Help me hammer on a bullet w/o killing myself.

I want to empty a .22 caliber rimfire bullet, so that I can use it to make appropriate holes in my leather belt. If you have ever been in the situation of needing to punch a hole in your leather belt, you know that a knife, nail, etc…are totally idiotic, and cheap looking. however, a .22 empty shell works extremely well. Go figure.
However, I live in the city, and my neighbors, while we are csemi-conversant, probably are not good enough friends for me to go tell them that I will shoot a bullet, and not to worry or call the police. I suspect that discharging a firearm within the city limits is a crime. The boonies are at least 30 minutes away for me, and I’m not that desparate. I am too cheap to buy a proper tool for this, because I don’t expect to do this too many times. So, can I pull the slug out of a .22 bullet and just pour out the powder? Will I need to soak it in water, or something? Will there still be some type of primer inside of it?


I’m sure if you call your local shooting range, they’ll be happy to let you have a handful of spent .22 brass.

If you empty one yourself, there will still be an active primer in it, which may go bang (or at least “pop”) if you whack on it with a hammer.

The primer is in the rim.
You could probably use a couple of pliers or vice-grips to hold the shell and bullet and pull them apart, just don’t squeeze the rim.

I’ve never tried this, just guessing.

Wear eye and ear protection, if the round does go off, the shell casing will be the part that goes flying.

Maybe call a gunshop for advice, if they have an attached range, they probably have plenty of empties.

ETA: preview is your friend.

$13, and it does 6 different sized holes.

Another vote for Not a Good Plan, due to primer in the rim. Either find a source for spent brass, buy a punch, or make one by grinding a taper on the rim of a piece of steel tubing.

If you don’t have a proper leather punch, use a drill. Just pick a bit that’s the same width as the other holes in the belt. You may need to smooth out some of the edges, but it will give you the same kind of look you want.

If you really want a shell, go to a shooting range or gun club. Taking apart a live shell to use it as a punch is just not worth the risk.

Another voice in the Bad Idea choir.

Look for these in your local Hobby Lobby or other craft store.

Everyone here wants you to remain a Doper and not a Darwin Award nominee.

Get a leather punch.

I’ve done it before. I used pliers on the bullet and held the casing with my hand, then wiggled the bullet back and forth until it came out then dumped the powder. I then put the (now empty) case into my rifle and pulled the trigger in a safe direction. It went ‘pop’ quietly.

Of course, I did all this in an area where it was safe to discharge firearms.

I did this many times when I was younger. Best to hold the casing with a needle-nose pliar, and a regular one to remove the slug. Shooting it empty will indeed make a very soft pop. Just don’t hold your hand over the end of the muzzle. :smiley:

You can do it, but be gentle. When I was 18, a coworker found a 22 shell once. As three of us were standing in a circle talking, he said “watch this” and threw it straight down at the concrete. “BOOM!!” It went off and the boss came running out as we were trying to figure out if any of us were shot.

Boss: “What the hell was that!”
Coworker: “Um… It was one of those little snap-n-pop firework things.”
Boss: “Oh ok. Don’t throw anymore of them.”

We worked night shift and the boss usually slept in his office, so he was probably asleep and didn’t hear it very well. Luckily he never noticed the chunk missing in the brick wall 75 feet away.

After that, I decided to never squeeze a .22 shell tight enough to deform it. I don’t know if it would go off by squeezing it, but a .22 shell is one of the weakest shells out there, and they’re small so I could see a dent in the midsection causing the base to deform, which you don’t want.

There are sooooo many things wrong with this thread I don’t know where to start. The first response was the best if for some reason you need a .22 shell. Go to a firing range. beyond that, it is about the worst tool for punching holes imaginable. You’re trying to use a soft metal as a striking/cutting tool. Go to harbor freight and buy a leather punch.

You are sooooo right. However, don’t ever try to use a knife to punch a hole in a leather belt. In one of the stupider moves of my life I ended up in an emergency room in a foreign country getting a finger stitched up because I thought my knife might do the trick.

Makes 6 different sized holes, but the most important part is the hole it won’t make.

He’s not going to kill himself barring very bizarre circumstances. Even firing a .22 round round by striking the primer on an intact cartridge will not generally produce a lethal velocity outside of a barrel - it might go flying off at a few dozens of feet per second. The way the barrel confines the explosion is a huge factor in propelling the round.

Anyway, you can just stick a round in a vehicle and then twist the bullet out with some pliers, then you can pour out the gunpowder from the casing. My friend used to do it all the time in his garage to create some pyrotechnics with the powder.

I can tell you from childhood experience that the primer in a 12 gauge will blow a hammer out of your hand.

Alright! 13 bucks was pretty stout, but under 3 at Harbor Freight??? I’m there, dude!

Thanks for the info, guys, and the great suggestions!


And knock knuckles out of alignment…410 shell… I was 14.

The light shineth down from heaven, and the choir of Teeming Millions singeth.

Ignorance fought, disaster averted. The Master smiles, and all is right with the world.

for the next ten to thirty seconds, anyway…

Round punches are for making the holes for snaps, rivets, Chicago screws, etc., round stuff that’s going through the leather.
For buckle prong/tongue holes you want an oval punch! (Sam Browne’s and button studs get a round hole with a slit.)
A good belt shouldn’t have round buckle prong/tongue holes.
(If your good at it you can overlap two round punch holes, but it’s more trouble than not, if they don’t line up perfectly they look like shit! :smack:)

CMC fnord!