i am thinking about making a 7.62x54r m53

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Re: i am thinking about making a 7.62x54r m53

Post by M53FA »

I know this is a three year old thread but I figured I'd like to revive it. Some great ideas in here. I must say the vz 59 belts sound great in theory but I see two main problems with that. Design and again the design, the vz 59 is a right hand feed left hand eject (for belt) the MG42 feeds from the left to the right. Next is the spacing and thickness of the belt links is totally different than that of a 42. So we'd have to completely rework the belts to make them work with left feed and completely rework the gun to feed the belts (feed pawl, cartridge holder, belt stop, cartridge stop, feed tray, etc etc)
I'll be ordering some mg3 belts here soon and see if I can figure out a way to feed the 54R through em. But y'all keep talking lots of good ideas and I'd hate to see em just go up in smoke
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Re: i am thinking about making a 7.62x54r m53

Post by 42rocker »

You are Welcome to jump on in on this and go for it. Several folks have worked on this. We have reviewed and talked a few years ago. Nice to see a new face and Welcome any ideas.

Later 42rocker
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Re: i am thinking about making a 7.62x54r m53

Post by M53FA »

Thanks rocker, I do have a few questions and y'all may have talked about this but what about booster cones? Would the standard MG42 give enough pressure or would we have to use MG3 cones, or maybe bore out some cones?
And how much material is left on the bolt after machining it to accept the 54R's rim? Also if someone doesn't mind could you scan and post the photos of the Finnish belts from Folke's book? That'd help allot

Thanks M53FA
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Re: i am thinking about making a 7.62x54r m53

Post by Blanksguy »

M53FA,
I'll try to bring you up to date on a lot of what is covered in the earlier 4-pages of posts on this subject...….or at least as far as I understand them...…..:

Our design(s) is based mostly on a couple of ideas:
1: To make a replica as close to what the original designers in Finland did during WWII (and covered in the book "MG34 - MG42" by Folke Myrvang (Pages 187 - 189).
2: One acceptable exception would be the metal feed-belts as we do not have access to an original Finish belt made for this project.

The main parts in this project would be a either a working FA MG42 or SA42 as a "test-bed" for parts and/or assemblies. The main parts and/or assemblies would be:
1: MG42 Top-Cover and Feed-Tray.
2: MG42 Barrel-Assembly in 7.62x54R (what they call the 7.62x53R in Finland).
3: MG42 Bolt assembly modified as the Finish arsenal did for 7.62x54R ammunition.
4: Other parts that may or may not require modification would be the MG42 Booster-Cup, Flash-Hider, and Recoil-Spring. Some other small parts may require modification after we get more into the project.
………..and last:
5: Metal feed belts to hold 7.62x54R during feeding...…."AND" be open on the bottom-side to be used with the MG42 Bolt-Assembly as a "push-through" link and belt.

When you look at the photos in Myrvangs book, and understand what we have to start with, you will understand that the biggest "challenges" are the feed-belt, and then modification to the top-cover and Feed-Tray. The bolts will be opened up at the face as the Finish arsenal did......then modifications to the extractors and possible adjustment to firing-pin-length as needed.
For Barrel-Assemblies.....we should be able to use 7.62x51mm Barrels rechambered to 7.62x54R as earlier stated.
For the Feed-Belt......we will either have to make a new link design similar to the limited Finish belt (and then have these manufactured)......or possible use the UK59 Machinegun belt as it is manufactured for 7.62x54R ammunition and has an open bottom to assist the MG42 bolt in feeding.

So, read our earlier post on this, read pages 187 - 189 in "MG34 - MG42", and then let us know your thoughts in all of this.
Regards, RichardS
US Army, RET
Blanksguy2001@outlook.com
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Re: i am thinking about making a 7.62x54r m53

Post by M53FA »

