View Full Version : Bullet forming dies

02-29-2008, 03:49 PM
I just started looking into making some vld style of bullet. I know carbide is the way to go but I'm just wanting to make some for myself and a few others so I can't justify the addition cost. Does anyone know of a die builder that would turn out a quality vld bullet form die?

03-01-2008, 12:20 AM
Actually, I've heard of guys making their own dies in steel and been told they work just as well as the carbide versions, they just don't last anywhere near as long. They're time consuming to make, though I've never done it. When asking one time, I was told they ordered reamers to get the basic shapes and went on from there to polish out to size. I'm assuming that was after heat-treat of the steel.

I don't know the process or what it involves, but could probably get you in touch with someone who has done it. PM if you want contact information.

03-01-2008, 02:41 PM
PM sent - thanks for the help.

vmthtr in green
03-02-2008, 09:19 AM
Larry Blackmon, RCE and Corbin offer BT style steel dies.


03-03-2008, 01:33 PM
I'm also looking into making my own, I spoke to Dave Corbin last week.
He has all the tools and info. to make your own what ever, anything you can immagine can be made up to 20mm.
I'm looking into making stuff for a 50 BMG.

Google search Corbin, he also has e-books you can check out on how its all done and what you'd need.


03-03-2008, 05:33 PM
I talked to Larry Blackmon last week about a VLD style die, he explained that he's really not set up for something like that. As for Corbin, I don't know how their reputation sits with the benchrest/1000yd crowd.

03-05-2008, 08:23 AM
Corbins site has e-books
the info. there is fantastic. Explains alot of the myths of bullet design and give you info on how to pick a design that will work for your purpose (size, caliber, shape, etc.)
Its a long read but real good, i'm reading bullet swaging book 9 right now.


J. Valentine
03-08-2008, 05:25 PM
I would suggest that you dont try to make your own VLD design dies.
The very small meplat of the long ogive means a small diameter ejection pin.
If you don't get the tolerance between the core seating die and the point forming die correct you may end up with poor ejection from the point former and stuck bullets because the small diameter ejection pin has little area to spread the ejection force over and enters into the meplat and lead core rather than eject the bullet .
Also high ejection pressures mean dammaged meplats working against what a VLD is trying to acheave.
Tool steel dies make bullets every bit as accurate as carbide dies they just dont hold their close tolerances as long .
New tool steel dies that are used correctly will make 500 000 bullets or more before they start to have ejection problems and it is usually the core seater that wears out first.
Corbin dies are just as good as any other and they have more experience in the field than other brands.
Boat tail dies are more complicated than flat base dies to make.

03-09-2008, 10:19 AM
J Valentine

Seems like Dave Corbin writes in “Bullet Swaging #9 that you can except 500,000 bullets from a set of his dies in a hand press. Is the 50,000 number you quoted from personal experience?

Al Barnhart

J. Valentine
03-09-2008, 08:08 PM
J Valentine

Seems like Dave Corbin writes in “Bullet Swaging #9 that you can except 500,000 bullets from a set of his dies in a hand press. Is the 50,000 number you quoted from personal experience?

Al Barnhart

You may well be right . I may have forgotten the correct amount. I thought it was 50 000 but I may have lost a zero .
It is not from experience as I have only worn out one set of .308 tool steel Corbin dies and they were second hand dies and I did not count the bullets made. It took 20 years of shooting so it would have been 20 000 bullets + the ones I made for other people which may have been another 10 000 approx. The dies were mostlikley at the end of their use when I bought them.
So 50 000 does sound wrong!
I have since made a new core seater and the dies work fine again but produce a .310 diam bullet. Works OK in .303 rifle .
I have replaced the point former with a new Corbin die and it works fine with the new core seater producing a nice .308 diameter and very little pressure ring.
Thanks , I think you are correct , I will check out what you are saying and ammend my post .

*** Yes you are correct it is 500 000 or more bullets from Corbin tool steel dies . ***

Quote from David R Corbin , " When run at less than ten strokes a minute with proper lubrication , the high-carbide content die steels used by Corbin hold acceptable tolerances for at least 500 000 bullets , and some have made over 1, 500 , 000 bullets in comercial operations ".

That is even better. Thanks Al for being on the ball.

03-10-2008, 01:46 AM
J Valentine

I have a set of 6mm dies on order and I need them to last 500,000 or more. I feal much better now...

Al Barnhart

J. Valentine
03-10-2008, 10:26 PM
The real problem is getting good accurate jackets.

03-11-2008, 08:26 PM
J Valentine

Do tell. Where do the best Jackets come from ?

Al Barnhart

J. Valentine
03-11-2008, 09:16 PM
If I knew for sure I could buy really guaranteed accurate jackets from a particular source I would be very happy and buy a large lot but if you do and they are no good you are caught .
I have used mainly J4 jackets , and CH jackets , Corbin also ,
The J4's I have at the moment in 6mm and .308 make accurate bullets but who knows what will happen next purchase.
I have experimented with redrawing jackets by .001 to uniform them and retrimming them in the lathe to get a better meplat.
I can't say that the redraw is any better or not but the meplat is much more even and neater.