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> Pro-Swage Die> Pro-Swage Kit > RFJM Jacket Maker > How to Swage 224 Bullets

Make FREE 224 or 243 Bullets!

224 Bullets Made from Fired 22 Cases A special kit to make FREE 22 caliber centerfire bullets using recycled materials (fired 22 cases and range lead or soft lead wheel weights) is available from Corbin Manufacturing. The kit includes: Rimfire Jacket-Maker, to turn fired .22 LR cases into excellent .705-inch length (standard commercial) bullet jackets, Core Mould to form .185-diameter lead cores of any (adjustable) weight four at a time, Core Seat Die to press the cores into the jackets and form a concentric, tight assembly of the two, Point Form Die to finish the bullet by forming a 6-caliber spitzer radius ogive, Corbin Swage Lube, and the Corbin Handbook of Bullet Swaging on CD-ROM, with full instructions and illustrations. (Click for price list)

The kit makes it possible to produce high quality jacketed .223/.224 caliber bullets in the range of 50 to 80 grains. The .22 LR cases make their best bullets in the 52-60 grain range. The same dies can be used with regular commercial bullet jackets. An extra core seating punch is provided for use with the commercial jackets. Open tip, lead tip, and full metal jacket styles can all be made with the set.

For additional weight control, the optional CSW-1-R core swage die can be ordered, which bleeds off surplus lead from the lead cores, leaving a fixed volume of lead on each stroke. The weight can be set by you by the position of the die in the press head. BSD-224R and RFJM-22R jacket maker die

Use any sturdy reloading press that accepts 7/8-14 threaded dies and has a t-slot ram that takes standard RCBS type button shell holders with the Corbin KIT-224R or KIT-243R. Progressive style presses, turrets and other special designs that do not accept a standard RCBS type button shell holder are not suitable. A kit can also be made for any of Corbin's own swaging presses. Usually these would include a core swage die. The FJFB-3-S die set, plus the RFJM-22S jacket maker, lead wire, core cutter, and swage lube would be the same components as this kit. You can substitute the CM-4 core mould in .185 diameter for the lead wire (LW-10) and core cutter (PCS-1).

Lead Tip info For a higher quality lead tip, an optional LT-1-R 224 6-S lead tip forming die can be ordered. This reshapes the somewhat blunted lead tip into a spitzer shape for a more professional appearance. You can make lead tips by putting more lead core into the same length of jacket, so that the lead extrudes from the end of the jacket when you form the ogive. The tip will be somewhat flattened when the bullet is ejected, but it will shoot accurately. However, to make it more commercially acceptable and improve the BC somewhat, the LT-1-R die will gently reshape the lead with very light pressure required. To make a lead tip with less weight, put one of the 3/16-inch diameter "bullet balls" into the jacket first, with a lighter core on top.

Questions About Rimfire Jacket Bullets

  • Are rimfire jackets hard on the barrel?
    Rimfire jackets are only about .010-.012 inches thick, made of 70% copper and 30% zinc. Most commercial jackets are around .018-.022 inches thick, and are made of 5% to 10% zinc with the balance copper. These two facts lower the friction of the rimfire jacket, so that it is actually easier on the barrel than a commercial jacket. Zinc lowers the co-efficient of friction, and the thin jacket engraves easier by the rifling. (Higher copper content alloys do not break up on impact as much as the rimfire cases, so they make better bullets for edible and dangerous game hunting. Rimfire cases tend to break up when they hit the ground, so they make better varmint bullets with far less richochet potential.)

  • Do rimfire jackets foul the bore?
    Any bullet fouls the bore to some degree. The rimfire jacket generally causes less fouling than commercial jackets, for a couple of reasons. First, it usually has lower surface friction, being thinner and slightly less "gummy" than the softer copper alloy. But it also can't be fired with as high a velocity due to the thinness of the jacket, so it forces the handloader to use less powder, less speed, and therefore causes less fouling than a bullet fired at higher speed.

  • What about the rimfire "dent" from firing?
    Cases which have been fired in certain guns with sharp, square edged firing pins may in fact have an actual tear or hole in the edge. This will become evident when you unfold the rim, in the rimfire jacket maker die. Just toss out any drawn jackets where you can see an actual hole through the brass. Marlin lever action rifles at one time were notorious for their sharp, rectangular firing pin dents. Even a rather severe tear in the case edge won't cause major problems if you make the cases into bullets and shoot them, but they can cause flyers if the tear is right at the edge of the bullet base.

