I've always wanted a Sten gun . . . I have been something of a WWII fanatic for some years and any WWII enthusiast worth their salt will recognise a Sten a mile away.

As always a little history first. The Sten was first produced as a stop-gap measure during 1940 when the threat of a German invasion was looming (operation sealion). Although Britain managed to rescue an amazing number of soldiers during the dunkirk evacuaction (operation dynamo) the main loss was that of equipment. The other problem was that up until that point Britain had no real small-arms weapons. Of course we had weapons such as the enfield no.4 and various pistols such as weblys and brownings but the problem was that of submachine guns. The only real submachine gun around at the time was the lanchester which was used mainly by the navy. However the lanchester took a lot of time to produce and was considered a finely finished weapon indeed. Britain therefore started buying thompson M1A1's of the US but our demand vastly outstripped the supply. A prototype weapon was quickly designed by a Major from the royal armament factory in woolwich and a draughtsman from the R&D dept in the royal small arms factory in enfield, the Sten.

The Sten was a blow-back operated submachine gun firing from an open bolt position. It took a 32 round 9x19 parabellum cartridge. The germans already had such weapons as the MP28 and MP40 which both used the same cartridge, the idea being that stocks of ammunition could be captured from the enemy in the field. Even the Sten magazine housing was designed to accept the German magazines although this was not always the case. The beauty of the Sten was its simplicity. They could be produced from as little as 5 hours work. Most of the weapons parts were made from stamped sheet steel meaning there was very little machining involved, all the welding was done in small spots and there was no wood involved. When you look for beauty in a weapon you normally look for graceful curves and fine lines. The sten is the exact opposite, what you are looking at is a cheap, fast and easy to produce weapon that can be field stripped in seconds, even by children. The one foible with the Sten was that of ND's (negligent discharges). Due to the design of the weapon dropping it onto a hard surface or even slapping the butt solidly could make the weapon fire. Later versions were made with a locking position on the bolt tube meaning it could be locked forward and effectivly made safe.

However i digress, this is airsoft not WWII

The packaging of the sten is first class. A rugged box with well cut high density foam insert

Inside you will find the AEG, 50 round metal magazine, cleaning rod, speedloader, BB's, lipo battery and basic balancing charger (with UK plug). The first thing to say is that the battery is total tosh, throw it away immidiately (in a proper place of course). The gun will not work properly with it, it fires every 3rd or 4th pull of the trigger. The later versions are now being produced with a wider stock facilitating the use of a stick NiMh battery. As for mine i have a decent VP lipo on the way.

At the business end you'll find the inner barrel runs right to the very end of the outer, no space wasted. The outer barrel is covered by that sexy heat shroud. Unfortunately both the inner barrel and heat shroud are held in place by two 3mm screws. As the sling is designed to hook through two of the holes in the heat shroud id suggest replacing these screws with much longer ones as there is plenty of space to do so.

Moving back to the magazine well. On the MK2 the magazine well rotates, this means it can be pulled through 90 degrees meaning it can be made 'flat' for storage or transportation. Simply pull the sprung plunger out and rotate the whole assembly. It locks into place in both positions. The magazine release is a simply push button affair on top of the well. The supplied 50 round magazine works well and it will also accept the 110 king-arms MP40 magazines with a tiny bit of modification.

Back to the working parts and it is pure simplicity. The trigger is the only moving part ! There is no fire selector, no safety, no moving bolt . . . You simply load a magazine and fire away. My only complaint here is that it would be nice if the bolt was movable so you could slide it to the rear and cover the battery compartment. In order to install the battery you must first remove the stock by undoing an allen bolt. Then the end-cap pops off and insert the battery. Due to the small compartment only lipos will fit in this model.

Not much to say about the stock really. Its as simple as it looks and is rock solid. There is a triangular shaped piece welded onto the trigger end giving you something to wrap your hand around.

The rifle itself is made totally from steel. Its larger than it looks, its heavy and cold. It screams 'mans-gun' to you from day one. The finish is superb. All the tack welding is as it should be and the whole piece is matt black (not blued steel). The ROF with a 7.4v lipo is very similar to that of a 8.4v NiMh. Unfortunately mine is having teething problems. Its very fussy about what you feed it. Give it BAW ammo from AW and it feeds fine, give it 0-1 ammo or xtremes and it wont fire more than a foot. After speaking to the chaps at AW they have assured me that is it probably down to the hop-rubber (fixed hop) and are sending me a new one free of charge. They have also said it may well just be fussy. Due to the fixed hop you cant use anything lighter than .25's in this and even better on .28's or .30's. The fixed hop is very 'harsh' but with decent weight ammo it will hit consistantly at point of aim out to 60 yards. Not bad from a rifle that is 320fps stock.

I'll let you know how i get on once i get the new hop-rubber and heavier ammo

UPDATE -

Just a quick update on this

Some of you know i have had a few issues with the old sten. Mainly that it only seems to fire properly when it feels like it ! Sometimes it will send the rounds forth like and other AEG, and other times it chokes up and spits them onto the floor 3 at a time. I was first told by the retailer that its probably the hop rubber bedding in, and that i also need to use heavier ammo. So after loading a mag full of xtreme .30's it did indeed fire better than on .20's which it wouldnt fire at all. Strange eh ?

Well afte many more mags it was still not playing ball. So i thought id have a peek at the hop rubber. After taking the inner barrel out with hop unit attached a quick glance at the 'face' of the rubber and all appeared to be normal. The gun however was still not performing correctly. So yesterday i decided to strip the hop assembly down completely and take a closer look, i found the problem . . .

The AGM sten uses a fixed hop, its similar to an AK hop with the loading nozzle on the side. Now, instead of an adjustable hop-arm there is just an arm that is held in place by two small pins. Drifting these pins out allows the arm to be removed and the hop bucking also removed. Strangely enough instead of using a regular rubber hop bucking AGM use a small spring laid on its side. After removing the spring i found that it was actually TWO springs entwined. Whoever assembled this unit at the factory obviously acidentally picked up two springs that were twisted together without realising (or did realise and just didnt care). The affect of course would be a very hard hop. After removing one of these springs altogether and replacing the other things appear to be looking up. I have just put two mags through it without a single misfeed (which never happened before). One mag of .30's and the other of .20's.

So it would appear the mystery has been solved ! I only have access to a 20 yard shooting range but it all apears to be normal. And, i have to say, what a gun it is when its firing as it should be ! I missed quite a few kills (but still got a few) on sunday due to the misfeeding, hopefully that is all now a thing of the past

UPDATE -
The fixed hop on this was always a pain in the ass. I never could get it firing with a perfect hop. My advice would be to stay away from the fixed hop versions
Review by 'Prophet'

 

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