How to Make 22LR Tracer Rounds – All You Need to Know

How To Make 22lr Tracer Rounds
Alfred Mendoza

Have you always wanted to make your 22lr tracer rounds but do not know how to start? Tracer rounds allow the shooters to observe the in-flight bullet for sight correction, signaling, and shooting enjoyment. 

We’ll guide you through the steps on how to make 22LR tracer rounds. Let’s start!


1. Get Your Tools

To begin, you have to gather the tools you need in making tracer rounds for 22LR. For your safety, you have to prepare rubber gloves, safety glasses, and dust masks. For the tracer round composition, we need raw chemicals, plastic spoons, and a small weighing scale. 

Next, bullet drilling tools and drill bits for the rounds are required to insert the chemical for your tracer rounds. Finally, you will need a small hydraulic hand pump, shell holder die, and one-ton arbor press to do the work for the actual pressing and loading of the tracer.

2. Prepare the Chemicals

The raw chemicals you will need for green tracer are barium nitrate, hexachloroethane, powdered shellac, and #100 mesh powdered magnesium. You can mix up strontium nitrate, hexachloroethane, #100 mesh powdered magnesium, and powdered shellac for the red tracer. 

Amber tracer can be produced using barium peroxide, #100 mesh ground magnesium powder, and powdered shellac. The igniter composition also needs barium peroxide, #325 mesh magnesium powder, and powdered shellac. 

The chemicals you will need are affordable, and getting a pound of everything can be used in many 22LR tracer rounds.


Our researchers recommend using denatured alcohol that will act as the solvent to the dry chemicals.

You will also notice that all the chemical mixtures in different colors need magnesium. It is because magnesium is the central ingredient that burns bright [1]. Be reminded that magnesium needs to be added after all the chemicals are mixed.

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3. Load the Compound Into the Bullets

To start loading the compound to the rounds of your 22LR, you can calculate the proper pressing pressure for your target psi range. It will help you increase the chance of your initial test being successful.

Take the pre-drilled round and lay it on the hole of the shell holder die. Make sure to center the arbor press to avoid damages to the bullet. Now that it is all set, make sure to use hand gloves and different scoopers for each mixture. 

Scoop and gradually pour the chemical inside the shell, then press it firmly. Leave ⅛” space for the igniter mixture as you will need to fill the top until the top edge of the bullet. Continue to pump until it reaches the desired psi.

Let’s Fire It Up

To check if it is working, prepare to test your tracer rounds in the range. In trying the bullets, you can expect results as follows: If it has a large blast flame, you press the mixture lightly that it breaks apart inside the round; If there is no lighting at all, you push too hard. 

Continue to test until you reach the 100% lighting rate, so prepare for a little more patience. 

After firing the tracer rounds, make sure to clean the barrel of your long rifle since tracers are mildly corrosive. Making your tracer rounds for 22LR can be complicated and too expensive for some, but nothing can compare to the satisfaction when you roll your tracer. 



2 thoughts on “How to Make 22LR Tracer Rounds – All You Need to Know”

  1. Where would be the best place to find the necessary cems to complete this process. I have the magnesium and I can dry and grind lacquer. I also have available to me motor shells for fireworks display . The inner core I believe to be magnesium? It is wrapped in white paper and is surrounded by half inch balls? Would any of this work?

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