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Anyone into swaging? How does one get started?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Fasteenn, May 29, 2013.

  1. Fasteenn

    Fasteenn PDX Member

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    Looking for advice. Given the lack of bullets to reload with, considering setting up some swaging equipment to pres out some plinking rounds. Anyone know if I can do this with a rock chucker, or do I need to get some super spendy press + dies?

    Anyone around here do any swaging?
     
  2. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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  3. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    This has been a solution to .22 jacketed bullet shortages for years. Most ranges are swimming in .22 LR brass that just goes to the scrap man.

    With the Corbin dies, all you'll need is a stout press, some lead wire (see Roto Metals website), and a good supply of nice clean .22 brass. You won't get a "Berger Quality" bullet but they'll perform amazingly well considering that the main accuracy part (jacket) is made from scrap.
     
  4. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Anyone into swaging? How does one get started?


    Start by collecting a tidy sum of cash.
     
  5. jonn5335

    jonn5335 Longview Active Member

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    I looked into it for a while and decided against it. Not only is it expensive but extremely time consuming to actually produce bullets. Now I just buy my rifle bullets in bulk and cast my own pistol bullets. I know AMProducts swages on a rock chucker and I'm sure he will chime in and expand on this.
     
  6. lakecitybrass

    lakecitybrass Albany Member

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    When I was in my teens - early 1960s - my father had a swaging press and he cast his own cores to make half jacket bullets, but that was then and now the price to produce a few thousand bullets is not worth the effort, in my opinion. I agree with ogre and John5335.
    A friend of mine in Toledo, Oregon bought some used swaging stuff years ago and he used .22 magnum brass to make 40 grain .223 bullets. They weren't too bad but not very economical.
     
  7. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Unless you're really looking for an expensive way to produce very small amounts of bullets, I wouldn't recommend swaging. The alternative is to make friends with a local die shop, and learn how to make your own tooling and have them cut it for you. I have my own machine shop, so I get to skip a step, I still spend more time making tools than i do making bullets, but that's largely personal preference. I've largely given up swaging with standard reloading presses, and I'm now using a 10 ton flywheel press, and I'm looking to spend some serious money to get into an eyelet transfer press. Note: I make bullets as a business, not just because I like bullets.

    Corbin and RCE are both near white city, OR, yes they produce swaging gear, but are incredibly expensive for what it is. In general, after you buy the tooling you're still looking at close to $.50/each for your bullets regardless of caliber.

    If you're handy, I would recommend checking out the guys over on the castboolits forum, those guys still teach me things about the subject from time to time. Unless you're really stuck, I would recommend just buying bullets.

    If you have any more questions, shoot me an e-mail as I barely have time to spend on the board these days. drew@ammomfg.com
     
    bcdon and (deleted member) like this.
  8. elsie

    elsie Way over there on the left Well-Known Member

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    My brother swages bullets for 8x56R. Mainly because they are hard to find and expensive when you do. The bullet diameter is .329 rather than the usual .323 for most 8mm. It's amazing what difference that .006 makes.

    I think he also started swaging bullets for Dad's 22 HiPower. Both die sets he uses are Corbin.


    elsie
     
  9. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    For something like that, you can also simply "bump" commercial bullets up to size. Normally this is a process called upsetting and is fairly easy to do. Swaging for the 22 HiPower is certainly doable, however I think PRVI makes bullets in that caliber, not sure where to get them though.

    Also, 8x56R is available as brand new ammo from PRVI and wolf, the brass is also reloadable, might check with them for bullet availability.

    Bullets: Graf & Sons - PRVI BULLET 8x56R (.330) 208gr FMJBT 100/BAG
    New ammo made by hornady: Graf & Sons - HRN AMMO 8x56R HUNGARIAN MANN. 205gr SP 20/B 10/C
     
  10. elsie

    elsie Way over there on the left Well-Known Member

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    True. I've even got a box of the PRVI 8x56R that I haven't shot yet.

    But he got started on it about 10 or so years ago before PRVI stuff was available. If you knew him, you'd know better than to try to talk him out of it. B-)

    OTOH, it's a bit like casting your own bullets or reloading itself; you kind of do it mostly for the joy of doing it. If you added in the value of your time, you're probably not really saving any money. Particularly with a single-stage press.


    elsie
     
  11. tdocz

    tdocz Beaverton Member

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    I don't swage bullets but I know someone that does. I've discussed it with him a few times thinking I might want to consider doing it myself. Aside from the expense, the other main issue with doing it is time. According to my buddy, only about 1 in 10 of the bullets he swages are concentric enough to be loaded. His yield rates, maybe due to the dies he uses or how he centers the brass on the lead I don't know, make swaging extremely time prohibitive, IMHO. Since he is retired, I think the only reason he swages is for something to do...

    "Let them eat cake"