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Thread: Thinking about a bullet feeder

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Thinking about a bullet feeder

    Like the title says, I have a 1050 and have been toying with the idea of a bullet feeder.

    I started looking at the thread of building a bullet collator but was not prepared to read over 150 pages on a thread that is almost two year old....looks like it is not simple to do. I did not want to post this on that thread. So here goes:

    I do not mind building my own, as I have a small shop and a lathe, but I will not purchase a 3D printer for the project. Willing to buy bits and pieces.

    I want something that works without a lot of tuning and not some Rube Goldberg contraption. I will be loading cast bullets in two calibers 9mm and .38 so hopefully that makes it "simple". Bullets will be cast and weights are 122 to 170 gr. Most likely 122 gr in the 9mm and 158 in the .38.

    The Mr. Bullet Feeder is $500 and I cannot see the value in it. Something closer to $300 makes sense...but on the other hand it works!...there is value in that. Watching the videos it am not impressed with having to fine tune the ramp and nose guide for each bullet type. How easy is it to do this, and can I use two ramps and just slip in the right one for each bullet? I would likely have a separate drop tube on each head to eliminate that adjustment.

    This video shows using a Hornady Bullet feeding die on a 1050:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9Bn4N7_kW8

    It seems like the simplest way to go and would give as much speed as using a collator without taking 10-15 minutes to adjust. It is cheap too...under $40 But it is not recommended for cast bullets. So that led to the thought....

    Why not just purchase the Double Alpha Lower Drop assembly for $50 and hand feed it? No finger pinching and maybe a 50% speed increase over manually placing bullets on cases. KISS.

    I looked at the DA 'Mini" with tubes, but filling tubes would be slower than hand feeding the die.

    But, regardless of which way I go, I will lose the Powder Check die and that to me is a deal killer. Safety trumps speed every time. The only solution will be to seat and crimp on the same station. I did that with the Star progressives but it is a bit more of a PITA to set up.

    Thoughts?
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I could go back to seating and crimping in the same die for bullets with a crimp groove when using a roll crimp.
    But for bullets with no crimp groove I want a separate crimp . But we all get to set our own priorities .

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    There are designs around made from plexi glass with a band saw and drill press to make a turnplate and bullet flipper plate. Then use a bucket to make the housing. Bullet flipper plate will be stationary its what catches the bullet noses and moves them outward. You will have a notch in the bucket side that catches the nose and stands the bullet up. I have seen you tube videos that demonstrate it. I havent seen any technical drawings though. You will still need all the same electronics and motors to controller the feeder.

    You might be able to turn some reason or wood to make the couplings.

    Anything is possible. Golly was it easy with a 3D printer. I built a case and bullet feeder with my 3D printer.

    Use a bore sight cam to check powder level and ensure case is charged? Then loose the powder cop die. Seat and crimp in two steps. Thats how I do it with my load master. I have cam for the primer and powder.

    Sent from my SM-N970U using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Rcmaveric; 01-22-2021 at 04:35 PM.
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I started with tubes/Hornady bullet feeder dies with the intention of buying a feeder after proof of concept with the tubes.
    I'm still using those pre-filed tubes though, each tube holds 50+ 38/9m bullets and after running 2 tubes, it's time to add primers, a convenient stopping point to add a fresh/full tube and do a powder check/etc.

    I found the long tubes at an online petstore but have seen them on Amazon too, priced higher though.
    I had to fab a "sky hook" over the press to support the long tubes.
    Some consider/rationalize that tubes can't be much faster than single feeding a bullet or case but in reality tubes are much faster (for me).
    Freeing up your left hand to only 1 function, or none if you have a case feeder, and leaving your right hand on the lever greatly improves loading speed.

    I use tubes for case feeding on presses that have it, and use a Lee rotary thing that holds 4 tubes.
    I've seen 3D printed FEEDERS on ebay for reasonable prices too, if you want one, check there.

    .
    EDIT: I load/buy/shoot only coated bullets now as I found feeding bullets with lube grooves to be problematic with the Hornady bullet feeding dies. That goes for coated bullets with lube grooves too.
    You may find another brand bullet feeder dies work fine with traditionally grooved/wax lubed bullets but I have no experience with them.
    EDIT2: most 3D printed bullet feeders sellers have vids in the postings and a link to reviews by buyers.
    Here's a typical vid:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZS3cb6_d_wA
    .
    Last edited by Kenstone; 01-22-2021 at 06:12 PM.
    Size/Prime a few cases when starting off with a progressive and put them aside. You can plug them back into the process when a bad/odd case screws up the priming station and continue loading.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    I use GSI bullet feeders on my 1050’s, they are actually the entire tool head, feeds and seats in station 7, allows you to keep the powder check die in 6 and crimp in 8.



    The thread you are referring to is really about the collator or gullet feeder, feeder. The part that takes the random bullets and situates them base down in a column. From there they are fed into a dropper or the rotating disk of the GSI.

    The worst thing about the GSI is that it is no longer made, so finding one might not be very easy.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy GWS's Avatar
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    The thread you are talking about has come a long ways since I started playing on it last summer. Jmorris was one of the first guys to buy a 3d printer kit and build it....and discovered it was the easiest way to build build a collator.......I resisted.....choosing to make a Hornady Pistol Bullet Feeder more efficient. But he kept hinting around that that was the slow way. GSI is indeed a great tool, but it's for the most part gone and it was expensive when it was available.

