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Thread: Sterling Carbines Visual Comparison Between Wise-Lite Made And Sterling Made MK6

  1. #1
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    Default Sterling Carbines Visual Comparison Between Wise-Lite Made And Sterling Made MK6

    Busy day so I cannot manage photos but if you know the weapon you will know what I am talking about. I picked up a Wise-Lite made Sterling Type 1 carbine and compared it to a Sterling made MK6 carbine that has been in my collection for well over 20 years.

    1.Visually from several feet away these two carbines are extremely close in appearance.

    2.Upon closer examination of the Wise-Lite made carbine four distinct areas of welds are present on the Wise-Lite made weapon that are not visually present on the Sterling made weapon:
    A. First weld is connecting the front end containing the front sight assembly to the barrel shroud.
    B. Second weld is connecting the original Sterling marked magazine port assembly with the new receiver tube. It is hard to tell but it looks like the ejection port wing may be part of the original Sterling parts used to assemble the Wise-Lite unit.
    C. Third weld is connecting the pistol grip frame to the bottom of the receiver tube.
    D. Fourth weld is connecting the rear of the receiver just in front of the rear sight.

    3. These welds are not visually present on the original Sterling product most likely because they were, in the case of AB and D not present in the manufacture of the Sterling product. The welds appear to be adequate but not what I would call totally perfect. The black crinkle type paint does an excellent job of covering over these less than great welds but a careful reading of the Guns of Dagenham by Peter Laidler will reveal that Sterling apparently used the same little trick to cover their indiscretions with the welder as well.

    4. There is no bayonet boss or stud on the Wise Lite made carbine. This is of little consequence as the original bayonets will not fit on either weapon so the addition of the bayonet boss on SOME of the original Sterling made MK6 carbines was a mystery.

    5. The Sterling made MK6 carbine was purpose built from brand new parts and has markings in accord with that. The Wise-Lite made carbine appears to have been made from a scrapped Sterling MK4 submachinegun and retains these markings on the magazine well and on the pistol grip selector markings.

    6. The Sterling made carbine is 50mm from the magazine well to the end cap. The Wise-Lite carbine is shorter at 48.5mm from the magazine well to the end cap. On the front end the Wise-Lite carbine is longer at 50.5mm measured from the front of the trigger guard to the end of the muzzle nut while the Sterling MK6 carbine is 50mm in the same area.

    7. The notch in the Sterling carbine's barrel shroud that holds the folded butt in place is crisply done and does its job with a snap. The Wise-Lite carbine appears to have botched this notch in the weld up of the front end. The Sterling made notch has a symmetrical hole centered on a cooling hole that makes the area look somewhat like an upside exclamation mark. The Wise-Lite notch is asymmetrical with the top of the notch appearing to have an almost offset arrowhead shape to it. This asymmetrically shaped notch does not hold the butt as well, nor is it as easy to use as the original Sterling made example. The Sterling assembled butt snaps folded into place on the notch. The Wise-Lite assembled but has to be wiggled and guided into place with a clunk. Once folded in place both butts lock up tightly.

    8. The crinkle type painted finish appears to be well executed on both examples but yet again the Wise-Lite made example has a few variations from the Sterling norm that are worth noting. Most of these variations center around the folding butt stock mechanism. The folding stock on the Sterling made example more of less opens itself once unlocked and snaps naturally into place with the buttplate coming into position by itself. The Wise-Lite carbine needs much more effort to get the folding buttstock unlocked AND significantly locked into place. Part of this is due to afore mentioned issue with the asymmetrical folded stock locking notch on the Wise-Lite made carbine but part of this is due to the presence of the crinkle paint in parts of the butt stock assembly where it is not present on the Sterling made carbine and perhaps should not be present. I am assuming with use this will work itself out. There are other minor variations regarding the crinkle type paint like for example the trigger guard on the Sterling made carbine is painted with the crinkle paint while the Wise-Lite made carbines appears to be anodized. As well the trigger unit frame on the Sterling made carbine is in uncoated non-ferrous metal that appears to be stainless steel. The Wise-Lite made carbine trigger unit frame is coated in a dark paint or anodized like material.

    9. The Wise-Lite carbine came with a Sterling-made magazine that has been totally stripped to white metal versus the original phosphate and painted finish. The magazine supplied by Wise-Lite indicates areas of rust pitting now cleaned off. The Sterling magazines may well be the most over-engineered, literally massively built magazines of their type so no problems are expected to come from these.

    These observations are purely visual with NO internal observations made. I will leave those observations as well as a side by shooting comparison for later. Both carbines look very well made and although I have had much experiences with the Sterling made MK6 carbine I would not worry at all about shooting the Wise-Lite carbine, as it appears well built and an excellent purchase for those who pined for an original Sterling but could not afford one of the only 6000 orginal MK6 Sterling carbines in the USA.

  2. #2
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    if you know the weapon you will know what I am talking about.

    We still need pics.

    I got beat up for not immediately posting pics on my MKE AT94P thread.

    Looking forward to the photos.
    Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say Ni at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history.

  3. #3
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    I agree and will call shenanigans until pictures are posted, you know the rules in this area are very strict....

    So here it goes,
    shenanigans
    shenanigans
    shenanigans
    When your smiling the whole world smiles with you

  4. #4
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    Sorry, I am likely not going to be able to manage photos any time soon. I am back to work preparing for a particularly difficult academic year ahead. I think the most significant question that comes out of my examination is the discrepancy in dimensions between the Sterling-made MK6 carbine and the Wise-Lite made carbine. Obviously using chopped up pieces of a former Sterling to weld up into a new carbine is going to result in a less than perfect copy of the original. I am just curious about what MIGHT be the possible implications to the variation from the original Sterling product in the length of the tube. I understand this variation only amounts to about .5mm and is likely expressed by the springs but I just wonder what might be expected, if anything from this .5mm less or more area for the springs to express themselves.

