Producing A Prop Gun That Actually Ejects Cases

With the movie Man of War shooting in Cyprus, there was a problem. They needed prop guns that looked realistic and ejected cases when fired, but that were also allowed under the country’s firearm laws. The task fell on [Paradym’s] shoulders, and he set to work producing a prop capable of doing the job.

With the laws in Cyprus, using anything off-the-shelf like an Airsoft pistol was simply not allowed. Instead, he had to start from scratch, creating a design outwardly similar to the Colt 1911 to suit the era of the film. Using green gas canisters for power, the first focus was on getting a realistic semi-automatic firing cycle happening. With that done, the next goal was to get the cases to eject from the weapon on each shot. To achieve this, a lever was used, actuated by the slide moving back after a shot, pushing the “spent” cartridge out of the port.

[Paradym] goes into great deal, covering the design of the 3D printed parts, the machining of springs, as well as the final assembly of the prop. We’ve seen other prop gun builds before, too. Video after the break.

29 thoughts on “Producing A Prop Gun That Actually Ejects Cases

  1. WETA workshop has been working on similar guns, that not only eject fake shells, but give realistic kickback, and bright muzzle flashes. Unfortunately, the video is only available to Premium members of Tested.com

  2. I would have been tempted to gut an imitation weapon that showed the desired functions, and build up the look of the weapon around those parts. No point re-inventing the wheel.

      1. Yes, I heard him, ‘Airsoft guns are illegal here’. Cyprus (North and South) have strong gun laws, even around air weapons, but that’s not what I said. I said gut a non firing imitation weapon that has imitation blowback and ejection and put it in a plastic body. A lot less fuss. Or am I missing something?

        1. I had a good look at the parts of a airsoft gun, but was hindered by two factors. 1. I could not get a complete one here, and 2. They were all designed for a different motion and purpose. The blowback cylinder was the easiest part to recreate. I had ordered a trigger mech from a TM hicapa, but because of the layout and the difficulty of getting enough of them, if I was to use it, I decided to design my own.
          This also allowed me the freedom to modify it for different types of guns.
          Although I an now working on a “cassette” that does everything in a self contained unit. That I can just drop into any gun shape they need.
          Is there such a thing as an imitation that does blowback and ejection? Haven’t found any. Please tell me you found one?

  3. If anything, we have exposed and have an expectation of what weapons are like through media like US TV/movies or video games.

    Problem I have seen is that plastic guns might look real, but their mass are all wrong and affect how they are handled. If they are dropped on the ground (e.g. COP show up), they kinda bounce like plastics. Please use props filed with something to simulate the weight. For recoils, use practical effects like soup up gamepad motors that vibrate or even some guy yank a sting tied to the hand. Use ‘Post Production’ CGI to add in the muzzle flashes, smoke etc.

    All else fails, use a different location where they allow actual fire arms. Fake locations shot totally are not unthink of these days. – with studio scene, GCI backdrops etc.

    1. I agree with you, and it depends on which version of prop you are talking about. The actually working prop is quite heavy as it has a gas cylinder in there. I tried to make the blowback piston as heavy as possible, to increase kickback, but there was just not enough room in the 1911 to make it heavier.
      But the props that are used for hitting over the head and fighting hand to hand with are foam and super light. As seen in my other video.

      CGI will be used for flash and smoke etc. But already having the casing come out saves a great deal of cost. I considered adding a little led in the muzzle, for the CGI artist to know exactly when the gun was fired, but did not do that yet.

      Different location? Are you nuts? Then I would have no work! Cyprus is doing their best to attract more movies to be shot here. Great scenery, easy access, good weather and cheap. We even have a jungle!

      1. You can have 2 version of props. One that is used for non-shooting that have the same weights as the real thing and one that is used for “firing”. They tend to change camera views, have stunt people and cut a lot anyway.

        They can shot as much non-gun scenes there in Cyprus as they want. It is “nuts” trying to shot realistic gun scenes in a place that do not have exemption on replicas. Have the local police on site to supervise whatever if you want to that part of the movie business.

        I am not promoting crazy gun culture. I grew up in a country that don’t allow fire arms and yet see a lot of local made movies and TV show with “fire arms”. Looking from the outside at an older age, it *had* much lower crime rates than I was lead to believe (and here too).

        I guess people have fascination and fantasy for things they don’t see which accounted for those type of media.

        As for my nuttiness. One has to be able to think outside of the conventional bounding box to be a hacker and to come up with new things. Otherwise, I’ll be an accountant or some compliance officer checking off boxes for rest of my life.

        1. I have to make 2 pieces of each three versions of each gun. Hero models, working models and stunt models. First one looks real, second one a little less so, but working (cycle and eject) and a soft rubber version.
          And that for 5 to 6 guns.

    1. Old Man, you’re expecting too much from a “prop guy” in a country that bans even airsoft to know that only a boomer would use a 1911… Sounds like the kind of place where you’d get arrested for making your hand into the shape of gun.

      1. I just used the 1911 because I had a model of it.
        The movie calls for a few Barretta 92, a new to be designed custom gun, a sniper rifle and another exotic.
        (to be revealed later)
        This 1911 looking thing is just the test bed.
        The Barretta is actually going to be quite an issue, because of the open slide. I will need to figure that out.

        A Glock would be so much easier, but I don’t write the script.

        With the previous movie I had a bit more input in the type of weapons used and what I could make and not make. It was hard work, but I really enjoyed the challenge. Pretty proud of the alien sword.

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