Home-brewed Derringer

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Michael Tinker Pearce, Oct 23, 2016.

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  1. Michael Tinker Pearce

    Michael Tinker Pearce Member

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    About a year-and-a-half ago I had been watching a lot of Youtube videos about home-made guns- most of which, at that time, might be more properly referred to as 'improvised firearms.' Perhaps optimistically I thought, 'I can do better than that!' At he time I did not have a mill or metal lathe but did have a pretty decent set-up for knife-making so I gave it a shot.

    Originally I intended to make a simple single-shot .22 Derringer using stacked-steel construction out of 1/4" 5160 spring steel- one section in the center for the mechanism and two outer plates. I quickly decided to pin and silver solder the interior sections to the right-hand side-plate to form the frame. I made the trigger and hammer out of half-hard spring-steel and made a flat mainspring as well. The coil-spring for the trigger-return was scavenged from a ball-point pen.

    The barrel-block was made from 3/4 inch mild steel, and the plan was to buy a .22 barrel liner to insert in it but I got a bit side-tracked... the gun was massively overkill-strong, and I had this old 1911 barrel lying around... I cut away the chamber and made a make-shift reamer to create a new chamber from the muzzle end, bored the barrel-block and press-fit the barrel into it. OK, that may be dignifying the process... I put a piece of wood over the muzzle and hammered the barrel into the block. It was not at all easy, but it worked. I'd intended to silver-solder the barrel in place, but it proved unnecessary.

    I made and mounted a firing pin in the hammer-face and I was done. Well... sort of. there was quite a bit of fussing and modification before it became reliable. At this point I've put over a hundred rounds through it with no signs of stress, wear or loosening. Despite having no sights at all it's not hard to put hits center-mass at seven yards. It's- how do I put this- pretty exciting to shoot, but at 22 ounces it's no feather-weight and the recoil is quite manageable. There is no extractor, so empty cases need to be driven out with a rod; my improvised reamer did not do a great job on the chamber.

    I have to say, this gun was not made as a political statement, an exercise in survival skills or to prove a point; it was strictly to see if I could do it. It's not at all a practical gun, but I've had a lot of fun both making and shooting it. I've made two guns since then, but they are tales for another time.

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  2. Salmoneye

    Salmoneye Member

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    Very interesting...

    Wish I had the tools and skill...
     
  3. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Michael Tinker Pearce

    I like it! I also think it's great for your first attempt at building a gun from the ground up! Definitely a robust design and at 22 oz. no lightweight there, but still a good thing with it being chambered for .45 ACP.
     
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  4. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Member

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    So what caliber is it?
     
  5. Coyote3855
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    Coyote3855 Contributing Member

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    Given the pictures of the ammunition and the fact that he used a 1911 barrel, I'll hazard a guess and say it's probably a .45 ACP.
     
  6. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Nicely done. :thumbup:

    Shooting .45 ACP out of a one finger hold pistol? You da man! :D
     
  7. Michael Tinker Pearce

    Michael Tinker Pearce Member

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    Salmoneye- Tools and skill are obtainable. While I have a pretty well-equipped shop there is nothing in this build that could not be done with a hacksaw, files, a hand-drill, some sandpaper and a vice. Sure, it would take a lot longer, but it could be done. As for the skill I can't deny a few decades of experience working with metal was pretty helpful, but it was not essential; again, it would have just taken longer. It's all relative; MachIVshooter's projects make me feel like a troglodyte banging stones together in a cave, but I'll never approach his level of skill if I don't start somewhere!
     
  8. Michael Tinker Pearce

    Michael Tinker Pearce Member

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    It's really not that bad... but after twenty rounds or so I'm pretty much done. Testosterone-poisoning will only take a man so far... :p
     
  9. LoneGoose

    LoneGoose Member

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    very nice. I'm envious.
     
  10. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Found some time between swords? Nice work, BTW; Looks solid, and the grips are a nice touch!
     
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  11. Michael Tinker Pearce

    Michael Tinker Pearce Member

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    Everyone needs a hobby!
     
  12. stoky

    stoky Member

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    way cool! :D
     
  13. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    Awesome project! :)
     
  14. Swing

    Swing Member

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    Neat-O.
     
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  15. Erich

    Erich Member

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    Cooler than a fan! :)
     
  16. H&R Glock

    H&R Glock Member

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    Next project................... belt fed!
     
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  17. Michael Tinker Pearce

    Michael Tinker Pearce Member

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    LOL- I think the next project is more likely to be a single or double barrel before I even get to revolver or semi-auto, let alone belt-fed...
     
  18. Ranger Roberts

    Ranger Roberts Become a THR contributing member!

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    Very nice!
     
  19. MachIVshooter
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    MachIVshooter Contributing Member

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    Looks good! Maybe dehorn it, add some coutouring or embellishments to fancy it up a bit, but a nice little derringer!

    Probably still a good idea. Pretty much all of mine are press fits as well, but I still use pins and/or welds to more positively retain them. They can and do work loose over time.
     
  20. Gaucho Gringo

    Gaucho Gringo Member

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    Nice project. It is a lot better gun the the WW2 Liberator. At least yours has a rifled barrel. You go to prove that old "yankee ingenuity" is still alive and kicking.
     
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  21. azrn

    azrn Member

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    nice going. wish I had the time and skill to do that. good luck on future projects.:)
     
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  22. Michael Tinker Pearce

    Michael Tinker Pearce Member

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    Thank you! So, after putting 25 rounds in a row with this gun on my last range trip I discovered two things:
    1)There is a slight edge where the grip joins the fame on the right side, and it will wear a hole in your hand.
    2) Tendonitis. This appeared shortly after the 25-round string. Coincidence? Maybe not.
     
  23. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Does that mean you are going to round off some of the edges?
     
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  24. Michael Tinker Pearce

    Michael Tinker Pearce Member

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    Just the one that is bothering me. I originally intended to round things off, but decided I liked the blocky look. Besides, that last thing I want to do at this point is take weight off the gun! The recoil is exciting enough now...
     
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  25. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    I can imagine! :D
     
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