Most wheelgun enthusiasts typically settle on buying revolvers made by manufacturers that have been in the business for years, decades, or even from the last couple of centuries. However, one Redditor named Josh decided to try making a revolver for himself for a change. Homemade revolvers aren’t that common, but they are probably most observed by law enforcement, and here on TFB in the Improvised Guns posts. As I’ve mentioned in other articles, I always find it refreshing to see people doing and making things for themselves, either due to necessity or just for the sheer love of working with their hands and solving problems with their minds. Let’s take a look at the steps Josh went to when he set out to make his own revolver.
MAKING A REVOLVER IN THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME
“Professor Parabellum” has several do-it-yourself plans for making firearms at home, two of which are for revolvers, one being chambered for .22 LR, and the other being chambered in .38 Special. Josh initially chose the latter option for his build, but settled on the .22 LR, while still using the 38 plans. These revolvers take a simplistic approach by eliminating internal parts that would index the cylinder, and instead require the shooter to cock the hammer as well as rotate the cylinder manually. The cylinder is held in place by a spring-loaded pin which “locks” into indexing dimples drilled in line with each chamber. This is just one example of how to make a revolver, so some may not like the added requirement, but part of the beauty of the design is its simplicity while still having a repeating firearm. One of Josh’s goals was to use minimal tools.
Josh started his revolver build by printing each part from the design onto paper, which would show the shape and size he’d need. He glued the paper to his steel, then used a drill to outline each specific part, which would make the final cut a little easier. Once each piece was cut to its basic shape, Josh then needed to file them to smooth out the rough edges made from the drill.
Josh had a few sourcing issues for the required materials list, but he was able to improvise along the way. The following excerpt is from Day 3 of making a revolver:
More variations from plan beside welding the trigger guard on backwards. The guard and the grip were supposed to be made out of a 6mm×3mm steel strap. Not the case just cut them out of 1/4 inch flatbar.
The main spring was supposed to be 3 hack saw blades layered up but that was a major fail. Hack saw blades are too brittle and snap. As a solution I used a piece of brake line for the external and a stainless dowlel pin for the internal and a harbor freight spring kit to make that piece of garbage. The weld bead at the top is necessary to allow for full hammer travel without having to redesign it.
I wanted to make my own .22 barrel but attempts have been a failure so i may cut up a 10/22 barrel to use.
I had a Tap break off while i was trying to build the indexing spring housing so i had to make a new barrel mount. Thickened it up and added a curve.
The barrel took shape on Day 5 of Josh’s revolver build:
Had a buddy make me a .22 barrel out of pipe and we pulled a button through with a truck mounted winch. He used a lathe to make it so i could locktite a 10/22 sight and ditched the front sight from the plan.
The end result may not have yielded the prettiest looking wheelgun, but I’m not sure that was Josh’s overall goals. The videos below are from Josh’s YouTube channel Burriotoswithfritos. In the first video, he documented the build process with a lot of still photos (which he allowed me to use for this article as well) with a few tips here and there. The second video is Josh’s breakdown of his making a revolver with his commentary and demonstration of the inner workings.
The final video is one of Josh’s test firings from a vise. The project’s success shows that anyone determined enough can make their own working firearm with some varying degree of looks, which aren’t a requirement to have some fun and to challenge yourself.
You can check out Josh’s complete build threads on Reddit by going HERE, which has links to each day of the process. You can also check out his YouTube page HERE to see Josh’s other projects as well. Seeing Josh make a revolver by hand boosts my confidence that I too could do it someday, though I certainly won’t make any claims that mine will be a thing of beauty either, but part of the beauty is the creativity and improvisation that makes it work too.
What do you think about Josh’s .22 LR revolver build? Have you made a firearm for yourself, or helped a friend make one?