Unbridled Cynicism

less bullshit, more often?

Propmaking 9mm Parabellum casings

I like guns, so they’re an interesting thing to try and take photos of. Working with real guns is too hard, but we can fake them up. Something that looks cool is spent brass in mid-flight. I’ve been meaning to get some, but I’ve been lazy. People will ask questions that I can’t be bothered answering, so I’m gonna try DIY instead.

My subject is the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge. It’s popular worldwide and many civilian and law enforcement weapons are chambered for it. If someone refers to 9mm calibre, it’s probably this one. That makes it an ideal target. It should also be easy to make, being straight-sided with no shoulder to recreate.

So I bought myself some 13/32” (10.3mm) brass tubing to cut into short lengths, the diameter is close enough for jazz. I’m hoping to then patch some brass sheet over one end so it looks like a just-fired cartridge.

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Caption: One length of tube gave me nine spent rounds, which is a decent number. If I need a serious amount of brass on the ground then I’d probably just cut the tubing and not worry about capping the ends.

I tried capping the ends in two different ways, with the shim on the outside and with the shim pushed up from the inside. Gluing it to the outside is definitely the way to go, the inner method gets too messy and doesn’t present well. Besides, it doesn’t make a sweet tinkling noise when you drop it on a hard surface, so that’s right out.