    Most of the rimfire cases will simply be dented at the rim, and the dent is pushed back out again when you seat the lead core in the jacket. Remember, in bullet swaging, you'll be applying up to 30,000 psi inside the jacket as you compress the lead core. That's as much pressure, sometimes more, than the powder generates when you pull the trigger! Primer dents are pushed back out again since it didn't take that much pressure to create them in the first place! You can usually see where the dent was, from the slight discoloration of the surface, but it causes no problem and doesn't affect accuracy.

  • Are rimfire jacket bullets accurate?
    Rimfire cases themselves are surprisingly consistent within a given brand. Benchrest matches have been won using sorted Eley 22 LR case jackets in a .222 rifle. The least accuracy would be from assorted brands used to make bullets fired into one group. Even so, a gun that can hold a half minute of angle would usually group about the same as it would with a group fired using assorted commercial jackets. If you sort the headstamps and use the same brand, the groups will usually be comparable to any commercial bullet in the same gun, once you work up the best load for that bullet. The answer to the question would be the same as if asked "Are Sierra bullets accurate?" or "Are Hornady bullets accurate?" Sure, but you have to work up the best load for each in any given gun, and some guns may perform slightly better with one brand than another. The short answer is "Yes! Surprisingly accurate."

  • Are there any restrictions on using rimfire jacket bullets?
    Yes, there are. Because the jackets are thin, the velocity should be reduced to prevent bullet disintegration in flight. Start loading below 3000 fps, and work up until your bullets start to create one or two flyers out of a group of five shots, then back down until you get the tight groups back. Some guns will handle higher velocity than others with the thin jackets. A general rule of thumb is that the limit in a 1-10 barrel twist is somewhere around 3,200 fps, but many shooters have reported good results at higher velocity. The jackets are thin so the bullets open up quickly or blow up on impact, making great varmint bullets but poor edible game bullets. Of course, because they are thin, they act as if they impact at 4,000 fps even when the speed is only 3,200 fps, saving powder and barrels in the process!

  • What do I need to use my own single-station, RCBS-slotted ram 7/8-14 press?
    The KIT-224R has everything you need except for your press, your supply of empty cases, and your supply of soft scrap lead. Here is what the kit includes:

    1. RFJM-22R Rimfire Jacket Maker die and punch to unfold the 22 LR heads and make jackets.
    2. CM-4a 4-cavity, adjustable weight core mold in .185-diameter, to make lead cores.
    3. CS-1-R Core Seating die, to seat the lead core into the jacket and expand the jacket.
    4. PF-1-R Point Forming die, to finish the bullet and put the ogive on the jacket.
    5. CSL-2 Swage Lube, to extend die life and reduce friction during swaging.
    6. HB-9E Handbook of Swaging, on CD-ROM, plus written instructions

    Armed with this kit, you can make free .224 bullets (which means, any modern centerfire .22 from a .218 Bee to a .225 Winchester, including the .223, 5.7mm, 5.56mm, .219 Zipper, .220 Swift, .221 Fireball, .222 Remington, and so forth... most .22 centerfires use .224 inch bullets no matter what they are called).

    The weight range with fired 22 LR cases is from about 40 grains (using a Corbin bullet ball to take up space inside the jacket) to about 60 grains (using a lead tip). The open tip, conventional design of bullet without exposed lead would range from about 52 to 55 grains, adjustable by you simply by using more or less length of core lead in the same jacket.

  • Do I need a LT-1-R Lead Tip die, or the CSW-1-R Core Swage Die?
    If you wish to make a more precise weight than you can cast (or cut from lead wire, if you should choose that option), then you can add the optional CSW-1-R Core Swage. This lets you further refine the precision of the core weight by setting a fixed volume of core and bleeding off any surplus weight over that desired volume. A hole through the external punch extrudes the surplus lead, which you can then snip off the core with a pen knife or a small clipper, removing the variations in volume and weight with it.

