Surplus Bazooka Converted To Shoot Firework Artillery Shells


[Mark] and his friends love fireworks, but got tired of the traditional ground-launched mortar rounds, so they decided to spice things up a bit.

A while back he purchased an Army-issue bazooka at a gun show but didn’t use it for much, so it sat unused for about 10 years. He dug it out of storage, then hit up his local hardware store for a few lengths of PVC piping. He cut the pipes to size and then used his 3D printer to build a couple of parts to securely mount the PVC pipe into the bazooka’s shell. With his standard tube, he can shoot 2” mortars from the bazooka, but says he can add a second nested length of PVC to allow for smaller rounds.

Obviously this sort of setup can be quite dangerous if it is mistaken for actual weaponry, or if your fireworks were purchased from some guy’s trunk at a highway rest stop. [Mark] and his friends have taken some precautions when they use the launcher, but this is still clearly a risky enterprise.

That said, we think its awesome, and if anyone has a spare bazooka sitting around, feel free to send it our way!

Continue reading to see the bazooka fireworks launcher in action.

Not a bazooka, it’s an AT-4. Thanks to those who pointed it out.


41 thoughts on “Surplus Bazooka Converted To Shoot Firework Artillery Shells

    1. Yeah, it’s a constitutionally protected right to bear arms. Some states, you only need a driver’s license to buy arms. Some states, require forms/certifications/training/etc. to purchase just a shotgun. The founders wanted the citizens to be able to overthrow the government if they got out of line. The current government is getting closer to that line everyday. It’s a matter of time before the rednecks start shooting.

  1. When I was young I was really into model rocketry and always dreamed of the day when I built my own handheld rocket launcher. Basically, a very similar design to that which you see above, however, I wanted to wire in the ignition switch to a pistol grip. The ignition would use, of course, model rocket ignitors. I am surprised they didn’t do that here. It would make for a pretty cool addition to this project.

  2. Apologies to those who noticed it is an AT-4.

    I’m no weapons expert, so I used his description. I figured he had a much better idea of the weaponry he purchased than I would.

  3. over engineered for just using a tube. no button ignition?

    Shotty Vid… would have been better during the day.

    All this safety talk during the vid and the guy lighting the mortars, sticking his head in front of the tube with no mask, gloves or long sleeves.

    all around fail. just like my grammar.

  4. We did this with old fireworks tubes and nichrome wire back in the day in highscool. If you shoot at a low atack angle onto the sea the bounce kinda cool. Also the lightshow will reflect in the water. Good way to mix the show up a little!

  5. @BirchSama: In the us we can purchase surplus launcher tubes due to the fact that it isn’t classified as a weapon. They’re functionally no different than a spent artillery casing. The rockets on the other hand are classified as weapons and are nigh impossible to legally procure.

  6. I presume that the AT4, being a 1-shot weapon, was already used before being sold at the gun show. Otherwise, I would have to ask any lurking NRA members — what exactly do you hunt with an AT4?

    @mess_maker — I actually did build a hand-held model rocket launcher, and used it 1 time. As I hit the ignition button, it dawned on me that I didn’t want to be that close in the event of a CATO.

  7. I must agree with Voletorus. It was quite unprofessional to say the least.

    That’s not what it was intended for. Thanks to this video, now we’ll just rip your- I mean, “re-engineer” this idea, and put it in the hands of rioters so, thanks ;-)

  8. What’s wrong with buying fireworks at highway rest stops? When I was in Colorado a couple of weeks ago (just prior to the 4th of July), all the LED signs on every major highway were announcing fire bans, every national forest had signs saying NO FIREWORKS ALLOWED, and every major parking lot had at least one tent selling fireworks.

  9. 1) Agree that electric ignition would have made this awesome.
    2) Sons of Guns broke so many NAR rules it wasn’t even funny. The device itself as a pirate dissuader was ludicrous. Worst episode of a normally decent show.

  10. @BirchSama Basically he bought a strong piece of tubing, worthless for it’s intended military use without ammunition it’s designed to use. The largest terrorist attack in the USA, and probably the world used IMPROVISED weapons. I believe terrorist attacks in the EU used the same sort of weapons. I am a gun owner in the USA who does support reasonable gun laws. but understands they will not stop those bent on harming another.

    So technically it’s an AT-4, I wouldn’t have a clue, but is HaD supposed to have such a all comprehensive knowledge to know when a builder misidentifies a item?

    A function trigger would be nice, but manually lighting a fuse allows you to know it’s been lit, and a dud mortar is a dud. Few of use own enough property to be aiming fireworks anywhere but straight up.

  11. @asheets The AT-4 is indeed a single-shot weapon. Hunting with it would be ridiculous not because of excess firepower, but because you would have to carry several with you (not to mention that tagging the charred carcasses of the large community of animals and paying the fines for those not in season would be quite a pain). I don’t recommend duck hunting with ICBMs either.

    While making an AT-4 reloadable may well break all sorts of laws (or may introduce the justification for new ones), this is still fairly interesting for those of us living in places where we can buy that variety of fireworks without a license.

    As for the people above from the UK or Australia (or the various other places with extremely strict firearm laws), can’t you buy spent shotgun shells? The AT-4 is more like a great big shell casing than a gun; once you fire it the projectile is gone, and you throw it out.

  12. I had a PVC contraption about 4′ long that had a mortar tube shoved up the back and a quick-disconnect on the rear. We pipe-clamped a model rocket launcher (pushbutton ignition) and used ignitiors (as mentioned earlier) and it was awesome.

