Creating larger diameter rimfire cases

I need technical help associated with the last step of creating the “rim” on a casing draw. I have an idea how this was made, but would rather not try and reinvent the wheel to properly create the rim with the needed space for the primer.

Go to “Ammunition Manufacture” by Frost, NRA Publications…about 15-20 years ago.
It shows the Flattening process used to make .22 RF cases and the type of machinery required .
Explains with photos and diagrams the whole rimfire manufacturing process.

Doc AV

I’ve got a copy of the publication. However, I was interested in the specs on each draw to save me time when I mill each of the various dies used to make the entire set for the different rim fire diameter ammo…

Perhaps of use might be the Sept. 7, 1852 patent date by L.C. White of Meridan CT, #9256 which is a basic patent covering the drawing of a sheet (brass) metal disc into a cup. And is found on some few of the earliest rimfire boxes

There is a little more to the story on my request.

Over the last several years I’ve acquired a few dozen rimfire rifles that I still shoot using old stock ammo. This ammo has always been “hit or miss”. Some of the rifles (i.e. such as those that use spencer ammo) have never been used as none of my acquired rounds ever functioned. Something, primer or black powder was become inert.

Given no company has been making larger diameter ammo since the 1930s/1960s (Navy Arms was the last who made 32 and 41 cal ammo), I spent the last 5 years learning what needs to be done to recreate it.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to take CAM tool/die classes for free at the College I teach Geology.

I also have the educational background (i.e. Ph.D. is in inorganic geochemistry) to help in creating new larger diameter Rimfire cartridges. I own an Environmental Consulting company so the OSHA/Envi permitting is easy, both of my parents were inorganic chemists and my father was a ordnance officer who created explosives for the U.S. Navy. My brother-in-law is an attorney.

I’ve located and been able to acquire “off the self” modern primer material for the rounds. I have a source for both ammo grade copper and/or brass strip sheeting and I am ready to cut the draw set dies for the first “test rounds” starting the next few weeks.

The Draw Sets info I requested is just a time saver to determine the inside diameter for the various draw dies I plan to create in the various different ammo sizes.

So the “project” goals is to create fictional rimfire ammo I can use that is not in production as its not economical for one of the bid companies to make again.

I hope it works.

Edward A. Council, Ph.D., PG, CP

Technical Director

Advance Geologic Sciences LLC

(937) 371-8698

Dr. Council,

Good luck on your project. Jim Bell is a friend of many of us here on the Forum and in our International Ammunition Association (IAA), which I encourage you to join. Some years back he was in India with the Peace Corps. His family has a long history in the gun business in Chicago, and Jim noticed the large number of high grade British firearms that were not being shot because the old obsolete ammunition for them was no longer available. He was able to acquire many of the guns and bring them back to the Chicago area, where he planned to undertake a project/business similar to yours to manufacture the old British sporting ammunition if there was really a market for it. Jim checked with British gunmakers, including Holland & Holland, and was very strongly encouraged to go ahead. H&H told him if he would make it, they would buy it. He did and they did and ultimately Jim designed and manufactured his own “British” sporting cartridge, the .700 Nitro Express, because H&H had committed to a crazy American to build him the “last H&H .600 Nitro Express ever built.” The double rifle was so engraved and I held it myself in the H&H store in London. So what’s my point?

Because of the way you are approaching this project (taking a college course or two in CAD/CAM?), it looks to me like you have an excellent chance of success. But when word of this gets out to obsolete-rifle shooters and cartridge collectors, you are going to have a lot of inquiries about how folks can buy the ammunition they need for the same reason you do. As your production line gets ramps up, you might want to consider just how far you want to take your project. Hopefully, you will be able to offer cases or even loaded ammunition to others, if you can cope with the regulations involved.


Once I started asking question from other ammo people, there was always a big interest in getting products created for them (assuming I first get through the ATF Federal Firearms License for ammunition). Further, about 12 months ago I was getting background info from Buffalo Arms Co. concerning the people/point of contact at Navy Arms Co. who last produced rimfire cartridges in the 1960s. The person at Buffalo indicated they would be interested in buying these batch obsolete ammo product if created.

After that, I went though the process of developing the potential Company names and identified a unique Head Stamp for the Cartridges. As I already have a few patents and trade marks associated with products I created for my environmental remediation company, I already have lawyers to deal with “new products” and trademarks.

The financials are not as big a problem as you might think. However, the elephant in the room is liability and the exposure that goes with that. I have been looking at ways to limit that, but that is always an issue in todays world where ammo and gun manufactures often have a target pre-placed on their backs.

Nevertheless, I’ve got to get the first cartridges made, tested and QA/QC before any of the other issues have to be dealt with.

Edward Council

Edward- You have a well though out process, with qualified people involved, so you may succeed.

Some recommendations to consider.

