Tennis Ball Bazooka


By BAP45 from over at

Went down a rabbit hole one day and couldn’t be satisfied until I saw it through.

The Rabbit Hole:
So saw a potato gun made up to look like a civil war canon, looked similar to an M18 recoilless so started looking at that. Then figured potatoes were a little dangerous so switched to something softer. turns out that tennis balls and 2-1/2″ schedule 40 PVC are good match and the tennis balls is roughly the diameter of a 2.36 rocket. Then the idea went from using combustion as I worried it would weaken the PVC over time to compressed air. Added benefit is that compressed air is fine legal wise. Apparently the old hairspray (or whatever combustible you’re using) and piezo can be considered a destructive device.

Ram rod and two tubes of balls

The mechanism is based off a sprinkler valve and a air blower with a lot of JB weld.

hardest part was the external details. a lot of forming with a heat gun and sander went into the sights, grip/stock and tail cage. Wish I had taken photos to document the process. Pretty happy with the end result.

For the air went out in the field I use a battery powered tire pump. in the photos here I have a Black & Decker one but have also used those AirHawg things. Actually like those better.

I’m using a Black & Decker air pump here and it mostly fits in the M6 bag Sorry for the toes

I got a lot of the details and ideas from this thread I found (although sadly it looks like a lot of the photos have been lost) and combined it with tennis ball cannon info I found around the web.

Here’s the dimensions I found and used.

Bazooka m1-a1

Here’s some of my sketches while planning the layout. Unfortunately I lost my written notes from the actual build.

Top is the mechanical portion, second level is the aesthetic parts and bottom is a close up of the valve.


  1. Thanks for the shout out.
    If you leave off the decorative parts its a pretty quick afternoon project
    I’m pretty happy with how it came out for just going for it. Just wish I still had my after action notes. I built an M72 LAW one that I remembered to take photos during so that one will be a little easier to follow.
    Oh btw the Geared Up link on the LR Family doesn’t seem to work.

    • Works on my machine, just had to be copy and paste it into the url field.
      Honestly I never knew such a blog existed, seems like there’s a lot of good stuff on there.

  2. My dad built a compressed air spud gun years ago. It was a hoot. It went bang (well, kinda “fwoompf”) every time. It was way more reliable than the hair spray spud gun where it always seemed like the fuel-air mixture wasn’t quite right. He ran it on a small portable air compressor and we could launch spuds out into the puckerbrush all day.

    Then the gun laws in his very un-free state changed and compressed air spud guns qualified so he broke it in pieces and threw it away.

    • Yeah the BBQ strikers ones always seem iffy. plus I had concerns about it affecting the plastic integrity. And it allows you dial the pressure up or down.
      Are you back east? I’m on the west coast and got tut tutted by someone for one but when I looked it up it was fine but the combustion ones weren’t. Then again I didn’t look too hard. This county is pretty laid back so I’m not worried about it.

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