View Full Version : Making cans forming dies

02-22-2009, 08:39 PM
I just finished rebarreling a Marlin 336 to 219 Zipper. I have a few rounds of brass but want to form more from 30-30.

I have a set of reloading dies, but apparently will need two rough forming dies to resize. Can anyone give me any ideas of about how much I can draw at a time, or a source of drawings for making dies.

Guess you can't edit the title, it should be case forming dies.

02-22-2009, 09:29 PM
Sorry Jim, can't help you with the forming dies, but your title gave me flashbacks!:eek:

Bob Ford
02-22-2009, 11:37 PM
Set the cases in a pan of water just shy of the shoulder. Turn the neck red and tip into the water. Make a rod to go into the case to support the neck when sized down. You will need two or three sizes. Make them a loose fit. If you are lucky size to .25 then .219. Re anneal after going to .25. Most likely you will have to size to about 7mm then .25, 6 mm, and then .219. It you soften the shoulder too much you get collapsed cases. If the necks are too hard you get split necks. If you are making the dies the shoulder needs to be tapered and smooth. After they are sized to .219 be sure to turn or ream the necks as they will likely be thick.


02-23-2009, 07:16 AM
Sorry Jim, can't help you with the forming dies, but your title gave me flashbacks!:eek:
Yeah, I used to work in a cannery. Maybe it was a flashback for me too. I blame it on the computer. It changes what I type a lot.

Thanks for the reply Bob. I am familiar with most of the procedures of case forming for minor changes and have the Handloaders Manual of Cartridge Conversions. The manual is kind of dim on forming with dies and just says to use dies #1 & #2. I really don't want to spend the $250 for a set of dies when I can make them.

The case is different in just about all dimensions, body taper and shoulder angle as well as neck diameter, so I might need three dies.

Bob Ford
02-23-2009, 07:52 AM

If you have the chambering reamer for .219. Use it to make the dies. 12L14 would be a good choice as it is easy to work and can be case hardened. Make die blanks ream with the chambering reamer then bore or ream the neck area to the larger sizes. Fill the inside of the die with case hardening compound and harden the inside. They should make at least 400 good cases before failure.

I like to play with smaller cases for SS rifles that I make. Hornet, Bee. and 30-30 cases. I am currently building a .458X2" on a modified FM2. Want to experiment with paper patch and zinc base bullets, but doubt it will get fired a lot. Arthritis makes heavy recoil unpleasent.


02-23-2009, 08:12 AM
Bob, thanks. I do have a set of chambering reamers, so that makes that easier.

I am a single shot fan too, but am unfamiliar with the FM2. Is that an action? As I get older, I find the smaller calibers more attractive.

Bob Ford
02-23-2009, 08:32 AM

Frank and Mark de Haas Mr Single shots Book of Rifle Plans.

I did not like their rear lever that works the action. Made mine a to open from the front. Did not like mounting scope on barrel. Made a scope mount that fits on top of action. It is a fun taking the rifles to a range as all the experts/ know it all's have never seen one. They are always trying to figure out what action you modified. Not that you took a block of steel and made it. It is a relatively easy action to make and is very strong.


02-23-2009, 09:59 AM
Bob, the FM2 was familiar, but just did not register. I do have the book, of course, but spend more time looking at the Chicopee variations. Do you have any photos, I would be interested to see how you do the front opening.

I am kind of torn between making one of them or buying a semi finished FBW sort of clone a friend makes for my next project. I'm considering something in 32-20 in a sporter weight.

Bob Ford
02-23-2009, 10:29 AM
Have pictures, but have not set up photo acct. PM me.

I too am going to make a Chicopee Likely hornet or 32-20 size case.

As a experiment made a Fm2 basic action out of 1018 no heat treat. used a 30-30 case full of Bullseye and a 200 gr bullet. Did not break the action. This has to be done in a containment chamber just in case things go bad.

02-23-2009, 08:18 PM
I have a set of form dies for my 25-35 Ackley. They take the 30-30 neck to about .285 on the first die and then to final size on next die. I would think to make 219 from 30-30, the first die would take the case to 219 dimensions, but with a 30 cal. neck, susequent dies would then reduce the neck to proper size, then a trim die to bring to final length. Least that's the way I would do it.

03-01-2009, 10:32 AM
The 256 Win Mag is a good small round formed from the 357 Mag case. It never achieved much of a following. I guess I march to a different drummer because I liked the 22 Rem Jet also. The little Marlin mod 62 lever action rifle in 256 with the barrell shortened made an excellent truck gun. (Similar to the old 25/20) RCBS makes forming dies for both the 256 and the Jet that work great. A combination scope mount bedding block attached to the barrell with the action free floated works well for the Mod 62. This action barrell connection is a tight cylinder pined in place.

03-01-2009, 11:06 AM
With thanks to Bob and others, I have made a couple of blank dies. I have some once fired 30-30 brass coming, and when that arrives, I will finish the dies. I have a couple of ideas, but don't want to wear out my chambering reamers unnecessarily.

I became interested in the 219 Zipper several years ago when I picked up the set of reamers with a bunch of stuff at an auction. It is a good round that did not fare too well because it was intended for a lever action rifle, and the necessary round nose bullet did not posess the ballistics of other 22's. I had been looking for a good candidate for a single shot to build for it, but that never occurred.

Last year I picked up a beater post 64 Winchester 94, and made a poor man's Model 64 out of it, but my eyes need a scope. A couple of weeks ago, I found a Western Field 30-30 at Cabela's for a very good price and have redone that in 219 Zipper as well. Now I need more than the 20 rounds I currently have squirrelled away.

03-15-2009, 01:47 PM
I finally got my bag of 30-30 brass the other day and got some shop time yesterday. I made two dies as Bob suggested using the chambering reamers.

For the #1 die, I opened up the neck with a 9/32" drill. This proved too small, and I reamed it with a #7 taper pin reamer a couple of times until it gave acceptable results. The #2 die, I drilled with a letter F drill and that works OK. Final pass is with factory full length die.

It takes a little experimenting with annealing, and I have to make two passes with the #1 die, first pass about 1/4" high, re-anneal and then full length size, but all in all they work well.

I still have to polish and harden the dies and make a trim die, but thanks to Bob's advice, the hard part is done.


Bob Ford
03-15-2009, 05:18 PM

From the look of your dies and cases, I think you have done well. It is a little tricky to harden dies from the inside out. On my next set of dies have been thinking of trying Electro less Nickel. Hard thin even coat. Should work for short runs that most of us would do.


03-15-2009, 05:38 PM
Was discussing making dies with a machinist/engineer friend of mine. He's done it by making the die blank and chambering it with a standard chambering reamer, then making a tight fitting sleeve for the die. Fit the sleeve over the unhardened die and pack charcoal harden it. When the die hits the water, it will cool internally faster than the outside in it's sleeve, and should shrink enough to act as a full length sizing die. Clean up any hardening residue and polish the interior.

Another way would be to have the interior electroless nickle plated by a shop that can regulate thickness of plating. Make enough smaller (.0015" to .002"?) than the chamber to account for brass springback.

Montezuma, IA