Cast versus Swaged Bullet Process

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Cast versus Swaged Bullet Process

Post by Gary Wells on 5/12/2017, 5:54 pm

In general, what are the differences between cast versus swaged bullets?
If everything else, does swaged always out perform cast?

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Re: Cast versus Swaged Bullet Process

Post by 243winxb on 5/12/2017, 6:23 pm

Cast- harder with air bubbles. With the right alloy, good for magnum loadings in 357 and 44 . 

Swaged- soft, for light target loads. In general, more accurate than cast.
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Re: Cast versus Swaged Bullet Process

Post by SteveT on 5/13/2017, 12:43 pm

Swaging from industrial lead wire is a more repeatable process with fewer opportunities for inconsistency than casting, but good cast bullet process can create good bullets.

Good casting alloy is fairly hard, so it is better for higher velocity and higher pressure rounds. 

It is possible to swage hard lead, but swaging systems you can buy are intended for soft, nearly pure lead. If you want really light puff-ball loads you might have trouble getting harder bullets to obturate and might get more leading than from a softer bullet.

For most of us good quality cast bullets are plenty good enough, even at 50 yards. Good quality swaged bullets might be a bit better. If you really want the best accuracy at 50 yards you probably want a good quality jacketed bullet.


Last edited by SteveT on 5/14/2017, 10:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Cast versus Swaged Bullet Process

Post by Gary Wells on 5/13/2017, 5:24 pm

Many thanks for the info.

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Re: Cast versus Swaged Bullet Process

Post by noylj on 5/14/2017, 11:21 pm

Swaged--today, most are 95/5, 94/6, or 92/6/2 alloy, so they are NOT SOFT, like old wives keep saying. Today's swaged bullets can perform quite well, up to very hot .38 Super loads based on my experience. Main "problem" is the lube. Some are coated and can be pushed very hard and some only have a thin wax emulsion coating and can't be pushed quite as hard, but they all will handle .45 Auto, 9x19, and other standard handgun cartridges. 
They are made by being swaged in a die, so there are no air holes and weight and dimensions are as good as jacketed (which are made the same way, just with a outer copper layer).
Cast are made by pouring molten lead into a cavity and freezing as it cools. They will have air voids and they will range in weight; but, out to 50 yards, it really doesn't matter.
However, I find the best accuracy in .45 is with swaged bullets and the ONLY accuracy I get in .38 Spl is with swaged wadcutters (cast wadcutters, even from an H&G mold, have been worthless to me).

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Re: Cast versus Swaged Bullet Process

Post by 243winxb on 5/15/2017, 7:18 am

 analyzed for metal content and had the following metal content:

____ metal wt. %______________________________________ Copper 0.038 Arsenic 0.16 Antimony 3.0 Tin 0.25 Zinc 0.0001 Cadmium 0.0001 Nickel <.0001 Bismuth 0.018 Silver 0.0038 Tellurium 0.0015 Sulfur 0.0005 Iron <.0001 Lead Balance__        https://www.google.com/patents/US5464487?dq=inassignee:%22Bull-X,+Inc.%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjBv4CZ8PHTAhVG6yYKHfuKAGwQ6AEIJjAA

Yes, any alloy could be used for the above swagged bullet.   
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Re: Cast versus Swaged Bullet Process

Post by SteveT on 5/15/2017, 9:43 am

noylj wrote:Swaged--today, most are 95/5, 94/6, or 92/6/2 alloy, so they are NOT SOFT, like old wives keep saying.

I don't have a hardness tester, but my thumb nail can press an indentation into Zero swaged bullets. I can't make a mark on cast bullets from SNS or Quality Cast.

Corbin doesn't make a blanket statement but as a general rule recommends BHN no more than 10 for their low end hand press dies that soemone from this forum would most likely start with. They recommend no more than 20 for their dedicated swaging press and -s dies and you need the hydraulic press and dies to swage harder lead.
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