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Thread: Swaging with a hand press?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Swaging with a hand press?

    I have seen at least one reference to someone swaging .224 bullets on a lee hand press. How hard would it be? Would it be possible to do 30 caliber on the lee hand press?

    What about the Buchanan hand press, anybody ever try swaging with it?

    I'm not into swaging yet but I'm learning on the subject and this is something I've been curious about ever since I saw where someone used a Lee hand press for 22 caliber.

    Bazoo

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
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    The person who cited that “reference” has since been banned, a couple times now under two different handles. His postings under the first handle have apparently been Hoovered off the site, possibly because the “references” he cited were pulled out of the ionosphere and used to start pointless arguments.

    Swaging even .22 caliber bullets puts enough strain on even a standard linkage C press to raise the possibility of throwing the die holder out of alignment with the ram. Enhanced C presses, with a strap between the priming locations, or bolsters around the die holder, were still plenty tiring to use, if a lot of production was contemplated.

    An aluminum Lee Hand Press would probably break, and, good as it may be, the Buchanan press would probably bend or break the linkage if such a stunt was tried.

    No real experience on my part (I use a Rock Chucker for swaging) but I would guess you would wind up with a few bullets of varying degrees of point forming, a broken hand press and arms like Popeye after trying this.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    There is no way I would ever attempt it on either hand press. Blackmon’s horizontal press is pretty much the minimum required. The amount of force required to swage bullets is a lot higher than basic reloading. Try full length sizing a large belted magnum cartridge on a hand press. Not the easiest task but the force required is nothing compared to a hand press. Buy a proper press if you want to swage bullets.

  4. #4
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    BT Sniper's Avatar
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    I have seen it done by customer using the Lee hand press and my simple 22 cal dies, I didn't think anyone would attempt such a task but this customer has made thousands of bullets sitting in his easy chair in his living room. Probably got some tone arms too. I wouldn't recommend it but it can be done.

    BT
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    Good shooting and swage on!

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  5. #5
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    I'm gonna go out on a limb here, while I never swaged 224...I have swaged some pistol bullets.
    There are some functions that could be easily done with a Hand press...In fact I had those functions setup on a Lee Classic turret press.
    BUT, depending on core hardness, while point forming, you could break a bench (I did actually).
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”
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  6. #6
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    As for 30 cal on a hand press.... I'm sure it could be done, as I say "anything is possible" but the bigger the bullet the more pressure it takes. I don't think a hand held press would be much fun for 30 cal bullets. Any decent bench mounted reloading press would be up to the task. I use the Lee classic a lot.

    BT
    When you stop learning you are dying.

    Check out my vendor page for available products and prices!
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    Good shooting and swage on!

    Brian

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. I'm not planning on getting into swaging with just a hand press folks. My thinking though is if 22 bullets are doable on a lee, would 30 be doable with a Buchanan and then how hard would it be. I know the larger or more strongly constructed the bullet the more force required. Folks tout the Buchanan as stronger than the lee and requiring much less effort is why I'm wondering if it would be doable without damage to the press or ones arms.

    I think anyone that uses the lee hand press to any extent has Popeye arms. The largest I've done on mine is 30-06 FL resizing.
    Last edited by Bazoo; 02-23-2019 at 06:00 PM.

  8. #8
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    The largest cases I have personally full length sized were .375 Weatherby Mags with cases and dies sent to me by Art Fisk (artful). I did it on P1 which was my first of 4 Prototypes.

    Shoving the case into the die was no harder than any other case. Pulling it back out was easy until it got to the expander ball and that was hard to get over as the press is in the part of the stroke with the least amount of leverage/mechanical advantage.

    When I designed the tool I had a Lee Hand Press in hand and I purposely increased the Mechanical Advantage by changing the stroke and the relation between the pivot point for the arm and place where the links attach to the arms. The total stroke with the primer catcher off is 3.750.

    There is nothing to bend in the mechanism as everything runs in a strait line and all forces are contained in a strait line. So unless you can put enough force on it to shear the roll pins that hold the top and bottom plates to the guide rods, or bend 1/4" shoulder bolts it isn't going anywhere.

