Bullet Swaging


August 1, 2010, 03:26 PM
Has anyone done any bullet swaging or know a source of swaging info/dies?
I want to change the shape of purchased 9mm, 115gr FMJ bullets.

Specifically, to shorten the ogive and lengthen the .355 bearing diameter surface and/or add a hollow point.
I've done some searching without much success.

All comments/links are welcome, even if you think I'm silly:).
I'm sure someone here has tried bullet swaging.

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August 1, 2010, 03:36 PM
Corbin makes bullet swaging equipment.

to shorten the ogive and lengthen the .355 bearing diameter surface and/or add a hollow point.Careful you don't end up with a very expensive bullet that won't feed.
And a longer bearing surface will increase pressure considerably.

There is a method to the madness when it comes to existing bullet designs & shapes.


August 1, 2010, 03:44 PM
Thanks rc:
I'll check out that link, and don't plan on making 9mm wadcutters.
I've read the "115s don't work now because of Nato 124 standards" stuff which can be true and related to twist rate.
I'm not sure that a longer bearing surface, as in a 115 hollow point is the reason HP group better, not just more weight towards the bullet base.
Thanks again for the input, keeping an open mind, and stopping just short of calling me silly.:D

August 1, 2010, 03:47 PM
What or who says 115 grain 9mm doesn't work, or isn't accurate??

That's just not so.

I would venture a guess that the 115 grain Hornady XTP bullet will match anything in the accuracy department.
And they ain't no slouch in the performance department either.


August 1, 2010, 05:01 PM
I know that rimfire shooters have some dies to reshape bullets with a minnie arbor press...to LOADED 22LR:what:

Changing a $0.07 bullet into a $0.21 bullet with 1 stroke of the press appeals to my cheapness.
I have Lee 9mm sizing dies and think I just need a punch with a HP/ogive (or TC) shape to swage a FMJ into something with a longer bearing length.

Just so you know, I'm not planning a wack-a-mole thing.

August 1, 2010, 05:06 PM
Well, make sure you don't change a FMJ into a JHP.

That would leave you with a copper tube with a hole in both ends.
Then the lead core could squirt out when you shoot it and leave the jacket stuck in the barrel.


August 1, 2010, 06:11 PM

A tube jacket would not be a good thing...good call.

I had an xtp bullet jacket stuck in the forcing cone once, and the only reason I didn't shoot it again is that jacket squeaked, rubbing the cylinder, when I re-cocked the hammer:what:.

Check out this place: ch4d.com

August 1, 2010, 08:40 PM
I have swaging dies from CH4D, and have done what you contemplate. I've made hollowpoint bullets from round nose, and flat point bullets from round nose. Most of what I've transformed has been in the form of lubed cast bullets, but I've made some pretty neat flat point jacketed bullets from round nose FMJ for use in the 9x25 Dillon and 357 Sig rounds. You can do some pretty neat things with the proper tools.

Hope this helps.


August 1, 2010, 10:09 PM
Wow, that's some expensive stuff! Cheapest press is almost $600, and the cheapest die set is almost $190! Throw in the lead wire, core cutters, unformed jackets, ouch, I might as well buy my FMJ bullets.
My lead pot priced out at $40, the moulds less than $20 each, wheel weight in formed ingots is about $1 a pound, the sizers plus boolit lube were also less than $20 each, more like $15, IIRC.
I'll stick with casting, unless I win a portion of the lottery, then I'll buy the swaging setup.

August 1, 2010, 11:54 PM

Thanks, sounds good, I e-mailed CH4D, and a flat nose from a FMJ sounds like just the ticket.
I'm thinking the hollow point type die with a flat "stem" instead of the hollow point "stem" will do what I want.


From what I can tell, the die is about $129 and it will change a $0.07 bullet into a $0.21 bullet so payback would be what...922 reformed bullets to be even.

Cast bullets are great, I shoot a lot of them, but some guns/barrels don't do well with them.
I understand the savings in casting your own, but choose not to cast bullets because of the health risks involved.

August 2, 2010, 12:10 AM

With the CH4D swaging dies, you can make your own top punches out of 3/32" drill rod, or you can just order the ones you want when you order the dies. For what you want to do, you'll only need the forming die, not the two die set, which is used for seating the core in bullet jackets with the first die, then forming the nose with the second die.

