Making The Halo 2 Battle Rifle Real

The BR55 battle rifle held in its creator's hands during test firing

We’ve just been shown a creation that definitely belongs on the list of impressive videogame replicas. This BR55 rifle built by [B Squared Mfg] not only looks exactly like its in-game Halo 2 counterpart, it’s also a fully functional firearm chambered in 5.56. The attention to detail even brings us a game-accurate electronic ammo counter.

The rifle and magazine communicate over three pins.

Unfortunately, the only information we have on the weapon currently is the video below. But he does at least go into detail about the practical aspects: caliber choice, the arduous journey of bolt carrier sourcing, and how the ammo counter works.

Each magazine has a potentiometer built into it to detect the number of rounds loaded, but there’s a bit of trickery involved. In the real world, there’s no way a magazine this size could hold the 36 rounds of ammunition depicted in the game, so for each shot fired, the counter subtracts three. It takes a little imagination, but this way it looks as close to the game version as possible.

There will be no published files due to legal concerns, but there’s nothing you couldn’t build yourself, as long as said legal concerns are sorted out for yourself. Depending on where you live, you might have to settle for building a Gauss gun in the same frame, we’ve even seen slimmer ones done commercially. Whatever you build, make sure you store it in a way others can’t access it easily — not all gun safes pass this test.

We thank [Arsenio] for sharing this with us in the Hackaday Discord server!

48 thoughts on “Making The Halo 2 Battle Rifle Real

  1. „In the real world, there’s no way a magazine this size could hold the 30 rounds of ammunition depicted in the game”
    Never saw/played game, but there are(well – were) so called coffin magazines and other multistack ones(Schillström, Johnson, Teppa etc.).

    1. U wot m8? MSBS Beryl, a cheap AK clone produced in poland ships with 30 rounds mag by default.
      Probably same for weapons using NATO ammo. It’s not rocket science to fit 30x 5.45 rounds in a piece of plastic or stamped sheet steel. It only has to go pewpewpew to efficiently work on enemy.

    2. Drum magazine , or some kind of oval shape may work, this thing is pretty wide, and the magazine is back in the stock. But, as you said, some triple or quadruple stack magazines can be pretty short. Can’t comment on reliability though, as I have never used more than a double stack.

      1. Drum mags hold more rounds, they don’t _feed_ more rounds.

        Another concern is that, in the USA, new standard capacity mags are outlawed. Their are some grandfathered in, but you can’t make them. Well you ‘can’, but don’t get caught. Your masters say you ‘may’ not.

        If you want a 30 round mag for this, make it take a standard type and ‘find’ (buy is verboten) an old one.

        1. “in the USA, new standard capacity mags are outlawed”

          This statement is objectively false. No such law is in effect at the Federal level, only in a handful of states.

    3. If you watch the video, the issue was keeping the dimensions faithful + trying to get 30 rounds of 5.56 in there. I am tempted to do this build in 9mm for cheaper pew-pews, plus 30 rounds. 9mm luger isn’t that much skinnier though, 22LR would def work but then you’re shooting 22LR…some other more exotic pistol rounds mebbe, but then parts + resupply become an issue, I expect 5.56 and 9mm luger to be available for the next 50 years

  2. That sort of looks like an MDRx. Like it. I don’t think there are any legal concerns about publishing files? You can’t stop people from getting information, they will get it no matter what. People are downloading/creating models and files and 3D printing/milling guns all over the USA nowadays, and even making 3D printed ammo though I assume the 3D printed ammo isn’t nearly as effective as the stuff they make from brass and copper.
    As far as the magazine, I believe there is a quadruple-stack design for a custom AR receiver that was recently introduced? That design might permit the full 30 rounds, though I would question the lifespan of a potentiometer in a firearm application.
    I would imagine that beating your competition at the range or on the hunt is even more satisfying when you do it with a gun you built from scratch! Very cool.

      1. As long as they are not selling them, the GCA allows one to create guns for your own use. To sell them requires an FFL (SOP type 03 at least).. There are state laws to deal with of course. The NFA specifically prohibits someone without an FFL and SOP type 07 from producing the items you linked, hence the legal problems for the persons in the article.

