How to Make .224 Diameter Bullets From .22 LR Brass
Last Updated :: 6/20/2010 11:00:29 PM EDT
How to Make .224 Diameter Bullets From .22 LR Brass

Originally posted in General Discussion by Fat_McNasty

I will leave this article available without photos for those that want to read through the process. AeroE

OK collect some 22 lr cases. Cull out all of the squished ones. Take and throw into a large pot. Add water, a cup of vinegar and a table spoon of dish soap. Boil about 20 mins. Remove, rinse with clean water. Return to pot and reboil again with clean water only. After 10 mins of that strain and place on a towel to dry.

Now that they are clean. We need to now anneal the brass to make it easier to work with. So place all the empties on a large cookie sheet, One case deep. Put this in the oven and set it to self clean. 2-4 hrs later there done.

Next sort out to same brands and styles.

You should have something that looks like this.

Now to get something that we can make a bullet out of. We need to get the rim off the case. So to press #1

Press one has a punch that is a little undersized for the case this gets press into a die that is a little larger than the OD of the case.
Close up...

This process rolls the rim off the case. It will be referred to as a jacket from now on..

Next step is to cut the cores. We use a spool of lead wire. This runs into the core cutter. Make sure that you make the cores 3 Grs heaver than needed. I'm making 60 gr bullets here.

Next we have to squish the cores to the proper weight. This is press #2

Cores are inserted into the die and pressed to the proper weight. There are vent holes in the bottom of the die. To allow the extra lead to extrude out. The next two pics shows the process.

Once swagged the cores are re-weighed and checked.

Cores and jackets are cleaned/degreased and assembled.

The dies and pinches are changed to a core seating configuration. The jacket and core are dropped into the die and with light pressure on the handle smashed into a core/jacket slug. The diameter is now .223.

After all the cores are seated. You change over to a tipping die. This die is ground with the Ogive in it. I'm using a 6s. The core/jacket combo is placed into the die face down and pressed again with light pressure. You can set the width of the opening by how far you press the bullet in. The smallest tip size I can do this this die is .075. It also expands the bullet to its .224 dia.

We re-weigh the bullets after point forming. This one is 60.1 gr on average if you keep the steps clean and your mind on business you can keep it to a +- .1 gr. For comparison a box of nosler Ballistic tips can be +- .3 grns.

Here is a shot of the whole procedure. From start to Finish.

OK I know your thinking WOW!! How much! A press runs you about $250 and 3 dies for one caliber is about $450. Lead wire is ~$22 for 10lbs.

Price list

CSP1- S press

RFJM-22S –––––– Rimfire jacket maker, 22LR to 224
LTFB-4-S –––––– Flat base lead tip or open tip die set
CSL-2 ––––––––- Corbin Swage Lube, 2-oz .....You can use STP lube here if you want
PCS-1 ––––––––- Precision core cutter, choose size
LW-10 ––––––––- Pure Lead Wire, 70,000 gr. spools

If you want to use your own reloading press,

KIT-224R –––––– Make free .224 bullets from fired .22 cases
CSL-2 ––––––––- Corbin Swage Lube, 2-oz .....You can use STP lube here if you want
PCS-1 ––––––––- Precision core cutter, choose size
LW-10 ––––––––- Pure Lead Wire, 70,000 gr. spools

Thank you Fat_McNasty for the informative post.

All pictures have been backed up via photobucket. If the URL's die please IM me (Fister) and I can update.


UtahShotgunner: Does the process leave the headstamp on the 'jacket'?

Ofreenbean: The headstamp is still there after swaging, though usually somewhat fainter. The firing pin dent is still visible, too, though it is mostly ironed out during core seating and point forming.


first off... how accurate are the bullets, are their any problems with them when fired?
2ed, from my figuring it will take 12000 rounds for it to pay itself off, tho after that you will have bullets for half price, thats also assuming that you pay for the .22 shells. other then that it sounds like a good deal.

also care to point out what LTFB-4-S consists of? its almost $600 so I assume Its quite important..

Ofreenbean: The bullets can be capable of sub-MOA accuracy. The only trouble you are likely to run into is if you over-drive them, especially in fast twist barrels. .223 velocities are about perfect for these. Too fast and they can come apart on the way to the target. I've never had one come apart, even in a 220 Swift, but I held the velocities down in the Swift.

The LTFB-4-S refers to the 4 die set. It includes the core swage die, core seating die, point forming die, and the lead tip die, with all the necessary punches.

