Building an Air Powered Gun

Yep, the title is correct :)  Never thought you'd get a lesson in firearms on this here blog, did you?  But I present to you my first ever guest post.  Eight year old John Paul was thrilled with the prospect of being able to share with you all his latest project.  And (insert motherly instinct here) please know that if you do make this gun it is REALLY powerful and could definitely hurt someone.  We made the mistake of testing it inside resulting in a flesh wound to one of our library doors.  Please be careful!  

Okay, stepping aside...take it away, John Paul!

During the past few weeks I’ve been working on this gun with my dad.  First I drew the diagram after seeing the picture on this site.

Then my dad bought the pieces and we worked on it.  Here’s how to make it:


Two ½” diameter PVC pipes cut to 5’’

One ½” diameter PVC pipe cut to 3 ½’’

Three ½” PVC curve pipes 1’’diameter

One ½” diameter PVC pipe cut to 22”

One ½” diameter PVC pipe cut to 1 ½’’ 

One ½” diameter PVC valve

One good quality plastic bottle

One hand pump

Duct tape

Super glue

PVC cement

PVC primer

First you cut the pieces to the sizes written above.  Using the diagram, glue the pieces together with the PVC cement and PVC primer.  If you don’t know how to do it, this is how: First, put on the PVC primer then put on the PVC cement (on both pieces).  Stick them together and hold the pieces together for thirty seconds.  Now glue the hand pump on with the super glue.  Glue on the bottle with the PVC primer and cement.  If that does not work then use the super glue to glue it together.  We used a rubber ring between the bottle and the pipe. Use the duct tape to stabilize the hand pump.  The gun is now ready to shoot.

First close valve.  Put bullet down barrel.  Then pump air into bottle until it is hard to pump.  MAKE SURE THE GUN IS NOT FACING PEOPLE OR BUILDINGS.
Turn the valve.

DART - Use a ball of foil glued onto a dowel and put feathers on the other end.
FOIL BULLET - Use a piece foil and crumple it into a ball.
NAIL BULLET - Hammer a nail into a dowel.
DOWEL BULLET - Use a piece of dowel.
(Mary here.  You could also use um...marshmallows.  Softer...i.e. less cool.)

Once you shoot this gun it will work great! I put a scope on it but I could not even tell if it worked because it shot so fast.  It shoots as high as three of our houses stacked on top of each other.  I can hardly see the bullet when I shoot it because it shoots so fast.  Once you have one you will like your gun, too. 

Here is a video of me shooting it:

I wanted to show you how to make an air powered gun so that you could make one, too.  I hope you enjoyed my post.  Please let me know if you made one by leaving a comment!

(Mary here.  Please let us know if you have any questions.  Not that I could answer it.  But John Paul would love to ;)

Happy shooting!


  1. Quite impressive John Paul. Very clear and easy to follow directions. The video was a nice addition. I dont think Grumpy and I will be making an air gun but it was nice to see yours.
    Love you,

    Grandma & Grumpy

  2. John Paul, this is a great tutorial. I'm certain Jonathan would really enjoy building one of these with his dad. In your opinion, which kind of bullet worked the best? Thank you for sharing your project with us!

    Stephanie and Jonathan Podraza

    1. I think the dowel bullet or the nail bullet would work the best but my dad doesn't let me use the nail bullet because it's too dangerous. So I normally use the dowel bullet. The dart? Well I used it but it didn't work that great because I didn't make the foil ball small enough to fit down the barrel so I just left it sticking out the barrel and it didn't work. The foil bullet I tried but it was too light and it didn't go far so I didn't use it. I hope that helps. thank you for commenting.

      John Paul

  3. Wow! That was an impressive tutorial! I'm going to pin it when I'm on my computer to save for when my boy is your age. Do you think it would shoot Pom poms?

    1. Maybe but they're so light that they probably wouldn't go very far. Maybe if you added a little bit of weight to them they would work. Fishing weights might work but if you're looking for something to play with marshmallows might work. Grapes might work, too, but they might still hurt. That gun shoots pretty hard. Thank you!

      John Paul

    2. Have you tried it with marshmallows yet? I was thinking pom poms might work because they are the same weight as marshmallows? Hmm...maybe it's something you could test out, with your parents' permission of course. :-) Great job again John Paul!

  4. Hey John Paul (dubois) That is sooooo cool!!!Great Job! I want more details on the pump and how it holds air. ok? Maybe there's a little military in you and you'd be of service to your country. I MADE A POTATO GUN USING HAIR SPRY AS A PROPELLANT...also using pvc tubing. We'll talk about that in private. I'm sure mom has some hair spray hanging around. oopps! is she listening? Grandpa Frank

    1. As long as the valve is closed the air cannot escape and so it compresses in the bottle. When the valve is turned the air rushes out pushing the bullet out. The pump pushes air through the pipes and compresses in the bottle. I like your idea, too. Thank you!

      John paul

  5. Great job, John Paul. You are an excellent inventor and teacher. I am very impressed!


Thank you for visiting and reading! I love hearing from readers so if a comment box on a post is turned off, it's because Blogger is terrible about filtering spam. If you'd like to send me a message, please use my contact page. Thank you!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.