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Magazine feed, however, would make it harder to make,

and the original idea was to make it as easy to build as pos-

sible. Thats when I got the idea to make it a straight blow-
back type like an autoloader, but to leave off the magazine
to ease the build process.
The added beneft would be self-ejection of the fred case.
The unlocked breeching system would be very forgiving and
the home builder wouldnt have to worry about the action
giving way when the bolt was locked in place and fred if
they didnt build it just right.
This is not an original idea. If you read Tom Gaylords
article on the Wham-O guns (9/20/08 issue), they, along with
the H&R Sahara, were self-ejecting single-shots.
For the fre control system I decided to use the AR-15
fre control group since it had worked well on the SGN-9
project. I would just scale it down to ft in the smaller
trigger housing of the new project. Using a manufac-
tured fre control group would ease the build for those
not ready to make hammers and triggers from scratch.
This project would require a
specialized bolt Id design myself.
This, along with the receiver and
trigger housing, would be the
main self-made components of
the project. The self-made bolt
could be made from about $10
worth of materials and would be
as easy to build as I could make
I wanted a readily available
barrel that was inexpensive and I
found one that ft the bill perfect-
ly. The SGN-9 project cost about
$175-$250 to make and I wanted
this project to be less expensive.
What I came up with could be
built from $75 to $175 depending
on how frugal the builder was in
obtaining the necessary materials.
If the builder had a few of the parts lying around, as many
hobbyists do (we all have that drawer full of gun parts!) and
really scrimped on fnishing, the cost could be very low. If,
however, you had to buy everything, the cost would be at the
high end of the price range. I had some of the parts so this
project cost me about $125.
Once I had the basic design and parts selection fgured
out, I had to fgure the easiest way to build the project. I
have a well-equipped hobby machine shop, so I can make
just about anything, but I wanted this project to be able to be
made with the minimum of specialized tools.
The methods and tools are what I consider the bare mini-
mum. Many operations and procedures are highly impro-
vised gunsmithing. If you have better tooling and methods,
by all means use them. The more tools you have, the easier
the project will be.
Some may look at features of this project and say there is
a better way to do it and they may be right, but I designed
this project for those minimum of tools and skill. As far as
equipment goes, the minimum needed is a small drill press,
arc welder (MIG type preferred), basic home workshop
hand tools, a small powered hand grinder like an air grind-
er or Dremel tool, a good set of dial calipers, and a small
hobby lathe.
f you have been a regular reader of SGN for the last three
years or so, you have probably read some of my gun build
articles. If youve built some of them, you have learned a
lot about frearms fabrication. You may have thought about
going a little deeper into frearms building by actually build-
ing a gun from homemade parts rather than using a collec-
tion of manufactured components.
With that in mind, I recently wrote an article series on
building a 9mm semi-auto carbine known as the SGN-9
(4/20/08, 5/20/08, 6/20/08, 7/20/08). The SGN-9 was blow-
back-operated semi-auto 9mm Luger chambered rife that
featured tubular construction and many self-made parts
along with some purchased parts.
The skills and tools needed to build it went far beyond
what was needed to do a simple kit building project. I thought
of it as a good beginning project for those who wanted to
advance to actually making their own guns rather than just
assembling parts made by others.
The SGN-9 project required the use of a lathe, milling ma-
chine, welder and a multitude of hand tools. It also required
extensive hand ftting of parts. While it didnt seem all that
hard for me, since I have been doing hobby gunsmithing for
more than 25 years, it may have been intimidating to frst-
time builders.
So I decided I should try an slightly easier project.
Design Parameters
I decided to retain the basic look of the SGN-9, since its
tubular construction made it easy to build. I would just scale
down the size. I also felt this would make it appealing as a
baby brother to the SGN-9.
I decided to scale the project down to .22 Long Rife. By
utilizing the low pressure .22 Long Rife round, it would
make building easier and more be forgiving on issues of
strength. I wanted the action to be easy to build and at frst
thought a bolt-action would be the way to go. The more I
thought about designing a locked breech and rotating bolt
action, the more I realized that a straight blowback action
would be easier to make.
