Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Ragitsu

Forging silver bullets/blades with improvised materials: help!

Recommended Posts

The PCs in a game of mine will soon be facing a werewolf in combat. They don't have any silver weaponry on themselves at the moment, but will come across an abandoned house moderately stocked with a variety of supplies. Among these supplies will (hopefully) be enough loose materials that give them just enough to work with if they so choose to forge weapons appropriate for the challenge. I do, however, have some issues to deal with if I want the process of construction to be reasonably realistic.

 

1. Can silver utensils be pure enough to be considered genuine silver?

 

2. What kind of flammable material or fuel would be in a house that works for the purposes of melting silver (which melts at 1,763°F)?

 

3. In the absence of proper armoury tools (such as a mold, tongs, press, etc), SOMETHING will have to be used if "good enough" 9x19mm bullets are to be made. What typical household wares can be used? Is an iron board/block suitable for a bullet mold? Can standard bullets have their (lead) projectiles safely removed and replaced?

 

4. What would be needed if a PC wanted to craft a silver knife or even broadsword?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hmmm find a bag of old silver coins.

 

Pre 1964 dimes loaded into shot gun shells might be a good improvised anti werewolf load.

 

taking inspiration from monster hunter international silver necklace beads or links pushed into the cavity of standard hollow points might work.

 

tin snips and files would be enough to make arrow heads from coins or for that matter even hammering silver coins into a baseball bat might make it a threat to your neighborhood lycanthrope

 

a blow torch will melt silver and if they house has tools it might be there is one there.

 

if the heroes of the piece are really technically minded they could set up a home electroplating rig to silver plate knives and so forth though weather that small amount of silver is enough its up to you

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many silver things will be sterling, which is 92.5% silver by weight ... should be adequate silver content. Sterling tableware won't include knives that can take an edge, though.

 

A standard propane-air torch won't melt silver, though a propane-oxygen torch could. But most things in which you'd think to melt it can't withstand that heat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Can silver utensils be pure enough to be considered genuine silver?

Since werewolves don't exist to test, there is no "right" answer except the dramatic needs of your campaign. Do you want it to work? If yes, it does, if no it doesn't.

 

2. What kind of flammable material or fuel would be in a house that works for the purposes of melting silver (which melts at 1,763°F)?

Interesting. According to Wikipedia, any common fuel will achieve this temperature, which makes sense since it's possible to forge iron with primitive tools. However, since that assumes complete combustion, you might need forced induction or at a minimum a well-designed draft to achieve that temperature.

 

3. In the absence of proper armoury tools (such as a mold, tongs, press, etc), SOMETHING will have to be used if "good enough" 9x19mm bullets are to be made.

First time I've ever heard reloading equipment called armory tools. Armories are where you store weapons, not load ammunition. It'll be tough to make bullets with any kind of accuracy that way, though.

 

What typical household wares can be used? Is an iron board/block suitable for a bullet mold?

The problem isn't making a mold, it's getting the dimensions right. The diameter of a lead bullet needs to be accurate to a couple of thousandths of an inch for decent performance, even using lead instead of silver. Much smaller and the bullet will not engrave on the rifling (meaning it will tumble instead of spin), much larger and it will cause dangerous pressures in the throat.  Your guys are going to achieve this with holes drilled with hand tools?  I guess it could be made to work with soft cast lead and some good load choices, but I wouldn't.

 

Trying to make bullets from scratch with inadequate equipment is going to cause a lot of serious reloading problems here if you want to be realistic--I wouldn't attempt it myself even with lead, I'm a conservative reloader and I like my fingers and eyes just the way they are. Beyond the dimensions, you cannot simply replace one bullet material with another without severe consequences. A bullet is intentionally slightly larger than the distance between the lands (the diameter inside the rifling). This is so that the pressure will engrave the rifling into the bullet, giving it enough grip to spin the bullet so it will go straight. That means that the bullet is likely to actually stop momentarily in the throat until the pressure has risen high enough to force it to squeeze slightly between the rifling (we're only talking a few thousandths of an inch here). Further, the bullet *has* to get moving again quickly, because the powder charge will usually be such that the bullet needs to be a ways down the barrel by the time combustion is complete. But silver is harder than lead, so the pressure would have to rise *much* higher before this happens, and that means the bullet won't be far enough down the barrel (if it goes at all) before the full charge has burned. That's a serious overpressure event, and would quite possibly be enough to blow the gun apart (this will depend on many things--it would be worse for bottleneck rifle cartridges for example). What actually happens would depend on the amount and burn rate of the powder, the quality of the firearm, and dumb luck.

