Very Top Five... Ways to make bullets work against Undead

Monday, 28 December 2009
There is far too much emphasis placed on combat against zombies in modern culture. Effective combat against the full spectrum of the Legions of the Dead (AKA Undead) is a diverse subject, far more complicated than the simple “remove the head or destroy the brain” nonsense to which we’re all subjected with such regularity.

What would you do if Edward Cullen was all up in yo' grill, trying on his vampirey ways or whatever and all you'd brought were some regular bullets? You'd look a fool. You might be able to mess him up a bit, but he'd get you anyway, and have his filthy way with you. You'll need something a bit stronger to ensure that teen angsty vampires stay on the right side of your property line.

To remedy this and other, similarly plausible situations I have listed the five best ways to modify 9mm bullets for effective use against all types of commonly encountered Undead creatures, particularly zombies, werewolves, vampires, and mummies, while maintaining a degree of effectiveness against zombies, ghouls, banshees, and liches.
The finished bullet:
Aside: Choice of bullet
This article will detail the modification procedure for a solid 9 mm (.354in) diameter lead bullet with copper jacket, cartridge length 18.50mm (.728in), base 9.50mm (.374in) with no additional shoulder width and an overall case length of 26.16mm (1.03in). This is the standard ‘Ultra’ pattern bullet design (9mm calibre). Of course these procedures will apply equally well to bullets of different dimensions, although care should be taken to avoid significantly altering the calibre of the bullet in the modification process, which may cause loss of accuracy or jamming.

5. Applying a silver coating
Using a coal furnace, heat 100g of solid silver metal in a 300ml crucible until melting occurs (at 962˚C). Heat a steel tray (150mm length/ 40mm width/ 10mm lip height) to a temperature of 900˚C in the furnace.

Pour the molten silver into the steel tray. Roll each bullet through the molten silver once. After application of silver, immediately douse the bullet in cold holy water (See appendix 1). Applying molten silver which is close in temperature to this value will result in melting (or warping) of the bullet casing, which will detrimentally affect accuracy of the modified bullet and may cause jamming.

You may find it necessary to file the bullet at this stage to maintain surface uniformity of the bullet. Repeat for all bullets.

(Alternative plating methods: Lead bullets can be electrochemically plated with silver by removing oxide layer with conc. Nitric acid and plating in a hydrogen fluoride solution and silver nitrate solution.)

4. Carving of protective symbols

In this stage a sharp carbon-steel scalpel is used to carve religious symbols into the silver coating.
It is well documented that Undead are antagonistic to particular religions. Inclusion of the appropriate symbols will maximise the effectiveness of the bullet against Undead of the most widespread religions.

3. Creation of the explosive charge

In this stage an explosive charge is created using a lead azide fuse and a pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) main charge. These two chemicals are packed into a mulched rosewood vessel within the casing of the bullet.

Main charge: PETN can be obtained commercially as a white crystalline powder. It can also be manufactured from other chemicals. PETN has a velocity of detonation (density of 1.7 g/cm³) of 8,400 m/s. The heat of explosion is 5.9 Megajoules per kilogram, 1.5 times that of (Tri-Nitro-Toluene) TNT, and as such it makes an ideal high explosive. It is a relatively inert secondary explosive, and a fuse is used to provide the minimum thermal and percussive energy required for detonation.

Fuse: Lead azide may also be purchased commercially, but in this review article the process of preparation is undertaken to allow the chemical to be prepared in a holy environment which greatly increases its effectiveness. Lead azide will detonate on impact at 15m/s (So while the pistol hammer does not supply sufficient force to detonate the fuse, collision with the target will, as modern handguns provide muzzle velocities of 1000m/s, leaving a massive margin for the bullet to slow when travelling to the target) and provides sufficient energy to detonate the PETN main charge.

2. Rosewood casing
A wooden case is used to contain the explosive charge for two reasons: First, it will physically contain the fuse and high explosive, stopping them for reacting with the casing or cordite; and second, when the bullet detonates the casing will splinter and impel slivers of rosewood into the target. When used against a vampire this shrapnel will cause extreme pain and disablement or, if a splinter pierces the heart, termination of unlife.

Shave thin slivers of rosewood from a sample, and mulch these to a paste-like consistency by the addition of small volumes of holy water (~5ml at a time) as necessary, using ~20ml for each 100g sample of rosewood. Add one clove of garlic at this stage, and mix well. Press the rosewood mulch halfway into the bullet casing and leave to dry for one hour. Then heat at in a furnace at 100˚C for a further hour, then remove from the casing and char.
After this time the casing will harden. Hollow it using a standard 4mm right-angled drill.

Note: The casing performs the role of physically blocking the lead azide from the copper casing, and should therefore be totally sealed. Contact of lead azide with the casing will cause formation of copper azide, which will explode with little provocation (light tapping). Care should be taken to make sure that this does not occur.

Aside: Synthesis of lead azide
The volumes/masses given will give a yield sufficient for 40 - 50 bullets. Do not attempt to make larger batches of lead azide. Doing so will increase the chance of spontaneous detonation during manufacture.

For this process it is necessary to have access to sodium azide, sodium hydroxide, lead nitrate and dextrin. If unavailable in its pure form, sodium azide can be synthesised from sodium metal, ammonia and nitrous oxide, and for this process the author refers you to the literature.
Dissolve 2.3g of sodium azide and 0.058g of sodium hydroxide in 70ml of holy water by shaking in a separatory funnel. Label solution A.

