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Thread: 70 grain 22 cal from 22lr!

  1. #1
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    70 grain 22 cal from 22lr!

    It has always been a goal of mine to streamline the operation and steps necessary for making bullets. I like to spend more time shooting them and less time making them so I am always experimenting with what may work to reduce a few steps of the bullet making process.

    Many of us make 22 cal bullets from 22lr brass and are familiar with the steps involved to make good quality bullets from scrap brass and lead. The process is not difficult but there are a few steps to ensuring you get the most potential accuracy wise from these awesome bullets. I'm not going to go into all the steps now, what I will do is share some of my experiments in what has and has not worked.

    Many people have thought the molten lead could be pored directly into the 22lr jacket, if successful this would potentially eliminate several steps .......... casting cores, swaging cores, cleaning cores and annealing the brass case as the hot lead would take care of it all. So I attempted it..... first just trying the ladle to poor it directly into the case.... unsuccessful, then I got closer by taking one of my 11 cavity molds and boring it out to the same diameter and length as the derimed 22lr jacket. This process was slow but almost worked, I think I almost got 50% success rate this way but loading the hot 11 cavity mold with the jackets was slow and I always got a good number of jackets with trapped air pockets making for light bullets but..... when it worked and there was no trapped air pocket it did successfully make a 70 grain bullet that was able to go straight to the point form die. So the steps involved was 1. derim 2. clean jacket 3. use mold to cast lead directly into core 4. form bullet. Of course this made a nice lead tip bullet for which my dies where able to form nicely without the need of a lead tipping die. I still may work on this technique a bit and have a few more ideas in the back of my mind in how this could work and may someday again give it a try, maybe a piston of some sort to dispense an exact amount of lead, it has to work, Speer "hot cores" figured it out!

    After the direct hot core mold attempt I was left with a few hundred decent quality 70 grain 22 cal bullets and another couple hundred culled bullets of weights drastically less then that with obvious air pockets and wrinkled jackets. But!......... I loaded them all up anyway and took them to the ground squirrel testing fields. I loaded all these bullets up with 23.5 grains of H335 (no load development at all) and to my surprise a high majority of them performed exceptionally well. I had separated them out to three grades of quality, 1st, 2nd and the last was simply labeled cr@p I was plesently surprised that even the lowest grade of these bullets where making hits easily out to 100 yrds on the little critters and these bullets...... they where ugly, deformed nose, dimples on the barring surface worse then a golf ball, weights varied from 50-70 grains, everything that would make one think they shouldn't even come close yet......! May of them did come close and many did connect. The 1st grade bullets at 70 grains where evening connecting with high percentages and ranges out a lot farther to nearly 300 yrds or more. What I really was impressed with was how dramatic the results where when the varmint was hit! A load THAWP! Awesome areal performance and lots of mist! After shooting lots of 55 grain 22 cal bullets from 22lr brass and even 20-223 with 32 grain bullets at 4200 FPS these 70 grain lead tip pills at an estimated 2800 fps where ......... AWESOME!

    That was a few years ago now but the surprising and awesome results made a lasting memory and I vowed to try out the 70 grain pills again. Fast forward to this winter, I spent two weekends and made me over 3000 of these bullets but now they where all grade 1 or better and I was able to skip a few steps and this time achieve 100% results.

    Here is a break down of the steps I used and worked for me, I don't advise my customers or anyone to attempt this just yet but I'm simply here to let you all know I am continuously experimenting in attempting improve and learn how to make the process and product potentially better.

    1. Bored 11 cavity mold to drop cores all at exactly 60 grains using 50/50 mix of pure and COWW lead

    2. Used clean derimed brass that had NOT been annealed. Saved at least two steps in annealing and additional cleaning of brass.

    3. Seated core directly from mold to jacket (used the Hydraulic press set at a certain PSI so it would seat the core and stop before too much pressure was applied, this would require it to be all done by "feel" on a manual press in case a potentially heavy core slipped in). This saved two steps in swaging and cleaning cores.

