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Thread: 30 caliber bullets from 5.7X28FN brass - In 168 grain and 150 grains - HOW TO

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    30 caliber bullets from 5.7X28FN brass - In 168 grain and 150 grains - HOW TO

    Pee Wee and I started on the adventure to create really nice 30 caliber bullets in two bullet weights:
    1) 168 Grain
    2) 150 Grain

    We're using 5.7 X 28 FN brass, that I have been saving for ages.

    I wanted to share with everyone the process that we developed for forming these bullets using BT Sniper's 30 cal die set. There was a long learning curve involved with the brass handling, the selection of cores, to cut or not to cut the brass, etc.... So here goes..................

    Through some of the trials and tribulations as we began to use this brass, we discovered that there were three types in my bucket full of brass:
    A) Commercial 5.7 X 28, with a simple lacquer coating, easy to remove with alchohol
    B) MIL Spec brass, with three dots crimped primers, with a stubborn, thicker coating, the only way to remove it was during the annealing process (discussed below)
    C) MIL Spec brass, with three semi-circle line type crimps, and the same type of coating as in Type B

    We started off with trying to dissolve the coatings with various chemicals, failing endlessly with Type B and Type C brass.
    CONCLUSION: Anneal the brass to 800+ degrees, which burns off the coating to an ash...... We don't use any chemicals on the coating, just do the annealing.

    NOTE: I bought a Lee 20 pound dipper type pot (not the bottom pour type, but rather the type that you would use with a hand dipper for the lead) for the annealing. The bottom 1/3 of the pot, when the pot is set on it's highest position, gets to a bright yellow state, which is at or slightly above the 800 degrees for annealing brass. We put a couple of handfuls in at a time, with brass only at the bottom 1/3 of the pot. We put a steel plate on top of the pot, to hold the heat in, and allow the brass to come up to temperature, about 15 minutes per batch. After annealing, you can either dump immediately into a bucket of water to cool, or as we chose to do, dump them out into a metal tray to cool slowly. The pot has never been used for lead, and so started off with clean insides. After processing a LOT of batches of brass, we noticed the plastic residue building up on the inside of the bottom of the pot. We scraped that all out, and resumed annealing. At some point the annealer stopped getting hot enough. Apparently, we had cooked the insides of the heating coil. A call to Lee had a replacement coil on it's way for under $20. It was easy to install. The new coil anneals just as well as the original.

    After annealing, we had a bunch of brass which was very stubborn regarding the final removal of the ash/plastic residue. Walnut shell didn't do it. Normal SS pin tumbling didn't work as we had hoped. I had some ceramic pins which I bought some time ago, for brightening up swaged brass bullets after forming.
    CONCLUSION: We used the ceramic pins, in very little water (just enough to make the pins damp), a slight amount of dish detergent, and some lemon juice (I have a high producing lemon tree in my back yard, so lemon juice is in endless supply). Lemishine also worked well. The ceramic pins are used in a rotary pin tumbler, and run 4-6 hours, changing the water every now and then. The brass comes out completely spotless no plastic residue, so ash residue, no staining.

    After annealing and cleaning the brass, we use a 5.7X28 shell holder in a Rockchucker press, and a neck expander that I got from BT Sniper, and we expand the necks to accept the swaged cores. The cores are at .243" as cast, and after swaging to weight are at .252", too large to fit into an un-expanded 5.7 X 28 FN normal neck.

    After neck expanding, we use a push through punch and die that came with the BT Sniper 30 caliber die set, and reduce the outside diameter of the 5.7 X28 FN brass from it's starting diameter of .318", down to .303".

    We tried several ways to produce cores, including using some lead wire I've had for years. However, the core mold I got from BT Sniper serves to make really fine cores very fast. Again, the cores come out of the core mold at .243" as cast, and weigh 124 grains.

    Pee Wee and I spend many hours trying to come up with a combination of cut length of brass, and specific weight of cores, trying to get lead to push all the way to the tip of the bullet. However, after many fruitless hours of trying, Brian Thurner mentioned that he never tries to get lead to push all the way to the end, and that the slight hollow points will fly perfectly fine. So, we weighed a sampling of the 5.7X28 FN brass, and came up with an average weight of 60 grains, including the primers, which we did not punch out for a variety of reasons.

    Doing the math, for the 168 grain version, we calculated a core weight of 108 grains. And, for the 150 grain version, we settled in at 90 grains for the core weight. We got the best consistency in making swaged cores by doing the swaging in two steps. For the 168 grain version, the first push on the core brought it's weight to 113 grains. And, for the 90 grain cores, we pushed the first step to 100 grains. By making a slight adjustment in the die for each weight from the first push, we got cores that were dead nuts on at their respecting target weights, +/- .2 grains. That's pretty respectable, closer than the weights on the brass cases.

    We next seated cores in the brass, obviously adjusting when switching from 168 to 150 grain bullets.

    The final point form yielded very nice formed bullets with hollow points that are less than the knockout pin diameter. No cutting to length on the brass. That saved a tedious step. Thanks, Brian for that tip!

    The 150 grain bullets are 1.105" long, and right at .3085" in diameter.
    The 168 grain bullets are also 1.105" long (we didn't cut any brass) and also at .3085" in diameter.

    The hollow point cavities on the 150's are slightly larger (almost imperceptible) than on the 168's. The lead almost goes to the tip on the 168's. The 5.7 X 28 FN brass seems perfect for making the 168's!

    I'll use the 168's for load development for my M1A rifle, in 308 Win.
    Pee Wee and I will BOTH use the 150's for stuffing into our 300 blackout rounds.
    We made about 800 168's, and 300 or so 150's to start with. The 168's will serve for my use in the M1A for some time to come. Pee Wee doesn;t yet have anything that shoots 308 Win. The 300 Blackout needs, however, will demand many thousands of these sweet 150 grain bullets. We'll load them with Lil Gun powder, check your load data book for how much to use, OAL, etc.

    I'll add images as I find the time. I just wanted to document the process for making these bullets, and hopefully save others the hours and hours of development time that we put into this project.

    Perhaps some kind soul will make this post a "sticky"....
    Last edited by DukeInFlorida; 03-24-2016 at 07:51 PM.


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  2. #2
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    Duke, I've been using the same weights for my 30-30, but put a black plastic pellet in each before putting them into the point forming die. Then, I set the die to only start the point forming. The pellet forms a round point to use in a lever rifle.

    I was the lucky recipient of 3k 5.7 x 28 at junk brass prices

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  3. #3
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    Great Idea, Bill.....

    I presume that the plastic pellet that you refer to are the Airsoft type pellets?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/2612055...&ul_noapp=true

    I've been using Hornady FTX type bullets in my Winchester lever action 30-30 (top eject)... And, the Airsoft pellets sound like an excellent way to save $$$ on those.


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    Boolit Buddy


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    Yep, but the black ones have a great side effect. When you give just a little too much pressure, they will fracture off and give a flat surface to prevent setting off the next primer. Yellow,Green, White, all keep their integrity. I'll post some pictures from this weekend's batch.

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  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    I made the mistake of chopping of the neck and shoulder of a bunch of 5.7x28s instead of expanding the necks. Now I have a bunch of jackets that will only make about a 120 gr open tip bullet. I'll probably shoot them in the Contender 14 in. barrel.

    Bob
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by midnight View Post
    I made the mistake of chopping of the neck and shoulder of a bunch of 5.7x28s instead of expanding the necks. Now I have a bunch of jackets that will only make about a 120 gr open tip bullet. I'll probably shoot them in the Contender 14 in. barrel.

    Bob
    Bob we tried to cut them down a little bit and could not get it to tip form, they would split or push the lead up thru the tip in to a blob. So we just left them in stock length and weighed them (60 grains) and swaged the lead core (90 grains) to come out at 150 grains.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is the 150 grain.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is the 168 grain.
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    Looking good guys. I certainly like how even and square the jacket is coming together at the tip.

    Swage on!

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    great tutorial.
    I was only able to get up to 123gr. with the CH4d 30 cal dies (actually 30 carbine) I borrowed from BT a few years ago. I had to cut the 5.7 brass to length.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master Pee Wee's Avatar
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    I am looking forward to shooting the 150 grains. I am building a 300 blackout and should have it ready in a couple of weeks. Duke is loading up the 168 grains as we speak. We are going shooting long guns Monday and he is load developing 308/168 grains for his M1 to shoot on Monday to see what the gun and he will shoot the best. I am going to go with 15 grains of Lil Gun with the 150 grain out of the AR-15 Blackout. I will post here with the results.
    See you at the range
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    What NO Cannelure???

    sorry, couldn't resist
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change? (Sgt. Oddball, KELLY'S HEROES)
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    Boolit Master badbob454's Avatar
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    i was thinking of sizing to .309 and pouring in hot lead or dipping in a pure soft lead pot.. to fill to the top for my 30-06 and then size again and weigh and put in different weight piles may work good for a jacketed bullet .. any thoughts ?
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    Won't work for creating accurate bullets. If they vary more than a grain, they'll be all over the place. We have strived to be accurate within a few tenths of a grain, from bullet to bullet to bullet. We had to take great pains with making the swaged cores, using a double swage technique to go from as-cast cores down to net weights.

    And, unless you are going to launch brass soup cans (non-nose pointed), you'll have a horrible time trying to run your cast lead bullets into any kind of nose forming die. We found that the ratio of lead to brass was a critical detail.

    I would abandon your idea before wasting much time at it. Then again, if you want to go through the motions, go ahead, and report back with your findings.

    Quote Originally Posted by badbob454 View Post
    i was thinking of sizing to .309 and pouring in hot lead or dipping in a pure soft lead pot.. to fill to the top for my 30-06 and then size again and weigh and put in different weight piles may work good for a jacketed bullet .. any thoughts ?


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  13. #13
    Boolit Master badbob454's Avatar
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    well i asked for thought.. and i respect your opinion i suppose i can remelt any too far out of weight. just for the heck of it i will try a few i do not need to nose form i was going to fill to the top a flying soup can with a taper nose as the case has naturally
    . call me crazy its just time ill make 3 and report later
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    We went to the range yesterday and I am happy to report that the 30 cal. 150grain boolits that we made worked great. Duke brought out his blackout AR among 4 other rifles that he brought and they performed excellent. I have never shot his blackout and had a really nice 6 shot pattern. I will be able to work with that when I get my blackout together and dial it in. The 168 grains worked excellent for Duke but I will let him fill y'all in on those.
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    I have achieved very good accuracy from the 30 cal bullets made from 5.7 brass and I'm sure you guys will too. Here is some info and pics I have posted here in various threads

    Here is a thread on my custom 30 cal die intial testing and results.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=109892


    here is 5.7 brass jackets on the left and Sierra jacketed bullets on the right




    here is a bonded 5.7 jacketed bullet that was formed in an old SAS die. notice it was practiacly turned inside out! Shot from a 300 WM at 3100FPS into wet newspaper


    some sectioned bullets





    Here is my best group to date with the 5.7 jacketed 30 cal from my 300WM.




    I have shot severial groups under .75 moa with 3 different 300WM riffles and taken two NE Oregon mule deer with this bullet now at distances up to 235 yrds! the bullet has made a believer out of me!

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  16. #16
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    Sent you guys some new springs for the die should be arriving this week.

    Swage on!

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    Ok Thanks Brian, I am really excited to get going on production. Duke and I shot Lawnsteel today and he said that he was going to get going full stem on swaging cores so we could make about 2000 rounds, both in 150 grain and 168 grain. I am awaiting my RCBS ll Rockchucker press and your auto eject system. Then I will be able to do more of the steps here so Duke Does not have to do it all. We will also be setting up a second press at his house so we can be doing two steps at his place. So within the next mo. we should have a boat load of bullets.
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  18. #18
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    Nice groups, Brian! I'm just now doing load development for my M1A (308 WIN), and so far it looks promising.

    Springs arrived yesterday, thank you. We loaded ALL of our 150 grain bulletss into 300 Blackout cartridges and fired a bunch of those yesterday! They cycle the gun just great. I was having scope issues, and so we were working from an eOTech scope, at 100 yards, with the blackouts, and they were all on paper. With Lil Gun powder, the range from max to start load is like only a grain in weight. So, we're just gonna load em per the loads we did for the testing yesterday. I might also try loading some 150's in the M1A. I don't ever shoot past 300 yards. Keith, with very little M1A experience, was hitting the gong at 300 yards at our club, on every shot, yesterday! So, we're very happy.

    Thanks again, Brian for the great tools, and the wonderful service and fast ship on the springs.


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  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy Prospector Howard's Avatar
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    Quote from DukeInFlorida: "If they vary more than a grain, they'll be all over the place". Do you really believe that, and are you going to stick by that statement? I just had ice tea come out my nose while I'm eating lunch.
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    A foolish faith in authority is the enemy of the truth.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by badbob454 View Post
    i was thinking of sizing to .309 and pouring in hot lead or dipping in a pure soft lead pot.. to fill to the top for my 30-06 and then size again and weigh and put in different weight piles may work good for a jacketed bullet .. any thoughts ?

    I have tried this before, it is difficult to say the least. Dipping it doesn't work because the lead will solder on to the outside of the brass too. Poring it in is difficult because of trapped air. And is was a potential disaster having all the cases with molten lead sitting about.

    Now if you took lead slugs already at specific weights it is easy to melt them while they are in the case but attempting to poor or dip cases full of lead was a loosing battle in my opinion. I couldn't keep weights within 5-10 grains when dipping or poring, maybe someone else will figure it out, Speer did

    BT
    BTX Star Crimp Die
    Back in stock with new low price!
    Click link below!
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    also check in and say hello on my new face book page!
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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