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  1. #1
    Marlin Marksman
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    Home made swaging dies, an idea

    In doing my research for non lead .375 levergun bullets, I came across a few articles on making 375 caliber bullets from 223 cases. So this got me thinking in another direction.

    I know reloading dies are pretty hard, but is is possible to drill out, say, a 223 resizing die, to .375 with a HSS hard drill bit? Or is the die harder than the bits?

    I know there are ready made swaging dies, but they usually seem to run anywhere from $175 and up, each. I cannot afford this.

    My other thought is to drill out a 1" steel bar to 3/8" (.375) and use it.

    Thoughts? Yes i probably am crazy but it keeps my retired mind working
    While all the oil may be in Texas, ALL the dipstics are in "DC, and Sacramento"

  2. #2
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    Re: Home made swaging dies, an idea

    Hey there handirifle -- I think the average sizing die would laugh at a high speed drill bit. Dies are tough!! You might stand a better chance with drilling some stock and then running a tapered reamer in it. True up the hole and open it to .377" or so. The 7/8's by 14 thread may be problematic as well. I suppose it depends on what machine tool resources you have available. For about $30 you might think about a Lee push through sizer. They will build one to whatever diameter you want. Might just save you some grief. Hope this helps. Best regards. Wind

  3. #3
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    Re: Home made swaging dies, an idea

    You're probably right, on both counts, but it was a thought, so I had to ask.....

    Their use will be for more than just sizing, I am trying to cook up a way to complete this non lead 375 Win bullet project. At the rate I am going, one of the big companies will beat me to it , hopefully.

    No really, this bizmuth idea, I think has potential, but when I started this project, I was still working and had a decent income and had I gotten to this point I may have bought some regular swaging dies, but being forced to retire in '09, the income has changed drastically so I have to be more "creative" shall we say?

    While all the oil may be in Texas, ALL the dipstics are in "DC, and Sacramento"

  4. #4
    Marlin Marksman
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    Re: Home made swaging dies, an idea

    Quote Originally Posted by Wind
    Hey there handirifle -- I think the average sizing die would laugh at a high speed drill bit. Dies are tough!! You might stand a better chance with drilling some stock and then running a tapered reamer in it. True up the hole and open it to .377" or so. The 7/8's by 14 thread may be problematic as well. I suppose it depends on what machine tool resources you have available. For about $30 you might think about a Lee push through sizer. They will build one to whatever diameter you want. Might just save you some grief. Hope this helps. Best regards. Wind
    Wind,
    This is what I sent Lee. It's pursuing a slightly different angle than discussed above. A new way to look at the old idea hit me last night, so I will see what Lee says.

    "I have a project that I am working on, converting a .375 Barnes TSX spire point, for use in a levergun. In order to make this work I will need to modify their bullet to a larger meplat hollow point.

    I need to cut the tip off the bullet, drill out the hollow point more, and score the inside of the hollow point, to insure opening at low enough velocity.

    What I want the blank dies for is to make a .375 dia hole with a shoulder on the inside to stop a nose forming insert, that I can use to score the hollow point with.

    I will do the machining of this part on my own (unless Lee does that also) but would like to have a blank die already threaded like a std die so I can adjust in in the press.

    I would like the blank to NOT be hardened either, not yet.

    Can you guys do this?"
    While all the oil may be in Texas, ALL the dipstics are in "DC, and Sacramento"

  5. #5
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    Re: Home made swaging dies, an idea

    Start with a 7/8ths - 14 allen bolt (case hard) cut it to length for your resizing press. Drill to 1/64th under .375 ream with .379 custom reamer lube your bullets well. They should size at .377 after a pass through in your new die. To get what you want you should start with an unhardened die at .375 and expand until you have the right size. This will cost a little more but should be worth it in the end. If you have access to a lathe and a boring bar it will be easier to make.

    The die should start with a gradual taper to help the resizing process. I made a similar resizing die to remake 150gn spitzer bullets for 8mm to use in .308 cal guns, I had bought 10,000 at $1 a thousand. My die made to resize to .308 exact made the jacketed lead core bullets with one pass .309 they worked in old Springfield 30-03 bbls I had bought $2 each (.309) for rblding well used German surplus 98 Mauser rifles to .308 Win, I also bought for $3 each.

    I still believe the bullets you want to make can be had by making a .375 cast bullet mold reaming the first part to .375 and inserting a piece of .375 dia copper tubing and pouring it full of non lead solder.
    God Bless Our Troops -- Retired Tool & Die Maker -- The center of an Aspirin is the same size as the center of the moon, aim for the center.

  6. #6
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    Re: Home made swaging dies, an idea

    Swany
    The last part of your comment is true, sort of. I could make those type of bullets, and they MIGHT do what I need, but I do not think so. The reason is twofold. First, the solder is VERY hard one formed into a bullet. I know cause I made some in my .458 molds, and set them on a concrete floor and hammered them to see how much they deformed. It took some seriously hard whacks with a framing hammer to bend the nose even, and I am not sure it would comply with the fish and game rules of an "expanding" bullet, and that is the main purpose.

    Those came out pretty light for caliber as well, don't remember the weight, now, but they were low. I have also tried bizmuth, it's very comparable to lead, weight wise, but is very brittle. I haven't yet tried mixing the bizmuth with the solder (mostly zinc) to see if it would be workable. If that were the case, one MIGHT be able to just use them as cast.

    Second, the above post wasn't so much as sizing this particular bullet but it was to score the inside of the hollow point to insure a rapid expansion. I have shot some samples of the hollowed out TSX's into water, and dirt, and the only thing that happened was a bent nose, zero expansion.

    I do appreciate the K.I.S.S. suggestion though.
    While all the oil may be in Texas, ALL the dipstics are in "DC, and Sacramento"

  7. #7
    Army Veteran 67-69 Korea Administrator
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    Re: Home made swaging dies, an idea

    Think I would buy a cheap set of .223 dies and cut off the upper portion of a seater and see what that will do when passed through it. The seater is a little larger than the sizer and may give you the dimensions you want.
    God Bless Our Troops -- Retired Tool & Die Maker -- The center of an Aspirin is the same size as the center of the moon, aim for the center.

  8. #8
    Marlin Marksman
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    Re: Home made swaging dies, an idea

    I suppose to that end, I could make a cerosoft mold of the set of 223 dies I already have and see what it's innards look like....hmmmm
    While all the oil may be in Texas, ALL the dipstics are in "DC, and Sacramento"

  9. #9
    Army Veteran 67-69 Korea Administrator
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    Re: Home made swaging dies, an idea

    That would be a good first step on your research.
    God Bless Our Troops -- Retired Tool & Die Maker -- The center of an Aspirin is the same size as the center of the moon, aim for the center.

  10. #10
    Marlin Marksman
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    Swany,
    I have been re-reading your previous post, and I cannot quite grasp what you're saying. Let me try to say what I "think" you're saying. This sounds like you're describing a complete pass through die, correct? If so, I had a different idea in mind, it may not be a better idea, but a different path towards the same goal.

    I have posted some updates in the Barnes TSX thread, but in a nutshell, I bought some 7/8 x 14 thread rod and cut a piece 2.7" from it. I have center drilled it with a 3/16" hole completely through, and a 3/8" drill to 1 3/4". The 3/8" drilled hole came out at .360" and my next size bit comes in at .380", which is too large. I have looked at reamers, but am balking at the $30-60 range for them.

    Maybe when I get through choking I will buy one, but I need to make sure it is the correct one, especially at those prices.

    Here's a pic of the die so far.

    diepic4.jpg

    I will need the reamer, I think, to make the shoulder inside the die, then I can work on the nose forming portion of the die.
    While all the oil may be in Texas, ALL the dipstics are in "DC, and Sacramento"


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