 

Can standard bullets have their (lead) projectiles safely removed and replaced?

Sort of.  For most cartridges, you can safely go to a lighter weight bullet (it's moved farther at peak pressure, so the pressure will be lower), but not heavier without possibly exceeding the pressure rating of the cartridge.  *However*, if it's a modern firearm in decent condition and you don't change the weight by too much, probably the overpressure will simply shorten the life of the gun without immediate catastrophe, and nobody will care about that if there is a werewolf around.  In game terms, I'd say yes.

 

However, there will be some difficulties.  You'll have to deal with getting the bullet out against the crimp without spilling the charge (if they don't have reloading equipment I assume they also don't have powder and are limited to whatever their factory ammo is charged with), and probably have to chamfer the lip in order to get the bullet back in.  That will remove the crimp, and with heavy magnum loads the bullets could start backing out under recoil (so maybe the cylinder on that .44 mag will jam after a few shots).  For typical personal defense calibers like 9x19, I doubt they'll back out.  However, in a semiauto you could have problems with uncrimped bullets getting pushed in further while feeding.  That's why we crimp them in the first place.  I suspect that without the correct tools trying to put in a crimp might just make the cartridge unusable though, and if you totally screw it up the cartridges might not headspace (which could fire unsafely or just jam in the barrel).

 

What I would suggest is simply adding a piece of silver to the existing bullet.  This will make it heavier and thus increase pressure, but that's not a bad bet if the alternative is being werewolf chow.  Plus it's probably a better risk than any kind of reloading without the appropriate tools.  (This is probably safer with a low-pressure cartridge like .45 ACP than a high pressure one like .40 S&W, BTW.)  Much faster and less work, too.  Hollowpoints come with a convenient place to put the silver slug--if it were me I'd try to wedge it in (very gently and carefully!) with a punch and very light hammer (if I didn't have a press) and still maybe glue it in with crazy glue (or something better if I had it).  I'd also prefer to shoot a few to make sure the slugs aren't coming loose in the magazine under recoil, but I'm a cautious guy.

 

If you're really obsessive, the resulting bullets are going to be unbalanced and thus far less accurate.  This wouldn't matter in a pistol unless someone takes a long range shot--at self-defense ranges, who cares?  As long as the silver slug stays in place, having the bullets keyhole isn't necessarily bad.  I'd try hard to figure out how to minimize the imbalance, though, since I don't think the slug would stay in place.

 

4. What would be needed if a PC wanted to craft a silver knife or even broadsword?

I don't know that much about knife making, but it's not going to hold an edge. I'd use a knife to stab instead of slash, and then hope it didn't bend on me. A sword has the leverage to be an extremely dangerous weapon even when blunt, but they also depend much more on being both strong and resilient. Doesn't sound like a good application for silver. My biggest worry would be weapons that end up bending and folding up after a couple of strong hits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My own "in-game" translation from Paycheck Hero's excellent post. 

 

Revolver with silver packed hollow points: Mostly works, but throw a -1 OCV penalty on to represent the "off-balance" round.

Semi-Auto pistol with silver packed hollow points: In addition to above but add RAR with the Jammed modifier to it.  In this case, I might even allow for an appropriate skill roll to Unjam the weapon given a full-phase action or even a turn.

Blade: -1 DC from a typical weapon of the type with RAR: Burnout option. Basically, if the Burnout roll fails, the weapon crumples. If you are really evil, you might even have the Burnout roll degrade so that it is more likely to fail after several hits.

 

Forging silver bullets would probably not work so I have not bothered with that. Based on the information that Paycheck Hero posted, I would say that "if" you wanted to let that fly then I would at least put a Jammed or Burnout RAR on the weapon. Hmmm. Maybe an old fashioned blunderbuss that your characters can load with silver utensils? Short range, inaccurate as all hell, but possibly a brutal, punishing weapon. Definitely Reduced by Range for damage. Just thinking right now. Also, any of the characters conversant with magic? Maybe a few simple Power tricks might make some of this easier. A telekinetic mold for the bullets or pyrokinetic smelter to melt the silver. Maybe some sort of short term enchantment to blend silver and lead together. Long shots (no pun intended) but providing alternate ideas.

