DIY PVC Bolt-action Rifle

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For a long time, I have been fascinated by objects that launch projectiles. So, when I saw this incredible PVC rifle on a Youtube video, I decided to replicate it. In this tutorial, I will give you step by step instructions, as well as every material and tool I use (with many linked to Amazon or Home Depot in step one), to enable you to build your own PVC bolt-action rifle.

Step 1: Gathering Tools and Materials

*These are all the tools and materials required for the whole project.*

Tools:

  • Pencil
  • Radial arm saw (or any type of saw)
  • Heat gun
  • Tape measure
  • Hot glue gun
  • Wire cutters
  • Belt sander
  • Drill or drill press
  • 5/32" drill bit
  • 1/4" drill bit
  • 27/64" drill bit
  • 11/16" spade bit
  • 1/2" spade bit
  • 1 1/2" hole saw bit
  • Dremel with accessories
  • Protractor

Materials:

  • 3/4" PVC 10 ft cut to the following lengths:
    • 5 1/2" length
    • 8" length
    • 14" length
    • 17" length

Step 2: Constructing the Stock

Materials for Constructing the Stock:

  • 8" length of 3/4" PVC
  • 14" length of 3/4" PVC
  • 3/4" male adapter MPT
  • 3/4" PVC tee
  • 2" x 1/4" clevis pin
  • 3/32" x 3/4" cotter pin
  • A quarter
  • PVC primer and cement
  • Paper plate or cardboard for protecting surfaces (optional)

Tools for Constructing the Stock:

  • Dremel with accessories
  • Heat gun
  • Protractor
  • Hot glue gun
  • 1/4" drill bit
  • Drill or drill press

Instructions:

  1. Take the 14" length of 3/4" PVC and mark it at 4 3/8" down one side.
  2. Take the protractor and the marked PVC pipe and mark 145 degrees on one side and 35 degrees on the other. This will give you an angle of 110 degrees with the vertex being the mark 4 3/8" down the pipe.
  3. Using the cutting bit on the Dremel, cut out each angle making sure to keep them square to the pipe. The bottom of the pipe should be left uncut when you are finished.
  4. Cut the long end of the pipe at a 35 degree angle, keeping it square with the 110 degree angle.
  5. Using the heat gun, heat up the 110 degree angle, and bend the pipe until both faces of the cut meet. Keep it as square as possible. Set aside.
  6. Gather the quarter, the male adapter, and the hot glue gun. Squeeze a layer of hot glue onto the rim INSIDE the male adapter. Press the quarter into the hot glue quickly.
  7. Mark out 30 degrees from the top of the PVC tee. Cut the angle out using the Dremel.
  8. Take the PVC tee and press the 8" length of PVC into the protruding end firmly. Press the modified male adapter firmly onto the other end of the 8" length of PVC. Press the modified 14" length of PVC firmly into the uncut end of the tee. The angled end of the 14" length should be near or touching the modified male adapter.
  9. Using the 1/4" drill bit, drill a hole through the male adapter, 8" PVC, and 14" PVC. The hole should be located 9/16" away from the non-threaded end of the male adapter.
  10. Take the clevis pin and wiggle it through the layers of PVC. Insert the cotter pin to make sure everything fits.
  11. Disassemble pieces.
  12. Prime and cement all the pieces together. Make sure that the holes line up for each piece.
  13. Insert the clevis pin and secure with the cotter pin.
  14. Set aside the completed stock.

Step 3: Constructing the Combustion Chamber

Materials for Constructing the Combustion Chamber:

  • 3/4" PVC plug
  • 5" length of 1" PVC
  • 1 1/4" x 3/4" PVC reducer bushing
  • 1 1/2" x 1" PVC reducer bushing
  • 2 1/8" length of 2" PVC
  • 2" x 2" x 1 1/2" PVC reducer tee
  • 2" x 3/4" PVC FPT reducer bushing
  • 2" PVC end cap
  • Barbecue sparker
  • 3 1/2" piece of vinyl tubing
  • PVC primer and cement
  • Super glue
  • WD-40
  • Paper plate or cardboard for protecting surfaces (optional)

Tools for Constructing the Combustion Chamber:

