How are they made? (Briefly)
The bullet cores start as coils of lead wire. I cut the wire into smaller pieces
and squeeze them into perfect little cylinders, so that they will fit inside the bullet jackets.
I process fired 22 rimfire cases into jackets in stages. First, I sort the cases by
headstamp, and clean them ultrasonically. Next, I unfold the rims and heat treat the jackets. Then, I tumble them
in a bath with stainless steel pins to remove the crust that forms on the outside of the case during heat treatment.
The stainless steel pins also remove any remaining powder residue from inside and give the jackets a dull shine. In
the pictures above, you can see the processed rimfire cases with lead cores inserted (on left), but not pressed into the jackets.
On the right, a core about to be pressed into a jacket using a bullet press.
To make bullets, you squish little lead cylinders into bullet jackets, form a point, clean
up and finish the tips. Whether it's done on big, industrial presses like the ones used by Sierra or Nosler, or a small operation
like mine, the same steps have to be performed. In my shop, I use three presses and other equipment to make bullets.
In addition to the presses, I have several core cutters
- to cut the coils of wire into smaller pieces; two ultrasonic cleaners - to remove dirt and grit from the cases; two tumblers
- to buff the finished bullets; two electronic scales - to verify the weights; a small pneumatic press, and a pile of hand