Paco Kelly’s AT System Flatface Rimfire Bullet Reforming Tools


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

September 30th, 2009

UPDATED August 30th, 2011




UPDATE August 30, 2011

Please Note that Paco has a new web site for his tools:

Paco Kelly has done it again. Paco is a tireless inventor, tinkerer, gunsmith, and experimenter. He is always coming up with new ways to make things better. He is also a talented machinist, and is thus capable of moving his ideas from his head into a useful tool. For several years, Paco has been manufacturing tools which transform .22 Long Rifle ammunition into more useful, more accurate, and more lethal ammo, by reshaping the bullet noses into more efficient shapes, and bumping up the diameter slightly for better accuracy. This system worked very well for the .22 Short, Long, and Long Rifle cartridges, but was not adaptable to the .22 Rimfire Magnum, due to the bullet shape. The original tools used impact to reform the bullets, and with the heel-based bullets of the smaller rimfire cartridges, it worked very well. However, the .22 Magnum uses a straight-shanked bullet, and impacting the nose would drive the bullet deeper into the case, instead of reforming the nose. Now, Paco has invented a tool that is based upon one designed by Alan Taylor many years ago, the cuts the bullet nose instead of reforming it by impact. Rimfire .22 ammo uses very soft lead, and by giving the bullet a flat face, it really makes the bullet expand dramatically upon impact. Also, a flat-faced bullet simply hits harder on flesh than does a pointed bullet.

While I find the reshaping of .22 Long Rifle ammo very useful, what piqued my interest was the tool’s use on .22 Magnum ammunition. The .22 Magnum is one of my favorite cartridges. The little jewel kills all out of proportion to its diminutive size, is pretty accurate, and very efficient. However, even the hollow point .22 Magnum ammo available is still rather pointed in profile, and the cartridge could benefit from a more efficient, more blunt bullet shape. I was anxious to try out the Flatface AT System tool on some of my favorite .22 Magnum cartridges. I already knew that changing to a flat-faced profile would up the killing power of the cartridge, just as the Keith design bullet improved the killing power of handgun ammunition many decades ago by giving hunters a flat-faced bullet as opposed to the roundnose bullets of that era. It is a proven fact, from Southern squirrels to the biggest game in Africa, that flatnose bullets penetrate straighter and do more tissue damage than do roundnose bullets. However, I was concerned that the accuracy of the ammunition would be adversely affected by snipping off the bullet nose. It seemed to me that there would be no conceivable way of keeping that bullet nose concentric when cutting it off with the cutting pliers provided in the kit. Paco assured me that accuracy would not be affected, but I had my doubts. As instructed, I slightly cut the bullet nose and then rotated the bullet ninety degrees and finished the cut, but the nose still did not look perfect. However, shooting the ammo proved that my concerns were unfounded. Accuracy was indeed not harmed at all, as can be seen in the groups pictured. I tried the tool on several different types of .22 Magnum ammo, but my favorite is the PMC Predator hollow point, so I mostly concentrated on that. I also like the added weight of the Winchester DynaPoint 50 grain hollow point, but this 40 grain hollow point from PMC is my do-everything .22 Magnum load, and anything that would hurt the accuracy of that load would not be acceptable. Every group tried was as good as the accuracy of the standard ammo which had not been reshaped, so Paco was right: accuracy is not affected at all. This I could easily prove at the target range. Harder to prove is whether or not the reshaped bullets will kill game more efficiently. That is subjective, and would take shooting a lot of game under controlled circumstances to prove on paper. However, that fact has been proven time and again by scientific methods not available to me, but in my own experience, flat nosed bullets do kill better than round nosed bullets, and this new AT System Flatface tool from Paco Kelly finally gives fans of the .22 Rimfire Magnum cartridge, as well as the smaller .22 Rimfire cartridges, a very efficient, practical, quick, and affordable way to reshape their bullets for greater killing power.

The standard kit comes packaged in a hard plastic case, and includes tools to reshape the .22 Long Rifle ammunition to varying degrees of flatter bullet profile, each progression resulting in a larger meplat. The #2 tool is to slightly flatten the profile for use in semi-automatic firearms, the #3 gives a flatter profile, and the W tool makes a full wadcutter profile. The wadcutter is really a thumper on small game, as I have proven to myself using Paco’s earlier impact-shaped bullets. In addition to the three .22 Long Rifle tools, each kit contains a .22 Magnum tool, and a reshaped set of cutters to cleanly snip off the bullet nose. All of this is available at the time of this writing for only $65 US, which includes shipping to anywhere in the United States. In addition to these tools which are included in the kit, tools for the shorter rimfire .22 cartridges are available individually.

Jeff Quinn

Tools are available for rimfire .22 Short, Long, Long Rifle, and Magnum cartridges.



Hardened brass tools have steel inserts to eliminate wear.



50-yard groups before reshaping (top) and after reshaping (bottom) show no loss of accuracy.

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Click pictures for a larger version.


Paco Kelly's AT Flatface System comes with three .22 Long Rifle tools, one .22 Magnum tool, cutters, and plastic case.



PMC Predator cartridge inserted into tool...



...a quick snip of the bullet nose with the cutters...



...and the reshaped flatface bullet (left, compared to an unmodified bullet at right) is ready to perform.



Only a very small piece of bullet nose is removed.



Federal's .22 Magnum hollowpoint before reshaping (left) and after reshaping (right).



.22 Long Rifle bullet, reformed to wadcutter.



Flat-face cutter.