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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mousetrap Mines, a how-to

Ok, my first post is going to be a "How To" on Mouse Trap mines, Starting with the Popper style.  I will be Using Imperial measurements, because it's what i'm familiar with, feel free to adapt.

DISCLAIMER!!! USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!!! I am not responsible if someone gets hurt building or using these  Be Mature. Be Responsible  Be careful in your placement. And above all, remember, these things MAY sound like a weapon discharge. I HIGHLY recommend discussing the use of these with the law enforcement agency in charge wherever you are, both so they know what you have, what they sound like, and WHERE and WHEN you're using them.

Materials list:
  • Mouse trap: i recommend the type with the plastic "cheese flavored" trigger paddle. They're easier to work with. The paddle is larger so takes less to trip and it's easier to drill. it's also easier to set, which means less sore fingers. trust me on this...
  • Pin Vice: also known as a hand drill. sorry, no picture, but it's got bits smaller than an 8th of an inch and a chuck to hold em. you can probably make due with a rotary tool or drill with a really small bit.
  • Not this
  • Small nails or brads: this is a toughie, because the caps you use determines the size of nail you need.  so you'll have to shop around a bit.
  • Cap gun Caps: not the paper ones, the plastic type. they were originally a cheap primer for black powder pistols.
  • Scrap lumber: what ever you have laying around. it dosn't need to be thick or really strong. Cut slightly larger than the mouse trap.
  • Monofilament line: you don't really need much of it, but the damn stuff is so freaking useful.
  • Small saw: i used a coping saw.
  • Sharp Knife or small v chisel: I actually used an old x-acto knife.
  • not the "American West" type or
    the ones on the bottom right.
  • Optional: Lure fishing clips: should be available anywhere bait is sold, as well as wherever you buy your monofilament  Makes rigging these things faster and easier.
I'll do the basic build first, then some plans and ideas my friends and i came up with for this stuff.

A shopping tip. Pick up your caps before you get your nails. then take a few with you and try out different nail sizes. the ones we found were white ring shanked finishing nails. Basically, the cap should "snap" over the head of the nail and stay put when turned upside down or shaken a bit. This makes for a reliable mine.

First, an over view. what you're going to end up with is a mousetrap nailed (or screwed, but predrill your holes either way) to a larger piece of wood, with a piece of monofilament ishing line attached to the trigger, a nail as an anvil, a cap on the nail, and the bar of the mouse trap is the hammer. SO in the image below, the black line is the cut line. you ONLY cut the wood, just to be clear. the two blue (yes, they are blue) dots on the paddle are the drill holes, one of which should go all the way through the mouse trap. The red Spot is the location of the Nail/Anvil. try to get it as centered as possible. if it MUST be off center, shift it towards the Spring side of the trap (the bottom in this picture, where the spring arm goes over the trap bar)
First step, cut the Trap. again, see picture as reference. you should only need to remove a quarter to a half inch or so.  I had to do this because the wood the trap's made of is too thin to support a bent nail type Anvil. this is also the reason for the extra wood.

Drill the holes. Remember, one hole goes all the way through the trap.

Carve a channel from the Through hole to the edge of the trap, on the bottom of the trap. I recommend to the left in the picture above, but it's all about your planned orientation. This will allow free movement of the trip wire when the trap is mounted on the base. try to trim off any rough bits left over from drilling, and smooth the transition.

Thread the monofilament through the hole in the trap, then the one in the paddle, then through the second hole, then knot well. some monofilament's easier to knot then others, so use your best judgement. You could also use a touch of glue on the top side of the paddle to secure everything.

Secure the trap to your base plate. this should leave approximately 3/4 of an inch to a full inch of wood for you to drive your anvil in. make sure the monofilament is in place. you can double it back across the trap if necessary at this point.

Mark and predrill your anvil location. predrilling makes it easier to place. you only need a small starter hole. Once your anvil is placed, it should be proud of the level of the mouse trap by at least 1/8th inch. It's position under the bar can be fine tuned by bending with a pair of pliers. Also, a tip at this point. some cable ties of any kind can help hold the Trap Bar back while you're doing a lot of this. the velcro resuable cable tamer type works well.

now, i would strongly suggest using the optional clips i listed above. clip the monofilament off about 6 inches from your new mine and tie your clip on securely. I recommend making this fairly close to your trap, a couple inches from the edge at most.

Place cap, arm trap, attach a lead to your clip, pull lead. "BANG!" :)

Now, on to optionals and upgrades:

One of the reasons i suggested the clips and making them so close is so you can adjust the sensitivity of your trap. take a small screw eyelet and screw it in to the edge of your baseplate where the trip wire passes over the edge. Now, you can run a rubber band (or several) through that, clip into the tripwire clip, and reduce the sensitivity of your mine. For the record, ours were frequently set off by a stiff breeze. this will also let you rig heavier lines as trip wires. I would suggest using a loop of low test fishing line as a break away linkage, however, to protect your mine, and more importantly, your friend's nose. it aint a "trip" wire for nothing.

If your base plate is a couple inches wider than your mousetrap, you can drill some 1/4 to 3/8th inch holes in the corners to make it mountable. use bungie cords. or you can do pairs of holes and do same, OR zip tie a pair of spikes to the back of the mine to make it ground mountable.

You could do a land mine style trigger. it would just take a simple (probably L shaped) lever connected to the trip wire. when someone stepped on the trigger pad, it would depress the bottom of the l, pulling the trip wire and setting off the mine.

High Tech Option: you COULD use the mouse trip to either trip a switch, or AS a switch to complete a circuit setting off a simple noisemaker and strobe arangement.

Easy mod. you want it louder, use more anvils, just make sure they're all the same height.

There are also airsoft versions of this i may or may not cover later, however, they ARE covered in other how-to's.



  1. something just occurred to me. How hard are those pop gun caps to source outside of the US? you can buy them at every store i know, including gas stations, dollar stores, etc. here.

  2. just realized. :) that quote was actually a direct quote from "the princess bride" not from Limey Tactical. i forgot he used that too. damn, now i'm going to have to find another one.



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