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Thread: Dismantling .50 BMG round

  1. #1
    Boolit Master scattershot's Avatar
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    Dismantling .50 BMG round

    I have a friend who wants to dismantle a .50 BMG round from WWII and reassemble it as a display piece. I donít know of any inertial puller thatís big enough for the job. Any suggestions?
    "Experience is a series of non-fatal mistakes"


    Disarming is a mistake free people only get to make once...

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Do you have access to a wood shop? I would make collets of oak and use an acorn jack to push them apart.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    rancher1913's Avatar
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    drill a hole in the side of the case, dump powder out, that way you know its inert and wont try and use it. I have a lot of military rounds that this was done to for demil purposes
    if you are ever being chased by a taxidermist, don't play dead

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    That still leaves a live primer in place. I've done experiments trying to deactivate primers with various solvents and oils. None were reliable.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Pulling the bullet is going to be the hard part. Another is before starting determine what bullet your working with AP, FMj, tracer. The top color should tell you. As to primer Once the bullet and powder are out it can be pushed out with a punch and a dummy turned from brass can be inserted. Then the bullet reinserted

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    I've done a few that I drilled 4 1/4" holes through them. 2 going through both sides.

    For the primer- I wrapped it loosely in a rag with the primer exposed, put it in a vice, and heated it with a propane torch until it popped.

    Between the rag, and the vice, it won't go anywhere, or push the projectile out.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I have an RCBS collet for 500 s&w, wonder if that’d grab onto the bullet?

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimB.. View Post
    I have an RCBS collet for 500 s&w, wonder if that’d grab onto the bullet?
    No, bullet is tool long in the ogive. tip will bottom out before you get near the case mouth to grip parallel section.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by BK7saum View Post
    No, bullet is tool long in the ogive. tip will bottom out before you get near the case mouth to grip parallel section.
    Good point.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    I have some cases my dad brought back from WWII Philippine jungles, and loose bullets. I'm putting them together, also, to make a display piece -- a length of aluminum angle simply screwed to the wall, with assembled rounds setting on it.
    IF I had complete rounds, a "trick" I've done on others is to drill a hole in a scrap piece of maybe 1/4" aluminum that the bullet just fits in. After, take a hack-saw and make a cut perpendicular to hole; finally squish bullet in this, tightly held in a vice. (You now have the round, bullet pointing down and held in aluminum, with case head at top). As the case has a shoulder, take a
    piece of hardwood, and drill a hole in that, so bullet passes through, but it is stopped by the case shoulder. Remove the cartridge from aluminum, slip it through hardwood, and reinsert -- tightening vice. I then use a "Stanley Super-bar" between the vice top and hardwood, and proceed to go around case wiggling. Bion, the case WILL move up and off. Take your time, and when the case is allllmost off, remember to take it out of vice and invert it -- or, you'll do as "dummy-me" has done and get powder all over the floor. When powder is out -- in my case, I just loaded new powder and bullets, so I was happy with primer. However, in your case -- I don't know. Some folks claim putting some WD40 in case might kill primer; me? If the primers are military with "varnish" their anvils -- it may (my thought) not.
    Good luck! I have the aluminum I used "somewhere" -- if I come across it, I'll send a photo.
    geo

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    When i was a kid,I pulled a .50,then had the bright idea to pop the primer on the wood stove........it popped alright,blasted the case up into the roof ,and cracked the big hotplate on the stove top.......The stove was the old mans pride and joy,and I figured he d kill me ,at least........Hid all the evidence ,and fortunately the plate was thought to have cracked in the heat....There is a blast in that primer.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    GONRA sez - always use a PULLER on these larger rounds. Or use a Shop Vise / Just Wiggle bullet out of the case.
    (Can never be absolutely SURE wots in the bullet. DO NOT USE ANY INERTIAL PULLER ON LARGE CALIBER ROUNDS!)



    Jarow jay ckwi

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    Brake line flare tool for the bullet? Tried pliers on one dad got from b29 gun tests. He caught me with the hand drill on the case. They are hard to pull.
    Whatever!

  14. #14
    Boolit Bub
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    +1 on the flaring tool. $10 at the auto parts store. Raise the round up in the ram. Clamp the bullet tight with the flange tool. Lower the ram and the bullet comes out. Works like a champ.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  15. #15
    Boolit Master rondog's Avatar
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    Tell him to just display the live round. It's not dangerous, and a lot more authentic. In fact, it's less dangerous than trying to demil it.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by popper View Post
    Brake line flare tool for the bullet? Tried pliers on one dad got from b29 gun tests. He caught me with the hand drill on the case. They are hard to pull.
    /\ There's A Winner !

    Good idea

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    + a bunch on what rondog said. some .50 Browning rounds are high explosive and can leave you in a world of hurt if they go off during a demil attempt. Also the AP Incendiary will leave a mark if it ignites. Lots of blast in the primer and experience has told me a week long soak in oil will not kill it. LEAVE THE ROUNDS INTACT.
    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the trouble with many shooting experts is not that they're ignorant; its just that they know so much that isn't so.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master
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    I think one could use a flaring tool, a single stage press with the correct shell holder, maybe a block of wood with a hole drilled through it to get the correct length and a little common sense to achieve good results.
    Determine what type of projectile you have, make a decision based on that and proceed with a little bit of ordinary care - You'll be fine.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    If anyone has a mill, chuck the bullet in the 1/2" R8 collet and hold the shellholder in the vice and pull apart. If the bullet on the round has two silver or two blue bands, don't do it. Rare. I believe they were made special for PT boat use

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy

    FLYCUTTER's Avatar
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    Gentlemen, proper tool for the right job. RCBS or C&H sells a puller with the right size collet and works fine. The bullet and case are not ruined. 230 to 250 grains of powder is nothing to play with in your work shop.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check