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Thread: Home Made Pellet Sizer Dies

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Home Made Pellet Sizer Dies

    In some of my past post in the air gun section of this forum I've mentioned that I've been shooting my existing break barrel air rifle long enough that I've noticed that I'm getting Points of Impact shift depending on how my pellets fit into the chamber. Generally speaking, if the pellets drop right into the chamber with no thumb or finger pressure my points of impact tend to be high and to the right.

    If the pellet drops in and stops with the skirt flush with the face of the chamber my points of impact seem to hit the target high but not quite as high and still a little to the right of my point of aim. This is from 25 to 30 yards.

    When the pellets require just the slightest bit of thumb pressure to get them to seat flush with the face of the chamber, this is when I get the best accuracy. To that end, I decided to try making myself a set of pellet sizing dies in order to get my pellets' to all have the same outside diameters so as to require that slight bit of thumb pressure to seat in the chamber. Since I normally shoot the 14.3 grain Crossman Premier Hollow Points (the cheapest ones I can buy) and they are not the best Quality-Control-Wise, making this set of pellet sizing dies might serve to keep me from having to buy more expensive pellets that have better quality control to keep them a little more geometrically uniform from one to the other.

    The dies are not the best looking by any means but I'm hoping they will prove the concept of bringing these otherwise cheap pellets to a state of uniformity that will help increase the accuracy of a given tin of pellets. There have been times when I've bought a new tin that shot like a laser out of my Octane air rifle. Other tins have shot like absolute KaKa. Still others have given me some pellets that shoot to point of aim and some that shoot high and to the right. It all hinges of the fit of a given pellet into the chamber.

    I'm hoping to be able to do some testing of this concept in the near future. I'd like to be able to increase the accuracy of my air rifle if I can. I know that human error can play a part in the high-and-to-the-right misses but like I said, I've shot enough pellets out of my Octane to know that not all of those points of impact shifts are my fault.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master melloairman's Avatar
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    Sizing can in some cases make a difference to warrant the time to do it . There are a few seizers for sale on the web . I had a problem with the skirts being to large to load in my crosman pistols with out a lot of pressure . And with the amount of shooting I do it gave me a very sore thumb . So I started to size my pellet skirts buy pressing them in to a 7 inch spare barrel to the end of the lead [ head first ] and then pushing them back out from the muzzle end . Takes about a hour to do a tin . But it sure makes loading them to shoot a lot easier .Marvin

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by melloairman View Post
    Sizing can in some cases make a difference to warrant the time to do it . There are a few seizers for sale on the web . I had a problem with the skirts being to large to load in my crosman pistols with out a lot of pressure . And with the amount of shooting I do it gave me a very sore thumb . So I started to size my pellet skirts buy pressing them in to a 7 inch spare barrel to the end of the lead [ head first ] and then pushing them back out from the muzzle end . Takes about a hour to do a tin . But it sure makes loading them to shoot a lot easier .Marvin
    Hi Marvin:

    This is basically all that my DIY dies are set up to do as well. The tins of pellets I buy contain a certain percentage of pellets that fit perfectly while other fit to loosely. It's the loose fitting ones that I'm targeting but, without taking the time to put my calipers to each and everyone of them just before loading into the chamber, I don't know how it's going to fit until I place the head of the pellet into the chamber and let it drop.

    It's easier and less time consuming to just sizze the entire tin all at once regardless of the actual out-of-the-tin size they are. In theory, once they come out of the sizing die they'll all be the same size.

    The inside diameter of my sizing die (the other components in the set are for increasing the diameter by a fraction) was arrived at by slow and judicious reaming until the perfect size was attained. I'm pretty sure I got it spot-on but testing must be done to confirm this. Any time I undertake these types of projects they're done under a time crunch. My income producing work/bill paying income takes precedence so I have to hurry up in order to be able to keep up with those financial obligations. When I'm in a hurry the accuracy of my project parts is not the best. If the dies are non-concentric then the finished sized pellets will most likely not be as concentric as I'd like either. That's where the testing comes in.

    HollowPoint

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy D-RIG's Avatar
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    I like to buy the Crossman brown box pellets and then use a NOE 17 cal sizing die
    that I opened up with a reamer and some 600 grit sandpaper to polish in the correct
    size that I want , the size that works best seams to be .1771

    The Crossman brown box pellets have a large head diameter straight from the box .

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by D-RIG View Post
    I like to buy the Crossman brown box pellets and then use a NOE 17 cal sizing die
    that I opened up with a reamer and some 600 grit sandpaper to polish in the correct
    size that I want , the size that works best seams to be .1771

    The Crossman brown box pellets have a large head diameter straight from the box .
    I found that both of my Octane air rifles like the CPHP pellets with the head diameter equal to the skirt diameter. On my DIY sizing dies reaming and polishing the way you've mentioned was what I had to do to get my pellets to the right size as well. So far it seems to be working. When I put them in the die that opens up the skirt by about one-thousands of an inch it also tends to smush the diameter of the head by about half that diameter so when it goes into the sizer die, both the head and the skirt end up the same diameter.

