Improvised Homemade Shotgun Shells

If, for whatever reason, you cannot buy your .410g shells from a store, you may need to construct your own improvised .410 ammunition. The following document illustrates how .410 shells can be easily and quickly constructed with just a few simple tools and components.

Products required

3) .38 blank cartridge.

4) 4mm thick cork sheet.

Long Ammunition 4mmHomemade Shotgun Primer
Cut the tube to the correct length.

The first step in constructing these improvised .410 shotgun shells is to purchase some lengths of brass tubing. This material is commonly available from most good hobby and craft shops.

We require three lengths of tubing; 15/32" from which to construct the shell (a 2 W length is required) and some 13/32" and 7/16" for the priming assembly.

Cut a 2 W" length of the 15/32" tube using a plumbers tube cutter.

Homemade Shotgun
A .38 blank is used to prime the shell.

To prime the shell we require a .38 blank cartridge (as shown above) with the crimp and powder removed. The crimp should be filed away and the powder removed and discarded.

To prime the shell using the modified .38 blank we require two lengths of brass tube -13/32" & 7/16". The two tubes are 13mm ( /" ) in length. Coat the outer surface of the blank with a high strength retainer such as bearing adhesive and press the blank into the 13/32" tube. Allow the adhesive to harden for a few minutes.

Now coat the outer wall of the 13/32" tube with retainer and press this into the 7/16" tube. Allow several minutes for the retainer to harden.

Homeade Shotgun Slugs

The blank and two tubes ready for assembly into the shell tube.


25mm Cal Adapter
The shell and priming assembly.

The priming assembly is now ready to insert into the end of the shell body. Simply apply retainer to the outer surface of the priming assembly and press it into the shell.

Homemade Blank Ammo
The primer should be flush with the end of the shell.

Ensure that the primer is fully flush with the end of the shell.



Homemade Shotgun Primer
Fit the cir- clip to the shell base.

The rim of the improvised .410 shell is a simple 15/32" (12mm) Circlip. The clip is fitted to the end of the tube as illustrated above. It may be secured using retainer or soldered in position with either conventional solder wire or solder paint. However, if solder is used the clip must be fitted BEFOR the priming assembly is installed, for obvious reasons! The clip must then be trimmed, using a file, to remove the two plier holes present on the clips open end. At this point it is also necessary to check how much trimming the clip requires to allow it to chamber in your particular shotgun. It is useful to have a standard .410 shell handy as a guide by which to compare your improvised shell. Care must be taken to ensure the clip is fitted securely and correctly.


Homemade Over Powder Wad
Press the tube into the cork to create two 'over powder' wads.

The next procedure is to make two small wads to retain the powder charge. For this we need a sheet of 4mm thick cork sheet. This material is widely available from most good hobby and craft shops. Using the open end of the shell, or a separate length of the 15/32" shell tubing, press the end of the tube into the cork sheet. This should be done twice.

Shotgun Shell Pencil

Remove the wads using a pencil.

Now remove the two cork wads using a pencil.

Remove the wads using a pencil.

Now remove the two cork wads using a pencil.

Shotgun Inserts
Insert the wads over the charge.

The shell is now ready to charge with powder. Either black or smokeless may be used, but if using a smokeless charge, make sure you adhere fully to the recommended charge spelt out in your reloading manual for the particular type of powder you are using. If black powder is used the shell should be filled to a third of it's length, or thereabouts. After charging the shell press the two wads into the shell as shown above and tamp them firmly down over the powder charge.

Homemade 9mm Lead Ball Ammo

Loading the shot.

Now charge the shell with your lead shot or steel shot. Ensure the top of the charge is just below the shell mouth.

Loading the shot.

Now charge the shell with your lead shot or steel shot. Ensure the top of the charge is just below the shell mouth.


Munitions Victory
Apply the glue to the shell mouth.

Using a hot glue gun, fill the end on the shell mouth with glue. It Is important to ''score'' the inner wall of the shell mouth using a sharp nail, or similar object, in order to provide a 'key' for the glue to stick to. The glue will effectively seal the shell and apply a crimp at the same time.

Improvized Shot Guns
Leave the shell for several minutes for the glue to set.

The glue should fill the end of the shell mouth, as shown above.

410 Shot Shells Judge

The finished handmade .410 shell compares favourably to any commercially available .410 shotgun round.

410 Shotgun Cartridges

The complete .410 shells are ready to shoot.

... "The judge he felt kind of sore. He said he reckoned a body could reform the ole man with a shotgun maybe, but he didn't know no other way".

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