The parts required are minimal: a Ruger 10/22 barrel, an
AR-15 trigger assembly and pistol grip, and some steel
stock and tubing. This is a very cheap rife to make.
Ready to try building a gun largely from scratch? Heres a
simple self-ejecting single-shot thats easy and cheap to build.
By Steven Matthews
Matthews is at it again with a series of
pieces on building a gun from scratch.
This time its an inexpensive self-ejecting
single-shot .22 rife he calls the SGN-22.
Part 1
Small table-top metalworking lathes adequate for this proj-
ect are available from suppliers like Grizzly Tools or Harbor
Freight for as little as $350, so this project may be the incen-
tive to buy this versatile machine tool. For those who dont
have a lathe and dont want to buy one, there is an option.
A couple of the lathe operations can be hired out and the
remainder can be done on the poor mans lathe. You can
shape many small items with nothing more than a drill press
to spin the parts and some fles to shape them. This impro-
vised turning method is a lot of work, but you can get qual-
ity results if you have the skill and are patient.
I have made many small round parts over the years before
I had a lathe with nothing more than fles and a drill press to
spin them. Since this project would look like a scaled down
version of the SGN-9, I decided to name it the SGN-22.
Parts Acquisition
The frst part needed for this project is a barrel. There is
one common and readily available barrel that is perfect for
this project. The large numbers of hobbyists customizing the
Ruger 10/22 with special barrels mean there are many take
off/used surplus barrels for sale. At the last gun show I at-
tended before I started this project, there were a half-dozen
used barrels to choose from. Prices ranged from $10 to $35.
I found one with a poor exterior fnish that was excellent
inside for $10. Since I was going to be doing a fnish job on
this project, the $10 barrel was perfect. The Ruger 10/22 bar-
rel is 18.5 inches long and features a 3/4" smooth shank sized
at . 685-.687" diameter.
This shank will ft in a 1-inch diameter by .156" wall piece
of 4130 chrome-moly seamless tubing quite well. I decided
to use this size for the receiver just for that reason. This type
of high strength tubing is available from many steel suppliers
and also from aircraft suppliers such as Wicks Aircraft.
You will need a couple feet of this tubing for this project,
but you really should buy extra in case you make mistakes
and have to make a part over. It is priced at about $6.50 per
foot. For a barrel shroud, I was going to use the same outside
diameter, but didnt want it to be that heavy.
The widest part of the 10/22 barrel is .930-.935" diameter
and I found that 1-inch by .035" wall chrome-moly tubing
would be just about right for the purpose. It would slide right
over the barrel at the breech end. About one foot would be
right for the project, but luckily I took my own advice and
ordered extra. I made a couple mistakes and needed the ex-
tra material. This size tubing runs about $3 per foot.
For bolt fabrication, I bought a couple feet of 3/4" 4130
chrome-moly rod, also available where you fnd the tubing.
I especially recommend buying extra bolt raw material since
the bolt is very easy to screw up and it may take more than
one attempt to get it right. You only need a foot for the proj-
ect but you never know! This rod is about $3 per foot.
A faux fash suppressor will be made from a 2-inch piece
of 7/8" x.120" wall chrome-moly tubing, but any type of steel
would be fne if you can fnd this size. The trigger housing
for the SGN-22 will be made from a 6-inch piece of 3/4 x 1
x 3/32 (approximate thickness) wall rectangular mild steel
tubing that should be available from local
structural steel suppliers. A foot or two of
this material should only run you a couple
A couple feet of 1/2 x 3/16" fat steel
will be used to make part of our stock. It
should run you less than $1. The buttplate
can be fabricated out of a 6-inch piece of
1 x 3/16" fat steel, also priced under a dollar. I used a cou-
ple pieces (one piece of 3/4" rod and one piece of 1/2" fat
stock) of scrap aluminum that I bought at the scrap yard for
a couple dollars to make the faux magazine and the recoil
spring plunger.