  • Radial arm saw (or any type of saw)
  • Dremel with accessories
  • Heat gun
  • Tape measure
  • Glue gun
  • Wire cutters
  • Belt sander
  • Drill or drill press
  • 5/32" drill bit
  • 27/64" drill bit
  • 11/16" spade bit
  • 1/2" spade bit
  • 1 1/2" hole saw bit

Instructions:

  1. Take the 1 1/4" x 3/4" PVC reducer bushing and use the Dremel to sand down the lip and the inside so that it slides freely on a 3/4" pipe. Separate the bushing from the pipe and set it aside.
  2. Take the barbecue sparker and use the Dremel to sand the plastic snap connectors off so the sides are smooth.
  3. Remove both wires from the metal box and trim both wires on one side. Connect the wires to the barbecue sparker. Set aside.
  4. Take the 2" PVC end cap and use the 1 1/2" hole bit to drill a hole in the PVC end cap that is 1/4" off center.
  5. Dremel out that hole so that the modified 1 1/4" x 3/4" PVC reducer can fit snugly inside.
  6. Use the 27/64" drill bit to drill another hole centered beneath the first. The hole should be flush to the bottom of the cap.
  7. Press the 3 1/2" piece of vinyl tubing into the 27/64" hole so that there is 1 3/4" sticking out the front.
  8. Use the Dremel to sand down the 3/4" PVC plug so that it fits snugly into the 5" length of 1" PVC pipe.
  9. Insert plug and 5" length into the 1 1/2" x 1" PVC reducer bushing.
  10. Use the heat gun to heat and bend the 5" length of PVC at a slight angle. Flatten the very end.
  11. Use the belt sander to sand off a curve on the flattened end. This will become the handle.
  12. Take the 2" x 2" x 1 1/2" PVC reducer tee and fit the handle into the 1 1/2" spigot. Position the handle as shown in the photo.
  13. Mark approximately one inch from the base of the PVC tee (see photo).
  14. Mark the 11/16" spade bit with a piece of tape 2" from the tip. This will allow you to see when to stop drilling. Drill 2" into the PVC tee.
  15. Replace the 11/16" bit with the 1/2" spade bit, and drill completely through the rest of the handle/PVC tee assembly.
  16. Mark 1/2" from the end of the PVC tee. This mark should be centered with the 1/2" hole in the PVC tee. At that 1/2" point, mark two holes 3/8" apart (see photos).
  17. Take the 2" x 3/4" PVC FPT reducer bushing and press it firmly into the marked end of the PVC tee.
  18. Using the 5/32" drill bit, drill two holes where marked on the PVC tee.
  19. Take the barbecue sparker and slide it through the 11/16" hole in the PVC tee. Push the wires of the sparker through the 1/2" hole on the other side of the PVC tee.
  20. Cut the wires approximately 3" long and strip the ends 1/4" long. Thread the wires individually into the separate 5/32" holes.
  21. Confirm correct fit of all pieces. Adjust if needed before priming the pieces.
  22. Disassemble and prime the PVC pieces.
  23. Apply cement and reassemble the following pieces, making sure the holes are lined up:
    • Assemble the handle: Cement the 3/4" PVC plug inside the modified 5" length of PVC. Cement the PVC plug and 5" length of PVC into the 1 1/2" x 1" PVC reducer bushing.
    • Secure the handle: Cement the assembled handle into the 1 1/2" spigot on the PVC tee.
  24. Insert the barbecue sparker through the 11/16" hole in the PVC tee. Push the wires through the 1/2" hole on the other side of the PVC tee, and individually into the separate 5/32" holes.
  25. Look inside the PVC tee to find the hole where the barbecue sparker is visible. Use the hot glue gun (on the INSIDE of the tee) to fill up this hole. This step is necessary to prevent alcohol from leaking out when the rifle is in use.
  26. Apply cement and reassemble the following pieces:
    • The 2 1/8" length of 2" PVC to the modified end cap
    • The other end of the 2 1/8" PVC to the PVC tee
  27. Super glue the tubing in place.
  28. Super glue the wires in place.
  29. Set aside the completed combustion chamber.

