View Full Version : Building a gun...

11-14-2004, 07:24 PM
My future brother in law is a big hunter and is always after me to go hunting. Seeing as my only weapon is a pellet rifle I need something else. Anyway, I recently boasted that I can build a gun with my amazing no-working machine tools. I did admit that I'll have to buy a barrel. So now I need to scratch build a deer rifle before next season... He doesn't believe it can be done. I'm not sure.
I think I'll order the falling block book.
Anyone built one? I'm sure it involves some tough as nails tool steel and some heat treating which will have to be farmed out.
Lot of filing too. I like filing though...
Maybe the shaper will come in handy...
I already have a golf ball cannon but he says I can't use that.

Hoffman in Warner Robins Ga

[This message has been edited by hoffman (edited 11-14-2004).]

11-14-2004, 07:31 PM
Just buy one and machine off the serial number and manufacturer tag and saythat you made it http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

(BTW yes I am joking!!!)

11-14-2004, 07:32 PM
YOU must have a gunsmith license or have a mfg. license . or you can go to jail.Unless it is a muzel loader(black powder).

11-14-2004, 07:35 PM
I think it depends on state laws, but aren't you allowed to build yourself a gun, 1 per year?

11-14-2004, 07:39 PM
I think that's against the law. Better
check with the ATF (booze, butts, and

11-14-2004, 07:49 PM
I'm pretty sure it's legal. Has anyone built one or looked at plans?

Hoffman in Warner Robins Ga

11-14-2004, 07:55 PM
You don't want you and your family to end up like Randy Weaver and his family.

Better check even though they may come after you even if you don't break the law.

11-14-2004, 07:55 PM
Hi, well there is several rumors floating around on the web and it is best if you get in touch with the ATF. However, here is a website that deals with this topic. http://www.tanneryshop.com/

And from what I understand, you can build your own gun.

11-14-2004, 08:07 PM
You can build your own guns without violating any US federal laws as long as they are not proscribed (machineguns, short-barrled rifles, etc) you are not prohibited from possessing a firearm (felon, domestic abuser, etc) and you don't intend to sell or barter them.

HOWEVER, each state has their own laws and you need to check those to make sure you stay on the right side of the pinstripe hotel...

Oh, BTW, this isn't legal advise, cosult a lawyer, don't believe a word of what I say, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah

[This message has been edited by tonydacrow (edited 11-14-2004).]

11-14-2004, 08:37 PM
It is legal to build a firearm for your own consumption as long as it meets the various regulations as to barrel length, etc.

The falling block rifle plans are very good, I do not have the book, but have the magazines.

Frank deHaas also wrote up several plans for single shot rifles that are a little less ambitious than the Mueller rifle. They can produce a very good rifle too. That book is available from Brownell's. You might as well get a Brownell's catalog now, you will be needing it before you are done.

11-14-2004, 08:44 PM
50 caliber.. aircraft barrel.. www.gunpartscorp.com (http://www.gunpartscorp.com) ? used to be numrich arms..

I have bought barrels from them in the white..

I helped with a falling block remington.. it was a black powder originally.. then converted to a rimfire.. 22 magnum? I don't bemember..

Yes, I'd like to see the falling block plans advertised in HSM.. Not sure I want to buy them just yet.. I got a 22.brass reciever.octagon barrel standing in the bedroom unfinished.. Just started cutting metal. no plan, no design, no ideals, just a chunk of brass with a barrel set into the front of it.. NOPE, it'll never get done.. I did save the shavings to remelt down into something useful thou.. A(I had all the dimensions in my head, then drank some wild turkey and formatted that section of hte hard drive)


11-14-2004, 08:46 PM
Hey, that link worked,, maybe that part of my cranium still is connected.. whoo hoo.. I have a positive item to think on...

David... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

11-14-2004, 09:01 PM
Building your own firearm is legal with the ATF so long as you follow certain guidelines.
Visit this site and look around and you will learn alot, I have built several and know several guys that have built a 4-5 a piece, your local laws will also apply so check them out.