    People often comment,(usually with no direct knowledge) that the tool looks like it is hard to operate. It is not, and pushing the levers together with the palms of your hands requires no more effort than running any other type of press.

    Randy
    "It's not how well you do what you know how to do,,,It's how well you do what you DON'T know how to do!"
    www.buchananprecisionmachine.com

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Thanka all for the comments. Pretty interesting to me.

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub
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    I’ve never been banned, nor do I think I’ve done anything to warrant it, so I don’t think that part is me being talked about. On the other hand, I am the one BT is talking about. I am pushing close to 20k .224 that I’ve made using a hand press. De-rimming is the hardest part, core seating I think gives a good “feel” for consistency since I use cast cores.

    People can believe or nay say me if they want, I only know what I’ve done and how I’ve done it. I don’t know that I would try .30 cal with it.




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  11. #11
    Boolit Master

    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
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    Wow, HitNRun, I stand corrected.

    Must have missed your posting on using the hand press for swaging. And no, you aren’t “the guy.”

    I recently got a copy of the instructions for the Huntington Compac Press, and noticed that they do not recommend its use for bullet swaging or suggest it’s for anything beyond “light case forming.” My own Lee Hand Press seems to have minimal “meat” around the 7/8”x14 hole in the die head, less than that on the Compac head, and the linkage straps are no thicker and the bolts are smaller than on the Compac as well. Would never have guessed it would stand the strain.

    You might let Lee know what you are doing with that thing. It would make a heck of an ad campaign for them.

  12. #12
    Boolit Bub
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    Bent Ramrod, you say yours has “minimal meat”, is yours the “lock’n’load” version? Mine is not. I don’t know if that would make a difference, and until you described yours, I hadn’t even thought about it.


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  13. #13
    Boolit Master

    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
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    HitNRun, mine looks like the one in your picture. From the tops of the lands on the internal thread to the outside surface there is less than 1/8” of metal. This is the outside surface facing the lever on the right side in your picture.

    Whoever designed that thing sure knew his “strength of materials.”

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    Swaging .22 bullets using rimfire jackets does not require a high leverage press. The jackets are soft and thin and the core unless you use WW is soft, I used 1/8" 50/50 solder for cores and a hand press like pictured would be no problem.
    I still have the dies for making jackets from rimfire cases and Also for making .308,.44 and .45 jackets using copper tubing type M, L and K for bullets, but I use both Dave Corbins and Richard Corbin equipment for the heavy work.
    I might add, I wore out a Rock chucker press just making pistol bullets using a loading press swage dies made by Hemp and C&H and ended up getting a RCBS A-4 Big Max for those dies.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy Mauser 98K's Avatar
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    yea id try to stick to an 0-frame press like the RCBS rock chucker.. i have a set of dies that i made for it that i use to punch the jacket blank and draw the jackets without too much more effort than resizing brass. then it is just a matter of swaging the bullet in a die... unlike most people who tried to develop jacket blank and draw dies in the past and failed miserably, you want to be at the very end of the stroke to punch the blanks and draw jackets. trying to start at the bottom of the stroke where leverage is low sucks balls and you will yank the press off the table b4 you even punch the copper blank.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master flyingmonkey35's Avatar
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    Dose your name end with "man" ie superman aquaman heman.

    He he it is all about the leverage.



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  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy Mauser 98K's Avatar
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    i can pull over 2x bodyweight at 250lbs, so power is not a problem for me..

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    I bent my lee classic handle swaging 9mm boolits

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have used a hand press to reshape copper plated bullets and to swage soft lead bullets and it works great for small batches but I don't think I want to do 1k of them with a hand press.

  20. #20
    A friend just pushed a Herters 9-ton press across the bench and asked if I'd be interested in figuring out what it'd take to make some bullets with it.

    I may have been premature to take this on. He had the press, 750 .38 cal jackets, a top punch and ejector for .357. No die body for it. He also had a few completed .357's and .224's.

    There is a Collector's gun show next weekend - I'll be looking for the craziest looking vendor sitting behind a table. That guy will likely be my best source for parts and sage wisdom.

    Man, I just started casting earlier this year. My brain mould feels like its cracked with all the info I've had to stuff in it.

    Swaging ... on old equipment... my friend must be having a good laugh!

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