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View Full Version : Wax or rubber bullets (updated with more info!!)


MissionMTMan
05-04-2009, 9:13 PM
I finally made some wax bullets and spent the entire day testing different amounts of wax, depth the wax goes into the cartridge, nose shape of the bullet etc... I found the best depth is to leave about a 1/4" of space at the bottom. I think that air pocket allows more compression of the wax bullet and it keeps the wax away from the hot primer. I also found the best blend of wax is to use the canning wax blocks. Do not heat the wax up and drip it into the bullet; it doesn't work very well. It also doesn't work as well if you heat up the wax bar to make it easier to push in the brass case. I drilled out the hole (I forget the name of it) to 1/8" but didn't try any other size. The size seemed to work well though. I also tested the penetration power of each type of wax bullet I made. The best penetration was through 2 thick pieces of cardboard and the wax bullet kept on going! I then made the cardboard 4 thick and the wax bullets consistently penetrated 2 pieces. The nose tip shape that penetrated the best was a small pointed tip type (as seen in my picture). This tip also seemed to yield the best accuracy. I got the wax bullets to give an accuracy of about 5 moa at 70feet! I was pretty impressed by how much accuracy I was able to get out of the best combination. I know this isn't amazing accuracy but I think it is quite good for something I made in my house. I am eventually going to make a mold for these bullets so they will come out consistently the same and should yield better results. I would love to eventually be able to sell these too! I am having a great time shooting these in my back yard and hope you guys will be able to gain something from this so you can too. I also had my brother shoot me from about 50 feet away. Well, the wax bullet hit me in my kidney (I was only wearing a thin T-shirt) and it hurt a little more than a paintball. It left a welt bigger than a quarter and stung for a long time. I know that was stupid but I wanted to know how much something like this could hurt someone. The only way to know was to get shot. http://i493.photobucket.com/albums/rr296/skater4evr15/102_2900.jpg

toopercentmlk
05-04-2009, 9:21 PM
I prefer my practice ammo to be on call for duty.

gunboat
05-04-2009, 9:49 PM
Been there, done that -- Used to use canning wax, it was sold in about 3"x4" x 1/2" thick sheets -- for 38 or 45, you drill the flash hole out to about 1/8 to 5/32 diameter - use a deburr tool a bit generously on the case mouth giving it a sharp edge - Press the case into the wax - there's your bullet -- Prime with a lee or 310 tool -- You prime after to prevent air pressure build up popping the wax bullet back out -- Oh, be sure to mark the case in a way that you don't use it for regular loads -- accuracy? lets just say it's fun -- my ha-penny -

Blademan21
05-04-2009, 10:02 PM
Speer sells a plastic training cartridge that uses a primer to propell a hard plastic bullet. I have some in .38 and .44 some where in the garage.Good for about 20 feet.

Sinixstar
05-04-2009, 10:06 PM
These days i'm not sure if i'd waste the primers on wax bullets....

MissionMTMan
05-04-2009, 10:16 PM
I am blessed and have more primers than I will ever need (10's of thousands) so I could care less about the primers. I think I will try a couple and see if I like it or not. I know guys that do quick draw like them because it won't be that bad if the accidentally shoot them self in the leg.

Rusty Shackleford
05-05-2009, 12:02 AM
I am blessed and have more primers than I will ever need (10's of thousands) so I could care less about the primers.

Can I have some?

just kidding, but I would like to have more than I will ever need too.

bigcalidave
05-05-2009, 2:00 AM
Wouldn't wax bullets end up as blanks? The wax will really stick together after combustion?

chaseman
05-05-2009, 7:06 AM
Yes it does stay together believe it or not. That is what they use at those Cowboy action competitions. I actually listened to a lot more on this subject than I cared to on the The Gun Dudes podcast. One of the guys on there does that. A couple of episodes ago he went through the whole process of how to make them. http://www.gundudes.com/ check it out... disclaimer: I dont know how accurate they are so maybe someone else can speak to that?

Beelzy
05-05-2009, 8:43 AM
I prefer silicone tubing and .22LR cases, great for pests. :thumbsup:

No messy wax or cleanup either. :hurray:

MissionMTMan
05-05-2009, 9:11 AM
Tell me more Beelzy.

mrhappy
05-05-2009, 11:13 AM
I still have some of the .38 spl cases I did way back. Just as a previous poster said, use the block paraffin you can buy at the grocery store, drill out primer pocket o/s, I used magnum pistol primers and a Lee hand primer. Primed the cases, loaded up the "bullets" like a cookie cutter. Had a lot of fun in the backyard garage practicing quick draw and close range defensive shooting. The recovered "bullets" could even be melted down and re-used. But this was when primers were plentiful and cheap.

