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Weapons: Homemade Firearms
   Next Article → WARPLANES: Coping With Old Age
May 8, 2009: India has a growing problem with homemade pistols ("kattas") and shotguns (big kattas) showing up in remote, often very poor, areas. These weapons can be made from many common forms of steel pipe, and improvised firing mechanisms (that hit the bit of sensitive explosive at the center of the rear of the cartridge, which ignites the propellant in the cartridge and fires the bullet or shotgun pellets out the smooth bore barrel).

The easiest weapon to make is basically a single shot pistol firing a .410 (10.4mm) or 20 gauge (15.6mm) shotgun shell. Accurate enough for something within 5-10 feet. Not much good for hunting. These cost $20-$50 each in most parts of the world. The next step up, which requires an experienced metal worker and some machineshop tools, is full size (or sawed off) shotgun (single or double barrel), that sells for $80-$300. These can be used for hunting. These craftsmen can also make 9mm pistols (single shot or revolvers) for $50-$600. These weapons, because they are firing a more powerful cartridge, are more dangerous to use, because they are prone to exploding, rather than firing, when the trigger is pulled.

Ironically, people out in the countryside, where there are still dangerous animals that a gun can protect a village from, have fewer firearms. That's because there's more money, more to steal, and more demand for weapons in the cities.

In some parts of the world, like the metal working center of Akwa, in Nigeria, and the Pushtun tribal territories of Pakistan and Afghanistan, there are craftsmen who can reproduce just about any modern firearm. The Akwa and Pushtun tribesmen have been making metal weapons for over a thousand years, and quickly applied their skills to firearms when they first encountered Europeans using them.

With all these homemade weapons, the key ingredient is ammunition. The cartridges are more difficult to manufacture than the guns, since it involves chemistry, as well as metal working and fabrication. But ammo is easier to smuggle, and once you have that, there are metal working craftsmen in most parts of the world who can figure out how to build a weapon that will fire the bullets.

For over a century now, factory made rifles have been getting into these remote areas. This hurt the market for the high-end handmade weapons, but the cheaper stuff still sold. This is still the case, even with the flood of cheap AK-47s that poured into Afghanistan (starting the 1980s) and Africa (after the Cold War ended in 1991). Again, the cheap pistols and small shotguns were still popular with criminals, especially young guys just starting out. In rural India, communist rebels and political thugs often use these weapons, in addition to factory made pistols and rifles. Again, these two groups prefer concealable weapons, and they cheap homemade stuff gets the job done inexpensively.

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YelliChink       5/8/2009 8:31:09 AM
[quote]
With all these homemade weapons, the key ingredient is ammunition. The cartridges are more difficult to manufacture than the guns, since it involves chemistry, as well as metal working and fabrication. But ammo is easier to smuggle, and once you have that, there are metal working craftsmen in most parts of the world who can figure out how to build a weapon that will fire the bullets. 
[unquote]

This is not true. Those home-made side-by-side or over-and-under shotguns can fire black powder, and modern propellant isn't as hard to make as some may believe. All you need to make is gun cotton, and with some plasticizing technology, you have single base propellant. Double or triple base propellant such as cordite are harder to make, but they aren't necessary, and aren't impossible. percussion cup is actually more easier to make as long as one can get hold of ingredients.
 
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YelliChink       5/8/2009 8:32:49 AM
I forgot to mention that two tricky parts of firearms DIY are rifled barrel and cartridge cases. It's possible to make them with basic machining and pressing tools, but it certainly takes some skill to make it work. In short, it's possible, but it ain't easy.
 
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FJV       5/8/2009 12:58:04 PM
Basically the article is talking about zip guns, which can be made with little skill.
 
 
 
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WarNerd       5/8/2009 5:54:39 PM

This is not true. Those home-made side-by-side or over-and-under shotguns can fire black powder, and modern propellant isn't as hard to make as some may believe. All you need to make is gun cotton, and with some plasticizing technology, you have single base propellant. Double or triple base propellant such as cordite are harder to make, but they aren't necessary, and aren't impossible. percussion cup is actually more easier to make as long as one can get hold of ingredients.

Gun cotton is easy to make.  SAFE gun cotton is very difficult, as any contaminants enhance it's propensity for self-detonation.  Single based propellants of straight gun cotton were only used for a short period before it was established (due to a large number of spontaneous explosions) that it was unsafe to store, causing the world to ban the production of gun cotton and shift back to the safer black powder for another 20 years until double based propellants were developed.
 
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Herald12345    Brass and powder.   5/8/2009 7:18:02 PM
Don't underestimate these guys. Some of them invented something like Greek Fire and figured out how to make brass quills in their little tribal shops 1,000 years before the British stopped painting each other blue!

Herald
 
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person       5/9/2009 7:15:19 AM
Some of them invented something like Greek Fire and figured out how to make brass quills in their little tribal shops 1,000 years before the British stopped painting each other blue!
 

I'm just not sure what your talking about.


 
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Herald12345       5/10/2009 12:17:34 AM


Some of them invented something like Greek Fire and figured out how to make brass quills in their little tribal shops 1,000 years before the British stopped painting each other blue!

 




I'm just not sure what your talking about.

1.  Sulphur based inciendiary claypot grenades about 3000 years ago.
2. Egyptians used bird quills as ink pens for at least 3500 years. They started to do that in brass about 3000 years ago. It spread as far as India. Those jokers were CRAFTSMEN who learned how to hand extrude soft metals.with dies and presses (Baghdad  Battery) long before the British caught on during the Industrial Revolution.
 
The ingredients for cartridged BULLETS have been around a long time (at least since the Roman Empire). Its the GUN (reliable cheap steel tube) that was the holdup.
 
Herald



 
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WarNerd       5/10/2009 3:37:12 AM

The ingredients for cartridged BULLETS have been around a long time (at least since the Roman Empire). Its the GUN (reliable cheap steel tube) that was the holdup.

I do not think that they had the materials to make the primers before 1800 when mercury fulminate was discovered.

 
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Herald12345       5/10/2009 10:25:09 AM



The ingredients for cartridged BULLETS have been around a long time (at least since the Roman Empire). Its the GUN (reliable cheap steel tube) that was the holdup.

I do not think that they had the materials to make the primers before 1800 when mercury fulminate was discovered.





Calciom silicide or magnesium siliciside and Karaya gum, both present in India and when mixed in a paste and put in a thimble with a nipple forms a dandy percussion cap or the ignition button on a bullet cartridge.
 
Hindu magicians needed a good safe flash powder.........
 
Herald

.
 
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