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.

  5. There are over 400 million privately owned firearms in the US presently. There might be a reason these articles resonate with a large segment of the US Hackaday audience. The overwhelming majority of guns sit silently in some safe place owned by responsible people.

  6. (orders of magnitude) More people die each day in traffic accidents then those that die as a result of a firearm injury…hardly a mass murder weapon…

    And BTW some of mankinds greatest accomplishments are off-spins of weapon design and manufacture…
    there’d probably be nothing in orbit right now, if both sides of the Cold War didn’t want ICBMs. Computers would also be hardly anywhere as far as they are now if Uncle Sam didn’t need them faster and smaller to run targeting for missiles or control phased array antennas of early warning radars.

    Get a grip, weapon design and manufacture DOES improve lives, even if not directly.

      1. And now he doesn’t respond anymore, because deep inside he knows that his fascination for guns in the dumbest thing in the world. Leave this stuff of Hackaday and better get rid of it all together. American should indeed stop this glorification of firearms. It is dumb and makes the whole country look bad. Having a little bit of fun in the weekend is not worth all the mess it causes. Buy another toy, one that is not designed to kill things.

        1. “I don’t like this, therefore it shouldn’t be on HaD.”
          No, you gtfo with that attitude. A comment thread above this you have people with deep knowledge discussing this project, and in this thread you have children whining for censorship. I know which I’d rather have on HaD.

    1. Actually, firearm homicides and traffic homicides are both around 35k per year in the US. Cars are clearly more useful as people spend more than 10x as much on cars as guns per person. So rationally guns are 10x worse for society.

  7. It a relatively precise machine built to fairly tight tolerances, that utilizes very high pressure gases generated by what’s best simply described as tamed explosives, to propel a projectile where you want it…what’s not to like? Almost anything can be used as a murder weapon, the (not so) old saying “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” still holds true. Target shooting a valid sport you know…

    This specific video shows casting and precision machining of brass. If you can’t get over the fact that it’s a part of a firearm, nobody’s forcing you to view this site.
    I for one enjoy watching projects like these. Even if it was about building a nuclear bomb I’d still enjoy watching the engineering porn that goes with it’s manufacture.

    1. Ha, it didn’t take long for an American reacting with this regurgitated “guns don’t kill people” argument. And of course continuously butcher their own language: “with its manufacture”, not “it’s”. Look at all the (school-) shootings around your country: again, the same question: is it really worth that?? This “porn”? Is it worth it to you? All those dead children? Really?? Because that’s the result of your religious, dogmatic worshipping of weapons.

      1. If you’re crusading against guns, you’re focused on the least used category. Pistols are about 18x more common in homicides. You’re 1.75x as likely to be beaten to death with someones fists than shot with any rifle (FBI UCR).
        You see the phrase ‘gun violence’ and focus on ‘gun’ while completely ignoring ‘violence’. The US is a violent country thanks in part to its large cities, some larger than entire EU countries, and the organized crime that comes with that. It’s trivially true that if there were no guns, gun crime would go down but that crime shifts to other avenues. Why address a symptom when we can address the root cause?

        As to whether it’s “worth it”, no one wants to see people, especially children, senselessly killed but most people aren’t using their guns to kill people. There’s enough guns in private hands in the US to arm every single person yet only around 10k homicides per year. We’re on the same page, no one wants school shootings to happen. You also have to address the right to self-determination, exemplified by self-defense and defense of ones country. There are millions of people involved in shooting sports every year, many of whom have military or law enforcement experience. So it’s not true that guns are only used for killing. The vast majority of guns in the US never shoot anything beyond range targets
        If you want to convince people they should not own guns, you’re going to have to understand why they want to own them in the first place. Simply quipping ‘won’t someone think of the children’ isn’t going to change their minds,

  8. If we start like that then almost everything should be banned from this site I think. GNSS navigation could be used to make a guided munition. Anything radio based could be used for spying, making jammers or remote detonators. Laser related hacks can be used to make a blinding laser weapon or target designator. High voltage hacks give information on how to make a stun gun or a more lethal version of it. You can keep going like this…

    1. No. No you can’t keep going on like this. Only guns are designed to kill. The other stuff you mentioned has plenty of peaceful applications. And more practically speaking: those other things don’t lead idiots to commit mass murder, do they? I mean.. are you really this blind? Wake up, America. Open your eyes.

        1. Sorry, I’m EU-based. This is exactly my point though: Hackaday is generally, 99% of the time, about electronic hacks. At least, here in the EU, it is NOT normal to have a picture of a machine gun on a website about electronics. Or on most other websites. The fact this is considered “normal” in the US, is exactly the problem. You grow up around articles like this, with pictures of machine guns being glorified, accompanied by words like “Simply amazing”, and eventually you become conditioned to think that this is somehow acceptable, that it’s something that’s just part of society. And yes, it’s part of your society now, whether you like it or not, and innocent people are dying as a result. You go crazy over immigrants who may commit terror, seemingly blind to the terror that you have already created yourselves. Imagine if every month some terrorist would commit a shooting in a school or from the balcony of a casino. Imagine the call for action, imagine what your beloved president Trump would say. But when it’s about guns.. it’s simply accepted, because of the endless conditioning through articles such as this one. Sorry to give you an outsiders perspective. This is how it looks from our vantage point.

        2. But it isn’t a machine gun.
          Why do you anti-gun crusaders refuse to learn anything about guns? Is ignorance a virtue? Are you afraid that actually knowing what you’re talking about will turn you into a gun-loving ammosexual?

        3. @James Have you looked up the statistics for murder rate vs gun ownership in the world?
          There is a correlation, I don’t know about causation, countries with a higher percentage of gun ownership have lower murder rates. The fact is people kill each other for their own reasons and use whatever tool is available to commit the act. If guns where the only way to kill other people I would be strongly in favor of controlling them, however that is not the case.
          https://augmentedtrader.com/2012/12/16/guns-and-homicide-worldwide-statistics/
          Yes I am from the US

        1. Oww.. how terribly stupid of me, so you thought I didn’t think about some of the reasons to design things like GPS. Wow, how smart you must feel. Did you even read the sentences I put after that? There YOUR defense falls apart.

      1. So your position is that nobody should ever be killed? What about a criminal about to kill one or more innocent civilians? Moreover, “those other things don’t lead idiots to commit mass murder”? Really? How quickly you types voluntarily forget mass murders that don’t involve firearms. “Crazy is crazy”, and unless the world is converted into nothing but rounded corners and squishy floors, it will find a way to harm people.

      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”.

  9. Shouldn’t known there would be at least one rabid anti-gunner in the comments. Though I guess you’re right in that “improved” is far too weak a word for those people whose lives were *saved* by DGU.

  10. Good, guns should be normalized as much as any other tool. You’re welcome for happily providing the necessary counterbalance to the ignorant gun hysteria seen elsewhere in the world, and for proving that fight to protect individual rights is far from over.

  11. My life has improved with firearms; food is a lot cheaper when I can hunt/kill/process the meal I desire. I also don’t have to worry about chemicals and unsanitary preparation.

  12. What gives us Europeans the right to have an opinion about what laws the U.S should have or what an American blog should write about? I find it both rude and a bit embarrasing. Are we morally superior somehow? Let them decide how to run their country and don’t go there if you don’t approve.

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