I cast a majority of my bullets, but like you say, there are some handguns that don't do well with them. For those, it's sometimes fun to experiment. I've bought bulk FMJ bullets and made them into what I needed. I've also reformed plated bullets, but with them, about all you can do is make a RN bullet into a FP, as the plating cracks if you try to do too much. I will say though, that a plated bullet makes a really ugly hollow point that expands like crazy in the right medium.........

Hope this helps.


August 2, 2010, 12:23 AM
Thanks again, this is a great place, and I knew somone could help me.
Yes, the forming die is what I was looking at too.
I don't have access to machinery anymore and miss being able to make stuff.
Gone are the days of walking to the stock rack and getting what I need to make what I want.

August 2, 2010, 08:50 AM
Wow, that's some expensive stuff! That's one reason there are so many casters and so few swagers. I think you really have to be dedicated (or rich) to get into that part of the hobby/

August 2, 2010, 09:26 AM

223 bullet jackets made from 22LR cases (free)
Cast pure lead core/pills to exact weight needed (free)

Bullets made with this stuff...FREE
thousands and thousands of bullets FREE

Have you bought any jacketed bullets lately:confused:

Expensive...OK then:D

August 2, 2010, 06:32 PM
With CH dies you can have a lot of fun. And, it doesn't have to be that expensive. I can make jacketed hollowpoints out of empty brass I've picked off the ground, and I use stick-on wheelweight lead as core matterial. It can be as easy as dipping cases in molten lead, letting them cool, then swaging them to their final shape. I've made .224 bullets from .22 cases, .357 bullets from .380 auto cases, .40 caliber from 9mm cases, and .429 from .40S&W cases.

August 2, 2010, 11:45 PM
Thanks for posting the pics

I'm not having much luck getting a quote for just the swager die assembly, without the core seating die from CH4D.
I just want to reform a FMJ bullet into roundnose/flatpoint bullet.
I'll try a phone call next.

August 3, 2010, 11:20 AM
Hi Tilos
Not too hard. Dean Grennell demonstrated how to make soft points out of FMJ's (or maybe it was making FMJ's out of softpoints) in his book "ABC's of Reloading", which has a couple of chapters on bullet making. This is a "must have" text for any reloader wanting to make bullets!

As for the parts, go to the website "www.ch4d.com" and click on "Bullets" from the product menu on the left side of the page.

Select "101 Bullet Swaging Die parts". Here is a list of all the parts you can purchase. I added up all the individual parts for just swaging the finished bullet and it came to 114.48$ Since a complete set (both core-seat and final swage) only costs 15$ more (129.11$), I'd buy the set anyway.

If you already have a press with a compound lever (ie:RCBS RockChucker) buy the die set and a tube of anhydrous lanolin. Then you're good to go. One more thing. For whatever die set you buy, I'd get an extra nose punch for it. That is, if you buy the hollowpoint die set, buy the softpoint punch. If you buy the softpoint die set, buy an extra hollowpoint punch. Just change the punch and you can make twice as many styles.
Good luck,

August 3, 2010, 11:40 AM
223 bullet jackets made from 22LR cases (free)
Cast pure lead core/pills to exact weight needed (free)

Bullets made with this stuff...FREE
thousands and thousands of bullets FREE

Press, $600, dies, $190, AIN'T FREE! Unless you want to give me a swaging setup, :D it isn't gonna happen unless I win the freaking lottery. Casting is the only way I am staying shooting after the state dropped my pay and makes me take furlough days...
Now, I wouldn't mind being able to swage LSWCHP for my 38, that would be nice. Guess I'll roll some pennies to buy a lottery ticket. ;)

August 3, 2010, 12:03 PM

These dies work in a standard reloading press and cost $129 (you probably have a press to load your cast bullets).

Yes, $129 dies, and your casting equipment cost something, didn't it?
A lube sizer press alone cost more than $129.

I never said casting was anything but good, why bash something you know nothing about, based on equipment cost?
My last reponse to anything cost related.

August 3, 2010, 02:07 PM
Simmer down, boys. I know armoredman well enough to know he was grinning when he wrote his post and nothing serious was intended. He was probably bored and staying inside out of the heat.

