Embedding Live Ammunition In Lucite

I have recently been nerding on embedding items in clear lucite. So far I have successfully embedded an infertile tortoise egg and was thinking about trying a live cartridge. The process involves a clear viscous resin and an activator and during the hardening stage the resin gets pretty hot. The tortoise egg experiment got to 192 degrees F. Depending on the amount of activator and how thick a mold you use the curing temp may go higher? Does anyone have any thoughts concerning the safety of doing this? I have seen a lot of cool, mostly factory made examples of lucite embedded ammunition that look to have live primers, but can’t be sure. Figured I would ask for some feedback from experts.

PS: I hope that this subject does not violate any IAA discussion rules. If it does, please let me know and I will delete it right away or an Administrator can :-)

As far as I know the propelling charge (gun powder) of NATO 5.56 ammo is tested not to explode at a 180 degrees Celsius. That has to do with cook-offs. So, it is probably safe to use the Lucite, however there is a possibility that the propelling charge will desintegrate at these temperatures. The powder maybe will become gaseous and that can push the bullet out of its case. And that doesn’t look fine!

Wouldn’t You want to deactivate primer, pull the bullet, empty powder and re-seat the bullet? Probably your safest bet?


You may also consider legal questions for later owners (as noone lives for ever), means it may be illegal in some places for some people - let alone travel by plane etc… Then ending in destruction and people being dragged to court etc.
The technical standpoint was described already and there is not much to add other than having a loaded cartride inside such a block makes no sense and can pose a danger to an uninformed person handling it some day.

Thanks for the great info and advise everyone! I think I will try taking a round apart, inerting it, and reassembling it before embedding it.


How do you keep the metal objects from sinking to the bottom before the curing finishes? I had a need to do this, inert cartridges of course, and projectiles, the company said everything tended to sink to the bottom, rather than just float suspended.

What products were you using?

I am still in the experimental stages but so far I have been doing the resin pours in 2 stages. First I fill the mold about halfway with activated resin. After it hardens a bit, but not fully, I place the object to be embedded on top of the slightly hardened resin. After that, I pour the 2nd layer of resin on top and fill to the desired hight keeping in mind you are working in reverse. From the side view, you can see a faint line where the two pours meet. The line is invisible from other angles. I plan on experimenting with different durations between pours to see if that eliminates the line. Also, they make different color resin dyes that I am trying in a single pour and in layered pours.


They had other options, but I chose this system.


I use to inert primers with oil and later acetone and then oil. Current primers are too well sealed and most remain active, if occasionally degraded even after soaking for days. I recently tried boiling the cases for about 13 minutes in water at a rolling boil, and have had 100% success when I snap them in a pistol. The advantage in boiling is that it leaves the primer looking just fine. Just in case you want to inert the primer before casting.


Add some dishwashing detergent, such as Cascade, to Lew’s boiling water and you can get as close to 100% inert primers as is possible. Most of the mixture will be dissolved by the detergent.

Thank you, Lew and Ray!

I am going to try that. Great advice.


I am looking to buy a Bullet Puller device and am hoping to get a recommendation as I have never used one before.

Figured I would inert the cartridges before I try embedding them. I checked out EBAY and saw about 4 makers of a device that looks kinda like a hammer that separates the projectile from the case. They all look very similar to me. Is one better then the other? Do they work on rifle rounds or just pistol ammunition?


Inertia-type bullet pullers will generally work on pistol and rifle rounds, although there are a couple of auto pistol calibers at both ends of the size scale that generally don’t work - small cartridges with very light bullets like .25 Auto don’t work well - in fact for me, not at all - and there are a few large pistol calibers that simply won’t fit the collect or tube well enough, or at all, to work, as I recall.

Regarding rifle, I suppose the same could be said. Much more important with any cartridges is that you know exactly the cartridge (projectile) type before you use one of these devices. There are bullets that when pulled with a hammer-type inertia bullet puller will blow it to bits, perhaps along with part of your hand. CAUTION is the word here.

I have an RCBS version of it. Great company with no BS Warranty. You are correct, though, in your observation that many of this type of bullet pullers are almost identical with each other.

By the way, sometimes a normal looking bullet simply doesn’t want to come out. I actually broke one of these bullet pullers, which are plenty rugged, by the way, trying to pull a Frankford Arsenal .45 Auto tracer. The inside neck bullet sealant just would not let go. Nothing worked with that one. Occasionally, if a bullet won’t pull, I will put the cartridge in my nylon-jawed vise and very carefully break the mouth seal by pushing the bullet back into the case a little, and then pulling it in the inertia bullet puller. This method has never failed me, but must be done carefully. I like the vice because you can push the bullet back in with almost micrometer precision. If resistence is too great, I simply don’t go any farther. Most people with any familiarity with tools will have a feel for what constitutes “too great” in these instances.

Again, know the cartridge you are fooling with! If you aren’t 100% positive of the load, don’t pull it, especially with an inertia-type pullet.

Thank you so much for your advice on this, John! I am going to buy one and send you a photo of the round I will try before any attempt is made for any insight you may have. I am thinking I will probably try a .223 or a 35 Remington rifle round.