Bullet Candles

Introduction: Bullet Candles

Here's a cool thing to do with spent casings.  For those of you who don't reload your shells, try making them into bullet candles! 

Step 1: Prepare the Wick

I used a I used a cotton swab with a hollow plastic stick. A torn up cotton ball stuffed into the casing could also be used. If you use the swab, cut the stick to the length of the casing so that the cotton sticks out the neck. It should look like a fluffy white bullet when done.

Step 2: Fuel Up

Next you'll need a fuel.  Just about any flammable liquid will work. I used rubbing alcohol because it burns relatively cool and clean, better for indoor use.  Other options could be lighter fluid, tiki oil, scented candle oil, and so forth.  Be careful of what you burn indoors.
Fill the casing almost to the top with your fuel.

Step 3: Final Assembly

With the casing full of fuel, all that is left is to place the wick inside.  Be careful not to tip over the shell, spilling flammable chemicals everywhere. 

Step 4: Light and Enjoy

Set fire to the wick and enjoy your new Bullet Candle!

Step 5: Afterthoughts

See the picture notes for additional tips.  
I would love to see this done with something like a .50 cal or even a 30mm shell (more of a Bullet Torch I suppose...)  

Thanks for reading and feel free to question or comment!



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    19 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I melted a little tea light and dripped it inside a .45 auto shell and it worked great.


    3 years ago

    Great idea

    Fire hazard! you should try making a holder for them, otherwise they could be accidentaly knocked over and flaming alcohol would fly everywhere. Very good idea though, i'll have to try it.

    The reason they don't last long with rubbing alcohol is because water jams up the wick. Denatured alcohol is expensive but pure isopropanol is easy to make and works well. Isopropanol is insoluble in salt water, so add a spoon of table salt to the rubbing alcohol and leave room for shaking well. After it sits for a while you can see the line between pure isopropanol on top and salt water on the bottom. Decant carefully, especially if you're using it as an emergency motor fuel. This doesn't work with drinking alcohol (ethanol); you'll only get salty vodka. But it works great to take the water out of rubbing alcohol.

    You could possibly melt wax into the shell with a real wick inside, but it wouldn't last long once the flame drops below the neck

    1 reply

    I used a .50 an tiki fuel. Burned for about 2.5 hours and instead of cotton used an actual wick from old tiki torch. Looks pretty good to me and all my friend like them when we BBQ'd

    Mine only stayed lit for just a few minutes. You could achieve maximum runtime by using a more pure alcohol (everclear 190 proof grain spirit for example). Rubbing alcohol is generally only 70% alcohol. Pure alcohol in a large capacity, small caliber cartridge would be optimal.

    Look around at the range for any of the various WSM and WSSM calibers; the short, fat bodies should give more stability and fuel capacity with tiny necks. .243WSSM looks like it would be a good one.

    1 reply

    .270 Winchester would be reially good for this. The Neck is a bit thinner, but the rest of the case is bigger than your average medium caliber rifle round like 308 or any of the WWII rifle rounds. If your a member of a club or range or even just go to a shoot, they usually have big huge buckets of spent brass. Just ask if you can have a few casings and I'm sure they'd be fine with it.

    WARNING, the shells MUST BE SPENT SHELLS, without primer!!! I say this because looking at the pictures, some clueless may think that it is enough to take a new bullet, get the lead and gunpowder, and that's it. The primer has enough power to inflict serious injuries on the face or hands!! (I don't speak English; for "primer" I mean the little explosive that initiate the blast).

    3 replies

    Good point rimar2000, and even if no,one is directly injured the last thing you want is lighter fluid and fire being violently expelled from the shell. Another good Idea would be to have some kind of stand or something that will keep the hot metal of the shell from coming in contact with what ever surface they are placed on. Still this gives me some ideas for projects of my own.

    Thanks, very much. On line translators are genial, but sometimes they say the opposite that one want...

    This is a great idea. I have some shells but don't own any guns so I can't get anymore. Could you imagine making this with .50 cal shells or if you got a shell from the 25MM &40MM cannons from an AC130 gunship. That would be one hell of a conversation-starting candle!

    aha! that's what i was saving those shells for lol neat idea!

    These are neat, but are actually miniature alcohol lamps, not candles. The distinction between a candle and a lamp is that the candle is a solid block of fuel; in modern days commonly a form of wax. A lamp is a housing for a liquid or gas fuel.