After reading about this setup on Rimfire Central in the past, and then getting input from Gerry on it, I decided to get one. Mind you, if I’d had any idea of the complications and extra expenses that would crop up in the trip to Tacoma, I wouldn’t have.
Hindsight is wonderful, isn’t it?
Anyway, with the delay involved in them being pretty much made as ordered, I ordered it well before that mess, and got it well after. So:
This device can be used with .22LR cartridges(there is a version for .22 Short) to true-up bullets that are out-of-round, it can upset them to fit the chamber cut in the body to give an exact diameter, and it can either create or enlarge an already-existing hollowpoint in the bullet. This particular one is a standard, one side is cut for .223” and the other for .224”.
Comes with three punches:
the first produces a wide, dished nose on the bullet(‘cupped point’).
The second will either create a hollowpoint or widen and deepen an existing one(‘Nastinose’).
The third, used after the wide, produces a deep hollowpoint with a post in the center; looks a lot like a Federal Hydra-Shok bullet(‘Scorp’n’).*
Thinking about it, I saw a box of newer Eley match ammo a while back, and their 'new' bullet design looked a lot like this, just with a very short post in the center of a flat nose. Hmmm.....
Process is simple: to just true bullets that may be out-of-round, insert them into the appropriate chamber; if thumb pressure won’t get it in all the way, set the base on an appropriate surface(wood or plastic, NOT metal) and press the die down, or give it a light tap with a rawhide or plastic mallet. To upset the bullet to fit the chamber(and hopefully your bore) take the wide, round punch, insert in the die and give it a tap or two; doesn’t take much. It will give the nose a dished-in shape as it upsets the bullet to fit. To create or enlarge an existing hollow, take the pointed punch and tap it. For the post, use the cupped-point punch first, then the Scorp’n.
Here’s four Federal 36-grain bulk-pack HP bullets, using he Nastinose to slightly deepen & enlarge the hollow, greatly enlarge and deepen, the cupped-point to widen it ‘WAY out, and the Scorp’n alone.
The parts are well-made and nicely finished, each end of the die is stamped with the size it’s chambered for.
It’s easy to use. One concern I've read is the idea of whacking on the bullet of a rimfire cartridge is nervous-making, and I understand why. But, each end of the die is cut in so that when you have it flat on the surface and the cartridge base is flat, there's no contact between die and rim; so long as you have the suitable surface with NOTHING protruding it shouldn't be a problem. Also, you don't have to take big swings, just light taps will do it. And use a rawhide or plastic mallet; a metal one will ding up the punch heads in short order.
One thing that surprised me(probably shouldn’t have) was the amount of variation in roundness and/or diameter in stuff out of one box. A few slipped into the .223 chamber with virtually no pressure, a few required setting the base on my plastic piece and pushing(a few pushing fairly hard), and various in-between. Most of the Champion ammo fitted snugly**, a few downright tight; most of the plated stuff snug, a couple pretty tight and a couple just dropped in. As I have time(and get over the whatever I seem to have picked up) I’m going to get five or ten of every brand and type .22lr I have and try them for size, just to get an idea of variations.
And I’m going to need a lot more milk jugs. I was already collecting them for some other ammo testing, now I’m going to need a bunch just for the .22s I’m going to run through this. For instance, in my last testing I found the Federal bulk-pack HP penetrated two full jugs and stuck in the 2x4 across the back of the box; I want to try the same ammo/rifle combo with the enlarged HP, the dished nose and the Skorp’n nose and see if they penetrate less and expand more. Also want to try a couple of other brands, see how well dishing/HPointing and Skorp’ning the bullets changes their reaction. For accuracy, I’m going to take a scoped rifle and a solid rest and shoot groups with ammo in original state and modified to see if/what change in groups. Which is going to involve running some into the .223 side and another set into the .224. Oh, the drudgery...
I ran some of these two types through the .223 side and tried them for chambering in my K-22 and AR15-22; slipped right in. In the instructions he does note that in some firearms expanding the bullet can cause it to get quite tight, enough so that you should not use try to force them in; any that are too tight, get rid of.
The accuracy testing will have to wait 'till I can get to the outdoor range; the expansion/penetration until I get get to another spot where nobody minds you blowing up jugs as long as you clean up afterward. Ah well, I'll have time to get the ammo ready. And get more jugs.
Oh, if you look over his site, you'll see he makes a number of tools for working with ammo. I also have to note he doesn't answer e-mails about orders. Mine, at least.
*The stuff in the pictures is Federal Champion for the lead and Federal 36-grain HP bulk-pack for the plated; no particular reason, they were handiest when I started fooling with this.
**In the past I’ve gotten quite good accuracy from the Champion ammo; apparently it tends toward the slightly-large diameter.