You know how every so often, you come across something that is absolutely perfect and could not possibly be improved upon, like Oreos? And then one day you wake up, and while you weren’t looking they came up with double-stuffed Oreos? It’s sort of like adding bacon to… well, anything. Something you thought couldn’t get any better is suddenly cranked up to 12?
Well, strap yourself in and prepare to go over the top, because X Products has just double stuffed the Can Cannon (click this link to see our article on the original), with the new Can Launcher Upper for 7.62mm ARs in .308 Caliber. Dubbed the M.U.L. (for “multi-use launcher”), this is the Can Cannon with bacon; it launches cans and all manner things harder and farther.
The Fun Tube
The original Can Cannon was introduced in 2015, and it was met with much excitement. The idea was simple and awesome at the same time. Almost everyone has an AR-15 with a lower, bolt and charging handle that could serve as a host for the Can Cannon upper. The old Can Cannon has a standard upper receiver that will chamber a .223 blank. Affixed to the chamber is a tube with holes that vent the gas produced by the blank. Surrounding the tube and threaded to the upper is a 12½-inch tube with a 66 millimeter inside diameter. This simple modification produces a chamber of about 5½ inches, into which one can insert a can, tennis ball or a host of other garage clutterers… and then launch said clutter like your old slingshot could only dream!
B.A.T.F. (Bureau of Anti Tube Fun)
As we all know, when a Killjoy sees something fun their heart grows 10 times smaller, and they are consumed with a burning lust to put a stop to it. The notorious BATF (Bureau of Anti Tube Fun) stepped in and put a halt to the Can Cannon Christmas in September of 2015, when they issued a letter saying that when the Can Cannon was affixed to a rifle receiver it was considered an SBR, or short barrel rifle, and when placed on a pistol it became an AOW (Any Other Weapon). By that time, almost 5,000 units had been sold, and people asked why X Products hadn’t already gotten a determination letter from the ATF. It turns out, they had. “We had already received a determination letter for our upper before the product originally went on sale. After the fact, we submitted a complete firearm and they decided to change their minds.”
X Products had four options to correct the problem:
- Adding holes after the chamber so that all the gasses are expelled instantly.
- Adding holes after the chamber and then welding a plug/plate over the bore so that no projectile could pass.
- Making the tube 16-inches long.
- Rifling the inside of the tube.
Option 2 was the route X Products went to appease the BATF, who gleefully moved on to their other important duties, like going after the Sig Brace. Way too much joy down in Whoville from that Sig Brace, too.
With a proven solution in place, all the existing Can Cannon owners were offered an exchange program to be compliant. A plug was welded in the end of the tube, and a rod was inserted and welded just past the chamber to prevent a live round from chambering.
Article continued below:
The .223 Can Cannon was great at launching cans, which made people want to launch things harder and faster. That lamentation of the people for more power was answered at the 2017 SHOT Show, with the debut of the .308 Multi-Use Launcher (M.U.L.). This is the big brother to the .223 version. The M.U.L. Upper mounts to any standard DPMS 7.62mm AR-pattern lower; just drop it onto your lower, install your BCG and charging handle, and you are good to go. Using X Products’ proprietary .308 blanks, you can push heavier objects farther and harder than the standard 5.56 can cannon.
What are these “heavier objects” that you can launch? Well, X Products offers a grappling hook and a list of accessories (see table at right) coming soon. No need to look too far to find a hidden arsenal of ammunition. Simply dig around in your kitchen pantry; soup cans or other 66 millimeter cans make fine projectiles. You can also check your garage for a stockpile of ammunition, as most spray cans will fit. Heck, half the fun of the M.U.L. is figuring out what will launch best. I found that soda cans will not work as the pressure is too great and pulling the trigger tends to produce shredding and spewing rather than the satisfying arch and thud of a solid landing. Keep in mind: many items can be launched with a little help from a bit of wadding. Plastic water bottles and tennis balls work best with a few wraps of duct tape during the prep for take-off.
