Picture of Tar and feather gun
Ever find yourself needing to tar and feather someone, but lacking an angry mob to back you up? Maybe you wish to exact quick and messy physical revenge in a hurry? Or perhaps you just want to dominate the neighbourhood water gun fight once and for all?

The Tar and Feather Gun* is for you. Live out all of your Bugsy Malone fantasies with this fun and messy contraption:

As far as I know, this has a fairly unique design among water (well, foam) guns in that it has a breech-loaded cartridge mechanism. The beauty of this is that you can quickly reload with a variety of ammunitions in pre-filled containers. More importantly, once you've fired the gun you can eject the depleted cartridge from the rear of the gun with an extremely satisfying *ka-chunk* sound.

Read on to find out how I built it!


There are quite a few things that can go wrong when you're building and playing with this gun. You'll be using sharp things to cut plastic. You'll be playing with drills, saws and toxic glues. You'll be putting a home-made pressure chamber under a lot of internal stress. And yes, you'll be shooting your friends in the face. Please be sensible. Wear safety goggles and use your tar and feather gun responsibly.

Whatever you do, don't leave the gun lying around loaded during an MIT frat party. Otherwise this will happen:

*a.k.a. "the personal pneumatic variable payload delivery device"
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this is easily my favourite 'ible
Lokisgodhi2 years ago
Doesn't anyone know how to make a Molotov cocktail anymore?

Damn kids, always making things more complicated than they need to be.
flamesami4 years ago
hmmm...thought train arriving at station 1:
-this gun can fire flour;
-flour is flammable and in powder form, therefore having a large surface area;
-when flour has maximum surface contact with air, it becomes extremely volatile;
anybody else on the same thought train as me?
I know I've arrived fairly late into this conversation, but I agree with Death31313 and the potential danger of using flour. Like you mention, flamesami, flour needs to have a high amount of surface contact with air to be volatile. From what is demonstrated in the video, the cannon doesn't produce enough force to disperse the flour evenly nor at a great enough distance to become a fire concern.
I can safely say that, using a bottle and balloon "catapault", you don't get a fireball. The flour doesn't get spread far enough - with me it mainly whizzed by the candle and only a tiny amount lit, probably less than a pinch. (I only used about a teaspoonful, so no comments about dangerous research)
Throwing it onto a campfire works quite well though, I did that last winter *grins* don't do it at home though - I'm a trained idiot
I had a LLLLLOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGGGG conversation about this on my 'ible. ( Bedroom fx ep. 2 safe smokebomb)
A cup of all-purpose flour mixed with air has roughly the same explosive potential as a half a stick of dynamite. Be very careful if you decide to play around with such things.
you really shouldn't put that sort of info out on the internet... that said, thanks for the heads up....muahahahahaaa!!
That said.. OFF TO THE KITCHEN!! :P
That is not exactly true as flour does not so much explode, but rather burns rather quickly, there is no compression and as a result the pressure caused by lighting it does not have the devastating effects of dynamite. I have personally seen CO2 cartage filled with nitroglycerin (the explosive contained in dynamite) take a massive chunk out of a brick wall, were as I have stood within inches of a flour bomb and ended up only slightly singed (I was wearing a full body fire retardant suit). Sorry if I'm bursting any bubbles.
All the nitro does is burn quickly. If you light it with a match instead of impacting it, it burns about like kerosene.

Most flour bombs don't fully aerate the flour before ignition, resulting in a slower, and often incomplete burn. Get it all floating in the air before you touch it off and it generates a pretty significant concussion wave. When General Sherman sacked the city of Atlanta during the American Civil War, he blew up a large number of buildings with flour. Even with the relatively poor mixing done by shaking out a bag of flour inside, it only takes about fifty pounds to take the average house completely off its foundation.

Basically, don't throw flour on grease fires, and don't load this gun with flour and shoot it at a source of ignition. The results of either would tend to be unpleasant.
I'd say just go all out and use thermite.
Thermite is extremely hard to ignite you can us a blow torch and the stuff still will not usually start up, when I light thermite i always have to use magnesium ribbon and then it still takes a few seconds, White Phosphorous would be a better bet.
PenfoldPlant (author)  flamesami4 years ago
Given how much flour and gunk I was covered with by the end of shooting this video, I'm not sure that would be a great idea... I suspect that if the flour did ignite, it would do so in a fireball that quickly enveloped the arm of whoever was firing the gun.

And don't even get me started on napalm. This is probably a project best kept away from fire :-)
i was thinking more in a remote controlled, awesome fireball efect sort of way - then no-one gets severe burns and you can fake a bomb blast for video without having to use "real" explosives
I'm not so sure about the flammability of flour, but as far as safety is concerned you should NOT INHALE it. It clogs up the lungs and is recognised as an occupational hazard in the pastry industry.
It is.