      2. That news pertains to people making actual machine guns, something which is extremely cost prohibitive ($15,000-$150,000 USD) in the USA due to NFA rules (rules which will ironically likely be up for debate soon). Anyone in the USA can make any gun they want as long as it is not a “short barrel rifle”, “machine gun”, or includes a “suppressor” with impunity, that right is enshrined in the constitution and will never be revoked until the USA falls completely. Regardless, gang members and other criminals in the USA have been making and using these “illegal” weapons and devices for decades and with the advent of 3D printing and readily available desktop CNC mills it is likely that this will only increase with time. Due to the low complexity of firearms, and the increasing complexity and ease of use of homemade manufacturing platforms, it seems that any “gun laws” are moot as we are rapidly approaching the point of that scene in the new Lost In Space series where the crew member 3D prints an entire gun including all of the moving parts in one print! I always laugh when people talk about “gun laws”. Only those who obey the “law” comply and there are fewer and fewer of these compliant people every day. It would seem that the entire world is rapidly devolving towards chaos?
        Anyway this project is super cool regardless, I just love how much passion this guy put into it.

        1. From my perspective, I don’t live in the US. But say I wanted to print a weapon, I would still run into issues. I can’t buy bullets, shells, gunpowder, primer, etc. That’s the sort of thing that’s pretty much impossible to legally get here in western Europe and even if you can legally get it here (x amount of time active member at a gun range, but you can’t really join unless you know someone, then a few more years until you can store it at home, etc), you run into more issues, such as unannounced police visits etc. We do see more and more shootings here sadly (not with legal guns). I’ve been waaaaay too close to two of them before I moved out of the city.

          I never understood why there are so many problems from the US government with SBR’s, the ban on assault rifles (last I checked, you still can’t produce any assault rifles as a company nor import them, since 86 out of my head. I think the only option is to buy the 80% lower) and their issues with suppressors which prevent hearing loss. But that’s maybe a bit too political for this site.

          1. The term “assault weapon” has always been a misnomer, it is simply used by the anti-gun crowd in an attempt to elicit emotions in support of their campaign. The most deadly weapons always have been (and always will be) hunting weapons which use calibers much more deadly than the so-called “assault weapons”, calibers which militaries prefer not to use due to their weight and cost. This is why “assault weapons” use lighter weight, less deadly calibers. It allows the soldiers to carry enough bullets to throw a few hundred down range before they run out.

            As far as the government hating SBR’s, that goes back to the mafia days when the italian gangs were making war long before we were born, and the (defective) idea was that banning these fully automatic short rifles like the thompson would somehow curb their crime.

            Regarding ammo, you can make all of the components for brass case bullets at home, it really isn’t much more effort than constructing a gun from scratch. anyway I think there must be more ammo in western europe than you think, last time I was in germany I found a 9mm luger cartridge on the sidewalk in munich, and there are so many nearby countries where NATO calibers are easily attainable and there is no water separating the countries?

          2. In addition to being a ‘gun nut’ I am related to at least one German ‘gun nut’.

            It’s just more expensive.
            Need a serious safe to get insurance etc etc. Typical ‘German rules crazy’ BS.

            He’s got guns illegal in the fascist US state where I live (50 cal rifles. 20 mm.)
            Shooting those particular rifles? Easiest just to go to Poland. (That’s not an intentional WWII joke. If it was, I’d have said ‘France’.)I

            Truth: I shot a 20mm Lahti in Nevada once. Machine gun shoot. Worth every penny.

    1. You should look at such things in a more positive light. Engineers are friendly. Tools like this are tools of defense, in a world increasingly full of evil people intent on killing who will always be able to obtain any manner of weapon from knives to swords to guns with ease. Self defense is a basic human right and critical skill in this day and age, and why not have fun making your self defense weapon! This project is so cool.

