Making bullets

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by wildchild, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. wildchild

    wildchild Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone maker there own bullets?
    Cost lately is making me cut back from shootin. Considered making my own bullets.
    I'm guessing the upfront start costs will be plenty, but does anyone know exactly what's involved? Dies, press, lead wire and hard to get jackets? Bullets keep getting higher and higher there's gotta be a way.
     
  2. Varminator 911

    Varminator 911 Well-Known Member

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    Making your own isn't going to lower the cost. Not unless you shoot an awful lot of bullets. And you will be very hard pressed to make em as accurate as any of the major producers.

    Either buy the cheaper jacketed for fun or shoot cast lead.

    Just don't see how you will beat Berger, Barnes, Nosler, or Sierra quality at a lower price doing it yourself.
     

  3. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    Elkaholic rolls his own, I'm working that direction but the numbers don't look good for being a solution for cost but for making a LR specialty bullet at high precision making your own looks good to me. It sounds like it's going to take about $2200 to get into it, then you add components and the learning curve which will likely cost in both components and barrels and you have something along the lines of buying lathes and tooling to make your own rifles to save money, which from experience is not a money saving deal but well worth it when you or other guys drop game from distance with a rifle you built to the specs you want.
     
  4. Bullet bumper

    Bullet bumper Well-Known Member

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    I make a lot of my own bullets mainly hunting and BR type bullets. However my 308 6 caliber ogive flat base hunting bullets shoot quite well at long range also.
    You can make an accurate bullet at home the benchrest crowd do it all the time. Can you make a better bullet for long range than Sierra or Berger ? Well maybe not better but just as good is possible with the right gear and knowledge. Don't forget that the 1000 yard group record was broken with flat base bullets . So boat tails are not the be all and end all of accuracy . They may well shoot flatter but not always tighter .
    You can save money making normal flat base bullets if you are smart and learn the bullet business . I bought 4000 short 6.5 mm pistol jackets for almost nothing as the were surplus from a friend of mine . I drew down those jackets to 6mmm 243 . Made an 81 grain Protected Point flat base bullet for my 243W. The only real cost was the lead cores which I molded from electrical cable scrap lead which is near pure lead and very soft in a Corbin gang mold.
    In the end the 4000 bullets will cost about $50 and the first test groups are running well under 1 MOA . However the amount of physical work to make them is substantial in thousands of press pulls .
    This is an example of what you can do when you have all the gear but the gear costs . However you can start small with some commercial jackets and core wire and just one press and a die set.
    Generally when I use core wire and commercial jackets I can make an accurate flat base PP bullet for about half of what they cost to buy BR bullets but the saving is reduced when compared to cheap and second bullets but mine will be generally more accurate than seconds or very cheap bullets.
    Also it is dead simple to make your own core bonded bullets that will perform exactly like a Woodleigh and even better than A Rem Core Lokt .
    It does take some training and study to get the process right it took me a few years to work out how to do it but now I can knock up a batch of bullets without even thinking too much. I never had anyone to advise me as the internet was not around back then but I did have some good books to get me started. I think it is worth doing if you have more time than money .
    I gave some of my 144 grain 308 bullets made on a CH jacket to a friend at the range who shoots silhouette , worst mistake I ever made , every time I see him he begs me for more and wants to pay top dollar. They must be just right for his gun . They shoot very well in mine also. However I am not interested in making them for others to shoot.
    The best starting place is Corbins. Don't let the salesmen tell you that you can't make accurate bullets with tool steel dies that is just pure garbage.
    A lot of potential swagers are scared off before they start because people say you need carbide dies worth thousands to start , pure BS .
    Here is a picture of two 308 bullets I make they are just as precision as any factory bullet but have a lower BC due to larger meplat but that is good for expansion on soft skin game , the close up photo makes the meplat look bigger than it really is in comparison to the bullet itself , however they still shoot quite well.
     

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  5. EddieHarren

    EddieHarren Well-Known Member

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    I make 308, 6MM and 224 bullets. Jackets are expensive and have gone up considerably as of the first of the year. I will disagree with our Australian friend only on the point of carbide vs. steel dies. You can make very accurate bullets on steel dies but, in the case of the 308 bullets, it requires less effort with carbide. My dies are Niemi & Pindell made.
     
