Potato Gun Stories
Stories from the firing range!
This is a collection of stories fans wrote in to me about their spudguns. The best thing about having your potato cannon and using it for psort is that you meet so many people and just have fun with your potatoes! Kinda like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters, but without all the messy alien stuff.
The Spud Gun Scoop:
Tim writes with a story and some newspaper articles:
The article is bogus, you may not find it as funny as I do cause it was my cannon that they're talking about. There were never nails or glass stuck in the loads. We had an ass of a roommate (probably the one who called the ATF). We'd blast onions at his door now and then, they'd splatter and make their way around the jam stinking his room up pretty nasty. A couple times we launched potatoes out the front window over the dorms across the courtyard. But back to the article, the pipe bomb was just a piece of 3/4 PVC with caps on the end and a wick, Skippy hadn't put any powder in it yet. The way the whole thing went down from my view is that I showed up to our suite one day to find it full of ATF agents. Skippy was nowhere to be found but they went through his room and the suite (confiscated all my beer brewing shit). They found my cannon in the common area. The next two days there was a cop at the front door recording our comings and goings looking to see if we were smuggling anything out of the place. Skippy eventually turned himself in, got expelled and banned from the campus. They finally let him on campus to claim his belongings, uhh, what was left of his belongings, a month or so later and we never heard of him again.
First page of article. Second page of article.
Tim also supplies the following
Man arrested after threatening to shoot potato into girlfriend
By Associated Press, 03/14/01
BEVERLY, Mass. -- Police arrested a man who allegedly threatened to shoot his girlfriend with a homemade bazooka that shoots potatoes. Sean McGrath, 30, allegedly told his girlfriend Tuesday night he would "put a potato through" her head using the potato launcher. He also got into a fistfight with her teen-age daughter. McGrath was to be arraigned Wednesday in Salem District Court on charges of assault and battery, making threats, and possession of an infernal machine. Beverly Police Sgt. Michael Sungy said the woman allegedly broke up the fight between McGrath and her 17-year-old then called police about 6:50 p.m. and told them the device was in the basement of their apartment building. The state police bomb squad investigated. Traces of gunpowder were found near the device, Sungy said.
That's why only mature, responsible adults make spudguns.
Roughly 6 months ago (while recovering from a broken knee, with lots of time on my hands...) I built a 4" by 2" combustion cannon, I took the handle off of an old Super Soaker and put it on my gun, using the barbecue ignitor as a trigger. It works great and I recently added and interchangeable 1.5" barrel. I have found that if you get pine cones before they open up, (especially if they are still green) they require little to no duct tape to fit snugly in a 2" barrel...they fly like bullets. Also, milk caps make a near airtight fit in the 1.5" barrel. On top of the cap, I put anything from arrows to D-batteries to shaving
cream and water.
About a month ago, I made somewhat of a missile out of a Nerf dart, wrapping it in duct tape and screwing a 5" bolt into the nose for weight. On its maiden voyage, I lost sight of the missile only to hear it a few seconds later slam into the concrete shingles on the roof of my friend's house at the end of the street. At first I thought there was no damage, but then I saw the dust and massive chunks of shingles strewn about the place. Surprisingly, the dart was undamaged. Luckily, only my friend was home and we fixed what we could before his parents returned.
Last weekend as I was camping out at nearby Lake Mead, formed by Hoover Dam (I live in Vegas), I brought out my spud gun around the campfire for a little fun. In a moment of stupidity I had forgotten that I was on federal land, and within a few minutes of firing potatoes out over the water, I was surrounded by a half dozen park rangers wielding M-16s demanding the where-abouts of my shotgun. I told them that I didn't have a gun, only a potato cannon. One guy was pretty cool with it, but another basically told me that he would relocate the cannon to a part of my body that I did not desire it to be placed if he heard another explosion... I really have to make a pneumatic cannon...they are much more quiet... They let me keep my gun... I really don't think it was entirely illegal...the guy was an asshole though. The funny thing is, as they were leaving, one of them was driving a car, and being on the beach, it got stuck and my two friends and I had to help push it out.
I have an air cannon that has a 4 inch wide chamber and a 1/2 wide barrel. At 100 psi the thing is like a .22. Anyway me and my friend Josh took some 1/2 wide marbles and we set up a milk jug full of water on his tree in his back yard about 50 feet away. We kept taking tuns trying to hit the thing, we were shooting marbles at 110 psi bark was blowing of the tree. Finally I hit the jug and the jug blew up like a bomb! It was really loud. Then at night we took the gun outside to shoot some glow sticks. I charged the gun to 110 psi and shot the glow stick at that one tree. Glowing mist flew everywere, it was pretty cool. I would not be surprised if this gun can hit the sound barrier with marbles 4 inch to 1/2 of a inch that is pretty damn powerful.
Adam English gives
I've built a few combustion guns and one of them uses a 14 X 4" chamber. I routinely get close to 200 yards out of it. Here's a few improvements that will make your gun work a lot better.
-With a 16" chamber only use about 30" worth of barrel. Longer barrels work better for PACS because there's a lot more power behind the spud. With comb's, there isn't nearly as much power and the friction in the barrel will over power the pressure pushing the spud, slowing it down considerably if the barrel is too long.
-Use 1.5" diameter for your barrel. 2" makes a bigger mess on impact, but with a narrower barrel more air will be forced through a smaller barrel pushing a lighter projectile, it goes much farther.
-Attach the sparker to the end cap, not the side of the chamber. If it doesn't fit, use a large drill bit to shave the cap down a bit so it can be bolted in good. If you have a good fit, glue isn't necessary. Comb's rely more on expanding gasses than the actual explosion, with the spark at the end it will push more gas.