    4. Formed bullet, again in the hydraulic press at lowest PSI possible yet still formed bullet 100% to the tip. This took a little experimenting, had to find the right PSI that would form the bullet 100% all the way to the tip yet not over pressure anything. Had to work with all the weight variances of both brass and cores as I did not sort anything. We know the Federal case is 7 tenths of a grain heavier and my cores where all within a half of grain or so but that still equaled a possible full 1 grain swing in possible weights so I had to be able to fully form a 69 grain bullet but not over pressure the die forming a 70 or potentially 71 grain bullet. At the right pressure everything formed with a perfect lead tip. The heavy bullets would simply stop the press a bit short of full stroke once the PSI reached the predetermined setting. Sure a 69 grain bullet will now be a slightly shorter bullet then a 71 grain bullet but I could live with that especially for the time I saved in making these bullets. I am quite certain I will be able to achieve minute of ground squirrel accuracy out of these bullets and probably 80% or more of the bullets are well with in probably +/- .3 or .4 tenths of a grain of each other. I can again certainly live with that.

    Now for some pics! Oh yeah, forgot..... I made them all boat tail too and not just boat tail but a concaved beveled base to the boat tail so I'll see if that makes a difference.














    I forgot to take a picture.... but these bullets are a near exact match to size and shape of the Sierra 69 grain Match King bullets. I'll get a pic of that soon!

    Once I get a nice day over here I will be testing these in all my 22 cal rifles, 223rem with both 9 and 12 twist, the 12 twist did well in the fields back then so we shall see if the 9 twist will do any better, 22-250 with 12 twist, a 22-6.5x55AI with both a 9 and 12 twist. The 6.5x55AI necked down to 22 cal is a monster! I got it primarily to test the extreme upper limits of our bullets made from 22lr brass I have already tested the Sierra 52 grain MK bullets at over 4300 fps out of this gun!!! We shall see how it does with these 70 grain pills I have made, if I can get it to ..... ???????? 3400 fps ?????? off the top of my head? or more with good accuracy I would call it a success! We shall see as soon as weather improves!

    I don't have a pic of the 22-55AI yet so I'll have to post one of those soon too in this thread!

    Lots of fun to be had and all with the reward that comes from making your own!

    Keep posted, Happy New year and swage on!

    Brian
    When you stop learning you are dying.

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    Good shooting and swage on!

    Brian

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Good looking bullets Brian.
    One question about the process,

    Step 3, seated core directly from mold to jacket.

    Does mean you put a hot core in the jacket? or just that you skipped the core swage step?

    Thanks.
    To lazy to chase arrows.
    Clodhopper

  3. #3
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    Skipped is all, not a hot core.
    When you stop learning you are dying.

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    Good shooting and swage on!

    Brian

  4. #4
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    Check out the 6.5x55AI necked down to 22 cal I plan on using to test some of these 70 grain pills with......





    and here pictured with a 223 rem and a 22-250





    and here pictured with a 300WM with a lead tip bullet made from 9mm brass just for the fun of it




    and check out the similarity between my 22x55AI case and the 26 Nosler! Looks like mine is a pretty close match just scaled down slightly, I may have to model these two cases in Auto-Cad and scale my up or theirs down to see just how close it really is, other then the neck of the 22 cal being slightly longer it is a pretty darn close looking match.



    Swage on!

    BT
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    Good shooting and swage on!

    Brian

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy D-RIG's Avatar
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    Thats some fine looking work right there .

  6. #6
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    Brian, do you think that you are able to get away from annealing jacket because with the longer lead exposure on a 70 grain in a jacket made from 22LR you are only moving a small amount of brass at the jacket mouth, thus no folding of the jacket mouth occurs - which is common when trying to make 55 to 60 grain .224 bullets from 22LR jackets without annealing jackets.

    How many bullets have you made with this process? Just wondering if a folded jacket mouth has occurred or if it might raise it's ugly head as your production count goes up (5% folded, 2% folded, 1% folded, none folded in a thousand?)
    Mustang

    "In the beginning... the patriot is a scarce man, and brave and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." - Mark Twain.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I like the thought of 62-70 grain 223 DIY bullets

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Sheesh View Post
    I like the thought of 62-70 grain 223 DIY bullets
    Have been making 70 to 80 grain .223's from 22LR with exposed lead for about 5 years now. What Brian is bringing to the table is a reduction in production time by not having to anneal the Jackets before Core Swaging/Point forming.

    I have found that when making swaged bullets of 70 to 80 grains using 22LR cases I have to be far more detailed. I have to sort cases by make/base stamps, tight tolerances on core swage weights, and then I have to screen and cull any "Long Noses" after point forming - before I use my Lead Tipping die (In my Corbin .224 dies I use another "Lead Tipping Die" to get the best nose possible as I can have feed problems in savage bolt actions I shoot at times. This is a problem with Savage rifles in general, no problems when shooting them out of AR platforms, or my Remington 40X in .223.)
    Mustang

    "In the beginning... the patriot is a scarce man, and brave and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." - Mark Twain.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master BlackoutBuilder's Avatar
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    oooh pretty
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  10. #10
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    Mustang,

    I made over 3,000 bullets this way and had absolutely 0% folded tips. I am pretty darn certain I could continue another 3-10,000 more with zero folded tips.

