Introduction: Crossbow Pistol

Picture of Crossbow Pistol

Not as lethal as it sounds, and more of a novelty than a weapon, I created this device to get rid of a big pail of metal bottle caps, the kind used on soda and beer bottles. Although they have a crimped edge and are usually bent from being opened with a bottle opener as well as being very non- aerodynamic, these caps make a fairly good projectile if you are not too concerned with range and accuracy. Also, the trajectory is affected by the wind so I suggest shooting in a sheltered area. Having said that, I would caution that you wear safety glasses when firing this pistol and never let children use it without supervision. As they say, it's all fun and games till someone loses an eye! If using indoors, I suggest the garage or unfinished rec room. The caps are metal and can dent or chip paint and furniture. If shooting outside, don't shoot near your classic '57 Chevy or new BMW for the same reason. Depending on materials used you can achieve a distance of fifty feet or more. I suggest aiming at a target such as a plastic pail turned on its side. I am providing a guideline for building your own as the materials you use will differ and that will affect the building process.

Step 1: Making the Bow and String

Picture of Making the Bow and String

The bow is made from a 1/4 inch thick strip of poplar, 3/4 inch wide x 12 inches long, however, most hardwoods should work. After cutting it to size, it was soaked in water overnight then clamped to a solid round surface, in my case, the table of my scroll saw which as about a 16 inch diameter but you could just as easily use any round surface. Left to dry overnight it will retain the curve. You should drill three 1/8 inch holes, one in the middle and one about 1/4inch from each end.. The string is simply a mini bungee cord, about 10 inches long. I bought a box of 20 from my local auto supply store for $5.

Step 2: Determine the Draw

Picture of Determine the Draw

Glue and screw the bow to the end a scrap piece of 1x2 pine through its centre hole. Attach the bungee cord hooks to the two end holes. With a finger on each side of the 1x2, pull the cord back as far as it will go. Mark with a pencil.

Step 3: Notch and Firing Pin

Picture of Notch and Firing Pin

Make a cut at the pencilled line about as deep as the bungee cord's thick ness. Make another cut at a 45 degree angle to that, creating a notch so that the flat part faces the bow and the angle faces the back. With a file and sandpaper round the front corners of the flat cut so it can release the bungee more easily. Drill a 9/32 inch hole in the middle of the notch right through the wood. Push a piece of 1/4 inch dowel though the hole. This will be the firing pin. Stretch the bungee so it catches in the notch, depressing the dowel. Push the dowel up from the bottom so it releases the bungee. If it works you've done the hard part but to shoot bottle caps you need to build a retainer and trigger.

Step 4: Retainer and Trigger

Picture of Retainer and Trigger

You need a retainer to load and hold the battle cap until you are ready to fire it. For this use large craft sticks known as tongue depressors. Don't cut them with a saw. Instead use heavy duty shears. For the retainer cut a piece about 2/3 of the stick. This will be the part that holds the cap in place. Cut another stick in thirds and stack and glue together as in the diagram. For the trigger, glue two full sticks together.

Step 5: Finish and Fire the Prototype

Picture of Finish and Fire the Prototype

Glue and screw the retainer to the top of the pistol so the short stacked pieces are behind the notch and the longer piece covers and extends ahead of the notch. Cut an angle in the wood ahead of the firing pin on the bottom of the pistol so that when the trigger is placed in it and you squeeze it, it will raise the firing pin. You will have to adjust the length of the firing pin. When it works, glue and screw the trigger to the angle. Of course, you have by now test fired the pistol at every step, so you can add a grip of your own design and shorten the length of wood accordingly. Get some bottle caps and blast away. Of course, if you are like me, you won't be satisfied with how it looks so I have a final step.

Step 6: Make a Bunch

Picture of Make a Bunch

Take it apart and use the original body and grip as templates because while at it you may as well make bunch of them. It's easy to make a number of bows at once and the retainer and triggers are simple enough to make as well. Once you know the prototype works you can mass produce them based on the original. If you sand all the pieces carefully the finished products will look terrific as well.

Comments

achmad_dj (author)2017-07-11

I like the trigger, really simple and easy

TvoAqui (author)2015-09-07

Looks real good job.

apusapus01 (author)2015-08-29

Pretty sweet. The best thing to me was the trigger and retainer. That was interesting. I will enjoy making this.

Etweyede (author)2015-08-19

nice job

primosanch (author)2015-08-18

Pretty cool. Thanks for sharing.

technologyguy (author)2015-08-18

TomV4, of course! In my safety statement I mentioned that. Never drink and shoot- even bottle caps.

technologyguy (author)2015-08-18

Guys, no way this would work underwater. It would float though.

technologyguy (author)2015-08-18

Thanks, mountain g. You have some good instructibles as well.

TomV4 (author)2015-08-18

Um, let's add a word of caution here.

All of those beer bottle caps in the photo were obtained well prior to any use of power tools in making or shooting this weapon, right? Of course, they could safely be assumed to have been intimately a part of the project's conception.

Big Projects (author)2015-08-17

I wonder what this would look like underwater

verbatin01 (author)Big Projects2015-08-18

wet. I don't think you'd get enough momentum for a bottle cap to project very far. even if you modified the projectile, an underwater speargun made out of wood would get soft, reducing the tension to a point that would make it unusable.

JulianAzz (author)2015-08-17

Great idea! Simple and i like it,

About This Instructable

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Bio: Retired Special Education teacher, Design and Technology teacher, and Educational Consultant for Gifted Programs and Design and Technology. Published author with one novel in print ... More »
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