Monday, August 23, 2021


There’s something supremely satisfying about shooting a firearm with all the right bells, whistles, fit and finish. A slick, buttery-smooth action is icing on the cake. What about achieving this level of quality by your own hand? Upgrading, restoring, fixing and even building firearms will cost time and money, but getting your hands dirty is a great way to leave the chaos of everyday life behind. Wherever you are on the skills development scale, and whatever the state of your tool inventory, DIY GUNS has plenty ofproject ideas and how-to instructions.

Using a high-speed router, tabletop drill press and patience, Editor Tom McHale successfully built an AR-10 rifle thanks to the components and instructions included in an 80 Percent Arms kit. With some helpfulinput and parts from Aero Precision, Bravo Company Manufacturing and Timney Triggers, this machining adventure resulted in a .308 capable of shooting impressive groups downrange.

While the projects detailed in some stories require more tooling investment, like re-barreling an M1 Carbine, making an armored chronograph stand or building parts with a lathe and end mill, others require only hand tools. Jeremy Clough, a gunsmith trained by Wayne Novak, walks readers through the process of custom fitting a 1911 barrel. It’s a great example of something one does almost exclusively with hand tools, care and plenty of patience. On the topic of 1911s, Roy Huntington reveals how easy it is to completely take down the John Moses Browning pistol using nothing but its own parts. The genius gunmaker designed this pistol for tool-less disassembly and reassembly in a pinch. (If nothing else, it’s a great trick to show buddies at the range.)

One lucky winner can put their DIY skills to the test with the Traditions Firearms’ Mountain Howitzer Cannon Kit topping this Special Edition giveaway package. Assembling the .50-cal., fully functional mini-cannon with a 6.75" barrel will be a breeze with easy-to-follow instructions. A Bestia knife from TOPS Knives and a Freya axe from CRKT round out the prize package valued at nearly $650. Readers are encouraged to enter the free drawing by visiting

After the tools are put away, find a comfortable chair and enjoy Frank Jardim’s “Archibald Periwinkle Ltd.” — a fictional story inspired by a Vetterli steampunk rifle he built from scrap and odd parts. And when the desire to dabble in DIY undoubtedly arises and all that’s on hand is a handsaw, sandpaper and scrap wood, turn to Dr. Will Dabbs’ account of how he outfitted a young sergeant with a stunning BAR reproduction made entirely from wood and PVC pipe.

American Handgunner DIY GUNS is available for purchase at and Amazon (print only).