DIY Railgun

Chris Cheng
by Chris Cheng
Photo by Zebralemur at

Railguns are typically a thing of military and scientific lore, but this DIYer has the brains and the resources to make his own railgun. Our industry peers over at have published an article that has a number of embedded videos showing the railgun being shot at a variety of items. Here’s a snippet from the article, and jump to the full article for videos.

In the latest installment in home-built railgun projects, a hobbyist spent two years building a 250-pound mobile railgun and testing it out against everything he could find.

Using 56 400-volt capacitors (!) to speed a projectile down its rails through electromagnetism, the gun produces a respectable 27,000 joules which translates into a flash of sparks as the aluminum projectile begins to melt due to the high speed and friction on its ride.

Then came the tests against car doors, a stack of ten china plates, a ceramic piggy bank (our soul-crushing favorite), and others

Chris Cheng
Chris Cheng

Chris Cheng is History Channel's Top Shot Season 4 champion and author of "Shoot to Win," a book for beginning shooters. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career. He is a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops who shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. He resides in San Francisco, CA and works in Silicon

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3 of 16 comments
  • TJbrena TJbrena on Nov 17, 2015

    Born too late to explore the world.

    Born too early to explore the galaxy.

    Born just in time to see cheap-ish railguns mounted on technicals.

    • C. C. on Nov 17, 2015

      @TJbrena Bumper sticker. Now.

  • Gunsandrockets Gunsandrockets on Nov 17, 2015

    I would like to see as much effort put into an electro-thermal gun. A lot more practical for man portable applications than a rail gun.