Swage Questions

Swage Questions

This is a discussion on Swage Questions within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; For those of you that swage your own bullets. How much cost is it to get started? How difficult is it? Basically just a short ...

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Thread: Swage Questions

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    Swage Questions

    For those of you that swage your own bullets. How much cost is it to get started? How difficult is it? Basically just a short rundown from members here. I've seen some stuff on Speer's (I think?) website, but it seemed geared to selling equipment. So, the opinion of a reloader here would be preferred.
    ...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    I'm beginning to get into swaging. There is a lot to be covered, more than one can post here. I'm in the same boat but have my list of stuff I'm getting.

    The basic process is to cut lead wire down to a length and swage it to a certain weight. Then place the core in the jacket and it will seat the core. The next die will form the bullet profile. You can make Open Tip bullets where the bullet core is below the tip or you can make Soft Point bullets where the bullet core is a little longer than the jacket so there is exposed lead (like the Win. Power Point). An addition die is called a lead tip die and it cleans up the lead bullet tip for uniform shape. All of this is explained in great detail on Corbin's site full of pics and diagrams.

    Basically if you want to make sub 30cal bullets a strong reloading press like the RC or similar will do the job. A decent swaging press will run $200 and go up to a few thousand dollars for a hydraulic press.

    You can use fired 22rimfire cases to make bullet jackets for 22cal centerfire bullets. They will weigh about 50-55gr and the velocity threshold is 3000fps.

    There are three companies that cater to swagers. Corbin, his brother Richard at RCE, LLC and CH4D.

    RCE, LLChttp://www.rceco.com/

    CH4D (left side menu is swaging stuff)http://www.ch4d.com/

    Corbin http://www.corbins.com/howto.htm

    Spend a lot of time on the Corbin site. There is a hell of a lot of info there.

    The dies start at about $225 for the RCE set for one caliber, one bullet type. These are your standard flat base bullets. Corbin dies are expensive and cost around $500-700 for one caliber, one design but you can mix and match dies to make different designs for each caliber. Say you want to make flat base open tip bullets for x caliber. You get the dies. Now you want to make x caliber bullets but with a rebated boattail. You just order a RBT set of two dies for the x caliber and you are all set. Now you can make flat base open tip bullets or rebated boattail open tip bullets. If you want to make soft points, you can order a lead tip die and now you can make, in addition to the other types, a flat base soft point or a rebated boattail soft point bullet. There are also dies for ULD (ultra low drag) bullets.

    If you can dream it, you can make it. The bullet makers mostly use Corbin dies themselves.

    Lead bullets and half jacketed bullets are easier and only require two dies. I'm going to go with CH4D dies on these as they are cheaper and I like a little variety.

    Hope this helps a bit.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    It helped a lot and pointed me in the right direction.

    Sounds as if there's a pretty costly barrier to get started, but it might be worth it. I'd like to get to the point where I can make all of my own ammo for everything and I see swaging as a step that is required.

    Could you make DPX'esque rounds with the copper you melt down from the .22lr casings?
    ...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller

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    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    With making the 22RF casings into jackets, you aneal them, then run them through a sizer. Most I've heard just toss them in a lead pot (the small ones for bullet casting) and put them on a hot plate and when they look discolored evenly they let them cool down in the pot. They aren't melted, just softened so you can form them into a jacket.

    You can make solid bullets. Corbin's site has the information. You'd have to dig for it. I think it is under "bullets" and gives the types of bullets you can make.

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tubby45 View Post
    With making the 22RF casings into jackets, you aneal them, then run them through a sizer. Most I've heard just toss them in a lead pot (the small ones for bullet casting) and put them on a hot plate and when they look discolored evenly they let them cool down in the pot. They aren't melted, just softened so you can form them into a jacket.

    You can make solid bullets. Corbin's site has the information. You'd have to dig for it. I think it is under "bullets" and gives the types of bullets you can make.
    Ah, that makes a lot more sense. Thanks again for the tips!
    ...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller

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    One of the disadvantages of swaged bullets is that it require very soft lead to work.
    This a big disadvantage and not one that alot of people are willing to yield to, and that is the reason that they aren't real popular. The soft bullets tend to lead barrels very badly and they require alot of time and effort to get them clean.

    As you may have already noticed, or will shortly after you do some research, getting into swaging is no small cost.

    The only real advantage that swaging has over casting lead is the ability to make jacketed bullets for rifle or pistol. Even so, the lead used must still be fairly soft, but with jackets the ability to achieve speeds that are unheard of with just lead are easily achievable.

    If you are just wanting to make your own bullets to save on costs, casting is a better alternative.
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