John Cranwell Drops Into Berger Bullets in L.A. For A Visit
On the 26th August my wife Julie and I had the great pleasure of visiting Berger Bullets in Los Angeles California.
After putting on our Visitor ID cards we were met by Eric Stecker who gave us a comprehensive tour of the production facility, and explained each process in great detail.
The key to the bullet making process is the jacket. Berger gets its jacket material in different sized coils to suit each particular caliber.
They have several machines forming the copper strip into jackets. The tolerances here are very tight, and each batch of jackets is constantly checked to ensure it is perfect.
BERGER JACKET FORMING PRESS
(That's Eric Stecker in Berger Bullet orange)
Berger is moving towards having a dedicated machine for each main caliber to reduce set ups and enable increased production.
After the jackets are formed, they are thoughly cleaned of lubricant residue and dried.
The next process is to form the lead cores. The lead Berger uses for its cores is all 0.5 % antimony to enable it to be worked.
It is supplied in different diameter wires to suit the particular caliber; any wire that isn’t exactly within spec is rejected.
LEAD SWAGING PRESS
It is formed into lead pellets, by a two stage swaging process that ‘bleeds’ off a small amount of lead each punch to ensure all the pellets are identical.
These pellets are then thoughly washed and dried, otherwise they won’t bond properly with the jackets.
After this process the lead cores are joined with their corresponding jackets, and the all-important ogive is formed.
BULLET COMPONENTS, CORES BEING JOINED WITH JACKETS AND OGIVES SHAPED
Up until 2000, this process was all done by hand on RCBS Rockchuckers, A2 and Ammo Master presses, but is now done by air operated toggle presses.
These however are about to replaced by new machines that Berger has been developing. As Eric said, “This new machine is the future”. Berger makes all the specialist ogive dies for these presses in house with an EDM process, very impressive!
EDM ELECTRODE USED TO MAKE OGIVE DIES
Once the finished projectiles are completed they are once again thoroughly cleaned and dried, and then polished in an agitator with stainless media.
BERGER BULLETS BEING POLISHED IN STAINLESS STEEL MEDIA
After this they are dried again and packed ready for dispatch.
BULLETS DRYING, LOTS OF 7MM VLD 180 GRAINERS
(John Cranwell with Eric)
ERIC ENSURES CONSISTENT QUALITY IS MAINTAINED
BERGER'S HAPPY TEAM PACKING & LABELLING
ERIC AMONGST PLENTY OF STOCK AWAITING SHIPPING
We were very impressed by the quality and care that is taken during the whole process.
I would like to thank Eric and all the team at Berger bullets for making my wife and I so welcome.
John Cranwell reporting for safclass.com.au
Very well documented John, thanks for taking the time to make this available as an article for us all to read. Lets hope Eric sends plenty of these bullets downunder as we seem to be always running short!