MissionMTMan
05-05-2009, 2:14 PM
I have a question for you guys. Do rifle primers emit more pressure than pistol primers? And no I am not dumb enough to try and ghetto rig a rifle primer in a pistol cartridge for more velocity. I am also wondering whether you could do this whole process in a rifle as well? I know a rifle bullet tapers down a bit towards the end so I don't know how you would do a wax setup there. Any ideas would be awesome. It would be cool to show the girlfriend that guns aren't "scary" by being able to shoot wax (no recoil) before introducing her to a real bullet.

checkenbach
05-05-2009, 7:33 PM
I've read on a few forums(can't remember which ones) about guys shooting hot glue bullets. I don't know if they used a mould, or just glued the end of a case shut. I think a primer was the power source, though.

Professor Frink
05-05-2009, 11:15 PM
If memory serves (and if may not) Bill Jordan often used wax bullets for practicing his quick draw. I think he even refrenced a wax bullet kit.

Awhile back I was working at the now gone Ambassador Hotel. it was full of what appeared to be wax bullets and spent casings. Apparently the police used the vacant hotel for practice.

MissionMTMan
05-06-2009, 5:55 AM
I've read on a few forums(can't remember which ones) about guys shooting hot glue bullets. I don't know if they used a mould, or just glued the end of a case shut. I think a primer was the power source, though.

I bet you could get some serious pressure from hot glue because the glue bullet would be glued in making a lot of pressure build up. I am going to research that today.

MissionMTMan
05-06-2009, 5:57 AM
If memory serves (and if may not) Bill Jordan often used wax bullets for practicing his quick draw. I think he even refrenced a wax bullet kit.

Awhile back I was working at the now gone Ambassador Hotel. it was full of what appeared to be wax bullets and spent casings. Apparently the police used the vacant hotel for practice.

That's not a bad idea for the police. It would save a couple bucks for the dept. and they could learn how to shoot close up without shooting real rounds. Most encounters are close anyways.

cdtx2001
05-06-2009, 6:06 AM
Primed .38spl casings and earplugs are kinda fun. It's like a little Nerf gun.

MissionMTMan
05-06-2009, 7:01 AM
haha. The only thing I have a problem with is it isn't teaching safety very well. If people think that guns can shoot wax or earplugs may be less careful and cause an accident. I don't know. I guess it all comes down to who is teaching safety.

BTF/PTM
05-06-2009, 7:17 AM
I've been wondering about rubber bullets myself. Personally I think a rubber bullet is a much safer option in terms of legal consequences in a home defense situation. Much less (or none at all?) risk of the round going thru walls and ending up in someone else's home or out on the street, etc. Not a lethal shot but will still break ribs and cause some nasty debilitating damage in the event of stopping a burglar in his tracks. That sorta thing. Anyway...

So do rubber bullets just use primers and no powder? This could be a great edjumucational thread.

rkt88edmo
05-06-2009, 8:26 AM
Not a lethal shot but will still break ribs and cause some nasty debilitating damage in the event of stopping a burglar in his tracks. That sorta thing. Anyway...


I don't think you are going to get one without the other, unless you are talking about the larger less than lethal shotgun rounds.

Rubber bullets for self/home defense is for the birds.

MissionMTMan
05-06-2009, 12:33 PM
I've been wondering about rubber bullets myself. Personally I think a rubber bullet is a much safer option in terms of legal consequences in a home defense situation. Much less (or none at all?) risk of the round going thru walls and ending up in someone else's home or out on the street, etc. Not a lethal shot but will still break ribs and cause some nasty debilitating damage in the event of stopping a burglar in his tracks. That sorta thing. Anyway...

So do rubber bullets just use primers and no powder? This could be a great edjumucational thread.

From what I have been told, they only shoot at about 450fps. That isn't fast enough to do anything. A robber would have so much adrenaline that they would barely feel the "rubber bullet" unless it hit them in the face or groin. As far as legal issues go, a dead man can't sue. That is my motto. I personally shoot to stop the threat and wouldn't use a pistol. A shotgun is my weapon of choice for home defense. There aren't very many burglaries in Montana for that reason. Everyone has a shotgun and knows how to shoot it. I sure as hell would never rob someone because I know I would get my ***** shot! haha

Yes, rubber bullets only use the primer and no powder. Do not try and use powder. From what I have heard, it isn't a very good idea but like I said, "from what I have heard." Everything I say in this thread regarding rubber or wax bullets is not first hand knowledge.

AfricanHunter
05-06-2009, 5:17 PM
I don't think you are going to get one without the other, unless you are talking about the larger less than lethal shotgun rounds.

Rubber bullets for self/home defense is for the birds.

Yes, I would NEVER consider using rubber bullets in any kind of defense situation.

