The Return of GunLab

Yep, I’m very happy to announce that there is some new content coming to GunLab at last! It won’t be from me, but instead from my friend Chuck. He is an SOT, and has a pretty nice shop, with everything from a 4-axis CNC mill to a hydraulic stamping press, and all manner of manual machine tools. Well, he’s working on a very cool project and will be blogging about the process and the various components, problems, solutions, and other elements of interest to gunsmiths, fabricators, and generally-mechanically-geeky people.

Oh, sorry – did I forget to mention what the project is? It’s a batch of reproduction VG1-5 rifles. I’ve been watching the work progress, and it’s very exciting – so if you’re not afraid of steel chips and cutting oil you should head over and check it out! The VG1-5 won’t be the only subject covered either, as I expect he will be posting about various other projects as they pique his interest…

Chuck with an original VG1-5
Chuck with an original VG1-5


  1. Repro VG1-5s! Man I would be interested! I went as far to price out the ones made in Germany but found them to be a lot more money than the Semi MP44s they brought in. Does he plan to sell them. If so sign me up for the waiting list! I have always liked this gun and would love to own one, even a repro.

    I did go over and check it out. Frankly I would rather have the nightmare of a trigger group. Whats the point of a repro if its not a reproduction. I would rather have everything as close to original as possible. I don’t want a nicer trigger or more simple trigger. I want to see what the original trigger is like. Maybe not a deal breaker… but why do all that work, copy the original in every way, thats what I want!

  2. The FG 42 is now beeing made by th esmalest of the original contractors in Hamburg. Is that a copy?. It is beeing made at the original factory, vith theoriginal tooling.
    Thr code flz(Krieghoff), was made by Pieper in Herstal in belgium (Krieghoff, werk Lyttog), they also made the dubble barrel aluminium flaregun, for Ktieghoff.
    The knifemanufacterys in Solingen, made thousends of nazi daggers after 1945 to meet the demand for warsuvenirs. copys or what

    • Special Occupational Taxpayer, an FFL (Federal Firearms LIcensee) who deals with firearms regulated under the NFA (National Firearms Act of 1986).

      NFA firearms are subject to a $200 transfer tax every time they’re sold/transferred. The SOT not only allows one to build certain types of NFA firearms, but also to affect transfer of them without the $200 per item transfer tax (instead paying a yearly flat fee, the amount of which is dependent on the license class).

  3. A reproduction Barnitzke Gustloff VG1-5?!! I’m VERY INTERESTED! I’m quite sure it is way outside my pay grade. Still, I’m glad you guys are tinkering around with the design. I first saw it in the Smith and Smith _Book of RIfles_ and also saw the version in the Imperial War Museum in London. Anyhow, thanks very much for posting this! This site is awesome for vicarious thrills. “You’re livin’ the dream,” Ian! That video of you shooting it never gets old.

    PS: A replica VG-1, while boring, would be very interesting too! The issue would be the darn K43 magazine, yes?

  4. PPS: Ian, and other resident German firearm design cognoscenti: Q: Would it actually have been cheaper to build StG45 Ms or “Gerät 06H” 7.92x33mm rifles than even the Barnitzke Gustloff “peoples rifle?” Curious.

    Oh, and since we have mention up post about the German Fallschirmjáger 42, here’s how NOT to build a side-mounted magazine fed automatic rifle, apparently:

    Forgotten Swedish kg m/1940 6.5x55mm automatic rifle

  5. Ian .. have been thinking that maybe I have some documents that some of the folks that are looking for info on weapons. I have over the years collected several hundred or so documents from various sources. To the point a lot of them I had scanned several years ago. Example: “Visit to Mauser Werke A.G. Oberndorf AM Necker and Mauser Personnel at Lager Hamming Otzal Near Innsbruck. Combined Intelligence Objectives Sub-Committee. Dated 1945. 363 pages of interrogation of personnel and diagrams etc. 13MB Are you familiar with the CIOSC reports? They followed the troops into countries of “interest” to “acquire” information, examples, and people for our use. I also have, patents, and development progress reports from 1930 to 1990’s. I have NOT A CLUE how to get to you so you, if you like can post them for down loading by any interested parties. I can in no way answer individual requests. Maybe I can send you one or two a month, see if any interest? //

  6. I would expect FG42 parts Ian,
    Everytime I request to buy parts for FG42 although they repro those makers placing me on hold and later when i contact them they telling all been sold already…
    So hopefuly somebody make them..

  7. Great to hear that GunLab will being getting more interesting information. And it being this rifle is icing on the cake.

  8. I’m no machinist, but boy those StG44 magazines have gotta be a bit complex to get the tooling and machinery set up for, no? Glad to hear the old ten-round and the thirty-round 7.92×33 magazines are going to be reproduced. If the Gustloff selbst-ladevolksgewehr MP.507 is in the works, what about the bolt-action Rheinmetal or Erma versions in the “kurz” caliber? That would a hoot too!

    Hopefully, more ammo companies will market 7.92x33mm cartridges than just Prvi over in Serbia.

  9. It was the Rheinmetal 7.92x33mm VG 45k or “VG3.” There was a version/protoype that had a stamped, spot welded receiver with unfinished beech wood stocks riveted together like the Barnitzke/Gustloff self-loading VG. Took the 10-round or even 30-round StG44 magazine, with the same magazine latch mechanism as the Gustloff carbine. It had a reciprocating “bolt housing” with the bolt contained within that rode atop the metal rails of the stamped sheet metal receiver, simple 90 degree manual bolt action repeater. I guess the Russians got the actual prototype while, erm, “whilst” the Brits got the plans and technical drawings.

    Still, imagine a relatively inexpensive, if homely/ugly, bolt-action repeater with a ten round magazine in 7.92x33mm with the StG44 magazine, about 36-inches long with a 16.5″ barrel, and weighing something like 6-1/2lbs. unloaded… The ultimate poor-man’s “scout rifle?”

  10. Wow, I did some investigation into reproducing these last year, two machinists told me that it wouldn’t be possible and one told me to piss off, great to see that this is happening.

  11. Yep, I first heard of that operation when I was researching the aforementioned project, good people, but their product is just too awesome for me, well actually my wallet.

  12. Check out the SCAMP (Colt “Small Caliber Machine Pistol”), it uses a very similar gas operating system with a small caliber round feeding through the pistol grip (essentially a bullpup), with an annular gas piston formed in the front of the slide (Patent US 3774500 A).

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