Both casting and swaging are fun, which is why I do them. It's all shooting, which is what really counts.............

Hope this helps.


August 3, 2010, 02:09 PM
Thanks for doing the research for me.

Yes, I'm looking at the 101 series as the ogive is in the die, instead of the 105 type with the ogive/nose in the punch.
I believe a 101 swaging die will re-form a better jacketed bullet and will buy the RN assembly.
After reading the "about us" page at CH4D, I realized the owner Dave has been answering my e-mails:what:
Dave seems to be a man of few words, like most craftsmen, who's work speaks for them.
He has quoted me a 101 series swaging die assembly, without the core seating die part, that I plan to order.

I need to learn ignore the ankle biters who add nothing to a thread, and find it hard to think outside of what they know.

August 3, 2010, 02:34 PM
I understand, I'll try not to let the facts get in the way, again.

There is a certain amount of scenting at most sites, with the amount at THR being less than most.
Once the snipe is refuted with facts, the scenter adds the smileys and trys to turn it into humor.

I'll try to ingnore it more.
And thanks again for your contributions to this thread and all others.

With all do respect, you don't "know me" and I don't "know" anyone who posts here, other than reading their posts.

August 3, 2010, 05:28 PM
You're right, Tilos. I don't know you, but I do know armoredman. We're both moderators on another couple of forums and we e-mail back and forth quite regularly. He has quite a sense of humor.

The internet is a very one dimensional means of communication, since we can't see body language, facial expressions and tone of voice in posts, so it's easy to misinterpret someone's intentions when they write something. I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to "most" posters, and any that I think are malicious, I simply report to the moderators and let them handle it, rather than get into a "back and forth" with the poster.

For myself, I normally only post what I think is helpful to the original poster, or to someone along the way in the thread. Most times, I just read them and if I don't have anything constructive to add, I pass on it, but I have to admit that more than once I've added something that I thought was funny, but usually only to someone I have an "outside the forum" relationship with.

Sorry to hi-jack the thread.

Hope this helps.


August 3, 2010, 08:54 PM
Out of courtesy, I try and respond to any who post to a thread I started, as I have seen threads go on for pages that the OP never acknowledges any helpful info.

Next time I'll try; ha, ha, YES, expensive... casting is the bomb, and the best way I know to make smokey, slow, rifle bullets with no equipment.:D:D:D:):)

August 3, 2010, 10:23 PM
I see I was misinterpreted again...oh, woe is me. :rolleyes: I wasn't attacking anyone or anything. Thanks for sticking up for me, Fred.:cool:
OK, I actually DIDN'T know you could use the swaging dies in a regular press, I looked at the swaging presses and thought that was a requirement. Now if I can get a die that will transform my cast 158gr LWSC into LSWCHP, that would be the bomb right there...but all I saw was almost $800 in start up costs.
As a matter of fact, I paid very very little for my casting setup, got some people who helped me get into it very cheaply, and I have tried to pass that along by sending equipment I no longer needed to other people just starting out.
I also don't know you, and I wasn't bashing anything, merely trying to state in a humorous way that it seemed to have a very high startup cost from the single website listed. Perhaps someday I will try it myself, but to keep the thread "stink free", I will bow out, and let you have it. :cool:
Have a nice day.

August 6, 2010, 03:16 AM
MichaelK, or any others that have done it:
Where do you find the 22RF to 224 forming die on the CH4D site?

I went digging for a good bit, as the only one I was able to find was over on the other vendor's site, at the steep price of $467 for the two die set, or $803 for the kit. :what:

I'm interested in the potential of a set of dies in the $125 range, but at the higher price, I can buy a LOT of factory bullets for that!

Thanks for all the info going around.

August 7, 2010, 09:14 PM
Hey Allen:

I'm glad you read this thread and it tweaked your interest in making bullets.

I think MichaelK's pics show the process as one die/punch to remove(straighten out) the rim.
With another to form/size that 22 case into a usable jacket.
With that jacket, you still need the bullet forming die set to complete a bullet.
The 22LR case must be annealed 1st, before forming, but I remember that to be just putting them in an oven and running the self cleaning cycle.

He did reference the book; "The ABC's of Reloading".
I have that book but cannot quote from it because I don't have my complete library of reference books with me and I'm 3000 miles from home:(.