 

Just curious, does Fire damage werewolves? Might be easier to use improvised flame throwers or something. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's an article on some people who tried to make some Silver Bullets and what they found about the process. This by the Author of one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series.

 

http://www.patriciabriggs.com/articles/silver/silverbullets.shtml

 

 

Perhaps they could have a shotgun or two and the means to load shells. That way they won't have to actually try to make silver bullets. They can cut up pieces of the silver and load them into the shotgun shells. BTW Coins in a shotgun don't penetrate for a hill of beans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Revolver with silver packed hollow points: Mostly works, but throw a -1 OCV penalty on to represent the "off-balance" round.

I would personally make it a range penalty since it won't matter if, for example, you make a fast shot to center-of-mass at close range with a pistol. A total gun nut might increase the penalty if someone fails their reloading skill roll--which is of course a skill that only a gun nut would think of adding to the system in the first place. :-)

 

Semi-Auto pistol with silver packed hollow points: In addition to above but add RAR with the Jammed modifier to it.  In this case, I might even allow for an appropriate skill roll to Unjam the weapon given a full-phase action or even a turn.

If you're only adding silver inside a hollowpoint or a small hole drilled into the bullet you don't need to penalize them--the cartridge will feed identically. If stuff is sticking out where it will hit the feed ramp, maybe you should penalize them (gun nuts only: the chance of jamming could be based on how well they can make a reloading roll). If they extract the bullet or otherwise mess with the crimp, then yeah it could jam. For a semi-auto in a low-volume cartridge like 9mm or .40, if the bullet gets set back during the feed it could create serious overpressure (though again I'd guess a decent modern gun will take it for a few rounds, but maybe not for a bad setback in .40).

 

Forging

Casting. :-)

 

silver bullets would probably not work so I have not bothered with that. Based on the information that Paycheck Hero posted, I would say that "if" you wanted to let that fly then I would at least put a Jammed or Burnout RAR on the weapon.

This would be *very* dependent on reloading knowledge. If you tasked me to do it, I'd start by trying to figure out how to cast a lead bullet with a silver core--that would work beautifully *if* you can get the core aligned to the axis and concentric enough. I'd do everything possible to keep silver from contacting the rifling, as that's the main thing that invalidates most of of the standard reloading knowledge and puts you into experimental territory. Very possibly the best way would be to just take cast bullets and then have a machinist teach me to drill out the centers and add a lead slug with enough precision to not utterly screw up the ballistics. If you just buy cast bullets that means you don't have to do any casting at all, which is probably a win. The down side is you probably need a good drill press and machining knowledge I don't have to get the tolerances good.

 

Hmmm. Maybe an old fashioned blunderbuss that your characters can load with silver utensils? Short range, inaccurate as all hell, but possibly a brutal, punishing weapon. Definitely Reduced by Range for damage.

Fair enough, but I omitted to say that everything I said was about metallic cartridge reloading (i.e. pistols and rifles), partly because that's the kind of reloading I do.  That was a mistake, because it would be much easier and much safer to load silver buckshot into shotgun shells safely.  If I already had a shotgun press, I could probably do it safely and reliably the first time using standard reloading data.  In fact, I suspect it would be fairly safe to open up the crimp and just swap out the projectiles, though I don't know enough about shotgun reloading to know if it's feasible to restore the crimp without a press.  Slugs would get us back to the same problems as with bullets, except they might be a bit more tolerant of screwing around since shotguns work at lower pressures and I have a larger projectile to mess with (probably less required precision).  But if you have the equipment but don't have much time, buckshot seems like the way to go.

 

Just thinking right now. Also, any of the characters conversant with magic? Maybe a few simple Power tricks might make some of this easier. A telekinetic mold for the bullets or pyrokinetic smelter to melt the silver. Maybe some sort of short term enchantment to blend silver and lead together. Long shots (no pun intended) but providing alternate ideas.

If it fits the world, that could be a kind of interesting train of thought. It's kind of a magical-enhanced technology, which in some worlds is fun and interesting and in other worlds might always fail because they're incompatible.

 

Just curious, does Fire damage werewolves? Might be easier to use improvised flame throwers or something.

