How To Get More With Less

Making .22 Ammo Hit Harder

A simple home-made die and a file is all you need
to make your round nose .22 ammo hit harder.

What’s old is new, and new is old. Here’s an old trick you can use to make your round-nosed .22 rimfire ammo hit harder and make it a noticeably better killer for garden/house pests that need dispatching this summer. Equipment is minimal, and all you need is a die, a file and some .22 rimfire ammo.

Special Projects Editor Roy used a portion of .22 barrel for building
Tank’s die. He even stamped his name on it. Notice how just the radiused
part of the bullet peeks out the top of the die for easy removal with a file?

Tank found it easier to hold the die upside down to file the round nose off.

It only takes about 10 seconds to file the point down with
this method. Look at those hard-hitting flat-nosed slugs.
What a beautiful looking slug.

Hey Roy!

I summoned Special Projects Editor Roy Huntington once again. I want to make sure he doesn’t have the chance to get bored between filming all his videos we all love. I asked if he had ever heard of the flat nose die or jig and discussed it with him. Of course, he knew about them, and we kicked around ideas on the easiest way of making one.

We eventually came up with the idea of using a piece of scrap .22 barrel. It would be easy to drill through the barrel, essentially removing just the lands from the barrel so the body of a .22 rimfire shell could fit into it. Naturally, Roy said he had just the barrel, and if the chamber end was used, with minimal machining, he could make it work. All you have to do is cut the die to length, so the round-nose portion of the bullet peeks out the top of the jig.

Grabbing a file, simply file the nose flush to the top of the jig. You’re only going to need to remove less than 2 grains of lead. My scale indicates an average removal of 1.8 grains from the 40-grain bullet.

Cursed with sausage-like fingers, I found it easier to hold the die upside down and stroke it with the file laying on the table. It doesn’t take much, maybe 10 strokes.

LBT-Style .22 Rimfire?

Cast bullet expert and engineer of Lead Bullet Technology bullet molds Veral Smith taught us over 30 years ago that flat-nosed bullets transmit more energy, basically hitting harder, causing larger, permanent wound channels than bullets with smaller flats. Worse yet are round-nosed bullets which have a tendency to make wounds seal up after penetration is made, causing a slower death compared to flat-nosed counterparts.

We changed the total dynamics of the factory load by filing to an overall length of .930” from a factory original .980”. It’s amazing what happens when simply changing the nose profile from round nose to flat nose does to a bullet, shortening the overall length by .050” and removing less than 2 grains of lead (1.8). Its terminal performance goes up tenfold.

Roy had a few garden pests needing some special attention, and he used the flat-nosed slugs on them. He verified when struck with the flat-nosed slugs. The vermin were DRT, or dead right there. They didn’t take a single step.

Close-up of flat nose (right) compared to factory fresh (left).
The flat noses don’t need to be perfect to be effective.

Tank used a stainless Ruger Bisley as one of the test guns.


I shot the modified loads with two different handguns, a stainless Ruger Bisley and a Ruger MKII, to see if the modification would interfere with the cycling function. I’m happy to report it did not. I fired from a distance of 50 feet using a Ransom Multi Caliber Steady Rest, a compact, easy-to-transport rest that I really like. Its set-up is quick and easy and makes holding your handgun or rifle, rock-solid steady. The accuracy was the same as unmodified, factory ammo, with groups running under an inch.

A Ruger MKII was also used to test cycling ability. The small alteration had no negative effects on function.

Accuracy was not affected with the flat nose slugs.

Finer Points

If this sounds like a possible project for you, but you’re not sure if the flat-nosed bullets will cycle through your semi-auto, simply run a single bullet across a file for a few strokes and try cycling it. If your alteration cycles and you’re happy with the meplat (flat), use this length for your die. Then, all you need to do is find a buddy like Roy.