.50 BMG Puller

There wasn’t much happening at work this week, so I decided I would build a .50 BMG puller.

It is all complete except for the handle (not shown in photo) being welded on. I will get that done on Monday.

Obviously as it has no handle it is yet to be tested. I know somebody who has (legally) some live .50 ball that they want to pull to sell as inert rounds, so it will be tested some time over Christmas.

I will post some pictures when it is finished, and a report on whether it actually worked or not!

At present the collet in it is made to measurements from a .50 BMG round, so will also fit .50 BAT. There is no reason why collets couldn’t be made for this size of tube to fit the following rounds, as well as many more:

Any express round that will not fit in a conventional puller.
Any weatherby magnum or similar.
7.92 x 94 Panzerbusche
7.92 x 107 Maroszek
11.35 x 62 Madsen
.50 Vickers
.50 Vickers HV
12.7 x 81SR Breda
12.7 x 81SR Japanese
12.7 x 108 Soviet
13 x 63B Mauser MG131
13 x 92 SR T-Gewehr
13.2mm Hotchkiss
.55 Boys
20 x 80RB MG-FF

I it is succesful I plan to build one with a bigger tube that will handle anything up to 20mm Vulcan. It will also fit 14.5 x 114 Soviet, 20 x 82 Mauser MG151/20, 20x110RB Oerlikon and 20x110 Hispano.

Falcon - be glad you don’t live next door to me. I would have all kinds of projects for the beautiful machining you do!

Pleae, please. When you start pulling 20mm rounds, but absolutely sure you know what you are pulling. Don’t pull any with the colors missing from the cartridges!

Ditto! A mistake with a 7.65 Argentine could ruin your day. A mistake with a 20mm(+) could ruin your year…or worse. You have a “neighbor” who could tell you a scary inerting story.

I know to be VERY careful when pulling anything that could have explosive components in the projectile. I would be very unlikely to find any live explosive rounds anyway.

Thanks for the compliment on the machining John, have I posted anything else I have made before? I was disappointed about the vice marks on the tube, but unfortunately that was the only way to hold it when cutting the thread. If I make any more I will drill the hole for the bolt that secures the nylon base first, so that I can bolt it onto something that does not matter if it gets damaged while doing the thread. Having access to a machine shop is really handy.

Having made a couple of “big un” pullers, might I suggest placing a 5mm vent hole on the side opposite of the handle? (just in case).

Some of the SLICS regulars might remember Dave Call and/or Teak walking around about 3 years ago with what looked like a weird golf putter. That was the first (and smaller) of the pullers I made. The second ones used 3/4" pipe with machined SS pipe caps (there made with a flat end vs the rounded end of a cast type) for the ends. The “case holder” is nothing more than a “slotted washer” that’s slipped in the extractor groove/below the rim.

I thought about using the “slotted washer” to hold the round, but thought that machining a collect from aluminium that was held together with a rubber “O” ring would hold the round more securely.

Good idea on the vent hole, I suppose I could also modify the nylon base cap some way so that it would blow out if there was an explosion inside the puller.

Falcon, the vice marks are no reflection on your machining. A couple of minutes with some careful polishing on a wheel, and a finishing touch by hand, and no more vice marks although I would bother myself. Its just a tool and the vice marks don’t mean a thing.

I just think it would look nicer without the marks. It would be quicker to make another tube than polish it. The tube is the easy part as it doesnt involve any precision turning or measruing. Just cut off a length, face it off and chamfer it both ends, drill and tap the hole for the bolt, attach to the jig that I will make, cut the thread, done. The cap and collet take much more time.

You need some soft jaws for your vice. I have fibre board ones as well as a pair of aluminium jaws with a machined ‘V’ groove running along them so I can grip long tubular items without marking them.

Alternatively, cut the thread at the same time as you face off the end of the tube. If you set it up carefully in a 4 jaw the thread will be completely concentric with the tube. Most good 3 jaw chucks will do the job accurately anyway.

Whatever, it’s an interesting and useful project.


Hi Falcon,

What a great initiative to manufacture such a device! I’m quite impressed. This seems like a very useful tool! I’m always struggling with some kind of pulling tool based on linear pulling, not on momentum of inertia. I really hope this tool works because .50 BMG bullets are usually heavily crimped. Post some results of your testing if you have them!



