Describe a SWING-LOCK
SWING-LOCK Operation
Materials and Workmanship
High Performance Smokeless Muzzleloading Rifles
.416 Standard Thumbover
.416 Long Range Thumbover
.416 Long Range Thumbhole
.45/6.5mm Combination Rifle
.45 Standard Thumbover
.45 Light Thumbover
6.5mm Standard Thumbover
.308 Standard Thumbover
.45 Sporter Thumbhole
.45 Ambidextrous Thumbhole
Traditional Style
Adjustable Bullet Sizing Dies
Adjustable Bullet Sizing Dies




US 8,459,163 B1 

A major step forward for Swing-Lock Muzzleloading has been the developement of adjustable bullet resizing dies for sabotless muzzleloader shooting. This developement is important because it addresses and simplifies the requirement for bullets which must fit a rifles bore with very exact precision.

All Swing-Lock sabotless rifles are provided with adjustable bullet sizing dies.

Because these dies are adjustable, they easily compensate for size variations in bullets from different production lots and small size and structural differences between different brands and types of bullets. Something which is important to understand in sabotless application is that a bullet resizing die will not erase or eliminate those differences. For example if the shooter has just obtained a new lot of bullets which is slightly larger in diameter than the previous lot, those bullets will come out of the sizing die slightly larger than the previous bullets and may be too tight for proper loading in the rifle. Typical non-adjustable fixed limit dies are unable to compensate for size variations produced by those same variables and it was very common for the need of more than one die to compensate for differences. With the adjustable die, only one die is needed.

Another important consideration which warrants the need for an adjustable die is how a sabotless bullet fits in the barrels bore after it has been fouled by shooting. Bullets which have been resized to fit in a clean bore will be a much tighter fit after the barrel has been fouled and may be difficult to load. Whether the rifle shoots best fouled or clean, the adjustable die will provide the compensation needed to produce the correct size bullet.

As shown in the pictures below, the new adjustable dies are made to screw into a standard loading press and are easily adjusted through use of an allen wrench. The die as sold is provided with an allen adjustment wrench and a punch which fits into the ram of the press. The die may also be used with an arbor press if proper support is used and a correct punch is fitted for the press ram.

Regarding accuracy of adjustment, it is exceedingly easy and precise using the allen wrench provided. The die face as shown below is graduated for reference and the value of each graduation is slightly more than .0001 In. on the diameter. By adjusting between graduations, the shooter can easily adjust the size of bullets by even less than .00005 In. ( 50 millionths ) on the diameter.

Adjustable sizing dies can be made in any caliber and there are two (2) types available. Smooth and Full Form.

The smooth die produces a smooth shanked bullet and corrects for diameter only.

The full form die produces a bullet which is an exact match to a rifled barrels bore geometry. In other words, it produces a bullet which has rifling grooves swaged into its shank. This die functions by utilizing a sizing element which is made from a short piece of the rifles barrel and for that same reason it is matched for use with the specific firearm.  By external appearance, a full form die looks identical to the smooth die and its functional design is exactly the same. 

Some advantages of full formed bullets are as follows:

1. A much better seal is produced because the bullets form fills the rifling grooves.

2. The bullets can be sized to load MUCH MORE EASILY while still having a much better seal.

3. Because of the superior seal, reliability of ignition is also better even with easy loading bullets.

4. Full formed bullets do not require the use of over powder wads. 

5. Because the bullets are automatically engaged to the rifling, high pressure is not required to assure obturation. Low pressure loads have produced equally good accuracy. See the two targets as shot from a .45 cal. rifle below which illustrate this point.

6. Full formed bullets produce higher velocities with less pressure.

The above two targets correspond with advantage 5. above. Both targets were shot from the same .45 cal. rifle on the same day only moments appart. The bullet used in each case was a full form sized, .458 diameter, 350 gr North Fork. The difference between them is that the target on the left was shot using smokeless powder at an average peak pressure of 48,467 psi according to the pressure trace instrument. The target on the right was shot using BlackHorn 209 black powder substitute at an average pressure of only 25,710 psi. As shown, even at significantly reduced pressure, the full formed bullet still gave very good accuracy. That is because it is already engaged to the rifling and does not depend upon high pressure to assure obturation into the rifling for stabilization.

The above targets were shot from the 6.5mm Swing-Lock test rifle using full form sized .264 diameter bullets. As shown, accuracy is excellant at very high performance levels ( .264 Win. Mag. ). The bottom target is interesting in that each hole in that horizontal string was shot with a slightly different powder load weight during load development yet the shots remained in a tight pattern. These targets illustrate the great accuracy available using standard full form sized high powered rifle bullets. The same results can be produced in ANY CALIBER using standard high ballistic coefficient jacketed bullets.

In a  .45 cal. rifle for shooting sabotless bullets the rifle is provided with (1) adjustable smooth bullet sizing die and (1) full form die.  One is the smooth die which is used for bullets starting at .452 diameter such as the Hornady SST or FTX or the Parker bullets. And, the other die is a full form die which is for resizing .458 dia. bullets. Common bullets full form sized are the Barnes TSX bullets from 300gr up to 500gr and the Barnes 300gr SOCOM polymer tipped, boat tailed bullet. Other .458 bullets can also be sized and used. For a .45 cal. rifle, I send both types of dies with the rifle so the customer has the ability to size any usable .452 or .458 diameter bullet.

Below are some pictures of the adjustable full form dies and how they function. The smooth die looks and works in exactly the same way.

Above from left to right .45 cal., .416 cal. and 6.5mm full form bullet sizing dies with punches.

These are only a tiny few of the many modern jacketed bullets that can be full form sized. Starting at top are 6.5mm, .416 cal. and .45 cal. 

This picture shows the graduated die face and rifled sizing element of a full form .458 cal. sizing die.

Adjusting a sizing die using an allen wrench.

This is a 6.5mm, 120 gr Barnes TSX bullet entering the sizing die.

Here is the 6.5mm TSX bullet exiting the sizing die.


Swing-Lock resizing dies are made from tool grade heat treated steel for a lifetime of reliable service.

Micrometer graduated and easy to adjust with very high precision.

Available in smooth or full form version. An adequate piece of rifle barrel is required for full form.

Can be made in any size from .45 caliber and smaller. Calibers smaller than .45 are special order. .45 caliber is standard.

Dies are threaded 7/8-14 to fit standard reloading presses and include adjustment wrench, punch and written instructions.


.45 Caliber Smooth die: $160.00

.458 Caliber Full Form die: $180.00

Calibers smaller than .45:

Smooth die: $175.00

Full Form die: $200.00

Cost does not include sales tax if required.

In .45 caliber only, a price discount is allowed if 10 or more dies are purchased. For info, call, text or send e-mail to:

Phone: (814) 440-7292

E-mail: thomas@swinglock.net 


Send check or money order to:

Swing-Lock Custom Muzzleloading, Inc.
3865 Hershey Road
Erie, PA  16506

If you have any questions regarding adjustable bullet sizing dies or would like to place an order, please call or text (814) 440-7292 or send an e-mail to swinglock@velocity.net or thomas@swinglock.net and I will be happy to help you.


Thomas Post
Swing-Lock Custom Muzzleloading, Inc.




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