What cartridges were made for this Viet Cong handmade gun?

Does anyone know of examples of ammunition made for or used by the Viet Cong for their handmade guns? This slam fire single shot fires from an open bolt. U.S. military reports from Vietname during the war state these guns were made from bicycle parts. I don’t think the gun would be safe to fire with anything but light loads, maybe black powder of some type? Thank you in advance for your attention.


image of gun with bolt cocked and ready to fire.

Probably should get a chamber cast as a first step. Most handmade guns, both VC and Chinese were made for ammo generally available. I once saw a Vietnamese copy of the French MAT machine pistol made for the French 7.5mm rimmed revolver cartridge as I recall (at least a French revolver cartridge). Best guess is that they had a case of two of this ammo and made a gun to shoot it. Most of the Chinese single shot, home made single shot pistols are chambered for rifle cartridges (7.9mm or 7.7 / 6.5 Jap) but they also turn up in everything from 22 LR to one that is made to look like a crude Mauser C96 but is actually a percussion fired muzzle loader in about .50 caliber.


Since it’s essentially a blowback, and a pretty light-looking one at that, I’d think anything larger than a pistol cartridge would pose as much a threat to the user as the intended target. Jack

I think if a gun is handmade, it will be made to fire an existing cartridge. That is much more economical and practical than also handmaking some special ammunition for it.

Probably, but because it’s open bolt / blowback, the bolt and spring can be a lot lighter than say the 9mm blowback closed bolt ar15.

An OOB with a rifle cartridge tho would blow that gun apart.

The gun reminds me of a carbine I saw at a museum once. It looked like an M1 Carbine. Museum owner said the guy came out of a cave with the gun, an axe, and a flag. They took him out, and on closer inspection, it was a copied lookalike to the M1, made of all wood and 2 bolts.

Sorry about the story, but, the gun would most likely be unsafe to fire, considering the Viet Cong were working with tools that would be about as helpful in gunsmithing as a cheese grater. As a result, it can’t be chambered in anything powerful like the larger .30 rifle cartridges, and my bet is on .30 Carbine.

Most of the “Bicycle parts” guns were made for either .30 M1 carbine ( readily available) or 7,62x25 Tokarev ( also readily available). Steering columns from autos were also used for barrels.

The Toks were easier to “headspace” properly, due to their Bottle Neck feature.

( examples in Two Museums in Saigon.)

Doc AV