Howdy blank,
Yes I read the earlier replies, I am buying an mg3 belt in a few days and will be seeing if I can modify it to feed the 54R, barrels and feed mechanism should be straight forward. Sadly I don't have access to Folke's book and frankly can't justify spending $250 for it (altho I may just not justify it :lol: )
I think it's a great idea to work on and if we pull it off may open a new market for SA42s, the plan with the belts is to have the tab that goes in the extractor groove of an 8mm round straightened then bend over the rim of the 54R, then open the back of the link up a bit to form a "ramp" that will hopefully push the rim down and out of the link, coupled with the feed ramp of a 42 pushing the front of the cartridge down it should just fall straight down in front of the bolt and be pushed in the chamber.
As for barrels the 7.62X51 is a good idea the only problem I see is the 54R uses a .311" bullet and the 51 uses a .308" bullet. So we'd have over pressure or we could do like Ruger on their mini 30 and use a tapered lead to swag the bullet down? So best bet imo would be to take a MG42 barrel blank and chamber/ rifle it for 7.62X54R. Hope all that makes sense. Will definitely keep y'all updated on the belt modification tho
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Re: i am thinking about making a 7.62x54r m53

Post by Tmiller »

Lewman Arms in Lakeland FL. sells a kit, barrel , feed tray. booster and all he needed items to run that set up.
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Re: i am thinking about making a 7.62x54r m53

Post by M53FA »

Hey tmiller, lewman sells kits for 7.62x39 not for 7.62x54R two totally different rounds, thanks for the heads up tho and maybe if we do a x39 conversation we can hit them up.
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Re: i am thinking about making a 7.62x54r m53

Post by Tmiller »

Sorry my bad, guessing I need stronger glasses should have seen that one! [diz]
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Re: i am thinking about making a 7.62x54r m53

Post by M53FA »

No worries!
To keep y'all updated tho I'm ordering that belt today so hopefully we can get the ball rolling on this
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Re: i am thinking about making a 7.62x54r m53

Post by amafrank »

M53FA wrote:I know this is a three year old thread but I figured I'd like to revive it. Some great ideas in here. I must say the vz 59 belts sound great in theory but I see two main problems with that. Design and again the design, the vz 59 is a right hand feed left hand eject (for belt) the MG42 feeds from the left to the right. Next is the spacing and thickness of the belt links is totally different than that of a 42. So we'd have to completely rework the belts to make them work with left feed and completely rework the gun to feed the belts (feed pawl, cartridge holder, belt stop, cartridge stop, feed tray, etc etc)
The direction the belts feed makes no difference. The Vz59 belts will feed from left to right as easily as from right to left. As for the difference in spacing that is something you'd have to work out by adjusting the lengths of the feed mechanism in the top cover. By lengthening or shortening arms there you can change the amount that the belt is moved with each cycle. One possible issue with the Vz belts is that the tab which sits behind the rim may be hit by the bolt head and could require trimming. In addition the feed tray needs to be modded to accept the longer belt link of the VZ and the wider rim of the cartridge. Its not a simple conversion or it would have been done years ago. Modding MG42 or MG3 links is a dead end in my opinion but with free labor have at it.

Frank
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Re: i am thinking about making a 7.62x54r m53

Post by M53FA »

Howdy Frank. When I said rework the belt what I meant was the tabs and connecters. The starter tab would have to be on the right side (when links are facing forward) and the connectors (to connect each belt segment making longer belts) would have to be moved from the left to right hand side (again with links facing forward)

Maybe it's just simple to me as I study these things all the time :lol:
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Re: i am thinking about making a 7.62x54r m53

Post by amafrank »

Why not just make a starter tab that will hook up on the trailing end. No need to alter the belts as the segments will still join properly even if you run them the other direction. We just finished building a few hundred semi auto Vz59s so I'm pretty familiar with the belts. I've been working with the MG42 since the 70s too so I'm fairly familiar with it as well......just trying to figure out why you're doing work that isn't needed instead of working on the issues that are?

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Re: i am thinking about making a 7.62x54r m53

Post by M53FA »

High Frank
I may be way off base as I've never held or really look at a vz59 belt but it's my understanding that belts designed for right hand feed can't be swapped to left feed without changing the connections and starter tabs to appropriate sides? I know some are universal left and right feed (mg34) but not sure about all belts. Again I may be off base.
Another reason for using mg3 belts is they're cheaper (at least that I've seen) and the Finn's used modded MG42 belts so I'm trying to stay as true as possible to the originals. Hope you can clear that up for me tho
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Re: i am thinking about making a 7.62x54r m53

Post by amafrank »

Firstly the only thing you need a starter tab for is loading a belt without opening the topcover. Since no one is shooting back, I hope, there isn't any real need to do that. In the case that you want to do it anyway you simply make a starter tab that will attach to the trailing link rather than the leading link.

