What do I need?
Typical Starting Package
- For calibers .102 to .458-in, up to 1.3-in long
You can swage a lead or jacketed bullet in the range of . 102 to .458 diameter, in any of the standard nose (ogive) shapes such as 1-E, 3/4-E, 6-S or ULD (see design page) with the CSP-1 press and type -S dies. You can order custom diameters and nose shapes, rebated boattails, and lead tips with the options listed. Powder metal bullets can also be formed by the addition of the proper powder handling accessories, discussed on the powder metals page.
If the bullet you want to make is in the above caliber range, not over 1.3 inches long, and uses a malleable material that forms with the same pressure as soft lead (Bhn 5-6) then the -S dies are what you want to examine. The number and kind of -S dies you want will depend on the shapes and styles you wish to swage. See die instructions to understand the purpose and use of the different swage dies.
- For calibers .458 to 1-in. or longer than 1.3 inches
To swage longer or heavier or larger diameter bullets than will work with the S-press and -S type dies, you will need to select either the CSP-2 Mega Mite hand press or the CHP-1 Hydro Press. These presses can also make the same bullets as the ones built by the S-press and dies, if you use the appropriate -H dies.
The decision of whether to use the large hand press, or the Hydro-Press, depends on details of the bullet and jacket. If you want to make long, heavy and pointed bullets such as the 50 BMG, using copper tubing for jackets, the Hydro Press is a better choice. It takes the work out of swaging. It is not a fully automated production system, which runs without operator attention, but a well-engineered manually fed press which, when set for a given stroke, pressure, and dwell time, can be used by anyone to produce the same high quality results as would be obtained by an expert bullet maker. The Hydro-Press uses sensors, transducers, and precision electronics to repeat each stroke exactly the same way, and to consistently duplicate the procedure as if an expert were operating it. Yet the actual operator only needs to drop a part into the die and press large, clearly marked buttons. All the skill is in setting up the press, rather than running it.
Some operations are not practical for the hand press, such as punching and drawing copper strip that is thicker than about .030 inches or wider than about 1.25 inches, or extruding practical lengths of lead wire. These are simple tasks for the Hydro-Press. Very long, pointed bullets are much easier to form in the Hydro-Press because you have full power anywhere in the stroke, and the stroke itself can be defined by user-set stop and start (and loading position) points anywhere in a 6-inch range. A hand press only has maximum power at the end of the stroke, and the start and stop points are fixed by the mechanical design.
- Production speed and ease of use
There is no question that the Hydro-Press is the winning choice. People who have injuries or disabilities that would prevent the use of a hand press for production work can drop parts into the die and press the buttons on the power press with ease. The fact that the stroke can be defined for the purpose and instantly changed for another job, with full power anywhere within the six-inch travel range, and the precision timing, adjustable force, and precisely set pressure levels all combine to make the Hydro-Press the choice of most custom bullet firms, research labs and military development facilities.
However, the CSP-2 Mega Mite press is a good stepping stone and starting point IF you might consider stepping up to the Hydro-Press at some later time, but want to get started with the same kind of dies now. Using the hand press (CSP-2) means you can simply screw the -H type dies and punches into the Hydro-Press later. If you were to start with the CSP-1 S-press, which uses -S dies, you would need to duplicate them in -H type to move up to the larger presses later. (It is, of course, handy to have more than one press and die on hand for the same job, since you can set up a sort of mini-production line, doing easy or low pressure steps in the smaller press and performing the steps that take more effort in the power press.)
- CSP-1 S-Press, Swaging and Benchrest Reloading Press
This is the world's most popular swaging press, much faster and easier to operate than a reloading press for forming bullets. Mount directly to your bench top, or get the self-supporting floor stand for more storage and a little easier operation. Roller bearings, steel construction, hard-chromed ram, precision beyond anything you've seen on a dealer's shelf! Prices
- FJFB-3-S Three-die swaging set, jacketed and lead, open tip or FMJ.
