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What is this mystery object?
September 25, 2006 3:23 PM   Subscribe

What the heck is this mystery object?

I found it by the side of the road, partly embedded in the dirt, on my own property. It appears to be made of steel, probably weighs a pound or two (I can weigh it if anyone is interested), was covered in dirt (and some black grease) when I found it, and has puzzled me ever since. It is extensively machined (as you may be able to tell from the lousy photos - I can provide more, higher-quality shots from any angle you like if it will help), and incorporates one moving part, a spring-loaded mechanism that may be some kind of a latch. It bears some wear marks, but does not appear to be extensively "worn".

If I were to hazard a guess, I would say it might be some kind or part of a control mechanism, perhaps involving the flow of gas or (e.g. hydraulic) fluid, but that's really just a hunch, nothing more. There is nothing riding on identifying this, just my own curiosity and those of the friends I have also baffled with it!
posted by kcds to Technology (23 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Looks like a router bit.
posted by trip and a half at 3:25 PM on September 25, 2006


I agree that it looks like a bit of some sort.
posted by muddgirl at 3:37 PM on September 25, 2006


I guess a router bit
posted by parmanparman at 3:42 PM on September 25, 2006


I'm going to disagree with router/shaper bit (though it could be - I haven't used a bit that big for 7 years or so)...

Some of it kind of looks like the bolt on a semi-automatic firearm - it's just too round and too big. Still, it almost appears to have a firing-pin depression, as well as an area for a trigger mechanism to activate said firing-pin.

Upon further reflection I think it is the bolt/firing pin assembly for some rifle (possibly semi-auto), but I couldn't tell you which one.
posted by sablazo at 3:43 PM on September 25, 2006


I'm going to differ and say it looks like the bolt from a firearm. I don't see *any* use for a large percentage of the notches in that part in a rotary/router sense.
posted by SpecialK at 3:44 PM on September 25, 2006


(me neither, SpecialK - maybe I shouldn't have answered in the first place...)
posted by muddgirl at 3:45 PM on September 25, 2006


Agreeing with the others, I'm almost positive it's the bolt from a firearm. The circle on the front in the picture thing2 really looks like a firing pin. And the groove on thing4 looks like an extractor.

Question: in the image thing3 it looks like there is a hole in the back. If you insert something in there and push forward does it make a pin come out the other end? If so, it's definitely the bolt from a gun.
posted by quin at 3:51 PM on September 25, 2006


It's a Sten sub-machine gun bolt. If I were you, I'd rent a metal detector and find the rest! Pic and pic (and thanks to Mr. Addlepated for identifying this in about 2 seconds flat).
posted by Addlepated at 4:06 PM on September 25, 2006 [1 favorite]


Second the sten gun bolt
posted by Iron Rat at 4:16 PM on September 25, 2006


Color me paranoid, but if it's the bolt and firing pin from a gun, it's possible that it was used in a crime and the gun was taken apart with parts thrown out a car window randomly in wooded areas. I couldn't think of any other reason that you would find a bolt by itself on the side of the road.

You might want to call the crime lab, explain what you found and where and see if they want to see the marks the firing pin leaves on shells and run it against open case files in the area.
posted by lockle at 4:20 PM on September 25, 2006


Wow. It's amazing how I had no Idea what it was but as soon as I read Sten Gun a lightbulb of recognition went off and I said "Oh, yeah that is absolutely a Sten bolt!!"
posted by Megafly at 4:22 PM on September 25, 2006


Here's a picture.
posted by interrobang at 4:23 PM on September 25, 2006


Quite a find, submitter.
posted by ifranzen at 4:33 PM on September 25, 2006



posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 6:29 PM on September 25, 2006


Wow! You guys are incredible!

Thanks a million!

I may also follow up on the crime lab idea. Not sure I want to part with it, but if it helps solve a crime, it's kind of a no-brainer.
posted by kcds at 7:02 PM on September 25, 2006



You found a Stengun bolt in the countryside, USA? That seems... unusual :)
posted by lundman at 7:31 PM on September 25, 2006


Let us know if you find Jimmy Hoffa on your property too.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:06 PM on September 25, 2006


Okay, so it's not a router bit. (I've seen quite a few router bits, but I've never seen a sten gun, much less its bolt.) I am fascinated to find out what it really is, though. If you find out anything more, let us know!
posted by trip and a half at 8:49 PM on September 25, 2006


As far as the crime scene thing goes, we're talking about a World War II era British machine gun. I think the chances of it having been used in any recent commission of miscreancy is pretty low..

It's more likely that it was lost by a WW2 re-enactor, I'd wager.
posted by GriffX at 9:56 PM on September 25, 2006


Are we allowed to know what Mr Addlepated does for a living? Amazing mystery object skillz.
posted by roofus at 2:44 AM on September 26, 2006


Mystery solved - at least in terms of its nature, though not the object's provenance. I'll try and answer a couple of questions here:

quin wrote "Question: in the image thing3 it looks like there is a hole in the back. If you insert something in there and push forward does it make a pin come out the other end? If so, it's definitely the bolt from a gun."

The hole you're referring to goes all the way through, although the other end is a larger diameter. You can see the "large" in in thing4. The hole in the end, btw, is a blind hole.

lundman wrote: "You found a Stengun bolt in the countryside, USA? That seems... unusual :)"

Yeah, I'd say so! So, like I say, now I understand what it is, the mystery of how it came to be where I found it - along the side of a busy country road - is an even bigger headscratcher.

If I find any more info before this thread is archived, I will post it here. Nothing yet on the Hoffa front, btw :)
posted by kcds at 4:57 AM on September 26, 2006


Mr. Addlepated is just an avid shooter. He happened to have a Sten bolt downstairs, too.
posted by Addlepated at 4:29 PM on September 26, 2006


FYI, and FWIW, I called the county sheriff - they were not particularly interested. They did offer - twice - to have a sheriff's deputy come by and take it away for me if it was bothering me, but didn't otherwise seem overly interested. If I do rent a metal detector and find a whole cache of arms, I'll be sure and let everyone know ...
posted by kcds at 10:07 AM on September 29, 2006


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