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This disk is the first of a two disk set containing the Corbin Handbook of Bullet Swaging, No. 7 written by Dr. Corbin. This one has the table of contents and the first 11 chapters. It is saved in ASCII text format. The subject of bullet swaging is the manufacture of projectiles using high pressure to flow ductile metals at room temperature into the precise dimensions of a strong, highly-finished steel die. The process is discussed both as a hobby for the firearms enthusiast and as a highly profitable part-time business venture, supplying handloaders with high quality, special purpose bullets. Utility programs on this diskette facilitate the retrieval of the Corbin Handbook information. System Requirements: 64K, one disk drive, a monochrome display and an ASCII text editor or word processor. How to Start: Consult the READ.ME and INTRO.TXT for directions. To run, prepare two formatted disk with the DOS system command and add files FIND.EXE and ANSI.SYS; copy 616 to one and 617 to another using the COPY *.* command. Either can now be run by placing in A: and hitting CRTL-ALT-DEL and following the access menus that then appear. Suggested Registration: The handbook is available in a bound, printed book format for $4.00 by ordering directly from Corbin Manufacturing & Supply. File Descriptions: The First Disk Contains: -------- --- - Corbin Handbook SHOW DOC Documentation for SHOW.BAT SHOW BAT Display text file utility ST DOC Documentation for ST.COM ST COM Display text file program SDIR COM Show directory utility batch file SCRNSAVE COM Screen save utility READ ME Documentation about Corbin and Bullet Swaging INTRO TXT Short introduction text of Corbin HB7 BAK Backup of HB7.BAT HB7 BAT Introduction Batch file * TXT Documentation for the Corbin Handbook (11 files) (245k) AUTOEXEC BAT Start up batch file The Second Disk Contains: AUTOEXEC BAT Startup Batch file -------- --- - Corbin Handbook (Chptr 12-22) HB7 BAT Setup Corbin chapters HB7 BAK Backup batch file * TXT Documentation for the Corbin Handbook (10 Files) (168k) AUTOEXEC BAK Startup Batch file backup READ ME Information from the author SHOW DOC Documentation for SHOW.BAT SHOW BAT Batch file for text display SDIR COM Show directory utility SCRNSAVE COM Screen save utility ST DOC Documentation for ST.COM ST COM Text display utility FKEY BAT Function key batch file to set utility function
.he CHAPTER 1 CORBIN HANDBOOK AND CATALOG NO. 7, PAGE # HOW DO YOU SWAGE BULLETS? There are five different ways to swage bullets today. You can use: (1) A POUND DIE (2) A RELOADING PRESS (3) The CORBIN MITY MITE PRESS (4) The CORBIN MEGA MITE PRESS (5) The CORBIN HYDRO-PRESS Each of the five methods has certain advantages. The pound die requires no press, but instead, uses a mallet. It is somewhat lower in cost because you do not need to purchase a press, but it is much slower to use and doesn't produce jacketed bullets. It is ideal for swaging large caliber lead bullets, and is often selected by replica black- powder rifle shooters who wish to use an authentic reproduction of the earliest form of swaging die (from the 1890's). The reloading press system is economical since most handloaders already own a suitable reloading press. It is limited to smaller rifle calibers (from .257 to .224) and medium handgun calibers (from .357 to .25 ACP) because of the inherent weakness of the slotted ram. There are certain design restrictions imposed on this system by the press, so it is not ideal for special work or custom calibers. Corbin makes standard calibers and shapes only, in this system. The cost is thus kept low for the quality. Speed is greater than the pound die but less than the other, special swaging systems. The Corbin Mity Mite system uses a special horizontal ram press with more power than any reloading press built. It is much faster than a reloading press since it ejects the bullet automatically on the back stroke. The dies for this system, and the matching punches, do not interchange with the reloading press system. They are made to fit into the RAM of the press, instead of the press head. Calibers from .14 to .458, tubing jackets with walls of up to .030-inch thickness, and weights up to 450 grains, can all be swaged with the Mity Mite. Custom work is done in this system. The Corbin Mega Mite system is based on a massive machined steel press that can handle both reloading and bullet swaging. It can accept ANY of the Corbin dies, including those for the Hydro-press. This ability to interchange various kinds of dies can be important to some owners. However, there are limits to any hand-powered press. The amount of force the Mega Mite produces is awesome, but still less than required for certain large caliber, heavy-jacketed production work. The Corbin Hydro-press system is the ultimate in bullet manufacturing today. It features automatic stroke and pressure control, electronic sensors and timing, programmable stroke control, and many other advanced concepts that place it at the top of the list for custom bullet firms around the world. Any caliber from 20mm cannon to a 10 gauge shotgun slug can be swaged, in virtually unlimited weight or style. Solid brass or copper rod can be formed instantly into bullets of higher precision than lathe turning. Lead wire can be extruded like toothpaste. And the press adapts easily to standard reloading dies for the convenience of automatic sizing and seating. Any of the various swaging systems use the principle that cold metal will flow under sufficient pressure and take on the shape of the vessel holding that pressure. The swage die is a very strong, highly finished vessel for containing the pressure. You swage the bullet in all these systems by driving a punch against the material while it is held within the confines of the die cavity. Upward expansion from the internal pressure created is the key factor in forming the bullets. Reduction in diameter is called "drawing". Remember, swaging always expands the bullet or material upward in diameter. Drawing dies are used to reduce the diameter of an object, such as a bullet or a piece of copper tubing or a jacket. They differ from swaging dies, in that the drawing die has an open top and only one punch is used. The component is pressed through the die and out the top. In passing through a hardened constriction, it becomes smaller. Drawing has serious restrictions when applied to finished bullets, and can only be used for very limited amounts of reduction. But for reforming jackets and making copper tubing into jackets, it is a valuable tool. If you try to put a piece of lead or a jacket into a die that has a smaller diameter of cavity, the material will be forced down in size and will exert a strong pressure against the sides of the die. When the pressure is relieved, by ejecting the component, the material may exert a certain amount of springiness, and become slightly larger than the die cavity. In making swage dies, the die-makers have to contend with the various amounts of spring-back in different hardnesses of jackets, different thicknesses of jacket wall, and other factors. The die itself is normally a different diameter from the actual finished bullet that comes out of it. What this means to you as a potential bullet-maker, is that you should NEVER try to force anything into a swage die. If it won't fit easily, don't push it in. At best, it will make the wrong diameter of bullet. But generally, it will stick fast in the die and require special techniques to remove. And at worst, it can generate enough pressure to break the die! In the following chapters, we'll discuss the various methods of making bullets in more detail, one system at a time. Bear in mind that there are hundreds of possible variations on the techniques, depending on what you want to make. It would be impossible to send this manual to you by mail if every style of bullet were to be described detail, with each step required to make it. We have to give you the basics of making two or three styles, and refer you to the more detailed technical books for advanced techniques. It is far more important for you to understand the principle differences between lead bullet swaging, semi-wadcutter (and jacketed wadcutter) styles of swaging, and the styles that bring the jacket into the nose curve or ogive portion of the bullet. These three basic kinds of bullets form the basis for everything else. If you understand how to make them, then variations such as rebated boattails, liquid-filled internal cavities, partitions, and other advanced designs are fairly simple to pick up. They aren't different: they just expand a bit on the basic techniques.
.he CHAPTER 10 CORBIN HANDBOOK AND CATALOG NO. 7, PAGE # INDIVIDUAL DIES FOR THE RELOADING PRESS You can make up your own swaging kit for a reloading press, or you can add dies to existing kits and expand your bullet-swaging capabilities caliber by caliber. With the suggested kits in the previous chapter, I didn't suggest any lead tip dies. They are very useful in the three rifle calibers, when you want a nice factory-finished lead tip. But they are something you can add at any time. It isn't necessary to match this die as exactly as with the core seater and point former. A half-thousandth of an inch tolerance is plenty, and that is easy enough for the die-makers to handle without getting your set back. Individual dies are available in these styles and calibers: .224 6-S Ogive CS-1-R, PF-1-R, LT-1-R .243 6-S Ogive CS-1-R, PF-1-R, LT-1-R .257 6-S Ogive CS-1-R, PF-1-R, LT-1-R .251 RN, TC ogive CS-1-R, PF-1-R .308 RN ogive CS-1-R, PF-1-R .312 RN ogive CS-1-R, PF-1-R .314 RN ogive CS-1-R, PF-1-R .355 RN, TC ogive CS-1-R, PF-1-R .357 RN, TC ogive CS-1-R, PF-1-R .358 RN, TC ogive CS-1-R, PF-1-R When you order the CS-1-R, it comes with a flat base internal punch and a Keith external punch in the handgun calibers. In rifle calibers, it comes with flat base internal and open tip external punches. If you would like to add other shapes to the handgun calibers, you can order these additional punches: (1) Conical (semi-wadcutter angled to a point, like a pencil) (2) Round Nose (semi-wadcutter eliptical round nose) (3) Hollow Point (universal projection punch, used with any other) (4) Wadcutter (slightly raised button nose style) (5) Cup Nose (a shallow, round cup shape) (6) Open Tip (a punch that fits inside the jacket, for 2-die sets) Those are nose shapes available, in standard off the shelf designs only. In this system, the punches are made to standard patterns and cannot be made to special order without incurring regular time and material charges over the usual punch price. With current salaries for die-makers where they are, you may not be thrilled to hire one to make a punch slightly different from standard (chances are, your target would never know the difference anyway). Base shapes can also be changed by ordering an extra punch. There are internal punches to replace the standard flat base. You can order: (1) Dish Base (very shallow curve to the edge of the jacket) (2) Cup Base (slightly deeper, like the cup nose, with flats to the edge of the bullet) (3) Hollow Base (very deep, like the hollow point punch. Not well suited to jacketed bullets but nice for lead bullets) The rifle calibers are always ordered with a matching point former die. You can't make a complete bullet in the CS-1-R alone for a rifle caliber, since the velocity is so high that pistol designs tend to be unstable and have poor ballistics. You are welcome to order these dies for replacements, but good luck trying to make a finished bullet in one! When you order the core seater and point former as a set, it makes up the BSD-xxxR catalog number. You don't need to order each one, if you specify the BSD-xxxR. All punches are ordered with the catalog number "PUNCH-R" for reloading press use. Then, specify internal or external punch, caliber, and shape (if it needs to be specified, as with noses for handgun punches). To order a replacement ejection pin for the point forming dies, always specify the caliber. You can call it a "PUNCH-R" and specify ejection pin, plus caliber. That will get it. Core seating punches for the rifle calibers are made in different diameters to fit inside the various jackets available. Either tell us the diameter you want and we will supply the closest standard diameter that we have, or send a sample jacket to match. In the .224, we have two core seat external punches. One fits the rimfire jacket, and one fits the commercial jacket that we sell. The diameters are 0.204 and 0.197 inches, respectively. Many people have commented that they were not able to make a light enough bullet with a certain jacket. After I checked it out, I found that the problem was the style of bullet. Most of the standard jackets make just about any weight you like, if you know how to make use of the punches and dies. The open tip core seating punch will push a short lead core as far into the jacket as you like. Then the point forming die will wrap the end of the jacket around the ogive, and the bullet can be as light as you wish. The problem is with solid lead tip Keith style bullets. They fill the jacket, and then some. Typical jackets available today make maximum weights for the caliber with this sort of style. The answer is to use the hollow point and cup base punches on the bullet first, then follow with the Keith punch. This lets you use a lot less lead, moves it forward so it can form lead nose within the cavity of the Keith punch, and thus produces a very light bullet in a very long jacket. One last point about reloading press dies: they are just as good as any other kind, except that they are made to fill the need for entry-level, lower cost bullet-making. Rather than cut corners on quality, we decided long ago that the best approach was to limit the styles, calibers, and options available to a managable, popular group and then make the equipment in longer runs, without the expense of individual, custom work. When someone calls and insists on having a reloading press die, but with some special options that are not standard ones, they are in effect crashing the whole idea of equal quality at lower cost. If one can afford the expense of the custom work, they can probably save money by getting the Mity Mite system to start with. It was designed with custom work in mind. And if someone doesn't want to buy the press, but just wants the dies made special, then they should consider the cost of the die-maker's time. It amounts to buying the press anyway. Why not get it? Then, everything made in the future will still fit and interchange properly. Custom work usually doesn't.
.he CHAPTER 11 CORBIN HANDBOOK AND CATALOG NO. 7, PAGE # DRAW DIES Draw dies, or drawing dies (as they are also called), are simply ring dies used to reduce the diameter of a component. When you size a cast bullet, you are using a much less precise version of a draw die. The draw dies made by Corbin are extremely hard, tough venturi-shaped tools held in a 7/8-14 TPI body. A punch pushes the component through the die and out the top. There are two general types of draw dies. The JRD-1 can be made either for bullets, or for jackets. The bullet draw die reduces a finished bullet by a small amount, sometimes as little as 0.0005 inches, and sometimes as much as 0.003 inches. However, greater reductions cause distortion of the bullet and are not feasible. Jacket draw dies can reduce an existing jacket by a whole caliber. This is the way that .41 caliber jackets are obtained today, for instance. A .44 caliber jacket is pushed through a draw die and reduced to .41 caliber. This would not work with a bullet. Jacket drawing punches fit inside the jacket, and actually push it through base first, while bullet draw dies push the bullet through nose first. Special versions of draw dies turn fired .22 cases into .224 or .243 caliber rifle jackets. The .22 WMR case can be drawn to a long 6mm jacket in another die, and shotgun primers can be turned into free .25 ACP jackets with another. Draw dies perform a remarkable service. Their limitations are discussed in "REDISCOVER SWAGING" in detail. Dies ending in "R" fit the standard reloading press and have a punch that fits into the press ram. Dies ending in "M" fit the Mity Mite press, and have a punch that screws into the press ram. The die goes into the press head, replacing the floating punch holder. Dies ending in "H" are made for the Corbin Hydro-press. They have a long punch that screws into the ram, and the die fits into a 7/8-14 adapter which in turn fits the 1.5-12 thread of the press head, also replacing the floating punch holder. RFJM-22R Rimfire Jacket Maker, 22 LR to .224 caliber RFJM-6MR Rimfire Jacket Maker, 22 LR to .243 caliber SPJM-25R Shotgun Primer Jacket Maker, 25 ACP caliber JRD-1-R Jacket Reducing Die, specify starting and ending caliber. Draw dies for the reloading press are used by adjusting the die position so that you can push the component through the tightest part of the die using the end of the stroke. Careful die setting is necessary so that the component is pushed far enough into the die, yet the more powerful portion of the stroke is still utilized. If you simply put the die in the press at random settings, it might not be possible to push the component far enough so the next component pushes it out the top. Or, it might require so much effort that the operation becomes impossibly difficult. It is important to realize that effort varies quickly with the exact part of the stroke where the most resistance is met. This is adjustable by your setting of the die. Too high, and the press easily pushes the component in, but not nearly far enough. Too low, and the press has little leverage or power to do the job, even though there is plenty of stroke to push the component through. The optimum adjustment can be found in a few attempts, if you bear the critical nature of this balance in mind. It might seem as if a draw die is a very inexpensive way of creating a custom bullet. In a few limited instances, it is. But, for most calibers, reducing an existing factory bullet to a smaller size is more expensive than making it yourself, produces a far less accurate bullet, and limits you to the same weight and basic style as the factory bullet itself. Giving up the advantage of superior accuracy, the ability to make the bullet in any weight or style you wish, and the cost savings of using jackets and lead instead of buying ready-made bullets, seems like quite a bit to give up just because drawing a bullet down seems simple. The lure of getting an inexpensive bullet-production die sometimes overwhelms one's sense of values, though, and it isn't uncommon for someone to sacrifice all these advantages -- all the real power of bullet swaging -- in order to draw down some existing bullet. In the instance of the .357 and 9mm, the two 8mm diameters, and sometimes in the reduction of a military bullet purchased very cheaply in quantity, the process works well enough to justify the lost advantages. It isn't a general cure, and it certainly does not replace swaging your own. On the other hand, a jacket draw die makes good sense. The jacket will be expanded by internal lead pressure during swaging, so any diameter changes made to it are rather unimportant to the final product. The ability to change standard diameters, to use an existing longer jacket or heavier design in the next smaller caliber, is a good advantage. Sometimes, it is the only way to obtain a good, inexpensive jacket. In .41 caliber, a drawn .44 is the standard jacket used by bullet swagers. Likewise, for the .40 calibers. One does pick up a little longer draw on one side of the jacket when the reduction is extreme. This is unavoidable without extremely high cost equipment, but its effect is primarily cosmetic: the tip of an open tip jacket may appear uneven. Accuracy generally seems unaffected by this, since the jacket walls themselves seldom become eccentric in any normal drawing operation. A set of dies to make .14, .17, and .20 caliber bullet jackets from commercial .224 0.6-inch length jackets is available from Corbin. The process of making sub-calibers involves drawing the standard .224 jacket through these three stages, stopping at the stage you desire. The jackets must be annealed after the first draw (from .224 to .20 caliber) or else the end will break out on the next draw or during swaging. Since the jacket for a .17 or .14 usually is shorter than that for a .224, the jacket must be trimmed at some point. This can be done in the first draw, from .224 to .20, using a PINCH-TRIM die and punch. The punch is made with a shoulder, so that the shoulder to tip length determines the length of the jacket. Any jacket that extends beyond this punch step or shoulder will be sheared off as the punch passes through the die constriction. The process works well provided the correct jacket is used, since the temper, grain, and diameter as well as wall thickness are somewhat critical for proper shearing action. Usually, the jacket will be made quite short, and will be drawn longer in the .17 and .14 stages. The exact final length is a bit experimental, since variations in jacket lots, temper, wall thickness, and material composition will produce a somewhat different final drawn length. But it seems quite consistent within one lot or kind of jacket. Jacket and bullet draw dies that fit the reloading press or the Mity Mite press require careful adjustment so that the maximum leverage can be properly utilized to push the component through the tightest point in the die, yet still gain maximum stroke within the required leverage range. In some cases, such as drawing copper tubing to make long rifle jackets, there isn't any easy way to get enough stroke and enough power at the same time. In those instances, a short "helper" punch or rod must be used. The jacket is drawn in two stages. First, the jacket is started into the die using the end of the stroke, where there is sufficient power. Then, the ram is drawn back, the helper rod inserted in the jacket, and the ram is run forward again, gaining extra stroke to push the component all the way through the ring die. This is, admittedly, a slower way to do the job. But in some cases, it is the only thing that works in a hand press. Dies made for the Hydro-press, on the other hand, seldom have any such difficulties because the programmable Hydro-press develops whatever power is needed, at any point in the stroke cycle. With a full six inches of stroke to work with, and full power from top to bottom, it is a simple job to draw just about any length or thickness of jacket in one stroke. Copper tubing jackets are a product that point up the advantages of the Hydro-press design. Remember that in most home swaging operations, you are accomplishing tasks in very few steps, with relatively inexpensive equipment, that the major factories spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in time and equipment to accomplish, often in 10, 12, or 14 stages. Sometimes, there are obvious limitations to what you can do without a bit of leeway in your final lengths or weights. (Sometimes, the amazing thing is that the process works at all!) On the other hand, for the person who doesn't mind experimenting and can put up with things coming out just a bit differently than his original blueprints might have demanded, these processes offer a great deal of freedom from high costs, abritrary supply sources, and the ability to make bullets that are extremely accurate and unusually high in performance. Just don't confuse accuracy and performance with predictable adherence to a pre-existing design concept! Sometimes, the way it happens to come out is what you have to work with, in the practical world of limited costs, simple operations, and available supplies. Fortunately, the way it comes out is usually pretty darn good!
