How to Make a Cigar Cutter by Repurposing a .45 ACP Bullet Cartridge




Introduction: How to Make a Cigar Cutter by Repurposing a .45 ACP Bullet Cartridge

Here is a way to repurpose those range cartridges that you just can't bear to leave at the gun range, after your monthly range practice!

the .45ACP (Automatic Pistol Cartridge) make a MOST EXCELLENT "Plug" style Cigar Cutter.  The size is perfect for a wide range of cigars.

There is a little trick that I use though, which greatly improves upon the original Plug style cutter.  It is very simple but I have yet to see a manufacture actually use it!

I made this at TechShop Menlo Park

Read on, if you are a cigar smoker that happens to have access to spent cartidges :-)

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Step 1: Find a .45 ACP Cartridge (spent...), Check It for Roundness and Condition

The gun range is a great place to find one, if you do not own a .45; just go in and ask nicely...they reuse and/or sell the brass, due to its high cost; I imagine you can convince them to donate just ONE to your cause :-)

Find one that is nice and round; My sample is here is from a very high quality round; it is a nickel plated brass cartridge.

Step 2: Remove the Cap

You can remove the cap (the part that the firing pin compresses, causing the power to burn...rapidly), if you would like to have a clearance hole; by pressing a pin or other suitably slim item down the pin hole, you can clean the tobacco plugs from the cutter.  

Stand off the cartridge from a hard flat surface by using a washer or machine nut which has a hole LARGER in diameter than the cap.

Find a very slim tool; a punch, a jewelers screwdriver, allen wrench, etc...  Place it down the open end of the cartridge and into the little hole in the bottom.

Now, using a small hammer (or other suitable stand-in for one) tap the punch gently...the cap should pop right out.

Step 3: Grind, Cut, Lap the Cutting Edge

Now, put the cartridge in a vice with SOFT is very thin brass after all :-)

Using a suitable tool, sharpen the INSIDE EDGE (Interior diameter) of the cartridge very carefully.  I used a dremel tool with a very fine lapping tool installed. A small rats tail file or even a sharp knife, will work really quite well.

Step 4: Braze a Handle Onto the Cartridge (OPTIONAL)

Whilst totally optional, you can (like me) demonstrate the awesome skill of brazing REALLY THIN brass, for the first time in more than two decades...(your results may vary) :-)

Using a very small brazing tip, preferably 000 (Triple "ought"), in my case it was double-ought, and using appropriate work hold mechanisms, place the handle on top of the cartridge and braze it on...Go easy, that is a LOT of heat and thin brass!  

Do NOT forget to use flux when using the Oxy-Acetylene torch.  The prep time, in this case, was several minutes....for a braze time of a few seconds :-)

When done, allow to cool and then head into the dirty room (grinders, chop-saws, sand blasting) to clean up the finished product!

Step 5: Clean Up

Carefully use the wire wheel to clean the scale and flux from your new Cigar Plug Cutter!

Step 6: Use Your New Cigar Cutter

Thats it! now lets give it a go!

The great thing about this cutter is the interior blade; normal plug cutters have an exterior blade or sharpened edge, but this cutter causes the plug to be compressed into the cartridge, rather than forcing the cigar to be stretched...which causes many cigars to split open and thus become non-enjoyable :-(  

Here's to smokey rooms and fine whiskey! :-)


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    2 Discussions


    3 years ago

    This seems cool, but because of the possibility of lead contamination (most projectiles are lead-based), this isn't a particularly good idea.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Neither is smoking. :-)

    If you obtain an FMJ round (Full Metal Jacket) then the lead is wholly encased in copper..most bullets are plated in some fashion near the cartridge. And while yes, copper is not good to inhale either, the amount you would actually deposit is less than miniscule. Remember the exterior of the shell is the part touching the *remaining* (outer) section of the cigar; the inner part (theoretically exposed as you have suggested) is actually removed from the cigar.

    Furthermore: during the sharpening phase most or all of the residue ball round material is removed. cleaning the interior to remove the power residue is also a really good idea. That said, my research and experience has shown it is plenty safe to cut the occasional cigar with this if you do (or dont do, as appropriate) the following: clean it real good, don't use it as an eating utensil 3 times a day...and DON'T chew on it.

    Good luck!