The M.U.L. was shipped to me in a cardboard shipping tube and needed a host for range work, for which I selected the CMMG Mk3 3GR .308 Rifle. The lower is billet 6061 T6 aluminum that accepts LR-308/SR-25 pattern magazines. The trigger is a Geissele SSA 2-Stage trigger; the first stage pull is 2.3 pounds and the second stage is 1.2 pounds. The total pull weight is thus 3.5 pounds. The low-mass hammer reduces lock time; this all adds up to a crisp break that is very shootable. I also robbed the bolt carrier group and charging handle. The installation was quick and straight forward, with no fitting or fuss.
I could have added an optic on the Picatinny rail, but sights were not possible as the tube has no means to attach a sight. I instead opted for a Go Pro camera, which would allow me to share the fun on YouTube. To facilitate this, I used the Caldwell Pic Rail Go-Pro mount that uses a standard Picatinny rail with a quick-detach mount, allowing the camera bracket to be removed for carrying or transport. The adjustable bracket allows the camera angle to be adjusted, and then locked into place. The whole thing is made of aluminum and is light, durable, and super handy.
Selecting ammunition was more of a scavenger hunt than a shopping trip. I went to the canned soup section of my local grocery store and bought soup, vegetables, and Beanie-Weenies. Next, a trip to the auto parts store yielded spray glue, spray paint and a case of bottled water. I had some tennis balls and duct tape already in the truck.
At the range, the manual of arms made itself evident. Load the blanks into the magazine, insert the magazine, load the muzzle up with your projectile of choice, cycle the bolt with the charging handle, off safe and depress the trigger. This launches the can, bottle, or ball and generates squeals of joy. Be warned- the B.A.T.F. Inquisition may be alerted by your happiness and come up with some new sanctions. As there is no gas tube, the bolt must be manually cycled each time. I found the rate of fire to be about 12 rounds per minute of sustained fire.
I have some recommendations based on my range sessions. For close-in shooting, use tennis balls, as they are safer. They don’t explode and spray contents, and tend not to break things. When lobbing items over medium distances with precision, spray cans of glue or paint work quite well. Be aware that these hit hard and tend to leave a mess. I managed to shoot a can of glue through the rear window of a Ford Explorer, wedging the can between the front seat and passenger door and spraying glue everywhere! Finally, the money shot is soup cans. These bad boys can be launched 100-plus yards with enough elevation applied. I was able to knock over 55-gallon barrels at 50 yards with a flat trajectory. Re-read that sentence. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
That’s pretty radical, right?
I really can’t stress enough how much pure fun the new M.U.L. delivers. Not one person failed to smile and laugh while shooting it, no matter the ammunition or target. The learning curve to land hits using Kentucky windage was short. And it’s just the right combination of serious and silly. This served as an ad-hoc team-building outing for range training more than once; kind of like a fun intermission.
No practical use necessary
I could go into the “practical uses” of this thing; it really does have some: launching ropes to boats, bringing down drones with a net, training a dog to retrieve, etc. There are plenty of creative ways to use this thing as a tool rather than a toy. But for me, this is about fun, plain and simple. I let lots of people shoot this gun, and the shooter was never the only one laughing. Spectators, folks waiting their turn; everyone around is going to have a great time when this thing comes out to play. The good, clean fun and games were well worth the money. Gosh, I spent almost this much money trying to build the perfect potato gun one summer. If you take a run on the .308 Multi-Use Launcher (M.U.L.) and manage not to have a good time, I highly suggest you apply for a job at the B.A.T.F., because you’ve got a broken laugh box and might as well put it to good use.
For more information, visit https://www.xproducts.com/product/308-multi-use-launcher-m-u-l/.
To purchase a Can Cannon on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.htm?Keyword=Can%20Cannon<id-all=1&as=730&cid=2&ns=0&numberperpage=50&.
To purchase a CMMG Mk3 series rifle on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?Keyword=CMMG%20Mk3.