Make Your Own Working Cardboard Barrett .50 Cal Rifle

Turn spare cardboard into a working replica .50 cal with this handy guide.
Christopher McFadden

If the video player is not working, you can click on this alternative video link.

If you are on the market for a non-lethal, but badass-looking gun, why not consider making one out of little more than cardboard? The process isn't that taxing, but the final piece is well worth the effort. 

Follow this guide to find out how. 

cardboard gun complete
Source: Toy DIY/YouTube

But first, you'll some materials and gear to get the job done. 

The best picks that will help you do the job


  • Paper cups for targets

With all your tools and materials in hand, it is now time to get on with this epic, but awesome, build. 

Step 1: Cut out the template pieces and begin to assemble the gun

The first step is to transfer the PDF plans (provided above) to your cardboard. Some parts will need multiple copies, so watch the video in full for details. 

Start by making the trigger assembly of the gun, and then build up the main stock, ammo chamber, and barrel.

diy cardboard gun skeleton
Source: Toy DIY/YouTube

You will need to use a mixture of glue and wooden pegs to get this done. 

Step 2: Make the firing pin and magazine

With that done, the next bit is the most tricky — making the firing bolt and pin. You'll need a series of paper strips cut to the sizes shown on the PDF plans. 

Wind these around a wooden skewer, and glue them into place using superglue. You will need a series of these, so ensure you follow the instructions for the letter. 

diy cardboard gun firing pin
Source: Toy DIY/YouTube

Without this piece properly constructed, the gun will not work as expected. once done, install inside the main assembly as needed. 

With that done, assemble the parts (including a makeshift spring) for the main gun magazine. For bullets, make a series of wooden pegs to fit the magazine and fire through the main barrel.

diy cardboard gun magazine
Source: Toy DIY/YouTube

Install the magazine and check that it engages with the main firing mechanism. Adjust as needed. With that done, install elastic bands, etc., to ensure the gun actually works. 

Step 3: Add decorate features and complete the gun

With the basic cardboard gun firing mechanism and ammunition now complete, we can make the gun look more realistic. 

Gather up the decorative features you've put out, and begin to install them on the main body of the gun. Where needed assemble the pieces, like the front resting legs, and ventilation grills, muzzle, etc, for the gun. 

Create the main scope and install it to the top of the gun as well. This is a dummy item, but you can add lenses if you want to. 

diy cardboard gun scope
Source: Toy DIY/YouTube

For things like dials, strip off one surface sheet of the cardboard to expose the corrugated interior. Wind this around a cylinder of paper, glue it into place, and attach it to the gun where needed. 

Add more decorative features to the gun too like the outer details of the magazine and barrel shroud. once done, install the front resting legs of the gun.

Once done, your DIY cardboard .50 cal rifle is finally complete. Now all you need to do is set up something to shoot. 

diy cardboard gun legs
Source: Toy DIY/YouTube

Paper cups work very well, so make a stack of them and give your gun a test fire! Happy days. 

If you enjoyed this amazing gun-related build, you might like to expand your collection with a replica cardboard "Tommy" gun

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