.he CHAPTER 2 CORBIN HANDBOOK AND CATALOG NO. 7, PAGE # MAKING THE LEAD CORES The two main components that go into most bullets are the lead filling, or core, and the outer skin, or jacket. We'll talk about jackets in the next chapter. Right now, let's make some cores. There are two main sources for lead cores. You can purchase a spool of lead wire in the proper diameter, along with a core cutter, and chop off accurately-measured lengths. Corbin has lead wire in pure 175,000 grain spools (LW-25), and the PCS-1 Precision Core Cutter to cut them. The core cutter has an adjustable stop screw that adjusts the amount of lead cut on each stroke of the tool. The second source is your own supply of scrap lead, the same as you might use for bullet casting. Corbin makes a 4-cavity, adjustable weight core mould that mounts to the reloading bench. You don't have to pick it up, and there are no handles required. Four pistons, precision fitted to four cylinders, slide up and down to eject the cores. The bottom position is set by a rest plate. This steel plate rests on a pair of nuts, fastened to two threaded rods at either end of the mould. Adjusting the nuts upward decreases the volume in the cylinders, and gives you a lighter core. Pouring molten lead into the top of the mould fills all four cavities. Moving a long sprue cutter chops off the lead at the top of the cavities, leaving even lengths of lead to be ejected straight up from the cylinders. The process is very fast, making it possible to produce at least 1000 cores per hour. Lead wire can also be manufactured at home. Corbin makes a lead wire extruder kit for the Hydro-press, capable of making lengths of lead wire from lead billets. Lead wire can be extruded in special shapes, as well, for use in stained glass work or as hollow tubing used for fishing sinker wire. The LED-1 Lead Extruder Die set comes with a selection of popular diameters of interchangeable dies, all of which fit into a master body. Included with the kit are billet mould tubes to form the proper diameter of lead cylinders for extrusion. These special forms can be the basis of additional income for the Hydro-press owner. Hand presses do not have sufficient stroke or power for commercial lead wire extrusion. Small diameter lead wire for the sub-calibers (.14, .17, and .20) can be produced in the Corbin hand presses with the LED-2 extruder kit. Only relatively short lengths are made at one time, but they are very economical sources of cores for the tiny sub-caliber bullets. For those who wish to make commercial quantities of lead wire, Corbin manufactures the EX-10 lead wire extruder, a dedicated, single- purpose machine to produce any size or shape of lead wire in 10 pound spools. The EX-10 uses lead billets of 2-inch diameter, which can be cast using Corbin's tube moulds. Write for specific information on this product. Lead wire for bullet cores can be used in two ways, and the diameter depends on what way you plan to use it. You can simply swage the lead into a finished bullet, with no jacket. In that case, the lead only has to slip easily into the smallest die bore in the set you are using. Dies made only for lead bullets are at final diameter of the bullet, and consequently your lead core should be just a little under bullet diameter. If the lead is too small in diameter, it will stick out the die mouth before you have enough of it to make the weight you desire. That is a situation to avoid -- never apply any pressure to a component that isn't completely contained within the die. The punch will probably slip off to one side and be damaged by striking the mouth of the die. The exact diameter isn't important as long as the core fits into the die easily and doesn't stick out the die mouth. But if you want to make a jacketed bullet, then the core has to fit inside the jacket (obviously!). You cannot start with a .357 caliber lead bullet and somehow "put a jacket on it" to wind up with a .357 caliber jacketed bullet. Instead, you use lead wire or a cast core that fits inside the .38 jacket, and expand it upward in the die. The lead pressure expands the jacket right along with it, resulting in a tight, uniform assembly. The walls of a .357 or .38 caliber jacket are usually about .017 inches thick. There is a wall on both sides of the core, and the jacket normally is made small enough so that it will work for .355 (9mm) as well as .38 caliber. Bullet jackets are almost always considerably smaller than the final bullet diameter so that they can be expanded upward from core seating pressure. This means that you have a jacket with an outside diameter of about 0.354 inches, minus two walls of 0.017 inches, for a remaining inside diameter of about 0.320 inches. Better quality jackets have tapered walls, so that the base is even thicker. In practice, a 0.318 inch core will fit inside most .38/.357 caliber jackets properly. But for higher precision, a die set for the Corbin presses usually includes a separate core swage die, which accepts the raw lead core and reshapes it to a more perfect cylinder, flattens the ends nicely, and expands the core diameter very slightly in the process. The die also extrudes a small amount of lead from the core to adjust the weight. Because of this extra die, it is necessary to use a bit smaller diameter of core. A 0.312 inch lead core fits nicely into the standard 0.315 to 0.318 inch core swage die, allowing for any bending or denting that the core might receive in handling. And that is how we arrive at the proper diameter of lead wire to use for any set of dies, in any caliber. For jacketed bullets, the core must fit into the jacket and it must also fit easily into any core swage die that is part of the set. For lead bullets, the core must at least fit into the final die and not be so long that it sticks out the die mouth. In the CM-4 Core Mould, six diameters cover most of the bullets you might wish to make. The .224 mould makes a core of about 0.185 inch diameter, which works well in the 6mm and .25 as well as the 6.5mm caliber. The .257 caliber mould crosses over slightly into the .25 and 6.5mm caliber range, but since different jackets have different wall thickness, it is useful for thinner wall .25 jackets and thicker wall .270 and 7mm jackets. The standard 7mm jacket takes a 0.218 inch core, so a 7mm core mould is made in that size. The .30 calibers all take a 0.250 inch core, as do most of the .32 and .338 jackets. Heavy walled tubing jackets in large bores can use the same core size as a standard jacket might in a smaller caliber. A pair of standard sizes cover the .38 and the .44-45 calibers. These are 0.312 inch and 0.365 inch, respectively. A slightly smaller size is made for the .41 caliber and the .40 Bren 10 caliber. Using the next smaller size normally serves quite well, without the expense of having a custom mould built. However, custom moulds CAN be made to order if desired. For large diameters of lead, Corbin builds special moulds to order at a correspondingly higher cost than the CM-4. Moulds for billets of half inch diameter can be used for shotgun slugs. Tube moulds, which have a steel base with a plug that slips into the bottom of a honed steel tube, are generally used for large diameter billets. Lead cores are discussed in great detail in the book, "REDISCOVER SWAGING". The advantage of using a lead core mould is the lower cost of using scrap lead. The advantage of using lead wire is the neatness, safety, speed, and ease of use. There is not much difference in potential accuracy. Lead wire has a slight edge over cast cores because of the great uniformity of the extruded product. You probably wonder about the hardness of the lead: can you use wheelweights, or casting alloys to swaging bullets? The answer depends on the caliber, and the system of swaging you plan to use. In most reloading press dies, you can't quite generate enough pressure to swage any lead harder than about Brinnell Hardness 8 (or about 3 percent antimony/lead alloy) before breaking either the die or the punch. But in certain circumstances, you can even swage linotype alloys of Brinnell Hardness 22. The Corbin Hydro-press can swage any alloy of lead ever made, or even solid copper if you wish. The reason that you can swage hard alloys in some calibers and not in others, in some shapes and not others, and in the Hydro-press but not in a reloading press has less to do with the power of the press than it does the strength of the dies and punches. If you are curious about the mathematics involved in engineering dies to withstand certain pressures, the book "POWER SWAGING" is full of revealing data, formulae, and charts that will make it all clear. As a rule of thumb, it's safer to use soft, pure lead for swaging in all circumstances because pure lead flows more easily at lower pressures, and thus puts less strain on the dies. But, if you have a need to swage hard lead for some reason, don't give up just because of a rule of thumb! We have a way to do it in every case, if you are willing to purchase the correct kind of tooling. Your stock of casting alloys can be used if the caliber, die, and press system is selected with proper specifications for hard lead. Tooling made for hard lead may, in some circumstances, not be as useful for soft lead because of the different size bleed holes. That is one reason why you need to talk to the die-maker before jumping in head first with a bar of hard alloy in hand! If you use Hydro-press dies, hard lead is perfectly acceptable in calibers up to .500 diameter, unless very deep and thin base skirts or other special designs are planned. The dies are so strong that they can handle any lead alloy. In the Mity Mite system, hard alloys can be handled if the die-maker knows in advance you plan to use them. In calibers above .358 diameter, they are a bit risky because of the die wall in the smaller Mity Mite series -- an imprudent stroke of the handle could crack a .45 caliber die used with too hard an alloy. In the reloading press, calibers of .243 and .224 work reasonably well with hard lead, but anything larger should be used with alloys of Brinnell Hardness 6 and under. Corbin supplies pure lead in billets and in lead wire form, but does not furnish alloy lead except on special order. A potential objection to lead wire is the cost of shipping. At the time of this writing, it costs about $10 to ship a spool of lead wire completely across the country. A spool of .22 caliber wire makes over 4,000 .224 bullets. The cost of shipping, then, breaks down to a mere 0.0025 cents per bullet (that is a quarter of a penny per bullet). This amount is not prohibitive, and consequently most people choose to use lead wire for the smaller calibers. In the larger calibers, the cost per bullet increases since there is more lead consumed in each bullet, but the trade-off of convenience and safety still results in a majority of bullet-makers using lead wire. Corbin has lead billets in 0.795-inch diameter for use in the LED- 1 extruder die (in case you don't care to cast billets), and can furnish lead in just about any size of billet. Alloys can be furnished only in minimum lots that generally are 100 to 250 pound, because of the minimum billet required for a commercial extruder operation. Many of our customers can provide you with the smaller quantities of alloy leads: check the "WORLD DIRECTORY of CUSTOM BULLET MAKERS" for addresses and phone numbers.
.he CHAPTER 3 CORBIN HANDBOOK AND CATALOG NO. 7, PAGE # ABOUT BULLET JACKETS Bullet jackets are the skin of the bullet. They are what makes it possible to achieve velocities over 4,000 fps and still have no fouling from melted lead in your barrel. But besides elimination of lead fouling, the jacket has another important job. It helps control the terminal performance of the bullet. Bullet jackets are available from Corbin in packages of 250 or 500 jackets, depending on the caliber and length. Popular calibers are stocked in certain lengths that are most useful. Not all calibers or lengths are available directly. Some you have to make yourself, by re- drawing a more common size. This is done with a Corbin JRD-1 draw die. Other calibers can be made from copper, brass, or even steel tubing. A reloading press can only use the commercially available drawn gilding metal jackets, which range from 0.017 to 0.032 inches in thickness depending on the length and caliber. The Mity Mite press can form jackets from 0.030 inch thick copper tubing (hard drawn, straight tubing, not the soft coiled type). The Mega Mite can handle tubing in 0.030 and sometimes in 0.049, depending on caliber. The Hydro-press can handle anything, from the thinnest copper to the thickest steel walls (typically 0.050 steel or 0.065 brass is the heaviest practical jacket wall, beyond which you may as well swage solid copper rod). From .30 caliber rifle down, it is both easier and cheaper to use commercially made jackets and either use them as is, or redraw them for smaller or longer jackets. Jackets can expand considerably during the core seating operation, to become larger in diameter. Jackets for bullet swaging in Corbin equipment are all made several thousandths of an inch smaller than the final bullet diameter, so you can expand them upward for a perfect, tight fit on the core. This is one reason that it isn't feasible to pour hot lead into a jacket and make a jacketed bullet. The pressure of swaging is needed to expand the assembly to the right diameter inside a die. Another reason is that the hot lead would shrink away from the jacket during cooling, leaving a loose core that would not stabilize in the rifling. In the calibers from .309 to .338, it is possible to use regular .30 caliber jackets. Special techniques to expand the jacket evenly include seating the core in two short sections, so that the base will form properly. This is done on the .338 and .333 calibers, but isn't necessary on the .311 and .314 sizes. Using this method, it is even possible to expand a drawn .22 Magnum fired case into a nice 7mm (.284) bullet! It works best with a rebated boattail die set and with three or four short cores seated on top of each other, one at a time. The best known jacket among bullet-makers is the .22 Long Rifle case used for a .224 or a .243 caliber jacket. Corbin makes a die set called the RFJM-22 that turns these rimfire cases into straight-sided jackets of the proper diameter. Vernon Speer, Harvey Donaldson, and Fred Huntington were a few of the well-known experimenters who used this method in the late 1940's. Speer and Huntington both launched major businesses from this beginning. The process had flaws in those days, because rimfire cases used mercuric priming compound. This left the jackets weak and brittle, so they fouled the bores and often came apart on firing. Today, non- mercuric priming is used in rimfire cases. The jackets you can make for yourself not only are as good as any you can buy for most practical purposes, but they are free! The disadvantage of making rimfire jackets is that the bullets have very thin skins -- typically under 0.015 inches -- without the thick taper toward the base which commercial jackets have. This means that they are excellent for varmint shooting, because if they hit the ground they normally blow up and do not cause a ricochet. But they are not suitable for high velocity (beyond about 3500 fps they blow up in the air), nor are they suitable for serious game hunting. You may be surprised to learn that the commercial standard 52 grain bullet has a jacket that matches the length of the drawn .22 Long Rifle case. This is because the first .224 commercial bullets were made from such cases! When bullet makers switched to drawn strip metal, they kept the traditional length. Thus, you do not need to trim your home-made jackets or make excessive weights of bullets to use them. The jacket material is normally either commercial bronze or gilding metal. These alloys are 10% zinc and 5% zinc, respectively, with the balance of copper. The zinc is for strength and anti-fouling characteristics. A rimfire case is about 30% zinc. It is more brittle, but also less likely to foul the bore at normal speeds. By annealing the case, you can make it just as ductile as the regular jacket. A 6mm (.243-.244) bullet jacket can be made from the fired .22 case (a Stinger or other long case is best). The head is smoothly drawn off, leaving a diameter of about 0.219 inches at the end. The body of the fired case is about 0.225 inches in diameter. A special punch with a flare or bottleneck, like a bottleneck cartridge, is used inside the case. The jacket becomes slightly longer as it is drawn, and this lengthening forces the mouth partly over the tapered part of the punch. It is this tapered mouth that lets you seat a lead core into the undersized jacket and expand it to full .243 size during the core seating operation. The flared mouth seals the die against lead leakage and makes the jacket expand perfectly. The .22 WMR case takes a different die (a special type of JRD-1 die is used) to make a long 6mm jacket. By careful manipulation of core weights and seating technique, you can coax this jacket to become a .257, a 6.5mm, or even a 7mm bullet! This isn't something for the beginner to try, but once you have mastered the basics, it is fairly easy to learn. Bullet jackets have different wall thicknesses, not only between different calibers and makes, but also within the same jacket. Commercial jackets have a taper, to control expansion. This means that when you seat the lead core into the jacket, the core has to be small enough to fit easily into whatever jacket you are using. If you buy a set of dies that is made with punches for a certain jacket, and then change to another jacket (such as going from a commercial drawn jacket to a copper tubing jacket), you will probably need to obtain a different core seating punch. The core seating punch fits inside the jacket, rather than the die itself, whenever you want bullets with the lead seated down past the jacket mouth. (Bullets with large lead tips, such as semi-wadcutters and lead round nose bullets, are made using a core seating punch that fits and seals pressure against the die wall instead of inside the jacket.) If you change from a 0.020 inch wall jacket to one with walls of 0.050 inch thickness, then you need a punch that is considerably smaller in diameter to fit the new jacket. When you order dies, either let Corbin supply the right jacket to fit them, or send a sample of the jacket you want to use. If you want more than one jacket, remember that you may need more than one core seating punch. The other part that you may need for different jackets is the core swage die. Core swage dies make the core the right size and weight, starting with an undersized piece of lead. Reloading press dies don't use a core swage for technical reasons. Special swage presses almost always use die sets that can have a core swage as the first die of the set. When you order a set of dies for jacketed bullets, the diameter of the core swage die is important to the diemakers. The core that is produced must be small enough to fit inside whatever jacket you are going to use. If you later add copper tubing, or change to a thicker wall jacket (such as drawing down a larger caliber to get a longer jacket for a heavier bullet), it may require another core swage die of smaller diameter. The right size of lead wire or core mould for a certain caliber depends on the jacket you plan to use. Most standard jackets that are available from Corbin take standard, off-the-shelf diameters of lead wire and core moulds. If you furnish your own jackets, you may need to send samples to get a special size made to order. Core size for the jacket is not terribly critical: as long as the core fits and the weight is about right without being so long that the core sticks out the die mouth, you can use any size. One exception is that your core shouldn't normally be a press fit into the jacket, so that it traps air in the bottom. The short, thick half jackets for .38 caliber sometimes fit a bit snugly on the standard core, but they don't cause any problem. It is the long, tapered jackets of larger caliber handguns and of rifle bullets that create a potential problem with too snug a core. The problem arises when the core fits so tightly that air is pushed into a highly compressed disk at the bottom of the jacket. If the bullet is finished with the jacket brought around the nose or ogive section, you don't notice any problem. Accuracy is usually good because the air is normally quite highly compressed and centered rather well. But if you make a semi-wadcutter style bullet (and by that, we in the bullet-swaging field refer to ANY style of nose, be it round or flat, hollow or pointed, so long as the nose is entirely made of lead projecting from the jacket, and the jacket is NOT curved at all to lock the core in place), then the trapped air can expand when the bullets are brought into the hot sun. Sometimes, the cores will pop out with a loud bang and jump harmlessly across the room! The answer is to use a core that slips to the bottom of the jacket without force. Or, if you want to use a core swage die that is nearly but not exactly right, you might want to have the die-maker machine a special internal punch with a cavity in the shape of a boattail or Keith nose in its end. The cavity would form a mirror image of itself in the lead core, so that a section of the core would then fit nicely into the bottom of your tapered wall jacket without trapping any air. This technique lets you use the same core swage die with several calibers and with several different styles of jacket in the same caliber. The right core mould for heavy wall tubing jackets is much smaller in diameter than the right core mould for a standard drawn commercial jacket. In fact, the next smaller caliber of mould is normally used. For instance, a .30 caliber core mould might be used with a tubing jacket bullet in .358 caliber, whereas a .38 caliber mould would be used if you were to make commercial jacket bullets with those same dies. When you order, we supply the size of equipment needed for standard popular jackets that we stock unless you specify otherwise, or unless we know that tubing jackets are going to be used. Bullet jackets can make a wide range of weights even with the same length. The exact weight range for any given caliber and length of jacket depends on the ogive shape and base shape, as well as the degree of hollow point or hollow base and the lead density used, and the thickness of the jacket. There is no single "right" weight for a given jacket because of all these variables. But that means you, as the bullet-maker, can manipulate the variables and produce all kinds of different weights using a limited stock of jackets. For instance, in the .44 caliber, a 0.54-inch long drawn jacket is very popular with shooters who have 3-die sets, such as the FJFB-3 type, to make bullets with the jacket curved around the ogive. By adjusting the amount of lead used in the jacket, you can make any weight from 180 to 250 grains with this jacket. The lighter weights have open points, and the heavier weights have more and more lead exposed at the tip. The bullet-maker who uses a semi-wadcutter die limits himself somewhat on the range of weights possible with a given jacket, since he cannot take up any jacket length by curving jacket material around the nose. He can, however, change the amount of nose by selecting different punches, or change the amount of lead used by selecting hollow point or cup base punches and adjusting how far he presses these into the die. Then, he can follow with the regular Keith or other semi-wadcutter type of punch to shape the lead that is moved forward by the hollow point punch. This technique lets the bullet-maker adjust weight even on semi- wadcutter style bullets with the same jacket length and still have the same amount of lead showing! A technique not widely known is the use of ordinary cornstarch as a filler in the base of the jacket. By placing cornstarch in the bottom of the jacket and seating a lead core over it, you can produce very high velocity, light weight bullets in jackets that everyone else thinks only make heavy weight slugs. In the .25 ACP caliber, you can make jackets from fired shotgun primers using the SPJM-25 die set. This kit lets you push out the anvil and cap, and draw the top hat battery cup into a smooth-sided jacket for a 45-50 grain .25 caliber bullet. Jackets for sub-calibers, such as the .14, .17, and .20 caliber, can be made from ordinary .224 commercial jackets using three drawing dies. The jackets need to be annealed by heating to a dull red briefly, so that the bottoms won't crack out when you draw them to .14 caliber. Dies that use larger caliber jackets, such as the sub-caliber draw dies, can be made with a pinch trim punch so that surplus material is pinched off as the jacket is drawn. In order to pinch trim a jacket, there must be a reasonable amount of reduction taking place. It is difficult to pinch trim a .38 jacket being drawn to .350, for instance, because most .38 jackets begin at .3545 diameter. That doesn't leave enough difference for a pinch trim punch to work. But drawing from a .308 to a 7mm, or from a 7mm to a 6.5mm, leaves plenty of metal for pinch trimming to any desired length. You don't have to use a jacket. Many handloaders don't yet realize that bullet swage dies can be used with or without jackets, and that a swaged lead bullet can be made faster, more precisely, and with far greater control of weight and style than a cast bullet. The same dies can be used for jacketed bullets or lead bullets. (This doesn't necessarily work in reverse: if you buy a LSWC-1 lead semi-wadcutter die, designed just to make lead bullets, it won't make fully jacketed bullets because the bleed holes in the side of this die would then be covered by the jacket.) Lubrication on a swaged, smooth-sided bullet is accomplished by changing from Corbin Swage Lube to Corbin Dip Lube. Dip Lube is a liquid wax that is applied to the core before swaging a lead bullet. The pressure of swaging forms a hard, tough film of wax all over the bullet. The wax doesn't melt or affect the powder like bullet greases do. Since it covers the whole bullet, no lead is exposed to the air or to the bore without having some lube between the bore and the lead. Naturally, this "liquid jacket", as some people call it, doesn't stand up to the torque and heat of high velocity firing like a regular jacket would. It does serve well for most shooters using loads up to 1,200 fps, and cuts the cost of shooting by eliminating the jacket as well as speeding up the whole bullet-making process. Corbin Dip Lube is available in pint cans or gallons. A sample 2-oz. bottle is available as well. Re-forming jacketed, factory or military surplus bullets in a standard swage die (the point forming die, usually) is also possible. There are some cautions and limitations. The bullet must be smaller than the final diameter desired, because you cannot expect a .308 bullet to fit easily into a .308 diameter hole and eject easily after reforming. It should be a 0.3085 to 0.3090 inch die in order to use a .3080 inch diameter bullet for reforming. Also, there are some minor problems with lead coming forward out the nose of a finished bullet when you change the ogive shape to reduce the total internal volume. But, on the other hand, we have made hundreds of single-die swages that turned rather inaccurate military surplus bullets into soft points of very good accuracy simply by swaging them backward, so the base became the nose and the pointed nose became a solid base! And in other cases, we have made 5.56 and 7.62 mm bullets shoot twice as well by simply bumping them up half a thousandth of an inch while making their open bases more perfect and even. These transformations are quick and easy when they can be made to work with a standard die. I would not recommend putting a lot of money into tooling specially built for it unless you have a tremendous number of surplus bullets to reform. Bullet jackets can be made that have partitions, variations in thickness (selective heavier base sections), completely closed bases, solid copper bases, and multiple jackets stacked inside each other. Most of the heavy duty jacket making, using copper or brass tubing and such styles as the partition or H-mantle, are done on the Corbin Hydro- press. Hand presses and dies made for them do not have the ability to produce or withstand the extreme pressures used. Within a more limited range, however, you can still make exotic jacket designs by using the telescoping jacket idea: putting smaller calibers inside of larger ones is a very effective way to control performance. A thorough discussion of bullet jackets can be found in the book "REDISCOVER SWAGING", and the various technical bulletins published by Corbin Manufacturing have further details on making tubing bullet jackets, rimfire cases into jackets, and even the use of fired brass cases as bullet jackets.
