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Thread: Swaging 22 LR Brass Into Bullets

  1. #1
    Boolit Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Swaging 22 LR Brass Into Bullets

    Having been inspired by pillardrill, I got started with making a swage die to form bullets for my hornet using 22 LR case for jackets. Well, my first attempt showed some promise but in trying to get the shape right I managed to ruin it! (As we often do).

    But my second attempt went much better. Here is the result.

    The formed jacket with lead cast in


    Swaged in my new die


    After Sizing in the same die that formed the jacket


    The loaded round


    The recovered bullet


    This bullet weighed in at 67gr - pretty close to what I wanted. (I can adjust it down but not up and then not by much).

    Powder charge - 10.8gr Lil'Gun (The Holy Grain of hornet powders).

    Penetration into compacte wet rags - 8 inches (220mm).

    Weight retention - 68% (46gr)

    There was no core separation! (The core is not visible in the pic but is in there).

    So, thanks to pillardrill, I have a new toy!

    pillardrill
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Reading this post made me think. Years ago a friend asked me to make a collet to hold de-rimmed 22 LR cases in a case trimmer so he could shorten them to make lighter bullets for his Hornet. It worked well and allowed him to make any shorter length he wanted. The same thing could be done with 22 magnum cases, or any other jacket. If I ever run out of commercial Hornet and Bee bullets I may have to go back and make one for myself.
    BIG OR SMALL I LIKE THEM ALL, 577 TO 22 HORNET.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master wonderwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elk hunter View Post
    Reading this post made me think. Years ago a friend asked me to make a collet to hold de-rimmed 22 LR cases in a case trimmer so he could shorten them to make lighter bullets for his Hornet. It worked well and allowed him to make any shorter length he wanted. The same thing could be done with 22 magnum cases, or any other jacket. If I ever run out of commercial Hornet and Bee bullets I may have to go back and make one for myself.
    I've thought about something like this as well looking the trimmer I have . I just need to get a junk collet for the trimmer and modify it for adjustable length!
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  4. #4
    303,

    nice looking bullets you made, well done.

    Regards.

    Pillardrill

  5. #5
    Boolit Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Thanks. I do need to spend more time honing my skills - I have a long ways to go still.

    I was quite impressed with the terminal performance of that bullet. Not too bad penetration and rather good expansion and no core separation.

    I made a two-diameter sizer die for my 303 Brit paper patch castings. It is fairly good size wise but needs a slightly different step down taper (to make me happy). So now I want to make another but I am finding the propsect quite daunting. It's flipping difficult!

    How does one cut the segmenents in a collet? (I made a pair of router collets for my brother and am stuck at the segmenting stage. I made him a temporary one with hacksaw cuts).

    Another question - that groove left by the rim on the case, is it important to remove that? Or can I just leave it as it is?
    Last edited by 303Guy; 09-01-2009 at 04:52 PM.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 303Guy View Post
    Thanks. I do need to spend more time honing my skills - I have a long ways to go still.

    I was quite impressed with the terminal performance of that bullet. Not too bad penetration and rather good expansion and no core separation.

    I made a two-diameter sizer die for my 303 Brit paper patch castings. It is fairly good size wise but needs a slightly different step down taper (to make me happy). So now I want to make another but I am finding the propsect quite daunting. It's flipping difficult!

    How does one cut the segmenents in a collet? (I made a pair of router collets for my brother and am stuck at the segmenting stage. I made him a temporary one with hacksaw cuts).

    Another question - that groove left by the rim on the case, is it important to remove that? Or can I just leave it as it is?
    very thin mill blades......very very thin....on a mandrel.......could be done in a lathe with the crossfeed as a bed feed......

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  7. #7
    Boolit Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    very thin mill blades......
    Thanks for that. I think I know where to look for them.
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    ''Assume everything that moves is a human before identifying as otherwise''

  8. #8
    The Groove in the bullet can be used to hold lube. In any case it does no harm.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    Just out of curiosity... What kinda accuracy do you guys get with your swaged 22 boolits? Are these minute of paper plate?
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master



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    The 50 to 56 gr. bullets made on my Corbin press with Blackmon dies shoot as well as commercial out to 200 in my guns. Don't have dies to make a boat tail yet, but they are very effective on groundhogs at that distance. I am picky, I segregate cases by headstamp, double core swage, and weigh the finished products when I want the best performance. On the other hand, I've loaded a bunch of "culls" and still shot with good success. Actual performance - most "lots" will keep 'em well under 1" , that's 10 shot groups, not 3, not 5 like some call a group. Am interested in how well 303 guys stuff shoots !

  11. #11
    Boolit Master in Heavens Range.
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    Years ago I used to make 87G 25 cal. boolits using spent 22 lr cases. I still have the dies. As I recall, they shot very well.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Just out of curiosity... What kinda accuracy do you guys get with your swaged 22 boolits? Are these minute of paper plate?
    jdgabbard, I haven't tested any yet - I'm still developing my die. But this is what a fellow shooter on another forum has to say;

    I used them to win a World Championship in IHMSA Field Pistol Production this year in Texas.
    My 8.5gr load of H110 and 65gr rimfire jacketed bullets shoots around 3/4" at 100 yards with a 18x scope, from sandbags. Out of the Hornet.
    So, well' see what I can get with them.

    Years ago I used to make 87G 25 cal. boolits using spent 22 lr cases.
    BIG GUN, I have been thinking about that. How well did they shoot? I might go that route if I can't get the desired performance with paper patched 25 boolits.
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  13. #13
    Master Tool & Die Maker


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    303Guy:

    "I used them to win a World Championship in IHMSA Field Pistol Production this year in Texas. "

    No Doubt! But, did he say who made the tooling, Custom or himself? And, I doubt he used copper tubing or spent brass for jackets.

    RRR
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Red River Rick

    He says he does. I shall ask him for pics.

    I have been using the 22lr jackets to make a 65gr lead tip for my hornet. I'm using 8.5gr of H110. I used them to win a World Championship in IHMSA Field Pistol Production this year in Texas.
    Speer started out making boolits from spent 22LR cases.
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  15. #15
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    303Guy:

    Well, that's great, if he's using spent .22 brass for jackets! It just proves the potential of homemade swaged bullets. Right ON!

    RRR
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  16. #16
    Boolit Bub
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    My bullets I make out of 22 RF cases are shooting somewhere between 1/2 to 1 inch at 100 meters. It depends on who is shooting them and what rifle. We’ve found the 222’s are more accurate than the 233.

    One other point, where I get my brass from, they only use Lapua super club which I’ve found the brass is easier to swage than Eely which the punch breaks though the base on a few.

    John
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master sagacious's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 303Guy View Post
    ...
    Another question - that groove left by the rim on the case, is it important to remove that? Or can I just leave it as it is?
    303,
    Good job with the swaged 22lr-jacket bullet!

    In the long run, you may wish to adjust your punch so that residual fold in the case is completely ironed-out. By itself, it probably causes no harm. But you may find that not all cases will retain the same amount of groove, and thus jacket lengths will vary widely, and core seating can sometimes become a hassle.

    Increase the size of your internal punch so it's a tight slip-fit into fired 22lr brass, and consider drawing in two steps, the first step only unfolds the 22lr case head into a "domed-rivet" shape, and the next draw step irons-out the full case. Boil the cases between the two steps. The first "doming" draw step will crush loose most of the spent primer compound in the case rim, and allow it to be removed far better than just boiling/washing before any drawing takes place. Use a worn punch for the first draw, and a clean full-size punch for the second draw.

    Hope this helps, keep up the good work!
    Last edited by sagacious; 09-07-2009 at 08:05 PM. Reason: pic not needed

  18. #18
    Boolit Master yondering's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 303Guy View Post
    Swaged in my new die
    How did you cut the nose profile in your die? Did you use a D reamer? More details and dimensions please, I'm strongly considering having a friend machine a set of dies like this.

    Quote Originally Posted by 303Guy View Post
    After Sizing in the same die that formed the jacket
    What diameter are they before sizing down?

    Do you have any trouble with the cores being loose after sizing (brass springback more than lead)?

  19. #19
    Boolit Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the input and encouragement.

    It's encouraging to learn that good results are possible!
    Now for me to get it right.

    Do you have any trouble with the cores being loose after sizing (brass springback more than lead)?
    I have only fired that one bullet and the jacket did not separate. I did not think of springback when choosing to size after swaging. I hope the internal pressure will keep the jacket tight. I think I mentioned I cast the core into the case. I'm using normal cast boolit alloy.

    I am having trouble getting the swaged bullet out the die. I went back to my first die and reworked it to give a much blunter ogive. The bullet ejects from that one easily.

    Thanks for the tips, sagacious. I haven't tried annealing before drawing the brass.

    Today I started losing track of what I was doing so I put things away for a while. I ended up casting a 60gr boolit using the swage die as a mold. It's quite short for its weight! I loaded it up and fired it. Not much left to recover - it was a full tilt load. Took me a while to get all the lead out the bore!
    Rest In Peace My Son (01/06/1986 - 14/01/2014)

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  20. #20
    Boolit Master sagacious's Avatar
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    Sounds good 303! I don't anneal before swaging, or the cases won't come off my draw punch. I boil 'em after the first partial draw to get the grit out, but they still need to be annealed after the final drawing. The grit in the case can really wear on the draw punch unless it gets removed. After the draw punch gets worn the crease won't get ironed out fully, and it's time for a new punch.

    I prefer to process a whole heck of a bunch at one time-- just makes it more convenient when bullet-forming later on.

    Keep us posted as your project progresses.

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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