    More testing is needed but as of right now I can say that no ill effects are showing from re-sizing them myself. A lot of guys and a lot videos have been made stating that it makes very little difference whether we size the pellets or not. I say, To Each His Own.

    HollowPoint

  6. #6
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    HollowPoint,

    I've found basically the same thing as you with the cphp in my 392. I can buy a tin of cp piranahs and shoot tight groups all day. Some tins of the cphp basically do the same thing, and other tins give flyers, or more open groups.

    I've noticed on those tins of cphp, either heads that don't snap tight in the breech, or either they will have slightly bent skirts...doesn't seem to take much at all.
    I could probably benefit from a sizer or skirt flaring tool on those tins myself, but haven't tried it.

    I guess the piranahs are a different alloy, as the skirts and heads are always in good shape on them.

    Anyway, do you have any data as to group size at 50 yds. with your octanes?
    I've seen some pretty good reports on those rifles for group size at longer ranges like that.
    The octane is one of a few gas piston rifles i'm interested in.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I don't have any kind of documented accuracy statistics or targets to show you. I live near enough to the inner-city that it's close to a 80 mile drive to shoot any farther. In my back yard I can only shoot as far as twenty yards. If I do my part I can cut a ragged hole easy enough with the 14.3 grain Crossman Premier Hollow Points but consistent accuracy at farther distances is all contingent on having a tin of good pellets. I can tell you that when I do have a good consistently sized tin of pellets I can put lethal hits on feral pigeons and doves (the invasive species kind) out to sixty yards with repeatable regularity.

    I found from measuring the heads of Crossman Premier pellets that most of them measure 5.4-plus millimeters in diameter. The dies I made can increase that by a small fraction but not enough to get those pellet-heads to engage the rifling in order to form a good seal and to self-center the pellets in the bore. There are a certain percentage in each of those lesser quality tins that do have a slightly larger diameter head size but most are small enough that they drop into my chamber with only the skirt to keep them from falling down into the bore.

    Just today I ordered some JSB 14.3 grain dome pellets with a stated head and skirt diameter of 5.52mm. I figured I could use them as a test pellet to confirm whether or not the higher quality pellets of the same weight as the Crossman Premiers would perform better accuracy-wise. If they do I'll modify my dies to try to get them to increase the head diameter a little more. This may or may not have a detrimental effect on the geometry of the pellets being shot but, I still want to try it just to be sure. The skirts are a piece of cake to size. It's that pellet head that's a little harder to modify.

    I noticed too from looking at close up pics of both the JSBs and the Crossman Premiers that the JSBs appear to be swaged while the CPs have a line running down the middle as if they were cast or possibly swaged using a two-sided mold of some type. This could be the reason for the quality differences.

    HollowPoint

  8. #8
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    I've been lucky with a place to shoot my 392...girlfriend has an easy 50 yds. right out her back door, and beyond that, there's a woods full of squirrels lol.

    Sounds like your octane is very accurate and will go back on my short list of good gas pistons and springers to consider.
    I happen to have some of the jsb domes you mentioned on the way to try also...curious to see how they shoot in my 392.

    Thanks for the info on your octane!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35 shooter View Post
    I've been lucky with a place to shoot my 392...girlfriend has an easy 50 yds. right out her back door, and beyond that, there's a woods full of squirrels lol.

    Sounds like your octane is very accurate and will go back on my short list of good gas pistons and springers to consider.
    I happen to have some of the jsb domes you mentioned on the way to try also...curious to see how they shoot in my 392.

    Thanks for the info on your octane!
    My pleasure. If you need more info on the Umarex Octane air rifles and all of the clone air rifles of the Octane, I started a Yahoo Group dedicated to the Octane line of air rifles a few years back. We now have a little over three hundred members who have joined to either acquire knowledge or share their insights about this air rifle.

    There are lots of other good air rifles on the market. I bought the Umarex Octane because it was cheap at the time. Being that I'm a chronic tinkerer I set about trying to make it shoot better. As it turns out, it wasn't that hard to do.

    HollowPoint

  10. #10
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    Hhhhmmmm,Octane site huh?

    PM on the way.

  11. #11
    Interesting that nobody has mentioned the Don Nygord (now deceased) pellet "uniformer". Simple 2-piece die and pusher that he sold. Scour the online message groups and eBay. Nygord sold buckets of these to competitive air pistol shooters who needed the extra uniformity in their megabuck compressed air and CO-2 guns.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Been meaning to make a push through sizer for thr Gamo Whisper 10.5 black nickel coated .177 pellets.
    I like these for striking energy and penetration but quality control is not great and an unacceptable percent of pellets are a hair over sized or out of the round and either won't fit my revolver chambers or require excessive seating effort that could damage plastic cylinder guns or the rubber seals of Umarex revolver hulls.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    Don't have a sizing die, but with my cphp pellets i did try flaring and uniforming the skirts a bit by pushing the end of a ball point pen into the skirt.
    I just held the pellet head in one hand and flared the skirt with the other hand.
    Already had good groups, but it definitely tightened up even more in my 392.

