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Bullet Swaging

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Tilos, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. Tilos

    Tilos Well-Known Member

    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.
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Corbin makes bullet swaging equipment.

    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.

  3. Tilos

    Tilos Well-Known Member

    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
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    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.

  5. Tilos

    Tilos Well-Known Member

    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.
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    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.

  7. Tilos

    Tilos Well-Known Member


    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
  8. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member

    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.

  9. armoredman

    armoredman Well-Known Member

    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.
  10. Tilos

    Tilos Well-Known Member


    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.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010
  11. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member


    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.

  12. Tilos

    Tilos Well-Known Member

    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.
  13. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Well-Known Member

    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/
  14. Tilos

    Tilos Well-Known Member


    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
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010
  15. MichaelK

    MichaelK Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. Tilos

    Tilos Well-Known Member

    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.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010
  17. MichaelK

    MichaelK Well-Known Member

    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,
  18. armoredman

    armoredman Well-Known Member

    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. ;)
  19. Tilos

    Tilos Well-Known Member


    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.
  20. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Well-Known Member

    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.


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