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Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Shade, Nov 8, 2011.
Has anyone here ever machined their own bullets?
jacketed bullets arent machined they are swaged under pressure. plain lead bullets are poured into molds.
here is a good explanation of the proccess:
Making Your Own Copper Jacketed
For some experimental loads that were non lead- yes. Turned some copper, phosphor bronze, and aluminum. If you are looking at a lead bullet, lead simply does not machine worth spit, it is too soft. You melt it and cast it.
We enlisted the help of a machinist that knew HOW to turn those metals on a lathe. The tool, the angle of the tool, shape of the cutting tip, speeds, etc all need to be appropriate to the metal you are turning. The hardness of the metal will influence the finished diameter, and how well it will obturate in the bore.
PS- you would not BELIEVE the velocity you can put on a 45 grain aluminum .357, but getting them to stabilize is another matter entirely.
The .408 was milled.
Not what I was asking.
Not lead. I already cast my own bullets and slugs. That I understand.
I also have 20 years experience in machining and manufacturing.
Copper alloys for starters, UNS C36000 which is a free cutting brass. I will
do the prototyping on my lathe at home I have a shooting buddies that will
do "production" at his shop, he has 2 Bar fed Mori Seiki lathes and a robotic
fed Mori for doing the secondary operations, the boattail in the back. If he
had sub-spindles on the lathes we could do it in one set up but a $40,000
option is not in the equation. Once we have the basics down we have
ideas to develop designs that incorporate multiple metals for several
I am looking at Von Kármán ogive or Sears-Haack profile for nose geometry
I have experience with the Von Kármán ogive from High Power Rocketry, but
not the Sears-Haack profile also looking at various methods to have the
rifling engage the bullet but minimizing turbulence after leaving the barrel.
There is not alot of published data on high performance machined projectiles.
Guessing everyone is keeping their secrets to themselves.
Do you have any data you could share?
Phosphor bronze sounds interesting.
I think I could.
Shade, sorry, do not have data can share- HOWEVER- do be very careful here. US law (and I am NOT a lawyer- just want to avoid NEEDING a lawyer) may define an armor piercing bullet based on the makeup of the bullet- and while POSSESSION by a private citizen is not a problem under Federal law, the MANUFACTURE is regulated, licensed, and taxed.
Many of those were were trying would be illegal under current law if we had been private citizens then. Sounds like you have the machining covered, get the legalities covered, and then start looking at differences in weight and rate of twist.
C3 thanks for the feedback, I do appreciate the warning.
Actually I looked into the legallities of "Specialty Projecties" and as long as
they do not explode (BATFE gets involved then) the manufacturing is not
regulated however the sale of them is regulated. I have no intention of ever
selling these. Just like alcohol, you can make all you want but you do not
break the law until you sell it.
And I did not say anything about armor piercing. Actually our first project
is some high performance hunting bullets. They would not do well against
steel at all.
It depends on the caliber of the bullets. A .308 diameter boat tail siolit brass or bronze bullet is classified as Armor Piercing, but legal as it is a RIFLE bullet.
A solid copper/brass/bronze pointed .358 diameter bullet for a .357 magnum IS prohibited under Federal and most State's laws. Making them w/o proper licensure will get you a nice, all expenses paid trip to Leavenworth Kansas for 5+ years.
if i'm understanding shade correctly, i think his objective is to hand make some very accurate bullets. if i remember correctly, correct me if i'm wrong, i read several years ago that some benchrest shooters would turn their own bullets on a lathe to try and make the most accurate bullet possible for their rifles. seems very time consuming, but it was a another area of getting the most from their rifle.
Do you have any references to the Federal or State Regulations?
Banded Solids | Barnes Bullets
Cutting Edge Bullets Welcome
Corbin Bullet Swage Dies
Many BR shooter do manufacture their own bullets, and do not share their
findings openly, hence my question here. I am on the front end of this project
everything I am doing is legal and for my own use.
From 18 USC 921-
(A) The term “ammunition” means ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets, or propellent powder designed for use in any firearm.
(B) The term “armor piercing ammunition” means—
(i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or
(ii) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.
THAT's the part I was concerned about. AP is not by explosives, but by pure kinetic energy.
Not to get of topic.... I have a friend who has a bunch of WWII Armor piercing M2 .30-06... I kinda would like to buy it off him but is is legal to own? (I just want to collect as much crap as I can for the M1 Garand)
Thanks for the reference, but since these will be in rifles I guess I will
be legal... Not that is makes any sense to put it that way...
Section 921 is just the definitions and as you pointed out it specifically
states for handguns.
I am not making AP ammo.
Section 922 spells out what is legal or illegal.
(a) It shall be unlawful—
(7) for any person to manufacture or import armor piercing ammunition, unless—
(A) the manufacture of such ammunition is for the use of the United States, any department or agency of the United States, any State, or any department, agency, or political subdivision of a State;
(B) the manufacture of such ammunition is for the purpose of exportation; or
(C) the manufacture or importation of such ammunition is for the purpose of testing or experimentation and has been authorized by the Attorney General;(8) for any manufacturer or importer to sell or deliver armor piercing ammunition, unless such sale or delivery—
(A) is for the use of the United States, any department or agency of the United States, any State, or any department, agency, or political subdivision of a State;
(B) is for the purpose of exportation; or
(C) is for the purpose of testing or experimentation and has been authorized by the Attorney General; 
Perhaps you missed the part in 921 that "ammunition" includes projectiles.
If you are making rifle ammo, you "should" be OK. Of course that legal advise is worth every penny you paid for it.
M-2 AP (black tip) .30-06 ammo is perfectly legal under US law. Make sure it is legal in your jurisdiction.