WARNING AND DISCLAIMER:  If you are underage, then consult with your parents or guardians before attempting any of this.  You are on your own - I'm not responsible for your actions or harm you may bring to others because of your actions.  Making the items described below  can result in injury or death to you or people in your vicinity. Some things mentioned here may be illegal to make in your city, county, state, or country so check the laws that apply to you before you attempt anything described here. These notes are not complete on purpose. If you are reading them and new to pyrotechnics, then you are making a mistake. Stop now - this page is not for you. Get a beginning book on fireworks (see Skylighter or American Fireworks News (very quick shipping)  for a start) and read up. You can't make any of this work without more information so read up or join a club or ask someone to help you.

Stinger Missiles (3/4”)

Note the way the hoop is made
it allows the fuse to be threaded in as the rocket is lowered onto the bottom pin

Click on the above picture and watch a Stinger take off - they go just about any direction they want to!  Note the sound on this one - the buzz is there but a really good one will be even louder.  The next movie has the right sound - check it out (but don't look at my camera work - it really sucks):

As with all the videos, this one is a .wmv and depending on the version of Windows you have, you may have to right click on the image above and save the target to your local computer and play the video from there.

1. 3" tube and 9/64ths side vent

2. ¼" bottom vent

3. 2 inch long core

4. Use hot fuel.  Start with something like 75/15/10 with +3 mineral oil. I like to use the dust that comes from the ball mill (no pulverone or corned meal). Use willow or pine or similar charcoal - Skylighter or Firefox charcoal probably won't work unless you ball mill it in a serious pyro mill for six to 12 hours. Take care not to shake, rattle or roll the tube after it is filled. It makes a great salute if it has cracks in the propellant grain. ;-} If it CATOs then add more mineral oil or charcoal. You can add +10 of metal like Al, FeTi, or Ti to get lots of sparks although that will change the burn characteristics of the fuel - so test things after you make a change. Tamp the fuel (if no metal added) like you would any rocket motor. Press it to 6500 or so if it has metal in it (don't tamp fuels with metal in them).

5. Use the wire hoop stabilizer seen at the top of this page to get at least some stability.

6.   Don’t shoot near houses. ;-}  These things fly any way they want to (take a look at the video at the top of this section if you don't believe me). They cannot be aimed reliably. However, they DO fly far (or high). I launched one that took off at about a 45 degree angle. It went several hundred yards down range and dropped on the lawn of an insurance company (that might be ironic). I had been shooting in this area for several months and nothing ever come close to any building but this sucker got legs. No damage but I  added another hundred yards to my safety zone after that incident.

7. Make the bottom plug ¾” thick at least – it helps stabilize the rocket by putting the vent nearer to the center – don’t worry – the darn thing will scream if you use hot fuel. This is a trade-off and if you want to live on the edge, then make the bottom plug thinner to get more fuel (and more height if it doesn't go whacko on you).

8. Don't put large headings on them. Use a salute heading or flying fish fuse or something light that won't throw off the balance of the motor.

Stinger Missiles (General)

Specifically, make normal core burning rocket motor that is no more than 4 diameters long.  The hole (side vent) size should be smaller than the bottom nozzle opening (exhaust vent).   These are just rockets with an extra hole in the side and souped up fuel.   Drill a hole in the side that is tangential to the inner wall and just pierces it. Go with (about) 1/3 of the I.D. of the tube as the starting size of the bottom hole and (about) 1/2 the size of the bottom hole for the side hole. For instance, for a 1/2" Stinger, start with a 3/32 side vent and a 3/16 bottom vent. Since you now have two holes in the rocket case, you can use some pretty hot fuel and it will still work. 

Don't put large headings on them. Some have bragged about putting ball shells on top but I have never seen one that worked. If you look at the Harry Gilliam video on Stingers, you will see an example of an improperly balanced one and also see what happens (it fails). The original Chinese versions had salute headings and those were ok since they didn't destroy the balance of the motor.  Flying fish and crackling fuse should make a good heading, too. I've used Benzolift to pop the motor at apogee and that works fine.

The completed Stinger should rest on the nail and not touch the wood base. It should turn freely - but don't turn it very much! You will loosen the powder if you do and you might get a CATO. . If you use the wire hoop example (shown above) then be sure that the missile isn't touching the sides of the hoop at all. If you don't want to make a cage, then you can use a nail driven into a block of wood - that works most of the time.

Finally, get one of the articles that started it all and read up on it. Check out Best of AFN II page 62. You can get it from http://www.fireworksnews.com/   While you are at it, think about ordering all the BAFN series. If you decide to get into pyro seriously, you need to get some reference materials.

Alan Yates has a page about them at:

Dan Williams has written about it:

http://fogoforum.us/stinger.php  (this seems to change a lot - search on Dan Williams if this link is dead)

Richard Kinch has a page on them: