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Thread: Making Your Own Bullets

  1. #1
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    Making Your Own Bullets

    A post on the "Thoughts on Benchrest Competition" thread includes the following comment: "Today...More and more good shooters make their own bullets." (http://benchrest.com/showthread.php?...petition/page4) That comment prompts me to ask the following questions:

    1. Why do folks make their own bullets when good bullets are available from other sources?
    2. What is needed to make your own bullets and what's the approximate cost of the equipment?
    3. Excluding the cost of the equipment and the value of your time, what's the approximate cost per completed bullet?
    4. About how long does it take to make, say, 500 or 1,000 bullets?

  2. #2
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    Roll Your Own

    Quote Originally Posted by Hunter View Post
    A post on the "Thoughts on Benchrest Competition" thread includes the following comment: "Today...More and more good shooters make their own bullets." (http://benchrest.com/showthread.php?...petition/page4) That comment prompts me to ask the following questions:

    1. Why do folks make their own bullets when good bullets are available from other sources?
    2. What is needed to make your own bullets and what's the approximate cost of the equipment?
    3. Excluding the cost of the equipment and the value of your time, what's the approximate cost per completed bullet?
    4. About how long does it take to make, say, 500 or 1,000 bullets?

    Response--not necessary the only answer.
    1. Availability in timely fashion ie;
    My bullet maker is out of jackets, he has changed jacket suppliers, he only gave 1/2 of my order, other orders ahead of mine, etc, etc
    Quality control
    You know each bullets history---Jacket supplier, lead supplier, jacket spin thickness variation, Jacket lots, any difficulties with jackets/lead core seating or pointing up
    Just because bullets are from the same bullet maker, same weight, same olgive, they can vary from batch to batch--not much thankfully
    This is why when you buy bullets you want from the same production lot if possible.
    One should always keep a record of the measurement of the bullets your shooting--especially if they shoot good.
    I think Randy Robinett (Of BIB'S Bullets) is to have said something like "I want to know each bullet by their First, Middle and Last name".
    You are correct, their are a lot of great bullet makers selling bullets.
    2. Equipment is covered under the Questions/Answers of the Benchrest Central home page.
    An excellent group of articles on bullet making.
    Cost of equipment varies with how elaborate you want to start.
    Minimum of $2000.00 Up-- If you buy used there are some good deals out there.
    3. Jacket cost about 8-10 cents each
    Lead Core is about 10-20 cents each
    Each of these numbers is assuming you order in some volume of each.
    Buy in large volume and cost per item can be less but you have inventory cost now.
    When you order small the shipping can greatly effect your cost/bullet
    4. Time to produce--speaking here from my experience--
    I only make 1 bucket of jackets at a time (2000 of .790 jackets or 1800 of .825 jackets)
    My lubing mixture is per 1 bucket of jackets---don't want to change for smaller numbers of bullets
    I think this would induce errors for me if I tried to portion it out!!!!!
    I buy my cores pre cut from Charlie Hood therefore no core cutting time is included below
    1st Day------30-60 minutes
    Wash the jackets and cores, and let them dry completely
    2nd day-----60-90minutes
    Lube the jackets and cores(Some don't lube the cores)
    Load the jackets and cores into bullet boards
    3rd day----2-4 hours
    Run the jacket/core through core seater die--let rest for 24 hours
    4th day---3-5 hours
    Run the above seated jacket /core through the point up die
    Wash the bullets
    Box up and label boxes
    5th day and thereafter go to the range and test your MAGIC PIlls

    If it shoots tell everyone that will listen.
    If it doesn't shoot--well you have a lot of fowler's or case former's.

    CLP

  3. #3
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    1. Why do folks make their own bullets when good bullets are available from other sources?
    Because I don't trust the other bullet makers. I will not mention names, however at one time their bullet was second to none. As their DIE started going away so did the quality of the bullet and accuracy. As an individual you will never run 500,000 bullets. As a wholesaler you must run 500,000 bullets plus. Eventually the die will go away. Duplicating dies is almost virtually impossible, if you don't believe me ask George Ulrich.

    2. What is needed to make your own bullets and what's the approximate cost of the equipment?
    RCBS RC2 Which is no longer available and must be modified to make bullets. I just bought one on one of the bidding networks and paid $140 for it. It was relatively new. A good set of dies can cost you between $1000-$2000 depending if you getting a complete set or not. To make everything from scratch you need a core cutter, a core die ( forms the core to your weight), boat tail core seater, or flat base core seater, and point Up die. I have one core cutter, one core die, one flat base seater, one boat tail seater and 2 point up dies ( both different shapes, ojives , pressure rings etc. etc.). You will also require a lot of miscellaneous equipment such as Coleman fuel, Acetone, anhydrous lanolin, Vaseline, three in one oil, snap gauges ( a Mitutoyo can cost you $1200 I have 1) a good beam scale, or a good digital scale, I have both ($650) a bunch of towels, A bunch of Mason jars, and a lot of patience. Also required would be a great teacher. I also have one of those who has helped me More than I can elaborate.

    3-Excluding the cost of the equipment and the value of your time, what's the approximate cost per completed bullet?
    PRICELESS !!!! You have complete control over the weight and other aspects of construction. I use J-4. The cost of the 790 jacket is approximately 8 cents. The cost of a 50 pound spool of lead wire is $130 ( now 150) and you can get approximately 7000 cores from one spool. That is approximately 2 cents per core. Lube is under $1.00 You can create any weight you desire (custom Bullets).

    4. About how long does it take to make, say, 500 or 1,000 bullets?
    I make batches of 2000 at time. That is the amount of 790 jackets in one pail. Between the core cutting, core forming, core seating, point up, and other aspects of lube,cleaning and all the other miscellaneous steps you are probably looking at 20- 30 hours per batch of 2000. I have a T.V. in the gun room and take my time.
    On a side note when I first started, I only put batches of approximately 200 to 300 together so I got the hang of the necessary steps. With only one press, you have to master the ability of changing the dies for each necessary step to get the dimensions you want. There are some that have multiple presses and once they set the dies they don't touch them. There is no learning curve involved. I have experimented with different amounts of lube to create undersized bullets (.242875) and found that they shot very well. I also experiment with the opening of the hollow point for maximum Air displacement. This is only a theory but I found a difference in not only point of impact, but the way the bullet prints on the paper (looks like a 22 hole when the gun is in tune).

    Joe P.
    Phoenix Az
    Last edited by classcat; 11-24-2015 at 01:15 AM.

  4. #4
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    I left out the core punch, about 5-10 core seating punches( size needed will vary based on core size and jacket thickness), and 3-4 point up punches( not ALL point up punches are created equal ) There is another $500

  5. #5
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    Call george ulrich. I bet he knows where plenty of setups are that were used long enough to see how hard it is and can be bought for pennies on the dollar

  6. #6
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    A useful forum for swaging is Castboolits.

  7. #7
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    lol..
    they do know how to make bullets, but true benchrest quality bullets is another story.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
    A useful forum for swaging is Castboolits.

  8. #8
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    Making your own bullets

    If you like to work it worth doing.
    some think it's boring actually I like making my own I've considered it an Art form,

    Dies are reasonable if you look at it the right way.
    The dies are precision and made by great craftsmen They run around $2,000 and up depending on current price,s

    There are two die makers that i know of that make them now
    David Detsch and George Ulrich There,s a whole lot of info right here in the archives , we had along conversation about bullet making with plenty of imput.

    Usually we buy jackets from Berger {J4] Or Sierra there,s also stay molly jackets too.

    Lead can be bought at several places It's just common lead. You can also cast cores and swage them or buy cores already made up.

    It not rocket science .

  9. #9
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    Yep, bullet making is a PITA until you get to a match and shoot well. At that point, all the time and money you spent seems to be peanuts. Then....you run out of bullets and have to do it again...PITA.

    At the least, you know exactly what you're shooting. At the worst...well...talk to Jackie for that info.

  10. #10
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    Getting Jackets has been a problem in the past! Not much fun to have all the bullet making equipment and can't get jackets! Last I heard J4s are unavailable until June or so! Thank the Good Lord we now have Hines Tacticle to make us quaility jackets!

    Bart Sauter
    HINES TACTICAL JACKET DISTRIBUTER
    IOR VALDADA SCOPE DEALER
    BARTS CUSTOM BULLETS

    PS
    I've diversified!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bart View Post
    Getting Jackets has been a problem in the past! Not much fun to have all the bullet making equipment and can't get jackets! Last I heard J4s are unavailable until June or so! Thank the Good Lord we now have Hines Tacticle to make us quaility jackets!

    Bart Sauter
    HINES TACTICAL JACKET DISTRIBUTER
    IOR VALDADA SCOPE DEALER
    BARTS CUSTOM BULLETS

    PS
    I've diversified!
    I have tried all 3 of the products that Bart is hawking and his bullets are the best, I've made 118gr 30cal bullets using his jackets and am very pleased indeed, I bought the Valdada 36X br scope, it is the best = I believe in Bart. All this love is going to cost you Bart.lol

    Dan Honert

  12. #12
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    Making your own bullets

    Yes jackets were a problem for a while.
    The people selling them created a glitch some how Both of the major suppliers messed up the system.
    Sierra stopped selling the jackets we needed and J4 raised the prices to staggering prices.
    Thank goodness that policy has changed.
    The thing's you gain are control of the finished product, ability to change Bullet weight, Having a big enough supply of High quality bullets at an affordable price.
    You also can buy additional point dies and change the shape of the bullets, Maybe you want a die for short range and others for long range.
    You can also after a while change calibers and make custom bullets that are different weight then any factory available bullets.
    Like Boat tails they make dies for that too, how about a rebated BT bullet , maybe a different BT degree other then what factories produce.
    Its a great hobby or business to get into. It can be fun experimenting .

  13. #13
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    Before i bought the first component to make bullets id go visit a bulletmaker. Doesnt have to be a bigger one just somebody who makes their own bullets. Youll gladly pay the price after pulling a few handles. When j4 tried to corner the market and do what they do to the br community jeff and bart came thru. Cant get a better core than charlie hood makes. That solved that issue. So call bart for sierra or hines jackets- theyre available anytime, call charlie for your cores, and call george ulrich for presses and dies. Youll be well on your way to the next great bullet! Never been a better time to be a bulletmaker.

  14. #14
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    die makers

    So, what are the die makers currently in businees?



    I read on "algunjunkie.com" that George is out of businees, but believe this is not true.


    Thinking to roll my own .30 caliber bullets.

  15. #15
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    There are rumors surrounding any success. George is still going strong.

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