IMPORTANT WARNING: Improvising or modifying ammunition can result in great injury or death. Do not attempt. The fact that is is shown on this site does not mean its safe.
I had heard of ammunition being loaded using crushed match heads and was curious if a mild round like 38 Special could be loaded only with a matchbook.
To create the ‘powder’ I shaved the heads from two matchbooks then crushed them to a desirable consistency. I removed much of the paper debris although I’m not sure it would have bothered.
Reconstituting a used primer is tedious work. Striking a match on the red-phosphorous strip causes ignition, which is what I need.
Here is how I reconstituted the primer in the first video:
- Pried anvil from the used primer
- Scraped residue out
- Cut a piece of the phosphor striker strip and put it in the primer shell
- Places some of the ‘matchbook powder’ on top
- Carefully re installed the anvil
Primer reliability was not great. I found that it often worked but sometimes failed to ignite. Other people have used the ‘strike anywere’ tips from matches as priming compound but my goal here was a ‘matchbook only’ round. Perhaps scraping the red-phosphorous from the strips would improve reliability.
Overall this resulted in a slow but functional round of almost half the velocity of commercial smokeless powder. This could be the results of slow burning matchbook powder and the short barrel Ruger SP101 revolver.
|Matchbook||365 fps||11 inches||155 gr LCSWC||4.1 grains matchbook|
|Regular||602 fps||16″+ (pass through)||155 gr LCSWC||4.1 grains Unique|
The matchbook round was corrosive. I unintentionally let the gun sit, uncleaned for one month, and found significant pitting in the stainless steel.
The second video at the top of this page shows further testing that I performed to work up a matchbook load and provide further comparison against commercial smokeless powder.