Seesm
05-06-2009, 6:14 PM
I've been wondering about rubber bullets myself. Personally I think a rubber bullet is a much safer option in terms of legal consequences in a home defense situation. Much less (or none at all?) risk of the round going thru walls and ending up in someone else's home or out on the street, etc. Not a lethal shot but will still break ribs and cause some nasty debilitating damage in the event of stopping a burglar in his tracks. That sorta thing. Anyway...

So do rubber bullets just use primers and no powder? This could be a great edjumucational thread.

I think a rubber bullet would open you up for more liability in a home defense deal.... Guy is in pain you hurt him in your house while he was tryingt o hurt you... Dead guys complain less and less likely to dial up there lawyers... :) JK

dchang0
05-06-2009, 6:18 PM
If you really want non-lethal knock-down, go with a shotgun and bean bag rounds. Much better than rubber bullets...

MissionMTMan
05-06-2009, 7:24 PM
I wish I could persuade you guys to just use the most lethal rounds you can get. Like everyone is saying, a dead guy is a lot less likely to sue or do anything else that you won't like. Get some good hollow points that really mushroom out and call it a day. Let's keep this thread dedicated to rubber or wax bullets for use as a practice tool, not something you actually want to shoot at a person. One other thing, would you want to trust a wax bullet that you ghetto made or a bullet that was made with precision? I sure as hell know I wouldn't want to put my family or life on the line for something that MAY shoot wax or rubber at an enemy.

Beelzy
05-07-2009, 9:06 AM
Tell me more Beelzy.

Aside from wasting a bullet and some powder: Wear Safety Glasses for this!
I use these only in short barreled handguns as the primer compound lacks
enough oomph to push the silicone plug down a long barrel. ;)

You pull the bullet off a .22 round and dump the powder, leaving only the primer compound.

I use a fired .22 case and bell the case mouth a tad and use it as a "cookie" cutter to push it into
soft silicone tubing used for swimming pool cleaners.

I then remove the silicone plug from the cutter case and carefully stuff it
into the primed .22 case with a plastic dowel (no metal as the primer mix can
and will go off resulting in a silicone plug being shot at you)

Great all around pest loads that won't alarm anyone, as they sound like caps
from a capgun. Wicked effective on flying insects when they are stupid enough to land! :p

MissionMTMan
05-07-2009, 4:14 PM
haha. That is really cool. I think the primer method for a 45 would have a little more oomph though. That is good to know though because that would be way cheaper to do than the 45 primer way.

StoneTower
05-07-2009, 5:55 PM
There was a company in the 1980's that sold cast wax bullet at the Sacramento gun shows. They had modified cases that were drilled out in the back to take a 209 shotgun primer. They really smashed that wax slug flat. 209 primers are not in short supply but they are much more expensive than they used to be.

MissionMTMan
05-07-2009, 6:14 PM
that is a great idea. I wonder what size of bit you would have to use to fit a 209?

BTF/PTM
05-07-2009, 7:59 PM
Yall bring up some good points. Sadly, I must admit that the phrase "dead guys can't sue" holds a whole helluva lot of truth in our society these days. I suppose a guy who got shot with a rubber bullet while robbing your house could sue for just as much money as the arse wad who sued and won cuz he fell thru the roof of a house he was robbing. I do have a shotgun, so I guess I'll stick with that.

MissionMTMan
05-07-2009, 8:20 PM
I am glad we could persuade you. I heard of an instance where a guy sat in his chair in front of his door every night with a shotgun because he was scared of someone breaking into his house. Eventually someone came through the front door and he shot the robber in the face with his shotgun. He had no legal issues whatsoever. Oh, and this instance was in CALIFORNIA, not some gun friendly state like Texas.

bigcalidave
05-08-2009, 12:27 PM
That's not a bad idea for the police. It would save a couple bucks for the dept. and they could learn how to shoot close up without shooting real rounds. Most encounters are close anyways.


Isn't that the truth...

MissionMTMan
05-08-2009, 12:46 PM
haha. Ya, it is. I have know some cops that are excellent marksmen and others... not so much.haha

jyo
05-08-2009, 9:36 PM
In the distant past, I used both wax and rubber bullets in 38 & 44 revolvers---great indoor fun (where legal)---powered by primer only. Now days in many cities this would be considered the same as shooting live ammo. Also still dangerous to anything in front of gun at time of firing!

MissionMTMan
05-27-2009, 10:02 PM
I edited the main topic with my findings! Go and check it out. I finally made the bullets and did some tests on them. Tell me what you guys think?

maxicon
05-28-2009, 7:44 AM
Nice writeup and results! Thanks for updating with real-world info!

