.

Pic 9

Walther 9

Rear end of the barrel damaged by firing pin protruding too much (dry firing with empty chamber).

Model 2 left, Model 1 right.

Pic 10

Walther 10

Upper receiver assembly. Model 2 left, Model 1 right, with newly made firing pin assembly.

The Model 1 bolt here also has an additional cut-out parallel to the firing pin channel which brings the weight of the bolt assembly down from 156g to 147g. This Model 1 also features a shorter recoil spring.

The Model 1 bolt uses a bearing ball instead of the plunger at the Model 2. Not sure if done at the factory or a simple replacement after the original plunger got lost.

Pic 11

Walther 11

Rear side of the bolt assembly. Model 1 on top, Model 2 below.

Pic 12

Walther 12

A 9 shot magazine (left side) and a 5 shot magazine (right side) was available for both rifles.

The 9 shot magazine is missing the base plate lock plate and the spring doesn’t seem to be original since it is fully compressed after loading 7 rounds. We’ll find another one that gives us the full magazine capacity.

Pic 13

Walther 13

How it all started. Front part of firing pin made from  the shank of a 9/64 drill bit, the rear part from a broken file.


Hope you enjoyed it!

Making/editing the video, doing the research on these rifles and writing the post was way more time consuming than making those spare parts.


The passing of Estes Adams

Again I have some sad news to post. Estes Adams has passed away on June 20th. He was only 69 and apparently he had  a heart attack . I only had an opportunity to meet him once but I did chat with him regularly both by email and phone. He was a fountain of information and very giving with providing help in some of our projects. He will be missed.

Building the baby Ruger pistol Mk 1


Always was a fan of the classic .22 Ruger MK series pistols. Just didn’t like the disassembly/reassembly procedure.

How it all started…

Right after coming over to Arizona I found a few Ruger Mk 1 grip frames at a gun show for $20 each!


BabyRuger 1

So I had a starting point for one of my long time want to do projects – a Baby Ruger.

There are Baby Lugers out there but I couldn’t find a single Baby Ruger. Given the fact that the Ruger MK series is probably one of the most customized and tuned .22 pistols that was quite surprising to me.

Anyway – here at Gun Lab we do what we like to do…

Since there first was the idea to have a grip safety – just for the looks though, having some hump protruding from the rear of the grip – there was no way to use the original way to keep the rear end of the receiver held down on the grip frame.

So I added a tube section to the grip frame, somehow mimicking the contour of the Luger pistol.


BabyRuger 2

Next step was cutting down the grip frame by half an inch.


BabyRuger 3

After that the original hammer spring housing needed to replaced.


BabyRuger 4

Hammer spring assembly had to get a different layout as well.


BabyRuger 5

Inbetween, when you get stuck with some technical issue you can handle other stuff that needs to be done anyway – like them grip panels.


BabyRuger 6


BabyRuger 7

Next thing was to cut down the barrel to 88mm. Why exactly that length? Just for the looks! Minimum for reliable function without changes to recoil spring and bolt mass I considered to be 78mm.


BabyRuger 8A

Got that receiver/barrel assy at gunbroker. I was looking at all the gun shows for some ugly, rusted but still functioning  pistol. Of course found it only after I was done with this one…


BabyRuger 8B

Maybe I will do something to it some day. Can’t do just-for-the-fun-of-it  projects all day long!

The front sight was welded from 3 different parts. My first idea was to drill out the original front sight from the cut off barrel, but it didn’t fit (visually) to the shorter barrel. After searching for a while in the huge stockpile of gun parts here I finally decided to make it from scratch.


BabyRuger 9

If you assemble all the separate parts you were working on all the time there will be some minor adjustments necessary for the gun to work properly. So the magazine needed to sit a trifle lower since the bolt was slightly rubbing against it. The bolt stop pin needed some fitting – it didn’t wanna go all the way in with the recoil spring assembled.

The idea of the grip safety got dropped in the process of building that baby. There was no technical need for it right from the start – just that visual thingy. And there is simply not enough space for adding that feature. The simplified disassembly/assembly method connected with that initial idea survived though.

So after quite a bit of work there you get your piece of gun porn…

PIC 10

BabyRuger 10

PIC 11

BabyRuger 11


BabyRuger 12A


BabyRuger 12B

PIC 13

BabyRuger 16

PIC 14

BabyRuger 14

PIC 15

BabyRuger 15

PIC 16

BabyRuger 13Here is a video on the pistol.


Axel post on the Lacrimae pistol

The trigger (besides the grip panels the only non-steel part) on my sample was not properly fitted to the frame and thus did not reset correctly. That doesn’t seem to be an isolated incident. Way down on the following website a user is describing the same issue.

There are some excellent german websites regarding blank guns. Some of them referred to in the following.

Below on this website there are 2 videos showing a post WW2 Wadie blank/tear gas pistol using the same operating system and actully ejecting shells.

First video has a misfire first as well and he describes lots of sparks coming off the ejection port and in his face. He fired 3 blank cartridges total and at two of them the primer had set back a little and on the third one it was pushed out completely.

At that gun most of the parts are made of zinc alloy including barrel and frame/bolt face. Only some small parts like firing pin, trigger bar, springs are made of steel.

Sadly I couldn’t find any information on the maximum gas pressure. Can’t be that much considering the zinc alloy design and the shells not being supported in any way and have to hold the gas pressure on their own.

Ammunition was made well into the 60’s. Post WW2 ammo has aluminum shells which seem to be more thick-walled than the older brass shells from the 1930’s/40’s.

The pistol apparently needs very precisely dimensioned ammo. Just 0.1mm below and you are getting ignition problems. Just 0.1mm too long and you have difficulties to fumble them in the ejection port.

On the same website there is an article on another pistol (HS4) using the same ammo/principle and there you can see in one of the pics an enlarged gas channel/groove on the left side partially covering the left  barrel entrance and the receiver/frame side wall. Thus giving a little bit more gas pressure for the shell ejection.

Some more interesting links I stumbled across:

Lacrimae 4 Lacrimae 5 Lacrimae 6 Lacrimae 7 Lacrimae 8 Lacrimae 9 Lacrimae 1 Lacrimae 2 Lacrimae 3a quick video

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.