Inventiveness and improvised firearms

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Back when I was a young lad in the army (mid 60s), I was interested in, shall we say, "pyrotechnic" devices. I found that common matchheads provided a source of explosive of considerable potency when properly confined. Later, in police work, I learned that these readily-available items are preferred among certain organized-crime groups for pipe bombs; they yeild even more power than black powder!

Today, we got a "classified" e-mail for LEO use. (Hardly secret to most on this board, but interesting) This concerned a jail inmate who manufactured a firearm which used match heads for propellant.
The deputies got suspicious when they noted deep dents and even holes in a corugated-steel fence adjacent to one of the inmate's cells. They knew this guy had a rep for making weapons, so they shook down his cell. After finding his toy, he cooperated and made a slideshow demonstrating his technique.

Without going into "classified" details, the guy rolled a barrell of sorts from a Coke can, used matchheads as propellant, AAA batteries as projectiles, and an igniter rigged from steel wool and a battery.
Thing was capable of poking holes in typical "tin roof" galvanized steel!

Fortunately, this guy apparently thought of the whole project as a toy, rather than a weapon; so nobody got shot with the thing. Still, a more robust version would certainly be as deadly as any muzzle-loading firearm.

Years ago, the NRA magazine (The Rifleman) ran a bit on a convict who had manufactured a functional semi-automatic pistol in the prison machine shop.
(Why prisons need machine shops I don't know...) They found it before he was able to use it in an escape plot, but the prison authorities successfully test-fired it. The only pre-made part was a magazine and cartridges which had been smuggled in.

I always wonder about this sort of thing when the "ban all guns" crowd starts in. These guys made guns in prison, for pete's sake. How many basement machine shops are there in the country?
 
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I've heard of "match" grade ammunition, but never match grade propellant...:D
That's interesting. How did he hold it? It must have had a pretty good recoil if it could punch holes in even thin steel.
 
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mwerner said:
I always wonder about this sort of thing when the "ban all guns" crowd starts in. These guys made guns in prison, for pete's sake. How many basement machine shops are there in the country?

That's one of the reasons they're so ridiculous. Firearms are actually pretty easy to make, especially if one has the rudiments of a machine shop and access to steel tubing and other metals stock. These firearms may not have the same power or ease of use as manufactored firearms, but they would work just fine to shoot and subsequentially injure or kill someone. If fact, there was a really interesting article in the National Review about this subject a couple of months ago. I'll see if I can find it.

Id57 said:
I've heard of "match" grade ammunition, but never match grade propellant
Good one! :D
 
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A smoothbore weapon is very very simple to make. The propellant and the projectiles can be the more tedious part to manufacture to a standard, especially in quantity. The use of matchheads is an interesting idea.

If cartridges are available, any shop should be able to make submachine guns.
A recoilless gun similar to the Davis gun (and for short ranges, soft targets) is possibly the easiest of all to make. You don't need hi-grade materials or even power tools.
 
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Ah, improvisation was an old hobby of some friends and I back in high school. Match heads were an old favorite filling for various devices. Each one releases a decent amount of gas upon combustion...and even NASA has a page on match rockets (http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/TRC/Rockets/match_rocket.html). I'm interested in the barrel from a coke can though...did he cut off the ends, roll rightly, then reinforce? Also, how large was the bore?
 
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That's exactly the technique, cut a flat sheet of aluminium, then roll it tightly around a form and tape-tie together. They didn't mention the recoil, but I don't think I would care to hold the thing....
 
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mwerner said:
I always wonder about this sort of thing when the "ban all guns" crowd starts in. These guys made guns in prison, for pete's sake. How many basement machine shops are there in the country?

I thought several years ago the UN was pushing for the registration of shop equipment like lathes and mills.
 
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mwerner said:
I always wonder about this sort of thing when the "ban all guns" crowd starts in. These guys made guns in prison, for pete's sake. How many basement machine shops are there in the country?


In that same line, I saw an article once on the Danish resistance. They had captured a single German MP-40. It was broken down and parts sent out to cladestine basement shops all around the place. A lathe here, a mill there, a drill press someplace else. When it was all said and done they had a bunch of MP-40's that were better than the original. The Danish machinists were more carefull in the workmanship than the Nazi slave labor!

But as a machinist I can tell you this-give us the item, and we'll make it.
 

Bronco

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mwerner said:
I always wonder about this sort of thing when the "ban all guns" crowd starts in. These guys made guns in prison, for pete's sake. How many basement machine shops are there in the country?