Dissolve 6.9g of lead nitrate and 0.35g of dextrin in 90ml of holy water in a ~250ml container, and add 2 drops of sodium hydroxide to bring the pH to ~5. Label solution B. Heat solution B at 60°C in a water bath and agitate gently with a rosewood stirring rod. Destroy crystals as they form and do not strike the sides of the container, as the friction may cause crystals to explode.
Add solution A dropwise to solution B while stirring over a ten minute period. Remove the beaker from the water bath and stir as it cools, a process which takes approximately 1 hour. Collect the precipitate of lead azide through filtration, and add ~150ml of holy water to wash the crystals (in ~25ml increments.)
Dry the sample for 8 hours at 65°C. Spherical, opaque lead azide crystals will form. The yield was 5g. gently mix with 5g of dextrin to reduce its sensitivity.

Addition of explosives to the bullet casing
Reinsert a half-charge of cordite, followed by a steel plate. Then insert the rosewood casing and pack 100mg of PETN tightly into this followed by 100mg of lead azide/dextrin, leaving enough room to replace the bullet.

Note: It is important to avoid getting crystals (of either explosive) into the thread of the screw of the bullet. This may cause a premature detonation of the bullet when the cap is re-attached.
1. Holy water
Holy water is used for cooling the coated silver, the manufacture of lead azide, and the rosewood mulching process. Effective use of holy water adds potency to the final bullet, and increases the accuracy of the bullet through the concentrated power of holiness.

Water which has been blessed by a priest or bishop is classed as holy water, and this chemical has a great many applications in combat against the undead.

Note: If holy water is unavailable, exorcism water can be created by a non-ordained person, and although it will be less potent than properly shriven holy water, it is of particular use against lesser Undead such as possessed creatures.

To create exorcism water, obtain 100 - 1000ml of water from a clean stream or river and pour into a container (preferably of a natural material such as leather, pottery or wood) and bless using the following incantation:

Exorcizo te, creatura aquæ, in nomine Dei Patris omnipotentis, et in nomine Jesu Christi, Filii ejus Domini nostri, et in virtute Spiritus Sancti: ut fias aqua exorcizata ad effugandam omnem potestatem inimici, et ipsum inimicum eradicare et explantare valeas cum angelis suis apostaticis, per virtutem ejusdem Domini nostri Jesu Christ: qui venturus est judicare vivos et mortuos et sæculum per ignem.

Translation: I exorcise thee in the name of God the Father almighty, and in the name of Jesus Christ His Son, our Lord, and in the power of the Holy Ghost, that you may be able to put to flight all the power of the enemy, and be able to root out and supplant that enemy and his apostate angels; through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire.

Note: Undiluted Holy water may be diluted by any volume of unblessed water and will still retain the same concentration of holiness until a greater volume of water is added than was in the original sample, at which point the water will completely lose its holy properties.3
For this reason, when using holy water from an unknown source it is highly recommended that you do not dilute it unless absolutely necessary.


The modified 9mm bullets are vastly superior to the unmodified variety in the field despite a reduced range. They contain a concentration of basic holiness sufficient to destroy most common swarm Undead, and for stronger Undead the specific contents will cause additional damage: Silver for werewolves; rosewood slivers for vampires; incendiary explosives for mummies.

The physiological effect of the bullets on partially decomposed flesh of the undead (of varying degrees of dessication) is described elsewhere in the literature4, but in most cases it can be supposed that a bullet striking the core of a body will blow a fist sized chunk out of the undead creature at concussive velocities (causing further internal compression), and even a peripheral strike is likely to shear off a limb. This will seriously detriment the creature’s capacity to perpetuate Works of Evil.
Notes on field application
The authors recommend that modified bullets should be created in advance of any expedition which is likely to involve armed combat against the Undead. Failing this, a copy of this paper and vials of the rarer chemicals should be included in your baggage as a matter of course. 8
The fully modified bullet is capped with solid silver (with symbolic engravings) and charged with a pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) main charge and lead azide fuse encased in a rosewood splinter vessel, and contains a half-charge of cordite.

1. Variation within the Legio Necros,1909, M. Shelley, Combat of the Dead, 16(2), 12-167
2. Mut. Effects of modern chemicals and natural evolution of the Creatures of Dread, 1996, Dark Science, 165(2), 34-68
3. Holy water: Chemical properties and the effect of variation of concentration on holiness, 2002, C. von Dracula, UnNature, 234(3), 12-15
4. Combat use of religion against the Undead monsters, 1996, Necromancy today, 1235(3), 124-156
5. Listing and tabling of chemicals referenced in use against the Deathly Hordes, 2003, Journal of unnatural sciences, 134(1) 11-57
6. Physiological effects of holy woods on the cardiology of vampires, 1934, Necrotic News, 146(1), 36-39
7. Destruction of the Dread Commanders, 1998, Undead journal (monthly review), 1567(2) 17-25
8. Revyue of persnel effycts of necesity for the persuit of the hunt-eternal of the Undeathly, 1789, Wytchfynder Tome & Tomb, 1021, 2-5


Angie said...

Brilliant! This is kind of like the crazy bullets Hellboy uses in the movie... a little bit of everything to kill anything that comes his way. Love it!