Nerf gun converted to CO2 powered semi-automatic

[Philysteak527] modified a Nerf rifle, making it semi-automatic thanks to the powers of compressed air. This is not a simple change to make, and rests on his ability to design and manufacture a bolt-action that fits in the gun, works with the Nerf ammo, and uses a CO2 canister and solenoid valve for the firing action. Knowing that, it’s not surprising to find that he’s an engineering student at Stony Brook University. He started with some POM, or polyoxymethylene plastic sold under the brand name Delrin, and used a CNC lathe to machine the parts for the bolt. Add in some brass fittings, a solenoid, tubing, and the electronics and you’re in business.

We’ve embedded the test footage after the break. Looks like the new internals allow a rather fast firing rate (maybe 2-3 shots per second?) and achieve a distance between seventy and one hundred feet.


  1. Durgo says:


  2. heatgap says:

    This would have been my dream “Widow Maker” nerf weapon as a kid.

  3. lame says:

    I am so tired of seeing nerf gun hacks. I would rather build the steam powered rick roller.

  4. Leithoa says:

    If you’re going to go through all the trouble of gutting it and replacing the internals, why bother spending the +$40 on the gun in the first place?
    He obviously has some machining capabilities so designing a stock and barrel for the new internals isn’t outside his skill set.

  5. CutThroughStuffGuy says:

    First high end paintball guns then entry level paintball guns now NERF have all gone semi auto. What’s next?

  6. joe says:

    How comes that theres summer there, u livin on hawaii or woot

  7. WELDO says:

    It’s a magazine, not a clip. Christ.

  8. arfink says:

    Actually, this gun probably didn’t cost him $40+, the Long Shot is being discontinued and runs a measly $15 most places right now. This looks fairly impressive, but if he’s only getting 100 feet from a fully custom breech with a CO2 tank then he’s doing something wrong…

  9. arfink says:

    Nevermind, it’s just an angel breech with an odd piston. 80 feet is about right.

  10. keenox says:

    a full auto version would be really nice

  11. Ben Wright says:

    From his instructable post it doesn’t seem like he want’s someone else to make one like his. He doesn’t give clear instuctions and bypasses his angled breech assembly/construction completly. He is showing off his work and then says it doesn’t work well. I give the hack a 5 out of 10.

  12. Leithoa says:

    Even if the gun doesn’t cost $40, My point is your taking out everything that makes that gun *that* gun. It’s now a completely different gun so why not make it look like one? It’s not that hard to make a stock and slap some tubing on the bolt assembly to give it a barrel. I mean even the cosmetics of the original design are gone now that you’ve hung an air cylinder/line off of the front. In the span of an afternoon he could have crafted a very sleek design that didn’t have hoses and such dangling about to get snagged during Nerf wars.

  13. Leithoa says:

    grrrr…. *you’re ^

  14. Pilotgeek says:

    @Leithoa: I kinda agree with you. I know people with RC Cars that replace literally THE ENTIRE thing (chassis, arms, transmission, everything) with custom parts, and it’s like, why not just build it from scratch?

    I think the reason is it gives the illusion of faster progress because the main thing already exists.

    However, this hack is still pretty sweet. It seems to work alright, but he really should include more write-up on it.

  15. SirBlade says:

    When does something like this stop being a toy and becomes a weapon?

  16. I excluded certain things for a reason, in the hands of untrained people tinkering with CO2 can be quite dangerous. I was also attempting to alleviate many headaches i had while building this.

    For instance the electronics, obviously I went the microcontroller route, but similar results could have been gotten with just a simple microswitch.

    And there is a very fine line between this and a weapon…. I know, I had to get this past campus PD in order to use it and that was harder than actually building it.

    I am going to add a few things to the instructable when I have time (In finals mode right now)…. I just don’t know how much more I can give, I gave detailed drawings of the bolt assembly, which honestly is the key if anyone wanted to recreate this.

  17. longbow486 says:

    Would have been a lot more interesting read if it wasn’t on instructables, so many pictures that I could look at and oogle over :-(

    Looks like he put a lot of effort into it, and looks like it shoots well.

  18. acidv705 says:

    engineering student. modified nerf gun. this kid clearly plays HvZ. i love the mod

  19. SeanC says:

    For all you asking why he didn’t change the look; its because we play a game on our University Campus called Humans Vs. Zombies. The gun was planned to be used but, it was obviously too modified and changing the body of the gun would have gone too far so give the kid a break

  20. Chris Muncy says:

    I agree with longbow486

    Any project posted on HAD that links back to Instructables I will boycott.

    (psssst: when ya getting a user forum up guys??? )

  21. Fallen says:

    :P Someone needs to write a script to rip the instructables contents of worthy hacks, and then host it in a less obnoxious manor.(While obviously giving credit to the creator of the hack.)

    • Caleb Kraft says:

      its the hosting in a less obnoxious manner part that gets tricky. It can be costly to host that much stuff. Gotta pay the bills somehow. You either charge people to host their projects or run ads. I would LOVE to make a cleaner more professional system than instructables, but that just isn’t a quick and easy task.

  22. moddersunited says:


  23. J says:

    “Coming to a TOYS-R-US near you…”

  24. 556NATO says:

    I love the comment about getting past campus PD. Had the same problem with paintball guns, you can’t even keep parts of guns in the front of your car here without them freaking out. Funny, because I can keep a loaded pistol on my lap due to my pistol license, but can’t keep an empty paintball gun in the back seat!!!!

  25. macw says:

    @sirblade: when you use it to commit a crime. It’s still a toy, and even if it fires faster and further than the original it’s not going to hurt anyone unless they choke on a dart or get one right in the eye at close range or something.

    But if you use it to hold up a bank or something, or put AA batteries in it and go around breaking windows, then the police will have something to say.

  26. Gdogg says:

    This is pretty cool. I wish I realized earlier how easily I could make one of these, having so much paintball equipment (aka air regulators) laying around.

  27. octel says:

    neckbeards everywhere begin quivering in jealousy

  28. doh says:

    Nice to see it went better than my first attempt at a compressed gas (gas state substance, not natural gas, duh!) which was made out of PVC pipe and had a habit of firing the air storage tank off rather than the nerf dart.

    For now though, I think I’ll stick to doing the old rubber band and air restrictor mod on those cheap nerf pistols.

  29. walt says:

    instructables BOOOOO!!!!!!

  30. Decon says:

    He’s goes to stony brook university!? thats right in my town! I gotta find him and tell him to show me this thing!

  31. HI, HEHEHE says:

    u could just get a cheap paintball gun 4 like 25 bucks and stick a dart in the barrel i get 100+ feet

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