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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,
The bug for a Vickers has bit me and I am trying to do research on how to do this and how much I should expect to pay as well as where to find a parts set. Ideally I would like to build a 303 to make a representative for my South African collection.

Any help and advice is greatly appreciated.
 

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My kit sold already, sorry.
Hey @redroth!
Don’t you have a BEAUTIFUL smooth jacket semi? Already built? Would you be willing to help this guy out?
 

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My kit sold already, sorry.
Hey @redroth!
Don’t you have a BEAUTIFUL smooth jacket semi? Already built? Would you be willing to help this guy out?
Sure! I have a semi-auto 1939 Vickers Australian gun built on a Halo plate for $4,900 plus shipping that is surplus to my needs.
 

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Oh dear, Don't have the $4900 currently courtesy of other bad firearms decision making, but that would pretty neat! Was really hoping to find a kit and have the fun of building it ( as I type this I start looking at my safe and thinking who can go away.. Maybe that pesky Roth Steyr)
 

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This is how it happens. Figure out what you really like, then sell everything to get it. Then save up more and just keep buying duplicates.
 

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Oh dear, Don't have the $4900 currently courtesy of other bad firearms decision
Welcome to the beltfed world!
 

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Just fyi, a vickers is not an easy gun to build correctly. Now bear in mind most aren’t built correctly and im including transferable sideplate guns built by a lot of familiar names. the trunnion is riveted and soldered to the sideplates and the rivet heads are actually in the waterspace of the jacket, so they will leak if not done well, then the waterjacket has to be threaded back onto the trunnion, timed, and soldered without getting the trunnion so hot that you melt the solder holding it to the sideplates and keeping water from leaking. oh sure they can be built with dome head screws and washers, epoxy, welded, or even glued, but to build one right is very involved. Nothing like 1917 or a maxim.
 

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Buy your side plates and semi auto parts from dennis at midwest metal creations. Best do this right away before he runs out. He includes WONDERFUL INSTRUCTIONS. also find the Vickers build by KIWI on Calguns.net.

This is about the best place to ask for a kit. They come up on gun broker sometimes.
 

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Listen carefully to what Karl_T says, find the Vickers build post by Lyndon (KIWI guns) on Calguns.net. It is a very involved builder, much harder than building a full auto gun. Requires milling of many parts and you really need to buy a semi parts kit from Dennis like he says. I would say that if you are not a fairly competent machinist and welder, you will find this a very challenging build.

Not trying to discourage you but I very well known gun builder who could weld up a badly torch cut Bren receiver and then machined it so you couldn't tell it had been cut built six vickers guns with lots of really talented help and then refused to touch another Vickers kit.
 

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Welcome to the world of the most beautiful water cooled, belt fed gun, the Vickers. If you are serious, it will be a long, expensive road but a worthwhile challenge resulting in a thing of beauty that will be a great investment.

The core of a Vickers build is, of course, the kit. Now, these come in many forms. They are not all identical like the plethora of IMBEL FALs and "cut from new" Galils which are ubiquitous today. Not even like the currently available 1919a4 kits, which are generally pretty good to very good. Each Vickers kit is unique in content, parts count, and condition. And, you can't "just go buy one" on GB or elsewhere, it's a hunt.

My hobby-within-a-hobby is restoring these old MG kits. Not making them functional, but cleaning, replacing junk and missing parts, etc. I love taking an old beater encrusted with rust and turning it into a kit that shines as near as new, with parts that I know will work. And of all of them, the Vickers is my favorite. Finding the kits though has become a very real challenge. A restorable kit may come along once a year or less often.

Beware display/ dummies, many of which have aftermarket fake (and useless) left side plates with all internals buggered up- and a cost well over $1000 get "right." Point is, you better know what you're looking at because Vickers parts are getting very expensive, and the "fix it" cost will very quickly overlook those things you overlooked.

Concerning "overlooked" when you find a kit or dummy, put aside the rush of adreneline and use a jaundiced eye. Look for broken, welded, and missing parts. Many dummies have modified or welded barrel, trunnion, lock, feed arms, and of course the fake LSP. These are virtually useless, and will cost more to fix & replace.

Even kits though- watch for what is NOT there! The cage thing that looks like a flash hider is unobtainable at about any price; if it's missing (and many are) you are unlikely to find a replacement. Grips too- IF you can find a set, plan on upwards of $500 and be careful if they've been weld repaired. Functionality of the lock and feed block are always a crap shoot, and those are running roughly $250 each. Barrels, which everyone who sells likes to take great photos of, are still relatively inexpensive at about $150, so don't get all excited about a great barrel and miss the more important stuff. Fusee cover studs are almost always missing/ replaced by screws, though member GBYENKO has made replacements- without which the kit is useless for a build.

As availability has dropped (particularly over the past five years), prices have skyrocketed. A few months ago I sold a very nice Australian kit for $2900 on GB only because that is what I'd put the BIN price at; I should have let it run through a full auction fight. Similarly, tripods prices are out of sight: five years ago at KCR I was going to buy a restored Vickers tripod for $650 and SOMEBODY said "why? You don't even have a Vickers" so I passed...now, if you can find a decent Vickers tripod under $2000 buy it!!!!

