Survival Tip #229: Build Your Own Blowgun

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Editor’s Note: This tip comes from our new “Prepare for Anything Survival Manual.”

Cultures around the world have used blowguns as hunting tools for thousands of years, and there is no shortage of modern fans in the sport of blowgun target shooting. This particular plan doesn’t include poison, but with these instructions, you can go after small game with your own homemade blowgun and darts.{C}

You’ll Need
Schedule 40 1/2 -inch- (1-cm-) diameter PVC pipe or threaded PVC (optional)
1/2 -inch (1-cm) female PVC pipe adapters (optional)
1×3/4 inch (2.5 x 2 cm) PVC pipe adapter
1×1/2 inch (2.5×1 cm) PVC pipe bushing
Superglue or PVC cement
Wooden or metal skewers
Thin twine, thread, or string
Cotton balls

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STEP 1: Measure a length of PVC pipe to make the body of your blowgun—generally about 3–6 feet (1–2 m). You can also make a “takedown” version by assembling multiple lengths of threaded PVC pipe and female adapters. Cut the ends of your pipe (including removing any threading if necessary) and sand smooth.

STEP 2: Create a mouthpiece by cutting down the threads on the 3/4-inch adapter, leaving about 1/4 to ½ inch (0.6 to 1.2 cm). Screw the adapter into the 1/2-inch (1.2-cm) bushing, securing with superglue or cement.

STEP 3: Attach the other end of the 1/2-inch (1.2-cm) bushing to one end of the pipe, again using your glue.

STEP 4: Sharpen the pointed ends of your skewers, and round or blunt the back ends. If you are using metal skewers, you may have to cut off a ring or handle first.

STEP 5: Measure out several inches (at least 10 cm) of string and glue it to the end of a wooden skewer, about an inch (2.5 cm) up from its base.

STEP 6: Pull a couple of long tufts from a cotton ball, lay half of their length against the back of the skewer, and wind the string around them to pin them in place. Continue adding tufts of cotton, tying them on, until you have a tail on your skewer.

STEP 7: Trim off excess string and glue the end so it does not unwind. Make sure the dart can be placed snugly into the blowgun but does not entirely block air flow. Once you have the right size, you can make more darts the same way.