Introduction: .223 Survival Whistle

Picture of .223 Survival Whistle
Because yelling will make you lose your voice, it’s important to carry a whistle just incase you get in a jam. For example: When I went mountain biking with a group of friends I crashed plenty of times. Luckily, none were serious. However, if I had a bad crash, I would of had to wait until someone pedaled back to me. Unless that is, I could signal them somehow.

To signal for help with a whistle you sound three blasts. Do this in a consistent interval until help comes. The plus side to this whistle is you’ll have a conversation starter when help finally comes.

Step 1: File Out a Notch

Picture of File Out a Notch

Before you start, clean out the brass with dish soap and cotton swabs. Clean inside and out until the swabs come out completely white.

Grip the shell in a clamp. Make sure to clamp the primer side of the shell or it will collapse. Also if you don’t have a wooded clamp you can improvise to protect from scratching up the brass with something like an old leather belt.

Using a ¼” triangle file, file a notch ¼” down from the taper line on the shell. Make sure to keep the leading edge of the file at 90 degrees. See the pictures. Keep filing until the trail edge of the file is flush with the shell wall. 

Remove any burs.

Step 2: Prep the .22 Shell

Picture of Prep the .22 Shell

Use a pair of diagonal cutting pliers to remove the primer side of the .22 shell. Next take a scrap piece of brass from another shell and solder it halfway onto the business side of shell. See the pictures.

Use metal shears to cut off the excess. Smooth out any rough edges with a hobby file.

Step 3: Place the Prepped .22 Shell

Picture of Place the Prepped .22 Shell

Insert the half covered side of the .22 shell into the opening of the .223 shell. For best results you have to make two things sure. 

One: the end of the .22 shell lines up with the notch cut in the shell.
Two: the opening of the .22 shell is parallel to the notch cut out in the .223 shell.

Solder the .22 shell in place. Be careful not to over do the heat or you might melt the solder away from the half cover.

File the blowing end flush with a hobby file. Next use a polishing wheel with polishing compound to buff the whistle to a shine.

Step 4: Tie It Off

Picture of Tie It Off

Take a section of nylon cord and melt the ends together side by side. Place the melted end against the shell and secure it with a constrictor knot. Another option is to drill small holes at at the primer end and fit a paper clip to make a keychain. Sort of like I did on my keep sake pendant instructable.

Thanks for reading.


TECHYman3 (author)2017-01-20

I need on of these! We shoot guns, and we always have extra bullet shells. This is a good use for them!

SurenO1 (author)2016-06-09

Would a 30-06 Springfield with a 9mm inserted inside the 30-06 work?

Yonatan24 (author)2015-12-03

Nice, They look so easy to make!

GrowleyMonster (author)2015-10-12

I bet you could use a .50 BMG case with a .45 Colt case for a really big whistle. Or maybe something like a 20mm

Mrballeng (author)GrowleyMonster2015-10-13

Good thinking. I'll have to try it.

bob8898 (author)2015-06-02

Is it possible to build one without the .22 shell? I happen to be an 11 year old (with knowledge and tools) and i don't exactly keep my .22 shells. more the centerfire rounds... like .204...

bobbyflay2019 (author)2015-03-09

Will this work with a .243 cartrege

ColeG01 made it! (author)2015-02-19

This was a creative project !

soul_eater (author)2011-10-03

Very cool whistle, i hope i can find a shell off that size in my country any bullet over 9mm its illegal so its dificult to find even a emty shell

bennettcrew (author)soul_eater2011-10-06
There are some folks, on there, who sell empty brass for people to make craft projects with. I have some various types... but they're all bigger than .223

The good thing is that, on the website, you can get quite a few for just a few US Dollars. Pay through paypal, or other method, and have them shipped right to you.

sockless (author)bennettcrew2011-10-08

In New Zealand at least, it's illegal to have shell casings without a firearms license, I imagine that it'd be similar elsewhere.

SIRJAMES09 (author)sockless2011-10-10

not in America.

In America, if you want to own empty shell casings, it's not if you have a few hundred thousand casings, that might cause a bobby to ask Questions, but it's still not illegal.

dc0de (author)SIRJAMES092011-12-04

I have a few hundred thousand casings, and the government nor anyone else asks any questions.

As far as empty v/ loaded brass, I'll leave that for the thieves to guess which ones are loaded...

SIRJAMES09 (author)dc0de2011-12-04

I like your way of thinking.. :D

Just make sure you have some very hungry hogs near by....makes it easier to hide the bodies. j/k

good one dude

southern boy (author)dc0de2012-03-29

damn straight

slamonella (author)SIRJAMES092014-08-05

If only that were true. In Massachusetts, you need a permit to own possess any ammunition components. I would not be shocked to hear that other states/cities had similar stupid laws.

ray.graham.9216 (author)sockless2014-12-05

really???? Damn thats messed up.

cmanningx (author)sockless2014-04-29

Not so.

In NZ you can buy/own shell casings, projectiles (bullets) and even gunpowder and primers WITHOUT a license. You can even buy/own reloading equipment.

You do however have to have a license to possess whole ammuniton, so it would be illegal to assemble loaded ammunition without a license.

Shell casings, straight up or made into whistles... no problems at all.