    They shoot almost as well as crosman piranahs and my 15.89 gr. jsb's now.
    Had a few bent skirts on the jsb pellets i had, and it flared them back out perfectly too.

    Just from this experience, i'd say a sizing die would be well worth the time and effort. I'll be looking into this more now.

  14. #14
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    INTERESTING Conversation i have just got a Benjamin 25 caliber nitro piston gun and have found the same using there domed pellets i get two distinct groups one high and right not sure if they were loose but will check that next range time. I was surprised that no one mentioned weight these pellets are supposed to be 28.8 grains they very 27.5-28 grains , i also shoot .177 & 5mm and weighing those pellets showed even more weight variation yet.
    My goal is to make some swage dies to make my own pellets i already swage pistol bullets first set of pellet dies came up a bit large and needing a better head design. More work today on that.
    When I think back on all the **** I learned in high school it's a wonder I can think at all ! And then my lack of education hasn't hurt me none I can read the writing on the wall.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Not to long ago there was a guy who posted a thread on his home-made pellet swaging dies. If memory serves, he too had .25 caliber air gun but I could be mistaken. I mention this because a couple of years ago I made up my own set of pellet swaging dies. For short range, (25 yards or less) they have decent accuracy out of .22 air rifle; any farther than that and they start to destabilize.

    My home-made pellets are not shaped like the conventional shuttle-cock/wasp-waisted pellets we are accustomed to. These pellets are swaged in more of a spitzer-flat base design with a deep hollow base. I believe this is why they'll only remain stabilized out to 25 yards. Although I can make them in many of the common weights for that caliber, they are a bit longer than conventional pellets.

    On a .25 caliber it seems that they'd be easier to come up with some working designs due to the larger diameter. The .25 caliber could be made more the shape of cast bullets and potentially still stabilize in the slower twists and slower velocities that are common on air guns; as long as they are not to heavy.

    HollowPoint

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    I did finish my dies pellets shoot well at 20 feet when it warms i will shoot out to 25 yards . The first pellets are slide based i will cut a ejector to make hollow base pellets as well and probably a couple of other nose profiles also.
    I played with adding a steel BB in the pellet nose just for kicks some shot fine others tumbled they did not expand anymore then pointed pellet many retained BB when shot into hard cover book.
    When I think back on all the **** I learned in high school it's a wonder I can think at all ! And then my lack of education hasn't hurt me none I can read the writing on the wall.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Since building and using my swaging dies I've come across others on the internet who had also build their own swaging dies. I built mine in an effort to give me a ready supply of pellets without having to pay for them. Another reason was that as pellet guns have evolved and become more high-tech, I've noticed that the 1st-Generation pellets that we've been shooting all of these years have now become the weak link in the higher-tech air gunning experience.

    I wanted a pellet, or projectile that was a little more efficient as it flew through the air. I think I achieved that with the pellets themselves but, the short comings in my line of reason was the fact that out of my break barrel air rifles the velocities were to low to maintain stability and/or the twist rate of the rifling is to slow.

    The folks I've run across on the internet who have built their own pellet forming dies were PCP shooters and, oddly enough, the pellet designs they came up with look an awful lot like what I had come up with. They reported very good to excellent accuracy. Since their PCP air rifles deliver higher velocities I'm thinking that this aids in maintaining long range stability of their pellets.

    I've been looking for an aftermarket Gas-Ram or Gas-Spring with just a bit more power to up the velocities of my break barrel Umarex Octane. I don't want to go to high with a heavier power Gas-Ram because to much power generally equal diminished returns but, If I can get those velocities up just a bit I think it will solve the stability problems with this pellet design.

    HollowPoint
    Last edited by HollowPoint; 03-10-2018 at 08:33 PM.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    I tried some #3 buckshot in my 25 caliber pellet gun they are a bit to small .
    Has anyone shot #2 buckshot or round balls in a 25 caliber air rifle?
    I shoot lead BB in .177 airguns they shoot well and hit hard.
    I have now cast some #4 buckshot with the lee Buckshot mold and swaged them into solid based 20 grain pellets they shoot well and seem fast i will time them later . After i heat treated my dies and cleaned them up they give me pellet a bit large those 20 grain pellets are fairly hard to press in .
    When I think back on all the **** I learned in high school it's a wonder I can think at all ! And then my lack of education hasn't hurt me none I can read the writing on the wall.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I think anything you can do to become self-sufficient in terms of making your own ammo is a good thing. An even better thing is if the ammo you make is accurate enough to suit your needs. I've never shot lead round ball out of any air gun so I'm not really qualified to make any general assumptions other than what I've already stated.

    HollowPoint

  20. #20
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I have a sharpshooter buckshot mold in .22. This shoots extremely tight groups in my Hatsan's.

    Those are tight enough it takes a rap with a screwdriver handle to seat them.

    They do easily outshoot my standard CPHP's though, especially at indoor range. One nice round hole with ragged edges with 5 shots.

    And I love knowing that at need I can keep foot in the pot without having to spend cash to buy pellets.

    I also have a pretty good stash of .20 pellets for the Sheridan Blue Streak.
    If SHTF does not happen, well I have a couple of grandkids to teach in a few years.

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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