Gene gun and ammo

I am at a biotech conference near Valley Forge. I was comfortably drowsy to the sound of presenter’s voice after ample lunch when the following words woke me up: “Gene gun”. I hope I am the first member doing posting about “Gene Gun”. It uses “a 22 caliber nailgun cartridge to propel an extruded polyethylene cylinder (bullet) down a 22 cal. Douglas barrel”. Here is the link to more info

Vlad - that is interesting stuff. An entirely new use for a very old style of cartridge! I had never heard of such a thing. Thank you for posting this. I would bet it is going to be a brand new subject for most of us, at least those not directly involved in the sciences (biochemistry?). The Wikepedia article you linked is technical but understandable to the layman - good stuff, and totally relevent to ammunition and its use! This is one use for a tool blank that I never even imagined.

Pepper is going to go crazy now looking for various samples of extruded polyethylene cyinder bullets.

A Gun barrel maker in Brisbane, Australia (MAB Engineering) made “Gene Guns” back in the 1990s, for the purpose of injecting genetic material (G-E) into hardwalled plant cells, such as Sugar cane and similar plants.

The principal was of a captive sabot with a hollow end, holding the RNA particles to transfewr genetic coding, into plant cells. The “Gun” used a .22 Ramset Blank (Tool Gun for fixing masonry studs and nails) as the Power source, and the barrel enclosed in a type of “Autoclave” cylinder, to prevent any external cellular contamination.
The Pellets of Plastic etc. were “captured” by a restriction in the end of the barrel, and only the lighter RNA material was shot through the tough cell walls into the cytoplasm and nuclei of the cells…
The whole method was developed since it was almost impossible to inject through the tough cell walls of certain plants, with normal Micro-injection tecniques (as used with much softer “animal” cells)

MAB made over 20 guns over a 5-10 year period, and these were distributed to Plant Genetics Laboratories world-wide, and some are still in use.

Other, “non-gun” injection techniques have since been developed.

The Company has changed hands(Founder retired,Worker Buyout), and still makes top quality Gun Barrels for target and Military Sniper use; They also do all my Movie Gunbarrel work, and special adaptor sleeves for Movie Blanks (Shotshells in aluminium which take Pistol or Rifle Blanks as the sound/flash device).

Regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics, Film Ordnance Services

Here is an actual blank used in this DNA gun. I was very surprised to see a bottle-necked .22. It is rose-crimped and has a brown lacquer seal. The headstamp is regular Super X seal. Where else are bottle-necked .22’s employed?

[quote=“sksvlad”] Where else are bottle-necked .22’s employed?

For tooling.
I put some pictures of Russian bottlenecked case 22 ctges from Russian origin sent to the states and never sold because of paperwork.
There has been a huge amount of Russian ammo (5, 6, 22, 27) in a location I kow in Arizona for years. All the ctges were for tooling.

Two years ago it disappeared (destroyed or perhaps sold ?).
Indeed the guy was no more importing staff and was out of business.

I don’t know if my teachers use this “gun”,but today I will ask them if they have a cartridge…We also have a lot of biotech courses and researcher,maybe we have also the gun!

[quote=“sksvlad”]Here is an actual blank used in this DNA gun. I was very surpised to see a bottle-necked .22. It is rose-crimped and has a brown lacquer seal. The headstamp is regular Super X seal. Where else are bottle-necked .22’s employed?
Bottlenecked .22 cartridges are also used in the shot loadings. M.Rea

My biology teacher said me that this machine shots a GOLD bullet whose surface is covered with genetic material ( DNA,RNA etc.).

Right on John…right up my ally…

Wondering !! …would there be multiple variations of the blank propellant ?..if so…would they be color marked differently ???

Would we venture to guess it is a standard tool blank…(or loaded specifically for this purpose?)

and wonder if there are multiple variations of the poly

All my 22 rimfires tool cartridges are straight,not bottleneck.
Could it be especially made for that particoular machine?

There are a number of different short bottleneck rimfire blanks with different headstamps, color tips and colored bases. I’m not sure what type of tools they are used in.

Pepper, if you find out which ones were used in gene guns keep us posted.



Pepper, “Hail Purdue” (I was in Purdue Class of '73)

Pivi, some bottle necked tool cartridges.

Are they 22 cal necked down?

Pivi, I do not know enough about the production of rimfire cases to answer your question!

About 20% of these have the same case diameter as the 22 rimfire, with variations in the rim diameter, some could have been made from standard 22 rimfire cases , but many are too long to have been made from a standard length rimfire case, perhaps the factories may be able to control case length to required size during case production,

Many appear to be chamber specific, many are headstamped with common [ICI - FIOCCHI - H - I - K etc ] plus the HILTI and RAMSET headstamps that relate to the most commonly used fixing tools here in Australia

The centre fire ones are generally re-manufactured from 38 Special, 32 S&W
and ex -military 303 cases.

Necking may be a safety device to prevent the chambering of a live bulleted 22 rimfire, short or longrifle round.

Colour signifies charge strenght.

I have a selection of captive bolt cattle killer rounds as well and some of the rounds in the picture may be incorrectly identified as tool cartridges and perhaps should be in the other draw. [not my thing, just like the colours on the tips and base.]

Some of the older ones have ICI in the arrow [possibly 1960’s]

Perhaps someone that collects/specialises can answer you, as to me they are only samples picked up on the many construction sites visited over the years.