Build your own .22LR Blaster: Part 1

Congrats, you are about to build something amazing! Your build is going to be a success, I just know it. How? Because I’ve built a bunch of these over the last few years and I’ve figured it all out for you. I’ve made all the mistakes and found lots of ways to make your build as enjoyable and easy as possible. I’ve also researched available parts and, when the right parts just didn’t exist, I designed and manufactured them. I did this so that you and I could get together virtually and enjoy what you are about to do right now. Building one of the coolest looking, funnest shooting blasters in the galaxy! So let’s get going…

 

The Parts List

We’ll be building the Canto Arms version of a .22LR Han Solo blaster. If you follow this build guide exactly using our parts, your finished product will be identical to the Nocturne 22 that we sell assembled. Feel free to improvise on parts – we’ll comment on other options we’ve seen builders use along the way and explain why we use the parts we do. That said, here is the parts list to build a Canto Arms Nocturne 22 version of the Han Solo blaster:

As I said, I’ll explain more about these parts as we build. For now, you can click on the items in the list above to see the individual parts on our site and learn more about them if you are interested.

 

Recommended Tools & supplies

The following is a list of tools and materials I recommend for successfully assembling your Han Solo .22 LR pistol. Obtaining these tools before you start will make a HUGE difference in the ease of building as well as the final product quality of your build. I know it seems like extra money but trust me when I tell you its a well placed investment. Take the time up front to gather these important tools and you will save time, money, and frustration in the long run.

 

 

Bench Vise

Any medium-duty vise will do. Necessary for securing your lower and upper receiver blocks during assembly. A solid bench-installed vise can be bought inexpensively at your local hardware store. If you don’t want to permanently install a vise on your bench, I recommend the Wilton CBV-100 Clamp On vise. Its plenty sturdy for what we will be doing and can be stored away when you are not using it.

 

Upper receiver vise block

The main purpose of an upper vise block is to secure the upper when installing the barrel. Installing the barrel nut requires a fair amount of torque so it needs to be securely held in place without damaging the upper.

There are two types of upper vise blocks to choose from: one clamps around the upper receiver housing, like this one, the other type fastens the upper receiver to the block through the pin lugs, like this one. Either will work fine, with a slight caveat on the second type we will cover when installing the barrel.

 

 

Trigger Test Fixture Block

A trigger test fixture block allows you to safely test your trigger installation without the risk of damaging your lower receiver. Never dry fire your lower receiver with the upper receiver removed without using this essential item.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lower receiver magazine vise block

A magazine vise block keeps your lower receiver stable while you are installing the various parts. They are all pretty much the same: a block of sturdy plastic that fits into your mag well and can be clamped into a vise. 

 

 

Pivot pin installer

The pivot pin (aka the front takedown pin) can be a bugger to install because the detent spring is notorious for launching your detent across the room, never to be seen again. You can eliminate this from ever happening by getting an inexpensive pivot pin installer tool like this one. They are ingenious and invaluable.

 

 

 

 

Trigger guard installer

Installing the trigger guard requires driving a slotted spring pin (aka roll pin) through a passage that it rarely wants to go. Doing this incorrectly can mar your receiver or even destroy your lower receiver by snapping off one of the ears.

A trigger guard install tool like this one turns pain into pleasure by forcing that stupid little pin into its eternal home. Again, an inexpensive little tool that will save time and frustration.

 

 

Ball-end hex wrenches

You’ll need a decent set of SAE hex wrenches for various screws on your guns. Our lower receivers, and many others, come with screws that make installation so much easier. A set of ball-end hex wrenches like these allow you to rotate the wrench at a slight angle saving time and often eliminating the possibility of scratching the finish on your parts while installing.

 

 

Gunsmith punch set

A basic gunsmith punch set is necessary for driving pins. I recommend a set with non-marring nylon punches like this one for driving tight takedown pins. This particular set also has a nice sized, non marring hammer which makes tapping in trigger and hammer pins a cinch. Great to have for when you need to “use the force”.

 

 

Torque wrench

You’ll need a torque wrench like this one to tighten your barrel nut. If this is a one-off build, you may opt to rent one from your local auto parts store. Just make sure it can measure up to 50 ft-lb and the socket drive size matches your barrel nut wrench’s drive size.

 

 

Slim 1-1/4” barrel nut wrench

A slim 1-1/4″ barrel nut wrench, aka a crowfoot, is what you’ll use to tighten your barrel nut. Again, make sure the socket drive size matches your torque wrench.

Note that our barrel nut has a wrench contact surface that will only accommodate a wrench thickness smaller than 5/16″ (8mm) thick. A slim barrel nut wrench will typically be narrow enough to fit. Standard open end crow foot wrenches will likely be too wide/thick to fit into the nut’s contact area.

 

 

.223 brass bore brush

You’ll want one of these for smoothing the inside of the barrel chamber to make extractions more reliable. You can opt out and just put 1000 rounds through it but this is way more efficient.

 

 

Drill

Literally any old power drill will do. We will use it with the brass bore brush to buzz the chamber. If you don’t have a drill yet this DeWalt is the way to go, ask anybody.

 

 

Gun oil

You’ll need gun oil for obvious reasons. Hoppe’s #9 is what my granddaddy used and I don’t see a need to switch. It’s also nice to have that needle-tipped bottle to put the oil exactly where it’s needed.

Hoppe's Gun Oik

 

 

Vibra-Tite VC3

We include a packet of VC3 with our build kits so if you have our kit you’re good to go. If not, you’ll need some VC3 Threadmate to keep your barrel shroud and muzzle device from loosening over time. Don’t use Loctite in this case, it’s not correct for this application.

Vibra Tite VC3

 

 

In Part 2 we’ll roll up our sleeves and get to building. Until then, gather your parts and tools, organize your workspace, and get ready to build a freakin’ blaster.

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