    Reason being best I can figure....... at 70 grains when the core is seated I use a .2230 diameter base punch so the lead core 100% fills the jacket (might even compress the long jackets slightly) level with the top of the jacket. There is no unsupported or exposed portion of the jacket that is not being held tight and in place by the core (if that makes since?). So when the point is being formed the jacket would somehow have to fold into the lead........????? Just not quite sure it could do that.

    Second reason.... the diameter of the jacket/bullet at the point of the nose where the jacket ends and the lead begins is ........ I haven't measured it........ but probably around .125ish in diameter? The rest of the tip is all lead so the jacket just isn't getting swaged down as much at the tip. Imagine only partially forming a 55 grain bullet with these jackets and ejecting it before the nose folds with a big wide diameter meplat.

    The meplat diameter of my BTSimple dies are .098 and I can almost make the bullets in those dies without folding tips, obviously the .062 meplat of my premium line, and any die for that matter with a nose that small, requires annealed cases to avoid the tips folding.

    Hope this helps to explain ???????

    Brian

    p.s. just waking up over here so brain is a little foggy still. after reading your post #6 again, Yes, what you said too
    Last edited by BT Sniper; 01-04-2018 at 06:36 PM.
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    Good shooting and swage on!

    Brian

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MUSTANG View Post
    Have been making 70 to 80 grain .223's from 22LR with exposed lead for about 5 years now. What Brian is bringing to the table is a reduction in production time by not having to anneal the Jackets before Core Swaging/Point forming.

    I have found that when making swaged bullets of 70 to 80 grains using 22LR cases I have to be far more detailed. I have to sort cases by make/base stamps, tight tolerances on core swage weights, and then I have to screen and cull any "Long Noses" after point forming - before I use my Lead Tipping die (In my Corbin .224 dies I use another "Lead Tipping Die" to get the best nose possible as I can have feed problems in savage bolt actions I shoot at times. This is a problem with Savage rifles in general, no problems when shooting them out of AR platforms, or my Remington 40X in .223.)
    It's a good deal of work to do it right they way it is intended, we both know it. I suppose if I was making these bullets in a manual press using the unsorted brass and unswaged lead cores I would have to be carful and form all bullets almost completely by "feel". I would have to set the dies for the lowest common denominator as far as the lightest core and jacket combination and then stop the press short on any and all bullets that where heavier then that lowest weight. Obviously attempting to go "full stroke" on a heavy bullet when the dies are set for a lighter weight would results in over pressuring the die. Yet success can be achieved and would be easier with a small reloading type press that doesn't generate the massive force that a true large swage press does. By me using the hydrolic press and being able to set the psi of the press I set up the dies same way, to the lightest bullet weight so it would form 100% and then anything heavier then that would simply stop the ram before over pressure. The press can run at 2000PSI and the gauge only goes down as low as 500psi, I was forming these bullets in the point form die at 600 psi

    To get the lead tip form in the die without deforming during ejection....... well I mixed a harder alloy core of 50/50 pure and COWW and also was making boat tails. Boat tail bullet seems to eject easier then flat base from the die as I figure the boat tail doesn't generate a pressure ring as much as the flat base. This allowed the small .062 ejection pin to push the bullet from the die with minimal deformation of the tip.

    Also one more trick in getting these bullets to eject form the die with minimal lead tip deformation...... I used a lot more lube making a lead tip 70 grain bullet in which the jacket was 100% full from core seating I did not have to worry about any excess lube forming "lube dimples" in the jacket/nose of the bullet.

    The down side to my technique......

    Bullets are of varying weights since I did not sort the brass or swage the cores (but not by much)
    Bullets are of varying lengths for same reason but again (not by much)
    That's all I can think of for down sides.
    OK maybe one more...... expensive Hydraulic press or have to be carful with manual press going a lot by "feel" so as not to over pressure the core seat or point form die with the varying weight bullets, I suppose this might be a big down side but with a good since of feel it is completely possible.
    Wait.... one more down side, possibility of less accurate bullets because of everything mentioned above but......I'm down right certain I'll be able to hit ground squirrels at 100 yrds and more at a high percentage.
    Wait.... one more minor down side.... using harder alloy core might be less explosive in the field?



