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Home > Small Arms Ammunition > Projectiles > Other Jacket-forming Technology > Machinery

The most pervasive press for bullet assembly is the transfer press, which contains a shuttle device that can shift the parts sideways from one station to the next. This type of press is common to many industries that form metal parts in stages. Because the transfer press has many parts that move, it offers options for powering accessory units for special operations, such as adding a cannelure.

Bullet assembly can also be performed on a dial or rotary press. In contrast to the transfer press, parts are moved in a dial rotating on a horizontal plane.

The stages of bullet forming are similar, regardless of the press employed, and are as follows:

Soft point boattail bullet

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  • A drawn jacket that is ready for the press has a rounded bottom (closed end); this assists feeding into the press.
  • The jacket is fed into the press.
    • If the bullet is to be a military FMJ with a sharp point, the point is coined in one or two stations before core insertion.
    • If the bullet is a boattail sporting bullet, the tapered heel is formed by coining at this point.
  • A tamping operation compresses the lead core into the jacket to eliminate any voids between the lead and the jacket. This also holds the core in the jacket so it will not move during subsequent operations.

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