Can't remove cocking handle on Wilson Sterling Mk 4


New member
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Oct 27, 2021
Hello all,

I'm new to the forum and have a question that has puzzled me since I bought my Wilson Sterling about a year ago.

My cocking handle seems to be impossible to remove from the bolt!

I've followed all the YouTube and written disassembly instructions and from what I can tell as long as the cocking handle is aligned with the larger opening in the slot at the rear of the tube it should pull straight out.

Not so on mine. No amount of heating the bolt, penetrating oil, gentle hammering with a rubber mallet or pulling with pliers can get that thing to pull out.

I am stumped and it means I can't remove the bolt. Has anyone else run across this? Any suggestions on how to remove the cocking handle? Am I missing some secret retaining mechanism that is different from an original Sterling?

Many thanks in advance!


UZI Talk Life Member
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Feb 21, 2009
Sounds like you might have a Stenling. A “Stenling” has a Sten tube that has been used to make an almost exact copy of a Sterling.

The BATFE didn’t allow the Sten charging slot to be narrowed. So, the charging handle block and the charging handle were modified. The charging handle block is the part the charging handle fits into. The modification was to drill a hole through the charging handle block and the charging handle that allows the “fouling pin” (a plunger inside the back of the bolt) to pass through them, locking them in position.

If it’s a Stenling, remove the large recoil spring and the main spring cup. The small recoil spring will probably not want to come out. Now look inside the back of the bolt through the small spring. In the center you will see a small hole. Poke a tool or rod into the hole and depress the plunger while lightly pulling on the charging handle. If it’s a Stenling, the charging handle will come out and you will be able to remove the bolt and charging handle block.

Pictures here -
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