Section VI

No. 13

Detonators (blasting caps) can be made from a used small arms cartridge case and field manufactured explosives. Detonators are used to initiate secondary high explosives (C-4, TNT, etc.).


  • Primary explosive
  • Booster explosive
  • Improvised scale
  • Used cartridge case
  • Fuse, 12 in. long
  • Round wooden stick (small enough just to fit in the neck of the cartridge case)
  • Drill or knife
  • Long nail with sharpened end
  • Vise
  • Improvised loading fixture


  • See table
  • RDX (Section I, No. 15) or Picric
  • Acid (Section I, No. 21) Section VII, No. 8 . 22 caliber or larger


1. Remove fired primer from a used cartridge case using a sharpened nail. (See Section III, No. 5.)

2. If necessary, open out flash hole in the primer pocket using a drill or knife. Make it large enough to receive fuse.

25 11 Detonator

3. Place one end of fuse in the flash hole and extend it through the case until It becomes exposed at the open end. Knot this end and then pull fuse in cartridge case thus preventing fuse from falling out.

25 21 Detonator

4. Load the primary explosive in the cartridge case, using the following table for the proper amount.

25 31 Detonator25 4 Detonator

5. Compress the primary explosive into the cartridge case with the wooden stick and the following improvised loading fixture.

25 5 Detonator

CAUTION: The primary explosive is shock and flame sensitive.

NOTE: Tamping is not needed when TACC is used.

25 6 Detonator

6. Add one gram of booster explosive. The booster can be RDX (Section I, No. 15), or Picric Acid (Section I, No. 21).

7. Compress the booster explosive into the cartridge case with wood¬en stick and the loading fixture.

8. If the case is not full, fill the remainder with the secondary explosive to be detonated.

CAUTION: Detonator has considerably more power than a military blasting cap and should be handled carefully.

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