A Knife From a Shot Out M1 Rifle

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About a year ago, I was contacted by a friend of a friend and asked if I could make a knife out of a shot out M1 (it had been shot so many times that the rifling was almost gone from the bore). It sounded like a fun project, so I said "sure".

This picture shows what I was sent, prior to any work being done.

Note that I made an educated guess that the barrel was 4140 steel, and annealing, hardening, and tempering were done based on that assumption.

I did the best I could with pictures, but I was working by myself when I made this knife, so there are no active work shots.

Step 1:

Here's the barrel after annealing.

Step 2:

Here the annealed barrel has been cut into bite sized pieces with my bandsaw.

Step 3:

Next, I cut a slit along the length of one side of the piece of the barrel I chose to make the blade from. I did this by opening up the bandsaw guide and addressing the blade vertically.

Step 4:

Handle scales cut from the stock. Very nice black walnut. Mmmm, tasty.

Step 5:

I heated the barrel in my forge, and started opening it by driving it onto the point of the horn on my anvil. After I opened it sufficiently, I forged it into a rectangular billet.

Step 6:

After the billet was formed, I bandsaw cut the profile. I would normally forge the profile, but there were a number of grooves in the billet that I could not forge weld closed - I suspect that this was due to chromium, which can prevent welds - and 4140 does contain chromium.Leaving the grooves on the surface, where they could be mostly ground away, was a better choice than forging them in and causing cold shuts from failed welds.

Step 7:

Here's the completed profile with a notch cut for the guard and pins drilled for the handle scales.

Step 8:

The bevels have been ground, the blade has been normalized, hardened, and tempered, and I've signed the blade.

Step 9:

Here the scales have been roughly shaped and pinned to the tang, and then finish sanded in place. Note that the front of the scales should be finished prior to the scales being attached - that surface is very hard to finish after the scales are attached.

Step 10:

I counter sunk a hole over each pin to accommodate the base of the bullet casings that the customer provided. After they were fitted they were epoxied in place.

Step 11:

Here's the finished knife and sheath. Please feel free to ask questions about this project.

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    81 Discussions

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    Chief741A

    1 year ago

    Can't tell without seeing the receiver - I'm not exactly a gunsmith - but that sure looks like an M1 Carbine stock, not an M1 Rifle. I am a retired soldier, and I am old enough to have handled a couple dozen M1 Rifles, and I have never seen one with with a sling relief cut into the stock like this one did. I suspect that you sacrificed a Carbine, not a Rifle, to make this knife.

    I know, picky picky, they are both rifles - but there is a difference. If you had cut up an M1 Rifle barrel I might have had to say prayers for you at my shrine to the prophet Garrand... and it was painful enough to see that beautiful walnut stock sacrificed, but I guess that sin was committed by the owner of the carbine...

    Please tell me that was an M1 Carbine and not an M1 Garrand Rifle.

    3 replies
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    tgdulaChief741A

    Reply 1 year ago

    I've handled and shot Garands and carbines, but a very long time ago, so I'm no expert. The unanimous consensus among people I trust is that it's a carbine.

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    ksoemtgdula

    Reply 1 year ago

    The stock looks like it is from M1 carbine. But, then it is odd that given brass cases are 30-06 cases.

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    shepnsteinChief741A

    Reply 1 year ago

    I own an M1 carbine, and that is definitely what this one is

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    Eagleman117

    1 year ago

    How will i make this if i only have a pellet gun that we still use????

    1 reply
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    ThomasL127

    1 year ago

    Knife making to me is the ultimate in craftsmanship, here is yet another example. Wonderful!

    1 reply
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    RogerJ32

    1 year ago

    great sharp looking Knife !! ;) Bravo for that Kind of Work..a Masterpiece

    1 reply
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    IvanC52

    1 year ago

    Nice!!!!

    your forge home made?, and if how, do you have a film for that.

    thumb up, all ten.

    Hi Ivan, Denmark

    1 reply
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    tgdulaIvanC52

    Reply 1 year ago

    I have made some forges, but not the one in the pics. It's an Ellis forge with a T-Rex burner.

    Thank you!

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    Josehf Murchisontgdula

    Reply 1 year ago

    Trash to Treasure, Epilog, Build a Tool, a knife is a tool, and if you reference other knife making Instructables, Remix however you can only enter 3 contests.