Mark Serbu Shows How to Make a DIY Rifled Barrel

Mark Serbu of Serbu Firearms has released a video showing that making a rifled barrel in home shop conditions and with corresponding tools is possible. Using a drill press to drill the bore, a hand drill to ream the bore and a bench vise to push the rifling button through the bore might not be the most efficient methods to make a rifled barrel. However, the purpose of the video is to demonstrate that it is possible. Let’s watch that video:

As Mark noted, it is quite interesting that when pushed into the bore (not pulled through it), the button will rotate itself and form the desired rifling pattern and twist rate. It won’t probably be a too precise twist rate without controlling the rotation of the button, but it still should do the job (impart rotation to the projectile) for a DIY barrel like that.

Note also how it becomes a much more accurate and faster process when doing the same on a CNC machine. I assume the same results can also be achieved using an old-school mill and/or lathe.

I think both the home workshop and CNC methods can work for making such short barrels only. Making a longer rifled barrel should be much harder or even impossible with that kind of equipment because of the deep hole drilling process. It would require special tools and proper skills/knowledge to accomplish such a task.

Hrachya H

Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying design, technology and history of guns and ammunition. His knowledge of Russian allows him to translate and make Russian/Soviet/Combloc small arms related information available for the English speaking audience.
Should you need to contact him, feel free to shoot him a message at


  • Jason Culligan

    The point, I think, is to show how easy it is to make functioning firearms off the books. You’re not looking for precision or reliability if your goal is to make a cheap and untraceable automatic for illicit uses.

    • iksnilol

      How the crap are you gonna assassinate somebody with that?

      Liek, you need a sniper rifle that breaks down for assassinating stuff (AKA “illicit uses”, also known as the only proper use for one).

      • Paul Rain

        Up close.. it might not work that great, but if you want to build a Sten-like bullet hose and use it at 30-50 metres, this is going to be way better than a smoothbore.

        • iksnilol

          Meh, a smoothbore STEN works just fine at 30-50 meters.

    • TalbotFarwell

      Just wait, liberals are going to try and ban machining tools next, or require people to obtain a permit to have a backyard/garage machine shop.

      • flyingburgers

        Any kind of decent CNC machine tool is already export controlled ever since some got smuggled through East Germany and the Soviets used them to make silent submarine propellers. The latest mess happened after the Japanese were caught illegally exporting tools to Libya for their nuclear weapons program. Now anything precise is equipped with GPS and tilt sensors so they lock out when you try to move them and you have to have the manufacturer send a tech to inspect it.

        • Jadam

          Interesting. Learned something new today. I might still believe that any measure to control something can be defeated, but I never knew such measures were in place.

        • KidCorporate

          Yep, thank Toshiba for that one.

  • gunsandrockets
    • Some Rabbit

      Ha! Thanks for the YT link, I made my post before reading yours. This does seem to be a clever method for home builders.

  • MzUnGu

    Always wanted to ask this question…. Making the barrel always seem like far more complicated than making the receiver, and would have a shorter lifespan than that of a receiver as well. I would think keeping a tab on making of the barrel would be the way to go as far a gun regulation/control goes,…. So, what is the reason the government would control and stamp the receiver instead of the barrel?

    • venku

      I’d assume because they want to control full-auto gun proliferation. Sure, it makes sense to regulate barrels from a manufacturing stand point, but regulating the fire control group probably makes more sense from a legal stand point.

      • BeGe1

        They already separate out things like RDIAS and lightning links as being their own serialized “machine gun”. So that doesn’t seem to be stopping them regardless.

        Nonetheless, good thinking to come up with that.

    • Brett baker

      Don’t give them ideas. Also it is harder to make a barrel than a receiver.

    • Tassiebush

      Because barrels get changed a lot and in theory at least can be used across quite different classes of firearm.

    • Risky

      Not every gun law and regulation is passed for the sole purpose of making guns harder to come by. Many are just made to regulate the commerce of firearms.

    • iksnilol

      Sorta done in Norway.

