Using a pipe cutter to cut shotgun shells for crafting. I use them mainly in leather crafts but will work for any craft that needs just the head off the shotgun shell! I have seen and tried several other ways of cutting shells and find this way to be faster and neater for me. There is less need for filing after cutting this way. I tried a dremel with a cutoff wheel, grinder and drill with a cutoff wheel and using a pipe cutter is faster, neater and Safer.
1. Pipe cutter. with grooves on the bottom 2 wheels, the 1 with no grooves Will Not a work!!!!
2. Vise grips or vise. to hold the plastic of the shell
3. Punch or Nail This is used to knock the primer out of the cut head
4. A Socket or something similar. To place cut shell on to punch out primer
Put Used shell in pipe cutter with the head in the bottom grooves and tighten cutter until cutting wheel is just behind the head. Just tighten snug and Not Tight. You want the pipe cutter to just hold the shell firmly at this point.
Adjust Vise grips or vice to clamp the plastic of the shotgun shell, firmly so it won't slip.
With pipe cutter still just snug, turn the pipe cutter towards you, several turns(3-4) this is to set the groove that the cutter will travel as you continue to tighten the cutter.
Tighten pipe cutter 3-4 turns and again turn cutter on shell, continue with this step. Tighten cutter, turn cutter several times as you get used to how this works. Then you'll be able to go faster as you get the feel for the process.
Nocking out the Primer
Again I must Say
DO THIS ON A USED SHELL ONLY!!! THE PRIMER WILL FIRE IF DONE WITH A LIVE SHELL!!! EVEN IF YOU HAVE EMPTIED OUT THE SHELL AND POWDER. THE PRIMER IS STILL LIVE AND CAN DO DAMAGE!!!!!! IT IS LIKE HAVING A LIT FIRE CRACKER
Place cut head on a socket, face down with primer center the hole in the socket. You want the primer to be able to drop when punched.
With cut head on socket, and face of head down, you will see the primer shaft sticking up and it has a small hole in the center. Put punch or nail in the center of primer and hit with a hammer, gently enough to knock the primer out but not hard enough too bend the head. It's OK to use 3-4 hits with a hammer.
This step is only needed if you bend the shotgun shell head, while knocking the primer out. Place the head on the socket or other flat hard surface, with the head up facing you. Hit shell gently to bend it back. Do Not do this on you counter top or wood surface, as it will dig in to that surface. Use socket, flat metal, vice or even cement floor or sidewalk.
This is my first Instructable and wish I had taken more pictures. Thanks and hope this will help those with cutting Shotgun Shell or any size shells. Will try and answer any questions that you might have, as I've cut several hundred shotgun shells.
****I was ask how to cut the back of the primer, instead of removing the primer. I use a dremel with a cutoff wheel to cut the primer and a grinder wheel on my dremel to smooth any shape edges on the back of shell head or primer. You could use a metal hand saw or a bench grinder or even a hand file.