Street Use

Unabomber’s Handmade Pistol


I am not at all sure why Ted Kaczynski made this gun, unless it was to avoid the detection of having to buy one. It’s remarkable in its craftsmanship. Don’t know if it worked, but given how meticulous he was, it probably did. This photo is part of the government evidence against him, found at this CBS site, without much explanation. If you know more, write.

Unabomber

In the comments, Cory H. supplied the answer to why the Unabomber made this gun, and whether it works:

Reprinted from his diary in the Government’s Sentencing Memorandum, which explains that agents discovered a completely homemade, operable handgun, as well as a corresponding written description of its creation and purpose:

[A] few days ago I finished making a twenty two caliber pistol. This took me a long time, for a year and a half, thereby preventing me from working on some other projects I would have liked to carry out. Gun works well and I get as much accuracy out of it as I’d expect for an inexperienced pistol shot like me. It is equipped with improvised silencer which does not work as well as I hoped. At a guess it cuts noise down to maybe one third. It is said that it is easy for machinist to make a gun, but of course I did not have machine tools, but only a few files, hacksaw blades, small vice, a rickety hand drill, etc. I took the barrel from an old pneumatic pistol. I made the other parts out of several metal pieces. Most of them come from the old abandoned cars near here. I needed to make the parts with enough precision but I made them well and I’m very satisfied. I want to use the gun as a homicide weapon.

From Ex. 91

Posted on March 13, 2007 at 2:21 am | comments



Comments
  • http://nfsmusic.blogspot.com nfsmusic.blogspot.com

    SOMEONE watched the movie “In the Line of Fire” one too many times…LOL

  • http://auximenes.livejournal.com The American Poet

    I think it was his suicide pistol. One shot is all you need.

  • http://hamfisted.net Hamish

    Perhaps he just *really* liked the Foo Fighters self-titled 1995 album?

  • arjen

    or… becouse nobody could reconise the scratchmarks on the bullit and trace it to a gun type. doesn’t anyone look at the discovery channel anymore ?

  • Jack

    I thought this guy was against technology. He is of the position that “the Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race” hence he became a hermit. So is he not a hypocrite for creating this sort of technology.

  • Bears

    “Looks like it’s based off the WWII era Liberartor; a .45 single shot pistol dropped by the OSS to French resistors.”

    ….dropped by the OSS…

  • thom

    Looks like it’s based off the WWII era Liberartor; a .45 single shot pistol dropped by the OSS to French resistors. It was a smoothbore pistol designed for point-blank work, then you took the victim’s weapon. This is obviuosly a .22. More than likely TK kept it around for defense/suicide. Unless the barell was rifled it would be too inaccurate for hunting.

  • A Lahtinen

    Basic single-shot zip gun. The construction appear to be low-quality patchwork of screwed-on blocks. The barrel-line is is very high, and the construction appears to be too weak to handle the recoil of anything stronger than 0.22 LR.

    I would assume that the builder of this gun has only basic knowledge of crafting items from wood or metal, and very little knowledge of weapon technology. All in all, pretty sad excuse for a weapon.

  • Webweave

    I’m sure he made it because he could, as there is no other reason when you live in the good old US of A. As everyone in rural areas knows it’s really easy to get a good accurate rifle for a few bucks cash without raising an eyebrow. There are plenty of guns at auctions, swap meets and yard sales in the country, believe it or not more guns are built, sold and used by and on Americans than anywhere else in the world. But in this case the firearm has nothing to do with the crime other than saying he could make guns and bombs and had a Phd so he should be sane?

  • http://datatribesoftwerks.com Blitmonk

    Looks like it is based on a Winchester power-setter. The hex nut around the barrel above the trigger looks just like the one I have. The winchester power-setter takes .22 cal rounds of varying power. They shoot blank to drive the special nails sold for the unit into concrete, steel, masonry, etc. Looks like he had it set up so that you pull the trigger to put potential energy in a spring that then smacked the round on the back end of the pistol. The brass casing in the picture also looks to be a little bigger though, maybe a .38. I think with some tooling the power-setter could accommodate it, the barrel on the power-setter is over sized to deliver the concussive force to the nail, not shoot a projectile a long ways. Retooling to a slightly larger round would have made sense.

  • zendick

    It is severly over complicated for what it is. it is quite possible to build a semi auto with less parts, hell prisoners have buil smg’s from nothing but plumbing parts. and the original STEN gun (british smg from WW2) had blue prints that could be air dropped and built from parts found pretty much anywhere and built by unskilled labor

  • Just Passing Through

    Spent over a year making it.
    Doesn’t sound like much of a genius to me.

