Picture of Make a Refillable Bullet Pen
This pen makes a great unique gift. It’s made by using two 30-06 rifle shell casings to replace the body of a click pen. It’s a fun project, which will take you about an hour to complete. What you won’t see here or in the video is how many shell casings and hours it took to figure out the process to get this pen exactly right. So if you try your hand at this don’t be discouraged if it takes a couple tries.

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Step 1: Drill out the primer side

Picture of Drill out the primer side
What you’re trying to do here is replace the body of a regular click pen with a couple shell casings. Keep mind I figured out this process by trial and error. If you do the steps out of order you may ruin the shells and have to start over.

You’ll have to drill out the primer ends of both shell casings. I used a mini metal lathe with an 11/32 drill bit chucked into the tail quill. You could use a regular drill but the tricky part is finding a way to hold the shell without distorting it. Once you have both shells drilled out, you’ll have to expand the necks. Before can do this you need some measurements.
What if I don't have a lethe but I want to do this, any tips? Plus this is a great instructable!
TheFamski made it!4 months ago

GREAT INSTRUCTABLE ! ! This is my first pen. It didn't come out perfectly but thats why I'm keeping it. It writes and balances great in the hand. I don't have a metal lathe or a doming block so I had to mod the process a bit but it came out great. I need to polish a bit more in the future and perfect my soldering but other than that I'm stoked with how it came out. I need to make 15 more for Christmas presents for all they guys in the family. Thanks for putting this up. AWESOME!

new pen.jpg
Mrballeng (author)  TheFamski4 months ago
Fantastic! Thanks for sharing. They'll love it.
TheFamski4 months ago

I have been looking for something to do with all my 30-06 brass since I don't reload and I don't shoot enough to sell it or reload it. Hoping someday I'll reload but for now I think this is the best idea I've seen. Plus they'll make a few great christmas presents!

starwarsgeek15 months ago
This is extremely awsome!!! ive seen many like it but this method has to be the best in my opinion! Thanks!
can you make one of these pens with a .22 calibre bullet shell?
Mrballeng (author)  shadow wave rider2 years ago
The diameter of a 22 shell is too small for the pen parts. You could make a stick pen though.
Schmidty162 years ago
Hoopajoo3 years ago
You, sir, are the reason I invested in a HF 7X10 metal lathe! I LOVE this idea (I've always collected pens) and have made a few for myself (I can't seem to keep one when co-workers keep asking for one or 'accidentally' pilfering them). This pen had a very nice weight and feel to it. Definitely a great ice breaker and conversation starter!
I looked for awhile and think I found the donor pen you used. Was it the Papermate Ink Joy?

Thank you for sharing this and for reigniting the desire to pursue a hobby in metal machining.
Mrballeng (author)  Hoopajoo3 years ago
Great! Looking forward to see what you come up with. You've got the right pen.
black hole3 years ago
This is a REAL ballistic pen. = ) Great job!
PS: You've got my vote.
Mrballeng (author)  black hole3 years ago
Thanks! Fingers crossed.
bond8153 years ago
Great project, thanks for sharing your technique. I can't wait to try it.
I have a few questions...

I don't have a doming block. Is there any reason why filing a taper on the end of the casing wouldn't work?

Did you consider using an actual bullet for the tip?

Do you find the brass keeps its sheen over time?

Mrballeng (author)  bond8153 years ago
You can file a taper and that should work fine. You could also use a spoon to roll the edge over by tapping it like a hammer. Over time the pen will oxidize like brass does but it's eaisily cleaned right up.
Extremely well planned, executed, and documented, you do fine work sir! You make me want to move 'lathe' up a couple of priorities on my workshop shopping list
mikeasaurus3 years ago
I love this! I had to do a double-take when I first saw it.

(Also, the shopping list is hilarious)
Mrballeng (author)  mikeasaurus3 years ago
Glad you like it. Took a long time to figure out.
ilpug3 years ago
Awesome job!
monsterlego3 years ago
That is very cool!