The Glorious Pop-gun Guide!

One of our fantastic gadget building players has written this most excellent guide to building your own no-projectiles loud-bang scrap gun! Using cheap and simple things you can get in a regular Fishing store!

As the event rules say: "Guns never fire projectiles but always make a loud-ass sound of some kind."

There are many ways to achieve this. A cheap and simple way is using percussion "pop-corks" (known as "knallkork", "angelskott", or "frigolitskott" in Swedish). They, and their mechanisms ("pangmekanism", "knallmekanism"), are available for purchase in Sweden from fishing shops as gear for ice fishing (angelfiske).

The pop-corks require a fairly small but quick strike in the middle to set off, at which point they produce a loud bang and some smoke/sparks. The pop-cork mechanism provides that quick strike. When set properly, it is triggered by simply pushing the spring loaded hammer bar upward until the spring starts pulling it around to hit the cork. It takes very little force to do this. The mechanism is easily attached to things using small screws, nails or tape.

But you need something to attach that mechanism to, right? Building a prop gun to fit the pop-cork mechanism can be as easy as attaching a handle (optional) to a length of pipe (serving as a barrel-lookalike) in any way you want, and then attaching the pop-cork mechanism to the pipe or handle somewhere away from your face, plugging the back of the pipe, and finally painting/weathering everything to make it look post-apocalyptic. If you used duct tape, try to cover it up with leather, fabric or similar... And you're done! Now you've got yourself a super-basic LARP-friendly pipe-gun-looking pop-gun prop. The images above is of a 15-minute pop-gun build reminiscent of an ancient hand-cannon, made using a piece of a chair and plumbing parts.

You can come up with all sorts of fancy pop-gun designs. Triggers, multiple barrels, revolvers, funky sights; you name it. If you can, it is recommended to create your own, scrappy-looking mechanism instead of using the commercial one. Because to be fair, it doesn't hold the corks in place very well, and it's way too shiny! A home-made mechanism just needs to hit the cork in the right place against a hard surface when you want it to, and hold the cork firmly in place. It is still a good idea to buy the commercial mechanism just as reference or backup to your own, though.

Some dos and don'ts regarding these kinds of percussion pop-guns:

  • Do not fire off a pop-cork in a small room or close to anyone's ears or eyes without hearing protection and eye protection. This can hurt.

  • Make sure the pop corks are pointed in a way that they throw any potential debris in a safe direction when they go off. Straight up in the air, for example.

  • Plumbing pipes made of copper, aluminum or even plastic with a good paint job works fine for portraying gun barrels instead of steel and iron.

  • Do not design your pop-gun so that any sparks from the pop-cork or other similar ignition source can make it into the "gun barrel(s)". Mainly for legal reasons.

  • Do not make cartridge-loaded pop-guns, for legal reasons. You can think of the pop-guns as muzzle loaders instead, where the pop-corks or equivalent portray the primer!

  • As with all gun replicas; do not show off your creation in public to people who may not understand that it is in fact a prop and not a real gun.

Good luck, scraphead! 

Isn't that just fucking cool?

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