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It took about 10 days, but I finished 6000 - 60 gr. .224 bullets made from rimfire cases. This particular batch started life as Winchester brass. They are destined for my 223. Fired at approx. 2800-2900 fps, they are deadly on most varmints. These are a semi-pointed design with exposed lead tips, inspired by protected point bullets.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


Safe Shooting!
Steve Redgwell
www.303british.com

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. - Mark Twain
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[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
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WOW... jealous


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I'd love to see some pics of how you make these... amazing


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I can do that, but it will take a few posts.

Anyone can make this type of bullet. No fancy equipment or hydraulic press is needed. It’s an aspect of the shooting hobby that’s always been around but is not popular. You can make bullets for pennies a shot, even today.

A Short History

During World War Two, the metals used to make bullet jackets – copper and zinc – were in short supply. The man who would go on to found Speer Bullet Company, Vernon Speer, figured out a way to recycle 22 rimfire cases and substitute them for traditional gilding metal.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Since then, shooters have been able to create their own at home. The process is straightforward and easily learned. In fact, many of today’s custom bullet businesses started in someone’s basement or hobby room. Even today, with none of the problems of wartime shortages, the fascination with making homemade bullets still attracts the do-it-yourselfer.

Some hobbyists – especially cowboy action and handgun shooters – like to create their own lead bullets by casting. Users of jacketed bullets can do this too. Making jacketed bullets is certainly cheaper than buying them ready made from a store, but there is a trade off. You swap the money saved for your own time and labour.

Some people believe that it is dangerous to cast your own bullets or cast your own bullet cores. You have to melt the lead which means heat and hazardous fumes. A safer alternative to this is swaging. Swaging is the term used to describe shaping lead into bullets under pressure. There are no high temperatures or fumes because the metal is cold formed. In many cases, you can use a standard reloading press or step up and get a special bench mounted press specifically designed for the job. I'll show that in another post.

Making jacketed bullets from 22 rimfire cases is certainly a niche area but is very rewarding. Like handloading, there is a real satisfaction when using your own creations to shoot targets or take game. It’s more rewarding than buying a box of bullets at the store.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The Difference between Commercial and Rimfire Jackets

Commercial hunting bullets use tapered jackets. The wall gets progressively thicker as you go from the tip to the base. When you make jackets from 22 rimfire cases however, the wall thickness is constant. They are approximately 10 thousandths of an inch thick from top to bottom. Thinly jacketed bullets are excellent for varmint hunters because they expand quite rapidly. For this reason, the maximum recommended muzzle velocity should not exceed 3200 fps (some say 3000 fps). Push them any faster and the bullets fly apart when they leave the barrel. This is more of a problem these days because of faster twist barrels. For 55 to 65 grain weights shot from a 222 or 223 Remington though, this is usually not a concern.

I can break it down into core making, jacket forming, bullet assembly and targets.

Core Making

Cup and core bullets are made of a jacket and a lead core. I make cores from extruded lead wire. I cut them to a short length - approximately 3 grains more than the finished weight - and then put in a core forming die. This makes them perfectly cylindrical and they weigh the same. If you look at the base of the die, you can see extruded lead that has bled off. Because lead is very dense and swaged into an area inside of the die, the cores come out very close to the same weight. The bottom picture is a core mold.

I have also tried melting lead and pouring it into a core making mold, but it is easier to cut lead wire.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]...[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]...[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


Safe Shooting!
Steve Redgwell
www.303british.com

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. - Mark Twain
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Jacket Making

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Commercial jackets come ready to use. They’re shipped in plastic bags, buckets, or in heavy cardboard boxes. 22 rimfire cases that will be made into bullet jackets have to be cleaned, lubricated and their rims unfolded. You can always spot jackets made from rimfire cases. They have the ammunition maker’s stamp on the bottom.

I get jackets from one of the clubs of which I am a member. I buy these buckets and the money goes to our junior shooters.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]...[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Unfolding the rim is accomplished using a jacket making die. The case is pushed through the die from the bottom using a punch. When it comes out the top, the rim is unfolded and you have a case! Above is a picture of a jacket making die mounted on an Rock Chucker press.

I have a pneumatic version that is a lot easier on my arm. Whether they are formed with a manual or pneumatic press, all the cases emerge as nice jackets that look like little brass drinking tumblers.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

One thing I should mention. Before you actually make the jackets, they have to be cleaned. The crud that is leftover after the primer composition burns has to be removed. It is abrasive and hard on the punch.

It also helps to sort the case by headstamp. Below is my sorting set up. I toss them into dollar store plastic containers. When the container is full, I toss them in an ultrasonic cleaner. I use the ultrasonic cleaner a second time, after the jacket is formed. Sorting by headstamp, and two ultrasonic baths, tightens up the groups.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


Safe Shooting!
Steve Redgwell
www.303british.com

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. - Mark Twain
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[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
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Bullet Assembly

With a cup and core bullet, it is simply a matter of placing the formed core into the rimfire jacket and squeezing the two together. Here's a picture of the four assembly stages but with a commercial jacket. There are three dies that make these into a finished bullet.

1. You slide the finished core into a jacket. The outside of the jacket is greased so that it will not stick in the die. The picture on the right shows 200 bullets waiting for step two. That is, seating the core under pressure.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]...[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

2. The bullet ram is raised and in conjunction with the punch, pushes into the jacket and seats the core. A couple of things happen. First, thousands of pounds of pressure are exerted onto the lead and jacket. As a result, the bullet swells slightly, almost to the finished diameter of the bullet. The second is that the lead core sits below the end of the bullet jacket. This will help for the third step when the point is formed.

