Progress on the e-book (Swaging)
Quite some time ago I had decided to publish an e-book on how to cast your own projectiles and load ammunition at home. Other projects got in the way unfortunately. Recently I picked up once again on completing the e-book project, but it has grown considerably larger than before. Now to be included will be sections on how to swage your own copper jacket projectiles for hunting. This will also include sections on how to turn case necks, how to use a case master gauge to measure concentricity as well as bullet run out. These additional chapters will show the average person how to make high performance long distance target or hunting loads that will ring the maximum out of your chosen firearms. So keeping this in mind, I’m posting a bit of a “sneak peek” of some of the upcoming projects over the next few months of filming. Yes — instead of a printed format e-book — I decided it would be better for folks to learn by seeing and not having to read about the steps in the entire process.
I start off with standard .22 long rifle ammo. Fun to plink with and shoot at old tin cans or paper targets. Perfect for teaching new shooters about firearms safety. But what to do with the expended cases ? Not really usable or reloadable, but I save the empties anyway and repurpose them for another use.
The empty .22lr cases are cleaned inside from all the old priming compounds, then annealed to make them softer. Then I run them through a drawing die to swage away the rim and draw them to length as an open ended tube that remains closed on the bottom.
The next step is to extrude a cast lead core then swage this into the drawn .22lr case. The old case now forms a jacket for a centerfire projectile.
The resulting cylinder is then passed through a point forming die to be completed into an open tip projectile. If the core is slightly oversized in length on purpose, you can form a lead tip projectile for hunting. The addition of a small nylon ball can be used to form a ballistic tip in the next step, using a lead tip die. So by a slight variation of how you use your swaging dies, you can make hollowpoints, lead tips, or ballistic tip ammunition. You can also control bullet weight or length as well. I swage the .22lr cases into jackets for projectiles of any weight I need from 40 grain all the way up to 77 grain weights for any .22 centerfire cartridges I shoot.
From left to right in the above picture is a factory produced 55 grain lead tip projectile. Then a 55 grain open tip or hollowpoint, a 55 grain lead tip projectile, and finally a 77 grain soft point for varmint shooting in a bolt action for longer ranges.
Shown in this picture is a factory loaded .223 Remington rifle cartridge compared to a home made swaged projectile cartridge also loaded in a.223 Remington case. The dies swage the new projectiles to the proper .224″ diameter. Using a different die set for swaging, I can also make .30 caliber projectiles using copper tubing available at the local hardware store. There are also companies that sell pre drawn tubes of gilding metal to make the exact same projectiles that the major manufacturers do. WHY ? Why go to all of this trouble to make your own jacketed projectiles ? A few simple reasons — first, if you recall the recent gun ban scare and subsequent shortage of components for ammo reloading. And secondly, you can exercise quality control through every step of your projectile manufacturing. This means you can make your projectiles consistently the exact same and weigh the exact same down to the last grain of weight. This translates to more accuracy from shot to shot on down range performance.
So how do the home made brass jackets work in the centerfire cartridges ? Since the cases are fairly thin, these projectiles are good to about 3,000 – 3,200 feet per second muzzle velocity. Any faster than this and centrifugal forces will tear the bullet apart before it can reach the target. For higher velocity projectiles such as the .22-250 or the .220 Swift and others, you’ll need a stronger, thicker jacket material. Accuracy is pretty good and matches anything the average factory produces. Being thinner and more frangible these home made projectiles react violently on small varmints… putting them down easily in a more humane manner. Once completed, the e-book series will cover everything from casting round musket balls and forming paper cartridges all the way to swaging jacketed projectiles. Step by step instructions on how to swage copper tubing into jackets will also be shown.