Google Washburn A Mill in 1874.
My brother did a school science project many years ago in which he attempted to confirm the flammability of flour in a setting such as this. It was nearly impossible with flour straight from the bag, because the flour has too high a moisture content. He was only able to achieve ignition within a cloud of airborne flour after thoroughly drying the flour to remove the natural moisture content.

I think the intern is safe.
I mostly just thought "splat".
Wyattr551233 years ago
What iF you modded it to have an air cartridge style reload so you push a button and it drops of, and you insert a fully pressurized air chamber, it locks in and you start on the ammo cartridge or scale it up so you can have a team of people like a military mortar
gl0rious3 years ago
best thing ever. do we have an estimate price range?
Nice job Mike!
Kiteman4 years ago
I'd like to see this firing a cartridge full of confetti.

Or socks.
PenfoldPlant (author)  Kiteman4 years ago
I tried firing this with confetti and found that it really didn't work very well at all. The ammunition has to pass through the inside of the spring within the barrel, so anything that is solid or stringy has a tendency to get tangled.

I suspect that with more experimentation and higher pressure, I could get confetti to work but it would probably take a bit of re-engineering.
what if you put a circle of cardboard in the bottom of the confetti/glitter round as a plug.
rs2323 years ago
what is the max range on a light weight load?
sharder3 years ago
totally gonna do it with borax slime
an11534 years ago
whow slow down way to complicated for me :)
SHIFT!4 years ago
Even though I can't say that these are most complimentary pictures I've been in, it's a worthy sacrifice in the name of science!
PenfoldPlant (author)  SHIFT!4 years ago
For science!

At least we didn't try to the shaving cream and razor blade "autoshave" cartridge on you...
Oooh, "autoshave" featuring a Nair body cream load! It could be the next big thing: The T&F application system for Nair, for those emergencies with gorilla hair shirt folks at the beach... ;) Brilliant! Have you tried a butterfly solenoid or just the ball valve? It might yield better psi release.
i want one
-chase-4 years ago
Okay - so i showed this to our group of college students
 - they love it and agree we should make at least 150 of them asap.

This is going to be so cool to bring them to the next Political rally - (protest)

Steal our taxes! - Say hello to out little friends - the tar and feather ejector!

Where does Bush live again? Cheney? Oil company exec's? Obama's easy enough to find...

This is going to be a great year for protesting - pick your corruption we have a canister to fit all...

Ooo- just thought of something - maybe we can make a canister up of the fracting fluids the oil companies are dumping into the river... though that might ber better suited for a super soaker...

But we could still tar and feather them - then super soak em for poisioning our water! with their own tar balls! How cool is that!

Thanx Penfoldplant! We just might make head way thanx to you and your tar and feather gun!

- chase -
PS118 -chase-4 years ago
No good. Even with the great breach-loading mechanism, this would still be far too slow for all the politicians who need to be on the receiving end of it.

For that, might I suggest a tar and feathers gatling gun or simply a larger caliber version that accepts... say... a 55 gallon drum.
-chase- PS1184 years ago

PS118 said, "No good. Even with the great breach-loading mechanism, this would still be far too slow for all the politicians who need to be on the receiving end of it."

That's true for the most part - i've noticed  that politicians move extremely quick on things that hurt the nation or are benifiting only certain companies that funded their campaigns. I suggest targeting them when they are grazing on issues that would benifit the country - they move so slow and are so slow to react they should be fairly easy to tar and feather.

The only real issue being that at such a slow pace that they move at those times  - figuring out if they are alive or if they are really dead and just forgot to inform any one.

PS118 said, "For that, might I suggest a tar and feathers gatling gun or simply a larger caliber version that accepts... say... a 55 gallon drum."

lol - good one! lol I'd love to see the politicains or CEO face after being hit with a tar and feather cartrige of that caliber...Perhaps PenfoldPlant can scale it up a bit to accomidate the 55 gallon cartriges... ;0)


PenfoldPlant (author)  -chase-4 years ago
Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

Also: awesome! Pics or it didn't happen.
No not the destroyer of worlds but rather the builder and designer of weapons that saved the world!

You'll be a hero! Earmarked for eternatiy as the man who saved thousands from evil doers and corrupt corporations.

Yup - gotta have pics... and we're coming up with  a points system...

something like
TAR and Feather
100 points for a Politician
100 points for a CEO of a fortune 500 company like Exxon or something.
50 points for a Past Politician like Senator Ted Stevens

Supper Soaker same point value or maybe less 15 points not sure yet.

We figure we can compete with other colleges fro around the country - maybe the world.

First college to do both super soak and Tar and Feather and post it on You tube for a big point value person gets a 500 point bonus.

Something along those lines anyway. we should have the point system worked out by this week end.

And we figured out the super soaker holds more of a liquid type tar - and then we shoot the fethers from your tar and feather gun all at once
- this is going to be so cool.

Hey we may even make the news if its the right person or this really catches on between colleges.

and who knows we might even save a town or two - or even a baby seal in the process.

sooooooooooo funny
studleylee4 years ago
That was funny :-) Poor Intern.
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