November 4th, 2018

Hornady Video Shows How Ammunition is Made

Hornady Manufacturing

Hornady ManufacturingIf you wonder how ammo is made, starting with raw metal, check out this video from Hornady. It shows how bullet jackets are formed from copper, followed by insertion of a lead core. The jacket is then closed up over the core with the bullet taking its final shape in a die (a cannelure is applied on some bullet types). Next the video shows how cartridge brass is formed, starting with small cups of brass. The last part of the video shows how cases are primed and filled with powder, and how bullets are seated into the cases, using an automated process on a giant assembly-line. CLICK Link below to watch video:

Ammo to Be Produced in New Hornady Factory
Hornady recently opened a new, state-of-the-art 150,000-sq-ft Hornady West Facility, featured in the video below. This will handle ammunition production and product distribution — Hornady produces millions of rounds annually. Hornady cartridge brass and bullets will continue to be produced at Hornady’s 100,000+ square foot factory in Grand Island, Nebraska, The Grand Island factory is open for tours Monday through Thursday. Hornady Manufacturing was founded by Joyce Hornady in 1949, so next year (2019) marks the company’s 70th anniversary. The business is currently run by his son Steve Hornady who took over after his father’s death in a plane crash in 1981.

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June 26th, 2018

Sierra Secrets — How MatchKings Are Made

Sierra Bullets Carroll Pilant MatchKing Bullet SMK Bullet-making Jacket

The Making of MatchKings — How Sierra Produces SMKs
All Sierra bullets begin life as a strip of gilding metal, an alloy consisting of 95% copper and 5% zinc. To meet Sierra’s strict quality requirements, the gilding metal requires three times more dimensional and quality control standards than is considered standard in the copper manufacturing industry.

A blanking press stamps out a uniform disc and forms the cup that will be drawn into the MatchKing jacket. The cup is then polished and sent to a draw press to be drawn into a jacket that is longer than needed for the future MatchKing, thus allowing for the trim process. Press operators constantly check concentricity to make sure we have only quality jackets. The jackets then go to a trimmer where they are visually inspected again.

Sierra Bullets Carroll Pilant MatchKing Bullet SMK Bullet-making Jacket

After being polished a second time, the jacket travels to the bullet press. In the meantime, 80-pound lead billets are being extruded into lead wire for the cores where great care is taken so that the core wire is not stretched. The core wire is lightly oiled before continuing to the bullet press to be swaged.

The lead core wire and trimmed jacket meet at the bullet press where the first stage forms a boattail on the jacket. The lead core is then formed on top of the bullet press and fed down into the jacket. In one stroke of the press, the MatchKing is formed.

Sierra Bullets Carroll Pilant MatchKing Bullet SMK Bullet-making Jacket

Quality control technicians pull samples from each lot of MatchKings to make sure they meet Sierra’s stringent standards. Samples are then sent to Sierra’s 300-meter underground test range (shown below) to be shot for accuracy on mechanical mounts referred to as “unrestricted return to battery rests” that Sierra designed and built in-house.

Sierra Underground Tunnel test facility Sedalia, Missouri

Sierra bullet sale Clarus Corporation

After inspection, the bullets are placed in the familiar green box along with reloading labels. They are then shrink-wrapped and shipped all over the world.

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June 8th, 2014

Clay Spencer Sells Bullet-Making Business To Vapor Trail Bullets

Vapor Trail Bullets Clay SpencerAlong with his gunsmithing and barrel-making enterprises, Clay Spencer of Spencer Rifle Barrels operated a very successful bullet-making business. Clay’s bullets are in high demand by top competitors. Clay has made a variety of bullet types, from a 52gr .22 caliber up to a 118gr .30 caliber, with four different 6mm bullet types (65gr, 68gr, 95gr VLD, 103gr VLD). All his designs have proven themselves in competition. In particular, the 103-grainer has won many matches and set a few world records in the process.

If you have ever shot Spencer bullets you know how good they are. Unfortunately, the era of Spencer-branded bullets is coming to a close. Clay has decided to sell his bullet-making operation. The good news for shooters is that Clay’s bullet-making expertise will be passed on to a new owner/operator, Tom Jacobs, who will employ Clay’s bullet dies and presses to carry on the tradition of Spencer bullets. Clay’s bullet designs will now be produced in Missouri by Vapor Trail Bullets. Here’s the official announcement:

Vapor Trail Bullets is pleased to announce the acquisition of Spencer Bullets. Clay Spencer, long known for his world record-setting, hand-made bullets, has sold his bullet-making equipment and personally trained Vapor Trail Bullets owner Tom Jacobs in the manner and methods to continue this successful tradition. The bullet making operation has been moved to Spickard, Missouri. Vapor Trail Bullets looks to expand the product line while continuing to produce the bullets Clay Spencer is known for. For bullet orders please contact Tom Jacobs at 660-748-8111.

How Custom Bullets Are Made on Hand Presses
If you’ve ever wondered how custom, match-grade bullets are made, here are images of bullets being made in Clay Spencer’s shop. The images show bullet cores being seated and bullets being “pointed up”. These same presses (modified RCBS Rockchuckers), dies, and other tools have been moved to Missouri to be used by Vapor Trail Bullets.

Vapor Trail Bullets Clay Spencer

Vapor Trail Bullets Clay Spencer

Vapor Trail Bullets Clay Spencer

Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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June 17th, 2010

Videos Show How Loaded Cartridges and Bullets Are Crafted

Hand-loaders know how to assemble bullet, brass, powder and primer into a loaded cartridge. But have you ever wondered how brass cartridge cases are formed, or how bullets are made, starting with raw materials? Federal Ammunition (a division of ATK) has created an interesting video that shows how factory-loaded ammo is created, from start to finish. The video shows how cartridge brass is cupped, drawn, sized, annealed, then finished-formed. In addition, you can see how bullets are formed then inserted in cartridges with automated machinery. This is a fascinating video, worth watching.

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Bullet-Making Process at the Sierra Bullets Plant
A second video, produced for the Discovery Channel’s How Stuff Works TV show, illustrates how bullets are made at the Sierra Bullets plant. Watch 80-lb billets of lead being drawn into wire to be used as bullet cores. Then see how copper jackets are formed, lubed, sized and combined with bullet cores to create the finished product — precision bullets for hunters and match shooters.

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Thanks to German Salazar for finding these two videos.

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April 16th, 2010

Berger Bullets Video Update — 6mm, 25 Cal, and 7mm Bullets

Berger Bullets has just released a video report from Eric Stecker, Berger’s “master bulletsmith”. In this video update, Eric explains why Berger’s popular 6mm, 25 cal, and 7mm bullets are in short supply. Eric reports that production delays were caused by mechanical problems with the jacket-making presses. The good news is that the jacket presses have now been fixed (this required a complete rebuild of the 7mm press), so production should be back on schedule very soon. You’ll find more current news and match reports on Berger’s new Facebook Page.

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Berger also announced that, in order to better respond to customer inquiries, Berger has added a new representative to the customer service staff, Teresa Collins. You can contact Teresa by phone at 714-447-5456 or send email to: teresa.collins [at] bergerbullets.com.

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