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Thread: Looking for best methods for making Point Form Dies accurately every time

  1. #1

    Looking for best methods for making Point Form Dies accurately every time

    I was wondering how some of the more experienced out there makes their point form dies . Is there any formula for making the ogive like a measurement formula or do you just turn a piece of steel/aluminum or brass/copper on a lathe , file it down , measuring until it looks close to make a reamer ? What material works best if the dies are made from A2 steel ,which I'm planning on using ,maybe O1 ?
    Also wondering how to lap these . I've got acro laps blind hole laps w/ spare barrels and they appears to be great for the straight thru part of hole but how to get the ogive and bullet face ? I read where one memeber uses a correctly sized ,swaged piece of lead and another drills a jacketed bullet using it on a post chucked up in the lathe . Then I plan to use diamond paste in decreasing sizes . I hadn't really found a source for custom diameter laps anywhere ,so looking for some ideas that will work and I don't happen to have a sunnen honing machine , but wish I did for times like these . Just started collecting metal working equipment and have a little more then basics for now but really interested in trying to make some of my own dies and other equipment for Swaging . I've got plenty of time and think it makes a great hobby while gaining items I will keep and use for a lifetime ,if I can figure out the smal, details - thanks for any advise guys !

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy Mauser 98K's Avatar
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    unless you have an ultrasonic drill or EDM machine then the best way for consistency is to make a reamer. the way i make my reamers is i take a template from an existing bullet design and turn the piece of annealed drill rod in the lathe to match the template. i then use a spin indexer and a mill to cut the flutes on the reamer. i then heat treat the reamer and cut the reliefs on the back of the flutes so they clear the die and allow reaming the die. i make my dies out of standard grade-8 bolt material. i first anneal the material, machine the die blank out of it with the hole a little undersized, and then i heat treat at 1,400*F and quench in water. i then draw the temper to where a file will barely cut and then hand ream and polish the inside of the die. i have found that reaming after heat treating the die makes the most consistent die. i tried reaming b4 heat treating and the variations were always too great for an exact sized bullet.

    but be aware that the reamer must be made a few thousandths undersized from the size bullet you are wanting to make. if you make the reamer dead on size then during the heat treating of the reamer it will grow and then your die will be oversized. the best way to know how much the reamer will grow is to take a piece of the material and heat treat it like you would the reamer and take measurements b4 and after heat treating and compensate when making the reamer. also if you are going to go the lapping road then the inside of the die would also have to be undersized or you will lap it oversized also.. if you do a good reaming job proceeded by a proper polishing then i have not seen the need for lapping. either way i always ream my dies 0.001in small and the polishing usually brings them to size.

    but on the reaming. i do it by hand so i can feel it cutting. power reaming has many risk and you can take too much too fast and also break the reamer easily. also hand reaming builds no heat and the reamers last a lot longer as long as you keep them well oiled. when reaming, if you ever let the reamer come off the surface of the metal then you must clean the hole of all shavings. failure to do so will sometimes trap a shaving under a flute and can cut groves into the inside of the die or can make the die bell shaped and you will never get a swaged round to eject. either way, do a little reaming and then clear the hole and check. if you step drill the hole in the die then there is less metal to remove and reaming goes much quicker.. also there is a little spring back from the swaged round, and that means the die must be around a half thousandth to one thousandth small least the spring back of the bullet make it a little large. one thousandth larger might not be enough to worry about, i just got OCD and want my stuff exact measurements.

    yea this stuff gets involved real fast..
    Last edited by Mauser 98K; 04-27-2018 at 04:24 AM.

  3. #3
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    I used to think these things were overpriced until I learned how they were made , then I decided to let BT Sniper make mine. Im handy, but dang.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by BlackoutBuilder View Post
    I used to think these things were overpriced until I learned how they were made , then I decided to let BT Sniper make mine. Im handy, but dang.
    I'll second that notion!

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Try making one in Carbide.........

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I figured out how to grind a point forming drill bit. Now with the same drill bit I can make maybe a half dozen point forming dies before taking it back to the grinder. Not that hard to make but takes some practice.
    AKA hans.pcguy

  7. #7
    Would you care to explain how you go about the grinding process so I might learn the procedure ? I've got a lathe and mill but lack some of the machinist know-how . But I am a quick learner with the right instruction .

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I do it by hand with a diamond blade on a dremel type tool. I make very crappy videos but this will give you the idea of how I do it:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/pypyay5y21...20bit.mp4?dl=0
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/yk8mjckxd7...ntDie.MP4?dl=0
    Last edited by Traffer; 05-23-2018 at 12:07 AM.
    AKA hans.pcguy

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    Nah, just get a drill from harbor freight, plug and then bore out an old Lee die, that should do it.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Your method is brilliant Taffer! Do you think it would work for swaging jacketed bullets?