I tried using fibre board jaws, but it just slipped all the same. I started the thread in the lathe with the die against the tail stock to keep it square. It is not surprising that it took alot of effort to do the thread, all the dies there are blunt. I will do a new tube monday, it is not exactly a difficult job.

I had to die cut the thread as I have not learned thread cutting yet, they never taught us that at college, as the course I did wasn’t strictly a machining course.


Good work.

Just think, a year ago you couldn’t even spell masheenust and now you are one.

Once you learn to cut threads it will open a whole new world for you.

It probably isn’t necessary to use a nylon end plug. A steel one would have worked just as well. Maybe even better since steel has no resiliancy while nylon will absorb a small amout of the inertia.

Stuff a sheet of paper towel in the bottom of the tube to catch the bullets and keep them from hitting the plug.

Also, unless you intend to pull a LOT of bullets you can use it as is. Simply hold it in your hand and bang on an anvil. I’ve pulled many 50 BMG bullets that way. Don’t forget, those heavy bullets have much more inertia and are actually easier to pull that the lighter ones. I pulled a couple of 30 caliber aluminum bullets this past week and they were a real bear to get started.


I will learn to cut threads when I have enough spare time, I know it can be really useful.

As soon as I first played around with the lathe in the school workshop after school had finished, I knew I wanted to be a machinst. That lathe was never used once in a “Design and Technology” lesson. All they taught us was how to make stuff out of wood, stick it together with glue guns and colour it in with felt tip pens. We never even learned any proper woodworking techniques.

The reason I chose the nylon end plug was so that it does not damage whatever I hit with it. I’m sure a steel one could easily crack a concrete patio if using it outside, where it will probably have to be used as to be able to swing it without breaking anything. I made the plug easily replacable on purpose, as I know it will eventually break. You just undo the hex bolt and pull it out.

I also did plan to put some paper towel, rag or cotton wool in there to stop the bullet hitting the plug.

I will also turn up a ring to be able to use a collet from a normal size puller in it, so I am able to pull any particularly stubborn small arms rounds.

I have actually wondered, could I be violating the patent on inertia pullers by building this?

Falcon–As for violating the patent for Inertia Pullers, it would only apply if you were selling them. You can make anything for your own use. And I am sure there are enough differences between your puller and a commercial one, even if there is a commercial one large enough to handle .50 BMG, which I have never seen, that there would not be any infringement of patents.


I think you are overestimating the force needed to pull the big bullets. You said, “a steel one could easily crack a concrete patio if using it outside, where it will probably have to be used as to be able to swing it without breaking anything . . .” Inertia pullers work their best with heavy bullets. A 750 grain cal 50 bullet will pull as easy, or easier , than a 150 grain 30 caliber bullet.

One trick when pulling any military bullet, or commercial bullets that have been in the case for 50 years or more, is to very slightly seat the bullet deeper before trying to pull it. That will break any seal that exists between the bullet and case neck.

Try it.


Falcon…The draftsman says…GREAT WORK !!..and with no drawing to follow to build it !!..One thing that I believe was not mentioned here…some bullets…like 50 BMG…have a layer of asphalt between bullet and case…if you use a vise and aluminum jaws, you can push the bullet downwards/inwards slightly to break the asphalt seal…then the bullet will let loose more easily in the puller. Also, since all I do in this world is collect and study .30 Army cartridges and make patent drawings and write patent cases, Ron M. is correct…as long as you are not selling the device, you are not in infringment of prior art. However…a patent search might be advisable…you can do this yourself without the expense of an attorney…you might have a patentable device which overcomes the specifications of prior patents, and you could patent the device…not cheap but worth a look, perhaps…

Take a thin plastic tube the correct diameter to hold that inertia bullet puller.
Drill a hole thru both sides of plastic the tube for a pull pin with a long cord.

Drop bullet puller assembly in tube after setting pin .
Go to a safe place and pull the cord…


Ray: I have had to do that a few times before to break the seal on things before I pull them. But .50 BMG rounds often have heavy crimps, which will require a bit of force to get past.

