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Old February 19, 2013, 01:18 AM   #1
Marco Califo
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Bullets from brass?

I am sure some has thought of and maybe done this:
Can you melt brass, like a hand full of 9mm, and cast them into useable bullets with standard steel molds?
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Old February 19, 2013, 12:22 PM   #2
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NO!

First problem would be that yellow brass melts @ 1710 degrees F. IF you have access to some type of furnace capable of that temp, and well above, then possibly.

Now for the mold. I doubt even an iron or steel mold will withstand those kind of temps. Aluminum most certainly would not, neither would brass molds. The sprue would also be very difficult to cut.

Most brass casting is done in sand molds. They're not very accurate, and finishing would be a requirement.

Most important question is WHY?
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Old February 19, 2013, 01:01 PM   #3
alex0535
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You need a good forge, experience using the forge and the knowledge that comes with melting metals.

You would have more success taking the route of a using a lathe on some brass bar stock and turning bullets out of it.


It is possible to copper plate cast lead bullets. There might be some other way of doing it, but be warned that the method I know of doing it includes the use of a solvent such as acetone, sulfuric acid, and a bath of vinegar and cooper sulphate to run a very low voltage through. The idea is to electroplate lead with copper.

Don't attempt this if you do not know enough about safely working with volatile solvents, strong acids, or electricity. All the reactions are pretty slow, but there are just some people that should be discouraged from playing with battery acid.

Last edited by alex0535; February 19, 2013 at 01:24 PM.
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Old February 19, 2013, 05:15 PM   #4
FrankenMauser
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The best use of cartridge brass for making other projectiles, is as a jacket for swaged bullets.

For handgun projectiles:
-.380 Auto and .223 Rem make great .35 and .38 caliber jackets
-9mm and 9mm Makarov make perfect .40 caliber and decent .41 caliber jackets
-.40 S&W makes great .44 caliber jackets and acceptable .45 caliber jackets
-.45 Auto makes decent .50 caliber jackets
-If you have a supply of fired copper or brass shotgun primers on hand (rare today), they make great .25 caliber jackets


For rifle projectiles:
-.22 (heeled) rimfire makes great .22 through .25 caliber varmint/target jackets
-.22/.17 magnum rimfire make great .24 through .26 caliber varmint/target jackets
-The coming release of .17 WSM will provide a source for good .27 caliber, possibly to .30 caliber, varmint/target jackets
-5.7x28mm FN makes fantastic .30 and .34 (.338) caliber jackets
-.223 Rem makes good .35 caliber, decent .38 caliber, and very tough .30-.34 caliber jackets
-9mm makes extremely tough .30 caliber jackets
-And the list goes on...


Many of those combinations (such as 9mm for .30 caliber jackets) require quite a few dies to draw the case down to the desired size, but some require very little equipment and monetary investment.

Turning 9mm into .40 caliber bullet, for example, can be done in a single operation. CH4D and "BT Sniper" make 'one step' dies that form a lead-core hollow point bullet with a single stroke of the press handle. (Also available for .40 S&W to .44 caliber bullet, or .40 S&W to .45 caliber bullet.)

And, there are some people out there (like myself ) that re-purpose other reloading tools to get the job done "the redneck way".
I swage soft point .44 caliber bullets from .40 S&W cases, using a 7x57mm Mauser sizing die and the bottom punch from a Lee bullet sizer.
You can see/read more here: Something new to play with
I use the bullets in several .44 Mag revolvers, as well as a .444 Marlin rifle.
Performance is equal to any other standard-construction jacketed bullet out there, if not better (the .40 S&W case provides a very tough base).
On page three of that thread, there are close-up images of one I recovered from the neck of an Elk.


Empty brass = bullet jackets
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Old February 19, 2013, 05:59 PM   #5
James K
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IIRC, RCBS got their start making tools to form .22 caliber bullet jackets out of fired .22 LR cases, a fairly common practice in the post WWII period.

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Old February 24, 2013, 07:07 PM   #6
Boomer58cal
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Funny. My Dad told me story of him and grandpa making .22 jackets out of rimfire cases and half jackets for 30-06 and 30-30's out of penny's(when they were copper)in WWII. They would put the penny's on a railroad track to flatten them.
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Old February 24, 2013, 07:24 PM   #7
jaguarxk120
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If you look back into the history of some of our loading tool manufacture's you will find that some started out as bullet swaging die makers. The one that come up front is RCBS (Rock Chuck Bullet Swage).
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Old February 26, 2013, 09:41 PM   #8
ronz
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is it possible to start swagging for a reasonable amount of money
lets say somthing like 224 55g out of 22lr
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Old February 26, 2013, 09:42 PM   #9
Brian Pfleuger
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Bullets from brass?

$1500 would get you started... Maybe $1000
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Old February 26, 2013, 11:56 PM   #10
FrankenMauser
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Dr. Blackmon's equipment is the cheapest to get started with, but there's a minimum 6+ month wait. You'd be into the gear about $750.

BT Sniper (castboolits forum) can get you started for about $875, with a 2-6 month wait (depending on what he has available and what has to be machined, when the order is placed).

Beyond those two options, the cost climbs quickly to $1,200+ for "basic" Corbin dies (RCE or Corbins), or $2,000+ for EDM cut dies (such as Detsch).
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Old February 28, 2013, 11:42 AM   #11
ronz
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its definitely out of my price range
unless run across some at a flee market
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Old February 28, 2013, 03:41 PM   #12
FrankenMauser
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Swaging dies and tools show up at estate sales, on occasion. That's about the only chance you've got at obtaining the stuff at a discount. However... it's likely to be for some oddball bullet, in an odd diameter. (Like a 250 gr semi-elliptical 'spitzer' with body diameter tapering from .329" to .325".)

The general 'used' market for swaging tools sees prices running only about 10-25% below original cost (maybe 40% for low quality items from manufacturers that are no longer in business).
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Old February 28, 2013, 08:04 PM   #13
dahermit
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Quote:
Can you melt brass, like a hand full of 9mm, and cast them into useable bullets with standard steel molds?
Not likely. The steel mold may take the heat, but it would not be practical. The brass has too high of a melting temperature. You would have to wait a long time for the mold to cool before opening it.
Also, you would have to have some kind of crucible to get the brass hot enough to melt. No home casting outfit intended for lead alloys is ever going to get hot enough to do that; you would need something with a blower on it, fire clay, fire brick lined. The only reason we can use lead for casting is because of its low melting point and its high freezing point...they have to be fairly close to one another to be practical for steel/Iron/brass/aluminum mold casting.
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