Antique bullet shells
The best way to make antique shells for guns is to use antique gun molds. Antique gun shell molds are purchased from antique gun dealers who specialize in guns and antique gun parts. An antique shell would be the equivalent of the modern day bullet. On antique guns, there were muzzle-loading and cartridge-firing types. In the case of antique shells, they generally came from shotguns made until 1898.
Acquire the Mold
1. Go to antique gun shows, where dealers are selling antique guns and antique gun-related merchandise. Look for the biggest shows, where there will be the most variety of antique gun molds for sale. Check out the USA gun show website at http://www.gunshows-usa.com. This website has listings for various gun shows throughout the United States, with maps and directions to various shows nationwide. There are licensed dealers online that also sell these molds on their websites. Check out http://oldguns.net.
2. Decide what type of precious metal to use in the antique mold and purchase the specific precious metal for melting. Metal alloys should be melted separately and not mixed. Purchase precious metal in affordable chunks called “ingots.” Check out http://www.cmxmetals.com.
3. Purchase a crucible. A crucible is a vessel made from graphite and clay, and used within a furnace to melt precious metals at temperatures up to 1600C. To purchase a crucible, go to a clay pottery studio and inquire about used crucibles for sale, or online check out The Graphite Shop at http://www.graphitestore.com. Use a crucible outdoors with a propane heater or in a properly ventilated area. lngots should be placed on a crucible within a removable refractory, the piece used to pour the melted liquid metal into the mold.
4. Melt ingots in a furnace or a kiln. Insert the crucible with the metal in place into the furnace. Silver is melted at 961C and 1760F. To find a complete table of melting temperatures for metals and alloys look at http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/melting-temperature-metals-d_860.html.
5. Take a torch or a soldering tool, heat it to melt the precious metal. Gold is easily pliable with a torch when heated at 710/787 degrees Fahrenheit, and 1310/1450 degrees Celsius. Gold shells in an antique mold could be used for making bullet jewelry.
The Finished Shell
6. Pour metal into mold. The mold should be positioned on a sturdy slate, clay or wooden surface, either outdoors or in a well ventilated area.
7. Allow the metal to set, which is a fairly quick process once out of the melting device and poured into the mold.
8. Remove antique shells from the mold, and quickly place them in a bowl of cold water. The water will harden the bullet shells further. It takes on average two days for maximum hardness, and then the antique shells are ready.