A working rifle for G.I. Joe (Or: Ran dies inside a little more)

Well, here’s my really weird question of the month


…how I came up with this question defies easy explanation (Save to say that it was partially inspired by this thread), so I’ll get right to it: Could you, with today’s technology, manufacture a working firearm (Say, a rifle) at a G.I. Joe figure’s scale? Actually, to make things easier, let’s bump the scale up to 1/12th scale.

I imagine air resistance would be a problem for a projectile of that size. As would making the gun’s frame strong enough to not be blown apart by the propellant when it was fired. And I can imagine about a dozen other things that could be a hindrance. Even assuming that you weren’t trying to build a weapon any more mechanically complex than say, a Musket. So, can anyone help with this bizarre flight of fancy?

Well, thanks for your patience,


how about a mortar? that should be simple.

would that suffice?

feeling better?
[sub]heathen makes quiet, unobtrusive move toward exit, whist making calm, soothing noises…[/sub]

I believe that someone could with very modern technology and precise machining. The only real problem that I see for a super-tiny weapon is that it may be difficult to get the firing pin to strike hard enough to ignite the primer in a conventional cartridge. Some other mechanism may be needed. There have been some pretty small weapons built already. Here is a tiny, funtional hangun.

Here is a link that I stumbled across that just cracks me up:

The preferred weapon for Joe would be the M1 rifle. I think you’re a little off on the scale as all my Joes were about 11" tall making him closer to 1/6 scale. The .308" groove diameter of the M1 would scale to a tiny 51/1000 of an inch. Not much more than a millimeter. Making a working cartridge this small for a single shot rifle would be extremely difficult at best let alone a gas operated semi-auto like the M1. Strength isn’t the issue, the ammunition is.

Maybe a flamethrower. You like flamethrowers?

Novelty and miniature firearms have been made for some time. They were a quite collectible and treasured hobby item during the Victorian era. Called “Parlour Pistols” some of these are so small as to be pretty nearly scale to the 11" GI Joe (which is the original Joe doll, not the 5" modern one). If the design is allowed to be original is it possible to make a pistol small enough to fire a grain of sand, simply using caseless ammunition or a non-conventional propellant (such as liquids or gasses) and electronic firing does away with quite a lot of bulk. If you were, however to attempt to reproduce exactly an M-16A2 in 1/6th miniature you would impose some design problems immidiately that are not present in original pieces. Derringers are the most common miniature design, but miniature muskets are virtually identical in function and therefore no problem to create. There are even miniature revolvers identical to Colt Peacemakers that are about the size of a quarter (U.S. Coin currency)

Here are links to existing firearms:

Missing one link to an item I saw a while back on E-Bay for sale. Just another parlour pistol.

Amazing! Thanks for the info, all. I had no idea that anyone actually BUILT weapons like that. Truly amazing.

…So, does anyone want to check to see if I could use an explosive pistol bullet as a 1/12th scale artillery shell? :smiley: :wink: :joking:

Exploding bullets are not available to civilians in the U.S.

It wouldn’t be too hard to make a little artillery piece that fires .22 cartridges, at least the low-powered ones that are primer only (no main charge of gunpowder).

However, this would legally (in the U.S.) be considered something like a pen gun or a cane gun, and thus would fall under the National Firearms Act of 1934, so you would have to get permission from the government first.

If you build any gun in the U.S. (that fires fixed ammunition) you have to get permission from the BATF.

I don’t think that’s true, Johnny. There are kit guns you can make which create normal pistols or rifles (nothing NFA-ish), and while you cannot sell them, you can build them for your own use.

I’m pretty sure that the kit guns receivers are registered. So while you can build a gun from a kit (or parts, as I have done with AR-15s), the receivers have been registered.

Of course kits and parts for blackpowder firearms not using fixed ammunition can be ordered through the mail. The receivers (or frames) for these generally have serial numbers, but I can think of a few instances where they do not. Again, these are muzzle-loaders.

I’d have to look it up (and I don’t have time right now), but I believe that if you want to build your own modern-type firearm you need a manufacturing permit from the BATF.