We just need to know the caliber, weight range you would like, and the ogive shape (standard spitzer rifle bullets are 6-S or, for long range target shooting, the ULD or Ultra Low Drag nose; standard big bore .44-45 rifle is 1-E ogive, and standard handgun calibers are either the TC (truncated conical) or the 3/4-E ogive. Other shapes are available with a modest tooling/setup cost. Unusual or non-standard diameters are additional, as are calibers below .224 diameter such as the .172, .19, .142, and .204 (5mm). FJFB-3-S Prices
- CSL-2 Corbin Swage Lube, 2-oz.
The standard of the industry for nearly 30 years, also an excellent case sizing lube. Swage Lube doesn't diesel like regular petroleum based sizing lubes, and it has a far higher film strength under pressure. Prices
- LW-10 Lead Wire, 70000 grain spool in appropriate size.
Pure lead wire is more dense, swages easier, and yields a higher BC bullet. Available in all the appropriate sizes for .14 to .512 caliber (although above .458 you will need to switch to the larger -H dies and Mega Mite or larger presses). Prices
- PCS-1 Precision Core Cutter, for above wire.
Cut lead wire quickly to preset lengths, accurately adjustable, and then swage it to exact weight and size in the first die of the 3-die set. Cutter uses interchangeable, hardened die inserts for long life and closer cutting. Prices
Select the appropriate length and caliber of bullet jacket, and add this to the order. If the caliber you want to make, or the length of jacket, is not available from standard supplies, then you may wish to choose one of these other methods of getting the desired length and/or caliber:
- Draw down an existing larger caliber (add JRD-1-S jacket drawing die)
- Trim the above, or any existing longer jacket, to length (add ET-2-S trim die)
- Make the jacket from copper tubing (add CTJM-1-S tubing jacket maker)
- Make the jacket from flat copper strip (add JMK-1-S jacket maker)
If you have any questions about the size of wire or best way to obtain jackets, contact us and we'll work out the best solution to make your desired bullet.
You may wish to add certain accessory items. Some of the most popular are:
- CSP-A Arbor Press Anvils for the S-Press, triple the uses! Hardened, flat faced inserts screw into the punch holder and ram, converting your press to a high precision, high power general purpose arbor style press. Set sights, press bearings and bushings, set rivets, test lead hardness with the ball/comparison Bhn test, etc.
- HCT-1 Hand Cannelure Tool, puts a factory cannelure on jacketed bullets. Adjustable position and depth .050 serrated cannelure grooves makes your jacketed bullets look just like the factory, but the cannelure can be anywhere you want it. Prices
- RBT-2-S Rebated Boattail Add-on Set.
Adds the capability of making low drag, high precision RBT bases as well as flat base bullets. The RBT set consists of a BT-1-S 8-deg combined core seating and boattail preforming die, a BT-2-S w/standard 8-deg rebated boattail finishing die which acts as a second core seating operation, and a PUNCH-S PF EXT RBT external (top) punch that matches the RBT base shape and is used to push the bullet into the point forming and lead tip forming dies instead of the usual flat punch. When forming RBT bullets, set aside the normal flat base core seating die (CS-1-S) and use these two boattail "core seaters/base formers" instead. The pressure of the lead shapes the flat jacket base into the boattail form and creates the sharp gas sealing edge that gives the RBT such an advantage over factory boattails. Custom length, angle, rebate can also be made (custom price). Prices
- LT-1-S Lead Tip Shaping Die.
Adds the ability to make sharp or radius lead tips without the flat created by the point form die's ejection pin. Usually not required for round nose or flat nose bullets, this die is essential for high quality spitzer or semi-spitzer lead tip finishing. It is used after forming the ogive, by using a little extra lead so there is a tiny "blob" of deformed lead extruded from the jacket tip after point forming. The extra lead is then reshaped into smooth tip by gently pushing it into the LT die. The internal punch is a match to the ogive shape you want, with just a slightly larger included angle so the punch cavity presses harder on the very end of the tip rather than impressing its edge into the jacket. A custom version with special punch to help close open tip bullets for a smaller hole can be ordered. Custom diameters and shapes are also available (additional cost). Prices