Watch: How is 22 Rimfire Ammo Made?

All of this lead will be consumed by the factory in one day.

All of this lead will be consumed by the factory in one day.

I really enjoyed this video, which shows us how CCI 22 rimfire ammo is made in CCI’s factory.

To begin, circles are punched out of sheet brass and cold-formed into small brass cups. Then to relieve the stress of the cold forming process, they are annealed. After a wash and dry, a drawing process reduces diameter and increases length.

The cup on the left is formed in the first step. The one on the right is ready to go into the header.

The cup on the left is formed in the first step. The one on the right is ready to go into the header.

Next comes another wash & dry before hitting the header. The header is so named because it forms the case head — the part with the rim. It also adds the head stamp, which in this case is the C for CCI.

A surprisingly non-automated step comes next, in which the brass cases are placed into plates so they can be primed.

In rimfire ammo, priming compound is placed into the inside of the case head and made to flow into the rim from the inside. Then a firing pin strike can pinch the brass rim to ignite the priming mix and thus ignite the powder charge.

After priming, the case is of course charged with powder and a bullet is seated into it. Next comes the crimp, which tightens the case mouth so that it will hold onto the bullet properly. After that, the ammo can be sorted into trays and the bullets waxed, then it’s boxed (and presumably sent to Wal-Mart where one person will buy it all and cram it into a dank corner of his basement until the world ends).

Lead billets ready to be turned into bullets.

Lead billets ready to be turned into bullets.

Next, we see how they make their bullets. The amount of lead the factory consumes in a day is tremendous, and the process of turning it into bullets is interesting. It’s molten and cast into large cylindrical six-inch-diameter 300-pound billets, which are then shoved through a press to form wire, which is then cut into slugs.

Reduced to small-diameter lead wire, the lead is then cut into slugs.

Reduced to small-diameter lead wire, the lead is then cut into slugs.

Each slug can then be formed into an actual bullet.

A slug next to a formed bullet.

A slug next to a formed bullet.

Bullets are then coated with black lead or plated with copper before being loaded into ammo.

I like it.

Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started… [Learn More]


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