casting lead into copper jacket?

casting lead into copper jacket?

This is a discussion on casting lead into copper jacket? within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; i heard that you can buy copper jackets to cast your lead bullets into or something similar. anyone hear of this? or another way to ...

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Thread: casting lead into copper jacket?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array friesepferd's Avatar
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    casting lead into copper jacket?

    i heard that you can buy copper jackets to cast your lead bullets into or something similar. anyone hear of this? or another way to cast your own jacketed/plated bullets?


  2. #2
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    Never tried this - or actually heard of it - might be real hard to control the pour for anything like consistent weight results.

    Swaging is the usual method whereby lead wire is chopped into chunks and swaged into a jacket - Corbin type presses are sold for this.

    Plated bullets - or "copper washed" .... again I don't see these as a home DYI deal.
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    Actually some of the speciatly bullet makers does this. One of them (Corbon?) uses that method for big game bullets. They arent cheap, a box of 25 of them costing around 45 bucks.

    It could be done. I've seen a mold that used copper tubing that was sized and placed in the mold and closed, and the molten lead was poured in it...so it can be done. It would take alot of time though.

    Really, it wouldnt be an advantage unless one was casting for rifle bullets and pushing them pretty hard. Pistol bullets dont really need it.
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    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    They might be talking about plating or swaging. Corbin makes swaging equipment.

    Swaging is forming metal under pressure. This is how our jacketed bullets are made. Basically a piece of pure lead (core) is sized and placed in a specific length of copper jacket. It is ran into a die which shapes the bullet. Presto. That's it, in a nutshell.

    You can buy copper jackets to seat your lead bullets into. To do this you first size down or swage the bullet (must be pure lead) to a certain diameter and length, which gives it the weight needed plus the jacket. Then the jacket is placed in the press and the core on top and raised into a ram. This seats the core in the jacket and forms the bullet shape.

    I'm starting to swage my own bullets. When I get all the stuff ready and learn how to do it I can show you. I'm going to be making half jacketed 10mm and .351 bullets (.351 WSL) and a few others. You can get dies from CH4D that cost about $70 to make some half jacketed bullets for pistol.

  5. #5
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    That swaging equipment sure aint cheap though. The 70 dollar dies dont even begin to get there. How much are you going to have in your equipment Tubby?
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  6. #6
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    For starters, I can swage pistol and small rife in my RC press. It's strong enough to take the stress. RCBS stands for Rock Chucker Bullet Swaging and the RC press was made to swage 22 rimfire jackets to make 22cal bullets for 22 centerfire rifles. They then went on to machine the ram for reloading and such, but it was designed originally for bullet swaging.

    The pistol dies will run $70 each for about 5-6 calibers worth total. I'm getting a dedicated swaging press for about $250 and the dies to make the bullets I swant are $700 per caliber to design any combination of OT, SP, flat base and rebated boattail bullets per caliber. I'll be making at least two calibers (.375 and .416) possibly adding .458 to it.

    So for just the pistol and small rifle (like .351 and .401 WSL) it should run about $350-400, plus the $250 press, and another $1400-2100; when all is said and done I'll have almost $3000 worth of swaging equipment. Then add supplies like pure lead wire, copper jackets, etc. and you can get carried away quickly, as if $3K isn't enough.

    Most of this is for my business so it's a write off. But I still have to have the bankroll to get the equipment in the first place. Startup capital is the worst. I simply refuse to get a loan so I'm doing it the old fashion way: Don't quit your day job and work up profits and reinvest the capital.

    You can also make the jackets for larger bullets by using either fired cases or copper tubing. Special jacket making dies are needed for this. The cheaper ones for making 22RF cases into 50-55gr .224" bullet jackets cost about $60-65. The more expensive ones for taking .223 brass into .416cal run closer to a few hundred. The cases contain mainly copper so you have to anneal the brass cases to soften them up for swaging and forming. It closes off the primer pocket and opens the brass up to accept the lead wire or core. Then the process is as above. Seat the core in the jacket and form the bullet. I'm sitting on several thousand once fired .223 Remington cases so I might be looking into getting dies to make the jackets for the big bullets.