Dr. Rob
11-15-2004, 01:15 AM
So hoffman, what kind of loading / feed / breech / magazine were you thinking of? Just in a general way, it seems those types of design questions are often harder than actually doing the job! Something of your own design, or are you free to plagiarize a little bit? Do some online idea shopping at the Patent office?

11-15-2004, 08:37 AM
...........Once you have determined that you are indeed free to build yourself a firearm (barring local restrictions), you certainly should make one as simply as you can. Your brother has allowed you to buy a barrel, perhaps he can be persuaded to allow you to also purchase a lock?

Many actions like Remingtons and Savages are really nothing more then seamless tubes with a barrel screwed on one end and a bolt which slides back and forth inside, and locking surfaces up front. But on the other hand they are also complicated machines in their tolerances and how various parts work and fit together.

It should be something enjoyable for you to pursue. Also hopefully your brother isn't one of those who feels that a big game animal isn't fairly taken unless the shot is at some ridiculus distance?

I would suggest something simple and low tech. I don't know what you were considering for a cartridge but my suggestion has a couple of faults, and one is that you cannot got to a 'Mart' and buy ammo for it. I'm suggesting a rifle or carbine built as a copy of the British interim military arm, the Snider.

The action is a tube with the top central section milled out, a barrel screwed on up front and a hinged tip out breechblock with a firing pin passing through. The lock is seperate as it was on the rifled muskets the conversions were done on, but the hammer is altered to strike the firing pin rather then a percussion cap.

To load you flip the breechblock to the right, insert the cartridge and push it forward into the breech. The you flip the breechblock back in behind it and cock the hammer. I have a Snider Mk11** and the utter simplicity is intrigueing. I ordered a 1.125" bar of 8620 for $17 which is enough to make 2 actions..........................
.................. and a 27" 58 Cal octagon barrel from GPC for $52.

Other then the lock, for the action there is drilling and boring, with a bit of milling work to be done. Some internal and external threading to assemble the barrel to the action.

For cartridges you use the 24 ga brass shotshells avail from Graf & Son at $9/25. Since it's a straight tapered case, you can make your own size and seater dies very simply (I did http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif), plus chamber it yourself. I do plan on buying a lock from Dixie, but making one isn't rocket science either.

These are 32ga shells for a different project, but the premise is the same.

Ho-made reloading dies for the above. These were made out of the front strut rods from an 86 Chev Celebrity. Threaded 7/8-14 to fit a reloading press.

Other problems? Well you'd have to come up with a stock for anything else you made! Oh yeah, bullets. Well Lyman, Lee and RCBS sell bullet moulds for 58 cal Minie' bullets. Black powder is the propellant.

A 475 to 520gr Minie' at 1150 to 1200 fps should make short work of Bambi's grandpa.


11-15-2004, 11:05 AM
In canada youre alowed to build your own guns solongs you dont tell no one,

Al Flipo
11-15-2004, 11:53 AM
The simple’s rifle to make would be a break action. Along the lines of a Thompson Contender, but simpler in design. Use an old .303 barrel with a standard 1”-14 thread in a T shape receiver with an external ejector, and machine the Weaver scope base while your at it . The rest of the rifle is also simple to fabricate.

11-15-2004, 01:49 PM

I found this a while back while surfing the web.

Scroll down to "what is an 80% frame anyway"
and he mentions the legality of building your own firearm. Of course you'll want to check further. Interesting site, may be useful to you.

James C

11-15-2004, 03:39 PM
Actually you could even make your own barrel. No need for rifling if you shoot shotgun slugs. Totally legal in Idaho but you might wanna check the big game regs in your area. You'd have to forget the long shots though! :> )

11-15-2004, 05:41 PM
I wonder.. if owning a book telling how to make a ar15 full auto, and a milling machine, and a ar15.. you can be charged with having a full auto. (documented cases).

what is the deal with the 80% parts frame?

Sometimes just being ugly is enough to get you arrested. (not my quote)

This post is headed toward the "assault rifle ban post too, by the way" Inflammatory and informative.