      Barrels and bolts are counted as vital components and are registered (so yes, for a switch barrel gun, you have to register the different barrels).

      • BeGe1

        That’s more of a political gun control measure to make owning/shooting firearms more difficult (i.e. limited amount of shooting before you need to get another “gun” [barrel] and go through the red tape that involves all over again).

        • iksnilol

          Oh no, they solved that.

          Getting the same barrel for the same gun doesn’t require red tape.

          So if I have a 6.5×55 mm Sauer and shoot out the barrel, I can buy another 6.5mm Sauer barrel with no red tape. But for the sme 6.5x55mm Sauer if I buy a .308 conversion barrel, I have to just send an application to the local 5-0 (which is processed in like a week) and then show that permit to my lGS and buy the barrel . So it’s very little red tape to be honest.

    • Some Rabbit

      They do that in some European countries. That’s why many Euro made pistols have the receiver, barrel and even the slide serialized.

    • Stuki Moi

      It may just stem from how military inventory was kept. As you say, barrels wear out and get replaced. While “how may rifles do we have in the armory?” corresponds with how many serialized receivers.

    • BeGe1

      Precisely because of what you just said. Because the barrel is a shorter lifespan part that needs replacement regularly, which is what makes it less useful to call it “the firearm”.

      That’s the same reason we don’t attach the VIN number on cars to the alternator. You’re gonna be replacing that out with the rest of the car staying behind at some point…so why would you call it “the car”?

      • flyingburgers

        My understanding is unlike a firearm where the serial number is attached to the receiver or frame, the VIN number on a car is not legally attached to any specific part. It is illegal to move a VIN number to another car, but it is perfectly legal to rebuild every part of the car. (Though if you have to remove the VIN plate for a repair, there’s documentation and paperwork needed)

        • BeGe1

          Everything you’re saying is true, just not relevant to the point I was making.

          The point is that you’d put the VIN on something not often replaced precisely for that reason: it’s not something often replaced.

          Likewise you’ make “the firearm” a part that’s not often replaced. The reason you wouldn’t make it the barrel is precisely because of what’s pointed out: that has to be often replaced.

          • flyingburgers

            No, you missed my point exactly. Where is the VIN plate? On the dash pad. Is that part critical for operation of the car? Not at all. Is that a commonly damaged or replaced part? Absolutely, due to sunlight damage on the plastic, look up cracked dashboard. Or if the airbag deploys, you have to change the dash pad on some models. Why is that not a problem? Because the VIN plate can be transferred.

          • BeGe1

            Every part on every machine (car or firearm) might need replacing. The point was that you’re putting it on one of the least likely parts to be replaced where the serializing is still usable.

            I’ve owned a lot of cars for a lot of miles and never once replaced a VIN labeled part. I also don’t know anyone that has (and I know a fair amount of car tinkerers). That dash area is one of the least replaced parts of a vehicle that is actually outwardly readable (i.e. they’d probably use the frame but that’s not easily glanced at from the outside for the purpose of filling out paperwork).

            It’s not a problem if a firearm serialized part needs to be replaced either. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense to MINIMIZE the amount that needs to happen. Which is why you wouldn’t serialize an part that’s designed to be used up and replaced.

            Ever wonder why they do the VIN that way? Kinda weird to purposefully VIN an internal part on a place that’s more easily viewed externally than it is internally, right? If you wanted the VIN to be externally viewable then first logic would be to make it external…wouldn’t it? Yeah…but external parts are replaced far more often than the internal dash is 🙂 That’s literally why. That’s also literally why we serialized receivers instead of barrels: they get replaced less often and therefore require paperwork less often. It’s a thing called efficiency.

          • flyingburgers

            Dash pads get replaced all the time. Google “dodge cracked dash pad”. You missed the point again. The VIN on a car is attached to a part that a cop would easily be able to view. Then they chose the most reasonably protected part, which is under the windshield.