Unlike the disintegrating links for the brownings there is no left or right to the belts in the 34/42 or the Vz59. They will feed either direction with equal efficiency. The MAG 58 machinegun has used the MG3 type belts since the beginning and runs with left or right hand feed so runs both directions with the same belts. No real need for starter tabs and as I noted previously the setup for linking belt segments together will work regardless which way you are running the belt. This is true of the 34/42 belts, MG3 belts, ZB37 belts, RPD, Vz59, and even the Vz52 or 52/57. Many if not all of these guns were made with opposite feeds for special situations like dual mounts and the belts are the same for either direction. It just makes sense for a military to do so. This is also true of our own disintegrating link belts.

I believe you will find that the Finns did not modify the MG42 belts for the 54R, they made a new belt from scratch. It is very similar but it will have different spacing than the 8mm belts because its not possible to put the 54R round in a belt with the same spacing due the physical size of the cartridge. It has to have a different spacing whether you use a modded MG34/42 or MG3 belt or use a Vz59 belt. Its the way it is. You will have to modify the feed mechanism to adapt it to the different spacing no matter what you do. Measure the width of the cartridges and then measure the belts and you will see this is verifiable and not just something I'm making up.

Lastly it is true that the MG3 belts are cheaper at ten bucks a piece or so but since they won't work the cost is moot. The belts are spring steel and the finger is in the wrong place for the 54R. This means you need material that isn't there so modding the existing belt won't work. Since the links themselves are heat treated they tend to break if you attempt to bend them enough to change the shape. You can anneal them to do any bending but then you need to reheat treat them. Thats when you learn about how much metal moves when you heat treat. In addition the cost of your work and anything you have to pay to have done will increase the cost to the point that cloth belts will look cheap. The Vz 59 belts are cheaper when you figure in any work you might need to do to adapt any other belt. If you need belts or cans check with MarColMar Firearms. They have a good quantity of belts and cans for the Vz59s both new and used. Not sure of pricing but they're not outlandish. Managed to google it quick...
https://marcolmarfirearms.com/shop/parts/ukm
Last I saw there were a couple pallets of 200rd cans sitting in the warehouse and maybe half a pallet of 50rd cans.

If I sound a bit harsh or condescending its not meant that way. I've been working on machineguns and other firearms since the 70's and I've run most of these. I worked on the semi Vz59s and have run a goodly number of machineguns too. Neat guns. The MG42 was my first beltfed experience back in the mid 70s and was always my favorite. I've built a few and owned a few and worked on a lot of them.....though not many semi's. My emphasis on the belts is due to seeing what goes into the guns and what makes them work. The belts are much more complex than most folks think and if you can find an existing belt to adapt you're years and thousands of hours ahead. The finns built a couple prototypes so what they did wasn't expected to handle battle conditions. It was an experiment to determine whether the idea was worth pursuing. It wasn't to them so they dropped it. Don't put too much faith in the one quick setup they used just to get a running gun. Spend your time working out the other details like the feed tray, cartridge depressor, feed mechanism, barrel, bolt, booster and so on. You'll have enough time spent there to make you never want to fiddle with a belt......

Frank

Hope that helps.
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Re: i am thinking about making a 7.62x54r m53

Post by M53FA »

Nope didn't sound harsh Frank. I knew you'd have to mod the feed mechanism period wether mg3 or vz59 belts. Didn't know the 59 belts could be fed from ether side either so thanks for that info.

Not to sound doubtful but you're sure the Finn's made a new belt? Cause I remember reading they modded an original belt, then made the new one? Uh well can't trust anything on the internet :lol:

And I'm not trying to push the round through the belt like you're thinking I'm actually trying to use the link as a feed ramp and push the rim down below the link (if that makes any sense?)

And one more tidbit. The Finn's actually dropped the idea because they couldn't get anymore receivers from Germany, the prototype they made ran flawlessly and was set to go into mass production, but Germany stopped selling receivers to em and they didn't have the time/money/material to tool up for stamped guns. At least that's again what I've read on the internet

Thanks for the reply. The reason I'm not working on the feed tray, cartridge depressor, feed mechanism, barrel, bolt, booster, etc is I don't have access to them nor do I actually have a 42 to test the workings on... Sadly, I want one so bad
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