3. After coming out of the core seater, they go into the second die which forms the point. PF (point forming) dies can be ordered with different ogives to create everything from an RN to an ELD.

4. For my bullets, I use a third die called a tip former. Looking at the above picture, the TF die smooths the lead over and finishes the tip. In this case, a modified protected point. The above bullets are .314s, but all the dies work the same way. Once the bullet comes out of the TF die, it is ready to reload.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

This is my bullet bench. The first press on the left, is set up to produce bullet cores. The middle press is for core seating and/or jacket making. The bottle catches the finished rimfire jackets. The third, for point forming and tip forming.

---

Note

For OT (open tip) target bullets or HPs, the lead does not extrude past the tip after point forming. A different punch is used which keeps the tip a precise diameter. In the case of the HP punch, it also presses slightly into the top of the lead to form a hollow point in the lead. There is no tip forming die, so the process is faster because only two dies are needed.

www.corbins.com and www.rceco.com produce dies and equipment for people who want to make their own jacketed bullets. Corbins was originally formed by brothers Dave and Richard Corbin. Richard left the company and started his own - rceco. Dave recently sold corbins.com. Both are older fellows, so it's time for the next generation to take over.

This last picture is an RN 65 grain bullet I designed, loaded into into a 223.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


Safe Shooting!
Steve Redgwell
www.303british.com

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. - Mark Twain
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This is what polished bullets made from rimfire cases look like.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]...[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Here are some 60 grain homemade bullet groups. They can shoot.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]...[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


Safe Shooting!
Steve Redgwell
www.303british.com

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. - Mark Twain
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As requested: Two close up bullet pix.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
65 gr. side view

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
headstamp


Safe Shooting!
Steve Redgwell
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Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. - Mark Twain
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Thanks, interesting post!


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Originally Posted by StGeorger
Thanks, interesting post!

My pleasure. And thanks to everyone who has emailed and PMed.


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Steve Redgwell
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Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. - Mark Twain
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Today, i needed to test the latest batch of bullets made from RF cases. The best groups were with Varget. Not really a surprise, but it was an improvised shoot off between a Rem 700 and a TC Contender.

They were 65 gr. Custom Gold bullets. The 700 was shot off a front and rear rest. The Contender was shot off a bipod. The loads were identical. It's apples and oranges comparing a rest to a bipod, but it was great fun!

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

…and not at all scientific! 10 shots - 5 from the Rem and 5 from the Contender. I averaged the two group sizes together. The clear winner was Varget, which averaged 0.67 inches. (Rem - 0.58 in. and TC - .0.76 .in) Varget was the only powder that shot under an inch for both rifles.

Second place went to AA 2495 at 1.06 in. (Rem - 0.82 in. and TC - 1.29 in.)

Single best group went to IMR 8208, shot from the Rem 700.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

The top five 5 shot groups were -

1. 0.56 in (Remington 700) IMR 8208
2. 0.58 in (Remington 700) Varget
3. 0.76 in (TC Contender) Varget
4. 0.82 in (Remington 700) AA2495
5. 0.83 (TC) IMR 4064


Safe Shooting!
Steve Redgwell
www.303british.com

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. - Mark Twain
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I should point out a couple of things about these, or any bullet made from rimfire jackets. The first is the jackets are thin - typically about 10 thousandths of an inch thick and are untapered. That is not a bad thing for varmint or plinking bullets however.

The second is the mark left by the firing pin on the case when it was still a rimfire cartridge. It can cause flyers and can make finding the correct COAL more difficult. Sometimes, that one shot that is separate from the rest is the result of the firing pin mark on the jacket - NOT because the OAL is wrong!

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Below, firing pin mark on second bullet on the right

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

These are varmint bullets with thin jackets. They are not designed to be pushed at the highest possible velocity. That is something that most reloaders find hard to understand. Any bullet, regardless of who makes it, does not have to be pushed as fast as possible in order to work! Accuracy isn't usually found at maximum speed!

They are RNs and make a good, inexpensive bullet for a maximum range of about 250 yd.

I can attest that they work well on coyotes, skunks, groundhogs and a couple other critters that needed to be taken out. When you get .75 inch groups at 100 yd., and they cost a few cents each to make, it’s win - win!


Safe Shooting!
Steve Redgwell
www.303british.com

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. - Mark Twain
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Very interesting….thanks for taking the time to share this with us.


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It was my pleasure.


Safe Shooting!
Steve Redgwell
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Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. - Mark Twain
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I quite enjoyed this. I have made few jackets from rimfire empties but my press looks like the smaller one in the photo of three. Will get into it again soon. I have a need for economical bullets. Thanks again Steve. Be Well Brothers, RZ.


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My pleasure.

These days, it’s really nice to have alternatives to buying from a store. Virtually every range has spent rimfire cases scattered around.

That first press is a Corbin Series II press which is no longer made. If I was going to get a first bullet press now, I would choose the Sea Girt-3 Press from Richard Corbin at rceco.com. It’s a better press than the Corbin S Press and it is cheaper - $325 vs $950.


Safe Shooting!
Steve Redgwell
www.303british.com

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. - Mark Twain
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One of the things that bothers some home bullet manufacturers is cutting lead wire into cores for insertion into the jackets. As some of you may be aware, Corbins is under new ownership and offers cut lead cores to those who find core prep too arduous. They are available in a number of diameters. See the link below for the cores and links to bullet jackets, dies, etc.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


https://www.corbins.com/shop/pre-cut-lead-1744


Safe Shooting!
Steve Redgwell
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Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. - Mark Twain
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Very clever.


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