View Full Version : Good "first" de-milled rifle project?

June 9, 2012, 01:07 PM
Looking to get my hands dirty- and further some gunsmithing skills. No lathe or mill- but I'm sure I could send out for some work if required.

What's a good "first" de-milled kit to gain some experience with a build?

I was thinking of picking up a de-milled 1903-A3, maybe a Sten?

James K
June 9, 2012, 04:34 PM
Let's take the STEN first. If you build a functioning firearm using those parts kits, you need to be very careful as to how you make the receiver so it cannot be be made full auto. Usually that means receiver tubing smaller than the original so that the original bolt won't fit. Plus the mechanism has to be made to fire from a closed bolt, with a separate hammer/striker, not the firing pin in the bolt face. There is good information on the net, as well as books and a series in the Shotgun News on making up semi-auto carbines. (There is also some information and advice on the net that, if followed, can get you a free vacation in Club Fed, so be careful.)

Then, of course, if the gun has a shoulder stock, it has to have a barrel at least 16" long.

The M1903A3 drill rifles I have seen have tack welds that close the front of the bolt and prevent removal of the bolt, as well as plugs welded into the chamber, and the barrels welded to the receiver. Restoring those to firing condition requires breaking the welds, replacing the barrel and the bolt, and then headspacing the rifle, which could be impossible depending on the replacement barrel. There are no legal problems as there are with demilled auto weapons, but there are concerns about the effect of the welding on the receiver as well as the cost involved. IMHO, while the project could be a learning experience, I would not buy such a restored rifle.


June 9, 2012, 06:27 PM
I was thinking of picking up a de-milled 1903-A3

There is risk with de-milled a3's.

A bud of mine had a drill rifle A3 action, looked almost perfect. Got to examine it myself.

Bud shot it and as the round count went up, so did the headspace. It is probably the receiver had been welded with a torch and rod and the receiver had been annealed soft in the welding process.

I put a barrel on my drill rifle receiver and shot enough rounds to ensure that my receiver did not gain headspace.


Superhouse 15
June 9, 2012, 09:47 PM
Sten kits are easy to build into legal semi autos without the need for a lathe. There are tons of resources online, including how to tell a good kit from a PITA to rebuild kit. You can even do one that fits on an AR lower, or make a vertical mag well like an MP 3008 or a S&W 76 look-alike. IMA even has side folder stocks. The Sten has unlimited possibilities.

James K
June 10, 2012, 09:39 PM
True, but I rather thought that the OP wanted something that would actually look like a STEN, not an AR-15 upper. If the idea is just to build some kind of semi-auto 9mm carbine, there is no need to bother buying a STEN kit.


June 11, 2012, 03:44 PM
Thanks for the input.

And, yes Jim, if I wanted an AR upper, I'd "build" another one. To me, those (like a Savage re-barrel) aren't "building" a weapon, it's an "assembly".

Found a good site, doing some research;

Prexis, Apex, any other kit suppliers to check?

From what I've read, the Sten seems to be a good "beginner" build?