Airgun Conversion into Firearm -The Firearm Blog

After securing an operational and functional sidearm in 2011 (project 6x22mm MSR), it was time to have an accurate long gun for distance shooting. In an urban environment, you usually operate in ranges up to 150 to 200 meters which a .22LR can be used at, but the dilemma was: I don’t have a source to get these rounds constantly. When the chaos started alongside with the revolution in Egypt, I only had a Norica Mod.56 break barrel springer airgun as a long gun (it’s not a toy but still not a real firearm, it can do serious damage depending on where you place the projectile on the target) but still not convincing or enough for me.

Prior to these events, I tried to enhance its effectiveness by making some powerful ammunition but without changing its nature as an airgun. These airgun darts I locally manufactured to replace pellets were pretty effective (fun fact: in 2012 I started a small project for manufacturing them but I failed to sell to local gun shops because according to them, it was lethal).

The dart airgun pellet used before conversion to firearm

Anyway, this ammunition upgrade was still unconvincing for me, I needed a firearm, a real one.

Conversion Process

The solution came after the previous project, knowing that the use of blank cartridges can result in a decent performance, I stripped the rifle apart and tried to figure out what can be done.

Project Mak-1: Airgun Conversion into Firearm

Mak-1 in 5.5x22mm proved to be accurate at 50 meters

Since the rifle already has a rifled barrel, I thought why don’t I take advantage of that feature, therefore 6mm bullet won’t fit, also it wouldn’t be logical to rebore to 6mm and lose the riflings (it’s intended to shoot for relatively long distances, hence the rifling is crucial so the 5.5mm was the suitable caliber). The pellet chamber was drilled to fit the 9mm P.A.K. cartridge which the new round is based on, and a firing pin was threaded into the piston (welding is a bad idea while the threaded pin can be unscrewed and replaced if maintenance needed). Also, the coil spring was shortened and a small softer spring was added to not let it loose and to be easier in the disassembly process since the full-size air rifle spring requires some special tools to disassemble. And that’s how the conversion was done in 3 simple steps and a secured supply of ammunition.

Project Mak-1: Airgun Conversion into Firearm

5.5x22mm dart to the left, and ordinary lead bullet to the right. When the dart bullet hits a solid target, the lead jacket separates from the steel dart/nail to let it continue its way through the target


In order to improve the effectiveness, a new round was designed to replace the 5.5x22mm round, which was 5.5x50mm but due to a shortage in primers’ supply, the new caliber conversion was temporarily delayed.

Project Mak-1: Airgun Conversion into Firearm

Left to right: 9x19mm, 7.62x39mm, homemade 5.5x50mm and 12.7x55mm

Author demonstrating some of his projects including 6x22mm MSR and Mak-1 5.5x22mm rifle.

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Chris and Andrew from YHMThe Firearm Blog

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