Step 4: Constructing the Barrel

Materials for Constructing the Barrel:

  • 3/4" PVC coupling
  • 5 1/2" length of 3/4" PVC
  • 17" length of 3/4" PVC
  • 10" length of 1 1/4" PVC
  • Two 1 1/2" lengths of 1" PVC
  • 10" length of 2" PVC
  • 1/4" x 1 1/2" -20 tpi standard bolt
  • 1/4" -20 tpi nut
  • 5/16" -18 tpi nut
  • 3/8" -16 tpi nut
  • Two nylon flange bearings 1/4" x 1/4"
  • The ball pump
  • A rag
  • Acetone
  • PVC primer and cement
  • Two 1" lengths of 24 gauge wire
  • Super glue
  • Paper plate or cardboard for protecting surfaces (optional)

Tools for Constructing the Barrel:

  • Radial arm saw (or any type of saw)
  • Heat gun
  • Dremel with accessories
  • Hot glue gun
  • Tape measure
  • Wire cutters
  • Belt sander
  • Drill or drill press
  • 1/4" drill bit

Instructions:

  1. Gather the 3/4" PVC coupling, the drill with 1/4" drill bit, and the tape measure. Mark 1/2" from one end of the PVC coupling and drill a hole straight down through the upper wall of the coupling. Wiggle the drill back and forth, making the hole slightly grooved (see photo). Test fit the 1/4" bolt. It should slide in with a little bit of resistance. Set aside.
  2. Gather the 5 1/2" length of 3/4" PVC, the hot glue gun, and the two 1" lengths of 24 gauge wire. Use the hot glue gun to glue the wires in a "+" position across one opening of the 3/4" pipe. Set aside.
  3. Gather the two 1 1/2" pieces of 1" PVC, and use the Dremel to slice the upper wall of those two pieces from end to end so that they can spread apart to fit over the 17" length of 3/4" PVC.
  4. Slide one of the sliced PVC pieces onto the 17" length of PVC, positioning it 3 1/2" from the end of the 17" length of PVC. Slide the other sliced PVC piece onto the same side, positioning it 1/2" from the end of the 17" length of PVC. Set aside.
  5. Take the 10" length of 1 1/4" PVC and mark a point 2 1/2" from one end. Using that point as a starting dot, make a rectangle 2" long and 1 1/2" wide. The farthest end of the rectangle should be 4 1/2"away from the end. Sketch out a stairway pattern from the lower left corner up to the upper right corner of the rectangle (see photo). The notches should look like a 3/8" x 3/8" square with a side erased. Use the Dremel to cut out the pattern. This will be the chamber for the bolt. Set aside.
  6. Gather the ball pump, rag, and acetone. Pour some acetone onto the rag. With the rag, wipe off as much of the gloss on the ball pump as possible. This will provide a more adhesive surface for the PVC primer in a future step.
  7. Use the Dremel to cut 1/4" off the tip of the ball pump nozzle. Set the ball pump aside.
  8. Take the 10" length of 2" PVC and mark out ten 1/2" disks with 1/8" between each disk. Confirm that the saw blade is an eighth of an inch across so you can use the 1/8" sections you marked out to guide your cut. Use your saw to cut out the disks, making sure the blade of the saw remains in the 1/8" space between each disk.
  9. Use a belt sander to smooth the edges of the ten 2" PVC disks.
  10. Gather the ball pump, the modified 10" length of 1 1/4" PVC, the 10 2" PVC disks, and the heat gun. Line up the 10" length of PVC with the ball pump so that the nozzle of the pump and the chamber are both on the same side.
  11. Heat up each disk individually and stretch it to fit over both the pump and the 1 1/4" length of PVC. Keep each disk square. Separate the disks so there is a 3/8" space between each disk.
  12. At this point, there will be three disks covering the chamber of the 1 1/4" PVC pipe. Mark each of the disks where they begin to overlap the chamber on the top and remove them from the whole assembly. Cut that mark with the Dremel. Measure 1 3/4" up from the bottom of the disk and cut it with the Dremel. Heat the lower portion of the cut disks to form a curve (see photo).
  13. Slide the three modified disks back to their original position on the ball pump/modified 1 1/4" PVC pipe.
  14. Prime and cement the following:
    • The disks to the 1 1/4" PVC pipe/ball pump
    • The 1" pieces of PVC to the 17" length of 3/4" PVC
  15. Take the 3/4" coupling and slide it into the 1 1/4" PVC pipe. Take the 1/4" bolt and slide it into the hole in the coupling. Slide one nylon flange bearing onto the bolt followed by the 5/16" nut and 3/8" nut. Slide the other nylon flange bearing over the bolt and into the 3/8" nut. Apply super glue to the threads and cap everything off with the 1/4" nut. Tighten as much as possible by hand.
  16. Take the 17" length of PVC with the two sliced 1" PVC pieces cemented on it, and slide it down the end of the 1 1/4" pipe that is opposite of the coupling. Slide the 17" length of PVC lightly into the coupling. The very end of the 17" pipe should be up against the head of the bolt.
  17. Using the bolt, slide the coupling down the 1 1/4" pipe until it reaches the end of the chamber. The 17" length of PVC will move with the coupling. Hold the 17" pipe with one hand and carefully remove the coupling from the 17" pipe. Mark the 17" pipe where it protrudes out from the 1 1/4" pipe, this will allow proper alignment in the next step.
  18. Prime and cement the following:
    • The modified 17" PVC pipe into the 1 1/4" PVC pipe, lining up the previously made mark with the end of the 1 1/4" pipe
    • The 5 1/2" PVC pipe into the coupling with the wire cross protruding out the end of the 1 1/4" PVC pipe.