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    Member Array snakatack's Avatar
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    This is a major memory stretch for me as I'm going back over 40 years...

    But anyway, I recall finding some home made jacketed bullets at my grandfather's house fabricated from spent .22 rimfire cases. Heck, you could still see the strike mark from the .22's firing pin on the base of the bullets.

    If I recall the story he told me correctly, it was fairly common practice for folks to home-roll these during WWII. when jacketed bullets for the civilian market were difficult to come by.

    Time has taken away many of the details of what he told me but I'm still left with the impression that there was little investment involved and the practice was fairly common back in those days.

    Does anyone else remember seeing these home made bullets and recall the story better than I do?

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    .223 Brass

    I make .356, .365, bullets out of used .223 brass.

    The way I do these I will simplify. Place the used brass in a drill press or lathe chuck and turn at slow speed 500 rmp about. Take a hack saw and remove the neck, and throw it away. I made two tools out of a bolt, nut, split washer, and a long nut for conneting all thread. This tool is used as a guide for cutting consistent length of brass in association with my hack saw. So after the neck is removed from the brass I then use those tools to scribe a line on the brass and part off the first section. Now I remove the remaining brass from the lathe and run it into a .270 die to the shoulder forming a cone so to speak. I then reinsert the brass back into the lathe and part off the second piece. I now have three jackets/bullets so to speak. I now fill the pieces with molten lead on the concrete floor of my shop.
    The two pieces with out the rim are run thru a 357/38 sizeing die. The first piece that was parted will come out to be .356 for 9mm, the second .365 9x18 makarov consistently with a digital caliper. The rimmed piece I loaded as a wad cutter for .40 S&W. I have loaded and test fired the 9mm .356 so far only and the results I am impressed with.
    The bullets were weighed on my digital scale and sorted for weight. Most of the end product is 115 or 125 grain. The shoulders of the bullet I set about 1/8" above the case mouth. The powder I use is Hornady universal and I follow thier load charts.
    The second way I am now makeing my own cast bullets to make a mold from 3/4" plate steel. Drill a pilot hole about 3/16" completely thru and follow with a drill bit in .356, or .365 do desired depth. The plate is placed upon the concrete floor with the pilot side up. Pour molten lead. Drive out the lead with a punch, and snip off the excess. Then run thru the 357/38 size die. Check diameter with a digital caliper. Again sort to weight. This comes out like a truncated cone. I bored 12 cavitys of .356 and 6 cavitys of .365. Now I no longer need a mold for each pistol caliber, and I can pour as many as I want at a time.
    Have fun folks and be safe.

  9. #9
    New Member Array makarovowner's Avatar
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    What I meant to say for loading data and powder was Hodgdon, not hornady.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by snakatack View Post
    This is a major memory stretch for me as I'm going back over 40 years...

    But anyway, I recall finding some home made jacketed bullets at my grandfather's house fabricated from spent .22 rimfire cases. Heck, you could still see the strike mark from the .22's firing pin on the base of the bullets.

    If I recall the story he told me correctly, it was fairly common practice for folks to home-roll these during WWII. when jacketed bullets for the civilian market were difficult to come by.

    Time has taken away many of the details of what he told me but I'm still left with the impression that there was little investment involved and the practice was fairly common back in those days.

    Does anyone else remember seeing these home made bullets and recall the story better than I do?
    Actually this is how Fred Huntington started RCBS back in 1943. Special Interest | Huntington's Sportsman's Store
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  11. #11
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I got Corbin Dies for turning spent 22 LR cases into 223 bullets,I have the lead insert mold set up where I use a lee bottom pour lead pot to cast 4 inserts at a time,I have it on a swivel and can pump out the inserts pretty fast,with the cost of the bullets being almost free,I reload 223 ammo for about .08 cents a round,or $8.00 100 which makes plinking with an AR15 that much more fun
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