Chinese 7.62mm Sten Gun

During World War Two, Canada supplied some 73,000 Sten guns (made by the Long Branch arsenal) to Chinese Nationalist forces in an effort to help them fight the Japanese. These Stens were standard MkII pattern guns, chambered for the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge. However, many of these were eventually converted to 7.62mm Tokarev ammunition, especially after the victory of the Communist forces over the Nationalists. The conversion involved a new barrel and new magazine and magazine well. The 7.62mm barrels were typically longer than the original ones, and the magazine of choice was that of the PPS-43. Some were done by installed a magazine adapter into the original magazine well, and some (like this one) were done by cutting off the original magazine well and replacing it with a new one. In addition, some Sten guns were made domestically in China, both in 9mm and 7.62mm. The 7.62mm Tokarev cartridge was popular both from Russian pistols and submachine guns and also from China’s long military use of the dimensionally-identical 7.63mm Mauser cartridge in C96 pistols.

Many thanks to the Royal Armouries for allowing me to film and disassemble this interesting submachine gun! The NFC collection there – perhaps the best military small arms collection in Western Europe – is available by appointment to researchers, and you can browse the various Armouries collections online here:

https://royalarmouries.org/collection/

15 Comments

  1. Chinese war films often feature these guns the longer barrel is unmistakable. But if you want a real treat watch episode 1 of the series Arsenal Military Academy where a sten m11 is disguised with a wooden stock and a added barrel shrould to look like a MP 18

  2. This must be formidable gun with HUGE rate of fire. The Barrel is longer than 9mm Para one to have use of more powerful shot. Vz.24 SMG had Bbl length 28cm.

  3. I still have questions regarding handling, range and accuracy compared to 9mm version. I assume the recoil should be different and given the mechanical operation associated with sight radius, hitting at 100m-150m in short burst is probably over-optimistic…

    • Not that hitting a wide side of a barn with the original was easy at 100 m. I do admit it handles much better than it looks, though, after putting 31 out of 32 rounds on target (full size standing man police target), in short bursts from the hip at some 33 to 35 meters. I was amazed, having on that day compared it with MP40 (15/32) and PPSh 41 (18/35) in the same conditions. I’d converted to Sten on that very day

  4. I have read that Russian 7.72 submachine gun barrels were designed so that a recycled rifle barrel could be cut in half to produce two of them. Might the Chinese have been using Russian barrels for these guns? Or possibly recycling rifle barrels?

    • There were not recycled barrels. A 7.62 barrel blank (drilled and rifled) could be used to produce a single rifle barrel or multiple SMG barrels. Choice of 7.62×25 caliber for pistol and SMG was partially to allow use of already available manufacturing equipment.

  5. OOPS!! As is clearly shown, the bolt is also modified by milling the magazine side to allow feeding from the PPS-43 dual feed magazine. The PPS-43 magazine sits a bit deeper into the receiver (casing).

  6. As the PPS-43 magazine is dual feed, did this solve by chance the major shortfall of the original 9 mm Sten, its hard to load and unreliable single feed magazine?

    • Paul:

      I am sure you are right, the use of the dual feed magazine would surely make the Sten a better and more reliable weapon, and the longer barrel and 7.62mm Tokarev round would give it greater effective range. It wouldn’t have killed them to tidy up the welds on the new magazine well though.

      I had the opportunity to check out a 9mm Long Branch Sten some years ago, although it was semi-auto only to comply with the British firearms laws of the time. I must say I was impressed with it. The Canadian Stens were very well made, and the stock and grip were really quite comfortable to use, much better that the horrible T stock on the British made guns. Any Tommy with a Canadian Sten had a pretty good weapon.

  7. Better magazine and better cartridge: better weapon. This really fills the gap between the smg and the assault rifle. All that it now needs is a folding buttstock.

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