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Homemade Tracer Ammo

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by bamawrx, Feb 1, 2005.

  1. bamawrx

    bamawrx Well-Known Member

    I was wondering if anyone on THR has made their own tracer ammo? Did it work and how do you do it?

    I want to make some in .45 to help me shoot skeet with my pistol. I tried it the other weekend and actually managed to hit one! I tried it about 20 times total with the one hit. Very hard and the arch of the bullet flight is the main source of the problem. I think the tracers will help me learn what is going on, but the cost is so high.
  2. whm1974

    whm1974 Well-Known Member

    I would be careful since a few states outlawed tracer ammo. Or if tracer is legal making it may not be.

  3. PAC 762

    PAC 762 Well-Known Member

    About 10 years ago Paladin press had a book that covered homemade tracers, among other stuff. I'm not sure if they still have it. I haven't seen paladin press in ages.
  4. cordex

    cordex Well-Known Member

    Seems like a bad idea to me.

    1. Even factory tracer ammo doesn't fly like regular ammo beyond a few yards. Tracer bullets often start out a different weight and continually lose weight throughout the path of the bullet. Also, the burn of the tracer compound is never perfectly even, so the bullet's balance changes as it flys.
    2. Manufacturing your own tracer ammunition could be dangerous to yourself and your weapon. Improperly made tracer bullets could easily be oversized or otherwise warped which would lead to increased pressures. Also, the tracer compound would have to be carefully formulated so as to give a reliable trace without affecting pressures during firing.
    3. Beyond being dangerous, it would probably be prohibitively difficult to manufacture quality tracer ammo (i.e. tracers of similar weights that would ignite reliably and fly relatively uniformly).
    4. I don't know what your time is worth, but it would not make financial sense for me to spend the time to manufacture my own tracers. Considering the value of my time drilling the bullets, checking for uniform weight, size and roundness, obtaining and combining trace compound ingredients, packing compound into the bullet and sealing and then loading it, it would probably make more financial sense to just pay the high cost of commercial tracer ammo.

    I've never done this myself and don't plan to ever try it. That someone like me is advising against it should speak volumes considering the idiotic stunts I've pulled in the past. ("Hey, I wonder what would happen if ...")
  5. Wingshooter

    Wingshooter Well-Known Member

    When I was in High School, a friend of mine used to nab the magnesium ribbon in science class to make tracers for his .22 LR. I never saw him shoot them, but he said they worked on his bolt action.

    I never knew him to lie to me about anything else, so I don't see why he would make that up, although I don't think I would have ever gone to shoot them with him. The risk of explosion and grassfires would be too much for me to bear.
  6. 41mag

    41mag Well-Known Member

    I've no input for you about tracer ammo.

    I do have a question/concern though.

    Shotgun pellets lose energy fairly rapidly-they don't fly for miles.

    I'm don't know how far a .45 will fly if fired at a angle but I'd bet it goes a heck of alot farther than a typical shot shell.UH,what's the backstop like?
  7. mpthole

    mpthole Well-Known Member

    Never made it... but bought some loaded .45 rounds at a gun show a while back. Not cheap! Very fun to shoot though. When you're way out in the middle of nowhere, you can hold the gun at about a 30 degree angle from the ground and watch it sail out to about 500 yards. :D
  8. Mr. Mysterious

    Mr. Mysterious Well-Known Member

    I remember a while back someone posted an online merchant that sold tracer bullets for reloaders. I thought that I bookmarked it, but I guess that I didn't.
  9. Third_Rail

    Third_Rail Well-Known Member

    They're not that inaccurate. PM me if you'd like the PDF on how to make them.

    It's fairly in depth, though.
  10. Third_Rail

    Third_Rail Well-Known Member

    Bumping this in case anyone else would like the PDF. Just PM me your e-mail address.

    The PDF is about 600kb, so if you have 56k dial-up, be prepared for a bit of a wait, though not too bad. :)

    EDIT: The website you were looking for is here, but boy are they expensive.
  11. HankB

    HankB Well-Known Member

    Unless you're shooting shot cartridges, I hope your skeet range had a long, LONG "safe zone" downrange. I've shot trap and skeet at a range that overlooked a highway, so there were strict limits on shot sizes . . . small birdshot will only carry a couple of hundred yards, but .45 ball ammo will go a LOT further.
    IMHO the quality of the information in home DIY books on stuff like this is the reason so many left-wing bomb factories blew up during the days of urban unrest.

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