making shotgun shot??


May 12, 2006, 07:46 PM
ive got some lead from some old wheel weights i got from a auto repair shop. anyone have any tips or ideas on how to make shot for shotgun shells. any ideas would be helpful, thanks.

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May 12, 2006, 09:03 PM
does it have to be round little bb's??? LOL small chunks would do also...:uhoh:

but I think it would be more work then it's worth. might work good for slugs though

May 12, 2006, 09:39 PM
Traditionally, shot was made by dropping molten lead from a tower high enough it would cool in air before it hit the ground. From there shot would have to be sifted for size. I don't know if this is still done. I'd guess most shot today is swaged (pressed into shape).

A small round ball mold could be used to make buckshot sized pellets. Just a thought.

May 12, 2006, 09:44 PM
A lot of shot is still dropped the old fashioned way.

On the other hand, there is a way to make shot at home. The Littleton Shotmaker ( is available for home use. I haven't heard to much about it but I imagine buying shot in bulk would be a LOT simpler.


May 13, 2006, 08:01 AM
They would pour thin sheets of lead, cut it into small bits and then roll it between two sheets of steel until it was round. Then came shot towers.
Me? I'd buy a 30-30 and use that lead for casting some bullets for it and then go out and buy the shot.

May 13, 2006, 08:11 AM
I never gave much thought as to how shot was made. There was a show on the History or Discovery channel about shot. Part of it was filmed right at a shot tower. I thought it was pretty cool.

I did a quick internet search and came up with not much, does anyone know if bismuth and tungston shot are made the same way?

May 13, 2006, 11:58 AM
The shot towers poured molten lead through a sieve. The bigger the holes in the sieve, the bigger the pellets. They drop them from a hight to form a sphere, then the pellets fall into a tank of cold water. That's why they call it "chilled shot").

The harder "magnum" shot has a higher content of antimony so it resists deformation better.

May 13, 2006, 10:06 PM

May 14, 2006, 12:22 AM
Agree with towers and antimony content - some towers kinda local to me.

In the old days, we used to buy "cubed" shot , on purpose to deform and "spread out" the low (if any) antimony content of shot. Days of fixed choked barrels and getting IC pattern from a Full choke.

As per link above in regard to Littleton Shotmaker - Model 65 - or - any other similar products...

Any first hand experience from anyone here on THR or TFL?
Being even more specific , will it work with Bismuth and other metals?


May 14, 2006, 12:24 AM
All that lead, a plumber's pot lead melter (no sense fooling with a couple pounds at a time) at the top of a twenty to thirty foot tower or platform, a pool of water about a foot deep and wide enough to catch all the drippings, an aluminum (melted lead will not stick to aluminum) colender (sort of like a strainer) and some heavy duty heat protection gloves (the aluminum will be as hot as the lead). You will also need a lead particulant mask (available at most hardware stores - make sure it is rated for lead particles) and face/head/body protection from lead spatter.

You will learn by trial and error. You can re-cycle the mistakes, but be careful putting the lead back in the pot; if you dump a piece with water on it, the water boils instantly and flings molten lead in all directions.

You'll probably get a range of shot sizes, and you'll have to figure out how to sort it. Some sort of progressive screen (start with the small sizes) and much shaking or rocking. Perhaps you can adapt one of the media tumbler extractors?

Actually, this sounds like a fun project. I may try it myself when I retire.

scott 7138
June 7, 2006, 08:57 AM
I bought the littleton shotmaker and have been making shot for awhile. I is very sensitive and it takes some practice to get the shot round. It drops out of a heating plate with tiny holes and rolls down a angled lip into a cooling liquid. I found it to be quite a process. They make it sound easy but there are alot of steps and quite a few tricks to get your shot to come out round. But my daughter and I shoot alot of trap and have found it to be better than the shot you buy.(it's harder and breaks the targets better and at longer distances). You also need alot of equipment to do it right. We use a cast iron pot on a propane bottle to melt it. When you get it melted and all the clips removed you have to flux it. Then we pour it into 1 lb. ingots. Then it has to be ran through the shotmaker and drop into brake fluid or a mixture of a special oil and water. Then it has to be washed and screened to remove larger or odd pellets. From there it's dumped into a cement mixer (with inside paddles removed) and tumbled with graphite. As you can see it's quite a process. Then you have to get the mixture right or you get out-of -round pellets or tear dropped shaped ones. But if you can take the time to figure out all the little quirks you can make great shot-but it's time consuming.

June 7, 2006, 09:51 AM

Thank you for your reply. You're the first person I've ever heard of that purchased one. I had no idea the production process was so thorough.


June 10, 2006, 10:28 PM
Scott, I have recently acquired a Littleton shotmaker and with no instructions included have been trying with limited success to make it work, Can you tell me specifically what you are using as coolant (including delution if required) and also the distance from lip to coolant surface. I tried "All" soap thinned with water as recommended and found it tended to foam very shortly and the shot looked like sponges. My most success has been with water at 1/2 to 3/4 inch fall. Not as round as I would like but at least marginally useful. I have heard of antifreeze but with dogs present I don't like that idea. I have also heard of water soluable hydraulic oil but would like that confirmed by an actual user before investing in a 5 gal can of it. Any help or recommendation would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

June 11, 2006, 10:57 AM
Don't forget that commercially purchased bags of shot are treated with a graphite compound to allow it to flow smoothly and pattern properly when fired. This would be considered almost neccessary to use in making your own shot. Using graphite is not dangerous(it's the same as pencil lead), but it is one PIA to use and to clean up....think black talcum powder, only finer.

June 12, 2006, 12:07 PM
Post civil war down south poor folks would get a small sheet of tin, poke desired shot size holes in it, heat lead in skillet, then pour on hot tin sheet. They would work it back and forth as lead dripped through the holes into a bucket of water.


September 19, 2007, 03:29 AM
Goto for a simple shotmaker and instructions. You may have to register but it is free. I have one I bought at a gunshow 5 or 10 years ago but have never used it myself. I got 2 and one is cast aluminium and the other is steel angle iron with end plates welded on, the holes are very small , the patent gives the size of 1/32 in..

September 19, 2007, 08:02 PM
Here's 26 pages of people cussing and discussing making their own shot. Including tips and hints on coolants.

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