Rebuilding the K43
In 2014 I bought a shooter QVE45 manufactured K43 from an old bloke out in Nova Scotia. He had bought it from a vet in 2000. It was about as far from ‘right” as you can get although there were two things going for it. Firstly all the metal matched and secondly, along with a heavily sporterised original stock, he had retained the original durafol hand guard.
So this year I decided to start putting it back together using the internet and a few useful blokes I know out there.
Problem 1: The reproduction stock is wrong.solved! I had originally intended to simply remove the shiny varnish finish on the reproduction stock and replace the wooden repro hand guard with the original durofoil one. This proved impossible as whoever made this stock made it 5mm too short. It all fitted together but the handguard was 113mm in length, not 118mm as I needed it.
Update: So after rooting around on the internet I found the right guy to make me a new stock lower. This is Les from Fox in Poland. Right now he is making me a red glued round bottom stock lower, correct for my rifle and re-stamped to the gun.
Problem 2: Reproduction butt plate. solved! The butt plate that is on the rifle is a cheap reproduction and looks like it. The originals were all painted red inside and have a giveaway pin dent on the hinge where a Landser would press the tip of a round to get the door open. I found an original butt plate with the ribbed door from a guy down in the States.
Problem 3: Reproduction magazine.solved! Although the magazine in the rifle is all stamped correctly, it is clearly a reproduction as it is just too tidy. I found a good original in Denmark (thanks Poul!) and it is getting shipped now. The only trick is that a 10 round magazine is prohibited in Canada so Poul had to put a wooden blank in it in order to have a chance of getting it through Customs. It remains to be seen as to whether that trick will work.If it gets returned then Poul will have to rivet the magazine and try again.
Problem 4: No butt stock kit. solved! In the butt stock of an as issued rifle there are three things. A paper manual describing basic operation and maintenance. An oiler. And a paper packet containing replacement wear parts. The correct oiler for my age rifle is the bakelite version made in late 44 and 45. I found one of these, a tatty manual and a firing pin and pin extension from an American, David W. who is a well known K43 collector. The extractor, extractor pin and spring I will look for on the tubes. These are unnumbered parts so I don’t care if they are reproduction.
Problem 5: Missing dust cover.solved! The dust cover was a poorly designed and shoddy part that was often discarded by the user. They aren’t stamped so I’ll just pick up a reproduction off EBay and live with it. By the way I am an idiot, my bolt takes the internal cover and I discovered too late that it was already there.
Problem 6: No sling.solved! This one was an easy fix as the rifle took the same sling as the K98 Mauser so there are plenty of these around.
Problem 7: Reproduction recoil lug.solved! The cross bolt or recoil lug in this rifle is a reproduction, and a bad one at that. Basically its a bolt. So off to the tubes I go. I’ll probably have to settle for a reproduction, but a better one.
Problem 8: Reproduction sight hood.solved! My options are limited here. I either lift this hood off the rifle and stick it in with my spare change for a few weeks until it is worn in. Or I spring the couple of hundred it will cost me to get an original, if I can find one! I’ll do both in the meantime and see how I get on.
I’ll update this page as the parts start arriving and the rifle starts to regain it’s shape.
Problem 3: Reproduction Magazine, solved! Today Poul’s original magazine arrived from Denmark. All the right stamps and obviously a late one, stamped for the K43. This is probably the most common K43 magazine gcb WaAB92, the floor plate has two ridges indicating later simplified production.
Problem 5: Missing dust cover, solved! Yesterday this humble bit of metal arrived. Most likely a reproduction but it’s finished correctly and these parts were never stamped anyway. Oh btw I am an idiot. My bolt is the machined type that takes an internal dust cover which is actually present. So this example here is going to my friend Andrew for one of his rifles.
Problem 2: Reproduction butt plate, solved! Last week the butt stock I bought off the guy in Michigan arrived. It has a couple of small issues, both of which I can live with. Firstly it has a ribbed door which is a little early for my rifle as by 1945 they had simplified the design to have a flat door. And it is missing the dent in the hinge plate. Normally this would make me suspicious of it but in this case it is otherwise good with the right heavy thickness sheet metal and red paint on the interior surfaces.
Problem 4: No butt stock kit. solved! After slumming around on the internet for a few weeks I was able to gather together the bits and pieces that made up the maintenance kit stored in the butt stock cavity of the K43. What you see here are the manual, oiler bottle, firing pin, firing pin extension, extractor, extractor retaining pin and extractor spring.
This past week I sent my Durafol hand guard off to Les in Poland so he could do the final fit and finish on my replacement stock. The clock is ticking!
Problem 1: The reproduction stock is wrong.solved! The stock came back from Les last week and I have put it together. Some minor fitting around the trigger group pins and it all just slid together. It looks outstanding and he really did do a great job.
Problem 7: Reproduction recoil lug.solved! The replacement lug arrived this week and it fitted in nicely. The lug came from Numrich, it’s another reproduction but it’s the correct one so I’m happy.
Problem 8: Reproduction sight hood.solved! Jiggling the repro sight hood around in my coin filled pocket for a month has given me the wear I needed.
Now I am putting it all together and the result is shown below…