Monday, January 19, 2015

Bumping up jacketed bullets: or : The 9mm gains girth

I am mostly a cast boolit (bullet) kind of guy but sometimes jacketed bullets are needed or desired or are simply all you have on hand. In looking for versatility out of a gun (recently the .38 special/.357 magnum) In a pinch 9mm diameter bullets could possibly be loaded in .38/357 but accuracy would most likely suffer if left at their present diameter. This would be a sort of last ditch method to procure jacketed bullets if all other solutions have been exhausted. Access to a lathe could make a simple set of swage dies for a reloading press that could allow one to bump up the size of the bullets to proper jacketed diameter as well as change the nose shape.  Which could tailor the bullet to the intended use, one example could be to made a die and punch set that would give 9mm 124gr FMJ's a deep hollow point decreasing the likelihood they would over penetrate game or other predators. A letter drill bit size "T" has the happy coincidence of being exactly .357 diameter and could be used to make the die body.  If a reloading press is not a ready option (such as for people reloading with a lee loader kit or a small hand press) A thick plate of steel and a top and bottom punch used with a arbor press or even a hammer could be used to bump up the bullets in size.

I have a small box of range pick up 9mm jacketed bullets I have slowly pulled down over the years, people are always dropping bullets in the snow and rain or simply eject duds and I happily pick them up as there are always ways to recycle such things. Powder however is always disposed of as it is unsafe to try to identify and reuse such pulled down powder in such tiny lots. Just as an experiment I took a small sampling of bullets and ran them through my .357 single step swage dies pictured below are the resulting mostly formed SWC .357 bullets, all 124gr in weight. These could be loaded in .38 or .357 easily from here and sent happily down range. As with most things this novel concept is not is simply not practiced often.

9mm bullets bumped up to .357 in a single swage die, not perfect but they should fly just fine.

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