  • Paul Chrastina

    That is so symbolic of his whole deal. The sine qua non of neo-Luddite small arms. Did he make his own ammo too?

  • Dustin Tarditi

    Looks like a single-shot “zip gun” – I imagine it was either to prove he could make it… just building for the sake of building, or the intent was as a “hold-out” gun.

  • Rafael

    Here in Guatemala gangs build their own firearms the whole time, but theirs looks cruder (they use pipes and wood)and resemble a single barrel shotgun.

    QUOTE:
    “Despite high levels of arms availability in Central America, some individuals and groups have begun
    to make their own weapons. Youth gangs, or maras, as they are generally referred to in Central
    America, have been assembling makeshift pistols made out of bedsprings and metal tubing. In
    Honduras, these makeshift weapons are known as chimbas, while in El Salvador they are referred to as
    armas hechizas or “home-made guns”. These types of weapons make popular material for the newspapers,
    and are often singled out by authorities as a problem associated with youth gangs. Chimbas are the
    maras’ principal choice of weapon because they are inexpensive, easy to use, and easy to discard.
    In Santa Ana, in the northern part of El Salvador, makeshift workshops pump out imitations of .22-
    and .38-calibre and 9mm pistols known as tacos. Between January and August 2000, more than 200 of
    these weapons were confiscated by the police in Santa Ana (El Mundo, 2000). Small-scale clandestine
    workshops are being uncovered throughout the country. While these weapons (often using parts and
    material from other weapons as components) are probably more expensive than chimbas, they are still
    cheap, easy to use, easily disposed of, and difficult to trace by authorities. The already excessive circu-
    lation of small arms in Central America appears to exacerbate the need to produce even more
    weaponry for segments of society that want, need, or perceive the need to acquire firepower at a low cost.”

    From: http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/files/sas/publications/o_papers_pdf/2002-op05-central_america.pdf.

  • Canadian

    Nathan: Not hard at all to get a restricted fire arm in Canada. 2 days of safety course ($160, varies) plus filing the paperwork for a background check ($80) and you’re done.

  • Kyle

    I doubt he wrote, “I want to use the gun as a homicide weapon”. That is just ignorant and the guy was a pure genius.

  • Cory H.

    Reprinted in the Government’s Sentencing Memorandum, which explains that agents discovered a completely homemade, operable handgun, as well as a corresponding written description of its creation and purpose:

    [A] few days ago I finished making a twenty two caliber pistol. This took me a long time, for a year and a half, thereby preventing me from working on some other projects I would have liked to carry out. Gun works well and I get as much accuracy out of it as I’d expect for an inexperienced pistol shot like me. It is equipped with improvised silencer which does not work as well as I hoped. At a guess it cuts noise down to maybe one third. It is said that it is easy for machinist to make a gun, but of course I did not have machine tools, but only a few files, hacksaw blades, small vice, a rickety hand drill, etc. I took the barrel from an old pneumatic pistol. I made the other parts out of several metal pieces. Most of them come from the old abandoned cars near here. I needed to make the parts with enough precision but I made them well and I’m very satisfied. I want to use the gun as a homicide weapon.