1- You cannot create every obsolete rimfire caliber, so concentrate on a couple of the ones YOU most desire to shoot, or that you think will have the biggest demand (and quickest payoff), and are relatively easy with least technical challenges.

2- Loaded cartridges probably have the most liability exposure. Empty, unprimed cases “for display purposes only” would likely have very little. If people want to get priming mix and insert it and load them, let them be liable. Empty PRIMED cases would be somewhere up the scale, but may be good sellers and shooters can load their own, or sell them to custom ammo folks who can load them up and handle retail sales.

3- You already have some distribution options, should you get to a production level where you have more than you need for your own shooting pleasure. Getting into the retail sales business requires more time and work than would be justified for the potential profits.

4- Cartridge consumers are three or maybe more major retail groups-
A- shooters- figure they will buy one or more boxes at a time.
B- Cartridge collectors- want one or two of each type, or maybe a box and a single sample round.
C- Gun collectors who want a round or several and/or a full or empty box for display with a gun of that caliber.
D- Forensic labs may also have some interest.

One of the leading authorities on rimfire cartridges is nearing completion of a book on the topic. If you are able to convince him to let you read an advanced draft that may give you a lot of insight into the historical experience of other makers and their different approaches, successes and failures. Send me a PM if you want me to explore a possible introduction to him.
Good luck!

Navy Arms did not “make” anything. The 1960s .32RF Short and .41RF Deringer types were made by CBC Brazil; they were still making odd lots of .32RF for many years previously.
Remington last made large calibre
RFs in 1941 ( Rem. .41 Swiss RF, both Ball and Wood Sabot Shot).

Doc AV


From your background, what cartridge sizes would you anticipate being the ones in most demand today?

Based solely on my evaluation of bid activity and final bid prices on whole boxes of “likely usable rimfire ammo” I was going to focus first on .32 long, .25 Stevens, .41 short and .41 Swiss. With the exception of the .25 Stephens, I already own several near mint antique rifles/pistols to test each of those ammo types.

Edward Council

I would be interested in talking to anyone who can save me time to complete this project.

Edward Council

There are a lot of Henry rifles & Colt pistols out.

Before you run anything in a gun you need to know the pressure generated so the firearm & shooter does not become injured. Back when the big companies were making ammunition of the type your wanting to make they were sure to keep the pressure well below standards. You just never know what someone is going to do with it once it leaves your hands.

I know boilerplate is helpful & necessary, but in court you need to have all the proof you can muster.

Not telling you anything your not aware of, and it would be nice to see you succeed.

Most likely the reason for misfires is the priming has fallen out of the rim through age and mishandling.

There are two methods of priming, daubing it in by hand & / or the centrifuge.

Priming compound is some very wicked stuff if not handled correctly or correctly compounded. Lots of works were / have been destroyed by a mistake with it.

copper floors, wood tools & all manner of anti-spark & anti-static electricity & still BOOM… humans, being human


Sorry for the poor communication as the intent was to indicate age that has rendered much of this type ammo as non-usable.

As such, for me the retail verses actual manufacture or “specific” dates each type of ammo was produced was of secondary/lesser importance.

Please note, my interests are not in most of the historical aspects of specific ammo, but only in data that can help me recreate functional rimfire cartridges.

The draw set measurements will save me a ton of time when I mill each die needed in a complete draw set.

As such, I am someone from the outside of the ammo collecting community and only looking inward for information that can help save me time in creating a long dead product.

I’ve been working on this project off and on for 5 years.

A quick history on me. I have a Ph.D. in inorganic GeoChem and own a consulting company that deals with government envi/OSHA permitting. I’ve been through multiple research-design efforts and have several patents as well as trademarks. I have been using specialty lawyers throughout my 35 year work career that will be needed to get this thing going.

I’m a life long shooter of antique firearms. I grew up at Dahlgren Navy Surface Weapons Laboratory and ran a rifle range and armory in military school. I’ve been taking CAM courses at the College I teach at. I plan to start cutting my first set of dies this week. Both of my parents dealt with manufacturing explosives for the US government. Further, my father was a weapons / explosive designer for the Navy and NASA.

Also, I am in the process of submitting my type 6 license needed to manufacture ammunition in the United States via the ATF.

I did talk to the family members who own the current Navy Arms. They gave me the history of how their father had “subcontracted” the production of the ammo from CBC. They also told me a different South American CBC plant was used than the one in Brazil. However, I was more interested in the manufacturing records than who and where the ammo was made. Unfortunately, I was told those records were lost/destroyed when their father died.

As to the 41 Swiss, can you tell me any info you have on the age/manufacturer of the ammo sold by the Winfield Arms Corp. Especially those where the cartridges are marked LB.

