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How to make Dragon's Breath


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Hello, I am looking for some information on how to make a Dragon’s Breath Shotgun Shell. I reload ammunition for personal use. I am looking to make this specialty round. I was wondering if anyone had any idea what materials are used to make such a round. Any safety information I need to know about said materials, handling, storage, ignite temps, etc….


I have tried just straight up Magnesium (Chips, Granular, and shaving), but it just makes a very quick flash at the end of the barrel. Nothing like in the video below.


I have copied a link below incase someone is not familiar with the Dragon’s Breath shell:




Thank you in advance for any help.

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It's Zirconium-Zircaloy, not magnesium. I can't find it anywhere due to it's use as a nuclear reactor cladding.

Edited by dagabu
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I've heard titanium works reasonably well, too
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  • 2 years later...

Sorry I'm a bit late....


I tried Titanium last summer and it worked OK, I used shavings and sponge as it gives a wide range of size, the larger shavings/turnings burn longer and the corse "powder"/sponge fills the gap.

One problem I had was the low volume offered by commercial 12ga wads, it does not allow for enough loosely packed material to be impressive.

I got better result by removing the piston part of the wad to get more volume, but then the cup part is too short and leave the upper half of the shell in contact with the material. Long story short, the rough shavings/sponge material gabs the shell and rips half of the shell with it so I'll have to make custom extra long Kraft paper wads/shell liners.


Also, there must be a way for some of the combustion gases to get through the wad and into the loosely packed metal. Just a few 1/16 holes is enough, I tried with no holes and it's very unimpressive.

I haven't tried to pack it tightly, I believe it should work up to a certain point but then I don't know how much would be to much.


The first 2 shots aren't framed correctly, the person holding the camera didn't thought to focus on the effect and framed me instead :-(

The next 2 shots are less impressive, it was raining, may be it extinguished the smalls particles, also these were smaller wads

The last 2 shots are unrelated, talcum powder and steel wool.


I wanted to try better wads and zirconium this summer but I prioritized other projects. Also, it's really hard on the the bore of the gun, I bought the cheapest shotgun possible just for those 12ga titanium shells.

I used 12ga challenger 7 1/2 target load, left the powder untouched, modified the factory wads and crudely folded back the crimp. Next time I'll make a proper rolled crimp plus shot cards. I already loaded a bunch of modified reloading wads with 15grains of Hodgdon International powder (the cheapest I could find) into some no-name high brass spent shells. I'll try to test more variables...next year hopefully.

Edited by Tiger
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