As I'm sure Chuckie Schumer has often wondered, why would any law abiding citizen have a need for a machine shop in their basement?
 
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s002cjs said:
Ah, improvisation was an old hobby of some friends and I back in high school. Match heads were an old favorite filling for various devices. Each one releases a decent amount of gas upon combustion...and even NASA has a page on match rockets (http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/TRC/Rockets/match_rocket.html). ...

Thanks for the link and the memories! Around 1960 or so (I was 11) a friend and I made our rockets by molding the foil around the end of a sharpened pencil. Fill with crushed matchheads, twist the tail to form the nozzle, an old curtain rod for a launch track and presto...rockets! You had to be real careful grinding strike anywhere matches, lest all that work go up in smoke...literally!

GlockDoc

________________________________

-Maker of fine cigar ashes since 1963-
 
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Found the article I mentioned in an earlier post. I didn't remember it perfectly, (the article was more about general gun control) but there were several paragraphs in the article that are relevent to this thread.





Quote: National Review, A World Without Guns - Dave Kopel "That last part's a bit tricky. Auto repair shops, hobbyists, revolutionaries — everyone with decent machine shop skills — can make a gun from something. This takes us down the same road as drug prohibition: With primary anti-drug laws having proven themselves unenforceable, secondary laws have been added to prohibit possession of items which could be used to manufacture drugs. Even making suspicious purchases at a gardening store can earn one a "dynamic entry" visit from the local SWAT team.

But laws proscribing the possession of gun-manufacturing items would have to be even broader than laws against possession of drug-manufacturing items, because there are so many tools which can be used to make guns, or be made into guns. What we'd really have to do is carefully control every possible step in the gun-making process. That means the registration of all machine tools, and the federal licensing of plumbers (similar to current federal licensure of pharmacies), auto mechanics, and all those handymen with their screwdrivers. And we'd need to stamp a serial number on pipes (potential gun barrels) in every bathroom and automobile — and everywhere else one finds pipes — and place all the serial numbers in a federal registry.

Today, the antigun lobbies who claim they don't want to ban all guns still insist that registration of every single gun and licensing of every gun owner is essential to keep guns from falling into the wrong hands. If so, it's hard to argue that licensing and registration of gun manufacturing items would not be essential to prevent illicit production of guns.

Thus, we would have to control every part of the manufacturing process. That would add up to a very expensive, complicated proposition. Even a 1% noncompliance rate with the "Firearms Precursors Control Act" would leave an immense supply of materials available for black-market gun making.

In order to ensure total conformity with the act, it's difficult to imagine leaving most existing constitutional protections in place. The mind boggles at the kinds of search and seizure laws required to make certain that people do not possess unregistered metal pipes or screwdrivers!"




Interesting read. Here's the link to the entire article: http://www.nationalreview.com/kopel/kopel120501.shtml
 
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I recall a 60 Minutes article some years ago on some little mountain tribe in Afghanistan who made their own firearms. Not crude flintlocks, mind, they actually made working copies of contemporary military weapons using hand tools!
They showed the manufacturing process for a copied AK-47, which ended up looking quite authentic and working very well indeed, thanks. Hand-filing various bits out of scrap metal, and using scavenged "real" parts where they could. These guys even made their own FMJ bullets, by carefully drilling a bullet-shaped form into rock, pounding in a copper disc with a mandrel, and then filling the resulting jacket with molten lead.

These tribesmen prize their weapons, and no one is considered to be a man unless he is appropriately armed. You see footage of tribal meetings all the time, each member with his rifle or submachine gun alongside.
 
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It's not a tribe, it's the thriving arms industry of Darra Bazaar.

Want anything from a SAM 7 or Stinger to a home-made pen pistol? The energetic capitalists of Darra Bazaar can help you out!

maximus otter
 
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............ and theres the highland tribes of Papua New Guinea amongst the huts and pigs and the like , they make shot guns ect for the civil war .....

"Although Southern Highlanders own 30-50 times fewer firearms per capita than nearby Australians or New Zealanders, their high-powered weapons are obtained almost exclusively for use against humans. As a result, an illicit firearm in the Southern Highlands is several times more likely to be used in homicide than a similar gun in the world's highest-risk countries, namely Ecuador, Jamaica, Colombia, and South Africa." - http://www.iansa.org

yep ..... so they do work
 
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