Rotating Band replacement?

Like most, I suppose, I have some demilled projectiles (175mm and down) in my collection.

Has anyone come up with any good solutions to “replace” the missing bands with something that will hold up to a display type situation.

I have tried sections of PVC pipe and then painted them gold/brass - not too bad, but not great.

I have a lathe so that I could turn/shape most materials, but am at a loss on what type of materials to use.

Looking for suggestions/experience.



I have made replacement rotating bands of copper for 3" and below projectiles. They could be made for larger calibers but even the 3" ones ain’t cheap.

I buy a short piece of thick-wall copper tube, or a round solid, that is slightly bigger in diameter than the finished band. I chuck the projectile in my lathe and turn the base down to a diameter about 1/2 inch under the band diameter. I then bore the copper tube to fit over this turned down area. If using a copper solid, I bore it out to an appropriate inside diameter. I then make another band of steel that fits over the base below the band and glue everything on. I then turn the copper band to the finished dimension and shape, and the steel band likewise.

When done, you can’t tell it from the original, assuming you’re handy with a lathe.

Here’s one that I made for a 3"/23 Shrapnel projectile.


Turn the base of the projo down in order to slip the rotating band over the projectile from the bottom?

Ok, now that is something I had not thought of. I was trying to figure out how to put the replacement band into the void left when the projo was demilled.

How do you mount the projo into your lathe chuck to turn the base of the projo down? I assume you are using the chuck and the tailstock with a center in the fuze well (nose first?)?

Now all I have to do is find a BIG chunk of copper. My first project will be a 5"/38 cal. I am thinking thick sheet copper rolled and brazed - possibly heat shrunk to the projo. Any idea how thick I need?

Yes, the copper band and the steel sleeve both go on from the bottom.

The projectile is held in the chuck at the fuze end with the body on a steady rest, or center drill the base and hold it with a live center. Or both. For a 5" you’d probably need both.

I’ve never tried to make a band by rolling sheet copper. You’d have to figure a way to hide the seam and layers. And, would copper expand enough to heat shrink it? A 5"/38 band would have to be about 5 1/4" in diameter to give you enough material to turn it to shape. The inside diameter would have to be whatever diameter the score cut is.

I’ve heard of guys making a band seperate from the projectile, cutting it in two pieces and them gluing or brazing it onto the projectile. And then turning it to final shape. If well done, the joints should be barely visible. That would be my second choice for something as big as 5".

A big enough piece of copper can sometimes be found in a junk yard, or more likely at a recycling place, since it is valuable. You can buy new material from a metals dealer but I don’t know what you’d have to pay for a piece big enough for a 5 inch. When the cost gets that high it’s time to start looking for a projectile with the original rotating band still in place and do repair work at the pointy end. Here’s a 5"/54 that I rebuilt that way.


Love the photo!

Got any color photos of a 5"/38?

Also, I am really enjoying this conversation. I have had my metal lathe for maybe two months. I am still learning the capabilities. I have been turning wood for more than 35 years, metal - not so much. :>)

Here’s a photo of four that belong to another collector.

VERY NICE work Ray!


Thank you.
Nice bands.
Your work?

Reading this, I remembered a product from when I was interested in plastic model kits many years ago. It is a real metal adhesive foil used by modelmakers instead of painting, and it is available in copper. It’s made by a company in Michigan.

(Anyone here in the UK that wants to try it can obtain it from

Reading all of this about replacing the driving bands on projectiles got me to thinking. How are the bands installed by the factory when the projectiles are manufactured?

A rough copper band is installed by slipping it over the rear of the projectile and pressing (swadging) it into a score cut in the body of the projectile. The projectile body, rotating band, and bourrelet is then finished by turning in a lathe.


Ray–Thanks for the explanation. I had not thought about swadging the band in place.

Figure 1304 shows a banding press consisting of a large number of hydraulic rams arranged radially. Each ram is fitted with a short segment of a circle for exerting pressure against the rotating band to cause the copper to flow into the securing dovetails, ridges, nicks, or knurling. The projectile with its loose rotating band is lowered, base down, into the banding press. The rotating band is then secured by having all hydraulic rams simultaneously exert pressure upon the rotating band. The length of the segments can be varied to suit the circumference of the projectiles of various calibers.

Interesting subject. Anybody been on the receiving end of a shell who’s rotating band was cut by the rifling? This is very common with artillery. Worst sound you ever heard and a cut band kills the accuracy of a shell so you never know where it will land particulary your own outgoing.