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 :-)
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 jaws....it 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! :-)