Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Junkyard bullets go on a diet: Or : The short and sweet of making your own

Its not like I've been avoiding the thought that one day I would need to start swagging lighter .224" bullets. Its just that I was avoiding the fact I would never find a vast source of .22 short brass to easily convert to short jackets. My frequent "want to buy" signs at gun shows and pleads for .22 short brass to use as jackets have remained unanswered for two years now. I finally realized that I was not going to get any help on this and with the addition of a 1:12 twist single shot .223 rifle that keyholed 61gr bullets the issue was kind of forced. I wanted to make this rifle SHOOT and after looking at reloading manuals at  just how fast I could shove a 35gr bullet out of a .223 I thought to myself "could be fun". For those of you who do not have a manual close at hand we're talking speeds of 3700-4100 fps. This is well over the speed I've been told these "junkyard" bullets would shoot at and stay together. For my "test of theory" I quickly made a trim jig to cut down my homemade jackets to around .450" using a 3/4" X 3/4" X 6" pine block with a hole drilled in it and a roll pin shoved in as a depth stop, allowing a nail to be used to eject the jackets after they were cut I was on my way to cut up some jackets. For this first batch I trimmed 10 jackets and scrounged some lead wire to swage into cores. My first mistake in making the cores was realizing the jackets were now lighter, my first 4 bullets turned out to be super light 32gr bullets these would for sure clock around 4000 fps......the next 5 bullets were 35gr and I junked one bullet when just messing around, we swagged it backwards to see what kind of nose would form and the shape it would take.

I shot these test bullets with WC-844 weighed at 26gr for use in aforementioned .223 Remington Handi Rifle. I got a few on paper even though it was in the single digits out at the range, wind was blowing and the snow drift between me and the targets came up to my knees. The few that finally printed on the edge of the paper gave me great hope in pursuing these. This is the first taste of  lighter bullets being made in the dies I have on hand. The next step is to build a improved cutting jig (another post in it of itself) and perhaps the making of a 4s Ogive (more appropriate bullet nose shape for lighter bullets) swage die. My goal is to get good accuracy with these "free bullets" out of my .223 as well as my Hornet Calibers . So here is the little teaser picture of the tiny 32 and 35 grain bullets that I'm sure flew into little bits of shrapnel as they hit the frozen backstop, the fact I used # 7 1/2 bird shot to make up the weight in the 35gr bullets didn't help I'm sure. Notice the large hollow point in these guys, a ballistic tip I'm sure would aid their BC greatly. Anybody know where I can get a bunch of Ski plugs?