105mm Howitzer gun barrel
for Sherman M4A3

ABER 1:35 Set #35 L-72
Review by Terry Ashley

The Set:
ABER have released this metal replacement barrel for the M4/M4A3 105mm Sherman with the set having just the aluminium barrel as a single item.

The set is designed specifically for the Tamiya M4A3 105mm Sherman (kit #35251) but we will also look to see if it will fit the other available M4/M4A3 105mm kits, Academy M4A3 Sherman105mm HVSS (kit#13207) and Dragon M4A3 Sherman105mm HVSS (kit #6354).

Metal barrel

The barrel doesn't need any cleanup and includes a drilled out muzzle with rifling included which is quite noticeable in this larger calibre gun. The rifling is the usual parallel grooves and not to actual spiral but looks okay from most angles, unfortunately the barrel tube is slightly too large in diameter and the bore hole slightly undersized resulting in the barrel surrounding the bore hole being too thick. There is little you can do about this but other than that the barrel is the correct length with the correct contours where it exits the mantlet neck.

Fitting the barrel to the Tamiya kit is very straightforward as the barrel has the notch at the breech end that fits into the gun mounting hole the same as the kit gun without any alteratons required. The fit is very snug though and I did bevel the edge of the notch to help this slip into the gun mounting hole and you should ensure the barrel is inserted all the way into the gun mounting for proper alignment with the mantlet.

Image showing the the muzzle with rifling and overly think barrel around the bore hole
Also note the slight beveling of the notch as per text above for easier fitting to the kit.

Barrel fitted to Tamiya M4A3 105mm turret

Fitting the barrel to the Academy M4A3 Sherman105mm HVSS (kit#13207) will need a little surgery to drill out the locating hole in the kit gun mounting to allow the metal barrel to fit but other than that the mantlet is a good fit over the metal barrel for a fairly easy update if you wished to use the barrel for this kit.

On the other hand fitting the metal barrel to the Dragon M4A3 Sherman105mm HVSS (kit #6354) will require considerable work as the Dragon barrel is too narrow and you will have to drill out the hole in the mantlet to take the metal barrel and also modify the gun mounting considerablty to accomidate the metal barrel.

But without wanting to be unkind, why bother when the Dragon kit mantlet is so undersized it needs more than just a barrel replacement to bring up to correct standards and is really not worth the effort involved.

This is a nicely machined 105mm barrel for the M4/M4A3 that doesn't require any cleanup and is designed to fit straight to the Tamiya 105mm Sherman M4A3 kit gun mounting/mantlet which is does nicely. Unfortunately the size issues with the muzzle as above result in the overly thick appearance around the bore hole which does distract from the final effect.

But if that's not an issue then it is a quick and easy update for the Tamiya kit and the other two 105mm Sherman kits with additional work.

Recommended with reservations 7/10.

See the Sherman Subjects page for other Sherman kit/accessory reviews.

Thanks to ABER for the review set.

Page created September 10, 2008