  5. #5
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    OK I'll forgive the shenanigans just this once... My Sterling (WL) shows the same 4 welds although they are pretty unnoticeable unless pointed out (I had not realized there was a weld near the front sight till you pointed it out).

    I don't have a very accurate tape measure but my measurement from the front of the mag housing to the front of the shroud is a hair over 7-7/8 inches,

    My front stock retainer is centered and looks to be like a key hole (circle and rectangle connected), no arrowhead look to mine. Also my mag was new with slight wear of the parkerizing, I guess I got lucky with a new mag. The 4 I bought from RTG while all working are well used and show alot of finish wear.

    I have found polishing the feed ramp helped bring mine from 98% reliable to almost flawless in operation. One distraction I have with mine is the cross pin in the firing pin assy seems to walk out, I worry this is going to cause issues as it wears against the channel it rides in so I'm considering some fix for that (I've emailed WL without response).

    I like my sterling alot, so much it's become my favorite shooting 9mm carbine. I only wish WL had better customer service or atleast answered their emails.
    When your smiling the whole world smiles with you

  6. #6
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    I have run many many thousands of rounds of ammo through my Sterling made MK6 in the years since I have owned it. I bought 10 2500 round cases of then cheap Egyptian ammo many years ago from Samco and blasted most of it through my Sterling and Uzi, often side by side. I cannot actually recall having a jam in the Sterling. It is actually a VERY reliable design and quite comfortable to shoot once you decide where to put your left hand. I put my hand on the barrel shroud as I have found the magazine begins to dig into my hand after a few magazine cycles. The Uzi, in comparison is more compact, particularly in the horizontal plane but the sling slot on the Uzi folding stock gives me dental problems....

  7. #7
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    Although I'd love to own an original Sterling, I don't have the $$$; so I have to settle on the Century guns. My first gun was the Carbine; it isn't a Wiselite gun; I found that out when I had to send it off for some work; although it came with a Wiselite Owner's Manual they didn't make the gun. It was actually made by a company in Georgia, but their name escapes me for now. It had an ejection problem that was fixed at no cost and despite travelling to Texas, then Georgia, and back to Michigan I had it back in less then 3 weeks.

    Fit and finish are as Michael says; but considering these are guns that Century had built - they are quite nice.

    I decided to buy the pistol version; the choice was 9mm or 7.62x25; I went with 9mm because it uses unaltered Sterling magazines and can use Sten magazines as well. I have to get to the range to do a side by side comparison but here they are:

    Sterling Pistol and its big brother, the Carbine



  8. #8
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    The joins you mention are brazed on my L2A3, theyre so good there is no gap or surplus braze to be seen.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Jon Littman View Post
    <snip>
    Both carbines look very well made and although I have had much experiences with the Sterling made MK6 carbine I would not worry at all about shooting the Wise-Lite carbine, as it appears well built and an excellent purchase for those who pined for an original Sterling but could not afford one of the only 6000 orginal MK6 Sterling carbines in the USA.
    From what I have read on the Uzitalk Sterling forum, and seen at funshows, the Century-contracted Wiselite Sterlings are very good guns. It may have been Wiselite's attention to doing their best - and thus not building them fast enough to suit Century - as contributing to their gun-business retrenchment and ending hopes for Sten Mk3 and Mk2 carbines. Just speculation, but it seems that most Century contracted guns are banged out fairly quickly to meet Century's demands.

    Sure wish the Wiselites were out a decade back when I sold a kidney to fund a pre-89 Dagenham Mk6. And to think they were going unsold in the late 80's for under $800.00.

  10. #10
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    For what it is worth I saw a Sterling Mk6 at the recent Miami gun show with an asking price of $1600. Needless to say I saw now lookers or buyers at that price. I purchased my MK6 used for $400 in the 80s.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by nfafan View Post
    From what I have read on the Uzitalk Sterling forum, and seen at funshows, the Century-contracted Wiselite Sterlings are very good guns. It may have been Wiselite's attention to doing their best - and thus not building them fast enough to suit Century - as contributing to their gun-business retrenchment and ending hopes for Sten Mk3 and Mk2 carbines. Just speculation, but it seems that most Century contracted guns are banged out fairly quickly to meet Century's demands.

    Sure wish the Wiselites were out a decade back when I sold a kidney to fund a pre-89 Dagenham Mk6. And to think they were going unsold in the late 80's for under $800.00.
    Century contracted another company, in Georgia, to build the fully shrouded semi Sterling carbines. I bought one and had issues with it. Looking at the Wiselite printed owner's manual I called Century and Wiselite for warranty work; Wiselite had me mail it to them in Texas; when they got it they said "not our gun" - but they were stand-up about it and shipped it to the other (can't remember their name though) maker in GA for repairs. Runs great now though!

  12. #12
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    That is good to know. I will be taking my Wise-Lite Sterling to a shoot this weekend so I will be able to report back soon after with my thoughts on how it shoots.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the good info guys, been looking into these for some time now....

  14. #14
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    I fired about 700 rounds out of the Wise-Lite carbine yesterday and even fired it side by side with my Sterling MK6. I will provide a complete report when I get a chance to write it up but in the end the conclusion is that there is no functional difference between the original Sterling product and the Wise-Lite made product. Sadly, it was SO hot and I was so dripping in sweat that I could not manage photos.

  15. #15
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    My WL Sterling is amongst my favorite firearms.
    When your smiling the whole world smiles with you

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