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Thread: Can someone tell me what I need to setup for cheap?

  1. #1
    Boolit Man
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    Can someone tell me what I need to setup for cheap?

    I'm interested in swaging only for one caliber right now. 7.62x54r. I need to make .310 bullets because I'm a cheap bastard. Every time I look to see what I need to swage, I'm discouraged because I can't find anything near what I can pay out for tools.

    Right now, I'm casting the bullets with an RCBS mold. They're casting at 198 grains.

    Can someone walk me through the cheapest way to swage bullets? Truth be told, I don't even know if it is possible to get swaging dies for this caliber.

  2. #2
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    What kind of bullet do you want to make? Jacketed? Gas Checked? Swaged lead?

    .310 is easy. It is simply a .308 die that got big during the lapping process I have a few myself

    I'm not sure there is a "cheap" way to make decent 30 cal bullets. I think what I offer my be one of the cheaper options. The expense somtimes comes from the jacket material you wish to use. I like to use FN5.7x28 brass for my 176 grain 30 cal bullet jackets. Copper tubbing can also be used but it is like 10 cents per jacket. Same is said for comercial jackets at upwords of 15-20 cents per jacket for 30 cal.

    With care a "bump" die can take a .308 bullet up to your .310 quite easily. This consists of simply one point form die in which you take any 30 cal bullet and apply a little pressure to get it to swage to the predetermined size of the die, .310 in your case. That would probably be one of the cheaper and easier options.

    BT
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  3. #3
    Salty Dog

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    Brian, I have BOTH guns... one that needs .308 bullets, for which you are making a die set already. And, a Mosin and a Lee-Enfield, both of which need a slightly bigger bullet.

    What's involved with getting some kind of additional bump die so that I'd have a set capable of making all the sizes I need?


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  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Reg's Avatar
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    There is no such thing as "cheap" swaging in fact the way some go about it, it almost seems as its a race to see how much one can spend and still keep the banker beaten back.
    For the one being cost conscious casting is still the best way.


  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    I guess the least expensive way into swaging is Hawk Dies on Ebay last I looked was 145. a pop. they make a good semi-wad cutter using your reloading press. CH4D would be next inline and then BT Sniper and Dr Blackmon. after that RCE then Corbin followed by Niemi and Deutch the last two are outrageously expensive but the people using them are putting 5 bullets in the same hole at 5 hundred yards. the others are making very good dies and I strongly suggest you do a lot of research on the issue before plopping down serious money. It is true you can get into casting a lot cheaper but if you buy the higher end casting gear the cost is comparable. You can swage a much better bullet than the best cast. For most thats a non issue. I can tell you this if your swaying back and forth between casting and swaging If you go the Swaging route I would almost bet my life you will end up casting as well.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DukeInMaine View Post
    Brian, I have BOTH guns... one that needs .308 bullets, for which you are making a die set already. And, a Mosin and a Lee-Enfield, both of which need a slightly bigger bullet.

    What's involved with getting some kind of additional bump die so that I'd have a set capable of making all the sizes I need?
    Simple process of using either the .308 or the .310 to form the seated core and jacket in. Best results would come from a dedicated core seat die .002 under final bullet diameter but with my core seat die at .306 we should be able to swage up to .310 or even .312 fairly well or we can make a bigger core seat die. I'll see what I can come up with.

    BT
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master Mountain Prepper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    There is no such thing as "cheap" swaging in fact the way some go about it, it almost seems as its a race to see how much one can spend and still keep the banker beaten back.
    For the one being cost conscious casting is still the best way.

    That is not exactly fair...

    There remains an element of true danger with casting.

    Casting also is limited and cannot produce the same product - if you want a metallic jacketed bullet you are now into the process of swaging.

    Casting, swaging, reloading, shooting, hunting - all are indications of an expensive interest - there is nothing “cost conscious” about any of the listed activities.

    It’s all in the scale, and the subjective.
    Just fold copper on lead...

  8. #8
    Salty Dog

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    I would say that the younger guys (and gals?) among you would be the ones best served to begin swaging careers. You'll have a lifetime to write off the costs. Us old guys have to depend on our children to share our passions for swaging in order to reap the cost effectiveness.

    As BT Sniper says, "Swage On!"


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  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by DukeInMaine View Post
    I would say that the younger guys (and gals?) among you would be the ones best served to begin swaging careers. You'll have a lifetime to write off the costs. Us old guys have to depend on our children to share our passions for swaging in order to reap the cost effectiveness.
    Couldn't agree with you more.
    "The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it."

    Adam Smith

    Way to go ObamaDontCare.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DukeInMaine View Post
    I would say that the younger guys (and gals?) among you would be the ones best served to begin swaging careers. You'll have a lifetime to write off the costs. Us old guys have to depend on our children to share our passions for swaging in order to reap the cost effectiveness.

    As BT Sniper says, "Swage On!"
    man you got that right.
    i shoot quite a bit, okay a lot.
    i shot one jaxketed rifle round last year,and that was kind of an accident.
    by contrast i must have fired 200 jaxketed handgun caliber rounds all of them were swaged. [and only about 20 were from a revolver]
    compare that to over 5k rifle rounds and over 10k pistol caliber rounds all cast.
    i ain't ever gonna cover the cost of swaging dies.
    that don't stop me from buying them though.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    the more i find out about shootin boolits, the more it contradicts everything i ever learned about shooting jaxketed.