That said, I have my personal Lithgow Australian kit, held back for me, and if you want to buy it so I can buy Redroth's semi-auto, you can but I think you may be able to guess the price. It even has a South African 762x51 marked top cover.

The benefit of buying a kit is that you have time to accumulate money or parts for the semi-auto conversion. And you won't lose money- so if you lose interest, you'll turn a profit. And, you can pop rivet the non-controlled parts to be a display while you're waiting and look at it every day when you awaken (if wife allows it- mine does not.)

As far as building yourself, I can only speak for myself, and say: despite having access to the machinery and welding, my skills are not up to par. Screwing up (by 1mm) the lock conversion is a $200+ failure. Likewise the cover, arms, etc. I can tell you :):):) that non-functional semi-auto attempts often sell for the same or less than just the kits...these are my favorites to buy. I literally have a bag of screwed up MG34 semi-auto parts, take-offs from failed builds, which would cost about two grand to replace.

So that's my take on it. As said, no matter what route you take, it's expensive. And it will be more expensive next month, and a year from now you'll cry that you'd wish you started a year ago.
 

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Say, I have not followed prices but you're looking at about $1700 for parts to build a semi IF NOTHING IS MISSING from the kit. looks like kits must be pushing $3K. That makes the above semi weapon offer a steal.

This beltfed hobby has just about ruled out anybody that does not have deep pockets. So glad i started collecting years ago. Got one kit with tripod for $700 and then another for $900 a couple years later. Had to pop $1200 for an Aussie lithgow a fair while back. I guess the real question is will they continue to appreciate or are they on a bubble?
 

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"A bubble" implies excessive prices based on nothing more than speculation- e.g., the stock market and (sometimes) housing, as we've observed.

Militaria is not in a bubble. Demand, and price, is ever increasing. There is renewed interest in both WWI and Korean War militaria, with price increases to boot.

WWII stuff has long been in high demand. While Vickers kits and M1 Garands show marked regular increases in value, it's nothing compared to German uniforms and such- that stuff has continuously outpaced the gun/ kit market.

Vietnam War too. Stuff we used to throw away is selling for stupid prices. M60 dummies sold by IMA have jumped from about $3500 to $5000 in ONE year! This of course reflects the decrease in availability of M60 parts, but also increased market demand (i.e., interest in Vietnam particularly by "new guys".)

This isn't to say that general failures in economic conditions can't or won't decrease discretionary spending, and thus decrease prices. However, many buyers of $2500 - $10,000 items are financially secure, so these more expensive items are less impacted by economic ups and downs.

I don't see Vickers, 1919a4, 1928, MG34 or MG42 kits doing anything but going UP for a long time.
 

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Have to say I agree with most of the above info. Like several others here,I was able to trade ( reloading equipment and some components) for a Vickers dummy and the tripod,about $2,400.00 value at the time. This was 3-4 yrs ago. Since then I found an original early WW1 water jacket/trunion for $600 on GB and an original Vickers with Lonnie's early conversion on a functional SA gun that the seller put on GB after taking it apart...go figure. But for $3,200..00 it was a steal and assembly was much easier than starting from a kit and having to add all the parts and machining.

As with everything else in the belt fed guns 'HOBBY',you have to look carefully,buy with your goal in mind and be patient.

My overall goal of getting every belt fed gun in US arsenal before and during WW!...for my 1917 Machine Gun cart collection and military display....is nearly complete. And...if I did not already have 3-Vickers to play with...I'd jump on redroth's semi he just advertized for $4,900.00. In fact...I just might get it as an investment...just like all the rest of these guns continued rise in value.
 

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I think the posts above make my point. The gold standard build thread pointed to in the above posts shows allen screws in place of the front rivets. just in case you guys have never seen a factory vickers, they weren’t using allen screws in 1917. to do it properly the waterjacket has to be removed from the trunnion so those rivets can be bucked from inside the waterjacket. As I said before they are very difficult to build correctly. Most people wont care and at the end of the day, its your kit, but to me its the equivalent of putting the radiator cap on a model A ford with railroad spikes and calling it original.
 

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Jmann you have to embrace modern technology. They built the guns with 19th century technology but now in the 21st century we have better alternatives. Like epoxy and dome head cap screws and even O rings.
The build is not that hard. I did mine in 1 weekend and I made all the conversion parts. I have no leaks and no issues after 7 thousand rounds and counting. Hard is relative to skill level. For me making a cake is hard to almost impossible.
 

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Haha, to each is own I guess. I reckon I should cerakote my Holland and Holland shotguns or at least that old James Purdey because the case colors and rust blue isn’t nearly as durable.
I’m also the guy that roofs with copper and solder because it’s good for 100 years. Long after that modern crap has failed.
Embrace all you like but there are a great many old things that are far superior to new methods and have only been abandoned because of cost, lack of skill, or just plain ignorance.
I guess if the rest of the gun is gonna be milled away and cut up to make a semi, there’s not much point in authenticity attaching the side plates.
Sort of like dodge chargers and dukes of hazzard, every jump made the remaining unmolested ones more valuable.
 
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