    We were young and dumb though, driving through the desert out the sun roof shooting it at each other. Fortunately nobody got hurt…

  13. I would use a fiberglass tube instead of PVC for the inside but the outer (actual AT-4) housing *SHOULD* be more than sufficient to handle the *launching* of the firework without issue. What I worry about would be the detonation of a mortar shell INSIDE the tube. Meaning the lift charge failed to ignite but the charge went off. These appear to be typical consumer level fireworks so the maximum load is more limited but I could still see this going fairly badly for the holder if things don’t fire perfectly.

  14. “or if your fireworks were purchased from some guy’s trunk at a highway rest stop”

    So…. made in China under amazing quality control conditions (hah right) is going to ensure 100% functional fireworks. Very, very, very few people make homebrew fireworks for sale and even fewer still also sell them at rest stops. Obviously your point was illustrative not literal but my point is that fireworks quality control for consumer shells is… lacking.

  15. “class A fireworks”

    There is no official term for “class A fireworks”

    “Big shells”
    Old name: Special Fireworks – Class B – UN0335 – Display Fireworks -1.3G

    “Consumer level fireworks”
    Old name: Display Fireworks – Class C – UN0336 – 1.4G

    Almost every firework available to purchase in America without a special permit is considered a 1.4G or Class C firework.

    The mortar in the photo is a 1.4G, consumer level mortar shell.

  16. WOW – I am surprised the HaD community is not absolutely freaking out about safety like you normally do! Wish it could always be like this…

    Who cares if the mortal blows up in the barrel? The whole things metal… mortars are not THAT strong!

    It always makes be laugh when people are surprised about our ability to own weapons… I feel sorry for you all! The right to bear arms is a wonderful privilege.

  17. I love artillery shell fireworks, but this is stupid. Sure this is a rock solid mortar, and if the shell explodes inside it you’ll probably be fine, but when the shell explodes a mere ten feet after it leaves the barrel maybe then they’ll understand why the instructions say “Get away!” I have several old shells that don’t get any altitude anymore so I have to run like hell when I light them.

  18. 1. cool mod of an AT-4 to launch mortar rounds (if not completely insane).
    2. it would be more impressive to turn fireworks into an actual round that was DESIGNED to be launched from an unmodified AT-4
    3. as long as i’m being stupid, what’s with this “Safety first” shit in the video, if you want to make it safe, DON’T DO IT! one misfire and that plastic shield over the face is gonna get melted to it, if it doesn’t blow apart and take your ear off.

    forget i said number 2. i don’t want anyone to get killed trying it.

  19. this would be the bees knees for teenage boys. i bet they are thrilled with it.

    let the kids enjoy their explosives. at least one of them had a face shield. that’s better than most young explosion enthusiasts.

  20. I actually have one of these exact same tubes. I was thinking more of maybe making a shoulder mounted Newtonian telescope out of it one day — it’s perfectly balanced for something like that — but it will probably just sit on my desk until the SWAT team notices it.

    These tubes are not only inert like spent casings, they are “demilled” so they can’t be rearmed; mine was cut nearly apart in four places and patched back together, and the arming mechanism was severed. So it’s basically just a military themed fiberglass tube. Does freak out the unclued-in visitors though :-)

  21. I built a much smaller, electric ignition, launcher using a modified mortar shell with additional payload. It was is way cooler. Just like a zip gun, you should do several tests using a string before you even dream of holding it when launching. I learned a lot, and will make many improvements next time. Also, have you ever seen someone put the mortar in the regular tube upside down?

  22. I don’t think people understand that even consumer fireworks can be quite dangerous. I do a lot of firework shows and I can tell you with great certainty, if for any reason one of those mortars fails to leave the tube and goes off while in the tube, you are holding a pipe bomb and PVC shrapnel will tear you up. Seen it before.

    The only pipe rated for fireworks of the sort is HDPE pipe which is a pain to get a hold of, at least where I live. However, it is much safer and shreds when a mortar explodes in it.

    I’d just encourage people to be careful with that. I’ve done some stupid stuff with fireworks, but this is one that can really mess your day up.

  23. Pretty cool idea I once did the same thing but completely out of PVC and an iron pipe I also added a nichrome wire for ignition.

    Oh and to people who piss and moan they broke rules and that the biggest terrorist attack ever was by improvised weapons.
    They’re only simply trying to have fun.

    If you threw everyone who broke said NAR and weapons rules at one point in time in jail you’ll end up jailing about 80% of the people who later go on to become engineers.

    It would be a great way to start a second dark ages.

  24. Be careful. We live in a country where the ATF is known to go into a house and declare common household objects as “bomb-making materials” or “destructive devices”. It’s usually for politically motivated raids where they need to scrap real deep and dig up anything they can use. Of course the typical braindead jury, already shocked and awed by the fact of a raid in itself, goes thinking “well they had send SWAT in the first place so the defendant MUST be guilty”.

    I would recommend that any de-milled weaponry, even if legally purchased and all that, not be in your possession in the coming times of the state needing to fill its prison system (fast becoming one of the few industries left). Using it for hacks that can shoot something is asking to have some halfwit agent in your garage going “oh looook! We have a device here! Woohoo! Now we can take everything else this guy has! I want dibs on his computers!”

  25. Sadly, that, while exaggerated, wouldn’t surprise me anymore. In the US or in Canada (where I don’t think an empty rocket tube would EVER have not got you shot, unless you were somewhere the police weren’t allowed guns!) OK, I exaggerate too. But Canada is basically a hippie USA these days (much more danger-shy, slightly less fascist, no idea which is better), and so they are cracking down on everything pretty much in lockstep with the US, just to differing extents.

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