I would expect the 22LR case to jacket forming dies to be in that $125 range with the bullet forming die set to cost about the same(an adittional $125).
I've never done this, but know the tools and info are out there.

What do you pay for 1000 bullet heads?
The amount you shoot/load would determine the break even point.

I can offer only another website to wander around at this point.


And you can always e-mail or call CH4D

Or these guys:

August 7, 2010, 10:06 PM
You might also want to check http://www.rceco.com/

August 7, 2010, 11:45 PM
Thanks for that link, I'll never complain about too much info:D

August 9, 2010, 11:13 AM
I got my whole .224 bullet swaging kit for about 125$ in 1994! Was made by a company called "SportFlite" that has since gone out of business. The dies are designed around a modified ram fitted into a RCBS RockChucker and works well. I bought my CH 101 dies at the same time for 58$. Today's list price is 129$ plus shipping.

I believe that either a copy of this design (or maybe he bought the manufacturing rights) is still being produced by Larry Blackmon of Bullet Swaging Supply. Don't know the history here. Maybe the sportflite people copied Blackmon's design. In any case, I believe his is still in business right now and can be contacted at...

Larry E. Blackmon
Bullet Swaging Supply, INC.
P.O. Box 1056
West Monroe, Louisiana 71291


He can mail you his flier listing parts/prices.

August 9, 2010, 07:06 PM
All right, here's a place with too much swaging info, including even more sources of equipment, etc.


Some people here make and sell 22LR case to jacket dies that work in a bench vice...so much for needing a pricey press.

August 9, 2010, 09:15 PM
I had looked into bullet swaging some time back and was put off by the expense as others are. It was mentioned casting was fine for smokey, slow(er) bullets but in many cases that just isn't true...take a look at the .30-30 .45-70 .303 British .458 Win Mag .25 auto .32 auto .380. 9mm .38 Spcl .357 Magnum .45 Colt (old and new hot loads)...all of those perform with excellence with cast bullets in standard factory jacketed ammo velocity ranges!
Was mentioned also, lead for cores was free...where can you get pure lead for free??
I'll check out the links for the less expensive swaging dies though to see what is offered...maybe I'll get a chance after all to try it!

August 9, 2010, 11:09 PM
Thanks for posting.

I started this thread looking to RE-swage a cheap bulk 9MM 115 FMJ bullet into a shorter shape with more bearing surface.

And many modern handguns have rifling that do not shoot well with lead.

What I have found:
A die that fits a std press to RE-swage...$80-$100

A FMJ bullet can be RE-swaged into a HP, by simply turning the bullet over and putting the open, lead exposed end, in the die 1st.

With 1 die and different center punches you can RE-swage FN, RN, HP from the same FMJ bullet.

Re-swage to change calibers, like 9mm bullets to 40SW.

Make 40SW jackets from 9mm cases by simply pouring molten lead into that 9mm case and swaging it into a bullet.
The heat from the molten lead anneals the 9mm brass and allows the swaging:eek:.

There is 32 pages of swaging info at that last link. http://castboolits.gunloads.com/forumdisplay.php?f=41

There is a lot of inovation going on there and swaging is practical in certain applications but maybe not for what you do...now:D.

I agree if you have to buy a jacket that cost as much as a bulk bullet, why bother.
Re-swaging a $0.07 bullet into a shape that would cost $0.21, with 1 stroke of the press I have, has a very short payback....less than 1000 bullets.

August 12, 2010, 05:25 PM
I have recently started to look into swaging myself, and love the idea of making my own bullets from scratch exactly as I want them.

I just skimmed through the thread quickly, but here is some useful info maybe, in case it hasn't already been posted.

Look at Castboolits.gunloads.com, they have a whole section on swaging, LOTS of good info and brains to pick. There are a couple of guys in there that have started making dies themselves for various things, at less cost than the big outfits. I know of one screen name "BT Sniper" that is known for doing all sorts of interesting things in swaging that recently started making and selling dies. In any event there is probably someone lurking in there that does/has done exactly what you want to do and can help.

There is also a thread called "lets make a swage press" that has designs for a MONSTER hand operated press that will do about anything you want it to. Material coast is between $150-$200, plus shipping if you cannot obtain materials locally.

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