    Upside to this method......

    BIGGEST upside is time saved and high production rates
    No annealing
    One less cleaning and drying of the brass
    No core swage
    One less cleaning and drying of the cores
    Lots of bullets


    I suppose the determining factor will be performance on paper and in the field. Like I always do.... I'll have a video camera in the field so hope to get more good footage, just a few more weeks till they come back out.

    Brian
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    Good shooting and swage on!

    Brian

  12. #12
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    Got a chance to go out a shoot a few of these 70 grain pills today.

    Testing was for both accuracy and max FPS in their ability to hold together. I got to say I was successful in both regards.

    Even though my 22-55AI (as shown in pics above) did not like my 70 grain offerings for accuracy, it had no problem launching them really fast. Light was fading as it got late in the day with overcast cloudy skies but I got impressive numbers from the crony. I started at a mild load that produced 3427 fps with these 70 grain pills and worked up from there. I had 5 loads worked up with 4 rounds each (to save barrel life), the crony picked up the first 12 rounds and must have been too dark to register the last 8. The last fps reading it caught was 3683 fps from these 70 grain bullets and I know these first 12 rounds all made it to paper, yet by the time I fired the last 8 at an even higher load and fps I could not tell if I simply missed paper or blew a couple of these bullets up as groups where really starting to open up. I suppose I could test at closer range (and bigger target ) to know for sure but I was pretty darn pleased with how these bullets held together at the 22-55AI speeds! This gun has a 28" barrel with a 12 twist.

    Now as for accuracy thank goodness I had my trusty 223rem with a CBI 26" 12 twist barrel on hand. I wasn't sure how well it would do at stabilizing these long heavy pills, especially at the low 600' elevation, 45 degrees and high pressure weather, but I was rewarded with excellent accuracy potential out of this gun with these 70 grain pills. With a load of 25 gains of H-335 it shot a very impressive 10 shot group that was about 1.25" at 100 yrds. I am certain I can improve on that quite a bit by adjusting the seating depth as these where jumping about .085". It looked like it wanted to shoot small 3/8" groups yet may have been me pulling a few shots or the fading light or simply out of practice as I haven't shot in a few months.

    I think the OAL of this round may have a pretty good effect on potential accuracy. With the 22-55AI I had it jammed about .010" (for proper forming of the AI case), maybe if I was to load it a bit shorter in the 22-55AI it might do a little better. Not really too concerned as I was very impressed with what the 223rem did for me. I know now these bullets are more then capable of minute of ground squirrel accuracy out to 300 yrds or possible more and I have 3,000 of them ready to load just in time for this spring's varmint hunting season!

    More info and pics soon!

    BT

    p.s. the impressive group of the day was with the 22-55AI loaded with 69 grain SMK launched at 3965fps with four shots into a small .400" group! I think there is a lot more potential with this load.......
    Last edited by BT Sniper; 01-29-2018 at 03:10 AM.
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    Good shooting and swage on!

    Brian

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Just a thought, when I first started reloading I thought that you could get more consistent crimps by adapting a 1/2" micrometer adjust torque wrench for the press handle. I have since seen where someone is now making one, but may be a simple, affordable solution to get consistent pressure on a manual swage operation. Trial and error to find the magic number, then just pull until it clicks.
    "In God we trust, in all others, check the manual!"

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Who makes that handle?
    QUIS CUSTODIET IPSOS CUSTODES?

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    I don't remember who made it, I just saw it advertised in a gun rag. However a Google search shows Titan is selling them!
    "In God we trust, in all others, check the manual!"

  16. #16
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    Yep, I've seen that too.


    I'm sure my groups would have been a little tighter with a bit more case prep, I was using new Federal brass that was military pull downs, the neck tension on the seated bullet was all over the place. But the whole idea for this project was quick and easy with as few as steps as possible so I'm more then happy with the results so far and expect a bit better with OAL adjustments.

    BT
    When you stop learning you are dying.

    Check out available BTSniper products and prices at
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    Good shooting and swage on!

    Brian

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Nice looking bullets! With that much lead on the tip there could be some slumping of the tip at the higher velocities as well. Might explain why they did better at the 223 velocities. This is one reason Hornady went with a harder material for their ELD bullet tips so they say.

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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