.he CHAPTER 4 CORBIN HANDBOOK AND CATALOG NO. 7, PAGE # SWAGING IN THE RELOADING PRESS If your reloading press accepts standard 7/8-14 TPI dies and its ram will take regular RCBS button-type shell holders, then you can use it for swaging certain calibers and kinds of bullets with Corbin reloading press swage dies. A heavy-duty press makes the work easier, but any modern press capable of resizing a .30-06 case is strong enough for bullet swaging in the styles and calibers we offer. There are limits to the pressure you can safely apply to the soft screw-stock rams used in nearly all current reloading presses. The size of the frame or leverage of the press has nothing to do with this. A massive press like the RCBS Big Max still has a four-inch stroke, to get a magnum rifle case in and out. Small arms bullets, on the other hand, need only about two inches of stroke in order to be successfully swaged. This wastes half the leverage in a reloading press. Single station, ram-type presses are the only kind currently supported by swaging equipment. Presses with turrets, rotating shell holder plates, aluminum frames, mechanical type shell holders that adjust to different size cartridge heads, progressive loaders, and bar- type rams used in H-frame presses all have features that make some swaging operations difficult or impossible. Standard swage dies for reloading presses do not require a massive press, but they do work best in a simple, single-station conventional round-ram press. A special swaging press like the Corbin Mity Mite (CSP-1) or a combination reloading and swaging press like the Corbin Mega Mite (CSP- 2) has the capability to more than double the leverage in a reloading press design. It does this by cutting the stroke in half. The same effort that moves a reloading press ram four inches is now put to work moving the ram only two inches. The effort is converted into higher pressure within the die. Such presses have many special features designed to allow higher stresses, equalize the torque on the ram, align the die and punch more precisely, and provide for automatic ejection of the bullet on the back stroke. The die can be designed to withstand higher pressure, since it doesn't have to fit into the constraint of a standard reloading press dimension. In these presses, any caliber from .14 to .458 rifle bullets with tubing jackets as thick as 30 thousandths of an inch are perfectly feasible. In a conventional reloading press, you are limited to the .224, .243, and .257 rifle calibers, and the .25 ACP, .30-32 Handgun and carbine (130 grains or less, no spitzer rifle shapes), 9mm and .357/.38 Handgun calibers. Within those calibers, there is considerable latitude for weight and style variation. Regardless of the press or system, you can make lead bullets or gas-checked bullets in any die capable of jacketed bullet swaging. And, you can use longer or shorter jackets in the same set of dies. There are some dies made just for lead bullets, combining the steps of core swaging and core seating so that you can make a lead bullet in one quick stroke, and these special (model LSWC-1) dies are not generally suited for use with more than a half-jacket. These dies are not made for the reloading press, in any case, since they require bleed holes in the die wall. Core swage dies and other lead-forming dies that have extrusion holes through their walls to let you automatically adjust the lead core weight on each stroke (instead of just using whatever weight of core you happen to put into the die) need room around the side of the die for the lead to come out. In a reloading press, the die is put into the head of the press. Because of the length and top position of the ram in a reloading press, the die has to be located so its walls are surrounded by the threads of the press. This doesn't leave room for correctly located bleed holes. In order to do it right, core swaging and lead semi-wadcutter dies that adjust the core as they form the bullet are made only for the special swaging presses, and not for use in reloading presses. You can still make lead bullets of equal quality in a reloading press, but to get there, you must be more careful about how you cut or cast the cores. What you put into the die is what you get out, in regard to weight control. This is a major advantage of the special swaging press systems, and is one of the things that makes it difficult to "convert" or adapt many of the advanced kinds of dies for use in ordinary reloading presses. Reloading press swage dies are made with a UNIVERSAL ADAPTER BODY, which is the same for all styles and calibers of dies. This component holds the actual die "insert" and internal punch together in the proper relationship, and fits into the 7/8-14 TPI threads of your reloading press. All adjustment for different weights and styles of bullets is made by turning the whole die, universal adapter and all, up and down in the threads of the press like a big micrometer thimble. There are two punches in every swage die. The INTERNAL PUNCH stays inside the die. It is held there by two restraints: the punch has a head on the top that won't let it fall through the die on the "downstroke", or ejection cycle, and the universal adapter body only lets the punch head slide up a certain distance before it strikes the top of the hole machined in the adapter. The EXTERNAL PUNCH fits into the slot in the press ram, just like a shell holder. It can easily be removed and changed. Most people own several external punches for each of their die sets. A small hole goes all the way through the top of the adapter. It is .257 inches in diameter, and takes a quarter-inch diameter KNOCK-OUT ROD (also called the ejector rod or simply K.O. rod). The Knock-Out rod is long enough so that it can push the internal punch down nearly the same distance as the die is long. That pushes the bullet out the die mouth. On one end of the Knock-Out rod is a knurled head, big enough to give you a good target to tap with a plastic mallet or a piece of wood. This drives the bullet back out of the die after swaging. The ejector rod comes completely out of the die, so you can use it on any of your reloadin press swage dies. Another way to eject bullets -- one with a little more sophistocation -- is to slip a Corbin POWER EJECTOR UNIT over the top of the die and fasten the three set-screws into the ring machined around each of the universal adapter bodies, right below the knurled part. The power ejector is an optional accessory item. It speeds up the operation by eliminating the need to pick up a mallet and tap the ejector. Instead of using the regular ejector, you install a straight piece of quarter-inch diameter steel rod, supplied with the PE-1 ejector. Following the instructions that come with this tool, adjust its ram so that all the free play is taken up when you have a bullet in the die, ready to be ejected. From this point on, your swaging operation is reduced to two levers: the press handle swages the bullet, and the power ejector handle gently but firmly pushes it out of the die. The internal punch in your reloading press swage die can be removed easily. Identify the die insert itself. This is the super- hard high-carbide alloy steel cylinder at the very bottom of the whole die assembly, just protruding from the adapter about a quarter inch. Most of the die insert is up inside the adapter body, which is machined to accept the 5/8-24 TPI threads on the other end of the die. To remove the die, grasp the small protruding surface with pair of pliers and unscrew it. (Don't worry about marring the die -- it is so much harder and tougher than your pliers that you can't hurt it this way. On the other hand, don't grasp the oxide-blued adapter body with pliers: it isn't very hard, and you can damage the threads. Just hold it in your hand.) There are basically three dies available for the reloading press that are swage dies, and several kinds of draw dies. The swage dies are: (1) The CORE SEATER (2) The POINT FORMER (3) The LEAD TIP DIE The core seater (CS-1-R designation, in the reloading press system) can perform two different jobs. It can be used by itself to make any kind of bullet that has straight, parallel sides, a small shoulder, and a lead nose from the shoulder up. The whole bullet can be lead, or any amount of it can be covered by a jacket right up to that shoulder. Think of a Keith handgun bullet with a jacket coming right up to the semi-wadcutter shoulder and then stopping. Right up to this point, the bullet is straight. The jacket can't be curved past this point in this kind of die alone. However, the nose can be any shape you like. The nose is formed by letting the lead core flow down into a cavity machined in the end of the external punch. You can make a round nose, a Keith nose, a wadcutter (very little cavity, if any, in the external punch tip!), a conical nose like a pencil point, or anything else including fancy multi-cavity hollow points (instead of just a cavity, there is also a probe or rod in the end of the punch to make these). The point is, while you can just change the punch to whatever the lead core flow down into a cavity machined in the end of the external punch. You can make a round nose, a Keith nose, a wadcutter (very little cavity, if any, in the external punch tip!), a conical nose like a pencil point, or anything else including fancy multi-cavity hollow points (instead of just a cavity, there is also a probe or rod in the end of the punch to make these). The point is, while you can just change the punch to whatever thickness to its edge, or it would quickly crumble away. A 0.015 to 0.025 edge thickness is standard. This small edge comes up against the jacket in our example, and presses hard on the thin jacket material. One of them has to buckle and fold. Usually it is the jacket. If you try to make a semi-wadcutter bullet, and the jacket comes out with radial folds, much as if someone sat on your top hat, then see if you have enough lead sticking out the jacket to completely fill up the cavity in the punch you selected. If not, that's the problem, and the solution is to use a heavier core, a shorter jacket, or a punch with less of a cavity. Another solution is to use a hollow point punch first, moving lead up and out of the jacket, and then form your nose using the extra amount of lead displaced from inside the jacket. Let's back up a minute in case anyone is lost at this point. We are talking about the most basic kind of swage die, the core seating die. It is called a core seating die because it can be used to seat or press the core down into a jacket, expanding the core and the jacket together until they contact the walls of the die. The internal pressure becomes uniform as soon as the jacket is pushed out against the die walls evenly, and the base of the jacket comes hard against the internal punch face. This uniform internal pressure can exceed 20,000 psi (and usually does). Compressed oxygen gas in a welding tank is in the 2,000 to 3,000 psi range. Compressed air in your car tires is usually 35 to 45 psi. When you fire a typical rifle, pressures momentarily peak at levels that reach 25,000 to 55,000 psi typically. The average pressure over a second of time is vastly lower. The swage die must be able to sustain anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 psi constantly, year after year, without change in its diameter, roundness, straightness. It can't develop a barrel shape inside, nor can it grow with the continued stress. Tolerances in a casting mould usually are held to 0.003 to 0.001 inches, plus or minus. Tolerances in the core seating die are usually held to better than 0.00005 inches, plus or minus! Your bullet doesn't need to be within that tolerance of some arbitrary standard diameter, of course, but it is nice to know that whatever diameter it comes out, it is repeatable to such high precision. The typical absolute diameter tolerance on the bullet diameter is normally 0.0005 inches plus or minus, although this has long been proven of little importance, as long as the variance is held to high precision tolerances. In other words, if you have a .308 rifle, and you know for sure that your barrel has a .3000 bore, with all grooves at exactly 0.0040 inch depth, it still doesn't matter nearly as much whether you shoot a .3079 bullet or a .3090 bullet down that barrel, compared to whether your bullets vary from one to the next as you try to put them into one hole. Many competitive shooters find a bullet with nearly 0.001 inch larger than nominal diameter shoots better at long range than a conventional "correct" diameter bullet. In any case, the core seating die is a straight hole die. If you take it out of the adapter body and pull out the internal punch, you will be able to see straight through it. The hole is round, straight, and highly finished. The internal punch is a very close sliding fit. The external punch can fit the die bore, for making those semi- wadcutter and wadcutter type bullets, or it can fit inside the jacket for making rifle-style bullets. Let me make a definition of these two general kinds of bullets. It's important to understand what I'm talking about so you can make proper and cost-effective decisions later on. There are semi-wadcutter styles, and rifle styles of bullets, relative to the kind of equipment needed. When a swage die-maker talks about a semi-wadcutter (or wadcutter) style, it isn't just a specific nose shape. In regard to the kind of equipment required, it means any bullet that is made with a lead nose, ending at a small shoulder, and having the jacket at full bore diameter all the way to the base (if there is any jacket). This kind of bullet can be made in a single core seating die in one stroke of the press. One pass -- all done. No lubricating, no sizing. Just load it and enjoy shooting it. Lead bullets are swaged with a film of flexible, hard wax bonded to them under swaging pressure. This is accomplished by dipping the core in a liquid "Dip Lube", which some people call "liquid jacket", just prior to swaging. The film evenly covers the bullet, making it usable to speeds of 1,200 fps with no grooves, no separate lubricating steps. Cup bases? Hollow bases? No problem -- just remove that flat ended internal punch, and install an optional internal punch with a probe shaped like the cavity you want to form. Both the nose and base are formed at the same time, by pressing against the two punches. Unlke a mould, there is no conflict between hollow bases and hollow points. They are independent of each other and can be mixed or matched any way you like. In fact, you can turn the swaged bullet over and swage it the other direction, perhaps using a little higher setting of the die to get slightly less penetration of the punch. This gives you shapes that neither of the punches has by itself, and demonstrates one of the more powerful experimental features of swaging equipment. We mentioned seating the core inside the jacket. If you wanted to, you could select an external punch (the one that slips into the slotted ram like a shell holder) with a small enough diameter to fit right inside the jacket. Jackets usually have some taper in the wall thickness to control expansion. The punch will contact the jacket wall at some point if it is a close fit. Obviously there are some limits as to the depth of insertion of any given diameter punch, and to the range of weights of cores that you could seat with each punch. If the punch is too small, lead will spurt out around it and you may not be able to build enough pressure inside the jacket to expand it properly. This produces undersized and tapered bullets. If the punch is too large, it may not go into the jacket at all, or it may plow up jacket material as it presses down. This isn't always bad -- it can be used to thin the front of the jacket, or to help lock the core into place. Usually, though, the jacket and punch need to be made for each other to avoid this. Fortunately, Corbin is the world's largest supplier of bullet jackets of all types, and can provide the right punches for any jacket or core weight, as well as the jackets to match. The reason for seating a core inside the jacket is to make that second kind of bullet, the rifle-style bullet having the jacket curved around the ogive, with an open tip. Let's define open tip and hollow point for bullet swagers. An open tip bullet has the core seated below the end of the jacket. The jacket extends forward, past the core. This leaves an opening or an area devoid of lead just below the tip. A hollow point, on the other hand, is made by pressing a punch with a projection or probe machined on the end into the core. The hole or cavity thus formed in the core is further shaped when the ogive is made. The result is a bullet with a hollow area in the point, formed in the lead itself. A hollow point bullet can have a lead tip, or it can have the core seated down inside the jacket. Usually, it has a lead tip exposed beyond the end of the jacket. But an open tip bullet can't, by definition, have a lead tip. The reason to be clear about these terms is so that when you order tools and punches, everyone will be talking about the same thing. It makes a big difference whether you can make what you want once you get the tools. A hollow point is made with an optional punch, during the core seating stage. An open tip is made by using a punch that pushes the core down inside the jacket. It is the standard, "default" design for any regular set of dies that includes more than a core swage and core seating die. And a lead tip bullet takes a lead tip forming die in rifle styles, but seldom requires anything special in the blunt, wide-tip handgun styles. To make that second kind of bullet, the rifle-style bullet, you still need the straight-walled core seater. The uniform pressure that this die produces is necessary to expand the jacket to correct diameter, mate the core and jacket perfectly, and produce the straight and round tolerances in the jacket. But with the core seated down inside the jacket, all you have now is a very accurately formed cylinder! To put the ogive (that's OH-JIVE, by the way, like "Oh, don't gimme no jive, man!") on the bullet, we'll use the second kind of swage die, the point forming die (designated PF-1-R for reloading press dies). Now, the term "point" is often confused with the term "tip". Again, it's nice to talk the same language when ordering parts over the phone. A point on a bullet refers to anything past the shank or straight part. A point is the same thing as a nose. The tip, on the other hand, is just the very end of the point. It is the part that ends, technically, after the meplat, and begins at some arbitrary place on the ogive curve that is close enough to the meplat so that it can have a different curve and not affect the over-all bullet outline significantly. Simply put, the tip is the very end of the bullet's nose. The point is everything from the tip to the start of the straight part (shank) and the point is the same thing as the nose. To add confusion, some people even call the point the ogive, so really the terms point, ogive, and nose all refer to the same thing in general sales talk. But tip is different. The ogive is formed by pushing the straight cylinder you made in the core seating die into the point forming die. It goes in nose first. If you want the nose to be made on the open end of the jacket, then the open end goes in first. You can make a solid nose, or full metal jacket (FMJ, as it is called, though strictly speaking, the open tip also is a full metal jacket bullet) design by pushing the seated core and jacket into the point forming die base first. Special notes on this technique can be found in Corbin technical papers and books. The point forming die has the actual shape of your bullet frozen in tough die steel, diamond lapped to extremely fine finish and tolerance by skilled die-makers. It is a hand-made die, produced by craftsmen with years of experience. It isn't much like a punch press die or a plastic moulding die, and people who have skills in those fields usually can't produce good point forming dies without a great deal more training. To make this die, both reamers and laps have to be cut to precisely the right shape and diameter for your desired bullet. In reloading press equipment, the great attraction is the lower cost since you can use an existing press. If your main goal is economy, then it doesn't help that goal to increase the cost of the dies by adding extra labor, so we manufacture only standard shapes and offer no custom work in the reloading press line. By doing this, we have been able to produce swage dies superior to those costing ten times as much, that are made to special order. Corbin makes the only serious attempt at mass production of hand-crafted swage dies: by eliminating all the stages of custom fitting and tooling, we've been able to bring swaging equipment of high quality to every corner of the earth, and introduce thousands of people to swaging who could not otherwise afford to try it. If you want custom shapes and diameter, on the other hand, then we do have another system set up to handle it at reasonable cost. In fact, this system is designed on two levels: semi-custom and fully custom work using the same basic equipment. The advantage is that we can use all standard blanks, that fit into standard presses and use the same general parts. Your cost is lower, your replacements or repairs are much simpler, and the whole system is so well proven it has become the world's defacto standard for swaging. It's called the Mity Mite system, and we'll discuss it shortly. Semi-custom outfits can be obtained by selecting from the wide variety of off-the-shelf components kept in moderate supply for immediate delivery. Fully custom outfits can be produced, subject to the usual waiting list. In the reloading press, the point forming die is built very much like the core seating die. It fits the same universal adapter body, so both dies look almost identical from the outside. The difference is easy to tell: push on the ejector rod. The core seating die has no internal spring. The ejector rod will slide the internal punch down and you'll see it at the mouth of the die. The point forming die has a small (0.080") spring-steel wire pin passing through the tip of the cavity. This pin is a press fit into a steel button "head". The head is machined to go into one end of a coil spring. The spring presses between the top of the die and the head of the ejection pin. We call the internal punch an ejection pin. The heavy rod that pushes on it is called the ejection rod, you'll recall. If you order a new ejection rod, you'll get this quarter-inch diameter rod with the knurled head. If you order a new ejection pin, we'll want to know the diameter of wire, or at least what caliber of die it fits. The reason for having a spring in this die is to hold the pin out of the main part of the die cavity during bullet swaging. The only purpose of the ejection pin is to push the bullet out of the die by its nose. If the pin were down in the cavity, the bullet would form up around the pin, and then it would be stuck in the bullet. This is exactly what happens if you forget to use lubricant. Now it's time to mention a very important part of swaging: the correct lube. For lead bullets, you have seen that a wax solution called Dip Lube can be applied before swaging the core. For jacketed bullets, a different kind of lube, serving a totally different purpose, is required. Swage lube is made to stand up to extreme pressures without losing its protective film -- a barrier between the smoothly finished die wall and the moving jacket material. Ordinary case lubes are useless. Don't try them. Swage lube is a little more expensive, but it goes a long way and it works. Your dies will last virtually forever if you use the right lube and clean materials. Every component needs a thin film of lube applied before it goes into the die. Lead or jacket, there must be a film of lube between it protective film -- a barrier between the smoothly finished die wall and the moving jacket material. Ordinary case lubes are useless. Don't try them. Swage lube is a little more expensive, but it goes a long way and it works. Your dies will last virtually forever if you use the right lube and clean materials. Every component needs a thin film of lube applied before it goes into the die. Lead or jacket, there must be a film of lube between it You simply press the seated core in (using proper lube), and eject the final bullet out. The bullet goes in nose first, pressed in with an external punch that is as big as the bullet base. It comes out base first, pressed out by a tiny ejection pin that bears on the tip of the bullet. The reason you cannot form the complete bullet in one stroke in this die is that the pressure required to expand the jacket uniformly is not present in this kind of die. There are two exceptions. You can make a full metal jacket bullet in this die alone. And you can make a lead bullet. The techniques for FMJ styles are discussed in other books. Lead bullets are simply a matter of shoving the lead into the die. It has to be smaller than the die cavity, naturally. Everything about swaging assumes you know better than to push a larger component into a smaller die cavity. The match between core seating die and point forming die is very good. For many years, bullet makers thought that it was necessary and desirable to have a slight pressure ring at the bottom of the bullet. This "pressure ring", as it was called, was promoted as increasing accuracy by many die-makers of the 1950's. It may not hurt accuracy at all, and it could help in some cases. In reality, though, the story is a little different. Most die- makers of the past worked at home or in very small shops, and didn't have the money for really expensive, high-precision instruments to measure the bore sizes of the dies as they were being produced. As a result, a match of 0.002 to 0.0008 inches between core seat and point form die cavities was about all the die-makers could manage. Even today, that is typical of the best amateur work and is seen in some of the higher priced benchrest dies as well. Because of this difference, the seated core and jacket always went into the point forming die considerably under final diameter. The pressure of swaging the point expanded the jacket slightly, but most of the expansion took place at the base. These bullets won a lot of matches, but they still had a bit of taper and a bulge at the base. The die-makers, not knowing how to get rid of it, and noticing that even with this defect, the bullets still outshot most factory slugs, started hinting that maybe this was really a design feature put in by plan, instead of something they hadn't yet acquired the tools to eliminate. Today, we still run into a number of precision shooters who read the old literature and come to believe that a "pressure ring" is necessary for good shooting. I don't think that having a 0.001-inch larger base is harmful to accuracy, but I don't think it necessarily does anything valuable. On the other hand, a bullet that is up to 0.001-inch larger than standard size, and straight, is probably going to be a good shooter and it won't expand the case neck as it is seated, then leave the case somewhat loose on the forward part of the bullet. With much taper on the bullet, the act of feeding the round can push the bullet back into the powder, and I know that won't help accuracy. We can make bullets tapered, straight, or with a pressure ring. In the reloading press, we don't offer a choice. In general, it is one of those features that is best left to the die-maker, since specification of too many "nit-picking" details only runs up your cost for special charges on the die-maker's labor, and doesn't give you any more accurate bullet one way or the other. But, if you need something very special in this regard, it is one more thing that has been pinned down and can be offered to anyone who feels it is worth the extra expense. The core seating die has made us some semi-wadcutters and seated some cores for rifle-style bullets (I say rifle style because they could just as well be .32 handgun bullets or .243 rifle bullets -- it is exactly the same process, same kind of die, and the only difference is the size of the hole and the size of the components going into it). We have used the point forming die to shape the rifle-style bullet by forming the ogive, and in two steps we have made nice open tip bullets. What about lead tips and hollow points? The hollow point is made by seating the core with a hollow point punch, then forming the ogive. If the hollow point is also a lead tip, then the lead is longer than the jacket. Trying to eject this bullet may cause some deformation of the tip, since the ejection pin has to push on the tip with some force. The third die we mentioned (lead tip die) is made to finish off the tip so it looks as good as or better than factory bullets. The lead tip die (designated LT-1-R for the reloading press) is much like the core seating die, except that it has a slightly larger bore size, and the internal punch has a cavity that matches the ogive in the point form die. The deformed lead tip fits up inside this cavity. Applying gentle pressure reshapes the lead tip, shears off any surplus lead, and leaves a fine looking lead tip that can be flat, sharp, or radiused. The lead tip die is a nice addition to any set, giving you the ability to reform the tips and even to close the open tip more tightly than you can do it in the point forming die alone. The smallest tip opening is the same diameter as the ejection pin in the point form die. This ejection pin has to be strong enough to push the bullet out of your die, or you will be constantly replacing the ejection pins and having stuck bullets. So, a diameter of about 0.080-inch is used in reloading press sets. This is a good compromise between design strenght and appearance. You can close the tip even further by using the lead tip die carefully. This takes a little practice to avoid pressing a little shoulder in the ogive, but once you figure it out, it is easily repeated. How do you know how hard to push on the handle? Just push a little bit, very lightly. See if the jacket and core remain in the core seating die, or if they come back with the punch. Normally, the correct pressure just expands the jacket enough so that it stays up in the die. In point forming, use just enough pressure to form the bullet until you start to get a parallel pipe of jacket or lead on the tip (pushing the bullet material up into the ejection pin hole). That is as far as you can expect to go. Back off slightly on the die adjustment by raising it higher a half turn or so in the press, and you can then use the full ram stroke to set your insertion depth each time. One key to uniform swaging in the reloading press is to use the top of the stroke, so that each time you move the press handle, you are using the physical limit of the press to control how far the punch inserts into the die. This controls amount of hollow cavity, the degree to which you reshape a bullet, the amount of tip closure on your ogive, and whether or not you are going to get a good lead tip. Everything depends on uniform stroke, uniform insertion of the punch. And that is most easily set by raising the die, so that the ram goes as far up as it can. Then lower the die, to obtain the desired shape or insertion. The right pressure should be about like sizing a case. The larger the caliber, the more pressure you will feel on the handle. In no case is it necessary to throw your weight on the handle, or break your loading bench, or use a cheater bar. Doing these things will quickly make the die-makers more wealthy, because you will soon break your die and mash your punches into pancakes, requiring that you replace them. If you feel generous toward die-makers this week, by all means jump up and down on the press handle a few times. Otherwise, a mild one-hand force is quite enough. Another point in regard to destruction of parts: always try a punch by hand first. If it won't fit, wipe it off several times with a clean cloth, oil it lightly, and try again. If it still won't fit, make sure that you have the right punch! Punches must fit closely but with relative ease into the dies. Keith nose punches, and others with deep cavities, expand slightly and may not fit easily by hand after they have been used. But they do fit, given a little oil and a little gentle pressure. I have seen .242-inch diameter rifle punches (for the 6mm point forming die) pushed into a .2238-inch diameter hole in the .22 core seating die. "I thought it went in a little hard," the bullet-maker said. Yes, I guess it might. Comes out a little hard, too. Try it by hand first. The slot in the reloading press ram collects primer residue and metal shavings. Take a cotton swab or a wood pick and scrape it out before installing your bullet swage punch. The material stuck in the slot can tip the punch, causing it to ram into the die at an angle and tear a nasty gouge all down the side of the punch. Again, be gentle when you first start out. Don't use speed or force on the first stroke, but instead, gently guide things together and notice how they fit. Then go after it, once you know everything is lined up. Making .22 caliber bullets out of rimfire cases is one of the most popular swaging activities today for a reloading press bullet-maker. It has been so for twenty years. The process takes three steps. Draw the jackets, seat the cores, and form the points. Lead tip bullets add a further step of forming the tips. Detailed instructions come with the die sets, and further information is found in the various technical bulletins and text books we publish. The photos in this book will give you a good idea of how the process works. The most questions are about annealing and cleaning .22 cases. First, annealing is usually done after boiling in hot soapy water and vinegar (to clean and shine the brass). Annealing is only so that the ogive will form without any folding. If you make a big lead tip, you probably can avoid annealing. There are several ways to go about it. Putting a group of clean cases in a tuna can, inside a lead pot, and letting them turn dark brown (15 minutes, usually) will do it. Using a toaster oven on high, or putting a pan of cases in a self- cleaning oven for the duration of the self-clean cycle is also good. Using a propane torch or electric heat gun (Corbin FHG-1) is also good, primarily for smaller lots. The older books suggested 600 to 650 degrees F. I have found that modern cases take 800 to 900 degrees F., and that a standard electric oven doesn't usually get hot enough. We do make excellent quality heat treatment furnaces, but for the hobbyist they are too expensive. The time and quench after heating are not critical. Quenching has no effect on the hardness. It merely helps to knock of any scale that might have formed. If you use the right temperature, you won't get any scale, and you can forget about any quench. Just let the cases air cool. Use swage lube on the punch when you draw the jackets. Just slip them over the long, 0.2-inch diameter punch and push them into the die, following instructions provided with the tool. Rimfire cases are good to about 3,000 or 3,200 fps before they start to come apart. Actual speed depends on rifling depth and sharpness. They force you to load a .22-250 down to .222 Mag velocity, but on the other hand, they also make you save powder, barrel, and cost nothing for material. When they hit, you'd swear they were going over 4,000 fps compared to a factory bullet performance. And there is no problem with barrel fouling or wear: if anything, the thinner jackets are easier on your gun than a standard bullet. Try it! You will be surprised at the accuracy.
