Making the Gardner gun Part 1

I enjoy making things, specifically guns and any thing associated with making guns. I also enjoy chatting with people who make guns or any thing dealing with that. I also love mechanical machine guns. That leads us to today’s topic.

A friend of mine really wanted a miniature Gardner gun and with none available took it upon himself to make one. In fact not only one but a number of them. He has since sold the complete operation and tooling but this is a little write up of the process it took to do it. I really wanted one of these and to complete the project, there was just a little problem, money. The amount of work required to make this weapon much less a miniature one was immense. There were no usable blue prints to work from. There were no patterns available. So to complete this project he had to first find a gun, reverse engineer it, draw it up in a modeling program ,then reduce all the components to make it in 22lr. This was a task only one person would even think of doing, Papa Joe.

The original Gardner guns were made in 577-450, 43 Spanish, 11mm dutch and just about every other military black powder cartridge and 45-70 then finally in 303 British and 6.5 Dutch, can’t remember where I saw this at.  The weapon was used up to WW1 by the Dutch. It was even copied by the Nepalese in the form of the Bira Gun. It is a manually operated machine gun that came in one,two and five barrel versions.



navy gun 3On wheeled mounts.


A two barrel version with no jacket.


A two barrel version with a jacket.

IMG_0944csThis is what the hole in the top of a water cooled version looks like.

Data00364scThen to the 5 barrel version.


IMG_0938cs A nice example.


It was a beautifully made piece of art. There are a number of varieties, as I have shown you some come with no jackets, some come with solid jackets and some come with open top water jackets. It is currently being reproduce by two different companies both as a bronze casting and as a fabricated steel one that is plated.   No mater which model or style you look at they are just great. It was even made as a belt fed gun.

belt fed gardner

Papa Joe took it upon himself to make the most complicated one possible. The two barrel full jacketed water cooled version. Part 2 will continue on with this saga and go into a little more history.


18 comments to Making the Gardner gun Part 1

  • juver

    i like this sort of thing
    someone is like “i want that” and so they make it themselves

  • Joey

    Does anyone sell plans for these models?

  • Joe

    The subject of drawings comes up often. I have sold the drawings that I generated and no longer own any. But the important takeaway here is that all of these projects require the motivation to do them despite huge obstacles…like money, time, a complete lack of resources, etc. Unless you are already doing this kind of stuff, getting ramped up to do it will be very challenging. My advice is to do it anyway! If you are passionate and motivated, you will succeed regardless and the end result is always a joy.

  • Joey

    I’ve been a builder of 5 inch gauge steam locomotives and scale aircraft engines for guys that fly R/C planes in the scale nationals but guns are a new hobby for me. I’ve build the gatling gun from the D&E plans but the Gardner Gun just recently caught my eye. I typically buy plans from other people because it save me many 100’s of hours of R&D. I’d really prefer to build the single barreled version – I like the sleak lines of it.

  • Chuck

    I happen to like the single barrel version as well. I have a lot of pictures but no drawings, I am still working on them.

  • Joey

    Building the single barrel version in .38 special would be SWEET!!! Anyways, if you work up some working drawings you’ll have ALOT of people in line to buy them. Doug Schneider sold over 2000 of his drawings of the gatling gun. Though Doug has passed on, his wife still sells the drawings.

  • Joe

    This quote says it all:
    “I typically buy plans from other people because it save me many 100’s of hours of R&D.”

    And this is exactly my point with these projects. They take thousands of hours for research, development of drawings, patterns, tooling, etc. Of course, people would be pissed to buy plans that were not proven out. Doing these projects is a labor of love and requires someone willing to sacrifice whatever it costs (time & money) and to be motivated to get it done in spite of the obstacles.


  • Trying to contact Papa Joe or whoever has the Gardner Gun plans and claimed “Copyright” at this time.
    Seems the Gardner Gun .com site is down now.
    I’ve lost interest in completing more full size guns, have one 99% done I will sell on the cheap.
    Richard, (775) 783-four8six7

    Also have drawings, castings, machined parts to complete several, more but that would have to be discussed on the phone or in person.

  • Allen

    The 5 barrel “version” is NOT a Gardner gun but a Nordenfelt it uses an totally different system Gardner never made a 5 barrel gun it utilized at most two barrels …. please continue your research you will discover I am correct on this…..

  • Ben

    Has anyone found or created the prints for one, because I would love to build one but don’t have the skills to create my own prints? If someone has prints, please tell me.

  • Richard

    Still have parts and drawings for five full-size 45-70 water cooled Gardner Guns.
    Also have MANY photos taken from an original.
    Want this out of my storage unit, if not sold soon, will be scrapped.
    That would be a real shame, there is over $100,000 of material and thousands of hours invested in these.
    Will sell very cheap, but must sell SOON!

    Richard, (775) 78Three-FourEight67

  • I am interested in bying replica build gardner who can help me out.?

  • Like to buy replica gardner
    Can you help me out?

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