Hazara_nz (author)sockless2012-01-10

Nah mate - in NZ I can send the missus in to buy all I need to reload, Cases, powder, projectile & primers without a license. She cant however buy preloaded (live ammunition).

soul_eater (author)bennettcrew2011-10-07

Thanks for the data, i'm going to check it out and see if its posible the international shipment

thoraxe (author)soul_eater2011-10-03

This bullet is .223 (5.56 mm) diameter, the same caliber as a .22 LR round. If your bullets are classed by caliber, then these bullets are smaller than a 9mm. If they are judged by kinetic energy (anything more powerful than 9mm) then this rifle round is too powerful.

Look for 5.56 x 45 mm ammunition.

jimsmithkka (author)thoraxe2012-06-09

.223 is not the same as a 22lr, the smaller casing in the instructable is a 22lr, the .223 is larger round with more powder behind it. reason this works so well is the similar size of the projectile in each round, with the .003 difference in diameter allowing for easy pass through of the 22lr casing into the mouth of the .223.

Now if i could find out a way to do this with old .308 casings, i may finally have a use for my empty steal casings (cant reload steal casings)

He meant the diameter of the bullet is very much the same. look it up in a reloading index.

soul_eater (author)thoraxe2011-10-07

I think they are judging by the kinetic energy.

southern boy (author)soul_eater2012-03-29

where do u live

Jdoidge92 (author)2014-11-06

What size nylon rope are you useing? 3/8" - 7/16" or 9-11mm?

Shento256 (author)2014-05-15

It was a fun project I did it different from the write up tho. I left the .22 cartridge intact so there was a lip then I used a dremel to grind it flush to the .223 when inserted, and simply glued another .22 back half on to the front . i also ground out the back of the mouth piece which gave it a nice look. I punched the primer as others did and ran a 550 cord (gutted) I had to drill out the back a bit to make it easier to fit the cord( drilling to much will result in the cord pulling out even with a knot) . overall happy with the results. I used a dremel through the whole process. it went fast at times almost to fast but I practiced before making the final product.

francimj (author)2011-12-19

Any chance of getting lead poisoning from the solder?

cmanningx (author)francimj2014-04-29

No. You aren't going to chew this thing are you?

fireguard (author)francimj2012-01-11

Modern solder is leadless. Not sure how long it's been that way, but our section had to go through our old supplies of it years ago and toss the old style. Still don't want to use in a confined space without ventilation. To be absolutely certain, don't drink cocktails out of the whistle. XD Kidding. Use modern solder and you should have no problem. Nice project.
Could we use an old artillery shell? THAT would be something else...

#OccupyInstruct (author)2011-11-29

will it work with a .270 or a 22-250? thanks for the cool instruct though!

IIRC, a 22-250 is basically a 308 necked down to .223, so since everything he's doing is based off the neck, it should work. .270 doesn't seem much bigger, but I'm not sure how severely the acoustics of the whistle would be affected.

After washing out the shell, hold it vertically up to your lips with the primer side down. Blow into the shell with the air flow entering the opening at a 45 degree angle. You'll be able to hear how the shell will sound as a whistle. Any shell should work/ The only thing that will change is the tone.

thanks! very cool instruct since i have lots of spare shells around

triumphman (author)2013-12-07


Lucky7x7 (author)2013-07-09

Thanks for the inspiration! I have made a few now. Friends keep asking for them.

Mrballeng (author)Lucky7x72013-07-10

Looks great. Good Work!

Lucky7x7 (author)Lucky7x72013-07-09

the one on the left is 30-06,5.7x28,.22lr. Cut off end of the 5.7 case just past the primer pocket. Cut half of the tail off a .22lr case drop it down the neck of the 5.7 case secure it. after a little sizing of 30-06 neck you then properly orient the 5,7 case with the half circle .22lr end down slide into 30-06 neck and secure.

astrong0 (author)2013-02-09

Hey everybody, I just barely did this and could not solder the .22 she'll to another one to save my life however I just discovered that super glue works for all that is soldered. :)

Lucky7x7 (author)astrong02013-07-09

yes it does : )

pwnag3 (author)2013-03-21

I made one of these out of a .270 shell, the .22 was a little small for the opening but thats nothing a little (lot) of solder cant fix, i don't have a triangle file so i cut the notch with a small knife (it took a ton of force, and sawing) i used a stove burner instead of a propane torch, i set it on high and when it started to glow red i turned it off, and put the bullet on it and soldered away.

Chevyscrounger (author)2013-03-09

I made one and it doesn't whistle. I'll have to try and fine tune it.

PistolShooter (author)2012-07-17

Is that a UNIMAT?!?!?!?!

Mrballeng (author)PistolShooter2012-07-17

It's actually a drill press laid on its side

Dusk Shadows (author)2012-07-13

Who needs whistles when you can have KNIFES!!!

nerd12 (author)2012-06-08

Is this what is called "biting the bullet"?
nice, what may end a life just might save yours.
only prob is, i can only get tiny shells.

Pisceswarrior (author)nerd122012-06-09

I think it would be more like the "High Brass".

Hoopajoo (author)2012-03-04

Just finished making this and wanted to share it. Instead of the cord, I pressed out the primer and soldered a brass eye loop into the hole building up the solder bubble to cover the opening to the loop. I then made a small clip out of a flattened section of coat hanger wire a-la Balleng. Hope you like it and thanks for sharing your expertise!

Mrballeng (author)Hoopajoo2012-03-06

"a-la Balleng"... I love it!!! Turned out great. Good work.

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