.he CHAPTER 5 CORBIN HANDBOOK AND CATALOG NO. 7, PAGE #.op SWAGING WITH THE MITY MITE SYSTEM Swaging with the Mity Mite press and dies is a huge step up from using a reloading press. It's faster, easier to use, more than doubles the power you have, so that the effort is cut by more than half, and extends the caliber and design range to dizzying heights. You can obtain dies to make any caliber from .14 to .458, any weight up to about 450 grains, with a maximum bullet length of about 1.3 inches. You're read about the CORE SEATING DIE, POINT FORMER, and LEAD TIP DIE in the previous chapter (or, if you skipped it, you should read it now). Let's explore other kinds of dies that can actually adjust the weight of the bullet as you swage, or form boattails on the normal flat-base jacket. There are FIVE kinds of swage dies for the Mity Mite system: (1) The CORE SWAGE die (2) The CORE SEATER die (3) The POINT FORMING die (4) The LEAD TIP die (5) The REBATED BOATTAIL die set In addition to swage dies, there are draw dies, and special jacket forming dies. Copper tubing can be formed into bullet jackets for those calibers where regular drawn jackets are not available, too thin for big game hunting, or too expensive and difficult to obtain. Tubing jackets can be made in the Mity Mite in 0.030-inch wall thickness, in the calibers from .308 to .458. The quality of such jackets is outstanding, even if they are produced from ordinary copper water tube. The literature that comes with the kit of dies explains the process in detail. The one die that is used in this set and not discussed here is the END ROUNDING DIE, which rolls over the tubing in preparation for closing one end. In reality, it is simply a special size of point forming die, with a round nose cavity and special punches for tubing. The core swage die is made like a core seating die, except that both the internal and external punches are very close, sliding fits to the bore, and the bore is just large enough to accept a cast or cut lead core. Also, there are three orifices in the walls of the die, at 120-degree positions around the circumference. You can easily tell this die from the others by looking for these three bleed holes. It is easy to determine which punches go with the die: the punches are far too small to fit closely in any other die of the same caliber set. Just try them by hand. If they fit smoothly into the die cavity, they are right. There are really two forms of core swage die. One is the ordinary core swage, used to adjust the lead core weight shape before making a bullet from it. The other is a variation called the LEAD SEMI- WADCUTTER DIE, or LSWC-1. In the Mity Mite system, we place a -M after the model number of the die set, and for the same kind of set in the Hydro-press system, we place a -H after the model. There is no LSWC-1 or, for that matter, any kind of core swage or bleed-off die for the reloading press. The LSWC-1-M can be used to make a complete bullet in one stroke. It has a bore size that is finished bullet diameter, and the punches have ends that are shaped just like a reverse of the bullet nose and base you want to form. Because the punch forms the nose by flowing lead into its cavity, there has to be a small shoulder between the nose and shank, where the edge of the punch presses into the core. The LSWC-1-M cannot make a smoothly curved ogive without a step. Let's make a bullet in this die. First, cut or cast a small quantity of lead core as described in the earlier chapters. But leave from two to five grains more lead than you actually want in the final bullet weight. Locate your LSWC-1-M die set. You can see that the die has no adapter body like the reloading press die. The Mity Mite dies don't use an adapter body, because they are made to screw directly into the RAM of the Mity Mite press! The die is a very tough knurled cylinder of costly, special steel, heat treated in electronic furnaces with a special kind of atmosphere. The Corbin process of die-making has been developed over the past twenty years to a level far beyond that used by most of the mass-production arms and ammo companies. The dies you receive are superior in construction and in design to the usual production die, and the bullets you can make in them should be superior to those you can purchase, if you do your part! The die has an internal punch, which normally is left in the die (no need to remove it). It goes into the die from the threaded end of the die. The threaded end of the die screws directly into the press ram. This is just the opposite of reloading press dies, which screw into the press head. In the Mity Mite, the press head holds a FLOATING PUNCH HOLDER. This black oxide finished, 7/8-14 TPI threaded cylinder looks like a reloading press die. But it holds the external punch. The ram of the Mity Mite press is machined so it performs all the functions of the universal adapter body. There is a shoulder that stops the internal punch from coming out of the top of the die when you move the ram forward to swage. There is also a hardened tool steel pin with a knurled head, passing through a slot in the side of the ram. This is the STOP PIN. It's job is to stop the backward movement of the internal punch when you pull the ram back, so that the internal punch is forced to slide forward and eject the bullet. You don't need a mallet, ejector rod, or the power ejector unit with the Mity Mite. When you consider the wide range of calibers, styles, and jobs that Mity Mite dies must do, then think of the years of development that went into the complete system of interchangable, simple dies and punches to fit the Mity Mity press, you may realize why it is better to purchase the ready-made system rather than trying to modify reloading presses, come up with custom parts or tools, or try to modify dies to work in arbor presses, hydraulic jacks, or vises. The universal interchange of calibers, jobs, and styles in the Mity Mite system is a major benefit, and the ease which which future changes or special work can be done in this system makes it far more cost-effective than trying to come up with one-of-a-kind tools for specific jobs. The FLOATING PUNCH HOLDER, (Model FPH-1), is included with each Mity Mite press. Instead of moving the die to adjust for depth of punch insertion, you screw the die all the way into the ram until it comes to rest on a shoulder. This shoulder, not the threads, takes all the force. Adjustment is all done with the micrometer-like movement of the threaded punch holder. Screw it toward the ram to make lighter bullets, or to push a punch further into the core. Screw it away from the ram to fit a heavier core, or to push a punch a little less far into the die. To install the LSWC-1-M die and punches in the Mity Mite, first make sure that the internal punch is correctly placed in the die. The internal punch has a 1/2-inch diameter head at one end, and a short "tail" protruding from the other side of this head. The tail is about 5/16-inch diameter, and its length varies from a quarter inch to five eighths of an inch, depending on the nominal weight (length) for which the punch was designed. This tail, working with the over-all punch length and the dimensions of the ram itself, determines the lightest and heaviest weight of bullet that you can get into the die. Lighter bullets require less of a tail, and heavier ones take a longer tail. You don't need to know the technical details -- just let us know what general weight range you want, and we'll see that the punch provided will do it. If one punch won't handle the whole range, we may suggest a second punch. Usually, the range is so great that you can reasonably expect to make handgun weights with one punch and rifle weights with another. The punch tail determines how much volume is left in the die cavity, which You don't need to know the technical details -- just let us know what general weight range you want, and we'll see that the punch provided will do it. If one punch won't handle the whole range, we may suggest a second punch. Usually, the range is so great that you can reasonably expect to make handgun weights with one punch and rifle weights with another. The punch tail determines how much volume is left in the die cavity, which nger pressure. It isn't necessary to use a pair of pliers. Now identify the external punch. The external punch fits the die cavity, but it has no "tail" section on its half-inch diameter head. Whereas the internal punch has to be as long as the entire die, so it can push the bullet out the mouth, the external punch needs only to fit half-way or less into the die bore. It is shorter. The part that is matched to the die cavity diameter is less than half the entire punch length. There is a section of the punch just after the head that is turned to about three eighths of an inch in diameter. This section slips into a hardened bushing that you will find inside the floating punch holder. There are three parts in the punch holder besides the body itself. First, there is a hexagon-shaped bushing or retainer that threads into the mouth of the punch holder. Remove this bushing. It should unscrew easily by hand. Inside the punch holder are two hardened tool steel parts. One is a half-inch diameter bushing or ring. One side is flat, the other curved. This part is called the ROCKER BUSHING. It slips over the external punch, so that the flat side rests against the head of the punch, and the curved side faces toward the small end of the punch (toward the die). On punches that must be made larger than 0.375-inch diameter, the hex bushing and the rocker bushing are permanently assembled to the punch. These punches must have the end opposite the head larger than the standard hole size in the two bushings. We make them fit the standard system by building them with a removable, cap- screw secured head. We assemble them here, so you don't have to take them apart and reassemble them every time you want to install a bushing. If your caliber takes a punch smaller than 0.375-inch tip diameter, the rocker bushing and hex bushing supplied with the press, in the punch holder, will easily slip over the punch. Assemble them now. Put the hex bushing over the punch so it will hold the punch into the punch holder. Look inside the punch holder. If you use your little finger, or a toothpick, you can probably pick out the last part, called the ROCKER BUTTON. This part looks just like the rocker bushing, but is solid. The rocker button fits into a V-shaped surface in the bottom of the punch holder cavity. It allows the head of the punch to transfer all the tons of swaging force to the punch holder in a safe manner, yet still allows the punch to rotate slightly so it can line up with the die bore perfectly. If the punch were held rigid, it could not self- align or float to keep the punch perfectly aligned under stress. This is another advantage of the Mity Mite system over other swaging methods. Notice that the rocker button has a curve on one side, and is flat on the other. Make sure that you put this button into the punch holder so that the curved side goes in first. You want the punch head to rest against the flat side of the button. And the flat side of the rocker bushing presses against the other side of the punch head. The curved side of the rocker bushing matches a curve machined in the inside edge of the hex bushing. When you screw it all into the punch holder, the punch is held so that the exact center of its head is in the center of a 1-1/4 inch ball, most of which is not physically present, but the working parts of which are formed by the curves and their mating surfaces. You don't need to take any special precautions with this assembly. It doesn't need oiling or maintenance. Just make sure you assemble it correctly. Look at the pictures in this manual before you try it. If any of the three parts are missing, your punch will not be properly supported and could be damaged under swaging pressure. Many people purchase spare punch holders so that they can assemble the punch and leave it, locking the lock ring on the punch holder to repeat their favorite adjustment quickly. This is nearly as fast as having several presses, since it is the only adjustment that ever needs to be made. With the die assembled into the ram, and the external punch in the punch holder, back off the punch holder several turns away from the ram. Pick up a core, moisten it with a little Corbin Swage Lube (or Corbin Dip Lube, if you want to make a lead bullet with a wax film for up to 1200 fps velocity), and place it into the die mouth. The core must fit into the die easily. If it won't fit, it is too large and you should not attempt to swage it. Never swage anything too large to fit into the die by hand. If it is far too small, you will tend to get folds and wrinkles in the shank, and it will be hard to get enough weight without having the core stick out the die mouth. The maximum length of core still must fit into the die before any pressure is noticed on the handle. Never try to swage something that is just barely inside the die, or sticks out of the die mouth. Carefully move the ram forward so that you can align the external punch and die. Don't pinch your fingers! Just help the punch go into the die this first time, and then, when you have it inside, gently snug up the hex bushing so that the punch doesn't move freely (it will still move under swaging forces). The Mity Mite press is so powerful it can pinch your finger off just by dropping the handle with your finger between the die and punch. Always keep your hand firmly on the handle when you are adjusting a punch, and don't trust gravity or friction to keep the handle from falling! I never place my finger between the die and punch. Any time I make a manual adjustment or help the punch line up the first time, I always keep my fingers on the sides of the punch, away from the tip. If I should drop the handle on the press, the die would move my hand out of the way. I might pinch myself against the end of the punch holder, but that wouldn't be too bad. If the punch won't reach into the die at this point, move the punch holder forward. The ram should be moved to its foremost position, so it reaches as close to the press head as it can go. This happens at the point of maximum leverage, with the pivots in the handle lined up in a straight line with the ram centerline. This press is unique in having all its linkage and ram concentric and in a straight line with maximum forward travel. Most presses have a side-torque caused by offsetting the handle, and several can't reach full leverage because they physically run out of travel before then. If the die can't be moved forward because the lead core comes up against the external punch, back off the external punch by turning the punch holder. When you have the ram all the way forward, hold it there and screw the punch holder toward the die until you can't turn it any more. The punch will have come up against the lead core. Back off the ram slightly, and move the floating punch holder half a turn forward. Stroke the press forward again. Then pull the handle back and almost, but not quite, eject the bullet. You can see the bullet at the die mouth, ready to be ejected. Notice whether or not the nose is completely filled out. If not, adjust the punch holder forward another half turn and swage the bullet again. Within a few strokes you will have the press set up so that the nose is forming completely. A small quantity of lead should begin to move out the bleed holes. I like to make my cores so that about one eighth of an inch of lead extrusion comes out the bleed holes on every stroke. Also, I like to swage the cores so that they are double-swaged: every stroke goes over and past the "top dead center" position, and then passes "over the top" again on the back stroke. You will notice that the Mity Mite retracts the ram slightly as you continue through the end of the stroke. This slight retraction gives you a double-swaging action on each stroke, if you use it. If you eject the bullet and weigh it, you can see whether or not to adjust the punch holder and in what direction. If the bullet is too light, then you may need to adjust the punch holder away from the ram (to make more room in the die at the end of the stroke, and extrude less lead). If it is too heavy, then you need to adjust the punch holder toward the ram (to reduce the volume in the die at the end of the stroke, and force more lead out the bleed holes). Obviously, if your lead cores start out too light, there is no way to make them all weigh the same by swaging and still come up with a heavier bullet. The only way to get consistent core weight by this method is to start out with plenty of lead, and remove all the surplus along with the variation. The hardness of the lead has a good deal to do with consistency of weight. Harder lead will flow more slowly. You may get variations in weight with harder lead, because you don't allow enough time for the lead to quit flowing. I recommend only pure, soft lead for the Mity Mite. You can get by with alloys of up to 3% antimony, in the smaller calibers. If you don't notice any lead coming out the bleed holes, stop swaging and figure out whether the core is so short that it lets the external punch move past the bleed hole location. If this happens to be the case, then you need an internal punch with a shorter tail section. Most people assume the external punch is too short. But making it any other size tends to cause other problems. The right way to adjust for extreme weight ranges is with the design of the internal punch tail. After you have swaged some bullets, the internal punch may be more difficult to move. This is because the three extrusion holes in the die become filled with the last lead wire extrusion made. The ends of the lead wire press against the punch sides. This is normal. You should still be able to remove and re-insert the external punch, though there is no reason to do so unless you want to change to another style (such as going from flat base to cup base). Read this part over again and make sure you understand the principle involved. This is the same operation you use with all the various core swages and lead semi-wadcutter dies. It works the same way whether you use the automatic proximity detectors and pressure transducers of the Hydro-press or whether you do it by hand on the Mega Mite or Mity Mite press. It doesn't matter whether you are making benchrest .224 rifle cores, handgun .44 Magnum cores, or .40 Sharps rifle bullets for paper-patching. Airgun pellets or precision lead weights for phonograph cartridges all are made exactly this way. Two notes about high precision: (1) Make sure the ram does indeed go past the "top of stroke" position each time, and (2) try to use the same timing for each stroke. Timing is important because lead flows on an exponential curve with time. Lead has a creep rate that can continue for years under a constant low stress. If you maintain a steady rate, your cores will come out much closer than if you whip the handle back and forth one time, and lean on it to drink a cup of coffee the next. You should be able to get less than 1% variation in total core weight on your first attempt. If you are really good, you can get less than 0.5% variation. Some people actually achieve such high precision that there is no discernable weight variation on a normal reloading scale. It is all the same equipment. Your skill in operating it makes the difference. But think about what this means: If you start with a 100 grain core, one percent is one grain. Half a percent is half a grain. With a 50 grain core, one percent is half a grain. With a 500 grain core, one percent is five grains. In other words, don't just expect half a grain or less on everything, because it is very sloppy for light bullets and beyond any reasonable expectation for heavier ones. Besides which, weight variation alone has very little to do with accuracy. Weight variation that is caused by differences in jacket thickness or alloy composition is a bad thing for accuracy. It means the trouble is elsewhere, and it means differences in bore friction, bullet upset, and other factors. Weight variation that is merely the result of having another grain or two of lead is quite insignificant. I have won matches with bullets that varied more than five grains in weight. Fortunately, there was nothing else wrong with them. A great number of factory bullets have horrible weight variation from lot to lot. If it came from having more or less core material, I wouldn't worry about it. But usually it comes from having differences in jacket material, and that affects groups. You've made some nice lead semi-wadcutter bullets now, using the LSWC-1-M, and they are ready to shoot if you used Dip Lube on them. Using Corbin Swage Lube, you would have made lead cores that could then be further processed into bullets. In that case, you would want to clean off the cores to remove any lube before putting them into jackets. The reason is that any lube inside the jacket contributes to a possible unbalance of the bullet. Put the cores in a strainer or wire basket and slosh them around in a strong solvent. Corbin Cleaning Solvent comes in pint cans, and is able to remove any lubricant traces, fingerprints, and grease from either cores, jackets, or from your guns. It will remove some finishes, too, so be careful around stocks and table tops! After cleaning the cores, spread them out to dry. Change the core swage die for the core seating die. We've already talked about the reloading press core seating die. It is exactly like the one for the Mity Mite and Hydro-press systems. Only differences in size and how it is held in the press apply. A core seating die looks like a core swage without any bleed holes. That is your first clue. The second is that the bore is larger, and it accepts the right caliber of jacket for the bullet you want to make. Try a jacket in the die -- if it fits, probably it is the same caliber as the die. A positive test for caliber is to swage a lead core in the core seating die, and then use your trusty micrometer to measure the diameter of the lead after swaging. Core seating dieore swage without any bleed holes. That is your first clue. The second is that the bore is larger, and it accepts the right caliber of jacket for the bullet you want to make. Try a jacket in the die -- if it fits, probably it is the same caliber as the die. A positive test for caliber is to swage a lead core in the core seating die, and then use your trusty micrometer to measure the diameter of the lead after swaging. Core seating dies or rifle bullets, and there is no need to purchase another special die for lead bullets, and (2) you can sometimes get a more precisely formed bullet for critical applications by doing it in more steps. This is especially true for harder lead alloys. The internal punch of the core seating die fits into the die bore, and either has a flat face, a probe (for hollow base bullets), a dome (for a dish or cup base bullet), or it can have a cavity (for some kinds special bases, not usually on jacketed bullets as the jacket edge has a hard time jumping over the edge of the punch). The external punch can be almost anything! If you want to make a handgun bullet, the external punch will have a nose cavity shaped like a mirror image of the nose. This is only for lead nose bullets, not for those with the jacket curved around the ogive. If you want to make an open tip bullet, as most rifle bullets tend to be, then the external punch should fit into the jacket rather than the sides of the die. This means that the external punch can be quite a bit smaller than the die bore. A hollow point bullet uses a core seating punch with a probe machined on the tip. This probe pushes down into the lead core and displaces lead around itself. The punch is made so that it centers itself either in the jacket (for an internal hollow point, having the jacket wrapped around it), or on the die walls (a typical lead tip hollow point). This keeps the cavity concentric with the sides of the bullet. You can use another external punch in the same die. First press a cavity into the lead core, as deep as you wish (you don't have to use the full extension of the punch into the core, you know...). Then, change punches and push a Keith nose or a round nose punch into the die, setting the adjustment so that you don't completely reform and close the cavity you just made. Again, you will soon see that there is a lot of control possible between not forming the bullet sufficiently, and completely forming it to the punch shape. Your first punch should be used with reasonable force, compressing the lead core and filling out the jacket to meet the die walls. It should leave the jacket and core in the die, not pull it out with the punch. But any subsequent punch that you want to use does not have to be pushed so far or hard into the core. The shank is already formed. Everything else is just a matter of styling the bullet. Go ahead and experiment. Two punches can make twenty different bullet shapes if you use them with various degrees of insertion and in different orders. But the point forming die really brings out the power to experiment! You read about this die already under the reloading press section. It has a cavity shaped just like the bullet, except there is a little hole in the tip for a strong, spring-wire ejection pin to push the bullet back out again. In the Mity Mite system, this die has a major difference from the reloading press types. It has a captive internal punch instead of a retraction spring. You'll recall that the point forming die has a very small ejection pin instead of a conventional internal punch, and it is held out of the die cavity by a spring. In the Mity Mite press, there is no spring. That stop pin we discussed earlier is pulled out of the top of the press, and slipped into a slot in the head of the ejection pin after you screw the die into place. Don't forget to do this, or you can damage the ejection pin. The first thing I do is pull out the stop pin. Then I place the ejection pin in the end of my point forming die (it goes in from the threaded end, just like all internal punches in all dies), and screw it into the ram as one assembly. With the ram in the right position, it is easy to grasp the tip of the ejection pin while it sticks out the die mouth. I do this, and slide and turn the ejection pin until I can see the slot underneath the stop pin hole. Then I push the stop pin back into place, and give the ejection pin a tug to make sure it is actually locked in place. Now, the ejection pin will be retracted automatically from the die without any spring pressure, and it will be held in place to eject the bullet. The Mity Mite system has less of a problem with a stuck bullet, since you can use the press to retract the pin again and make another attempt to swage it. If you feel resistance to ejection, it is usually better to unscrew the die and use a short piece of the same diameter of spring wire as the ejection pin, along with a small mallet, to tap the bullet out. This happens when you use over-sized components, try to reswage a finished factory bullet in the same diameter of die (many people do this, not realizing that you usually need a slightly larger die for it to work), or forget to use the right lubricant. The most common problem people have when first starting to swage is bending the ejection pin. After a while, you get a better feel for the kind of resistance that is normal, and bent pins become less and less frequent. It is a good idea to purchase spares if you would be under any pressure because of having your set out of commission for a little while due to a damaged ejection pin or a stuck bullet (usually the cause). One or two spare ejection pins can save your day. Now let's talk about a set of dies that we usually consider one package: the RBT-2 set, or rebated boattail forming dies. This is actually a matched pair of dies, not just one. They replace the usual straight-walled core seater whenever you want to make a rebated boattail bullet. A rebated boattail bullet has a step, or shoulder, like a Keith nose on a pistol bullet. That step acts like a spoiler to break up the blast of hot muzzle gas just as the bullet exists your barrel. On a conventional smooth boattail design, the gas flows with the streamlined shape and zips past the bullet, flows along the ogive, and then breaks up right in front of the bullet as it tries to get away. A boattail means that you are probably shooting through your own muzzle blast turbulence! That can add perhaps another 10% error factor to the bullet dispersion. The small rebate has a minor drag effect, but over-all, the improvement in total performance is greater. Not only do you gain ballistic coefficient by reducing base drag, but you also retain the natural good disperson characteristics of the flat base bullet during that critical exit time from the muzzle. Add to that the fact that the dies and punches last longer, there is less gas cutting and a better seal in your barrel. Those are compelling reasons to forget about a conventional boattail design if you have the option of making your own bullets. The process is just like seating a regular core. You use the same external core seating punch that you would use with your flat-base core seater. But instead of using the flat base core seating die, place the core and jacket into the BT-1 or BOATTAIL PREFORMING die. This die has a standard boattail shape inside. You push the flat-base jacket into this die, seat the core, and the jacket is converted into a boattail. Having this taper on the bottom of the jacket makes it easy to form the rebated step or edge. The next die, BT-2 or RBT FINISHING DIE, has a shoulder that transposes itself into the jacket when you once again seat the core. If you tried to use this die alone, the shoulder would catch the jacket bottom and tear it. But the taper gets the bottom of the jacket past the shoulder before any real pressure is applied. The jacket moves outward to take on the die shape, instead of trying to draw over this shoulder. Included with the RBT-2-M set (which can be purchased as an add-on to a conventional three-die or four-die set) is a special external punch for the point forming die. This punch has a cavity in the tip, to match the shape of the boattail. The punch supports the rebated boattail shape, and keeps it from being mashed out of form. The punch is a little fragile, so don't use it for other experiments without considering the forces you plan to apply to those edges. In a short, fat pistol caliber, you can use a Keith nose punch for a rebated boattail bullet. First form a conventional jacketed bullet with a nice truncated conical nose. This is done in the point forming die. In fact, you can make the whole bullet in the point forming die if you put the jacket into this die backward (base first) and then use a core seating punch to seat the core. Eject this bullet, turn it over, and now you have a tapered section facing out of the die and an open tip flat end facing in. Use the Keith punch to push the bullet into the die. The tapered nose will fit into the Keith punch nicely, and will be made into a rebated boattail base. The flat open end will be formed into a new nose in the point forming die. It is simple, effective, and the bullets seem to gain between 20% and 40% in ballistic coefficient at subsonic speeds. This doesn't work if the bullet is much longer than its caliber, so don't try it with conventional rifle bullets. Lead tip dies for the Mity Mite system are just like those described for reloading presses, except, of course, they are made to fit the press ram. They look very much like a core seating die. Some people wonder why we can't use a core seating die. The reason is that the bullet won't slip back into the core seater after it is finished at full diameter. It will go in, but only under some force. And the force is greater than that required to form the lead tip. Making a lead tip bullet requires a little experience. At first, you will probably have some experimenting to do, because you need to have just enough lead protruding so that the cavity in the internal punch of the lead tip die can reshape it fully. Too much lead showing doesn't hurt, but too little is a problem. It can't fill the cavity, and won't shape up properly. With the lead tip die, it is necessary to use very light pressure. Pressing too hard makes a ring in the ogive of the bullet. In some small tips, it helps to grind a sharp wedge shape on the ejection pin of the point forming die. Then, the ejection pin will split the protruding, deformed lead and come to rest against the jacket edge. The jacket edge won't split easily, so the bullet can be ejected. Then, when you put the bullet into the lead tip die to finish the end, the neatly split blob of lead will reform nicely and become whole again. This technique is useful for problem cases, where one must have a small tip size and bring the jacket nearly closed. Generally it isn't required. Large handgun-style lead tips, which are probably a quarter of the caliber or more, don't generally require the lead tip die in order to form properly. A conventional three-die package for open tip bullets works well for making large lead tips of this type. The lead tip die (LT-1-M) can be purchased separately as an add- on, or it can be included with your set of dies in the LTFB-4-M, RBTL- 5-M, or the FRBL-6-M sets. These all have an "L" in their catalog number. The "L" stands for "Lead Tip". All it means is that a lead tip die has been included: you can still make open tip bullets. All the various sets of dies are assembled from the same basic individual dies. Everything but the LSWC-1-M set starts with a core swage and a core seating die, and adds a point forming die, and various combinations of lead tip and rebated boattail dies. A "FB" in the catalog number means "Flat Base". It indicates that you have a standard core seating die in the package, not necessarily that you are limited to flat base rather than cup, dish, or hollow bases. In fact, if you order a pistol set with the cup base specified, you could very well receive a set that doesn't have a flat base punch at all, but it still has the basic ability to make one if you get the right punch. We'd still call it a "FJFB-3-M" if it has a core swage, core seat, and point forming die. The "FJ" only stands for "Full Jacket", and is primarily to fill in space in the catalog number, since any set with a point forming die can be used to make a full jacket bullet. The letters "RB" or "RBT" in the catalog number stand for "Rebated Boattail", and they mean that the two RBT dies are included, along with the proper RBT punch for the point forming die. If the "F" for "Flat base" is also in the catalog number, then it means that you can make both flat and RBT bullets. Both the standard core seater and the two RBT core seaters are included, in that case. The number in the catalog number tells how many dies are in the set. For instance, in a "FRBL-6-M" set, you have flat base (F) core seater, two RBT core seaters (RB), a lead tip die (L), and of course a core swage and point former, which are assumed present in anything above a two-die set. That makes six dies, ae both flat and RBT bullets. Both the standard core seater and the two RBT core seaters are included, in that case. The number in the catalog number tells how many dies are in the set. For instance, in a "FRBL-6-M" set, you have flat base (F) core seater, two RBT core seaters (RB), a lead tip die (L), and of course a core swage and point former, which are assumed present in anything above a two-die set. That makes six dies, a one die with matching punches, and it makes the same kind of bullet with the exception that you cannot use jackets so long that they cover the bleed holes. That means half-jacket and straight lead bullets are the proper kind for a LSWC-1-M. The techniques of swaging are covered in much greater detail in the other books. I recommend that you invest a little time in reading about the process, if you have not done it before. Bullet swaging is quite simple, but also quite powerful. Because there are so many possible variations, it is far more important to learn the principles than it is to try and follow a block of pictures and repeat each step exactly. With six different kinds of dies, and hundreds of different techniques and styles in thousands of calibers, can you imagine the number of pages you'd need to keep on hand, in order to have a "1-2-3-" cookbook to follow for each possible bullet you wanted to make? On the other hand, if you understand how a core swage works, how to use a core seater, and what kind of bullets you could expect from a point forming die and a lead tip die, you can work out all the variations for yourself, and probably come up with others that none of us have yet discovered! In the Mity Mite system, pressures run from 20,000 to 50,000 psi or more. That is some kind of power! And, it's all under your control.
