This is Part 2 of the Heavy Gun Build, which will show how Joe and I built the ammo can and attached it to the barrel and hanger. Check out Part 1 here. Some of this was inspired by the Instructables guy tutorial so I highly recommend you take a look at that. This isn’t a step by step, but more of a general overview. If you have any questions, please ask and we’ll do our best to help you.
Bucket & Internal Structure
The base of the ammo can is a blue bucket from Lowe’s. We got two lids for it, one for the front and one for the back. Inside Joe also built a T structure made of wood. It wedges inside the bucket. The reason for this is to provide more stability for the hanger once it gets bolted into place. This does add some weight to the gun, but is worth it. The hanger needs something to attach to, more than just the plastic offers.
So, before moving forward I wanted to show you this dumb looking diagram so you understand how the bucket works. The open end of the bucket will be facing you. The bottom is where the T shape goes. There will be a lid on the open end of the bucket, and the bottom. The T structure doesn’t go completely in the bottom, but a few inches away from it as shown in the diagram.
This part is going to be hard to explain typed, so bear with me. We used a sheet of aluminum slightly bigger than the bucket and wrapped it around the bucket like a sleeve. Joe used his riveting gun to merge the edges of the sleeve, but you could also use small screws. The aluminum sheet goes just against the top rim of the bucket and extends about an inch past the bottom. There is a bit of space between the aluminum and the bucket. We put a bit of expanding foam in this space to stop the aluminum from buckling in if the gun hit something. A lid goes on both ends, the white one fitting around the aluminum like it was an extension of the top.
The great thing about putting that aluminum on is that it holds spray paint SO much better than the plastic bucket. Even if it does scratch, it is metal underneath which looks cool and distressed. If you opt to go without, you will have to sand it a ton before painting, and even then there is no guarantee the paint will stick. The Instructables guy had a long process for prepping the bucket for painting, but it is effective and I’d definitely go with that if you aren’t putting a sleeve on. If you didn’t do a sleeve, you could probably attach the front of the ammo can to the bottom of the bucket without the lid.
At this point while the bucket is separate from the hanger, I spray painted the whole thing white. I taped off the back half (the open side) once it was dry, and painted that black. Painted one lid black and the other white. This is the base of the ammo can.
Front of Ammo Can
At this point we got the elements of the front ready. Below is a diagram of all the parts for the front of the ammo can. These are all PVC parts. The flange attaches to the bucket lid with four screws. The coupling fitting attaches to that, then the black pipe, and the screw in end cap. Joe used a drill bit on the coupling fitting with the screw in end cap together to drill a hole the right size for the narrow pipe to thread through.
The large flange, coupling fitting, and screw in end cap were all lightly sanded and spray painted before being put together. We didn’t screw this structure onto the bucket until the end.
We pretty much followed the Instructables tutorial for the narrow black pipe part, and in essence that gray part. The black pipe connects to the back of the gun with a little wood structure as shown below. The structure is just three pieces of wood glued together to fit on the bottom of the barrel. Joe used a drill bit to create a hole in the structure that another PVC coupler is inserted into, then the black pipe fits into that.
This black wooden structure is essential. It has multiple functions. For one, it is something for the narrow black pipe to go into. Second, it allows the gun to sit flat and not roll around. Without this piece, the gun would fall on its side and get dented and scratched. No good!
You’re still here? Nice! The vent is a plastic exhaust hood sort of like the one below. We sawed some lines in it to make it look more like a vent, spray painted it black, and used bolts to attach it to the ammo can and riveted the bottom to it to make it bend a little better to the shape of the can.
Assembling and Attaching The Parts
At this point we had a completed barrel with hanger, an ammo can, the front elements, and two lids. To attach the hanger to the ammo can, Joe drilled a hole through the ammo can and bucket into the T structure inside. Oversized lag bolts go through the hole into structure, and that’s how it is attached. The big lag bolts aren’t just for structural support, but add to that beefy look that is important for Sasha. Same with the rivets; it looks really cool, but you could definitely substitute screws if you wanted.
We then screwed the front elements (gray PVC structure) onto the white lid onto the bottom of the bucket. Next the wood structure is screwed onto the bottom of the bucket, and the narrow black pipes are put into place.
The black lid goes onto the top of the bucket. At this point it does look done, but it was flopping around a bit. We added this strap tie to the back for more stability. It is screwed onto the barrel, then on the wood structure on the bottom.
I did some touch ups on the paint and we were done. If you have any questions, please let me know and Joe and I will help you out as much as we can.
Again, we didn’t have the forethought to take a ton of step by step pictures during this process so I apologize for that. There was a lot of “I found this thing at Home Depot, can we use it?” going on. The gun was built over a couple months. I suggest you take your time with it. It’s a big project! Good luck on your own Sasha.