Copyright 2010 - Stephen Redgwell
|Some of Steve's Custom Bullets
In the late 1990s, I started buying equipment to make my own bullets. My intentions were innocent enough; I wanted
to produce bullets to feed my Lee Enfield rifles. The plan evolved, and I added .224, 6mm, and .308 dies.
offer 303 bullets seasonally for a few years, but for some reason there wasn’t much interest. The weak Canadian dollar
was a big factor. It certainly didn't help that importing bullet jackets and bullet making equipment from the US was expensive.
After a while I stopped, concentrating on my own needs again.
|66 grain Coyote Match made from Berger J4 bullet jackets
For the past
ten years, I’ve also been making .224 bullets for my 222 and 223 Remington rifles. I’ve made them from J4 and
Sierra jackets as well as rimfire cases. I was surprised by the accuracy difference between commercial
factory bullets and the ones made in my workshop. There was no doubt that the jackets made the difference. Their uniformity, combined
with the attention to detail when making small batches in my workshop were huge factors.
While most shooters are familiar
with the world record setting J4 competition or Sierra bullet jackets, fewer know about bullet jackets made from rimfire cases.
The idea is fairly old - both Speer and Hornady bullet companies got their start by producing .224 bullets formed from
expended RF cases. This was around World War Two, when almost all of the metal went to supply the military. Using spent RF
cases kept many hunters shooting.
Fast forward to today. The idea of using jackets made from RF cases is still
a smart idea. What’s old is new again. In test after test, they were found to
be at least as accurate as any commercial bullet. Scott Mayer of Shooting Times recently made and tested
these special bullets and accuracy was excellent.
|65 grain Custom Gold Coyote
I call the bullets made from
22RF cases Custom Gold Coyotes. They were made to be used on coyotes, but work well on other varmints too.
There are several reasons why shooting bullets made from RF cases is a good idea. The first is that they are custom
made, which means more attention to detail.
The second is they are made of recycled metal. I use RF cases
collected from an indoor range and re-work them into high quality jackets. That’s no idle brag.
RF cases are 0.010 to 0.012 inches thick for the entire length of their body. They form thin skinned varmint
bullets that open up quite handily. Combine their heavy weight (65 grains) with a thin jacket and you have
a bullet that penetrates and mushrooms well on coyotes, groundhogs or anything else that gets in their way.
third is the material itself. 22RF ammunition has been made for well over 100 years. The
cases are extremely consistent and the bottom line is the jackets are uniform. Uniformity means accurate, repeatable performance.
really made these for my 223 rifle that has a 1 in 9 barrel twist. Velocities have to be held to 3200 fps
or less, but that’s not a problem with this cartridge. You can’t safely push the 65 grain bullet that fast anyway.
I start by sorting all the cases according to headstamp to ensure a consistent weight and to optimize
performance. Then they are cleaned twice - once before the rims are unfolded and once after, using a vibratory cleaning system.
Next, the cores are inserted, the tips formed and checked. They get a final cleaning to remove the
bullet lube before going into the box.
Making your own
bullets ensures a constant supply and lowers the cost per round of your reloaded ammunition. Take a few minutes to search
the web for bullet making equipment and techniques. It's a great hobby and can save you a few bucks at the same time!
|52 Grain Varmint Match