.he CHAPTER 6 CORBIN HANDBOOK AND CATALOG NO. 7, PAGE #.op SWAGING WITH THE HYDRO-PRESS SYSTEM The manufacture of custom bullets has grown tremendously in the past decade: people with a diverse range of jobs (and quite a few who were between jobs), people who had successful professional careers, have found custom bullet manufacture to be pleasant, profitable, and a wonderful way to plan a comfortable retirement income or to build a business at low cost that can be turned over to a son or daughter. There is no typical custom bullet maker, as far as I can tell. I know doctors, carpenters, locksmiths, attorneys, laborers, people who had severe physical handicaps, people who are the picture of a robust outdoors athlete, people with gruff personalities and a lot of mechanical aptitude, and people who are extremely pleasant, quiet types who have a hard time with a screwdriver. All of them seem to be doing quite well in the custom bullet field. Today, you can purchase a complete package, ready to start production of bullets so advanced, and so difficult for mass production, that none of the big names in bullet making can compete with you. It may seem hard to believe, but none of them have machinery capable of forming some of the extremely tough, thick jackets, in heavier weights of large calibers, that you can easily make on a small machine that fits in your den or garage. The reason they don't (and can't) compete in so many areas is their committment to volume. Their very size dictates that limited production items are not profitable to them. The wiser executives at these firms welcome my customers into the field: they know that the need for quality specialty bullets can be met by custom bullet makers and that there is no direct competition, but in fact a benefit: they can now forget about pressure to make unprofitable (to them) small runs, and just refer clients to you, the custom bullet maker. Besides, the kind of equipment needed to mass produce heavy walled jackets in larger diameters is extremely expensive. The stroke length and tonnage of the multi-station presses for high speed production is quite beyond anything used for ordinary target and smaller diameter hunting bullets. It would cost a minimum of half a million dollars to install the equipment required, and the market for specialty bullets of this kind is far too small to be investing even that kind of money, not to mention the promotion, inventory, and special materials required. On the other hand, what is unprofitable to a big outfit is enough to keep a family or two living in high style! A custom bullet typically is sold for prices from 50 cents to over two dollars per bullet. They are NOT price competitive with mass produced bullets, and they don't have to be. Even at twice those prices, there are between ten thousand and one hundred thousand (typically fifty thousand) bullets sold in any given specialty size and caliber each year, on the average. Who pays that for bullets? People who own exotic calibers. People who like to hunt big game and have experienced repeated failures of cheaper mass produced bullets. People who want a specific weight or style in some caliber and don't mind investing a little more than usual to try it. People who... well, basically, people interested in something better, different, or unavailable elsewhere at any price. You don't sell a lot of these bullets to local plinkers, of course. But serious competitors, people spending five thousand dollars or more to make a trip to Africa for hunting, special police teams who need bullets of unusual design for tactical situations, and the everyday handloader with a spark of curiosity in his soul -- these people are the ones who produce backlogs for my customers, often cleaning out their entire supply at trade shows or by magazine advertising sales. The machine that makes it possible is the Corbin Hydro-press. Everything about the machine is designed so that you can get into the field at minimum cost, and grow without having to worry about outgrowing the capacity of the equipment. It is capable of forming solid brass bullets in one stroke, making a 10-gauge shotgun slug from a chunk of raw lead, forming partitioned jackets in heavy tubing, making brass, copper, or even steel jackets with thin or heavy walls, and extruding lead wire in any diameter. It can turn right around and reload some ammo for you, too, using regular RCBS type dies and shell holders. When you suddenly realize that all your reloading presses are now complex progressives or turrets and you have lost the old rugged simplicity of a powerful single-station machine, the Hydro-press greets you with a "can-do!" and barely begins to unleash its tremendous power on jobs that would shatter the fragile parts of modern reloading machines. It's not large -- only 34 inches tall, 23 inches wide, and 15 inches deep (about like a small refrigerator). But the design is the essence of rugged simplicity. We use a Hydro-press to cold-forge steel parts (used in other Hydro-presses, by the way!). It can stamp, blank, coin, trim, and punch steel, in addition to its regular duties as a profit center for your bullet making. The major advantage of the Hydro-press is its built-in electronic controls and logic circuits: the "brains" of the press and the sensitive transducers that tell it what is going on in the world. Anyone can assemble a hydraulic cylinder to a ram, somehow adapt it to a set of dies, and let it slam blindly back and forth. That won't make good bullets, however. The ability to control pressure in the die, exact position of the punches, and precise amount of time that the pressure is being applied, is needed in order produce a consistently good product. The Hydro-press uses transducers that sense the position of the ram and control its movement though logic circuits. The earlier versions used high quality limit switches to tell top, bottom and loading position. Current versions use electronic proximity detectors that have no moving parts and do not contact the ram. Solid state timing controls the application time of the pressure. Pressure transducers control the level of pressure applied. All this is automatic, locked away in the steel innards of the cabinet. What you see is a colorful Lexan-laminate-on-steel top panel, with a digital counter, adjustable inspection light, key-locked power switch, selector switches for various modes of operation, and brightly colored oversize push-buttons to cycle the press. At the left rear corner of the cabinet is a massive steel press head with inch-thick plate for a base and head, and hardened, ground tool steel ram and guide rods running on bearings. As powerful as it can be, the Hydro-press is also sensitive. You can set the pressure, speed, and timing in seconds. It can reload a .25 ACP case just as easily as it cold-flows a solid hunk of copper. Blind force cannot begin to accomplish the tasks you can handle with the intelligent Hydro-press system. The dies and tooling for the Hydro- press are capable of sustaining much higher pressures than smaller dies for the reloading press or Mity Mite. They use 1.5-inch diameter blanks, with 1-12 TPI threads. The press head accepts a floating punch holder with 1.5-inch by 12 TPI threads, and an adapter for standard 7/8-14 TPI dies as well. The ram can be adapted to 7/8-14 TPI, or to a conventional shell holder. Shell holders for 20 mm and for 50 Browning Machine Gun cartridges are also available. Fifty caliber MG dies (for reloading) are made by C-H Dies and they fit directly into the head of the Hydro-press. I recommend them. Corbin builds a lead wire extruder kit, jacket maker kits, and of course the full range of bullet swaging dies for the Hydro-press. Calibers are virtually limitless. No small arms bullet is too large. Weights and styles are also quite open to a wide range of designs. If you want something that cannot be made in a hand press, this is the system that is most likely to handle it. (If the Hydro- press won't handle it, chances are it cannot be done.) The dies and punches are massive, far too large for use in a reloading press or the Mity Mite. And smaller dies do not fit into this press for good reason: it would be too easy to destroy the dies by using pressures only a Hydro-press die of that caliber could sustain. All of the kinds of dies previously discussed are available in this system. They work the same way. The only difference is that the die goes into the ram so it faces straight up, and the external punch fits into the floating punch holder so it faces straight down. This arrangement makes it possible for you to drop a component into the open mouth of the die, then move your hands back to the two- hand, safety controls to start the stroke. In the key-locked manual start mode, it would take a contortionist to put a part of their body in the way of the moving ram. (An automatic mode, controlled by the key switch, is also available -- you need to know the code sequence to start it. It is handy for sizing long runs of cartridge cases with the ram set for a moderately slow travel). Rather than describe all the modes and controls of the Hydro-press here, I will refer you to the book "POWER SWAGING", which is all about the use of power presses including the Hydro-press. Basically, the adjustment is still done with the punch holder, just as it is in the Mity Mite. The main difference is that you can control exactly where the start and stop of the stroke takes place, so that the stroke length is adjustable to precisely what you need for any job. (Up to six inches of stroke can be used, if need be!) The press can stop and reverse itself, after a applying pressure for whatever time you tell it (0.1 to 10 seconds). It will continue down, eject the bullet gently to the top of the die, and then raise slightly to retract the internal punch so you can put another component into the die. The point at which it reverses can be a physical location set by the position transducer, or it can be a pressure level achieved by the compression of the material, sensed by the pressure transducer. Naturally, if you set the press to stop when it reaches a certain position, it is possible to adjust the punch holder so that the bullet has yet to be contacted, or so that it is pushed too far for the shape you want. I like to set the stroke length first, leaving myself enough room to easily put components into the die but not wasting time moving the ram any further than it needs to go. Then, after I have a pleasant working stroke length set up, I back off the punch holder, put a component into the die (core, jacket, whatever I might be doing at the time), and run the press ram up to the top of its stroke. With the position switch and pressure switch both turned off, the ram will simply stop when it reaches this point. It is now as far up as it will go during this particular job. Then, I screw the punch holder down by hand, until the punch contacts the material within the die. I back the ram down slightly (press the green "ENERGIZE" and yellow "DOWN" buttons, then release them after the ram moves down a bit). Then I give the punch holder another quarter to half turn downward, just to put some compression on the component on the next up stroke. The ram is then moved up (press the green "ENERGIZE" and the red "UP" buttons). Again, with pressure and position switches turned off, the ram will do one of two things: if the component is being compressed and is resisting with pressure equal to that of the press (as read on the gauge), then the ram will simply stop and hold the pressure. I can read it on the gauge, and I can hear the motor and pump inside the cabinet as it pushes oil over the by-pass valves. Or, if the pressure I have set is great enough to move the component into a more compact shape, so that the position sensor is activated, then the pressure gauge will drop to zero, the red LED light on the top position sensor will come on, and the ram will stop. The motor and pump will make their usual idling sound. It's easy to tell whether or not you have formed the component to a limit that was set by position or by resistance to the pressure. In some jobs, you want consistent pressure. This would be true of a core seating operation. The Hydro-press can form seated cores far more accurately than you can do it by hand, on the larger calibers. (On small calibers, I still think a person can do it better -- given enough experience). But on a core swage operation, or when making a lead bullet with a LSWC-1-H (note that the die designations are the same as the Mity Mite, except that the letter "H" is added to indicate the big Hydro-press design), using constant pressure would simply move all the lead out through the bleed holes! It would come out very consistently, under the precise control of the pressure and logic circuits, but there would be no indication of when to stop pressing. In this operation, you adjust the pressure sensor to a value lower than that listed in "POWER SWAGING" as maximum safe pressure for the caliber of die. Then, you actually stop the ram using the position sensor (turn on the "POSITION" switch). The location of the top position transducer will control the length and weight of the bullet in this case. It is extremely important to use sensitive, high-quality transducers for this kind of work, because variation in their range of sensing will cause variation in bullet weight. I use a highly precise electronic proximity detector that can sense position within millionths of an inch, far better than the human eye. In manufacturing a bullet jacket with the Hydro-press, the same basic steps are used as with thinner materials in the Mity Mite. First, a piece of tubing is cut to length. The length is determined experimentally and is different for various weights, styles of tip, ogive radius, and kinds of bases, as well as for partitions or conventional cup jackets. (We work this out when we build the dies -- design is a large part of the making of a tubing jacket set). Tubing is cut to length using a turret lathe with air feed, or an automatic screw machine. Corbin cuts tubing for customers, and furnishes the correct temper and wall thickness, alloy and length to make the bullet you order. Or, you can farm this out to a local job shop, or cut the tubing yourself with a fine-tooth saw (bandsaw, circular saw, or even a hand saw, using a V-block and a stop to get even, square cuts). Boxes of from 100 to 5000 pieces of tubing are normally purchased with the dies. One end has been deburred and chamfered. The other is left with as much of the cut-off burr as possible on it. It will form the base, so any extra metal is welcome and causes no problem. The piece of tubing is placed over a punch that fits precisely inside, with a length that allows at least half the caliber length of tube to protrude beyond the punch tip, unsupported. The punch has a shoulder that presses on the other (chamfered) end of the tube. One simply installs the END ROUNDING die (or, as some call it, the JACKET MAKING die) in the press, making sure that the steel pin that passes through the punch head is indeed installed correctly (on top of the knock-out bar, but under the retraction spring -- pictures in POWER SWAGING illustrate how). Thof tube to protrude beyond the punch tip, unsupported. The punch has a shoulder that presses on the other (chamfered) end of the tube. One simply installs the END ROUNDING die (or, as some call it, the JACKET MAKING die) in the press, making sure that the steel pin that passes through the punch head is indeed installed correctly (on top of the knock-out bar, but under the retraction spring -- pictures in POWER SWAGING illustrate how). Th end of the tube will now be rounded like a round nose bullet, and will have a small projection on the end. If the tube isn't closed this far, check the position sensor and make sure that the right pressure is being used, and the position sensor isn't coming on before that pressure is reached. (If it is, move the floating punch holder down a bit -- don't adjust the position sensor). The next step is to draw that piece of rounded-end tube to a diameter that will fit into the core seat die for your caliber. Draw dies are part of the jacket-maker package if they are required. Again, it is the working system you are purchasing, with all the development and testing that went into making it work with as few steps as possible, not a specific number of parts. We provide what it takes to make the jacket. Sometimes it takes thousands of dollars worth of die- maker labor to develop some little change that you might desire, but we don't charge you for it. On the other hand, if we can come up with a process that eliminates one or two steps by putting in all this work, then I think you can see that it's a better deal even if you don't need some specific die or punch that might otherwise be included. I mention this because not every jacket design is made the same way. Some alloys, thicknesses, calibers, or combinations of jacket features take differnt paths during production. Because this is almost entirely unique, one-of-a-kind development work done just for you, to make your bullet, it is impossible to predict whether your set will include any given number of punches, dies, or whether certain steps will be necessary in advance. Instructions are written after the set has been developed and tested. Generally, they all follow the process oulined here. Sometimes there are radical exceptions. Rather than charging you for full shop time every time something requires a lot of working out, we just have one standard price for a package of tools we call the "Copper Tubing Jacket Maker Set", or "CTJM-1-H". This set is NOT a fixed physical number of parts, but varies with whatever is needed. You are purchasing the completed concept, the process of manufacturing something that no one else in the world has worked out quite this way. If it takes an extra die or two, then the extra material you got may be considered a bonus -- I would consider it unfortunate, since it makes the bullet manufacture a little slower. On the other hand, if we were able to eliminate everything but one or two dies in the set, you might consider it an over-priced set if you just looked at the parts received and not at the time that went into developing this faster, easier method for you. I would consider it a blessing that someone had eliminated all the extra steps in my bullet making operation! But, as I was saying, the next step is usually to draw down the end-rounded tube. For this, a die is provided. The die fits into the head of the Hydro-press, using an adapter that takes it from 7/8-14 TPI to the 1.5-inch by 12 TPI press head. Adapters are available separately, if you want to permanently install one on each die for convenience, or you can use the one that comes with the press, and simply change the dies. A very long punch is provided, with a base that looks like a die. It screws directly into the press ram. This drawing operation is exactly a mirror image of the usual swaging set-up. The die and punch positions are reversed, and of course there is no internal punch since the draw die is an open, annular or ring die. The tubing is simply dropped over the punch and pushed through the die, coming out the top. After drawing, the tubing normally must be annealed to avoid cracks in the base. We make a very nice electronically controlled furnace for this, which can be optionally equipped with a Nitrogen atmosphere for even greater control (no scale, no oxidation). If you don't feel ready for the electric furnace (which is the same quality that we use to make our dies, by the way), then a propane or gas welding torch will do. Heat the tip red and drop the jacket in water. The water quench is to knock off scale. It doesn't do anything for the anneal. Now remove the draw die and punch, replace the floating punch holder, and install the regular core seating die from whatever swage set you plan to use with these jackets. Some kinds of jackets, especially partitioned ones, have a different internal punch to install. Instructions will be included with those sets to tell you how. Otherwise, just use the normal flat internal punch. The external punch is a special one in all cases, however. The external punch is made for a specific wall thickness and length of tubing. It fits into the jacket, supporting the walls while pressing on the open mouth. The length of this punch is a bit shorter than the end-rounding punch, but otherwise they appear to be similar. The END-FLATTENING punch, as it is called, fits inside the drawn jacket snugly, but it does fit. The end-rounding punch only fits inside the tubing, before drawing. As with most swaging tools, sorting out the parts is just a matter of knowning what they are supposed to accomplish, then seeing if they fit into the parts they are supposed to fit. If they don't fit by hand, chances are they are not the right parts. If they do, then they probably are! The purpose of the end-flattening punch is to flatten the rounded end of the tube, and make a closed jacket. Application of the recommended pressure, as given in the instructions that come with the set, will produce a flat base. The jacket is now finished! It can be used just like any other jacket. The operation just described can be applied to the Mity Mite system, using the 0.030-inch wall tubing suitable for this press. Tubing jacket manufacture is considerably easier and faster on the Hydro-press, even with thin jackets, since the stroke length is considerably greater and the press has full power anywhere in the stroke. The Mity Mite and the Hydro-press systems both use different size dies, and do not interchange. The Hydro-press can use reloading press swage dies, though I don't recommend the practice: it's too easy to over-stress a swage die by applying more pressure than the recommended limit (the charts in POWER SWAGING are for Hydro-press dies, not the smaller diameter reloading press dies). However, the Mega Mite press is a common ground for all Corbin dies.