            If they wanted to have the VIN plate on the most durable part, it would be on the frame, but it isn’t because it’s hard to view. Dashboard damage does not total a car in any way, but frame damage could.

            This is possible again because the VIN is legally bound to an abstract notion of a car, and not, like guns, to a specific part.

          • BeGe1

            And so do receivers.

            But they get replaced a lot less than parts that are literally designed to be replaced regularly.

            That simple. That’s literally the only point I’m making. You wouldn’t imprint the VIN onto something that’s designed to be replaced on a regular interval, because that would make a lot of hassle dealing with that regular replacement.

            Likewise you wouldn’t serialized a part of a firearm that’s designed to be replaced, because that would make a lot of hassle dealing with that replacement.

            You’re going on about the legal differences between replacing a VIN and a receiver. You’re not wrong…it just has nothing to do with the point I was making.

            The point is that when deciding “which part should we put it on?” you wouldn’t choose a part designed to be replaced on a regular interval. WHAT the inconvenience is (having to transfer the VIN plate vs having to get what’s considered a new firearm) is has nothing to do with my point. The point is that something extra has to happen when you replace that part…so you’d pick a part that has to get replaced less often than something that is specifically designed to be replaced.


            Then again…I don’t know why I’m writing all that. You’ve proven that you’re not actually reading all of what I write.

            I literally just explained about VIN location and something that’s easily readable from the outside (and therefore not frame) yet protected and therefore not replaced as much…

            …to which you respond by explaining about VIN location and something that’s easily readable from the outside (and therefore not frame) yet protected and therefore not replaced as much…

            No dip, that’s what I just said. You dang near repeated it.

            If I’m gonna argue with you I’m gonna give you the courtesy of reading what you wrote. Please do the same for me.

          • Dan

            It is actually on the frame, or firewall. Again the plate on the dash is only for convenience.

          • flyingburgers

            Wrong. Anti-theft laws require marking of parts like fenders and bumpers. However, those are not legally restricted like the VIN plate is. The VIN plate, and its tamper-resistant rivets have specific restrictions in state law.

            Example: MI penal code 750.415(5) A person shall not knowingly possess, buy, deliver, or offer to buy, sell, exchange, or give away any manufacturer’s vehicle identification number plate… posident die stamps… rosette rivet, or any facsimile thereof.

          • SuperFunkmachine

            Car VIN’ss are stamped in mutiple places and the frame is one of them.

          • Dan

            The VIN plate isn’t the only place your VIN is located. Usually on the firewall behind the motor. The VIN plate is only a convenient place so someone doesn’t have to crawl under the hood to find the actual VIN location. In anycase it is attached to the vehicle not the removable parts

      • SuperFunkmachine

        It’s becuse the barrel and other pressuer bearing parts, i.e. bolts and gas pistons are hard to make.
        The rest is even in uk unresticted as there just shaped bits of wood, steel and plastic.

  • Some Rabbit

    I saw a clever ‘electro-erosion’ method of rifling. The hobbyist took a plastic rod the same size as the bore and cut a deep spiral pattern in it. He embedded copper wires into the grooves. The plastic rod was inserted into the bore and a 12 V. battery charger attached to the copper wires and the barrel. Finally he dribbled salt water through the grooves of the plastic rod and in just 10 minutes the barrel was rifled.

    • flyingburgers

      That method is called ECM, electro-chemical machining. S&W uses this on their revolvers, and it is common on big guns like artillery and canons.

  • Qoquaq En Transic

    AGAIN, here is Serbu effing about rather than working on his customer’s SU-15 project.


    • Paul Rain

      Haven’t you seen his videos about how global warming-caused hurricanes have caused shutdowns that have slowed progress? You need to get with the program. Mark has woken up to the danger of climate change, you should too.

  • Mike Lashewitz

    Shop class? Mom taught me how to shop! Who needs a class? Now for balancing that checkbook. (Said no millennial ever)

    Aggressive checkering on the vise is a pain in the ass. However they do make interchangeable facings for some vises. Or you can mill your own.