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WTTCaNK Introduction 1 CHAPTER 1 Gaining Experience 3 CHAPTER 2 Tools and Equipment 13 CHAPTER 3 Materials 19 CHAPTER 4 What to Design 23 CHAPTER 5 Design Theory 29 CHAPTER 12 Trigger Assemblies 81 CHAPTER 13 Magazines 93 CHAPTER 14 Stocks 101 CHAPTER 15 Sights 113 CHAPTER 16 Building a Gun 123 CHAPTER 17 Ornamentation 137 CHAPTER 6 Helpful Hints 35 CHAPTER 7 Actions 41 CHAPTER 8 Action Fabrication 55 CHAPTER 9 Barrels 61 CHAPTER 10 Recoil 69 CHAPTER 11 Muzzle Brakes 73 CHAPTER 18 Fitting and Assembly 149 CHAPTER 19 Firing and Adjusting 155 CHAPTER 20 Heat Treatment 161 CHAPTER 21 Metal Finishing 165 CHAPTER 22 Marketing Your Design 171 APPENDIX Useful Information 177 #ii ili any indication, there is widespread interest in designing and building fire- arms in one’s own home or workshop. Unfor- tunately, far too many of these would-be gun builders lack a little something when it comes to designing a workable firearm, and even more when it comes to building it. A prime example of this comes from a letter I received from a would-be gun builder who resides in a northwestern state, describing an automatic rifle which he said he intended to build. According to his letter, it would be a full- automatic rifle, chambered for the .50-caliber machine gun cartridge, made entirely from “CRS.” (which I assume meant cold-rolled steel), and “straight blowback.” He went on to say that the rifle would have a fiberglass stock and 20-round magazine and weigh 15 pounds, complete with telescopic sight. Now this all sounds pretty good to the average person, However if put into practice, his plan would contain a number of design flaws. In I the mail I get pertaining to the subject is, the first place, “cold-rolled steel” is a common nickname for a low-carbon steel known as 1018. If this is the material my correspondent had in mind, it would be about as poor a choice there is to fabricate a firearm from. The reason for this is that 1018 simply will not heat-treat to the hardness required to prevent battering or upsetting and would wear rapidly. Also, this material does not have sufficient tensile strength or the ductility required to withstand the shocks and stresses imparted by heavy caliber firearms, or light calibers either for that matter. We will discuss this further in the chapter on materials. Also, it should be noted that “straight blowback” is practical only in firearms cham- bered for low- or medium-pressure cartridges, mostly pistol cartridges of low to medium power, The reason for this is that the breech of such a gun is not locked at the moment of firing. Only the weight of the breechblock, or bolt, usually combined with forward pressure from one or more recoil springs, keeps the action closed at the instant of firing. Also, since the 1