Since the magazine is fake, you could make it out of any-
thing you want-wood or plastic or even steel if you dont
mind the weight. You will also need a couple more miscel-
laneous pieces of steel and some screws and pins.
To ease the build process, I used several factory-made parts.
I got several DPMS-made AR-15 parts from Brownells, an
excellent source for gun parts, both original equipment and
custom. You need these AR-15 parts for this project: hammer,
trigger, disconnector, the springs for these parts, safety/selec-
tor lever, fring pin, pistol grip and two hammer/trigger pins.
These parts can be bought individually, but its usually
cheaper to by one of the sub-assembly parts kits and save
the leftover parts for future projects. A few of the other parts
can also be obtained from Brownells. I used a Weaver #81
scope base to attach a scope and vertical foregrip.
Since this rife features a straight-line stock, I used tall ex-
tension scope rings to raise the scope high enough. I also
selected a Pachmayr RP250 black recoil pad.
Since my eyes arent what they used to be (getting old
stinks!) I ordered a compact 4X scope from SGN advertiser
CDNN . This imported scope was only $18.
Before we get into the actual building of this project, its
time for the customary legal disclaimer since I am just a hob-
byist gunsmith and am simply documenting my own ama-
teur efforts. This article is not a step-by-step build tutorial. It
Plug weld the shroud to the barrel itself, then weld it to
the receiver tube to fll the joint. Use several small welds
with cooling time between them to avoid overheating.
The barrel shroud is
made from 4130 thin
wall tubing. The hole
size and spacing is
up to you, but use a
drill press and vise
to keep the holes
aligned and spaced.
This job is easier with a milling machine, but Matthews says a cutoff wheel and a
Dremel tool will cut the ejection port into the steel tubing that will be the receiver.
The Ruger 10/22 barrel should be a tight
ft in the receiver tube. You may need to
heat the tube for a shrink ft or ream it
slightly on the inside. Then pin the barrel.
will only cover the high points of the build process. I will give
some general dimensions and procedures, but the builder
will have to supplement the project with his own gunsmith-
ing skills and knowledge.
As in any self-built project there will be builder-induced
variations or mistakes that will have to be compensated for.
If one part is made slightly out of spec. another part may
have to be heavily modifed to make the project work cor-
rectly. This is part of the art of gunsmithing. Hand-made
parts by their very nature generally need to be hand-ftted for
proper function.
This should not discourage potential builders, its all part
of learning gunsmithing. One learns very little by just read-
ing an instruction sheet that says place part B into slot C
followed by part A. That is simply assembling, not build-
ing a gun.
When you make, ft and modify your own parts you be-
come intimately familiar with your project and are learning
gunsmithing skills far beyond a simple assembly job. This
learning process has inherent dangers associated with it since
frearms are sometimes dangerous items.
You must accept and understand the hazards involved in
building and using frearms. If you do not understand what
you are doing you will be putting yourself at risk and you
should not do this project. Neither SGN/ Intermedia or the
author assume any responsibility for the construction, use,
legality or safety of your self-made project. Its your project
and you, the builder, assume full responsibility for your own
Receiver Fabrication and Barrel Installation
The receiver of the SGN-22 will be made from 1-inch
by .156" wall 4130 seamless chrome-moly tubing. You will
need a piece about 20 inches long. This is slightly overlong,
so that when the project nears completion, you can cut the
receiver/stock to the preferred length of pull. Be sure to
square the ends after cutting, since you will be measuring
from the ends.
While the specifcations for this tube would indicate an in-
ternal diameter of .688", there are manufacturing tolerances
to consider. Your actual size may vary a couple thousandths
from the stated size and this will need to be compensated for
during building.
The frst step is to cut an ejection/loading port in the re-
ceiver tube. This cutout needs to be large enough for the user
to comfortably insert a cartridge. Since I have fat fngers, I
made this port roughly 1
/4 inches long by 11/16" wide. I lo-
cated it about 3/4" back from the front of the tube. This will
result in the rear of the barrel being just about even with the
front edge of the port.