.he CHAPTER 7 CORBIN HANDBOOK AND CATALOG NO. 7, PAGE #.op SOME SPECIFIC BULLETS AND HOW TO MAKE THEM I've already written seven books and my editors tell me I have over 400 articles in print, describing the various things you can do with swaging. It would be ridiculous to try and explain every possible bullet style in this book -- you'd need a flat-bed truck to haul it out and a crane to flip the pages! Rather than that, I will try to explain how each of several examples of bullets can be made, selecting very simple and very exotic kinds of bullets, including features that shooters find exciting, and designs that appear difficult or impossible until you have seen how simple swaging makes it. From these few examples, you should begin to gain an understanding of the process and how much more you can do with it. HOLLOW BASE TARGET PISTOL WADCUTTERS Lead wadcutters with hollow base can be made in a reloading press in the calibers from .25 ACP to .357/.38, up to .458 caliber in the Mity Mite, and up to .75 caliber in the Hydro-press. The reloading press makes as accurate a bullet in regard to diameter control, but for superior weight control, you should use the Mity Mite or larger swaging presses. Select either a core seating die or a lead semi-wadcutter die. The core seating die should be ordered with a wadcutter nose external punch, and a hollow base internal punch. So should the LSWC-1 die, if you wish to use that one. (I would -- it isn't available in the reloading press system, however.) Prepare your lead cores by either casting them in the Corbin 4- cavity adjustable weight core mould, or by cutting uniform length pieces from a spool of lead wire. Specific instructions are found with the tools or in other sections of this book. More detailed information can be found in the book "Rediscover Swaging". To establish the proper weight of core, make one and put it in a scale pan. Then adjust the next few until you get what you want. If you plan to use a core seating die (CS-1) without a core swage (CSW-1), then what you put in is what you will get out in regard to weight. This is the case with reloading press die sets, since there is no core swage for them. It isn't necessarily a bad situation. I shot a lot of good groups when I was in the Navy using bullets that had 3-5 grains variation in my trusty .45 Colt Government pistol. If you do use the Mity Mite or other special swage press, and plan to use a core swage or the all-in-one lead semi-wadcutter die (LSWC-1), then make the cores from 2 to 5 grains heavier than you want in the bullet. That gives you some extra lead to extrude along with any variation in weight. Lubricate the core by one of two methods. If you want a clean lead bullet with no lubrication, use Corbin Swage Lube on your finger tip and thumb, and just give each core a little rotation between them as you pick them up to put them in the die. It's simple and natural, no big deal. Let the benchrest rifle fanatics worry about measuring out lube with a hypodermic needle on a special stamp pad: it won't make any practical difference in where the bullet lands. The other method is for placing a wax jacket on the bullet itself. Instead of lube grooves which apply a little band of lube and let the rest of the bullet scrape along the bare metal contact with your bore, the whole surface of the bullet can be covered by a thin, hard film of high temperature wax. The product that does this is Corbin Dip Lube. Some call it "Liquid Jacket". That's what it acts like. You dip the core in a small container and put it wet into the swage die. Then apply pressure, swage the bullet, and it comes out nearly dry. Let it cure for fifteen minutes, and you are ready to load and shoot it! No sizing, no lubricating, and more lube contacts the bore than if you had it plastered with conventional drag-producing grooves. Drawback? Alox-beeswax lube works at somewhat higher velocity levels than Corbin Dip Lube. If you are pushing the bullets toward magnum speeds, you may be in for some leading. On the other hand, that is what Corbin bullet jackets are made to prevent. From 1,200 fps down, I have had excellent results with the Dip Lube. Many commercial firms purchase it in gallon lots for their bullets, so I know that it works as well for their customers. Any lead bullets can produce leading in some guns and with some loads, of course. I certainly do not claim this product is the best lubricant made, but it is one of the most convenient and easily used, especially with swaged bullets. Before swaging the bullets, you may want to know how to put the dies in the press. For the Hydro-press, you should have the book "Power Swaging" at hand. You need it, period. Without it you will break dies. For the Mity Mite, a brief reading of the instruction sheet that comes with the press and dies should make the installation and operation fairly clear. For the reloading press, ditto. But here's a quick run-down: the Mity Mite die goes into the ram of the Mity Mite press. The ram is the steel cylinder that moves in and out of the press frame when you pull on the handle. It has a 5/8- 24 TPI thread in the working end, and the handle forks attached to the other end. There are two punches with the die (each and every die has two punches that are required to operate it, except for draw dies). Lead tip dies come with one punch, but use your existing point forming die bottom punch. We are not going to be using those dies now. The reloading press has an internal punch captive inside the black, threaded adapter body. It's external punch slips into the press ram, and the die screws into the pressd head like any reloading press die. In the reloading press, you would be using the CS-1-R core seating die, and you would have the hollow base internal punch inside the die. If you wanted to install this punch (because the die normally comes with a flat base internal punch, and you order the other base shapes as optional punches), you would unscrew the die insert from the bottom of the die and then pull the original flat base punch straight out of the top of the die insert. You would clean the new punch, and press it gently into the top of the die insert, then screw the die and punch together back into the adapter body. In the Mity Mite press, you would see that the die has threads on one end and a venturi (funnel-shaped) opening at the other end. This venturi opening helps align the external punch. The threaded end should have a steel cylinder with two diameters protruding from it. This is the head and tail of the internal punch. The tail is about 0.312 inches in diameter, and the head (right next to it) is about 0.50 inches in diameter. The rest of the punch is the same size, minus a tad, as the die bore. It is a diamond-lapped sliding fit. If you want to change the base shape, you slide this punch out of the die, clean the new one carefully of all grit and dust, and slide it carefully into the die from the threaded end. Flat base, cup base, hollow base, and dish base shapes can all be made this way. Bevel base can be simulated but remember that all end shapes which are formed by pressing against a punch will have some degree of shoulder or step where the edge of the punch contacts the bullet. A true bevel base is not made in this simple kind of die. Screw the die into the press by hand. In the Mity Mite, screw it in all the way. Don't use tools. Hand-tight is tight enough. Don't confuse the swage die, which is about 3/4-inch in diameter, with the black threaded floating punch holder (FPH-1-M) in the press head! Many people think the punch holder is the die, because it looks like a reloading press die. The external punch is held in the punch holder. In a previous chapter this was covered with photos and detailed description. The hex bushing unscrews from the end of the FPH-1. Inside is a collar or bushing that slips over the punch. (If the punch is smaller than .375 diameter -- if not, the punch already has the bushing and hex bushing assembled to it. Just remove the one in the FPH-1 and set it aside, take out the round rocker bushing but leave in the solid rocker button. Install the punch as one unit.) Assemble the round rocker bushing and then the hex bushing over the external punch. If you have any doubt as to what part is the external punch, look for the one part that does NOT fit into the die full length so that it comes to the mouth of the die and fills it completely from end to end with some left over! The die is the round steel cylinder with the hole through it. You can see through it if you pull out the internal punch. The internal punch will NOT fit into the floating punch holder properly. It has a tail section that keeps it from fitting. The head of the internal punch and the head of the external punch are the same diameter, but the external punch has no projection or tail section. It steps down from the head (about .50 inches diameter) to the shank (about 0.36 inches diameter) to a section that is just below bullet diameter, having a portion that is closely fitted to the die bore. The punch should be held finger-tight in the floating punch holder at this point. The adjustment of the punch holder is made by putting one of the lubricated cores into the die mouth, and carefully moving the ram forward so that the external punch can be aligned with the die and moved into it. The object now is to adjust the punch holder so that the press handle can be moved to the point where the die is forward as far as it can go. If the punch and holder stops the ram from going forward now, back off the punch holder. If the punch doesn't contact anything yet, that's fine. Just get it into the die. Make sure that the ram is capable of going as far forward as possible, unlimited by coming against the punch or holder. No pressure should be generated, no particular force required. The weight of the handle should be more than sufficient to move the ram forward all the way. Have you got that adjustment made? Make sure the ram is free to move back and forth on both sides of its foremost extension. You can tell if it is right, because the pivot pin that holds the ram to the press handle will line up on the same plane as the bolt that holds the handle to the two links. Now, holding the handle so that the ram is at the furthest position forward, screw the floating punch holder toward the ram. Keep turning it by hand until the punch contacts your lead core and you can no longer turn the punch holder by hand. If, at this point, you are able to screw the punch completely into the die and the die face comes up against the hex bushing on the punch holder, something is not right. The possibility is that you didn't have enough lead core for the set the way it is. The cure is to obtain a hardened steel bushing to slip over the tail of the internal punch, extending it forward. Do NOT try to machine or modify the external punch or die to cure thholder by hand. If, at this point, you are able to screw the punch completely into the die and the die face comes up against the hex bushing on the punch holder, something is not right. The possibility is that you didn't have enough lead core for the set the way it is. The cure is to obtain a hardened steel bushing to slip over the tail of the internal punch, extending it forward. Do NOT try to machine or modify the external punch or die to cure thward again. Did any lead come out the bleed holes in the side of the LSWC-1 die? Or, did you feel a rather sudden increase in the resistance in the CS-1 die? Back off the ram, eject the bullet, and see if it is nicely filled out. See if it stays in the die, or if it comes back out with the punch. Normally, the bullet will stay in the die even if it is somewhat undersized at this point. Jacketed bullets often come out with the external punch until enough pressure has been applied to expand them to die diameter. When you run the ram all the way back, the internal punch comes up against the stop pin in the back of the press and pushes the bullet out by holding the internal punch still while the die continues to move back with the ram. If the bullet is poorly formed, adjust the punch holder a fraction of a turn forward and try another core. When you get it right, the bullet will be properly formed and will measure the correct diameter from one end to the other. The internal punch will have formed a deep hollow cavity and the external punch will have transferred its nose shape to the end of the bullet (in this case, a wadcutter nose). If you have voids or unfilled edges on the bullet, then you might have a bit too much lube. Wipe the lube off the external punch and try another core without so much lube applied. If that still doesn't come out well, adjust the punch holder slightly forward again. But do NOT keep adjusting the holder forward until you feel an extreme resistance. One hand force is all you should ever need to apply. If it feels like you should be using both hands, something is wrong and you may be on the verge of breaking your die. Stop and find out what is wrong. If the lead is too hard, this can be a serious problem. Hard lead does not flow or swage very well. Soft lead swages very nicely. The pressure required to swage even a 3% antimonial alloy of lead is at least double that of pure lead. When you first start, it may be hard to judge how much pressure is enough. The press is so powerful that a very light pressure on the handle produces a very great force on the ram. With calibers in the .375-inch range and up, you can break the die without seeming to apply undue effort, so be careful to stop applying force or adjusting the punch holder forward as soon as you reach the point where the bullet begins to form nicely. With a little pressure on the ram, while swaging a bullet, cinch the hex bushing on the punch holder up snugly by hand. This keeps the punch aligned with the die, so you don't have to do more than check it from time to time. Swage all your bullets with the punch holder set at this position and the locking nut secured against the face of the press head. If you want to repeat this setting soon, lock down the set screw on the punch holder. Having several punch holders gives you quick repeatability by leaving each punch in its own holder with pre-set lock nut. Now, back to the reloading press. The adjustment is exactly the same, except that you put the external punch in the slotted ram, and adjust the die downward toward the punch, while the punch is raised to the topmost position of the ram. It is important that you realize that the furthest extension of the ram is what controls consistent results. If you swage by feel entirely, you may get widely changing weights. Use feel to judge whether or not a core is a great deal lighter or heavier as you approach the top of the stroke. Do NOT continue to press if you meet resistance before you normally did on similar bullets during a run. You will probably swage a heavier than usual bullet, at best, and at worst you may break the die or mash the punch flat. Set aside any cores that either developed less or more resistance to swaging than your usual bullet during any given run. Those are light or heavy cores. They can be used for some other weight, or melted down for a cast core. We have covered a lot of elementary material here. Refer to this basic bullet and adjustment procedure for just about any other die. The concept is the same: approach the right adjustment from the loose side, where you have no pressure, and increase it in small bits until you achieve the desired result without exceeding moderate efforts on the handle. It is a lot like experimenting with a new powder charge: build the load in small increments and watch for signs of pressure. Here we are dealing with pressures that could destroy a rifle when they are normal. But they don't contain much total energy, so no parts fly around when a die breaks. You hear a crack, and you see one in the die. That's about it. With just reasonable care, you'll never know what a broken die sounds like. For the rest of the bullet styles, I will give only a brief description of the process, detailing only the unusual aspects of making the bullet. Please remember the basic rules: swage dies increase diameter, never reduce it. Lubricant is required for every swaging operation (I won't keep mentioning it). The punch must fit easily into the die, or it is the wrong one to use. The force you feel should on the handle should be mild, never requiring double-handed effort. And while you can experiment, do get a good understanding of the basic operations for each die first. HOLLOW POINT JACKETED HANDGUN BULLETS The hollow point is made during core seating. Instead of using a flat faced punch to push the core into the jacket (in the core seating die), you need to order the optional hollow point external punch. This punch has a conical probe on the face, which presses down into the lead core and forms a cavity at the same time that the lead is pressurized to move the jacket walls out and meet the die. A more uniform hollow point can be made if you first seat the lead core with a flat punch, then change to a hollow point to form the cavity. This step is for the perfectionist, and may be unnecessary even then, depending on how deep the lead seats in the jacket and other factors. In any press, this operation takes place as a result of using a hollow point punch during the core seating operation. The dies themselves are the same, regardless of whether you select a hollow point or a soft point, an open tip or a full jacket. In a single core seating die, for making semi-wadcutter or wadcutter hollow points, you can use the HP punch either before or after using another nose punch. The key to successful use of more than one punch on the same bullet is to realize that you do not have to press the punch all the way into the die. Using a portion of the possible extension into the die and lead gives you almost total control of how deep and how big the cavity will be. Whether you swage the HP first or use another punch, such as a Keith nose punch, first, determines the cavity size and the shape of the bullet. A Keith punch and a hollow point punch can produce a wide range of shapes, including a simulated round nose! Experiment with various insertion depths. In other words, adjust one punch to go in further and the other one to stop short of going in all the way. Using both to the full extent possible only means that the bullet will be primarily formed by the last punch you press against the lead. Whichever punch is pushed in hardest and further against the lead is the one that gives the bullet most of its final shape. If you use a point forming die, then of course you do not need to experiment with semi-wadcutter nose punches. The point forming die will shape up the ogive for you. It will also smoothly close the hollow point to a more long and narrow shape, depending on how far into the point forming die you wish to push the bullet. If you adjust the press and die so that you just barely push the bullet into the point forming die, then you will have a very large hollow point. On the other hand, if you push the bullet into the die as far and as hard as you reasonably can, you may well close the hollow point completely. This can produce an unusual result: you can fill the hollow point cavity with a fluid or powder, or a steel ball, and then cause the end of the bullet to roll over this material and trap it in the cavity. If the hollow point is much deeper than the ogive length, a good portion of the cavity will remain at its original size while the part toward the end of the bullet becomes more narrow. This means you can make hollow point completely. This can produce an unusual result: you can fill the hollow point cavity with a fluid or powder, or a steel ball, and then cause the end of the bullet to roll over this material and trap it in the cavity. If the hollow point is much deeper than the ogive length, a good portion of the cavity will remain at its original size while the part toward the end of the bullet becomes more narrow. This means you can make th your more experimental designs. BOATTAIL HANDGUN BULLETS With a long shanked rifle-style bullet, a special set of dies is required to manufacture a good boattail base. At Corbin, we make the rebated boattail base, popularized by the fine Lapua match bullets. But in a short, stubby handgun bullet, it is easy to make a rebated or a regular boattail using only a special punch (and not really all that special). Usually, it's necessary to seat a lead core in the jacket using a core seating die. The die is sealed on both ends by punches, so pressure can be built up inside the jacket to expand it like a balloon. If you turn the jacket over so the closed end is toward to top of the cavity in a point forming die, then you can apply a fair amount of pressure inside the jacket with an external punch that fits down into the jacket. The fit must be close, to keep the pressure from extruding lead around the punch. But it is practical and works well. If you put a core inside a handgun jacket, then use a punch (ordered as an open tip core seating external punch) that fits into the jacket to press against the core, and put the assembly into your point forming die (base first), you will produce a full jacket, open base handgun bullet. Should you have a truncated conical point forming die, rather than a round nose shape, you will actually have what could be considered either a nose or a boattail base! To use it as a base, eject the bullet and change the external punch to a regular Keith nose punch that fits into the point forming die by hand. (Remember, in your experiments, to try each punch by hand first -- you don't want to fit the punch to the die permanently!) Now, with the Keith nose punch installed in die, rather than a round nose shape, you will actually have what could be considered either a nose or a boattail base! To use it as a base, eject the bullet and change the external punch to a regular Keith nose punch that fits into the point forming die by hand. (Remember, in your experiments, to try each punch by hand first -- you don't want to fit the punch to the die permanently!) Now, with the Keith nose punch installed in point (depending on how much lead you moved forward) TC nose, a short shank, and a rebated boattail base -- what a combination! But give it a try. You can load it either direction. I like to make these bullets with about one caliber length of straight shank. That usually means a bullet with one of the longer jackets and toward the heavier end of the weight scale. But as you can see from some of the tests in the magazines (one of which is reproduced in the Corbin Technical Bulletins) this design can result in a 40% improvement in ballistic coefficient and as good or better accuracy than conventional shapes! SHOTGUN SLUGS WITH ATTACHED BASE WADS This is a task for the Hydro-press system. There are many possible kinds of highly accurate slugs you can produce. One is a slug that fits inside the Winchester Red Wad, and is thus made slightly under normal diameter to use the sabot effect of the standard plastic wad. Another is the slug with wad attached to it. This operation is quite simple. A die set can even be produced to stamp out excellent wads from various materials. The details of operating the press are in the book "Power Swaging". I will just outline the process here. The wad is made with a hole through the center. The hole is precisely centered as a result of the die-forming process. The pre-swaged core and wad are put into a die with a nose cavity punch in the die, and a base punch having a slight depression in the face, like a smooth rivet head, follows the wad into the swage die. A core seating or lead semi-wadcutter type die is used. As pressure is applied, the lead flows up into the nose punch cavity and forms any desired shape of nose. Usually a conical flat tip or a domed shape is made. The lead also presses hard against the wad, and finds a pressure escape through the hole in the middle of the wad. The lead flows through this hole, and fills the cavity in the head of the punch that is backing up the wad. The wad is compressed under tons of pressure, and so is the lead. The lead extrusion through the hole in the wad forms a perfect rivet head on the other side of the hole. When the bullet is ejected, you have a lead slug firmly attached to the wad, which now tries to spring back to original size and keeps pressure on the base of the slug. Another unique twist on this is to form a hollow base cavity with a post in the middle, and with a hole in the middle of the post that will take the threads of a number six or eight metal screw. It might seem very complex, but in reality all you have to do is imagine a punch having a mirror image of this cavity and post and hole formed into the steel face. The reamer and polishing work required is, of course, somewhat expensive. But it is well within reason for anyone who wishes to manufacture a unique kind of slug. The idea is to shift the weight forward, maintain a longer bearing surface for alignment, without having a massive weight, and provide solid support in the middle of the cavity so that the wad is not blown into the cavity upon firing. The screw attaches the wad to the post. It might even be possible to fill the cavity with cornstarch and then swage the wad to the slug, but this has not yet been tried (maybe by the time this book has been out a year, it will be common). PRECISION AIRGUN PELLETS Airgun pellets are really no different from any other hollow base semi-wadcutter bullet. The dies have smaller punches and cavities than most calibers. Corbin makes .20, .14, .17, .224, or anything else you like. Diameter is critical. Rather than the waisted design, these are like a precision handgun bullet in minature. They have a deep hollow cavity and thin skirts to give a good seal, and they usually are made slightly smaller than a waisted pellet so that the bore friction is reduced. Swaged with a Dip Lube coating, they provide good lubrication that is consistent and dry in all temperatures. The nose can be conical or of the Keith style with equally good results. Such pellets in .2235" diameter make excellent indoor practice bullets or mouse shooters in a conventional centerfire rifle used with a primer only. There are complex ways to swage the waisted pellet, but it isn't usually worth the effort compared to the results you get with the simple single die method in either reloading press or Mity Mite. In the reloading press, only a .22 pellet is offered, unless a run of at least 100 dies is ordered (for resale). But in the Mity Mite, you can have anything you wish. PLASTIC TIP RIFLE BULLETS Several of the common plastic rod materials swage nicely to form lead tip replacements in any conventional rifle caliber. Nylon, polyethylene, and other "soft" plastics that can be shaped by pressure and retain that shape after pressure is removed make nice tips for your hunting bullets. The idea of the plastic tip predates the current Nosler design by many years, as seen in the early Norma nylon tips and in home-swaged bullets using Nylon tubeless tire patches (plugs) in stark black or white. The FBI once contacted Corbin about making Nylon bullets for handgun use in an indoor training facility. The idea came about because a conventional Speer Nylon bullet had a sharp shoulder that prevented the use of speed loaders. When these bullets were re-swaged in a simple Corbin point forming die, right off the shelf, they acquired a more bullet-like profile and worked in the conventional speed loader. A side benefit turned out to be that the agency could reload these plastic bullets seemingly without end, after reswaging to remove the rifling and other impact marks. I have one left in my collection that was shot and reloaded and reswaged over 25 times, and it could still go on without any apparent change. Nylon rod can be obtained from most plastic suppliers. It can be cut to short lengths in a lathe or bandsaw. The bullet is made in the same way as any open tip design, by seating the lead down inside the jacket with a punch which fits into the jacket. But before the point is formed, the short piece of Nylon is placed inside the jacket. The diameter should be close to the jacket ID. When the point is formed the jacket and Nylon plug smoothly swage into one profile. The ogive locks the plastic in place (it crimps into the material since the plug is larger inside than at the external tip). FRAGMENTING BULLETS Bullet swagers have been making their own fragmenting defense bullets for years. It is extremely simple. Just dipper a charge of number twelve lead shot into a jacket, and seat the shot like it was a solid core. Press a bit of soft wax or a thin cardboard wad over the shot. A wad can be made in a regular swage die of smaller caliber by putting a bit of cardboard between the punch and die and pushing through it. Then, form the ogive in a point forming die. To increase the fragmenting effect, first roll or tumble a quantity of shot with a little dab of Corbin Swage Lube. This lube keeps the shot from sticking together -- it may appear solid when you swage it, but on impact it break up nicely. HYPERSPEED BULLETS What would you call a bullet that goes 2000 fps from a snubby .38 Special? Impossible? No, you can develop an ultra-light bullet in any caliber and then find a fast-burning charge of the right powder to propel it at unbelievable speed. Some of the effects are dazzling. Here is how you retain enough bearing for a semblence of accuracy and still keep the bullet weight down: use cornstarch as a core! The secret is out...but only bullet swagers know about it. Cornstarch swages under high pressure to form a sort of hard plastic material that is much lighter than any conventional jacket filling, yet expands the jacket as well as lead under swaging pressures. Because of the low density of the material, even when swaged to a plastic state, you can make a regular length bullet that seats and balances as it should, yet has very low inertia. The sectional density is very low, which means it doesn't penetrate very far and it also doesn't fly very far before losing its speed. Those can be good features in a defense bullet used in populated areas. When you top the cornstarch with a small amount of lead, you can produce a method of delivering a devastating high velocity projectile without nearly as much danger to people behind the intended target. Make the filling out of swaged lead shot of small diameter, rolled with Corbin Swage Lube, and you have just produced a superior fragmenting bullet with ultra-high velocity. You need nothing special to do all this, except the right punch to fit into the jacket at the depth where you want to swage the material. PARTITION STYLE HANDGUN OR RIFLE BULLETS Putting a partition across the middle of a bullet is as easy as telescoping two different diameters of jackets together. This is covered in some detail in the book "Rediscover Swaging". Basically, the inside jacket is of smaller caliber and is about half the length of the outside jacket. When jackets do not exist ready-made to fit this way, a Corbin JRD-1 draw die can turn some available jacket into the right size. In the Hydro-press system, it is possible to make partitions by folding and pressure-welding the actual jacket wall material into a band across the jacket at any desired point. Copper tubing is normally selected, so you have both the benefit of the soft copper tubing and the partition effect. If you want to go one further, add Corbin Core Bond and a little heat, and you have a bonded core, partitioned, copper tube bullet -- something none of the famous firms who are known for making one of these features apiece have managed to combine. PENETRATOR CORE OR LIQUID FILLED CAVITY BULLETS I group these two styles because they are made the same way. A set of special punches is made to seat a very light core in the bottom of the jacket. One punch seats the core, and the other puts a center in the core. Then a long hollow point punch slips down into the jacket, finds the center, and starts extruding lead up along the punch sides. Plenty of good lube is required on the punch. The punch is withdrawn, leaving a long, deep cavity precisely centered in a lead sheath inside the jacket. A carbide, uranium or other heavy metal core can be placed in this cavity. It works best if the insert material is slightly larger than the cavity for a gentle press fit. A punch can also be made to do this. Corbin does not provide these heavy metal cores. Most of the people who do this work are able to obtain their own from defense agencies or suppliers. Such bullets are usually made for special projects within the military and are discussed here only to show the possibilities. Liquid filling for the same cavity can easiy be substituted. A lead ball is placed in the end of the cavity to help seal it, and then the bullet is put into a point forming die and the ogive shape extrudes lead over the widest part of the ball and locks the assembly together. ULTRA PRECISION BENCHREST RIFLE BULLETS The quality of the bullets you can make in a typical Corbin swage die for the Mity Mite or Hydro-press will equal or exceed that of any bullet made today. You do not need to pay thousands of dollars for special "benchrest" quality. The best quality that money can buy comes far less dear than some folks imagine possible. On the other hand, I do not recommend the die sets that we manufacture for use in a reloading press as benchrest bullet dies. They are good dies, and have often been used to make match-winning bullets. But the system does not lend itself to what I would call the ultimate control over the bullet weight and style. Reloading press dies are made to work in a press that was not designed specifically for bullet swaging. Corbin Mity Mite and Hydro- press dies were designed along with the press, without having to consider factors necessary for reloading. The Hydro-press and the Mega Mite press both handle reloading as a side benefit, not as a primary goal that might restrict optimum design for bullet making. Alignment, sensitivity of control ("feel", if you like), balance of the forces that tend to produce ram torque, amount of press head movement under stress, maximum leverage potential, and other factors from how ejection is handled to where the top of the ram comes to rest in relation to the press head, are all optimized for bullet making the the special swaging presses. These things simply are not there, in a reloading press. It doesn't matter how big or strong or expensive the press is: if it was made primarily for reloading ammo, it wasn't optimized for making bullets. I have had a few perverse clients shoot winning matches with bullets made in our standard reloading press dies, and they enjoyed telling their fellow shooters (who had spent thousands of dollars, in some cases, for the "right" benchrest equipment) how little their equipment cost (usually under $250 for everything -- dies alone cost about $160). But while it can be done, I certainly feel that you are better advised to use equipment made with all the benefits of the special swaging press in mind. There are two secrets to making benchrest bullets. First, the jackets themselves must be very concentric and should be weighed so that you can cull out any over or under a nominal value. Different weight by itself has little effect on the bullet path, within a factor of from 1 to 2 percent of the total bullet weight. (Calculate the drop difference and you will see that one-hole groups at 100 yards are still possible with bullets that weigh plus or minus half a grain in a 55 grain .224 caliber, or bullets that have 1.5 grain variation in a 150 grain .308 caliber). The problem with weight variation is that it can be caused by a thicker base, thicker walls, or even a difference in wall thickness from one side to the other. If it is merely a bit longer jacket, it won't have much effect. And the heavier or lighter jackets, by themselves, do not cause bad groups. It is a mixture of different jackets that can throw off the group size. A heavier or lighter wall is not bad, it just can't be used with something different in a benchrest match. The next secret is consistency in the method of making the bullets. The little rituals and weird theories about what makes a bullet shoot are a lot of fun for the people who believe in them, and even if they make little sense to rational people, I see no harm in following the latest fad in regard to many of the rituals. But for a person who is mainly interested in fact, and wants to see what really does and does not make a difference, it doesn't take too long to see that a machine rest in an indoor tunnel easily proves that consistency makes more difference than any specific method. In other words, whatever you do in regard to how you apply your lubricant, whether or not you "rest" the cores overnight before swaging, or whether or not you spin and weigh each bullet in some questionable fixture or tool made to point up some mysterious accuracy factor, the real effects will come from doing things the same way each time, so all the bullets do indeed come out looking and shooting the same way. Some of these rituals help produce a more consistent bullet, often for reasons not entirely related to the goal that the shooter feels he is trying to reach by that ritual. Benchrest shooting originally brought a great many serious benefits and pointed out errors in how bullets were being made during the 1940's and 50's. To some extent, a level of mystique and fraternalism has moved into the place that used to be held by serious investigation, with the quirks of the latest winner being slavishly repeated by next year's would-be winners. But this is true in all competitive sports. Winning matches does not necessarily make the shooter an expert on every aspect of the tools and equipment used to win. Sometimes a good deal of winning is attitude and practice, especially when equipment differences become very slight at the top levels. All of this is merely to point out that making benchrest quality bullets is not necessarily the exclusive realm of a white-bearded wizzard who knows cosmic secrets which you, mere mortal, can hardly be expected to understand. As a matter of fact, nearly anyone with a reasonably good set of dies and careful attention to what he is doing can turn out bullets capable of one-hole groups. Then it is up to the rest of the system, including the handload and the gun, the shooter and the fates that blow the winds, to let that one-hole group appear on any given day. This information doesn't play well with those who would like to have you believe there are dark secrets beyond your reach, which only certain people (who happen to have something they might -- hold your breath! -- be persuaded to sell you) have in their posession. But you can prove it to yourself, and to anyone else who doesn't have too big a stake in keeping it quiet! There is no fundamental difference in the potential quality of a .458 bullet, a .600 Nitro bullet, or a .224 benchrest bullet made by the process of swaging outlined here. All swaged bullets made by hand on good equipment, using consistent components, can be made carefully and well. They can all be benchrest bullets of their caliber. A heavy recoiling .458 isn't likely to produce as tight a group as a conventional .224 short case benchrest cartridge using specially selected primers, but if you compare similar kinds of guns and loads, you will soon see that your own home-built bullets stack up in the same way as benchrest .224 bullets stack up against the average factory offering. You have nothing to fear in the accuracy department, in regard to the dies or the bullets you can make, given the material and care necessary. Do not, however, make the error of assuming that a perfect bullet will turn an average rifle into a benchrest gun. It will not. The errors caused by poor bedding, a light barrel, gas cutting in the throat or leade, improper powder charges, or even a less than steady shooter, will completely overwhelm the slight errors produced by a bullet of average quality. No difference between a perfect bullet and an average one could be told with most of the guns that are capable of being carried afield, if the load is right and the shooter does his part. A good discussion of accuracy and bullet design can be found the the textbook, "Rediscover Swaging". The techniques for obtaining greater than usual core weight consistency and proper core seating are also discussed in this book. Multiple passes at core swaging, holding the pressure for a consistent length of time, application of a precision film of lube rather than the usual transfer of lube with the fingers, and other factors that increase the consistency of results are discussed.
