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Thread: Swaging bullets for the 308 & 50 bmg

  1. #1
    Boolit Master


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    Swaging bullets for the 308 & 50 bmg

    Im looking into swaging jacketed bullets for a friends 30 cal & 50 cal BMGs !
    Ive gotten the info from Corbin . I just wanted to know if anyone else has done it and what were there results or recomedations ?
    Last edited by bobthenailer; 04-01-2011 at 10:29 AM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    I swage 223 308 6.5 44 45 458 on a Corbin Hydro Press as well as a couple of his smaller presses, to tool up for 50 cal you need a hydro press, the smaller cal's are no problem. you cant beat commercial co's on price unless you build special or out of production bullets. then you have the problem of getting lead & copper at a good price, and lots of it. Small S press & C&H are good for personal use and some sale's to other people. Beside that its fun to make to make your own Boolits.
    Inequality is to try to make Unequal things Equal Aristotle www.alcobullets.com

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    It takes a certain dedication (and powered presses!) to swage bullets for a beltfed MG.

    I made bullets for my M60 ammo, but never bothered to for the 50 BMG. Even a few years ago it was still cheap enough to shoot surplus / pulled / demilled bullets & ammo in .50 that it was not worth the effort. When the pulldown stuff got hard to find, I turned bullets instead.

    Today, the price of projectiles has driven many new people to the swaging idea. Big bore (.338 & up) rifle bullets priced above a dollar each, and some handgun stuff over a buck each as well has changed things.

    You will need a hydraulic press if you want to make 50 BMG bullets. That or a 15 ton punch press with an unusually long stroke.

    The 50 bullet is right on the edge cost wise. If you pick up a small screw machine cheap (like a B&S OO) you can make 50's from bar stock. I shot a bunch of 11L14 steel bullets through my M2HB. The price of the steel bar is much lower than the copper & lead for conventional bullets. The machine runs more or less on it's own, and the bullets are very accurate.


    B.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    Thanks for the replies ! Keep them comeing
    MY friend ownes a machine shop so turning the bullets could be a option.
    He did say something about there's a steel alloy with some amount of lead in it and its slipper than reg steel ? but we dont know if its useable
    Last edited by bobthenailer; 04-01-2011 at 04:48 PM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I would think that with a steel turned bullet, the issue would not be "slippery" but "HARDNESS"
    Seems as though a solid steel slug would serve to forge the lands right out of the barrel?

    Maybe with a sabot it would work.
    Bob

  6. #6
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    Well........ swaging 308 bullets is fairly easy. Lots of info here posted on that project. As for the 50 BMG.. I have'nt tried it yet but I sure would like to just need a big powerful press! Yes probalby not cost efective yet for the 50 but it sure would be COOL! Probably less then those $3 a piece A-Max bullets though.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    We shoot a lot of steel bullets in 50 BMG. As long as the bullets are soft, and have driving bands they are fine. More than one FCSA match shooter has taken home a trophy with a steel bullet.

    11L14 is a very ductile leaded screw machine stock. From MG barrels with Stellite / Hard Chrome bores, they are great.

    Free machining brass is also good, but more expensive.

    If you plan to machine bullets, scale up a Barnes TSX 30 cal bullet. The relief grooves or driving bands reduce bore drag & give the solid material a way to handle the displacement from the rifling. The shape is good, so just scale it up.

    Most foreign ammo is steel jacketed. Some US 30 cal stuff was as well. 7.62 x 39, 7.62 x 54, 8 x 57 - all steel jacketed. All of the current Tula or Wolf 223 ammo is steel jacketed too - even the 62 grain HP's. Barrels tolerate it just fine.

    B.