Fat_McNasty: Yup they are very accurate I was plesently suprized. Accoding to Dave Corbin and other places I have read. at 3500 fps and faster is when they start blowing up. I have made some 45gr 6mm bullets with the 22 casings. and out of my 6mm-284 I can get them to blowup every time. but im pushing 4000+ FPS. the 4 die set is everything you need to start. Sans press/core cutting tool/jacket swager tool.
As for the .22 shells.. there free! just collect them from your local range!


what size lead wire????
can I cut corners on cost with any items McMAster Carr sells?––-I get their shit for free from work––-don't know if they sell any presses or anything that woould work

pogo: 0.187 lead wire.

If you buy commercial jackets, try #9 shot compressed into a core. Now THAT is explosive action.

Fat_McNasty: Or powdered copper with a lead tip..

can a RCBS reloading press be used? At first I thought this was some BS post then read it and am very interested.


Ofreenbean: Yes. I started out using a Rockchucker way back when. The dedicated swage press is better for speed, plus you can't swage cores for consistent weight with the reloading press dies. But they work. I probably made a couple thousand bullets with the reloading press set up before buying the swage press and dies.


I'm not sure what "stinger" is? Are you referring to the CCI stinger 22LR rounds? Aren't they the same length as std 22LR cases? If that's not what you're referring to, what are stingers?

pogo: The stinger case is about 1/16" - 1/8" longer than a standard .22 lr case. They are also thinner, so you would ideally have a little larger diameter derimming post than for std. brass.

Being thinner, they also can't be driven as fast as standard .22lr jackets.

I did not have much luck with stinger jackets for accuracy, never investigated why.


How much work is this really to make 5000 rds a year? I really like the idea of making my own anything but the money it cost plus it looks like it take a long time. Also how about the cheaper company listed above?

Thanks, Ghilly

Ofreenbean: All I can say is that it is a fair amount of work. In spite of what Dave Corbin says, swaging jacketed bullets is more time consuming than casting. But even back when .224 bullets were a lot cheaper than they are now, it seemed worthwhile to me. Now over 20 years later, with the equipment having paid for itself many times over, and the price of factory bullets steadily climbing, it seems more worthwhile than ever. The payoff is better than the same time spent watching TV or surfing the net.

That seems to be a very fair post about the work involved. Now what are some of the shortcuts on the big dollar equipment vs. the saving labor/time? There is a second company listed that sells the same type of gear for seemingly much less on some items. Are they of decent quality and can you mix some of each company to get a cheaper set up with quality output? If not then I will probably tool up for the better stuff.

Thanks, Ghilly

Ofreenbean: Sorry, I don't any experience with the second company. I am not positive, but I think it is run by Dave Corbin's brother Richard.



I emailed the other company about making .224 bullets from .22LR cases. The reply is below.

"If you wanted to use a reloading press I have dies for that. The loading press die set has two dies in it and costs $175.00. In addition to the dies you would need a core cutter and lead wire or you can use one of the core moulds to cast the cores. If you have pure lead available and have casting equipment casting the cores would be less expensive than wire. But wire is always ready to use and usually is more consistent than casting.

The rimfire jacket maker is $60.00. It unfolds the case rim and sizes it making the case into a jacket. Bullets made with RF jackets usually shoot quite well but the jacket is very thin so the bullets tend to be "explosive" on impact and can not handle velocities over 3,000 fps.

The RockChucker is probably the better press to use for swaging.

I have more information on reloading press swages as well as info on swaging presses and their special dies on my web site, The site is still being worked on with new data being added but most of the info is there now.

Richard Corbin"

Dies = $175
Rimfire jacket maker = $60
Mini core cutter = $35
25# pure lead wire = $54
16 oz. bullet makers lube = $20
Total = $344, plus shipping

Current Midway prices for similar bullets with similar price:
Hornady Bullets 22 Caliber (224 Diameter) 55 Grain Spire Point with Cannelure Box of 6000, $399.99
Hornady Bullets 22 Caliber (224 Diameter) 55 Grain Full Metal Jacket Boat Tail Box of 6000, $349.99
Hornady Bullets 22 Caliber (224 Diameter) 55 Grain Spire Point with Cannelure Box of 4000 Free Freight, $293.99

It seems that it will pay for itself over time, just like reloading. I'd have fun shooting the bullets I make.