Decoligny
05-28-2009, 10:14 AM
From what I have been told, they only shoot at about 450fps. That isn't fast enough to do anything. A robber would have so much adrenaline that they would barely feel the "rubber bullet" unless it hit them in the face or groin. As far as legal issues go, a dead man can't sue. That is my motto. I personally shoot to STOP THE THREAT and wouldn't use a pistol. A shotgun is my weapon of choice for home defense. There aren't very many burglaries in Montana for that reason. Everyone has a shotgun and knows how to shoot it. I sure as hell would never rob someone because I know I would get my ***** shot! haha

Yes, rubber bullets only use the primer and no powder. Do not try and use powder. From what I have heard, it isn't a very good idea but like I said, "from what I have heard." Everything I say in this thread regarding rubber or wax bullets is not first hand knowledge.

I for one would never consider shooting "to kill".

If I shoot to stop the threat, and if the bad guy happens to not survive the encounter, then that is simply his bad luck.

However, stating "I personally shoot to kill" on a public forum leaves you vulnerable. If you find yourself in a position of having shot an intruder and he dies, you may have to defend against a DA bent on Premeditated Murder charges. If he is any good he will find every gun related post you have ever made, and try to use the statement to show intent to commit murder.

FeuerFrei
05-28-2009, 11:17 AM
I've tried this "wax bullet" method for a 44 mag and found it works real well.
Easy to make and fairly accurate at close range. Wadcutter style load.
I also found it a pain when reloading gun so no fast practice drills.
However, it was rather effective as a non-lethal stray dog and feral cat discourager. Won't break the skin.

xxdabroxx
05-28-2009, 11:49 AM
how loud? i have fired primed cases and its a bit loud, but never with something in front of the primer.

MissionMTMan
05-28-2009, 4:59 PM
I for one would never consider shooting "to kill".

If I shoot to stop the threat, and if the bad guy happens to not survive the encounter, then that is simply his bad luck.

However, stating "I personally shoot to kill" on a public forum leaves you vulnerable. If you find yourself in a position of having shot an intruder and he dies, you may have to defend against a DA bent on Premeditated Murder charges. If he is any good he will find every gun related post you have ever made, and try to use the statement to show intent to commit murder.

You are completely right. I guess I need to stop saying things the Army has ingrained into my head.haha

MissionMTMan
05-28-2009, 5:21 PM
how loud? i have fired primed cases and its a bit loud, but never with something in front of the primer.



Uhh, not very loud. I would say you wouldn't even notice the sound from 30 yards. It is a slight crack but not as loud as just a primer going off in a pair of pliers or anything. I hope that helps.

ERdept
05-29-2009, 12:02 AM
When I was in JROTC and we did color guard with the M1 Garand. (Amazing thought that weapons were in a high school nowadays)

We made our own blanks by pulling the bullet and inserting a crayon and breaking it off. Needless to say, quite a surprising jolt for a little kid.

MissionMTMan
05-29-2009, 8:46 AM
When I was in JROTC and we did color guard with the M1 Garand. (Amazing thought that weapons were in a high school nowadays)

We made our own blanks by pulling the bullet and inserting a crayon and breaking it off. Needless to say, quite a surprising jolt for a little kid.


What year were you in JROTC? In ROTC we also do Color Guard but our M1's have the barrel's and bolts welded shut.

Stubby
05-29-2009, 9:44 PM
Wax Bullets were one of the ways many of the old timers practised what they taught on a live moving target. Today airsoft gas blowback guns are a much better idea. Cheaper to shoot, no trouble in figuring out the right load, and you only have to wear a minimum amount of protection when you are shooting at live people.

MissionMTMan
05-29-2009, 9:47 PM
Wax Bullets were one of the ways many of the old timers practised what they taught on a live moving target. Today airsoft gas blowback guns are a much better idea. Cheaper to shoot, no trouble in figuring out the right load, and you only have to wear a minimum amount of protection when you are shooting at live people.


I do a lot of airsoft but you can't compare when it comes to the feel and weight of a real gun. It is a kick in the pants. I have an airsoft gun that shoots 460fps and that thing puts people down.haha I know they are working on the airsoft stuff being realistic but I feel better actually using the gun I would have to use in a real situation.

ERdept
05-30-2009, 12:10 AM
What year were you in JROTC? In ROTC we also do Color Guard but our M1's have the barrel's and bolts welded shut.


1980 Gahr HS.

dchang0
05-30-2009, 12:22 AM
(Amazing thought that weapons were in a high school nowadays)

When I grew up, I brought a knife to school every day from middle school through high. It wasn't a weapon--it was a pocketknife, a mere tool. Funny how when individual responsibility went out the door, so did the civility.

MissionMTMan
05-30-2009, 3:13 PM
Heck, I graduate in 2007 and we could have a knife as long as the blade is under 4". But this is in Montana.