This port can be cut out with a milling machine or by
hand with a Dremel type tool with cutting disc. Once cut,
smooth up all edges. The barrel can now be installed in the
front of the receiver tube. The shank of the barrel needs to
ft snugly into the tube.
Manufacturing tolerances in the barrel and tubing mean
your barrel may ft just right or be too loose or too tight.
Mine was a little loose, since my tubing measured .687" and
my barrel shank was .685". To get a snug ft, I had two op-
tions: either shim the shank with .001" shim stock or shrink
the tube.
I chose to shrink the tube diameter a couple thousandths.
This is easily done by placing the end of the tube in a vise
and lightly clamping it in place. One side of the last 3/4" of
the clamped tube was heated red hot with a torch. This heat-
ing expands the tube wall and since it is clamped, it cant
expand and therefore swells slightly and thickens.
When the tube cools, the wall
contracts, and since it is now
slightly thicker, the diameter is
slightly reduced when cool. This
is only a few thousandths of an
inch but that is all that is needed
on this project. This brought
mine to a good snug ft.
This isnt a real precise method,
but it does work. If it shrinks too
much, fle, ream, grind or sand it
to the right size. If, on the other
hand, yours is too tight to begin
with, you will just have to fle
your barrel shank a little smaller
or open up the tube diameter a
little by grinding, fling, etc.
You can also just lightly heat
the tube with a torch to expand it,
then insert the barrel while the tube is hot, When you insert
the barrel into the receiver tube, you will need to index the
barrel to locate the extractor groove in the right place. Install
your barrel so that the extractor notch in the face of the bar-
rel is about 1/8" above the bottom edge of the ejection port.
This should leave adequate clearance to keep the ejected case
from striking the receiver when being ejected from the gun.
Once the barrel is in the correct position, the barrel needs
to be locked in place. I pinned my barrel in place by drilling
a 5/16" hole through the receiver wall and about .100" into
the barrel shank. Be sure you dont drill too deep and drill
into the chamber.
I tapped in a tight-ftting pin and then cut it fush with the
receiver and welded over it to permanently lock it in place. I
then ground it fush to the receiver tube.
I also used the barrel shroud installation the further to
lock the barrel in place. I made a ventilated barrel shroud out
of a 7-inch piece of 1-inch by .035" wall tubing. The hole size
and spacing can be to your preference. My tubing was a little
undersized, so I had to reduce the barrel diameter slightly to
get the shroud to slide over the barrel.
At the rear of the shroud, I drilled two 5/16" holes on op-
posite sides so I could plug weld the shroud to the barrel. The
shroud was slid over the barrel till it was about 1/8" from the
front of the receiver. This thin groove will be a weld groove.
Before doing any welding, be sure your shroud is oriented
correctly so the holes look good.
Also be sure the barrel is centered in the shroud. You dont
want your holes to be running off at odd angles or have un-
even gaps between the barrel and shroud. Plug weld the two
holes to secure the shroud to the barrel. Use only enough
weld heat to lightly penetrate the barrel and allow it to cool
before you do the other hole to keep heat down.
Now weld the shroud to the front of the receiver tube.
Weld in the groove and use enough weld heat only lightly to
penetrate the barrel surface. Only weld about a half-inch at a
time and allow for cooling before doing more welding. After
welding, grind down all the welds smooth with the receiver
and shroud.
The shroud is now attached to the barrel and to the receiv-
er, so this is further locking the barrel to the receiver tube.
This, along with the pressed-in pin, is more than adequate
for a rimfre.
Next month (4/20 issue): Building the bolt.
The recess for the
cartridge head must
be precisely located in
the bolt face. A lathe is
best, but a drill press
will do. Drilling to the
proper depth is critical.
Drill rows of holes in a length of tubing, then fle out
the remainder to make a muzzle brake. It then can be
silver-soldered to the barrel after removing the fnish.
A milling machine makes cutting the hammer slot in
the bolt a lot easier, but you can do it by drilling a se-
ries of holes and fling out the spaces between them.