Fun With OOBs: An Austen MkII at the Range

A little while back I had a chance to take an Austen MkII out to the range. There were only a couple hundred of these ever made, at the end of World War Two in Australia. The Mk I Austen was essentially a Sten made with some die-cast components, as this was a specialty of the Australian firm contracted to make them. The Mk II pattern increased the number of cast components, but was found unsuitable and also necessary by the end of the war.

Anyway, today’s range session was brought to a close by an out-of-battery discharge – always a bit disconcerting! However, you can still see my full video on the Mk II Austen at the British Royal Armouries:

As well as my range video with a Mk I Austen:


  1. In the event of an OOB discharge, check the bore for a bullet. When the case head fails, the bullet may stop in the bore.
    A bulged barrel may occur when the next shot is fired.

    • I think the problem is with the mag.
      Either the spring is too weak or the horns are bent.
      Also, perhaps, Ian weakly rests on the buttstock…

  2. 40+ years back, my local library had a WWII era book on military small arms, which included some critical comments about many. The author was hugely impressed with…the Reising and the Austen, seeing the latter as a ‘fixed’ version of the STEN and the MP40.

    • As long as you keep it clean, and keep the same parts with the gun they originally came with, the Model 50 Reising is pretty good. Get it real Dirty, and use the wrong parts from another gun, it gets ugly.

  3. On the first failure to eject , you can see the case dancing around the ejection port before it decides to hop back into the receiver . Never seen that before .

    • “Jumping” the brass back into the receiver.
      This is a fairly common mistake made by not literate designers.
      By the way, it is quite common in modern developments.
      Usually, this causes a lot of confusion and only comes to light when shooting with a high-speed camera.
      But now the problem is in the mag.

  4. An OOB discharge like this is quite typical for any blowback operated AR-15 conversions. They lack an OOB safety as such, despite firing from a closed bolt. But a lot of users of them do not realize the inherent potential of it.

    The CMMG Banshee uses a two-piece bolt and inherited the safety of AR-15.

  5. Ian, in your earlier shooting video on the Austen Mk 1 you said you couldn’t understand why the gun was so unpopular. Perhaps your experience with the Mk2 now explains that.

    • Weak magazine spring.
      Possibly also a weakened mainspring.
      It would be better to understand this if Ian placed the camera not under his arm (or from under the light source), but from the side where important areas are visible.

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