Is It A Golden Gun If It’s Made Out Of Brass?

On today’s episode of ‘this is a really neat video that will soon be demonetized by YouTube’ comes this fantastic build from [John]. It is the Golden Gun, or at least it looks like a Golden Gun because it’s made out of melted down brass casings. It’s a masterclass demonstration of melting stuff down and turning a thirteen-pound blob of metal into a two-pound precision machined instrument.

This build began by simply cutting a wooden block, packing it in sand, and melting approximately 1425 shell casings of various calibers in a DIY furnace. The molten brass was then simply poured into the open mold. This is standard yellow brass, with about 70% copper and 30% zinc. There’s a bit of aluminum in there from the primers, and the resulting block isn’t terribly great for machining. [John] says this could be fixed by adding a few percent of lead to the melt. To all the jokesters suggesting he add some unfired bullets to the melt, don’t worry, we already have that covered.

chiseling a hole square, with a chisel.

The machining went as you would expect it would with a large mill, but there are a few things that made this entire video worthwhile. For some of the holes, [John] had to square up the corners. The simplest and easiest way to do this is to break out a file. This is brass, though, and with some steel chisels hanging around the shop your mortise and tenon skills might come in handy. With the very careful application of force, [John] managed to put corners on a circle with a standard wood chisel. A bit later in the build video, a few more sharp corners were created by shoving a broach in the mill and jamming it down into the work.

When it comes to machining builds, this is high art. Yes, it’s the same as building an AR-15 out of a few hundred soda cans, but this one is made out of brass. It looks just great, and that final polish turns the entire project into something that looks like it’s out of a video game. Simply amazing.

If you’re looking for more ways to push your metalwork boundaries, give cast iron a try!

71 thoughts on “Is It A Golden Gun If It’s Made Out Of Brass?

    1. Most of this hobbyists recycled-alloys tend to split due to contamination, and we find some people get emotional when you try to explain. Casting usually uses sprue, gate/trap, and runners to prevent crud entering the part, and slower cooling times in an enclosed low-oxygen cavity. With a dubious alloy, often a large 10″ high sprue will float the anomalous crystal structure layer so it doesn’t enter the actual part, and only pour 80% off the crucible in hope the heavy crud stays out.

      That receiver looks pretty nice though, and certainly is better than his last attempt… inspired me to get out to the range this weekend ;-)

  1. That’s beautiful, I had not thought of trying that. Titanium maybe, but with brass, even though it is probably heavier than necessary you can do electro-less nickel or other plating over top of it.

    And uses recycled material, so it’s “green” yes? Except for the lead it shoots.

    My AR-10 lower is plain old 7075, but to each his own.

    1. I knew a guy with a titanium lower on his 7.62×39 AR patterned build. It was a stripped lower but I don’t know where he got it, they are out there though.

      Funny thing, it was super light weight but he had built the rifle heavy overall (bull barrel, solid full length hand guard, etc.) so I didn’t really get why he used that lower. Once it was all together the weight savings was minimal.

  2. Wait a minute, is this a dummy receiver? On my AR-10 the rear take-down pin passes through the fire control group pocket. So if he is needing to square a hole to allow the rear tab on the upper to seat properly, then he has no pocket milled into the lower. Maybe he explains that in the video (I did not watch it).

    1. That is a DPMS pattern .308 (7.62×51) gun. Not an Armalite AR-10 pattern gun. You can tell by the curved area at the back of the upper (and mating curved surface on the lower). AR-10s have straight edges at that mating point.

      The bizarre part is the forward assist. It is in the position it would be on an Armalite AR-10. DPMS pattern guns typically have the forward assist closer to the ejection port, and the forward assist engagement teeth on a DPMS pattern bolt carrier don’t go all the way to the rear of the bolt carrier. But maybe some company is mixing the two features.

      As JBowles mentioned above the web between the lug and fire control areas is strange. I own a DPMS pattern .308 (from DPMS) and it does not have that. But lots of companies make DPMS pattern parts, so maybe someone is doing that. Or maybe he made his original from 80% (he has the machining skills) and left the web in there (it won’t hurt anything).

      1. The new DPMS GII .308 has the forward assist at the back of the upper just like the Armalite AR-10. Rainier Arms also sells a .308 upper that looks like that (from Aero Precision). Of course you need a bolt carrier that will work with that feature.