    From Ex. 91
    http://www.unabombertrial.com/documents/memo.html

  • Duke

    Ted was just plain sick, killing another human being is not good under any circumstances, hey, I am a Viet Nam vet, I feel like I can make that statment, there is no glory in war, which is just a legal way to kill many people, legal according to which side wins I guess? But the thing I want to comment on is the building of a weapon, I have a single shot, bolt action .22 which will shoot L.R. or shorts, I used a #8 grade 5/8′s inch bolt. A .22 will fit easily in a hole bored with any 1/4″ drill. Which is what I did, I went to a local hardware store and bought a long shanked 1/4″ drill bit. I have a cheap Tiwan drill press, and a cheap 2 axis vise. I bolted the vise to the drill press, and used a 5/8″ drill, centered the vise under the drill, and opened it up 3/8″, drilled down into the vice, this made the vise automatically center the bolt and make it a perfectly perpendicular device to hold the bolt, then I drilled the hole through the bolt, then I took a piece of black iron water pipe, cut a slot in it which let me be able to press it onto the bolt, then I welded the pipe to the bolt with about 1/2″ of the bolt in the pipe, then the slot, I welded the first 1/2′of it up, then used a standard 1/4″ drill to drill a hole which was lined up with the slot I had cut in the pipe on one side of the hole, then I drilled a series of holes along that same line untill I couldn’d drill any more, then it was a matter of filling one side of the slot out flat, the other side was already flat or strait is a better word, then at the end of the slot close to the barrel I drilled a hole down on the slot which let me use another piece of 5/8″ bolt, cut off about 1″, drilled a hole in the side of it and taped a 1/2 20 hole in it, tighened a 1/4 bolt in that hole, cut the head off of it and I had a bolt action piece then it was a matter of drilling a 1/16″ hole thru that piece of 5/8″ bolt in line with the rim of the bullet, I had an old piece of tungsten from a welding job I worked at, it perfectly fit the 1/16″ hole and made a perfect hardened firing pin, then it was a matter of welding two flats, a trigger, and hammer to strike the firing pin, a spring out of an old electric motor I had, put it all together and I use it to protect my home, and to shoot the run away and dropped off dogs that continue to dig holes in my yard and try to kill my old cat. As far as the accuracy? Well the last dog I killed was about 60 steps away from me, and I put a bullet thru his eyes, I welded a dot on the end of the barrel on top and used a dremmel tool to make it pointed, that is the site, I put it in a vice and fired it, then dremmeled a little off of the side of the welded dot till I got it accurate, at 60 steps that is accurated enough for me. It is a single shot, bolt action, not very fast, true, but a heck of a lot better than dialing 911 and waiting 30 minutes for the cops to get there and file a report of a dead wife and child and an old vet with a ball bat in his hands! Whatever!

  • fattrucker

    i reminds me of a jap nambu, which is one of the crudest weapons i have ever examined. this “gun” does not look like the product of a genius. it is a badly made zip gun. a .22 cartridge is basically 90% of a gun and old genius ted didn’t make the ammo. i thought it odd that he would start off with an air pistol, spend a year and a half working on it and end up with this. you could build a decent .22 out of a bb gun fairly easily using a slingshot type action pulling the bolt back against a spring or rubber band and releasing it. i would love to own this, great conversation piece.

  • http://www.experienceproject.com Friend

    Everything looks repurposed from something else, except for the trigger… and perhaps that is too. pretty wild. Nice find.

  • http://www.vitalvinyl.com MrBlaQ

    I don’t understand why he didn’t match the varnish on each wood piece…

  • bpmox

    I think you nailed it Dustin

  • Noonefromfinland

    I have already built dozens of zipguns. Latest one works with basic bolt lock. If anyone knows how this thing works; I want to know, because I have intentions to make exact replica.

  • Nathan

    I think that it is a great looking pistol, for a non-machined homemade pistol. Considering all he had was a few common tools as well as various metal & wooden parts.

    This is what he built it for…(I want to use the gun as a homicide weapon). Which is a very dumb thing to say if you have built a homemade gun or any type of illegal wepon.

    (Unless the barell was rifled it would be too inaccurate for hunting.)….Not 100% true, with a Rifled Bore barrel, the bullet will spin out of the barrel giving the projectile its rated maximum distance,(apx. 1.5km-2km for .22 LR High viscosity ammno). With a Smooth Bore barrel the distance is reduced, however, the bullet should still fire at normal accuracy,(as long as the bore is stright and centered). A local Gunsmith explained this to me.

    Personaly I made a single shot .22 pistol. The reason I built one is because I live in Canada and finding a Pistol to buy is very hard, unless you take apx. 1 year and a bunch of money to purchuse a restricted firearm. I can not just walk to my nearest corner and buy a pistol where I live. It may be illegal to build a gun however I would rather take my chances than hope that I can get to the phone, Call 911, and have them get to my house in time, before I get shot by the person robbing me. Everyone needs protection, even if you feel you do not.

  • http://www.decohal.info kamy

    That looks so cool. I wonder if it worked.

  • Matt

    Paul, that had to be one of the most pointless egotistical posts I’ve ever seen.

    Can I speak Latin too?

    No, he spent all that time making his gun only to drive down to Wal-Mart and pick up a box of the cheapest .22 ammo.

    Did you think before you posted.

  • Noah

    Could you make a bolt action 22 pistol and silencer from car parts Even if you knew how he did his

    • kev

      you wanna bet that i make one sell u 2000 dollars no high prise TeX me back for more information

  • Julie

    That is highly illegal in canada and probably the stupid est thing to tell people on the net. Going to contact police regarding you because people like you give law abiding gun owners a bad name.