Legal questions about shoulder launching

Before I make the question I want to explain there is very little chance I'll ever attempt to create such a device as I am asking about. Safety
first would make this a poor choice for a project.
I have an expired LAWS tube from a surplus store and know I could make a small rocket and ingiter to shoot launch something from my shoulder. Aside from burning out my eyes I was wondering however if such an act would be a violation of any federal laws concerning manufacture of missiles or weapons. The rocket would be a normal commercial supplied kit with NO warhead but firing it from a military tube and horizontally makes me wonder if this could be a felony or simply stupid. I own and shoot several cannon and am familiar with the limitations on projectiles but what is the law on rockets?
Again I add I am not building this but curious about the legal limits.
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I don't know about the legal ramifications but I will say this, such a launcher can be a whole lot of fun. About what, 8 years ago I bought a couple of "Flippy-Fin" rockets from one of the guys here on line. It was a demilled metal folding fin can hitched up to a 24mm BT and nose cone unit. Originally it was tube launched from a four foot length of 3"PVC pipe with a drilled closure abaft through which the igniter wires passed. On an F32 that rocket would kick butt!. I later added a pistol grip and a battery pack along with a trigger switch. Now we could launch it near vertical. Now before you go and try it be advised, I had the whole damn Mojave to launch this thing over and there were no on-lookers to get all bent out of shape. In the city, I would hope some good citizen would call the cops since it would look like a terrorist firing an RPG. It was fun and a tad dangerous. Dream about it but unless you live out in the desert far from others, I would advise against actually doing it.
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R. J. Talley
Teacher/James Madison Fellow
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Reece Talley wrote:

Our fireworks on the 4th are shot amongst cottages at the lake facing the state beach and the Methodist camp across the water. While it is a several hundred yards across it is full of jet skis and not RPG friendly terrain. Bottle rockets only.
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In 1985 for a High School Physics project, I built a "bazooka" style launcher out of a 4' piece of 2.5" I.D. PVC. I cut up an old plastic water gun for a pistol grip, mounted a push button switch in it, and epoxied it to the tube. I constructed a blast deflector cap out of tin cans that also held the igniter clips. I then glued a wide cup to the exit bore. To top it off, I mounted a scope on it (I know it had no usable qualities, but it sure made it look "bad"!). Anyway, I dabbled with a few rockets designs but could never get enough fin area to make it stable (if only I could've made foldable fins). I ended up only firing large bottle rockets from it (A-D motors taped to wood dowels). I never used any type of protection for my face (stupid, I know) but would close my exposed eye as I pulled the "trigger" (the other was blocked by the scope). I felt a few things pelt my face as the rocket left the tube, but not enough to make me stop. I actually took it to school and when it came time for me to present my project, we all went outside and I fired a few "rounds" off. My physics teacher loved it and I got an "A". All this was long before my awareness of the NAR, the safety codes, and of course 911. I was just a stupid kid doing stupid kid stuff. We've all been there.
I actually still have it out in my garage. It's seen better days but brings back pleasant memories whenever I see it. Oh to be young and dumb again...
Chuck Neff TRA #7915 L3 NAR #74595 L3

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Thanks for sharing a great story.
One thing that I've learned in the past 6 years (since becoming a BAR) is that lots of the folks killed and/or maimed during the "basement bomber" days were not kids but often adult mentor figures such as physics and chemistry teachers. One buddy of mine from that era has told me that his high school chem teacher was right there at his side when they "blew up" the back room of the chem class. Fortunately, they both walked away without permanent damage, but others weren't so lucky.
Anyway, my point was that lots of "stupid stuff" involves (thoughtless) adults, too :)
Doug
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shoulder fired RPG has a booster that fires the rocket projectile like a gun to keep the operator safe from the rocket exhaust, then the main motor lights once the thing is far enough from the operator.
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tai fu wrote:

True but I would wear safety glasses and later sell pencils on the corner.
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John Enockson wrote:

If not actually illegal, any 'held' launching device would be frowned on by all authorities - They'd find *something* to charge you with. Apart from which, models must not be fired at angles more than 15 (?) degrees from vertical. All real SMRL's incorporate some sort of face-shield for the operator. For model rockets, thick Perspex would probably do.
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I would think without a great design and maybe some spin it would drop like a wobbling rock and be very unimpressive. Would an angle of 20 degrees above the horizon avoid this? I don't have a range for R&D purposes so it will only fly in my mind with a great schwoosh, white smoke and gasps from the crowd.
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Fired perfectly horizontal it will hit the ground maybe 50 yards out. Add twenty degrees elevation and you might get a couple of hundred yards depending on the rocket/motor configuration. A G55 burns so fast that in a 4 foot tube, you would have little exhaust blast to worry about. BP motors that burn longer would pose a more significant problem.
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R. J. Talley
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A G55 burns for about 2 seconds. Want to reconsider? Or invest in a blast shield? Or order some G1000s from JI :-)
Given an overly conservative shoulder launch elevation of 2m, any horizontally launched rocket will be on the ground about .6 seconds after launch. RASP will tell you how far it would go in that much time. I doubt it will reach 50 yards.
--
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L >>> To reply, there's no internet on Mars (yet)! <<<
Kaplow Klips & Baffle: http://nira-rocketry.org/Document/MayJun00.pdf
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Like I said Bob, it isn't something I recommend. Truth is, the difference between 30 yards and 50 is pretty insignificant compared to what a few degrees of elevation would deliver. As to the burn time, you may be right. I know we used G55s and F72s I just can't remember which we used when hand holding the tube. Either way, I know we used a four foot tube and turned away from it at ignition. It was foolish and definately not to be repeated. It was fun, the same way freeway tag is fun simply because it's reckless and very dangerous. It is also pretty immature and foolhardy. I'm not proud of my participation in it and heartily discourage others from trying it. I, we, were lucky and no one got hurt. I wouldn't want to bet that it could be repeated without injury and certainly won't be part of it a second time. Even if a guy built a shield, the fact that someone might missunderstand what was happening and get the authorities involved should be reason enough not to mess with it. Geez, the Feds could really do a number on a guy before they were satisfied a guy was just being an idiot.
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R. J. Talley
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john:
well you definitely would be in violation of the NAR Model Rocket Safety Code, assuming of course you was a NAR member:
I will use a countdown before launch, and will ensure that everyone is paying attention and is a safe distance of at least 15 feet away when I launch rockets with D motors or smaller, and 30 feet when I launch larger rockets..
obviously you can't be 15 feet away from the laucnher if you are shoulder launching ABCD motors...
in addition you would be in violation of NFPA 1122:
4.13.1 All persons shall remain at least 4.6 m (15 ft) from the model rocket during ignition of a model rocket motor with an installed total impulse of 30 N-s (6.7 lb-s) or less.
4.13.2 All persons shall remain at least 9 m (30 ft) from the model rocket during ignition of a model rocket motor with an installed total impulse of more than 30 N-s (6.7 lb-s).
NFPA 1122 has been adopted in at least 48 states...
Basiclly John, this is just plain a very bad idea...
shockie B)

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NFPA 1122 applies to 49 states, so it's more than just NAR police that would frown on this activity.
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L >>> To reply, there's no internet on Mars (yet)! <<< Kaplow Klips & Baffle:    http://nira-rocketry.org/Document/MayJun00.pdf www.encompasserve.org/~kaplow_r/ www.nira-rocketry.org www.nar.org
I'm not afraid of terrorists. I am terrorized by airport security. _george
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shockwaveriderz wrote:

Thank you this is exactly what I wanted to know.
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The simple answer that nobody has provided (clearly) is that once you create and launch something that violates the definition of a "Model Rocket" or a "High Power Rocket", then you have created and launched a homemade pyrotechnic device or perhaps a "Destructive Device".
Read you State Fire Regulations as well as any Federal Regulations that might apply.
"Fun" stops being "fun" when you involve lawyers or bail money. Or a TV news team.
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-Fred Shecter
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I agree Fred
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R. J. Talley
Teacher/James Madison Fellow
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Fred Shecter wrote:

The definition of a destructive device in federal law is fairly narrow. Check the definition at 18 USC 921:
http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00000921----000-.html
But be warned that the federal definition of weapons of mass destruction refers to and includes this definition. A hand grenade is a weapon of mass destruction under federal law. Believe it or not. (18 USC 2332(c)(2) )
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David W. Schultz
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On Sun, 27 Nov 2005 23:11:38 GMT, "Fred Shecter"

Ya sure, but then they become arms, which the right to bear shall not be infringed. Or so I've heard.

Or on another scale, Hollywood's "Lord of War".
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Well for one thing if you are seen to do this and are reported I think you will have a knock on your door real quick! Homeland Security, FBI, BATFE, State Police, County Sherrifs and many Local Police are told to be on the lookout for this type of thin. It is called a MPD, man portable device, and THEY shall handle all reports of such with the utmost verocity as they may muster. Not only the LAAW and RPG are like this but the Russian SA-7 and U.S. Redeye and Stinger, and British Blowpipe and Javelin SAM systems. As we and others have liberally given these to conflicting factions around the globe and the numbers unaccounted for are staggering. If an item like this is suspected be aware that all forms of grief may come down upon you. But LAAW's were fun to use (when they worked) and went BOOM quite smartly.

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