  11. #11
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg View Post
    There is no such thing as "cheap" swaging in fact the way some go about it, it almost seems as its a race to see how much one can spend and still keep the banker beaten back.
    For the one being cost conscious casting is still the best way.

    Yeah... it does kind of sounds like that. A pity.

    The reason I thought about swaging was that one of the guys at my range (who seems to have every piece of reloading tech I can imagine) has a swager in which he was doing .45acp rounds. It was just so damned awesome and they were all so uniform versus what I get out of my crappy Lee molds.

    I figured if I could get that for not a HUGE amount of cash, I would be able to write off future bags of 50-100 bullets for $30-50 per bag.

  12. #12
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    It can be done on though! Anything is possible! I traded 10k worth of bullets the first year I had a set of Ch 44 cal dies. I traded it all for various shooting supplies I needed, mostly brass and lead. Then I started trading for what I needed to make 30 cal bullets, The FN 5.7x28 brass. Some think it is hard to find or expensive but I have 2 liftimes full of just the 5.7 brass enough for 3 or 4 shooters.

    If you want or need it you can find a way. I've heard many say there are worse things to spend our money on. One in paticular I remember was a shooter here that mentioned the cost of a set of dies vs. a nice dinner out for his family and he said the meal gave him hart burn

    I was never interduced to shooting cast bullets. The first bullets I made and shot where jacketed. Now obviously I shoot 100% jacketed bullets. Not becasue I don't want to shoot cast, simply becasue I shot jacketed first. Even if I was to shoot cast there would be equipment to buy like sizing and lube dies and press. Granted I could just TL with alox. So in my 40S&W for example I am shooting 120 grains worth of lead per shot from a 180 grain JHP. I figure I am shooting %33 less lead vs. cast for the additonal cost of a piece of scrap 9mm brass. A bit of a far stretch to justifiy the purchase of a set of dies and I mention it only in fun but it is all about fun and cool factor and pride and gratification or satisfaction becasue if it wasn't cool and we wished to save money we would still be shooting.............BB guns, rubber band guns? Sling shots? all happen to be fun toys I grew up with.

    So I end my rambling by saying shooting, either cast or jacketed, is a hobby and we all know we can spend as little or as much as we like on a hobby.

    I say get out and do more shooting, find a way to make the bullets/boolits yourself and quite putting money into the big names pockets by buying commercial.

    Good Shooting and Swage/Cast On!

    Maybe that should be my new signature

    BT


    p.s. the best part is still showing the swaged bullets from scrap brass to others and seing the blank looks of confusion on their faces. That in it's self is Priceless
    When you stop learning you are dying.

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  13. #13
    Boolit Man
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    Yeah, this whole thing is starting to seem a bit out of my league right now for cost. I'll consider it again later.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I'm wondering what crappy lee mold you have.. the Lee molds that I have are far from crappy and turn out nice consistent bullets.. the Lee pot I have, while it drips a little bit, helps me to make very nice bullets that I've fired many thousands of in a few different calibers.. There is no cheap way to make jacketed bullets.. at least not as cheaply as lead bullets.. to a point.. if the bullets you are churning out are crappy, I'd re-evaluate your alloy and/or process..

  15. #15
    Boolit Man
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    I've got the 6 cavity .45 moulds. The bullets they drop, for whatever reason, won't run in any 1911 I've ever tried. They're round nosed, so that shouldn't be an issue. I've sized them, lubed them, etc. even gave them to another caster who sized them using his equipment and loading gear. We shook our heads for awhile and then gave up.

  16. #16
    Boolit Man
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    Incidentally, the 6 cavity .40 molds I have are awesome, so I'm not saying all Lee moulds are bad... Just that particular set. No offense intended.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

    Reload3006's Avatar
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    I guess if you buy a Lee 2 cavity mold and a 10lb lee pot and a lee size die with LLA you can cast cheaper than you can swage.

    However if you buy better equipment.
    RCBS pot 380.
    RCBS Mold 85.00
    RCBS Mold Handles 45.00
    RCBS Lube Sizer 180.00
    RCBS size die 25.00
    RCBS top punch 10.00
    Total 725.00

    Walnut hill press 430.00
    Lead bullet die 156.00
    knurling tool 130.00
    total 716.00

    So there is not a big difference in cost honestly and what you get swaging is really less if you want a different weight bullet you have to buy another mold So in a very true sense swaging can be even cheaper than casting.

  18. #18
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    runfiverun's Avatar
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    try going up from there.

    magma pot 700+ alone. [without the master caster stand]
    4 cav lyman molds 90.00 ea
    star's- with heater,and air,plus boolit feed,and a size die - 600.00 ish
    1400.00 for one caliber.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    the more i find out about shootin boolits, the more it contradicts everything i ever learned about shooting jaxketed.

  19. #19
    Boolit Man
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    I invested 160 in my original casting kit. $90 for an RCBS mould plus maybe $20 for sizing die and top punch. That had me ready. I've added a bit here and there... But it cost me around $300 to get started.

    I now have a Lee pot and a few Lee moulds.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check