Forming bullets from scratch.


Deus Machina
December 3, 2010, 05:12 AM
I'm an engineering student and a tinker at heart, and find a sense of satisfaction over making things from scrap.

I also have a new Carcano in 6.5 (which uses a .268 bullet rather than .264) but no large desire to spend $30+shipping for 100 bullets for it.

So, seeing people form .22LR cases into jackets for .223 got me thinking.

What if I formed a jacket into a .224 cup, flared the mouth of it, cast something like a 150gr .264 lead bullet from wheel weights, pressed it down into the cup, and ran the whole thing through a .268 sizer? Or .266, adjusting for the 'spring' of brass, and crimp the jacket down onto the lead after...

Now, I realize I may need a secondary sizer, to force the jacket from .224 to .268 first, and perhaps put a boattail on it, but I can make that, too. And then I could simply size that to length and put that into a mold and cast right into it.

My biggest concern would be the length of the jacket, since it would by necessity be the entirety of the bearing surface.

Am I missing anything here? Or do I have just a little fine-tuning to do before a weekend project?

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December 3, 2010, 06:39 AM
Don`t have any exp ,but post here :

Good people to converse with & alot of knowledge on swaging & casting !!

Seems that if ya cast into the "jacket" the heat will anneal the brass makin it unacceptable for jacket material ???

& swaging of the form your speaking of requires pure lead or very close to it ! WW will be to hard .

December 3, 2010, 07:38 AM
Manufacturers of bullet swaging equipment.

December 3, 2010, 08:55 AM
The Castboolit link will give you hours and hours of reading on swaging bullets... the ideas are almost endless... folks just like you ... who have and idea and try to make it happen ...some succeed others don't, they share their experiences along the way.

Jimmy K

Jim Watson
December 3, 2010, 10:31 AM
The concept works but I don't know if you could expand .22 LR brass as big as 6.5mm.
I have seen mention of using .22 brass as 6mm jackets, though.

The equipment to swage bullets in good quality and quantity is expensive.
No reason not to try it as a weekend project but results might not be as nice as you would like.

I'll see if I can get updated on the castboolit board.

December 3, 2010, 10:55 AM
Yes bullet swaging, but that's a long way around just to shoot.

I know this is not the answer you are looking for but I suggest you try a different gun, in a common caliber, and just re-load cast bullets for it.
Cast bullets if you want to start from "scratch".

December 3, 2010, 11:23 AM
You could maybe use 25 ACP brass for jackets, but you might have to go to the bad part of town to find some.

December 3, 2010, 12:07 PM
I'm thinking a .22LR case is too short to make 6.5mm jackets.
I think you would end up with a lot of exposed lead on the front end, sort of a 3/4 jacket.

Anyway, making bullets without a real bullet swaging die is not gonna work too well for ya.

Running them through a bullet sizing die will result in compressing the soft lead core, while the harder "jacket" springs back out slightly.
Loose cores will be the result.

I really think if you want to make bullets, casting lead bullets is the best way to go.
Unless you spend several hundred bucks on a real swaging set-up.


Deus Machina
December 4, 2010, 01:00 AM
I know the jacket would be short, which is fine. But less than half the usual bearing length would start to get too small. I think a .22 casing may be an appropriate 'driving band' length, if not the full length of the bullet. Carcano is a rather long bullet at 123-160gr.

I was worried about the loose core, yes. I'm actually thinking it may work well enough to expand the casing into a jacket, hold it in a block reamed to .268, and press a cast bullet itself it. Cutting the lead on the lip of the casing to fit, and removing the trimmed-off bit, may be just fine. Or buy a .264 or slightly smaller mold and ream the bottom out to hold the jacket, as long as casting directly into it wouldn't anneal it too far.

My thought on the matter is, I could either pay the money for a custom .270 mold (the extra .002 for lead, as opposed to jacket), pay extra for 6.5 gas checks that may or may not work properly, and work up a mild load... or I could spend half the money on material since I already have stainless and such, and a weekend in the garage.

My concern was whether or not it's viable, not if it's practical. ;)

December 4, 2010, 02:09 AM
How'bout paper patching? Get a custom mold to fit your bore size, then paper patch to fill in the grooves. Paul Matthews has a great book on the subject called The Paper Jacket.

December 4, 2010, 04:37 AM
If you want a jacket the full length try using a .22 MAG casing. It will be longer as well as thicker walled. As to the way to assemble the bullet I would swage a jacket of the length wanted then swage or cast a pure lead core as a separate operation. As a final step insert the lead core and swage them together. Simpelist way would to crimp in just after start of the ogive to give a lead nose. I think that the heat of casting in place would cause problems with the jacket but have not tried this myself to know for sure. Keep us posted if you try to do this.:cool:

Deus Machina
December 5, 2010, 01:06 AM
Oh, if I do this I'll post up the results from the shooter end, and the equipment to do it all. Pressing a cast lead slug into a jacket--not swaging-- wouldn't need any more than the Lee loader I have and some custom dies.

Unfortunately, i have nowhere around that I could shoot and then recover the bullets for examination. It would all be results on paper.

I'm thinking of finding a .264 or .257 mold, and then pressing the cast lead into the jackets. A half-jacket from a .22LR would be just fine, if it gets me that much.

If pressing in proves problematic or I can just get a mold cheap enough. I'll ream the bottom out for a slip-fit on the jackets, and turn it to a front-casting mold.

December 5, 2010, 08:22 AM
To me, your idea has a lot of holes in it.
Kind of like re-inventing the wheel and first I would suggest using pure lead, not cast bullets.
Bullet swaging from pure lead rods is a known process and the supplies could be adapted to your plan.
The 22mag or 17cal cases would make a longer jacket and as an engineer, you know they need to be annealed before forming.
At annealing temps, the primer residue can become toxic, so do it OUTdoors.
Good Luck,

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