Swaging 223 Bullets from 22LR Brass with a Blackmon Swaging System – Chapter 3 – Seating Cores

Swaging 223 Bullets from 22LR Brass with a Blackmon Swaging System – Chapter 3 – Seating Cores

In chapter two of this series, we made some 45gr cores using pure lead and the Blackmon core swaging die.  In chapter three, we’re going to seat the cores in preparation for point forming.

Preparing Cores & Jackets

In order for our cores to seat and bond well with the jackets we made in chapter 1, both components need to be perfectly clean, and degreased.

Beginning with the jackets, we’ll once again load them up into our rotary case tumbler with some dish detergent and citric acid powder, and leave them to tumble for a couple hours.  As you’ll see in the video above, this second cleaning has not only restored their original color, but it’s left them dazzlingly bright.  These things are absolutely spotless, which is essential if they’re going to bond well to our cores.

Next we’ll address the cores.  The challenge here is removing the swage lube we used to produce them.  For this we’ll use an old crock-pot on high heat, filled with distilled water, and some citric acid powder.  The hot water causes the swage lube to melt off and float to the surface, while the citric acid serves to degrease and etch the cores.  This increases their porosity, so they’ll bond better to the jackets.

With the prep work finished, it’s time to start seating cores using the core seating die set.


Once again this consists of three components including a punch, die and ejector.  Essentially, a core is dropped into a jacket, which in turn enters the die and is forced against the punch.  The buildup of pressure further compresses, and swages the core into the bottom of the jacket where it expands to .224 inches, filling out any remaining imperfections, and forming a tight bond.  Installation, again, is very simple.  The die and ejector are threaded into the ram, while the punch is slotted into the tool head and secured in place with the retention nut.


Now we simply grab a core, drop it into a jacket with a bit of swage lube on the outside, and place it part way into the die.  Lowering the press handle seats the core in the jacket by swaging it against the punch.  It usually takes a few tries to get everything dialed in right, as you want to start with low pressure to avoid damaging anything.  Then it’s just a simple matter of increasing the punch depth until the core is secure and the diameter is coming out at 224.  Once it’s set up properly, we can really start cranking these out.

Weighing Cores

With the cores seated, it’s now time to weigh them.  As you’ll recall from our previous chapters in this series, the goal was to form a 55gr bullet.  Using a standard reloading scale, we’ll test a handful of seated cores.  As you’ll see in the video above, we’re pretty well right on the money with these.

In our next chapter, we’ll take these seated cores and begin swaging them into completed bullets using the Blackmon point-forming die set.

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