Pneumatic Golf Ball Rifle (Summer 2013)
Pneumatic Golf Ball Rifle (Summer 2013)
Pneumatic Golf Ball Rifle (Summer 2013)

As a continuation of my interest in ballistics, I designed and built a high pressure air rifle to fire golf balls.


– Bolt action, double-sleeved barrel assembly

– Custom-made pneumatic piston valve with 2″ bore for rapid opening and unrestricted airflow

– Takes up to 150PSI air pressure and can fire golf balls at up to 750FPS

– Barrel assembly is completely removable and can be swapped out for different projectiles

The Valve

The most challenging part both in design and fabrication was the piston valve. There are no valves available to the average consumer that can actuate from fully-close to fully-open with enough speed to be effective for this type of application. Instead, I build my own valve to do this out of only PVC fittings, plywood, and a few bolts. The valve has 2″ porting (larger than the barrel) to prevent it from become a bottleneck in the airflow.

Built a compressed air‐powered rifle to fire golf balls. Much like my propane tennis ball cannon, the intent of this project was to construct a device to fire golf balls at high velocity but also with high accuracy.

  • Used golf balls because of decreased effect of air resistance, allowing me to more accurately conduct projectile‐motion tests.
  • Utilized an initial charge of compressed air that was released to propel the golf ball down the barrel
  • Featured a specially designed home‐made valve that allowed a large amount of air to be quickly deployed
  • Also featured a clamping system that allowed the barrel to be easily swapped or removed, a fold‐out bipod and scope for easy targeting, and a powerful air delivery system capable of propelling a golf ball at over 700FPS

Because of the rigidity of golf‐balls, it was challenging to achieve an acceptable fit between the projectile and the barrel that would prevent air from surpassing the ball without causing friction. It was also very difficult to develop a valve that was airtight, yet capable of releasing large quantities of compressed air in a fraction of a second.


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Air-powered rifle fires golf balls at speeds of over 700 fps