M3 Grease Gun Accurized! Now with Real Steel Mag Conversion!

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M3 Grease Gun Accurized! Now with Real Steel Mag Conversion!

Post by Redshirt on 3rd February 2012, 12:45 am

I received my ICS M3 from Evike the other day. I've done a lot of research and there were no surprises in the product that arrived. What I ordered was a beautifully-made gun that generally followed the M3, but was entirely the wrong color and suffered numerous inaccuracies in detailing. There are currently only two choices for the M3, ICS or ARES. While the ARES is held to be more accurate, it also has several major inaccuracies and drawbacks. The ARES M3 costs over $290 and at least starts off as a decent-looking piece by being manufactured in the correct color and having electric blowback. After that, the shine fades a little as you discover that it has a mishmash of features from two major variants of the M3, has the battery in the magazine, and the only mag available holds just 68 BBs. The ICS version hits your doorstep for $180, has the (very small) battery mount into the receiver, and comes with a 430 round mag. It does not have a blowback feature, but does use the cocking lever to activate an electronic spring de-tesioner to save the mainspring. Works pretty slick. The biggest problem is its semigloss black toy-like quality. Even so, it's all metal and very well built. The devil is in the details though, and there's plenty of room for improvement. There are numerous hex fittings and incorrect rivets all over the exterior of this thing. The original M3 was made from stamped steel halves welded together. The ICS gun has made no attempts at replicating welds. Numerous pins and fittings are missing throughout. The stock is missing details, and the barrel is totally wrong--incorrect knurling and cut slots for a later version of the gun. Time to get busy:

Here's a couple of "Before" shots that I took. Go visit the web sites of the usual vendors to get a better idea of the starting point.

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Here's the finished result:

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I started with the barrel, filing down the bad knurling . . . .

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. . . and added metal-laced epoxy to add the correct knurling imprint to. When the epoxy was almost fully set, I rolled it across this ancient coarse file I had laying around to imprint the knurling. I also filled the barrel slots that are correct for the later M3A1 . . . .

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After that, I soda-blased the entire thing and completely re-profiled the barrel housing and started to add epoxy to make a weld effect . . . .

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. . . as well as starded work on weld effects for the rear sight. As you can see, the rear sight has to be able to pop off for disassembly, so I protected the receiver with tape. As you will see later, the end result looks like a solid weld, but the part easily pops off when needed.

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The sling lugs were spot welded on on the original M3, but ICS used giant shiny round rivets instead. I attacked the rivets with a grinder and simulated spot weds in epoxy over the flattened and thinned rivets for no loss of strength.

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More details of the barrel housing and some of the replicated proof marks. The original M3 had several proof stamps that ICS omitted or reproduced in white screen printing. I drew up correct markings and had them laser etched. Original guns were made mostly by the Guide Lamp division of General Motors. That is what I chose to replicate. ICS individually serial numbers their guns, I kept my ICS numbering. Later you'll see large parts of these markings obscured by the mag release. That is accurate to the real firearm.

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There were no striations in the stock from ICS. I cut the correct pattern into the stock with a cutting wheel then later (after this photo) re-blackened the stock using the Eastwood metal blackening kit. Unfortunately, it only works on iron and steel, so I couldn't use it on the aluminum receiver parts.

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Not to worry, there is a new product out for real-steel firearms that oven cures and can even be applied to plastic and cured at lower temperatures. NIC Industries' Cera-Kote is not cheap ($35 for 4 ounces), but their "stone" color is as close to parkerization as you can get. This ceramic coating mixes with a hardener and is applied via airbrush. It was finicky and I got a few spatters, but blotchy is perfect for this gun. I will use this product to re-coat my WA 1911 very shortly. Here are the sprayed metal parts about to go on the barbie for 2 hours at 250 degrees . . . .

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. . . and here are all the parts cured:

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When you bolt it all together, it looks like this:

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That was still a little too factory fresh. Real M3s have a brownish tone to them like Cosmoline that never quite came off. I searched my garage to come up with my proprietary Cosmoline-effect agent--used motor oil! I rubbed it in everywhere to get the desired effect. Most magazines were blued. Here's the finished gun:

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Here are some of the details on the finished gun that I added or corrected:



Original guns had a small socket with a retaining clip for an oil bottle. I made mine from aluminum and welded it together with Alumiweld rods. This picture also shows where I replaced an ugly modern hex fitting bolt with a simulated end of a pin with a vintage-style cotter pin.

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Here's the detail of the barrel knurling work, the housing welds, and the barrel retainer that I had to make--more work with aluminum welding.

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Finished spot welds on the sling lugs.

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Completed wire stock. Great solid piece by ICS, just missing detail--until now. You can also see the weld effects I added to the central seam of the gun. These were just square cast by ICS. The disk at the back of the receiver is for battery access. It was easier to reassemble the gun with the battery inside than to try and jam it through that tiny hole.

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Faked welds on the rear sight. I'm really happy with how good these look covering the exposed mounting slots.

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Dust cover details--rivets added. Welds to the front sight blade and housing welds are also additions.

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Here are the laser-etched markings after the whole thing was reassembled--correctly obscured by the mag release. Always remember your weapon was built by the lowest builder.

