How to Reload Blank Shot Shells

Written by keith dooley
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How to Reload Blank Shot Shells
Begin with a loaded shotgun shell when making your own blank reloads at home. (12 Gauge Shells image by cdbdi from

Shotgun shells are typically loaded with a primer, smokeless powder and either shot, buckshot or a slug. There are situations, however, when the noise produced by a shotgun firing is desirable without the shot or slug. Blank-loaded shotgun shells can be used scare off unwanted birds or animals or be used to train hunting dogs. Although you can purchase blank shells, it is relatively simple to load your own effective shotgun shells at home.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Loaded shotgun shell
  • Screwdriver
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Small bowls
  • Black powder
  • Short wooden dowel

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  1. 1

    Position a loaded shotgun shell so that the crimped end is easily accessible. Pry open the crimped plastic on the end of the shell with a flat blade screwdriver.

  2. 2

    Empty the shot from the shotgun shell into a small dish or bowl. Tap the shell gently to completely empty all of the shot from the shell.

  3. 3

    Hold the shell securely with your hand and clamp the jaws of a pair of needle nose pliers onto the plastic wadding in the shell. Pull the wadding out of the shell casing using the pliers. Place the wadding aside for later use.

  4. 4

    Pour the smokeless powder in the shotgun shell into a separate bowl or dish. Replace the smokeless powder with black powder. Pour 6 drams of black powder into a 12-gauge shotgun shell, 8 drams into a 10-gauge shell or 12 drams into an 8-gauge shotgun shell.

  5. 5

    Place the wadding back into the shell using the needle nose pliers. Press the wadding securely in place with the end of a wooden dowel or plastic tool handle.

Tips and warnings

  • Leave the crimped end of the shell open as it is not necessary for it to be closed for the blank shell to fire.
  • Reload the shell with black powder only. Smokeless powder will not explode and create the desired noise that black powder will when fired.

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