  6. wildchild

    wildchild Well-Known Member

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    @ bumper bullets thanks for the winded reply. I google making bullets and Corbins came up so I'll be calln em 2marow. Thanks
     
  7. elkaholic

    elkaholic Well-Known Member

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    I've been making my own for about 6 years now and while it can be very personally rewarding and fun, it would be a huge stretch to say that you will save $$$$:D
    The benefit is, just as in handloading, you can taylor the bullet to meet your needs and it IS possible to make VERY accurate bullets that perform on game. This won't come automatically however! There is a learning curve! Have fun!......Rich
     
  8. Bullet bumper

    Bullet bumper Well-Known Member

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    The difference in effort between Carbide and Tool steel when using a horizontal press as against a reloading type press is almost nothing for 308 .
    If you bought a Corbin vertical press the difference would be even less.
    The difference is not a valid reason to buy either die material.
    The most valid reason to buy carbide is lasting ability. The carbide dies will hold the critical match between Core Seater and Point Former way longer than a tool steel die . However the tool steel die is much cheaper to replace than the carbide die. Also with tool steel you can make your own core swagers and core seater's fairly easy with a small lathe . Point Formers are more difficult though.
     
  9. EddieHarren

    EddieHarren Well-Known Member

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    I make all of my bullets on vertical presses. I used Homer Culvers steel dies fo 308 bullets before I bought the Niemi carbide dies. My hand would be swollen, when using the steel dies, after pointing up a few thousand bullets. Since I switched to the carbide dies I have never had any problems with swelling. To each his own but, I'll take the carbide for my dies.
     
  10. Bullet bumper

    Bullet bumper Well-Known Member

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    I have made thousands of 308 bullets on Corbin presses and never had a swollen hand ever . You get tired hands and arms sure but swollen no ?
    You are doing something wrong or the dies are no good or you are not using the last part of the press ram travel where the most leverage is or you are using excessive core seating pressure adding fatigue , maybe you suffer from tendonitis or arthritis . If you are making bullets for sale then carbide is the way to go .
    If you are using a reloading type press with minimal leverage and a long ogive bullet then the Carbide might help but in a big purpose built swaging press you could barley feel the difference.
    I use the corbin horizontal presses and they are incredibly efficient and have great leverage . I could buy a new bigger verticle press if I wanted but there is no need . I can make a 308 bullet with about the same effort as a 6mm bullet . Because the ram only travels about 2 inch's it is very powerful compact little press. Has more leverage than a RCBS or Lee Classic cast.
     
  11. Bullet bumper

    Bullet bumper Well-Known Member

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    I have made thousands of 308 bullets on Corbin presses and never had a swollen hand ever . You get tired hands and arms sure but swollen no ?
    You are doing something wrong or the dies are no good or you are not using the last part of the press ram travel where the most leverage is or you are using excessive core seating pressure , maybe you suffer from tendonitis or arthritis .
    If you are using a reloading type press with minimal leverage and a long ogive bullet then the Carbide might help but in a big purpose built swaging press you could barley feel the difference.
    I use the corbin horizontal presses and they are incredibly efficient and have great leverage . I could buy a new bigger verticle press if I wanted but there is no need . I can make a 308 bullet with about the same effort as a 6mm bullet . Because the ram only travels about 2 inch's it is very powerful compact little press. Has more leverage than a RCBS or Lee Classic cast.
     
  12. EddieHarren

    EddieHarren Well-Known Member

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    As I stated, "To each his own". Adios.
     
  13. elkaholic

    elkaholic Well-Known Member

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    The only time I've had any trouble with a Corbin press being difficult was when I first got it and tried to use the long stroke position (for reloading) rather than the short stroke for swaging. I have loaded .308 bullets up to 270 grains. I don't mean to offend anyone but, something out of the ordinary is going on there!........Rich
     
  14. RMulhern

    RMulhern Well-Known Member

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    bigngreen

    $2200.00 to get into it my azz!! 20 years ago just my dies were $5600.00 and THAT didn't include the presses required to do quality work....which there were 5 of!! By the time you figure YOUR TIME, cost of the jackets...which you're probably gonna have to buy from Walt Berger (you'll take a bend-over there with no lube by the way) and wire lead.....you're right back to square one if not more on cost! The only major benefit is IF you eventually learn how to make a good quality bullet...is just the self-satisfaction that you learned how to do it!! My suggestion is BUY BULLETS IN LARGE QUANTITY.....and spend your time on the range!!:Dlightbulb