Step 5: Assembling the Rifle

Materials for Assembling the Rifle:

  • 1 1/4" PVC coupling
  • PVC primer and cement
  • Combustion chamber
  • Barrel
  • Stock
  • Paper plate or cardboard for protecting surfaces (optional)

Tools for Assembling the Rifle:

  • None

Instructions:

  1. Apply primer to the combustion chamber, barrel, and 1 1/4" PVC coupling. Cement them together making sure the parts are square to each other. The tubing of the combustion chamber should fit over the end of the ball pump nozzle.
  2. Screw the stock into the back of the combustion chamber.

    Step 6: Painting the Rifle

    Materials for Painting the Rifle:

    • Flat black spray paint
    • Camouflage brown spray paint
    • Camouflage dark green spray paint
    • Camouflage light green spray paint
    • Wood scraps or cardboard
    • Foliage
    • The rifle

    Tools for Painting the Rifle:

    • None

    Instructions:

    1. Lay out the scraps of wood or a piece of cardboard.
    2. Place the rifle on the wood scraps or cardboard and spray paint it with the flat black spray paint. Allow to dry.
    3. Flip over and repeat on the opposite side.
    4. Lightly cover the rifle with the foliage. Spray paint everything brown without moving the foliage. Allow to dry.
    5. Flip over and repeat on the opposite side.
    6. Lightly cover the rifle with the foliage. Spray paint a couple areas dark green and light green without moving the foliage. Allow to dry.
    7. Flip over and repeat on the opposite side.

    Step 7: Firing the Rifle

    Materials for Firing the Rifle:

    • 91% isopropyl alcohol
    • Aerosol hairspray
    • Bullets
    • The rifle

    Tools for Firing the Rifle:

    • None

    Instructions:

    1. Remove the stock from the combustion chamber and pour about a tablespoon of isopropyl alcohol into the combustion chamber.
    2. Rotate the rifle in circles so that the alcohol coats the inside of the chamber.
    3. Spray a quick shot of hairspray into the chamber, and screw the stock back into the combustion chamber. Pump the ball pump six times, load a bullet into the chamber, and pull the trigger. The rifle may initially need additional hairspray, but as soon as it is warmed up, you should be able to fire around twenty shots without reloading.

    Step 8: Conclusion

    Have fun! I hope you enjoy your rifle as much as I have enjoyed mine. If you have any questions, I would love to answer them. After you make your rifle, please share it below. I can't wait to see what you create!

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      4 Discussions

      0
      None
      DJ354

      19 days ago

      This should have won first place. I am disappointed in the judges.

      1 reply
      0
      None
      Acebuilds

      21 days ago

      neat job!! have been looking for a gun like this with this much quality 4 ages
      gets my vote

      1 reply