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That's all folks. Hope you found something interesting here. Now, if we could just get a game day going so I can blood it.

Redshirt


Last edited by Redshirt on 23rd March 2012, 12:43 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Accuracy)
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Re: M3 Grease Gun Accurized! Now with Real Steel Mag Conversion!

Post by Che Chuy on 3rd February 2012, 7:57 am

Very well done kitbash. I was going to tell you that for an impression look, it was just fine as it was, but da-gum, that's nice. My only critique comes from ignorance, as the epoxy (welds) look a little thick in spots, but upon reflection, they probably were not too worried about cleaning up their work when the real steel was being made.

So, very nicely done.

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Re: M3 Grease Gun Accurized! Now with Real Steel Mag Conversion!

Post by Redshirt on 3rd February 2012, 8:23 am

Chey,
Thank you. The original guns varied widely due to mass (and massively cheap) production. Many of the survivors have been cleaned up a little in refinishing. Even so, you are partly right, the size of the gaps or errors I had to cover often dictated my "welds."

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Re: M3 Grease Gun Accurized! Now with Real Steel Mag Conversion!

Post by Che Chuy on 3rd February 2012, 8:52 am

I still say awesome job Very Happy

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Re: M3 Grease Gun Accurized! Now with Real Steel Mag Conversion!

Post by Howie on 3rd February 2012, 9:16 am

It's looks very nice and well done
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Re: M3 Grease Gun Accurized! Now with Real Steel Mag Conversion!

Post by dino on 3rd February 2012, 2:14 pm

Shocked When can you do that to mine?

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Re: M3 Grease Gun Accurized! Now with Real Steel Mag Conversion!

Post by CDR on 3rd February 2012, 2:35 pm

i freakin love it:cheers: nice details and mad props for the detailed diy. keep them comming.
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Re: M3 Grease Gun Accurized! Now with Real Steel Mag Conversion!

Post by Redshirt on 3rd February 2012, 6:06 pm

CDR wrote:i freakin love it:cheers: nice details and mad props for the detailed diy. keep them comming.

Coming soon: The Spartan Laser (airsoft replica of the Halo icon with three gearboxes)

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Re: M3 Grease Gun Accurized! Now with Real Steel Mag Conversion!

Post by Redshirt on 23rd March 2012, 12:58 pm

I finally got busy yesterday and converted an original M3 grease gun magazine that I'd picked up at a gun show. The original magazines never matched the gun in that most examples were blued rather than painted or parkerized. Naturally, the real deal is dimensionally different than the ICS high cap, as well as built from substantially heavier metal. This was also the case for conversions I did for my Marui M1A1 Thompson. Every magazine conversion project comes down to the following basic steps:

Strip both magazines

Cut the feed lips off the real magazine (air cutting wheel best)

Slim and shorten/lengthen the BB feed mechanism to fit inside the real magazine (belt sander)

Modify the real magazine shell to accommodate any locating pins or tabs required by the BB feed mechanism (drill/drill press/Dremel)

Modify the bottom plate (with slot for winder) from the high-cap to fit the real mag and install it

Install the BB feed mechanism into the real mag, including any locating pins or tabs


These steps (and most of the pics) are relevant to any mag conversion. Here is the story in pictures:

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Both magazines before conversion. You can see how crappy the painted ICS mag looks.

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Comparison shots of the magazine ends. You can see that the real magazine is shorter than the ICS mag.


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Both mags stripped.


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The initial cut. I used an air-driven cutoff wheel.


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You can see that the thicker metal and internal ribbing will require modification of both the original mag shell as well as the BB feed.

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I slimmed down the BB feed internals and ground down the ribs inside the real steel mag for this initial test fit. Still more cutting and grinding needed.

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Finished with the mods to the top of the mag. I had to grind a shoulder into the steel shell so the fill door would close correctly. I also had to round off the radius of the of the front (by the feed tube) of the mechanism to match the curvature of the mag shell.


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Time to cut the length of the feed mechanism to fit inside the real shell.


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Cut, cleaned, and glued back together with thick super glue.

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Fitting up the bottom plate--required a bit of sanding.

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Time to slow down and make sure this is the best result you can get. I trimmed off all the edges and burrs left by sanding the plastic, then blew all of the debris out of both pieces with an air gun. I rinsed the remaining dust out of the BB mechanism with a plastic-safe electronics cleaning spray. I cleaned out the mag shell with brake cleaner. Finally, I coated all of the exposed metal on the mag with a gun blueing stick to make it tidy and give it corrosion protection.


Here's the end result (I also added an M-1 Carbine sling and oil can--most commonly used on the grease gun as it did not have it's own design):


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Hope you got something here you can use.

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Re: M3 Grease Gun Accurized! Now with Real Steel Mag Conversion!

Post by savoy6 on 23rd March 2012, 1:23 pm

great job man...looks really good
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Re: M3 Grease Gun Accurized! Now with Real Steel Mag Conversion!

Post by Che Chuy on 23rd March 2012, 2:52 pm

Awesome job, how's the tri shot coming?

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Re: M3 Grease Gun Accurized! Now with Real Steel Mag Conversion!

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