    2. The web area is where the auto sear is installed in a fully automatic weapon. In a semi-automatic, leaving the web area unmilled strengthens the take down lug area.

        1. That’s plausible, I doubt any strength gained was worth not just doing the FCG pocket and takedown lug area at the same time, certainly not worth taking it out of the vice and doing multiple setups on it. watching but admittedly not listening it looks like he might of misinterpreted the print he was working from see about 7:53. The FCG area and take down lug area is typically designed to be done all in one operation with a 7/16″ end mill. I’m just happy to see an article on HAD thoroughly in my wheelhouse. I’ve worked for 10 years now full and part time designing, developing and drafting AR-15 and AR-10 bits and pieces along with entire ARish weapons.

        1. Mere possession of an auto-sear without license is a felony already, because the part on its own is an NFA device.

          But yes, the web will prevent someone from installing that modified Airsoft M4 auto-sear also.

          1. Possessing the auto sear from an M16 parts kit isn’t a felony; that part is only usable in a receiver with the third hole drilled, and the three-hole receiver is the NFA machinegun.
            A drop-in auto sear, which provides the same function in an unmodified two-hole receiver, is an NFA machinegun.
            Leithoa isn’t talking about either of those, but about etching or engraving a circle (to create the cosmetic appearance of a hole with a pin installed) where the third hole would go. ATF considers that to be the same as having the actual hole drilled, and thus to make the receiver an NFA machinegun. This is along the same lines as their 80% rules, where even having raised alignment marks to show where to drill the FCG holes is considered the same as drilling the holes completely, and thus makes it a real receiver and firearm, rather than a non-firearm 80% blank.

          2. @ben- Incorrect, read NFA 26 U.S.C. 5845(b)

            Any part that can cause a gun to fire in selective fire or full auto mode is classified as a machine gun all by itself. You need not even own a gun to go to prison.

          3. @The Cow
            Incorrect, read NFA 26 U.S.C. 5845(b)

            Any part that can cause a gun to fire in selective fire or full auto mode is classified as a machine gun all by itself. You need not even own a gun to go to prison.

            Correct, _except_ that the M4 sear isn’t capable of modifying a semiautomatic AR15 into a machine gun. What counts as the part requiring registration varies by gun and model, and the final arbiter of these things is the Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division (FATD) of the ATF.

          4. @Dodo – No, even if the part was not designed to be used in a gun, and it is being used to cause burst or full auto fire, then it is considered an NFA device. It is all up to the discretion of the ATFs Firearms Technology branch.

  3. Nice work. Time for lost PLA casting? Tho the possible steampunk AR variants w/wood furniture could get interesting. Much better looking than some of the sheet metal, cutting board or pine variations.

  4. I’m talking about etching or engraving the outside of the reciever to look like an M16. No actually changes to the mechanics, no holes drilled, or alteration of the inside of the lower. Purely exterior cosmetics.
    A bunch of people have had their lowers confiscated for dressing them up a little.

    1. Thies was supposed to be a reply to @Brian.
      I’m not sure why my replies keep getting knocked out of the thread.
      Does word press not get along with mobile devices?

    2. Yeah, I had heard about that, so when I did my last 80% (the manufacturer had put a little dent were the auto-sear pin would be), I contacted the ATF firearms technology branch and asked them about it. They said send it to them for a ruling on the particular item I send them (not to be taken as a broad ruling of legality on all 80% lowers), and three months later they declared it “not a gun” and sent it back with a conformance letter.

      Interestingly- if they did rule it to be an NFA device, they would just destroy it. But no legal action would be taken against me as long as I signed a document saying I surrendered the device for it to be destroyed. Else- lawyers, lots of money, and jail time. Not worth it for a $120 80% lower.

      If I had known about the issue before I bought it, I would have just bought one that didn’t have the dent, or mill down through the dent a little (I didn’t think about milling it until latter).

      1. But- (I forgot to mention) when I sent it to them I had not done any machining on it. No FCG pocket or pocket to allow the rear take down tab to fit inside the lower.
        So, one could argue that they made their decision simply because it was impossible to install any internal parts in the thing.

      1. Oh, and one more thing: indeed, keep those comments “on-topic”! I mean, in a story about guns, let’s stick to comments about guns, ok? And Hackaday can decide if it’s about guns or not, ok? Like.. if it’s about guns, but we don’t like the point of view.. well then it’s clearly not “on-topic”.

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