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Thread: bullet swage die making tutorial. well sort of..

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy Mauser 98K's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2017

    bullet swage die making tutorial. well sort of..

    i thought i would throw together a short and to the point step by step process that i use to make my swage dies to help those who are still scratching their heads on their own swaging system.

    for step #1 i always start out by annealing my die material so that it is a lot easier to machine and is easier on the lathe bits and the reamer. i start out by cutting me a piece of the material long enough for making the die and allow me to face both ends of it.. in the video you see my die has a step on it, that is because of the way i have my press set up and this plugs right into the die plate and is held in place with a large setscrew bolt.. you can make the die outside any shape or size you want it to be to fit whatever press you have.. step #1..

    for step #2 i use a small center drill to drill a guide hole so that i can start the ejector pin hole without the bit trying to walk around.. step #2...

    for step #3 using the small center drill hole to locate it i use a small 1/8in bit (you can use whatever size you need as long as it fits your reamer). this will serve as the ejector pin hole and as a guide to drill the larger that you will later ream out.. i always start the small bit chucked up short so that there is less sticking out and more is supported and the bit is less likely to wobble or do other stupid ****. you want to use a really sharp bit for this and take your time as this hole will be the guide hole for all the rest of the drilling and reaming steps and must be on center with the die. step #3...

    for step #4 i then use the small hole as a guide to drill the larger hole and the smaller stepped holes that will be done to remove some metal for the tip of the reamer so there is not so much to take out. step #4...

    the next step is optional but i do it to both clean up the opening of the die and to protect the edges. it also gets rid of the hard step in the opening so that it is easier to start the bullets and the punches without anything trying to catch on the edge. chamfering the hole step...

    for step #5 comes the reaming part where we will be giving the inside of the die its shape and size.. the thing in the video is something most people have never seen. it is an old Van Norman Reamo. probably has not been made in 50 years or longer. i use it to power hand ream the dies and this speeds things up and allows me to feel the reamer cutting and prevents me from snapping the reamer off if it tries to catch in the hole... for this step you want the reamer good and oiled up and want to take the reamer out frequently to keep shavings from packing up in the hole and binding the reamer up and trying to break it. but remember, if you ever back the reamer out for any reason you must clean the shavings out o the hole. failure to clean the shavings out of the hole b4 reinserting the reamer can cause a shaving to get trapped between the reamer and the die and can cut rings in the die that you will never polish out.. you can also use the back gears of a lathe if it will go slow enough. be warned though to not use a T-handle type setup as it can wrap you up or if it grabs break the reamer or something like your hand. you want something like the chuck so there is nothing sticking out to grab you or to hit anything.. step #5...

    for step #6 i use an old dentist oven to heat treat the die with. it will go up to 2,000*F but we only need around 1,400*F-1,500*F, depending on the material you might need a different temperature. you will need to look up the treating temperatures for your particular material.. the material im using im preheating the oven to 1,450*F and putting in the die and letting it sit for 10 minutes b4 quenching it in water. after you heat treat the die you must then polish the inside of the die. i use a pair of old surgical clamps with a piece of cloth with lapping compound on it. you can use whatever method works best for you to polish the inside of the die. you must polish the die b4 you ever try to swage a single bullet or you will jam one in the die and it will be a bugger to get that thing out. step #6..

    for the final step or step or step #7 i get to test the die. if all works out like it should have and you have make a good die you can then swage out a test bullet. this step will tell you if you need to polish the die more and will allow you to measure a bullet made with the die to see if it is the size you need it to be.. step #7...

    well i hope this cobbled up tutorial helps in some way. i tried to make the videos and the information as short and to the point as i could..
    Last edited by Mauser 98K; 11-07-2017 at 12:09 AM.

  2. #2
    Enjoyable, thanks for the effort.

  3. #3
    Nice!!! Thanks for taking the time to make the videos.

    Can you make a video on how you polish the die.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Wow step one is very interesting that you anneal prior to starting the die. I sacrificed two end mills trying to cut a tool holder that was chinese heat treated steel. That's when I found out about annealing unknown material. Right now I have graphmo for the dies and drilled for the punches. So I guess I have to anneal the metal prior to cutting dies. Very Interesting.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy Mauser 98K's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Quote Originally Posted by mallard12 View Post
    Can you make a video on how you polish the die.
    here ya go..

  6. #6
    Keep 'em comin' Lee. Got the bug now

  7. #7
    Boolit Man hotbrew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Northern Virginia
    Great to see another person creating swage dies. Thanks for taking the time to do the youtube.

    Life is good, if you don't weaken...
    There is prudence in public knowledge of who can own guns, but there is danger in knowing who does own guns

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

    rancher1913's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    plains of colorado
    marking this so i can look at it later, thanks

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