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolftracker View Post
    Your method is brilliant Taffer! Do you think it would work for swaging jacketed bullets?
    Thanks for that wonderful compliment. I hesitate to post stuff here because I get the feeling people think I am a nut case, hack. As far as this method working on jwords, I don't know. First of all, I haven't yet set up a forge for heat treating. So these are raw grade 8 bolts. But if they were heat treated I don't see why it wouldn't work for making regular jacketed swaged bullets.
    AKA hans.pcguy

  12. #12
    Traffer , thank you for posting ! I think that it looks like it works well enough that I might give it a go too . If the drill bits are straight then it should be real close to making a reamer in similarity . My whole issue has been how to get the point form die the shape of the bullet itself after I used a reamer to get to diameter and this should work .Thanks again for showing others your procedure and giving others a chance to learn something ...Wouldnt it be easier if someone would just right a book so we didn't have to sort through bits and pieces to learn ?

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by baddoglowder View Post
    Traffer , thank you for posting ! I think that it looks like it works well enough that I might give it a go too . If the drill bits are straight then it should be real close to making a reamer in similarity . My whole issue has been how to get the point form die the shape of the bullet itself after I used a reamer to get to diameter and this should work .Thanks again for showing others your procedure and giving others a chance to learn something ...Wouldnt it be easier if someone would just right a book so we didn't have to sort through bits and pieces to learn ?
    If you are going to try it, Make sure you follow my method of starting the grind on the opposite side of the flute as the cutting side and roll into the cutting side. Otherwise you will have one heck of a time getting that shape. And when you get one finished and are going to use it. Feed it very slowly into your work. Very slowly. Otherwise it will really grab. Once you get used to these, the way they cut you will be amazed. This way of sharpening a drill makes it cut easier than a normally ground drill. They are much more delicate though so again feed slow. Also, I use them to start a hole without a pilot. it is better to have the whole cutting edge working than just the place where it meets the metal in a pilot hole. If you have any other questions, I would be happy to help.
    AKA hans.pcguy

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy



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    Traffer, say if you were to make a .357 reamer would you use a 9 mm drill or the next size smaller to make the die then polish the few thou out. I'm trying to make a modified truncated cone for a .357 max ar that is the next project.
    Bill
    Last edited by just bill; 06-03-2018 at 12:10 AM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I am just now getting good enough at grinding the drill bits to cut the point forming dies to size with out polishing them. With that in mind I still would go a bit undersized. I am going to start making 9mm dies soon and have purchased 8.9mm drill bits for them. But I am using a cheap drill press so I have to deal with a bit of runout.
    I tried to use a 5.7mm drill bit ground to a bullet point as a reamer. I had not tried to use them as hand reamers before. I made a jig that holds the die in perfect alignment to the "reamer" and ran the "drill bit reamer" in by holding it in a chuck that I saved from an old hand drill. It works like a charm. Was able to cut the point forming die in another .035" far more carefully and precisely than when running it on a drill press.
    I think for me a truncated cone would be more of a challenge to grind. It may be a good Idea to grind it in a lathe to the rough shape only a little oversized and then finish it off, following the profile by hand with a dremel.
    Then again you will have the flat nose on the tc boolit that would be another challenge to grind into a drill bit. You would have to cut it the same way as a two flute end mill.
    The thing I tell people when teaching them is....STUDY THE ANGLES. Study the angles of the cutting tool you are trying to make or duplicate. I would study the angles on an end mill to get the drill bit to cut a flat end. I have ground them like that before. I sometimes need to make a flat blind hole. So I copy the grind angles of a 2 flute end mill.
    I would suggest that you start with something a little easier. Learn to do an ogive like a 9mm slug first. Grinding these drills takes a lot of practice.
    I will try to make more videos to help people with that.
    AKA hans.pcguy

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    GONRA made an "eccentric spindle indexer" for my South Bend 10K lathe to grind RADIAL RELIEF on such internal cutters.
    Indexing wheel handles 1,2,3,4 flute cutters.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by GONRA View Post
    GONRA made an "eccentric spindle indexer" for my South Bend 10K lathe to grind RADIAL RELIEF on such internal cutters.
    Indexing wheel handles 1,2,3,4 flute cutters.
    Very cool. I can only imagine having the machines and intellect to do such thing. I guess I should be happy I even understand what you are talking about.....Can you cut ogives with that rig? Sounds to me like you can make drill bits and reamers but still would have to do something else to make the tips.
    AKA hans.pcguy

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by just bill View Post
    Traffer, say if you were to make a .357 reamer would you use a 9 mm drill or the next size smaller to make the die then polish the few thou out. I'm trying to make a modified truncated cone for a .357 max ar that is the next project.
    Bill
    it would depend on how well the tool was ground as to whether you could use a 9mm drill bit or something smaller. The better the grind and polish the closer to exact size you can go with it. I never tried to grind a truncated cone. That would probably be harder to grind than a curved ogive.
    AKA hans.pcguy

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Have you considered using something like the old General Drill Grinding Attachment rather than by hand? Looks like this would give an evenly ground down point.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonheart View Post
    Have you considered using something like the old General Drill Grinding Attachment rather than by hand? Looks like this would give an evenly ground down point.
    I am not familiar with that attachment. What does it attach to? Is is infinitely variable in order to set it up for bullet point tips?
    AKA hans.pcguy

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