        1. The article is about designing your own cool looking gun. Do you see a problem with that? Countless numbers of people build their own guns; there are more people building their own guns every day even in countries where they are completely “outlawed”; no one will ever be able to do anything about this. It’s very cool that he went through this much design work instead of just building “yet another AK-47 or AR-15”! When he gets old he can mount it over the fireplace and tell his kids stories about fighting with master chief xD

        2. A really neat lethal toy.
          Too bad it’s basically cosmetic.
          Needs more lethality.

          Also: Has standard bullpup problem. Spits hot brass onto side of head/down shirt of those who use their evil hand.
          Bullpups should eject straight up IMHO. Perhaps a switchable deflector

    2. Lol, good luck pretending you live in a world where human fighting and weapons aren’t a thing.

      I personally love weapons, and enjoy seeing related projects on hack a day.

      1. Some people don’t get this. I still run into people on a weekly basis who think that “gun control laws” actually have any bearing on criminals usage of guns. It’s like they’ve never heard of a mill, lathe, 3D printer, etc before. At least with commercially produced ones they often have serial numbers and other markings that can be used to try and determine where the criminal got the gun, but these “gun control” types are rapidly pushing it towards every criminal using guns that are more or less untraceable. Oh, the irony. I am sure this guy got flak from some people he knows for publishing this but that is OK, ignorance is prevalent nowadays but that is no reason not to have fun designing whatever you want to design.

  3. That workmanship is next level. Truly incredible. It’s a shame he doesn’t take it apart and show the internals. I’m also quite curious about the potentiometer mechanism for the round counter.

    Considering the fact that round counters are a feature that whole companies have tried and failed at multiple times, I think it’s crazy to just say you did it and not show the mechanism or at least the cad model.

      1. My guess would be that for anything which uses a sliding contact (such as a potentiometer), there were serious concerns regarding the shock that magazines typically see; Dropping magazines on a hard surface is quite common and they must be designed to withstand it and this would result in a very finite life for any such contact. For an optical measurement system, there would be serious contamination concerns since the combustion gases from the chamber make it into the magazine during cycling and this ultimately results in the magazine being full of all manner of particulate contamination (as well as lubricating fluid which is applied to the moving parts). I would suspect that the only long-term reliable measurement method would be a solution with no moving parts that is shock-proof unaffected by any type of contamination including water, solvents, oils, metallic/conductive dust, etc. It sounds like one heck of a design challenge!

        1. Easy enough, once you get an RFID into each round.

          Zero moving parts, nothing in the mag.
          Still so useless and abuseable I’d pay extra not to have it. I don’t think you’d sell many (of the RFID rounds, to say nothing of the guns).

          1. might be able to use inductive sensing. it’d complicate the mag itself but it’d just need one basic coil (probably even a simple loop on a flex PCB) for each position and an MC that only needs to be able to tell whether the inductance for that particular coil is higher than “empty.”

          2. I completely agree on inductive sensing. This has been used in many industries where there are severe contamination/corrosion/etc concerns with great success. I suspect that some manner of standard PCB containing traces which run along the head of the ammunition inside the magazine behind a liner of teflon or other wear-resistant (and non-magnetic) type of material could be quite successful. It wouldn’t need to poll the magazine more than once per shot (along with an initial poll when a magazine is loaded).

  4. For those interested, silencers, short barrel rifles and full automatic firearms are 100% legal in the United States. You need to apply for a federal tax stamp that costs $200, get background and fingerprints and stuff, and wait like 6 months for paperwork to go through.
    Several states ban one or all of those things but on federal level it is 100% legal if you go through the process.
    There is a law that all but bans domestic importation of new automatic weapons with some very specific exceptions (SWAT teams etc) manufactured after 1986, though, so if you want that MP5 of your dreams you are going to pay a LOT for a pre 1986 one. But it is legal.

    1. Yeah but have you seen the prices on the automatics… I think I’d rather buy a ferrari lmao
      At one point some time ago it occurred to me that if I had taken every penny I had when I was young and put it into automatics and simply kept them in a safe for 20 years, the return on that investment would have beaten almost anything other than bitcoin.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.