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Austen MK1 Submachine gun

Article about: The Austen was a generally effective design, the MkII was redesigned to use a cast body but it was never as popular as the Owen gun-2 main problems were that the mag was a copy of the Sten (

  1. #1

    Default Austen MK1 Submachine gun

    Hi, a few days ago the Lisbon Military Museum has received a donation, an Australian Sten Gun.
    Its the MK1, today i was lucky to handle and examine it. Its serial is 124. Are these submachine guns, rare?
    Thanks
    Cheers
    Nuno

  2. #2

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    Quite rare mate. I believe around 20 000 were made in total. Superseded by the much better Owen design which remained in service until the late 1960's.
    Any chance of an image or two Nuno ?

    Cheers mate

    Dave

  3. #3

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    Quote by Thanatos View Post
    Quite rare mate. I believe around 20 000 were made in total. Superseded by the much better Owen design which remained in service until the late 1960's.
    Any chance of an image or two Nuno ?

    Cheers mate

    Dave
    Since it has not been yet inscribed in the Museum systems and investigation and research is still on going, i was asked not to show it.
    However i can tell you that it was an offer from an Australian officer to Portugal after the Liberation of Timor.

  4. #4

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    There are quite a few knocking around in some countries but I've not seen one in a private collection in the UK. I think Rod Woods in NZ has a couple of runners. He also has a couple of the NZ local pattern STENs too.

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    Here's one in the ZA museum and a couple of parts
    Regards
    René

  6. #6

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    Quote by reneblacky View Post
    Here's one in the ZA museum and a couple of parts
    Thanks for the photos René.
    Cheers
    Nuno

  7. #7

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    These MK1's were horrendously cheaply made and consisted of parts made from exhaust tailpipes and springs from bedspring manufacturers and were assembled in a Toy factory but they only cost 2 pounds 7 shillings to make, so they went ahead and put them into production. They were cranky, misfired frequently, but got the job done anyway. They made a Great impact on Britain's war effort. Very iconic guns!
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  8. #8

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    Quote by Wagriff View Post
    These MK1's were horrendously cheaply made and consisted of parts made from exhaust tailpipes and springs from bedspring manufacturers and were assembled in a Toy factory but they only cost 2 pounds 7 shillings to make, so they went ahead and put them into production. They were cranky, misfired frequently, but got the job done anyway. They made a Great impact on Britain's war effort. Very iconic guns!
    I think you may have got confused, the AUSTEN is an Australian version of the STEN gun and is different to the STEN Mk1, parts of the mag housing are die cast (I think) rather than welded steel and is maybe of better quality. It may have made a impact on the Aussie war effort but I don't think it had much effect on Britain's.

  9. #9

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    Ah! True that! I was referring to their English cousin!
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  10. #10

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    Some trivial STEN history to digest for those members who like the Stench gun, Woolworths gun and a whole other raft of derogatory names.

    The STEN Mk1 was made by Singers of Glasgow which was as you probably know, was an American Sewing machine company, who weren't best pleased with the British Government when they took control of the factory! Singers began to make and assemble the Mk1 STEN but they also subcontracted some parts out. A STEN Mk1 (Or possibly the T40/I prototype) was sent to Lines Brothers (Toy makers, Triang & Glover etc) to see about component manufacture and possible assembly in one of their factories.

    The story goes that one of the directors (One of the Lines Family) had a look at the Mk1 STEN and stated it was made all wrong and that he could make them much quicker and much cheaper. He eventually came up with his improved STEN Mk1.

    At the same time as Lines Brothers were looking at making an improved Mk1, other designers (Mainly Enfield) were looking into making a suitable STEN version for the resistance forces in Europe, one that could be concealed if required. This version became the STEN Mk2.

    When the War Department saw LBs improved MkI, they realised it was so different to the MkI that they gave it the nomenclature of STEN MkIII. So, in 1942 we had the STEN Mk1*, 2 and 3 in production at the same time. You can sometimes find MkI STEN items converted to Mk2 or 3 at production. For example, the Mk1 STEN butt (Butt, No.2 Mk1) had a cast steel boss with 2 tubes brazed into place and a butt plate brazed/welded at the end. The 'T' butt (Butt, No.2 Mk2) had a plate steel boss with a single tube welded in place with a butt plate welded on the end. U&U (Unique and Unity who made children's bikes) were a child company of Lines Brothers and they had been tasked with making the Butt, No.2 Mk1 for Singers' Mk1. When Lines Brothers began to make the MkIII, U&U used the cast boss, ground the lugs for the tubes off and welded on the single tube of the Butt, No.2 Mk2. I can only assume they did this so that they could produce the 2 marks of butt from a common part at the same time or, they were using up existing parts. The later would make more sense but I've seen both versions of the butts with both the U&U logo and the later manufacturers code of M255 which suggests both versions were in production along side each other.

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