Randy: I am sure patenting it would cost more than I could ever make selling these, plus there is the trouble of having enough time to build more of them. I built it while I was supposed to be working! Maybe at some point in the future if I ever have a lathe at home I could make these to sell on a small scale, it is a good idea but not practical for the time being.

Glenn: I had thought about the method with the tube, I may try that in future. I have been thinking of a few ways of making the process easier. I remember seeing somewhere on the net (could have been this forum) a guy talking about a method of pulling an artillery shell. He said he used a pipe with the inside diameter matching the rim diameter of the shell, and attached it running vertically to the side of a single storey building. There was also another pipe further down the main pipe with the inside the same diameter as the shell case just above them rim. He took the shell onto the roof and dropped it projectile first down the pipe. As it fell, it was caught by the smaller pipe, causing the projectile to come out of the case. I’m not sure I would like to be close by when this was tried.

Ray stole half my thunder, with the “seating” to break the seal posting.
The other part, is that I do this, but use a hand tightening drill chuck ( which goes up to 20mm) to grip the projectile, and then with the help of a RCBS Ammomaster press(.50 cal version) and appropriate shell holder, can then separate any projectile from its casing. Similar system is used by RAOC to dismantle larger artillery shells and big calibre Ammo for inspection of demilling purposes (they use a reverse screw press, instead). These are not as heavily crimped, but they are sometimes quite soldily attached, esp. the 20-30 mm cannon shells.

I developed the method when I had a 44gallon Drum of Japanese 12,7 semi-rimmed( 12,7 Breda style) to dismantle…they had been on a coral beach for over 40 years, and some had suffered from salt water and coral deposition…and most were HE-I, so the turned brass proj. needed Pulling and dismantling to remove any RDX remaining. (most HE pellets had oxidised to inertness…But the powder in a lot of cases was intact and usable (I tested it in some 7,7mm Japanese Rifle cases…worked just like fresh 4895.).
Another method described to me was the use of a long piece of 3x4 (inches) hardwood, such as Aussie Red Gum. Drill a tapered hole at one end, so as to hold a (say) .50 cartridge. Swing the beam down so that it hits a block or post about a foot away from the shell. The Inertia effect will remove the projectile ( have a pile of bags or other soft material under your “strike” point; and of course the powder will scatter all over the place.)

THis is supposed to prevent any Fuzed HE from detonating, especially the Japanese Impact HE (whether stud driven or the later contact explosive type). Japanese HE 7,7mm ( semi-rimmed or Rimmed) will certainly detonate in a normal “Inertia” puller. Japanese 12,7 and 13,2 also uses the “Contact” type of HE projectile ( late in the war). The projectile is instantly recognisable by its slightly flattened Point ( and Purple mouth ring and primer colours).

happy delousing…what was that about Picric Acid filling???

Doc AV
AV Ballistics

Hi Falcon,
it is me who talked about that.

I learned this trick from a guy in Paris, who was the biggest mines and grenades collector in Europe.

His hobby was to search all the old ammunition German ammo storages from the war.
And he found tons and tons of new staff in boxes (not the junk you can find on battle fields), NIB ctges, artillary shells, mines, grenades and so on.

I remember pictures of tunnels he made INSIDE german grenades boxes to walk because the boxes were from the floor to the ceiling !!

It was in the biggest European german storage and when I visited it ten years after the ceiling was down crushing the left boxes, despite the stays he put !

Every time he invited a new guy to visit his collection he used to ask him to help him holding the lower part of a vertical tube just outside his house along the wall.
And he said : “I have to go up and I will let fall something. Hold the tube strongly”.
The visitor had no idea of what will happen. And wloum !
And, coming back he showed him the result ! Lol

Anyway, it works well, and despite as crazy (in fact he was not because he knew pretty well his job and was always working on NEW staff) he never got injuried except two times slighty:
One I don’t remeber, and the second time it was when he was drilling small holes in MG151/20 rounds to empty the powder.

Drilling holes in steel cases is more dangerous as in brass cases, specially when you forget to change the drill and you are doing that, not on two or three shells, but on a batch of two or three hundred of them !! lol!

PS: If you are playing with a vertical tube, be the guy droping the shell, not the guy holding the tube ! (: