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Thread: 22 cal bullets from 22lr brass Increased Production!

  1. #1
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    22 cal bullets from 22lr brass Increased Production!

    Pics of the 69 grain bullets I make from 22lr brass while skipping the annealing process to increase production rates!




    I found the previous thread from 2018! Check it out too in link below.

    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...-cal-from-22lr!





    I'll continue to edit or revise the following post as needed, I think I got it listed pretty good for the moment.


    I posted my results a few years back on a technique I used to increase production rates of making 22 cal bullets from 22lr brass. The info is buried/lost in the forums here somewhere. I recently reposted this info in another's thread but figured I would start a dedicated thread (easy to find) for the ideas and techniques any of us may have come up with for increasing our production rates when making 22 cal bullets from scrap 22lr brass.

    Increasing your production rates for making quality 22 cal bullets from 22lr brass is possible, the techniques and info listed below may cut the typical process time in half and still achieved very good and potentially very accurate bullets. The process works the same for either flat base or the boat tail bullets I have pictured here.

    Typical process of making 22 cal bullets from 22lr brass may look like this....

    1. simple cleaning of 22lr brass to remove dirt and any debris
    2. derim brass using lanolin or other oil based swage lube
    3. clean lube from brass with chemicals
    4. tumble brass clean in stainless steel
    5. anneal brass in oven
    6. tumble brass again to remove scale from annealing
    7. cast or cut lead to be bled
    8. bleed cores with lanolin or other oil based lubes
    9. clean cores with chemicals
    10. seat core in jacket
    11. form point
    12. optional cleaning of final bullet

    Good thread with pics and more info of this process

    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...rial-with-pics!



    Technique I have come up with looks like this......

    1. simple cleaning of 22lr brass to remove dirt and any debris
    2. derim using RCBS Case Lube II
    3. rinse and tumble clean formed jackets
    4. cast core
    5. seat core
    6. form bullet


    If I wanted to make a lot of 22lr bullets from 22lr brass this is what I do. Keep in mind we are not making these to sell, we are making them to shoot ourselves, so we are going to make what works best for our time allowed....... I can hear your thoughts...... "what about accuracy?" these bullets shot for me, very tight groups. In this instance I made 69 grain bullets.

    First off, it is not necessary, but having a press with hydraulic or pneumatic power for just the deriming step is possibly the biggest advantage to increasing your production rates. I can easily derim 600 cases an hour with zero fatigue. For those of you without a "powered assist" the techniques below will still cut down a LOT on your production times.



    A WORD OF CAUTION BEFORE YOU BEGINE! IF YOU DO NOT BLEED YOUR CORES YOU MAY GET SLIGHT VARIATION IN YOUR "AS CAST" CORE WEIGHTS. THIS IS NOT REALLY A CONCERN WHEN IT COMES TO ACCURACY AT NORMAL 22 CAL RANGE BUT YOU MUST PAY ATTENTION WHEN SEATING CORES IN JACKETS AND POINT FORMING. IF YOUR NOT CARFULL A HEAVY CORE WILL CAUSE EXCESS PRESSURE IN BOTH THE CORE SEAT DIE AND POINT FORM DIE USING THE TECHNIQUES LISTED BELOW. THIS ISN'T A PROBLEM IF YOU PAY ATTENTION DURING THESE TWO STEPS. YOU SHOULD EXPECT IT TO HAPPEN AND "FEEL" FOR IT WHEN IT DOES. WHEN YOU FEEL EXCESS PRESSURE, STOP! YOU GUYS SHOULD ALREADY BE FAMILAR WITH THIS FROM THE HEAVY "FEDERAL" MARKED CASES AS THEY PRODUCE A SLIGHT BUMP IN PRESSURE VS. TYPICAL 22LR CASES.

    I CAN NOT CONFIRM THIS TECHNIQUE WORKS IF YOU ONLY CUT YOUR CORES FROM WIRE. I IMAGINE THE WEIGHT VARIATION FROM "CUT" CORES WILL BE TOO HIGH AND HARDER TO CONTROL. I DON'T RECOMEND USING ONLY "CUT" CORES.

    THESE TECHNIQUES WORK WELL IN MY BTSNIPER DIES AND CORE MOLDS WHEN USED CORRECTLY, I EXPECT RESULTS WILL BE THE SAME IN OTHER QUALITY BRAND DIES BUT I MAKE NO GARENTEES. USE FOLLOWING TECHNIQUES AT YOUR OWN RISK

    BLEEDING CORES WILL ELIMANATE ALL RISK FOR ANYONE CONCERNED BUT DOES ADD A LITTLE EXTRA TIME.




    1. Start with cleaned 22lr brass,

    2. Derim the 22lr brass. I Use RCBS Case Lube II to derim. I found the RCBS Lube to work very well in my "derim" die when deriming the 22lr brass. It is like a liquid soap. It rinses clean and leaves no oily residue. This is important in not just your jackets but the stainless steel pins in your tumbler too. If you use lanolin/oil based lube to derim you have to soak the formed jackets in nasty chemicals to get rid of all the oil. This takes too long and you still may wind up with oil on your stainless pins and inside your jackets.

    3. Clean the brass. Wet tumbler with stainless steel works best but I'm sure a vibrating cleaner with standard corn cob or walnut media will work too.

    4. Cast cores. I use a custom 11 cavity mold that drops cores at around 58-59 grains. Average weight variance is typically +/- 1.5 grains or better, one shouldn't worry too much about exact core weights if they want to make a LOT of bullets in less time, we all know the 22lr brass can vary +/- a grain. Those of you with adjustable core molds, I don't know the accuracy of such molds so do check to make sure all cavities drop cores close in weight if you choose not to bleed them. For those that wish to bleed cores, no problem, try using the RCBS case lube for the same time saving reasons mentioned in the first step.


    ONLY USE QUALITY LANOLIN BASED SWAGE LUBE IN CORE SEAT DIE AND POINT FORM DIE IN STEPS #5&6 LISTED BELOW.


    5. Seat core in jacket. You should easily be able to seat 600 cores an hour, that is only 10 per minute or one every six seconds.

    6. Form point of bullet. When done with all bullets grab beach towel and pore a good number of jackets on to it, grab like a hammock and tumble bullets back and forth a few times to clean off excess lube. You are good to go!

    OK..... I can hear you say again.... "WHAT, YOU DON'T ANNEAL THE 22LR JACKET IN THIS PROCESS!"

    Nope! The 22lr when used as a jacket is, as far as I know, is the thinnest jacket out there on a 22 cal bullet, so it doesn't require a lot of pressure to form into a bullet and it certainly isn't hard on barrels. What the annealing and softening the jacket dose do is allow us to form the 55 grain hollow point bullets without the nose of the bullet folding over on itself. You see, the top of the jacket above the 45 grain seated lead core is unsupported initially in the point forming step and if it is not annealed it will fold. BUT!!!!! when we seat a 58-59 grain lead core it nearly fills the entire jacket supporting it all the way to the tip. The jacket cannot fold in on its self because the heavier lead core is preventing it. You do wind up with a lead tipped SP with a weight of 69 grains but who cares!! We made them quickly and results where perfect and they shoot very well for me.

    For those of you that have seen what a 55 grain bullet made from this jacket will do to a sage rat at 3000fps.......... you should see what a soft lead tipped 69 grain bullet at the same FPS will do to them in this thin jacketed bullet. It is even better!

    I posted all this info with pics a few years ago. I'll see if I can find it here and post a link.....

    I only tried this technique at 69-70 grains, but it might work for a lighter bullet too. I know at a certain weight, maybe about 60-65 grains the lead tip is pretty small and may not be able to support the force of ejecting from the die without deforming the lead tip. I don't know at what weight the jacket will not be supported enough and fold in on itself either, I just know that 69 grains was good to go. I found that at 69 grains there was enough lead at the tip that it didn't deform. One could certainly use a slightly harder alloy lead (if they cast their cores) to allow the lead tip to support itself from ejection from the die. Or if one has a lead tip die of course.

    I read a commit once that you don't want too much lead at the tip. It was mentioned the lead tip could possibly "droop" in flight? I don't know the validity or background of the one that mentioned it and I can't confirm this but ...... I know darn well that these 69 grain bullets I made where very accurate on paper at 125 yrds when I tested them and scored a LOT of hits on ground squirrels out to 300 yrds and more.

    I shoot these from a 12 twist 223rem with no problems in accuracy or stability. I thought the slower twist may have stability issues but nope! Certainly a 69 grain bullet should shoot well or better in a typical 9 twist.

    There is one additional possible advantage, not just in saving time but possible increase in accuracy too. Since we didn't anneal these jackets they are all exactly the same hardness, as in uniform, all the same as they came from manufacture. It can be a challenge to get a perfect anneal of every single case unless you have a good oven and consistent technique. Skipping the anneal step may just eliminate a variable.

    I do know that annealing jackets too much creates a lot of challenges. Long ago I cooked over 1,000 perfect 6mm jackets made from 22 mag brass that got too soft. I used open flame in a gutted BBQ grill and cooked them way too much. These jackets are way too soft and hard to make proper bullets with. It is my opinion after that, that a jacket is better to be a little on the hard side then soft. I now only use my gas cooking oven (set on self cleaning so it reaches 800 degrees) to anneal my jackets made from rim cases. I get very good results annealing this way now.


    BT
    Last edited by BT Sniper; 08-19-2022 at 01:53 PM.
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  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Nice write up Brian,
    The only eyebrow raising comment in that write up is” skip the core bleed”. I really like to be ( and is easily achievable with a good core bleed and a well trimmed jacket) of +- 0.2gn
    I agree with you timings and thoughts on lead tips. I work on 5seconds per projectile per step required in the process. Some steps will take 6 some 4 so works out to be about 5 sec. I built a pneumatic derimming machine and it is GOLD.
    I am on the other end of the scale though and make 30-50gn projectiles. A 40gn, short jacket, round soft nose with the thin jackets is a potent pills on any small critter. Mainly for older hornets with short magazines. Like you, I am always looking for ways to shorten the time frame. I am interested to hear if you have come up with a quick method of trimming jackets to custom lengths. I have it down to 5 sec per jacket, ready to core seat but is a necessary step if i want a custom jacket.
    Agreed, the annealing step is totally unnecessary ( for a .224 projectile ) if the lead core fills the jacket or makes a soft point. Making a round nose, requires very little pressure.
    Just on a side note, I draw the 22lr case down to 17cal and as it is so small a diameter that it will support the PF process with no lead in the front and will not fold. I have made many thousands 17gn projectiles with a .530” jacket. The jacket weighs 6gn by itself. These must be fired very fast to stabilise but are dynamite. A .490” jacket is more realistic though.
    I do not have access to the RCBS lube so will have to stick with the lanolin and castor oil.
    Please keep the tips and tricks coming.

    Bill
    The bloke out in the field is always right until proven otherwise.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Bill and thanks for the tips you have listed.

    I'm still working on editing the post above as mentioned in the line under the pic. I'll delete the line there when I feel I am done with the post and techniques listed. I did have a mention of "skip core bleed" in previous post but have since edited it.

    I can get away without bleeding the cores only because I get good cores from my mold at pretty consistent weights, and I am careful to "feel" in the press when a heavy core gets into the bunch.

    As far as consistent weights go????? Obviously it is more critical the lighter the bullet as a 1-2 grain difference becomes a higher percentage but at a bullet weight of nearly 70 grains, I'm good with it.

    I figure good accuracy (1MOA) out to about 300 yrds should be achievable with bullets made from 22lr brass. I'm sure hits can and have been made further. If one expects accuracy from a 22 cal bullet at 70 grains or less made from 22lr brass beyond 300 grains..... well, I'll have to do more testing. I figure a change in bullet weight of +/- a grain or two might not be that noticeable inside 300 yrds which is the range I do most my ground squire shooting, they are about the size of a pop can.

    I'll continue to edit and update this first post.

    Swage on!

    Brian

    p.s. I have a pic here somewhere of the jig I use to trim 17HMR brass with a Harbor Freight mini chop saw. I was able to go pretty darn quick. I'm sure a pinch trim die may be more accurate, I have made one but haven't used it yet as I haven't had the need.
    Last edited by BT Sniper; 08-19-2022 at 01:08 PM.
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    I actually machined a mold once that held the 22lr jacket in place figuring I could cast/poor the lead core directly into the jacket, like Speer hot cores. It was a challenge. Trapped air pockets were common and it was hard to load a hot mold with the small light weight jackets. It did work, sometimes. I might have got a 50% success rate. Maybe with some more trial and error I might have got a design figured out. Probably would have needed a smaller poor hole in the sprue plate to make a smaller stream of lead and possibly allow trapped air to escape.

    I did form bullets out of all of those. Probably did a few hundred or more, weights where all over the place, air pockets and what not. I loaded them all up, 50-70 grain weights..... didn't matter, all with the same charge of H-335 and surprised the heck out of myself with how many hits I got from these in the squirrel fields that year.

    When the technique worked it made great 70 grain bullets. I sorted out all of the bullets that actually came together the way they should and separated them from the rejects with the air pocket voids. It was the testing and performance of these first 70 grain bullets that lead me to perfect the techniques mentioned in the first post where I seated the core in traditional fashion rather than try to poor the core in.

    Anything is possible. Just a matter of trial and error till you get it right.

    Swage on!

    Brian
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    B.T. I tried bonding cores by placing a bit of flux on the core placing it in jacket in Metal stand then heating several in each batch erupted ! Later I found it may have been priming compound that even survived the derimming process .
    Tests did not really show the bonded bullets shot better or held together better. That bubbling issue went away when I baked the casings first in only try I did .

    I also did some work with shot as a core I found #9 shot was to small A coyote shot only got a huge crater on ribcage and ran off. #2 shot had some promise but would exit a raccoon broadside .
    When I think back on all the **** I learned in high school it's a wonder I can think at all ! And then my lack of education hasn't hurt me none I can read the writing on the wall.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Ref the pinch trim die, I have one and can throughly say I do NOT recommend them for speed. For the 17 I have a Dave Corbin draw / trim dies and they are the winners for speed production, draw the jacket and trimmed to length in the one stroke. The punches do wear but I build my own now.
    For the .224” jackets, I use the end mill / drill press in a collet method but have put a pneumatic ram on the collet to open close the mechanism and the jacket ejection from the collet is also air eject. Load, Trim and eject a full length derimmed case down to .350” in 5 - 6 seconds. I have played with the idea of drawing down a 17 WSM case to a .224” jacket in a Corbin draw / trim die as it is so quick and it would iron out any rim issues at the same time. The 17 WSM case is easy to derim and from there, there are a lot of possibilities.
    I like your thoughts on speed of production. It seems we are all trying to economise our time.
    I find swaging / trying something different very addictive plus the building of new gear to save time is my soul food. I spend a lot of time turning ideas over in my head to find solutions. Love it.
    Last edited by Bills Shed; 08-20-2022 at 06:27 PM.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    I had time to work on some bullets using BT's formula on making bullets and not annealing the jackets.
    I tried some lighter grain bullets and settled on a 68 grain. With my dies, the lighter bullet would still overlap at the nose.
    I also had to seat the cores into the jackets. My Corbin dies rely on the core seating for expansion to the proper diameter.

    I tried different lengths of jackets. All were pretty consistent, staying around 68 grains. +/- 3 tenths.

    The only two or three that were 69 were 22rf making with "A" or with an "R" in a box on the head stamp. The "R" was not for Remington. They look to be from foreign manufactures. These cases gave me trouble on the De-rimming die also, sticking on the punch.

    It does save a lot of time making bullets and I wanted to see how much variation I would have with the different lengths.

    Thanks BT
    Last edited by Ajax111; 08-28-2022 at 12:23 PM.