In MHI, yes it does. In some settings "kill it with fire" is a good rule to follow when in doubt. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A general note for this thread--I just looked, and the density of silver is close to but slightly less than the density of lead. They're the same to less than 8%, and the mass is going the right way for safety (down). So substituting similar volumes of silver for lead by various means--drilling out bullets, magically transmuting the bullet tips, whatever--is likely to work pretty well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's an article on some people who tried to make some Silver Bullets and what they found about the process. This by the Author of one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series.

That's an awesome article, BTW--I haven't finished it yet, but it's great. Better than me guessing based on basic reloading knowledge--the Gun World article included starts with everything I know (and I hope more, since they get paid to write about this stuff) and goes from there.

 

Perhaps they could have a shotgun or two and the means to load shells. That way they won't have to actually try to make silver bullets. They can cut up pieces of the silver and load them into the shotgun shells. BTW Coins in a shotgun don't penetrate for a hill of beans.

BTW, this is a good call, and in one post I agreed that shotgun reloading is a better way to go in a hurry than the metallic cartridge reloading I actually do, but I didn't really credit you with pointing it out first. It's technically much easier to safely reload and shoot wacky projectiles with a shotgun, and wacky projectiles is what the doctor ordered for this thread.

 

I also agree about the coins. The only advantage I can think of is possibly patterning at point-blank range. One of the great myths about shotguns is that they pattern wide enough to matter that much at distances of several yards--they have to be handled like a rifle at those ranges because the pattern probably won't be bigger than maybe a silver dollar. The coins ought to scale around something fierce, and so might actually spread at self-defense ranges enough to matter. The penetration is still going to suck, though. I wonder if an unchoked barrel and a poor or absent wad would open up a buckshot pattern at the 0-10 yard range enough to help without making it useless? (It'll certainly be useless much beyond that.)

 

Because of the multiple projectiles and the lower pressures they operate at shotguns are inherently more forgiving. One neat trick that someone might like to use in a game is that you can actually duck-bill a barrel, i.e. flatten it into a horizontal oval. The resulting pattern will be something like the barrel shape, and since people (and maybe humanoid werewolves?) are vertical a horizontal pattern is a very handy thing to have. I wouldn't be surprised if that's illegal in quite a few states (don't know the ATF rules either), but I suppose if you're looking at being werewolf chow you'd be delighted to live to defend your choices in court.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW here's a great article about shooting dimes out of a shotgun. IMHO it would just annoy the Werewolf but not kill.

 

http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot35.htm

 

I love The Box of Truth! He does the science so you don't have to :D

Box O' Truth is awesome, and anyone who doesn't like it has to turn in their gunnie card.  If male, their man card too (my wife, however, informs me that you can not like the Box O' Truth without losing your femininity).

 

Another thing I like about that episode is it shows how easily you can screw around with shotgun loads compared to metallic.  I know that in principle, but haven't ever tried it.  I guess I should get into shotgun reloading someday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps you are thinking to modern/large scale with modern bullets?

 

What if whoever owns this shop was an ancient weapons nut, and had some muskets and the proper tools to make bullets for them? Those older weapones use a simple metal ball. Then making a "silver bullet" is as easy as "melt silver, fill melted silver into bullet mold, let it cool off, use bullet in musket as usual".

Of course then somebody needs skill with using Muskets...

 

The same way, what if that person had a way to make his own shotgun amunition? Shotgun shells are rather simple compared to a Pistol or Rifle bullet:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotgun_shell

No Rilfing is needed. You jsut need small Silver pellets. Wich can be made the same way that person makes Iron Pellets. A shootgun skill should not be hard to find in the group. And at least in films it is really hard to miss with a Shootgun Shot on short range.

 

If push comes to shove, you could always just have this be a gun nut who has the proper molds and tools to make his own bullets. And ignore all those real life test about making silver bullets. It just works.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think you read the article(s) Christopher.

Melting Iron is easier than melting Silver. It's hard to keep it hot enough to pour into the bullet mold (Muskets still use a bullet mold to make the ball). It wears out steel molds quickly. Also it seems to shrink quite a bit as it cools. You might find it hard to patch it so it makes a good enough seal in the musket.

