Working steampunk firearms

Jamie sez, "Denver artist Jonathan Alberico has created two fully functional steam punk guns. Black Betty, a dual barrel pistol uses flash paper to shoot fire balls. Doris is a beastly air cannon that fires bouncey ball at high enough speeds to rip through boxes and even bounce back and catch the videographer in the hip! Both pieces have corresponding youtube clips of them in action."

functional Steampunk rifle

functional Steampunk gun 1

(Thanks, Jamie!)


      1. most items that project a missile in any form fall into the same category as firearms in many states and municipalities when it comes to purchase, transport, concealment, etc.

        In Virginia concealing a pellet gun could nab you a concealed weapons charge. Might as well get a conceal permit and the real thing at that point.

  1. Air powered rifles actually existed and were used by the military since the 1700s. Meriwether Lewis had one on the Lewis and Clark expedition ( and the Austrian army had them as well ( These could fire off 20 shots in a row back in the day when firing more than 3 shots a minute with a musket was considered impressive. This is an excellent example of a steampunk plot device. Imagine if someone had invented a more practical air rifle (they look a LOT of pumping) and the whole word had adopted them during the great age of pirates, 150 years before gunpowder repeating rifles were invented. What would the world be like today and what would the world have been like back then?

  2. This is much like what me and my friend are building, only ours is PVC and shoots modded nerf darts. Maybe I can convince him to paint it brass…

  3. You might want to check out the anime series “Last Exile”. The first episode features a broadsides airship battle, with infantrymen and steam-powered muskets. It isn’t actually a steampunk story, but has many of the elements.

  4. Link to the pistol:
    Video 1:
    Video 2:

    The pistol is a firearm, it uses flash paper. The rifle can’t be called a firearm, it uses compressed air. The rifle is legal everywhere I’ve ever lived, but the pistol might be treading on thin legal ice even though it’s not really powerful enough for anyone to care.. It shoots ping pong balls after all.

    1. Tell your local law enforcement officer that air powered guns aren’t fire arms. These weapons don’t look safe, however they do look like a lot of fun.

  5. Here in the state of New Jersey compressed air guns are considered firearms. Also flashpaper is an illegal substance.

    1. @#23 I am curious if nitrocellulose is a banned substance as you say in NJ, do they actually bust people for old film. Also every magic shop I tried said they have no restrictions on shipping it to NJ. Just curious where you got your info from.

  6. I’d recoment the guy who built the pistol to check the build and preferably break it down. A glowplug or similar is not a “anitque” vay of iginitng the flashpaper and thus the gun is not a antique. Which lkeads to the fact that he now has a quite illegal Short Barreled Shotgun (the barrel is unrifled) if the barrel was rifled he should have no problems as that would make it a pistol.

    Rifling == Pistol
    No rifling and not a antique a == Short Barreled Shotgun

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