Edward A. Council, Ph.D., PG, CP

Technical Director/President

Advanced Geologic Sciences LLC

(937) 371-8698

LB is the Italian firm of Leon Beaux & Co. As you know they used brass case material. Can’t help with the exact age but I would guess 1950’s -1960"s

Try to google the company, I just did & had a number of hits to go through.

I though about the 44 henry, but was concerned about the cost of the rifles/pistols using this cartridge and if anyone would want to risk them.

As to the ammo pressures, that is one of the items I will be dealing with after the proof of concept has created a consistent usable cartridge. I got my son dealing with reloading the various ammo we use ~ 2 years ago. This has allowed us some usable experience in this area I also have the specs used by the various ammo manufactures of the past. Nevertheless, I have yet to get the equipment to measure mussel velocity and energy to compare various load and slug values. The need to evaluate ammo pressures will direct me into those tests to keep the pressures not to high and not to low.

I plan to test/create all the ammo at below standard loads. However, I also wanted to look at going green using non corrosive powders and primers. Cleaning black powder after shooting is a pain. But smokeless powders and modern primer compounds will likely increase the cartridge pressures on a gram/gram basis.

On the primers, I read about the primers being dislodged from the “rim” via handling issues. As a shooter, I thought about stripping the old ammo apart and then reloading them. However, the cost of buying and then destroying a 56-56 spencer was a bad idea as its ~$15-$20/round and would be a waste of historic material.

I have developed a method to centrifuge the primer slurries for multiple rounds at a time. But I thought about vibration as the first step as another means to get the primer focused into the “rim” areas. Vibration might would be faster, but will also result in the bottom of the round potentially coated in a thin layer of primer. This will be one of those, let see what happens type of thing.

I have created a shooting range at my wife’s farm. 50 rail road ties and 30 tons of sandy soil have worked well. Its also out in the country away from nearby houses and people who could be hurt by a test gone bad. However, I need to concert the shooting table for remote firing to keep me and mine in one piece.

Safety will be a key issue. I do OSHA evaluation and create Health and Safety Plans for hazardous waste sites. Even then, 2 years ago when I was out at the farm splitting wood, the last piece rotated and pinched a 1/2 inch off my left thumb. All the steel toe shoes, hard hat and gloves did not help a bit.

Turn your back on dangerous conditions and you can quickly pay the price. Or as Forest Gump said “s*it happens”.

With a few other oldsters, I play with old single shots using many long obsolete cartridges. Many participants have rifles in .25 Stevens rimfire caliber, not made commercially or at least generally available for 60+ years. Several shooters are using industrial tool or nail driving rimfire blanks, nominally .27 caliber, and color-coded as to powder charge. The .27 cal tool cartridges fit in most .25 rimfire rifle chambers. To these, the enthusiasts add home-cast lead alloy bullets.

If you are considering making .25 Stevens cartridges, the existing “work-around” may undo your efforts before you start.

Also, a “work-around” for shooting the big Spencer cartridges has existed for years. Brass cases are machined to Spencer dimensions and a hole is bored near the rim that allows a .22 rimfire blank to act as a primer. The “modern Spencer” cartridges do not work through repeating mechanisms because of alignment problems, but work very well as single shots. These were listed in old Dixie Gun Works catalogs.

And, if you are a determined Spencer owner, you can now purchase a CNC-made breech-block with a center-fire firing pin. And modern reloadable brass cartridge cases.

Yes, regarding .22 short blanks
(CB size) many European Rimfires
( Swiss, Wanzl, etc) have been made by CNC machining and eccentric drilling for the rim of the .22 to coincide with the rim of the
Relevant large calibre Rimfire case.
The beauty of this system is that the cases are reloadable and virtually “everlasting”( like the early mid-1880s solid turned cases.

Making Rimfire cases these days
( excluding .22 and .17 derivatives and Industrials)
is a Law of Decreasing Returns…
Ie, a quick route to Chapter 11.

Doc AV

This was started and still is being mostly done for my families own use.

Whether or not I provide for others remains to be seen. I’m not against it at this point and the steps from generating viable ammo remain the same.

Also this is mostly a father-son project with my college age middle son. He’s enjoying it and we spend a lot of time out at the family farm using our shooting range.

BUT, selling anything crosses well defined legal lines along with acquiring a ton of financial liability. Also, I’ve been in business for 30 years as a consulting geologist. Starting/maintaining any viable business is a herculean effort even when you know what you are doing from the start. This effort has mostly been “learn as you go”.

You are completely correct about the Chapter 11 issue. The reason these rounds are not being commercially made is due to an extremely small market that existed in the past. All of the ammo companies stopped making this stuff years ago as their market dried up and made it unprofitable. It has only gotten much worse with time.

I was told by the Navy Arms family, the reason they did not have any more rim fire ammo made was the fact they were stuck with a warehouse full of it. They did not give me the specifics, but I believe they did not make much if any profit on the ~3 sizes they produced.