Upgrade Your Air Rifle Pellets

By gluing on magnum rifle primers!

Pretty awesome upgrade for the low price of primers, if all you have for a gun is an air rifle.

I wonder if you need to shoot at a hard surface to set it off, or if small varmints would cause the primer to ignite as well? :grin:  I know some primers are pretty sensitive.

I wish I would have known about this upgrade as a kid back in my daisy air rifle days.

A YouTube demonstration:


The pellet used in the video is a .22 pellet, with the open end of the primer facing forward.

I don’t know if “regular” .177 caliber pellets would work as well. The small rifle magnum primers may be too big. I don’t reload, but I’m sure smaller primers are available if needed.



Dom April 13, 2010 at 06:14 am

Actually I believe Large Rifle and Small Rifle primers will fit .22 and .177 caliber, respectively:


This is pretty cool. Dunno if I’d use this on a critter but definitely a much cooler show downrange!


Admin (Mike) April 13, 2010 at 11:16 am

Good info, thanks Dom!


CinSC April 13, 2010 at 06:39 am

Pretty cool. I wonder if they need a hard surface to ignite.


Admin (Mike) April 13, 2010 at 11:17 am

yeah I don’t know. I’ve heard from people that reload that some primes are pretty sensitive.


Dude April 13, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Today, HE pellets. Tomorrow, depleted uranium discarding sabot pellets!


Hawk April 13, 2010 at 06:03 pm

I got some incindiary pellets, wanna trade?


Admin (Mike) April 14, 2010 at 05:56 pm

hehe nothing like trying to penetrate armor at under 1000fps :P


Moi April 14, 2010 at 12:10 am

As far as the surface, it looks like one shot is against Orient Strand Board, and another is against Particle board or Plywood. So doesn’t need to be metal or concrete. Now animals? Who knows.


NMM1AFan April 14, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Waste of good primers, that…


Admin (Mike) April 14, 2010 at 05:55 pm

Well if all you have at your disposal is an air gun, primers aren’t much good for anything else. :P


Vote For David April 14, 2010 at 11:18 pm

When I was a boy, I told my dad he was wasting BBs shooting them 3 and 5 at a time. He said it ain’t wasted if you’re having fun.


Bob Rich April 17, 2010 at 09:14 am

I don’t think there’s any way a primer will go off hitting anything but a solid object. If they could, they’d be blowing up on my reloading bench. They require a solid hit.


Devin November 12, 2016 at 05:34 am

It depends on the primer some can be stable and have to hit a hard surface some can be a bit reactive and work on a soft surface


John Macdonald January 10, 2011 at 01:41 pm

I found your story of attaching primers to air gun pellets very interesting. I measured some small primers at .173, so yes, they should fit nicely on the pellet. I am curious as to which adhesive you might have used to attach these primers. I also wonder why the hollow end was placed outward. I would have thought they should be placed the other way, but that is just a guess. Either way, your blog is very interesting, so thank you for posting it.


rtghteg tehreth April 21, 2012 at 03:09 pm

A friend of mine use to tell me about exploding arrows that he would make. Same concept as here he used some kind of arrow for his compound bow called I think line walkers. I dont think there is anything special about them other then they are a little thicker, someone correct me if I’m wrong. Anyway he said he would take the tip off fill the shaft of the arrow which if I remember was made out of wood or aluminum, reinsert the tip, hot glue a bb on the tip and a primer on to the bb facing forward . he said when it stuck the target it all would explode. Now anyone who know about those thins please jump in and feel free to correct me, this info is years and years old… so I may have something wrong, but I believe this is what I remember him telling me….interesting though.


rtghteg tehreth April 21, 2012 at 03:11 pm

Correction…he would fill the shaft of the arrow with gun powder or flash powder…
I dont know the first thing about reloading or bow and arrows so take what I say for what its worth.


Eric Fritz March 24, 2017 at 09:14 pm

When I was younger, I would say I had made and fired about 5000 of these rounds (We called them “Nukes”). Take a small rifle magnum primer and superglue them onto a flat head pellet. You have to glue the round side out though because that is the side that a firing pin hits on a bullet. You do have to hit something solid for them to explode but even if you don’t, the added weight and the metal composition of the primer gives a bit more penetration at closer ranges however they do drop off faster because of the added weight. Now as to the damage that these little wonders can do when they explode: 1. They will blow through a power meter cover like butter. 2. Deer skulls don’t stop them from penetrating either so yes, you could probably kill someone with these. 3. They will not penetrate a stop sign but the explosion will melt the paint from the point of impact to a little bit larger than a silver dollar is round. 4. Action figures are a 1 shot disintegration. 4. Matchbox cars. With these, it depends. If you get the cheap no brand name metal cars in the 24 pack for $2.50, they take 1 hit and are wrecked. A Matchbox car will take 3 hits before being useless where as Hot Wheels can take about 4 or 5 shots.

I didn’t really use them for much more than plinking and destroying cheap toys when boredom set in but I will say that for quite a long time, I always had a “nuke” loaded into my multi pump air pistol under my car seat and I did feel somewhat safer.


Marshall September 14, 2018 at 07:17 pm

I think just the match-and matchbox powder stuff works okay, but it has no real power. Then I tried nitroglycerine crystals, and that still didn’t work really well. is there a way to make it a micro shaped charge in a pellet? I think that my last experiments with putting a drop of gas in the tip and sealing it with wax were slightly more successful. I never got better “mushroom” effect from my pellets without the plastic tip in them. Otherwise it really would take a larger air rifle caliber, or someday I’d get a shotgun and take apart some slugs to put some bigger stuff in the head. Something like a bit of primer, and then a sensitive Primary explosive like mercury fulminate behind that igniting a nice big chunk of c-4. But till now, I’d say try putting gas in the tip, and sealing it with a drop of candle wax. The compression at impact on metal is enough to make the gasoline sometimes ignite and set a paper behind the metal on fire, though it was not always reliable in that aspect. I just want to figure out something that will blow at impact on a softer target, say a rabbit or squirrel. Now airsoft guns can be engineered, especially springer walmart pistols, to fire a larger load, though much slower. Mercury fulminate or lead azide is much heavier than normal stuff, so it works better in a springer. I’d say just make a air launcher for large loads if lots of fire and smoke and funny noises from your neighbors are your goal.



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