    If you wish to make a factory-finished lead tip on your bullet, rather than having the .081-inch diameter flat tip caused by the ejection pin (which pushes the bullet out of the point forming die), you can get the LT-1-R lead tip forming die. After making a lead tip bullet (simply by using more lead than fits into the jacket), you then gently push the bullet into the LT-1-R die to "clean up", smooth and sharpen the tip so it is uniform and looks like it came from a factory.

    Do you "need" these accessories? Well, that's up to you. You can make good bullets without them, but you can make better bullets with them. Actually, if you want to make the best possible bullets, you should consider the CSP-1 S-press and the FJFB-3-S 3-die set which fits into it, giving you self ejection of the bullets on the down stroke, eliminating about 2/3 of the time involved in handling the bullets and ejecting them from the -R type dies.

    The -S type dies fit into the ram of the CSP-1 press, so the internal punch is operated when you stroke the ram up and down. You would not need to pick up a mallet and use a knock-out rod or catch the bullet as it falls from the die, since the die faces upward. It is a big step up in production speed, ease of use, and of course the alignment of the hand-built swaging press is usually far better than a mass-produced reloading press. The only drawback is the higher cost. However, you can make a good bullet either way.

  • Can I use lead wire, or commercial jackets?
    Yes, just add LW-10 .185 lead wire and the PCS-1 .185 core cutter. This would give you the speed and safety of cutting lead wire instead of melting lead, but the CM-4a core mold included in the kit gives you a backup, should you run out of lead wire or should it be hard to find (Corbin keeps it in stock but it is good to be prepared for any event).

    Commercial bullet jackets can also be used, but you would need to get a core seating punch which is a proper fit into the particular jacket, at whatever length of core you wish to use. Commercial jackets typically are tapered in wall thickness. They get thicker toward the base. So for the core seating external punch to be a good fit for your desired core weight, the punch has to be sized so it seals pressure inside the jacket you use, at the point where your core will be seated.

    Corbin provides commercial 224 jackets of high quality, and can provide a standard punch to fit them at the more commonly used length of core. Just order the jacket and a PUNCH-R 224 CS EXTERNAL OT for J-22-705 jacket. We'll know exactly what you need from that. If you get your jackets elsewhere, we will need a couple of samples and a sample length of core to fit them, in the weight you plan to use. Then we can make a punch to fit properly for that jacket and core length. Everything else remains the same in the kit. Only the diameter of the core seating punch is changed (by providing another, optional punch).

How to Swage .224 Bullets

  • Cut or Cast the lead core

    • With LW-10 Lead Wire and PCS-1 Core cutter, cut the lead to length (weight)...OR...
    • With CM-4a Core Mold and scrap lead, melt the lead and cast 4 adjustable weight cores per pour.

  • (Optional) Swage the Lead Core

    • With the optional CSW-1-R die, swage the core to exact weight, bleeding off surplus material.
    • Swaging the core is optional, since you can cut or cast to reasonably close weight for normal use.

  • Prepare the jacket

    • If using a fired .22 LR case, push it through the jacket maker to unfold the rim.
    • Anneal the jacket by heating it with a hand torch or running it through a self clean cycle in an electric oven.

  • Seat the core

    • Clean the lubricant from the core and place it into the jacket.
    • Swage the core and jacket in the CS-1-R core seating die.
    • For open tip bullets, seat the core 1/8-inch or more below the jacket length.
    • For lead tip bullets, seat the core just below or slightly longer than the jacket length.
    • In a rimfire case jacket, the length is about 0.705 inches, which makes 50-60 grain open tip bullets.

  • Form the ogive

    • Place lubricated jacket and core in the PF-1-R point form die.
    • Gently press the bullet to form the nose (ogive)
    • If the lead extends beyond the jacket, it will be slightly flattened at the tip by ejection pin.

  • (Optional) Shape a lead tip

    • First, the core must extend slightly beyond the jacket (more lead than an open tip).
    • Reshape the protruding lead tip by gently pushing the bullet into the LT-1-R die.


Corbin Manufacturing & Supply, Inc.
PO Box 2659
White City, OR 97503 USA

Phone 9am-5pm Mon-Thurs: 541-826-5211
Fax 24-hrs: 541-826-8669
Website: http://www.swage.com
E-mail: sales@corbins.com

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