11-15-2004, 05:58 PM
80% receivers are not complete, and therefore not receivers yet. Great for AR15's where the receivers are forged and would be rather complicated as heck to mill from a block of metal.

11-15-2004, 07:53 PM
In addition to the fine book by published by the Homeshop Machinist, you may want to check out Frank DeHaas' book of rifle plans. If memory serves me right, it's called "Mr. Singleshot's Book of Rifle Plans", and has plans for three different actions.

11-15-2004, 08:05 PM

Those dies are beautiful. Real craftsmanship in those beauties.

Thanks for sharing the pictures.


11-15-2004, 08:39 PM
The last time I checked the federal laws you can make your own gun. Check with the ATF. I have the book on making single shot actions by Frank deHaas. It is OK and the actions are simple.
I also have the falling block plans advertised in HSM, they are more complicated but a better looking action ( my opinion ) you can build your own gun. I do, but I would not recommend that starting from scratch is the way to go. I think it might be better to get a good bolt action and fit your barrel to it then have a professional chamber it. Reamers are expensive if you only use it once. Most of the guns I have “made” are made from existing actions. Nothing wrong with that. Be safe, have fun. “Enjoy Cats”

You going to make a Snider or a Snider conversion? 577 Snider? I Shot one down into the hard frozen ground, it went 26 inches WOW. I have my lock and barreled action ready, still need a stock and some fittings. I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours. I’d like to see any pictures of the things that you are making. What are you making with the 32 ga brass? I’m planing on making a falling block pistol with a round block, outside hammer. Just on paper for now .

[This message has been edited by Tinker2 (edited 11-15-2004).]

11-15-2004, 08:56 PM

In the US it is not illegal to describe how to make something including a weapon. That is unless the information is classified as a defence secret. This was tested some years ago when Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine published a fact article on how to build a nuclear weapon from common hardware store materials with the singular exception of the plutonium. There was considerable controversy about it but the government legal staff concluded they would not be sucessful if they prosecuted. This is not the case in most other coutries.

Incidentally, it was estimated that it would take several hundred machinists willing to die in order to make the plutonium pits without proper protective equipment.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 11-15-2004).]

11-15-2004, 09:44 PM
How about buying a black powder rifle kit and converting it to a Snider? The kits are pretty cheap and would provide a barrel, stock and lock. The action would have to be built and fitted and then there's the weird shells and all which means re-loading...
Any thoughts? Those kits used to be pretty cheap.

Hoffman in Warner Robins Ga

11-15-2004, 10:12 PM
The right gun, I think, I didn’t look. For the Snider conversion is:
British Enfield rifled musket
Used by British forces in the 19th century and by American troops in the Civil War
I suppose that any good kit would work if you not making a replica.

[This message has been edited by Tinker2 (edited 11-15-2004).]

Al Messer
11-15-2004, 10:57 PM
Hoffman, I would strongly suggest that you or anyone else planning on building their first rifle make it a muzzle-loader for Black Powder only. If you wish, you could make it a modern "in line" action. With practice, which you would need to do with a store bought center fire job, you can put all your shots inside a bulls-eye at 100 yards. I assume you are talking about Deer hunting, and with a .50 M/L ball, one shot is all you will need if you can place your shot in the vital area.

11-15-2004, 11:13 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Tinker2:
Reamers are expensive if you only use it once.</font>
Reamers can be rented. www.4reamers.com (http://www.4reamers.com)

11-15-2004, 11:38 PM
In my forensics class, we had the firearms lecture and the guy brought in a rifling reamer. VERY interestings, I Think out of the 60 students there, I was the only one to really take a hard long look at it. I wish I took pics.

11-16-2004, 12:32 AM
Hoffman, before you embark may I suggest you check the regulations where you wish to hunt. Most states have minimum caliber or energy requirements for big game, I dunno about Georgia. Of DeHaas's three rifle plans in "Mr. Single Shots'..." two are recommended for rimfires, or very small centerfires at most. All three actions are fairly unconventional, but very buildable in a modestly equipped shop. Good luck, whatever you decide.