.he CHAPTER 8 CORBIN HANDBOOK AND CATALOG NO. 7, PAGE # BOOKS FOR BULLET SWAGERS Learn about bullet swaging, the fast accurate process that gives you total control over bullet design and production! The combined knowledge of generations of master die-makers has been collected in the Corbin Swaging Library -- seven volumes of easy-to-read, fact-filled information. More than 840 pages of authorative work, with charts, photos, data, drawings, and technical reports, in a special package to save you money! USE YOUR VISA/MASTER-CHARGE AND ORDER BY TELEPHONE: 503-826-5211 The Corbin Swaging Library includes these books: The BULLET SWAGE MANUAL, T.Smith The CORBIN TECHNICAL BULLETINS, Vol. I The CORBIN TECHNICAL BULLETINS, Vol. II The CORBIN TECHNICAL BULLETINS, Vol. III POWER SWAGING, D. Corbin RE-DISCOVER SWAGING, D. Corbin The CORBIN HANDBOOK & CATALOG of BULLET SWAGING Order catalog number BP-7 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- The BULLET SWAGE MANUAL, T. Smith, 1976, 45 pgs. This book is one of the earliest works on bullet swaging, written by a pioneer in the field. Many of the illustrations are of early Corbin swaging tools. The book is intended as a primer for beginners, but belongs in any complete library of swaging as a historical work. Catalog number BSM ----------------------------------------------------------------------- The CORBIN TECHNICAL BULLETINS, Volume I 1977, 66 pgs. The first collection of Corbin technical papers, this book contains a detailed section of definitions, specific questions and answers about swaging technique, comparisons of cost, speed and accuracy between casting and swaging, and answers to the most commonly asked questions about bullet swaging. Rimfire jacket-making, hollow and cup points, designs for deep penetration, and other similar subjects are covered. Catalog number TB-1 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- The CORBIN TECHNICAL BULLETINS, Volume II 1980, 102 pgs. This book gives a detailed chapter by chapter discussion of specific calibers and how to make bullets for them. Included are obsolete, foreign, current centerfire rifle and handgun calibers, in fifteen chapters. In addition, there is an experimental .375 design with loading data, chamber dimensions, and test results. A wealth of information about the history of swaging is included. Catalog number TB-2 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- The CORBIN TECHNICAL BULLETINS, Volume III 1983, 106 pgs. Experimental work with custom bullets, the rise of the survivalist movements, and concerns about the future supplies of bullets in the US and abroad brought a flood of technical articles addressing these subjects. Original papers and translations from trade journals are included. Bonding and heat treatment of jackets, manufacture of copper tubing bullets, and hunting bullets are covered in detail. Catalog number TB-3 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- POWER SWAGING, D. Corbin 1984, 195 pgs. Also known as Corbin Technical Bulletins, Volume IV, this is the bible of commercial bullet making. It is filled with data on pressures, forces, and die strength, calculations, charts, computer programs, and photos. Hundreds of dollars worth of dies were destroyed to test the limits of the formulae, and photos of these are included as well. The book serves as an operator's guide for the Hydro-press, although it also covers several earlier models of air and hydraulic power presses that are no longer manufactured. Two very valuable chapters deal with organization of a custom bullet business, and with the numbers involved in production volume. Marketing, promotion, feasibility studies, and selection of a product line are written so they can be understood by a beginner, yet interesting enough to attract experienced engineers. Catalog number TB-4 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- RE-DISCOVER SWAGING, D. Corbin 1983, 244 pgs. This is the standard textbook of swaging. The washable morroco cover is gold-embossed. It is used by law enforcement agencies and schools around the world, in public and private libraries from Brussels to Perth, read by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and by the students at gunsmithing schools. You'll find detailed, accurate information arranged in twenty-two chapters, covering everything from lubricant to lead, pressure to press design, history of swaging (including original letters from Biehler and Astles, Fred Huntington, and Capt. G.L. Wotkyns at critical points during the 1940 to 1960 period) and just about anything else you might care to know about swaging. If you only want one book, make it this one. Catalog number RDS ----------------------------------------------------------------------- The WORLD DIRECTORY of CUSTOM BULLET MAKERS Data has been collected from all over the world for a decade on bullet markets, and the people who are active in the custom bullet field. If you are looking for a certain caliber -- modern, obsolete, wildcat, foreign, or experimental -- this is the sourcebook for people who can make it! Articles of interest to experimenters, purchasing agents, engineers, and ballisticians as well as those who might wish to enter the custom bullet field as suppliers are included. Editors, writers, and publishers of firearms journals around the world have a copy of this book for reference. Buyers in government and industry, defense agencies and law enforcement operations, game control commissions, ballistic labs, and applied science libraries can turn to the sources listed to find out who makes what. Corbin customers who are selling bullets commercially are invited to write for a free listing in the book's next edition. Advertising space is periodically available to qualified firms. Agencies dealing with firearms-related suppliers should check out the tremendous market exposure this book gives. Catalog Number WD-1 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- The CORBIN HANDBOOK and CATALOG of BULLET SWAGING, No. 7 You are reading a copy now! If you would like additional copies for friends, order directly from Corbin. This is the seventh edition: it is not the seventh book of the collection, or the seventh year, since Corbin has been in business much longer than that. We publish a new edition whenever the information becomes outmoded and continued editions of the same book begin to lose their relevance to newer ideas. Catalog number HB-7 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- OTHER LITERATURE... The BASICS of BULLET SWAGING This is a color brochure, 6-pages, telling what swaging is and what you can do with it. Single copies are available postpaid for $1 (to cover postage and handling). Write for quantity prices to clubs and schools. The Corbin HYDRO-PRESS brochure A color folder describing the powerful CHP-1 Hydro-press. Single copies are $1 (for postage and handling) -- no additional charge if ordered with other literature. Write for quantity prices to clubs and schools. The Corbin IMMEDIATE DELIVERY LIST This is a list of dies available for immediate delivery. Since Corbin dies are all hand-made products, individually diamond lapped and fitted, there can be a considerable backlog on certain calibers from time to time. The Immediate Delivery List tells what is on the shelf right now. It changes from month to month, and is not a guarentee but only a temporary listing. If you see something you want, call immediately and use your VISA/MASTER-CHARGE card to have it shipped right away. (Sorry - no holding for future payment! Demand is just too high to tie up products in this manner.) This list is free for the asking, when ordered with other literature or products. Included with most shipments is also our current price list, any specials we may have on supplies or products, announcements of new books or computer software, etc. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- CORBIN COMPUTER SOFTWARE Now you can design bullets quickly, easily, with Corbin's DC-1001 Bullet Design program. All you need to know is the weight and style of bullet you want to make -- the program asks these simple questions, and then calculates the ballistic coefficient, form factor, average density, stable twist rate, core and jacket volumes, core weight, over- all length, length of ogive and length of shank, and a number of other parameters of importance to makers of commercial bullets. If you don't know what to answer, the program supplies a standard default value. You can just hit the "enter" key, and run the calculation automatically with all default values if you wish, to see how it works. You need absolutely NO math background, NO experience in bullet design or ballistics. Automatic tables appear on the screen for each question that requires some special knowledge, and the program checks your input to see if it is reasonable. If not, it gives you another chance to input a value, or just hit return and let the program supply a value. There is no way you can "mess up" this program. And best of all, when you have designed the bullet (which takes perhaps two seconds), those values can be printed out, and/or automatically used in a second program that is part of the first one: kinetic parameters. You can "fire" the bullet at any velocity within reason, see what kind of energy density, muzzle energy, momentum, and other values the bullet would have. And, you can change one or more parameters and try it again to see the effect, all within seconds. The program keeps all the values you put in last, and uses them until you change them. If you turn off the program, it resets to standard default values so you can't "get lost" or forget important standard values. The DC-1001 program is currently available on 5-1/4" floppy disk for IBM-PC/XT or /AT computers. The program is completely self- contained in executable machine code for the 8088 processor, and runs at either 4.77 mhz or at accelerated clock rates. Either color or B&W monitors will work. All display is in the text mode. The disk is NOT copy protected and can be loaded onto your hard disk drive. Don't confuse DC-1001 with ordinary external ballistics programs: it is not merely an electronic table of values, but a powerful calculus-based tool for design of bullets. It is not the same as a program that gives you drop and remaining energy for an existing bullet, but a way to create new bullets of your own design. You can input various densities of core and jacket material, and find out what effect aluminum, tungsten, brass, or plastic might have on the bullet paramters. You can even select the target material density and find out what spin rate would stabilize the bullet in space, in air, under water, or in any other media. DC-1001 is a one-of-a-kind program for the bullet maker. (To run the program, simply type "Bullets"). Catalog Number DC-1001 -----------------------------------------------------------------------
.he CHAPTER 9 CORBIN HANDBOOK AND CATALOG NO. 7, PAGE # KITS for your RELOADING PRESS The easiest way to get started is to purchase a complete kit, with everything you need to start making your own private "brand" of bullets! Here are several kits that you can put together yourself. Just specify the caliber, and order however many bullet jackets and other supplies you may want. I've made suggestions for reasonable amounts of supplies with each kit... ----------------------------------------------------------------------- ECONOMY .224 KIT Order these items to make up your own minimal cost kit, for making excellent quality .224 caliber bullets (.221, .222, 5.56mm, and .220 Swift as well as every other centerfire .22 made today uses a .224" bullet). The equipment listed can produce jacketed bullets using fired .22 long rifle or short cases in the weight range of 45 to 60 grains, with a 6-caliber spitzer ogive and a flat base. (No boattails, other ogives, or special work in the reloading press series -- rather defeats the whole reason for it, since these extras would bring the cost more in line with the Mity Mite system, and then you would be far ahead to get a Mity Mite!) BSD-224R Core Seater and Point Former, 2-die set RFJM-22R Rimfire Jacket Maker, 224 caliber CSL-2 Corbin Swage Lube, 2-ounce bottle CM-4 Corbin 4-cavity adjustable core mould (specify 224) If you prefer the speed of cutting lead wire to the slightly lower cost of cast cores, you might prefer this package instead: BSD-224R Core Seater and Point Former, 2-die set RFJM-22R Rimfire Jacket Maker, 224 caliber CSL-2 Corbin Swage Lube, 2-ounce bottle PCS-1 Corbin Precision Core Cutter LW-25 Lead Wire, 25-lb. spool (specify 224) ----------------------------------------------------------------------- DELUXE .224 KIT A faster, easier system includes the power ejector unit and a hand cannelure tool, plus a supply of commercial drawn jackets for high precision benchrest work. I personally like this because it gives a good chance to compare your own free jackets with the best commercial ones made today. BSD-224R Core Seater and Point Former, 2-die set RFJM-22R Rimfire Jacket Maker, 224 caliber CSL-2 Corbin Swage Lube, 2-ounce bottle CM-4 Corbin 4-cavity adjustable core mould (specify 22 cal) LW-25 Lead wire, 25 lb. (specify .185" -- 22 caliber) PCS-1 Corbin Precision Core Cutter J-22-705 Jackets, 224 caliber, .705-length, box of 500 HCT-1 Corbin Hand Cannelure Tool PE-1 Corbin Power Ejector Unit ----------------------------------------------------------------------- ECONOMY .243 KIT If you want to make 6mm bullets (.243 -.244 caliber) from fired .22 cases, then this is the right kit for you: BSD-243R Core Seater and Point Former, 2-die set RFJM-6MR Rimfire Jacket Maker, 6mm from 22LR CSL-2 Corbin Swage Lube, 2-ounce bottle CM-4 Corbin 4-cavity adjustable core mould (specify 6mm) * Note: the 6mm and .224 both use the same .185 core -- You can use the same core mould for both. Or, you might consider replacing the CM-4 mould with a lead wire cutter and a spool of lead wire, for safer, faster bullet-making. If you wish to use commercial jackets, leave out the RFJM-6M and instead, order the following jackets: J-6M-750 Jackets, 6mm, .750-inch length, box of 500 J-6M-825 Jackets, 6mm, .825-inch length, box of 500 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- DELUXE 243 KIT You can put together a nice kit that would also be my personal choice for making .243 bullets in the reloading press by ordering the following items: BSD-243R Core Seater and Point Former, 2-die set RFJM-6MR Rimfire Jacket Maker, .22 LR to 6mm LW-25 Lead wire, 25 lb. spool. (specify 6mm) PCS-1 Corbin Precision Core Cutter CM-4 Corbin 4-cavity adjustable core mould (specify 6mm) CSL-2 Corbin Swage Lube, 2-ounce bottle PE-1 Corbin Power Ejector Unit HCT-1 Corbin Hand Cannelure Tool J-6M-750 Jackets, 6mm, .750-inch length, box of 500 J-6M-825 Jackets, 6mm, .825-inch length, box of 500 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- .25 RIFLE KIT We've not advertised the .257 rifle dies for reloading press for a number of deep, dark reasons: primarily, we didn't want to get too far behind. But now, with our new die-works going full-blast, it's time to let you know that we have .257 caliber dies developed for the reloading press in a flat base, 6-caliber spitzer design similar to our .224 and----------------------------------------------------------------- .25 RIFLE KIT We've not advertised the .257 rifle dies for reloading press for a number of deep, dark reasons: primarily, we didn't want to get too far behind. But now, with our new die-works going full-blast, it's time to let you know that we have .257 caliber dies developed for the reloading press in a flat base, 6-caliber spitzer design similar to our .224 andkets in stock. Here is a potential group of kits you could put together to use either 6mm jackets or drawn 7mm jackets (or, when available, regular .257 jackets): BSD-257R Core Seater and Point Former, 2-die set CSL-2 Corbin Swage Lube CM-4 Corbin 4-cavity adjustable core mould (specify 257 cal.) J-6M-825 Jackets, 6mm caliber, .825-inch length, box of 500 Or, you could go the deluxe route, and add the convenience of a power ejector and the ability to install precision cannelure grooves, the speed of cutting lead wire, and the ability to use 7mm jackets by adding these items to the above list: PE-1 Corbin Power Ejector Unit HCT-1 Corbin Hand Cannelure Tool LW-25 Lead Wire, 25-lb spool. (Specify .257 caliber) PCS-1 Corbin Precision Core Cutter JRD-1-R Corbin Jacket Reducing Die (Specify 7mm to .257 cal.) ----------------------------------------------------------------------- HANDGUN CALIBER KITS for RELOADING PRESS In the handgun calibers, we offer these calibers: .25 ACP .30 Mauser/Luger .32 ACP .32 S&W Long .32 H&R .30 Carbine .380 ACP .32 Colt .38 S&W .38 Long Colt .357 Maximum 9mm Browning .38 Special .357 Magnum .32-20 WCF For those of you who know the score, many of the above calibers are actually the same diameter, such as .380 ACP and 9mm, .38 Special and .357 Magnum. Thus, you can make several calibers with the same set of dies, if you know what diameter each caliber is supposed to be. This is covered in great detail in the Corbin Technical Bulletins, Volume II. Rather than repeat each and every one of these calibers along with the items that would make kits, I'll just list a generic catalog number and you can pick the numbers to fill in from this list: Available diameters in Corbin Handgun Reloading Press Swage Dies... .251 .308 .312 .314 .355 .357 .358 To order a specific caliber of die, specify either the actual caliber or the diameter of the bullet from the above list. If you specify the caliber of the cartridge, we will use standard specifications to determine what diameter to ship. Unless you specify the actual diameter from the above list, it isn't possible to guarentee that what you really wanted is the same as the standard specifications for the caliber you ordered. If your 9mm happens to have a .357 bore, then order a .357 diameter rather than a 9mm. Die makers go by the actual diameter, not by the cartridge designation. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- ECONOMY HANDGUN KIT The basic handgun package can have just the core seating die and the Keith nose punch provided with it, to make semi-wadcutter type bullets. To add greater versatility, purchase the point forming die to go with the set. Here is the basic wadcutter or semi-wadcutter package that I would suggest. It makes lead, gas-checked, half-jacketed, or 3/4-jacketed bullets (not with the jacket curved around the ogive, however. That is the job of the point forming die). CS-1-R Core Seating Die, with Keith punch. (Specify caliber) CSL-2 Corbin Swage Lube, 2-ounce bottle CM-4 Corbin 4-cavity adjustable core mould. (Specify caliber) Now, in the department of bullet jackets, there are certain options open for .25 caliber that don't apply elsewhere. You can purchase a .25 ACP jacket-making kit (SPJM-25R) that turns fired shotgun primers into 45-50 grain jacketed bullet cups. In all the .30 calibers, from .308 to .314, you can use one size of jacket. In the .380, 9mm, and all .38/.357 Magnum calibers, you can also use one size of jacket (diameter). There are several lengths available in .38. The right length of jacket for a semi-wadcutter of standard weight is the .437-inch length in .38, and for stacking multi-projectiles or half-jacket bullets, the .250-inch jacket is ideal. The 0.5-inch long jacket is a bit heavy for most single-die sets, but if you add the second die (point former) it is the best all-around choice for all but the very heaviest weights. For 200 grain and up, the 0.7-inch jacket is what you need. To complete your kit, select one of these jackets for the single die set, or the jacket-making kit for the .25 ACP: SPJM-25R Shotgun primer jacket-maker kit J-30-375 Jacket, 30 caliber, 3/8-inch length, box of 500 J-38-250 Jacket, 38 caliber, 1/4-inch length, box of 500 J-38-437 Jacket, 38 caliber, .437-inch length, box of 500 J-38-500 Jacket, 38 caliber, .500-inch length, box of 500 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- DELUXE SEMI-WADCUTTER SWAGE KIT FOR HANDGUN CALIBERS I don't see how a person could consider his swaging outfit as being deluxe unless he has the point forming die. With this die, you multiply all the previous styles and shapes to incredible levels. You add the ability to curve the jacket around the ogive, to make boattailed and full-jacket bullets, and to curve the ogive around so that a hollow cavity becomes a pear-shaped or even a closed cavity within the tip of the bullet. When you order the PF-1-R point former separately, be sure to send a sample lead slug and a few seated cores from your existing core seater die (CS-1-R). The die has to be carefully matched in diameter, and this is one way we can do it. Another is to get your die back, but you may not want to part with it while we work on the new die. When you order these items, substitute the diameters listed for the "XXX" in the die set catalog number. BSD-XXXR Core Seater and Point Former, 2-die set CM-4 Corbin 4-Cavity adjustable core mould. (specify caliber) CSL-2 Corbin Swage Lube, 2-ounce bottle PE-1 Corbin Power Ejector Unit HCT-1 Corbin Hand Cannelure Tool LW-25 Lead wire, 25 lb. spool (specify caliber) PCS-1 Corbin Precision Core Cutter -----------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------------- Disk No 616 Corbin Handbook v1.0 (Disk 1 of 2) v1 DS2 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This disk has the table of contents and the first 11 chapters of the Corbin Handbook of Bullet Swaging, No. 7 written by Dr. Corbin. It is saved in text format. The subject of bullet swaging is the manufacture of projectiles using high pressure to flow ductile metals at room temperature into the precise dimensions of a strong, highly-finished steel die. The process is discussed both as a hobby for the firearms enthusiast and as a highly profitable part-time business venture, supplying handloaders with high quality, special purpose bullets. This is first of a two diskette series. Utility programs on this diskette facilitate the retrieval of the Corbin Handbook information. ------------- Corbin Handbook (Chptr 1-11) ANSI SYS System information AUTOEXEC BAT Start up batch file CHAPT-? TXT Handbook chapter ? (11 files) (245k) CONFIG SYS System information CONTENT TXT Table of contents FIND EXE Find utility HB7 BAT Introduction Batch file HB7 BAK Backup of HB7.BAT INTRO TXT Short introduction text of Corbin READ ME Documentation about Corbin and Bullet Swaging SCRNSAVE COM Screen save utility SDIR COM Show directory utility batch file SHOW BAT Display text file utility SHOW DOC Documentation for SHOW.BAT ST COM Display text file program ST DOC Documentation for ST.COM PC-SIG (Software Interest Group) 1030 East Duane Ave. Suite D Sunnyvale Ca. 94086 Ph# (408) 730-9291