As for Shotguns, you could make shot with a screen. Again it takes a lot of heat to melt silver and it's hard to keep it hot enough to flow. That's why I was thinking that it may be easier to use bolt cutters to cut up the silverware into small pieces and load them into a Shotgun shell. Or into a Blunderbuss.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW here's a great article about shooting dimes out of a shotgun. IMHO it would just annoy the Werewolf but not kill.

 

http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/bot35.htm

 

I love The Box of Truth! He does the science so you don't have to :D

Hmmmn. Does Reduced Penetration work with +1 Stun modifier? Far less killing power but it would likely Hurt Like HellTM. I see it literally as one of those last-ditch, stalling tactics to be used until a more permanent solution can be found. Especially at close range.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmmn. Does Reduced Penetration work with +1 Stun modifier? Far less killing power but it would likely Hurt Like HellTM. I see it literally as one of those last-ditch, stalling tactics to be used until a more permanent solution can be found. Especially at close range.

I thought that shotguns were already purchased with Reduced Pen. Perhaps a quartering of the damage instead of a halving. Though Perhaps putting coins in probably should just make the Shotgun a Normal attack 8d6n would do body to most Heroic characters not wearing armor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shotgun, with a "Silver Shot" load.  Good spread and easier to make than a "full" silver bullet.  Besides, combine it with an H&K CAWS or USAS-12 (or other Auto Shotgun) and "Wolf Sweeper." :)

 

 

~ M

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is my idea of improvised bullet-creating tools too unfeasible?

 

From the articles I posted it looks like it. It would be easier to melt iron tools and turn THOSE into bullets than do the same thing with Silver. Perhaps the Lady of the house has some jewelry that is comprised of Silver beads. The necklaces and bracelets could be disassembled and the beads loaded in the place of the Shot in a Shotgun shell. IMHO that's the most feasible way of doing this. They COULD discover a hidden jewelry box inside a trunk in the room where the  gun loading paraphernalia are located. The only way that bullets could be made with the silver is to introduce Silver filings into molten lead or to dust a wax/Filings mixture onto the walls of the bullet mold. Pouring Lead into the mold, the wax evaporates leaving the silver on the outer edges of the bullet and lead holding the whole thing together. Don't know if it would hold together or not after it leaves the barrel, but it could be plausible.

 

It's a lot like my idea for Anti Faerie Rounds that suspend Cold Iron particles into the lead. Get enough of the Iron on the outer edges of a bullet and you have something that even Faerie Lords wouldn't want to be hit with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with Tasha.  I've known two people that did their own loading and bullet making (One was a Gunsmith by trade), and I've tried my hand at it (I have some of the stuff in storage).  It's not easy (Though they made it look easy).  As Tasha suggested, perhaps they could come across some of the necessary tools in the house (Perhaps along with a small journal relating an attack by a "Man Beast"??  Perhaps with a few preloaded silver bullets/shot ??).  Loading shot in a shotgun would be easier, though "easy" is a relative term.

 

Without the correct skill, and I'll assume that one of the PCs has Weaponsmith (Firearms) with the possibility of SS: Ballistics included, then they are going to have difficulty making bullets, loading them properly and not having them misfire/jam/blow up in the chamber.  Not trying to take away from your adventure.

 

 

~ N

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be far easier to make silver bullets by turning them from silver bar stock on a lathe than by melting and molding them . . . maybe there are silver candlesticks on the mantlepiece and a dusty old Craftsman metal lathe in the garage?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If there is a photography lab, silver nitrate is a key component in chemicals used in negative development.

 

Drill out a hallow-point, apply the liquid with a syringe and seal with hot wax.

 

Assuming that the SFX of Werewolf defense is rapid healing, hallow-point penetrates and dumps the silver-nitrate into its bloodstream before its fast healing pushes the bullet out and closes the wound. Should be good against vampires, too.

 

No, I haven't given this too much thought at all. :whistle:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is my idea of improvised bullet-creating tools too unfeasible?

In the Real World you live in? Yeah, pretty much. The Real Worlds Physics Engine just isn't working that way.

 

In a RPG Fantasy World with Werewolves? It's as easy or impossible as you want it to be as the GM. And you implied you are the GM in the OP.

 

And in both settings making a Shotgun Silver-Shot is propably a lot easier then making a Silver bullet as used anything with Rilfing. (Wich might still make it impossible in the Real World).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×