A Canadian 3-D printing expert has used a high-resolution 3-D ABS plastic printer to create a working plastic .22 rifle that is, in many ways, an upgrade to the 3-D-printed handgun that has U.S. lawmakers all-a-panic. The original design broke on first firing, but an improved and more sturdy gun was able to be test fired 14 times before the barrel cracked.
The maker, who contacted The Verge about his success, was so confident in his rifle’s design that after initial test-firings where he shot the gun remotely in case the high pressures of firing a round fractured the gun and injured him, he was able to use the rifle by hand at shoulder height. The design appears to be quite sophisticated, with a detachable, rifled barrel that may act to improve the accuracy of shots fired from it.
After firing 13 rounds the barrel fractured and “Matthew,” the gun maker, decided it wasn’t safe to fire anymore. But it’s possible that since only his barrel cracked he could have simply replaced it with an alternative and completed yet more firings before damage occurred to the main body of the gun. The one drawback seems to be that the gun must be dismantled so the spent cartridges can be pushed out of the case, but this doesn’t prevent the rifle from having an impressive rate of fire. Matthew plans to release the plans for the “Grizzly” rifle online later this summer.
The first 3-D-printed gun, the Liberator, has caused much consternation due to its potential undetectability and the fact that the team behind it seems bent on deliberately stirring up controversy by releasing as much about the design of the weapon as they can online.