Metal fabrication of any kind usually involves the pouring of metal into a mold or sending metal through a press or extruder to get a specific product. Bullets are no exception to the process--they are either made with a steel casing or a brass casing while the actual projectile portion can be made of almost any durable metal. If you have ever wondered how steel bullets are made in a metal fabrication plant, like Moorhead Machinery & Boiler Co., then the following article will help you get a clearer picture.
Modern Bullet Molds
Back when bullets were musket balls, they were handmade by pouring molten metal into a slotted, handheld tool. Today, modern bullets are manufactured en masse by pouring molten metal into sheet molds, or molds that have scores of holes to fill and are processed quickly through a conveyor line. This is especially true of rifle shot, which resembles very tiny musket balls and has to be molded perfectly in order to exit the gun and make a kill in the expected fashion.
Pouring and Cooling the Bullets or Shot
When steel is used to make bullets or rifle shot, it has to be poured into molds and cooled quickly. Shortly after a manufacturer pours the molten steel into the molds, it is sent through a cold water bath, much like a blacksmith does with horseshoes. If the shot or bullets are a little rough (i.e., they have extra bits of steel still attached to them), then they are run through a sanding and polishing machine before being inspected and passed onto the casing and gun powder packing departments.
Fitting the Shot or Bullets to Cases
This step may or may not be completed in the same factory that produces the actual bullets and shot. If complete bullets and shot cartridges are made in one location, then the bullets have to be fitted with previously made cases and cartridges. Another area of the factory handles the plastic cartridges and another pours and constructs the metal casings, or jackets. Gun powder is then poured, very carefully, into the empty casings and cartridges. The shot is poured into the cartridges right on top of the gun powder, while steel bullets are fitted to the top of the casings/jackets, above the gun powder chambers. Each type of bullet cartridge or casing is then crimped tightly to keep the ammunition in place. All the ammunition is then boxed with bullets of the same size and type and shipped to consumers.