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    Boolit Buddy Fla9-40's Avatar
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    BT do you sell the "boat tail" die separately?
    It Is Intuitively Obvious To The Most Casual Observer With The Least Amount Of Experience

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    I started swaging .224 bullets from rimfire cases back in 1984 when I bought the Corbin set. I started with reloading press dies, then after a year I bought a CSP press and type M dies, which I still use. Perhaps I am a little anal, but I only use rimfire brass we have fired, separated by brand and lot. This eliminates most concerns about running into a heavy case and over pressuring a die and also gives consistent jackets. But BT is right, you have to pay attention to what you are doing to avoid breaking a die. If it doesn't feel right, stop pushing. Since we buy 22LR in 500 round bricks, that is typically how many I'll do in a batch. We go through enough 22s around here, so I always have an adequate supply to make jackets. I clean the brass in an ultrasonic cleaner, using hot water, with vinegar mixed in. Using the ultrasonic cleaner takes care of most of the primer residue, almost completely eliminating wear on the de-rimmer punch. From the cleaner, the brass is rinsed and then goes into a Lee production pot for drying and annealing, which by happenstance will hold 500 cases. I set the pot on 6, cover the top with foil, let it run for 45 minutes, then unplug it and let it cool with the foil in place. This results in brass that seldom breaks during de-rimming and rarely folds during point forming. I used to do it in the oven long ago, but the casting pot gives much more consistent results. I cast cores in a Corbin adjustable core mold. I've never used wire, and I have never had to pay for pure scrap lead all these years, being able to scrounge what I need. However, the scrounging opportunities present themselves less and less these days, of course. I used to make different weights years ago, experimenting. But a long time ago I settled on a 60 gr open tip bullet for most things, and a 65 grain spire point (Corbin tip forming die) for seating out in a long-throated Ruger No. 1 .223. I swage cores and have to tailor them to the brand/lot of the brass I use to get the consistent 60 gr weight.

    So perhaps a little more work than the streamlined procedure detailed above, but I like the consistency. If I miss, I like to have some confidence it was me, not the bullet. I like Federal cases because they tend to fail in flight less often, but I use all brands.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Those are good looking bullets.
    NRA Benefactor Member NRA Golden Eagle

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    I just got done doing about two thousand jackets and was out of acetone to clean the lube off the derimed cases. I wanted to see if I could skip Brian's first list step #3 and #4and go to annealing. So I put the lubed jackets into my electric oven, self clean step. The smell was much stronger but I have a dedicated oven in the garage for powder coating so no PO'd wife. I was surprised at how clean the jackets came out with the stainless pins, citric acid and dawn. The self clean oven burned away the lube so I will do this method for now on. Hope this helps some one else save a lot of time. BTW I use BT Sniper dies.
    Last edited by rcslotcar; 09-30-2023 at 03:47 PM.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Bill Shed - GONRA sez try STP Oil Treatment for Forming / Swaging Lube.
    Verks for me!

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by GONRA View Post
    Bill Shed - GONRA sez try STP Oil Treatment for Forming / Swaging Lube.
    Verks for me!
    Thanks for the info. I have read of this STP oil. I had to look it up. It is a company that sells oil. Not to sure what oil treatment you refer to but at this stage I will stick to my Lanolin and castor oil. It works well. Easy clean up and can buy it buy the kilogram very cheaply.

    Please keep the updates coming as it is always good to hear what people are doing.

    Bill
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I'm trying to "Copy" this to be able to print it, and once I highlight it, it won't "Copy." I'm trying to figure out why? Only happens here on the CB site. I can usually "highlight" what I want, then right click, and "Copy" appears. I click on that, & then open a "Word" file and paste & print.
    Here,, the "Copy" won't work. So, I'm trying something else.

    Well, I managed to finally figure out a way to copy & print this info.

    I had to use the "Reply with Quote" here. Once I posted it, I was able to copy the post, and then go to Word & print it.
    I deleted all the quote stuff here afterwards, to reduce the amount of stuff in this thread.

    Good info BT!
    Last edited by contender1; 10-02-2023 at 11:24 AM.

  15. #15
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    Good shooting and Swage on!

    BT
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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