    Recently, a talented guy (o416) on the Bullet Feeder thread you mentioned started making a manual so that one doesn't have to pour over a thread approaching 100 posts. That is a real key in making the project not only doable for a brand-new novice, but quite easy. I've printed three collators now and am quite happy with the results. They even have 3d printed bullet feeder dies using ball bearings that work, and Case feeders are easy as pie too. So here's the thing:

    I spent $500 on a Creality CR-10 version 2 (a big bed machine). With that I have printed 3 feeder/collators for less than the price of one MBF including the motors.....and caliber change kits are maybe $5 worth of plastic. The printer keeps on giving too, a $500 MBF doesn't make more.....and you want to do another caliber? Hang on to your wallet.

    I can't say I miss making my own stuff out of raw materials anymore. That's just too time consuming and I'd rather wait for a 3D printer.....especially since I can be designing the next project while it prints all by itself.

    Below is just a test run after printing my first one, a little Ammo Mike version:



    The next video is just a look see at my last one a bigger TylerR design, where I had minor bed lifting.....I was printing at too high a bed temperature....Yes there's a bit to learn, but it's not that hard.....way easier than the Hornady conversion I did to make it flip pistol bullets. As for the long thread....it's full of hints and experiences that made the learning go fast.....worth spending some time reading.



    This base, a 60 hour print, has a pre-drop feature that makes even long boolits drop out of the way fast enough turning at a decent speed...that's obviously optional. With the plug in it works just like the others. Looking forward to getting this one on line. A little steel-colored epoxy fixed the minor flaws shown in the video. The video also shows what you get if you start and stop the layers at the same spot.....I've printed with variable layer starts on, but the artifacts from starts is spread everywhere. I prefer having them line up in the back out of sight....makes for a much more attractive print from the front.

    The last video is showing a mirror clamp I printed to make it easier to see way up there......You can see the first two collators I printed, the one on the right set up for .223 bullets, the one on the left set up for .223 case collating.



    Just finished new plates and feeders for 308 using the same machines. Probably cost $10 for the two prints. Next a picture of the .308 case plate.....

    Click image for larger version. 

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    A personal thank you to jmorris for pointing me in the right direction......it's funner than anything else I do right now (a tinkerer's delight).....except when I get a chance to go shooting. BTW, that big Creality Printer is the best investment I've made in years! Love it!
    Last edited by GWS; 01-24-2021 at 11:10 AM.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    A commercial caster I know made his own to feed the boolits into the sizer. It worked well and was very much like a Dillon case feeder. Needs more power than a case feeder though, or the number of boolits added at a time has to be limited.
    Sometimes life taps you on the shoulder and reminds you it's a one way street. Jim Morris

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    I have to learn freecad one of these days. Keep putting it off.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    Jmorris was one of the first guys to buy a 3d printer kit and build it....and discovered it was the easiest way to build build a collator..
    I was making them out of 6” PVC and 1/2” plastic until Hatch’s post #116 on page 6 of that thread on the Anet 8.

    His help and Ammomike83 making some design changes for me got me converted though.

    This is another thread hatch started for the Anet a8 printing the collator using AmmoMike83’s files.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...highlight=Anet

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    I lack a machine and wood working shop. Its on the bucket list. Until then I did get a 3D printer. I made Ammo Mike's bullet feeder and the Shoe Box case feeder. They work well. I paid 200 bucks for an Ender 3 (lets not get into the upgrades I purchased but the only one necessary was the Auto Bed Leveling kit for 50 bucks). I made 2 bullet feeders and case feeder. So, it paid for its self.

    You dont need to learn fancy CAD programs. I use Tinker Cad a lot while I learn FreeCAD.

    Sent from my SM-N970U using Tapatalk
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I really appreciate all the comments and suggestions. You guys have done some amazing stuff!!!

    Just a bit of history. I used to have a number of progressives but now down to two. I am 70 and downsizing and have established my needs. The 1050 will be used to produce 9mm and .38 Spl. The only other pistol calibers I reload are .40 S&W and .45 ACP and they will be reloaded on the 550. I want a bullet feeder for the 1050 that will handle 122 gr TC 9mm and 158 gr SWC .38 cast bullets with minimal adjustment. If adjustment is necessary it needs to be simple.

    Spending $300-500 for a 3-D printer, plus the supplies/motor/switches (and learning mistakes) for one unit puts me at about the cost of a Mr. Bulletfeeder....maybe more??? It does not makes sense for one caliber.

    There is a bullet feeder on eBay for $250 shipped (may require duty as it ships from Slovenia), but it will not handle cast bullets (and it only holds 100 bullets). Useless for my needs.

    Also on eBay, found a $90 upgrade to allow rapid adjustment of the Mr Bulletfeeder ramp angle and guide. 74 units sold and good feedback. This was one of the issues I was concerned with so it looks like a fix is possible. I do not think I cam allowed to post a link, but do a search on "bullet feeder" on ebay and it will show up. Seems expensive for a few bits of plastic but is gives me hope I can make what I need...a set of guides/ramps for the 9mm and one for the .38 bullets.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

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