  8. #8
    Boolit Man
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    i make and sell 50 bmg and do it on a corbin hydro press.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    "as the bullets are soft, and have driving bands"

    Ah... driving bands - no steel against steel - I stand corrected - or at the least, educated.
    Silly me pictured a steel bullet trying to engage the rifling, wiping lands and grooves into oblivion.
    Thanks,
    Bob

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by BwBrown View Post
    "as the bullets are soft, and have driving bands"

    Ah... driving bands - no steel against steel - I stand corrected - or at the least, educated.
    Silly me pictured a steel bullet trying to engage the rifling, wiping lands and grooves into oblivion.
    Thanks,
    Bob
    Not all steels are Rc65.

    Some are very very soft. And yes, he;s talking about steel on steel.

    A Ledaloy grade with 10+% Lead in it will deform very nicely and just about as easy as a hard copper bullet.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    yup, steel on steel.

    I put 2500 12L14 .224 diameter machined bullets down an M16 barrel to prove velocity was not an issue either. Barrel was just fine.

    I would not recommend doing this with a soft or low alloy barrel - like an original 1886 Winchester or 1873 Colt.

    Machinegun barrels are made to tke a beating. A barrel made from 4150, heat treated to spec & chrome lined will shoot soft steel all day long.

    B

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    50bmg projectiles

    I swage .510 bullets for 50bmg in a RCE multiswage hydro press.

    commercial jackets and 7mm mag jackets.

    lead core and lead/tungsten frangibles


    not possible in a hand press using conventional techniques. (I did find a way to make acceptable projectiles by using the 7mm mag brass as a starter, shearing off the belt, running the case through a reducing die, filling the case with frangible material, forming the point in stages and then running the completed bullet through a sizing die again to ensure roundness and shank size. (Too much work unless you don't have access to a power press.)


    excellent results on the target with 600 - 850 grain bullets.
    (Frangible bullets often solved the penetration problems at ranges that had caliber restrictions)

  13. #13
    Boolit Master KTN's Avatar
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    I have a question about .50 BMG bullets.
    How thick should jacket walls be ?
    I'm thinking about drawing from 0.03"-0.04" brass sheet. Would it hold together ?


    Kaj

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    lup
    where do you get your commercial jackets for the 50?

    Kevin

  15. #15
    Boolit Master


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    Thanks for the responce from everyone !!
    after doing some more research and talking to Corbin and Linja barrels ,We have decided to turn our bullets from 11L17 9/16 round bar stock on a full automatic including stock feed cnc machine . we already have the machine to use and to swage we would have to invest over $6.000 in equipment and do everything by hand.
    Thanks Bob !

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Thumbs up

    Good to hear back from you.

    If you have a machine with a bar feeder, you are all set - no need to buy a swage tool at all.

    The 50 BMG loves turned steel bullets. Have fun!

    B.

  17. #17
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    Would love to see some pics of finished bullets when you get around to it.

    Great screen name too by the way.

    Swage, or Turn ON!

    BT
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Jackets

    Quote Originally Posted by kneerg View Post
    lup
    where do you get your commercial jackets for the 50?

    Kevin
    Northwest Custom Projectile
    or Bob Sauter

  19. #19
    Boolit Master


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    Not compleatly sure as we have to make some, but we figure we can make bullets for around 32 to 40 cents each , our cost .depending on lost material when turning.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy Mayor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lup View Post
    I swage .510 bullets for 50bmg in a RCE multiswage hydro press.

    commercial jackets and 7mm mag jackets.

    lead core and lead/tungsten frangibles


    not possible in a hand press using conventional techniques. (I did find a way to make acceptable projectiles by using the 7mm mag brass as a starter, shearing off the belt, running the case through a reducing die, filling the case with frangible material, forming the point in stages and then running the completed bullet through a sizing die again to ensure roundness and shank size. (Too much work unless you don't have access to a power press.)


    excellent results on the target with 600 - 850 grain bullets.
    (Frangible bullets often solved the penetration problems at ranges that had caliber restrictions)
    lup

    Tell me more PLEASE!
    I am interested in the frangibles. Actually very interested in a soft point or hollow point that will expand for hunting purposes also.........
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