.he Corbin Handbook & Catalog No. 7, Introduction, Page # INTRODUCTION TO BULLET SWAGING I'm Dave Corbin, and I'd like to be your guide on a trip you won't soon forget: a safari to the ultimate levels of handloading, where the final control over your firearm's performance -- the design and construction of the bullet itself -- is totally in your hands. This is the awesome power of bullet swaging. What is bullet swaging? It is so simple that one sentence describes the process. Yet, it is so powerful that more than seven books are in print today, crammed with experiments, techniques, new ideas that swaging makes possible. Research keeps adding to those bulging files every day. Technically, bullet swaging is the manufacture of bullets using high pressure to cold-flow metals at room temperature, inside a precision die and punch set. You merely put a piece of lead (or other flowable materials) into a high-pressure die, squeeze it by inserting a precisely-matched punch (driven by a press), and the lead flows like putty to take on the exact dimensions of the die cavity. The die must be extremely strong and remarkably well-finished for this process to work. Bullet swaging is done at pressures that often exceed those of a typical rifle chamber! Yet, even under thousands of pounds of internal pressure, the die cannot change its size or shape. The level of precision required for these hand-made, diamond-lapped dies is measured in the millionths of an inch. Only a handful of die- makers have ever existed who could produce the quality required. There are dies to make semi-wadcutter pistol bullets, boattail rifle bullets, partitioned, hollow-pointed, cup based, spitzer rifle bullets, and anything else you might imagine! All the dies operate on the same simple principle: an undersized piece of material is expanded outward in diameter by high pressure, at room temperature, until it is stopped by taking on the exact form of the die cavity. We'll cover technical details in a minute. But there is something beyond all this that describes what swaging really means. More than just the technical power it places in your hands, swaging reaches out to capture the imagination of people in all walks of life, and becomes something far greater. Bullet swaging, to a rapidly growing number of people, is financial security. The famous Corbin HYDRO-PRESS system, now in use around the world by nearly all custom bullet makers, makes it simple to offer highly-advanced designs of bullets that cannot be economically produced by the mass-marketing firms. Corbin has developed the tools, the techniques, even the marketing expertise, to the point where the average person interested in a second income or a new career can afford to operate a successful bullet manufacturing operation from his home. The custom bullet maker of today has huge advantages over the founders of major bullet firms of the past. Knowing what to make and how to sell it is part of the advantage. Having standard manufacturing systems, methods, and expertise as close as a phone call or letter is a major leap over the hurdles Speer, Hornady, and Sierra had to face. You don't have to start from scratch and design not only the bullet but also the tools to manufacture it. It has all been done for you. There are at least seven books at this writing to tell you how to take advantage of these years of experience! Corbin publishes the WORLD DIRECTORY of CUSTOM BULLET MAKERS. It is the source-book for writers, experimenters, procurement officers in military and police headquarters, defense contractors, and advanced handloaders in at least nine countries. Your own brand of bullet can be listed, along with your address, just for the asking. Advertising space is available for a very reasonable cost. Reaching the world with your custom bullets is no longer a major challenge. By keeping in close contact with our commercial customers and working with them on exotic design variations and tooling, Corbin has been able to help insure a healthy market, prevent unnecessary and wasteful duplication of efforts, and see that the real needs of shooters are met with constant new developments in the field of custom bullets. Every individual, like yourself, who decides to offer a small-scale supply of some special product is just one more guarantee against quality bullets ever being swept out of reach. During major wars, economic upheavals, or bouts of mis-guided legislative fervor, it is the small-scale, wide-spread producers who stand strongest against shortages. It is much less likely that thousands of smaller operators will be forced to cease operations than the chance that three or four major outfits can be shut down! Most of the major firms have other interests to protect and are very visible, vunerable, and sensitive to pressures that would not affect the home operation. You don't need to sell bullets to get a pleasant feeling of security in owning a quality set of swaging dies. Many people find that the lower cost of making your own bullets lets them enjoy far more shooting, with less drain on the family finances. And the equipment is always there, waiting, if you should want to make a little money on the side. Friends, club members, local gunshops -- all provide a convenient market for certain specialty bullets that the factories do not offer. Because bullet swaging is so fast and easy to do, you can produce enough bullets in a weekend to help cover your own shooting costs. The "make a few, sell a few" approach serves vast numbers of shooters. You need only to obtain your Class 1 and Class 6 Federal Firearms Licenses, neither of which is expensive or difficult. Write to your regional Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms for forms. Note that you ONLY need the licenses if you plan to SELL the bullets: you need NO license to buy equipment and make them for your own use. For many people, selling bullets is not important. The real thrill of swaging to them is seeing their ideas come alive in solid metal. What hunter hasn't dreamed of some improvement, some better construction, different weight, or modified style of bullet that would fill a specific need -- and yet, it just isn't offered by any of the mass production firms? Sitting around the campfire with the remains of a spent bullet that utterly failed to do the job brings wistful thoughts of making something better. The tools of swaging turn these thoughts into reality with lightning swiftness. Versatility is one of the major advantages of swaging, along with speed. The equipment doesn't have to cost any more than the messy, dangerous hot lead casting equipment with which you are undoubtedly familiar. Yet the same investment in swaging tools can make literally hundreds of different bullets! Changes in weight are entirely up to you. In five minutes, you can use the same dies to make whole bench-top covered with different bullet weights. The dies don't care how much material you put into them, within a broad limit. They faithfully reproduce the diameter to a precision impossible with any hot lead process, operating at a constant room temperature instead of changing from molten to solid lead temperature on every bullet made. The lightest weight and heaviest weight a certain die can make are normally beyond the limits of what you would want to shoot. With a cast bullet, you buy a certain mould for a certain weight, shape, and style of bullet. You are limited to various forms of lead. If you want a different weight, or style, you have to buy a new mould. And you spend half an hour waiting for a lead pot to melt the metal, cast several times to get the mould up to temperature, sort through the bad casts and rejects, clean the whole mess up after it has time to cool down to safe levels, and THEN, when all that is done, you have to start all over again and run each of the remaining good bullets through a sizer and lubricator tool, with the mess of greasy lube and the chance of getting too much or too little application. The bullet you get from casting is limited in velocity because the lead will melt in contact with the bore of your gun and the hot powder gas if you try to drive it too fast. The performance is limited because if you try to use harder alloys and reduce the leading of your barrel, the bullets no longer expand or hold together as well. Using a copper gas check on the base of the bullet is a small step in the right direction, but it isn't nearly enough for full performance. With a swaged bullet, you can use any alloy that you might use for casting (depending on the particular system and dies -- anything from pure lead to solid brass rod can be swaged on the right equipment). The dies make a wide range of weights without further expense to you, and the range can usually be extended even further with simple punch changes. The styles you can make are virtually unlimited. There is nothing commercially produced today or at any time in the past that you cannot make at home, and make it more accurately at the same time! It all depends on the particular kind of equipment you get. Bullet swaging equipmenmt quickly demonstrates to you that it saves you money over casting, when you begin making different weights and styles. If all you want is one weight and style to be shot at a velocity of perhaps 1,200 fps or less, and that one style can be nothing more than a lubricated piece of lead, swaging may have little to offer you except speed and safety. If you are looking only at the cost per bullet, there is no difference. What you pay for lead to cast bullets is what you would pay for the lead to swage the same bullet. If, on the other hand, you are interested in making the bullet to tolerances that can't be approached with hot lead -- repeatability of less than 0.0001 inches -- and you want a system that can give you weight tolerances so small a normal scale barely registers them, then even this one simple cast lead bullet might take a second seat to its swaged cousin. In our own experiments, we have found that group sizes of .308 caliber cast bullets could be cut in half at 100 yards simply by running the same cast bullets through the final point forming die of a .308 bullet swage outfit. In some calibers -- not all, mind you! -- you can make absolutely FREE bullets for the rest of your life by using materials others throw away! Do you shoot a .224 or a .243 caliber rifle or handgun? Do you shoot a .25 ACP once in a while (which you might shoot more if the ammo wasn't so costly) or a .257 rifle? In these calibers, it is possible to make bullets using fired shotgun primers, spent .22 cases, and recovered range lead. All the materials you need to keep yourself shooting for the rest of your life are lying on the ground by your feet, when you go to the target range. Those empty .22 long rifle cases make excellent quality .22 centerfire bullets. The empty .22 Magnums and Stingers make reasonable quality .257 and 6mm bullets. Fired shotgun primers turn into acceptable .25 ACP bullets. In the .224 caliber (all modern .22 centerfires use a .224" bullet), the quality of bullet you can make from a fired rimfire .22 case and scrap lead is as good or better than you can purchase for $6.50 a box! The material is actually easier on the bore than standard thicker jacketed bullets, shoots well enough that matches are won with the bullets (although it isn't a recommended benchrest bullet by any means!), and is so explosive that you seldom get a ricochet when varmint hunting. Bullet swaging can be profitable, and it is versatile, economical, and enjoyable. It has the advantage of the highest possible precision in bullet making, on the order of ten times better than lathe turning the bullets. The pressure of more than 2,000 atmospheres in a typical swage die contrasts sharply to the pressure of slightly over one atmosphere typical of casting a bullet, compacting the lead and squeezing bubbles and voids into oblivion. The cost of the equipment always SEEMS high to a beginner, because (1) he is starting from scratch and usually needs all the basics at once and (2) he doesn't realize yet how much power he is getting for those dollars. In the final analysis, swaging is far lower in cost than any other method of bullet making, except in the one instance where a single weight and style of lead bullet is all you want, and a mould exists that will make it. As soon as you start experimenting, swaging begins to prove its economy. As to the cost of the bullets themselves, the range starts at zero cost -- remember the rimfire cases! -- and goes up from there depending on the material you choose. It is quite possible to make swaged bullets that cost more than a roughly similar style of factory bullet. In fact, if you only want to duplicate a factory bullet with no thought of making something better, then quite often swaging won't justify its cost unless you shoot quite a bit. The casual shooter who goes through one or two boxes of some caliber a year has no real need for swaging equipment. It would take far too long for him to amortize its cost, and besides, he might be able to find some bullet that costs just about the same as the materials he would have to purchase to make it! In general, a swaged jacketed rifle or handgun bullet costs about half that of a similar factory bullet, but there are some exceptions. And many people make high performance bullets, using heavy copper or brass tubing jackets, or other exotic constructions, with swaging's ultra-high precision, that cost several times as much as a run-of-the-mill factory bullet in the same caliber. But they are getting something that cannot be obtained anywhere else, at any price: a premium bullet made exactly to their order. You can see that economy can be a good reason for swaging, but it isn't necessarily the best or only reason, and in some cases there are over-riding needs that make cost per bullet relatively unimportant. If you want to shoot a fine double-rifle and simply cannot find any suitable weight or even caliber of bullets for it, what does it matter that your own custom-built bullets might wind up costing you fifteen or twenty cents each? On the market, they'd be easily worth a dollar or more in some of these calibers.! That, in fact, is one of the secrets of being a successful commercial bullet maker: picking a product to make that does indeed command a price higher than standard mass- produced bullets, but which is so unique and valuable to those who want it that they are glad to see you offer it at almost any price. If, for example, you are affluent enough to afford to travel to Africa or the Far East for big game hunting, you certainly are not going to worry about the cost of a few boxes of bullets. The important thing is whether or not they will work correctly, reliably, when that big trophy is in your sights at last. It could mean life or death if you are facing a charging Cape Buffalo. Anyone who has been there and experienced a bullet failure at such a time -- and has lived through it -- isn't likely to quibble over the price of bullets. Perhaps you can begin to see why there are so many successful custom bullet makers in the world today, making bullets that sell as fast as they can be produced, for over $1 each and in some cases as much as $2.50 per bullet! "OK", you say,"bullet swaging sounds like it's got a lot going for it. But how hard is it to learn? Is it going to take me the rest of my life to figure out?" Have you ever dug a post hole? Filled a pipe with tobacco? Both those operations are good allegories for swaging. When you put a post into a post hole, you tamp earth back around the hole. When you fill a pipe, you tamp tobacco into the bowl. In a very crude way, this is what it takes to learn to start swaging: press the material into a hole or cavity, so it takes on the shape of the cavity. The die corresponds to the pipe bowl or the sides of the post hole. Your tamping stick or thumb corresponds to the punch in a swage die. There are a lot of variations on this process, and a number of different dies made to form certain shapes on the bullet, but basically, every swaging operation is filling a hole with material by pushing an undersized piece of material into the hole with a punch. The end of the punch forms one end of the bullet. The die walls form the sides of the bullet. There is another punch, held captive in the die assembly, that blocks off the other end of the die, and is used to push the bullet back out the die mouth when you are finished. A lead bullet takes one stroke to finish. A semi-wadcutter takes from one to two dies (one stroke per die) depending on how fancy you want to get with the weight control. A rifle bullet or a handgun bullet made with the jacket wrapped over the ogive (nose portion) requires either two or three dies (one stroke per die, again) to finish the projectile. Whether it takes two or three dies depends on whether or not you want to swage the lead slug that makes up the filling, or core, by itself first. You can insert the core into the jacket (the skin of the bullet) with or without first swaging the core. Either way makes a reasonably good bullet. Swaging the core first makes the weight variation extremely small. We'll get into the details later. But that is really all there is to learn in order to get started. You can be making your own bullets within a few minutes after you get the dies. And you can be learning to make ever better ones fifty years later! It's a little bit like learning to shoot: you can start hitting the target the first day you get your new rifle, and then you start working on getting 10's, and never quit working on getting all X's. The bullets you can make right away will probably be equal quality to what you can buy off the shelf. But why stop with that? Swaging is capable of giving you so much more. You may not have any desire, at this time, to make exotic bullets. You may not want to extrude your own lead wire, or produce heavy copper or brass jackets yourself, or form partitions and liquid-filled internal cavities in your projectiles. You may not want to make a high performance 12 gauge shotgun slug, or a solid copper .14 caliber bullet, or a rebated boattail .500 caliber slug. The tools are available, if you do. Knowing what is possible can be as important as doing it. The same copper tubing that runs air conditioners, nuclear power plants, automobiles, and apartment buildings can be turned into excellent quality jackets. The same lead that is used for roofing, plumbing, x-ray shielding, and nuclear medicine containers is capable of supplying you with an endless quantity of cores. Until you place the lead core into the jacket and swage that bullet in the privacy of your home, nothing about your supplies is unique to bullet making. The materials are all around you. The bullets you can make in times of serious economnic upheaval or a great national disaster might well be worth more than their weight in gold. Survival weapons don't shoot gold coins. It's hard to make change with a couple of investment grade diamonds when you are bartering for medicine or food. And cast bullets tend to foul the gas ports of automatics and gas-operated military rifles. It isn't radical to consider, at least, the potential for barter and the value that your bullet-making ability might have in such circumstances. "Sounds interesting. What's next?", you may be asking. The first step was obtaining this manual. It will give you a wide view of the field of swaging and show you what kinds of equipment are available today. There isn't room to describe every possible trick and technique, nor to go into the details of a commercial business, nor to really give you an intense course in the art of swaging. Those subjects are found the seven books Corbin has published over the past twenty years. Before jumping in, you should read at least the textbook "REDISCOVER SWAGING". This should be read primarily as a course in the art of swaging and not with a great deal of attention to the specific machines or tools described, since the principles are the same but the products may change over the years. If your interest leans toward the commercial aspects, then by all means read "POWER SWAGING" as well. Greater detail on a wide range of specific subjects can be found in the three volumes of the Corbin Technical Bulletins. And the ancient "BULLET SWAGE MANUAL" gives a different writer's viewpoint from an age gone by. With the information at your fingertips, you have a tremendous advantage over the handloader of the past -- as well as the founders of the big bullet factories of today! Corbin has brought swaging out of the dark, mysterious realm of the die-maker and turned it over to you: one of the most powerful tools ever devised for advancing the art of handloading is placed in your hands. In August, 1984, Corbin opened the world's largest bullet die- works, in a new plant built just for this purpose. Located at 600 Industrial Circle, White City, Oregon, on a 44,000 square foot site, the entire plant features electronically cleaned and filtered air, climate control for both offices and machine shop, and a six-inch thick barrier on both ceiling and walls to insulate the shop from temperature changes. Brilliant shadowless lighting and spacious workroom give Corbin's die-makers remarkable conditions for testing and inspection of their work, even as it is being produced. The Corbin facility is unique: no other firm has ever poured so much time, effort, and capital into the development of bullet swaging. If some of the things you read here seem completely different from the general public's impression of swaging, there's a good reason for it! Most of the limitations and problems with swaging in the past were simply waiting for someone to find the solutions. Swaging itself has few limitations. It is a quantum leap over the usual "cookbook" kind of reloading. Swaging releases you from the limits of mere repetition of what others have done. Instead of forcing you to follow recipes in a reloading kitchen, swaging turns your handloading bench into a laboratory where new knowledge can be developed. At any point, you could be holding in your hand the prototype of a design that could change the future of shooting. And yet, at the same time, you can immediately begin producing bullets "as good as factory ones", and likely, a great deal better! No matter how routine a bullet you may wish to make right now, it's hard to resist the temptation to nudge the throttle a bit on the powerful design machinery, and try something a little better. The spirit of invention is far from dead in most of us. At the moment when you first hold the gleaming perfection in your own hand, which only seconds before was empty copper and dull lead, you may sense the presence of other eyes looking over your shoulder. Perhaps, if you turn quickly enough, you may catch a fading glimpse of the spirit of the ancient founders of the swaging art: men like Harvey Donaldson, who swaged some of the first .22 caliber jacketed bullets from fired .22 cases -- a trick you can handle much more easily with a simple kit, today. Behind him, you might see a long line of experimenters, slug-gun shooters with their Carver pound-dies in one hand -- the men who first began the process of shaping lead bullets in swage dies, to advance the art of accurate shooting beyond anything that had been done before. Whatever work you might do, whatever ideas you might explore, you have just as much potential as they did to advance the whole art of shooting into a new generation. When you place your hand on the powerful leverage of swaging equipment, you are stepping far beyond the experiences of even the most knowledgable handloader who has never tried this remarkable field. Men with forty or fifty years of handloading experience express wonder at the vast new horizon swaging lays before them. It's a feeling all of us, from the dim beginnings to this day, can appreciate. It's the feeling of pride that comes, when you realize that your own bullets -- your ideas and experiments turned into reality -- are building on the solid foundation built by the greatest experimenters shooting has ever known. If you could catch that glimpse in the fading light, I'm sure you'd notice each of them nodding their approval.
Abstract by Anthony Murabito Program Name: Corbin Handbook (Chptrs 1-22) Author Name: Corbin Manufacturing and Supply, Inc. Address: PO Box 2659 White City, Oregon 97503 Tel number: (503) 826-5211 Suggested donation: None, but for $4.00 you'll get the bound handbook. Program description: This diskette contains a segment of the Corbin Handbook of bullet swaging on computer text files saved in ascii format. This disk series contains chapters 1 through 22 of the handbook. The subject of bullet swaging is the manufacture of projectiles using high pressure to flow ductile metals at room temperature into the precise dimensions of a strong, highly-finished steel die. The process is discussed both as a hobby for the firearms enthusiast and as a highly profitable part-time business venture, supplying handloaders with high quality, special purpose bullets. This two-disk set is handy for the quick reference of words or phrases by using the utility and batch files included on the disks. In order to use the batch files, you need to have the MS-DOS "FIND.EXE" command either in the current path (using DOS 2.1+) or copied onto the disks. There is room on the disk for this command. "FIND.EXE" is part of the external commands supplied with the MS-DOS 2.1+ operating systems. The author of this handbook is president of the firm recognized in the firearms industry as being the foremost supplier and developer of the field of bullet swaging. In addition to more than 400 articles and papers on the technical aspects of bullet swaging, Mr. Corbin is the author of seven books which comprise virtually every work in print today on the subject. His firm does advanced ballistics design for military and public safety agencies and provides nearly all of the experimental equipment used in manufacturing new projectiles for small arms today. Software regarding bullet swaging is available from Corbin. Any text file processor will read the Corbin chapters with color or monochrome, at least 128 is required.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ SHOW.DOC --- how to find words or phrases in the HB7 files: To display all lines that contain a word or phrase in the Corbin Handbook, simply type this command: SHOW word ...where "word" is any word or phrase you want to find. The entire line in which the word or phrase appears in every file will be displayed, as well as the chapter. ---------------------------------------------------------------END------------
ST -- the SuperTyper program -- an improved version of the DOS type command. This program provides three significant enhancements to the type command: 1) the display is paged, not scrolled, and thus is much easier to read. 2) Previously displayed pages are saved and can be accessed by use of the PgUp and PgDn keys. (CURSOR PAD 9 and 3, numlock OFF) 3) Wordstar's 'funny' characters are converted to normal display characters. (as all WordStar users know, 'type'ing a WordStar file creates a strange display) Directions: Type ST for directions and to be prompted for a filename to be listed. Type ST <filename> to list a file. PgUp and PgDn move through the display pages in the file. The '+' toggles the display of page number in each page. This display is convenient for keeping your place in big files -- especially files that are bigger than memory and only part of the file can be kept in memory. This display is normally off, it is toggled on when "buffer wrap-around" occurs. If it bugs you, hit the '+' key and turn it off.
Volume in drive A has no label Directory of A:\ AUTOEXEC BAT 256 7-21-86 11:49a CHAPT-1 TXT 7431 4-05-86 1:36p CHAPT-10 TXT 7266 4-05-86 2:33p CHAPT-11 TXT 10961 4-05-86 2:36p CHAPT-2 TXT 13402 4-05-86 1:47p CHAPT-3 TXT 20634 4-05-86 1:52p CHAPT-4 TXT 41942 4-05-86 2:00p CHAPT-5 TXT 43545 4-05-86 2:14p CHAPT-6 TXT 25900 4-05-86 2:18p CHAPT-7 TXT 48273 4-05-86 2:25p CHAPT-8 TXT 13422 4-05-86 2:26p CHAPT-9 TXT 13295 4-05-86 2:30p CONTENT TXT 1920 1-01-85 5:44a HB7 BAK 2560 1-01-85 2:14a HB7 BAT 2560 1-01-85 4:21a INTRO TXT 28359 1-01-85 2:03a READ ME 5504 1-01-85 1:54a SCRNSAVE COM 688 1-01-85 2:03a SDIR COM 1555 1-01-85 2:04a SHOW BAT 128 1-01-85 2:04a SHOW DOC 640 1-01-85 2:04a ST COM 14336 2-03-84 2:43a ST DOC 1152 1-01-85 2:04a NOTES616 TXT 2093 9-15-86 9:41p FILES616 TXT 1726 10-15-86 1:06p GO BAT 590 9-15-86 9:28p 26 file(s) 310138 bytes 37888 bytes free