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Firing line at Sea Girt, New Jersey, 1932.

Always interested in firearms I found that shooting taxed my meager budget.  To solve this I began to reload my ammo.  Starting with a Lee hammer reloading tool I soon added a Lyman Tong Tool.  These enabled me to reload but they were slow to use.  A reloading press was needed.  A Herter’s loading press was used to load handgun, rifle, and even shotgun shells.  This helped with the budget but it wasn’t enough.  Buying factory swaged bullets was costly.  Bullet casting seemed to offer a solution so I bought a SAECO lead pot and Lyman-Ideal bullet moulds.  Wheelweights were almost free then and made acceptable cast bullets.  A cake cutter was made and used to lube the bullets.  A Lyman Lubrisizer was soon added.  Lubricating the cast bullets with the Lubrisizer was faster and did a better job.  Bullet casting worked well for most handgun slugs except for hot magnum loads.  Cast bullets were not of much use for higher velocity ammo.

Paper patched bullets seemed like an answer.  I experimented with making and shooting paper jacketed bullets.  This permitted higher velocities up to as much as 2,500 fps in some cases.  But still below the potential of many rifles.  Shooting a bullet at upwards of 4,000 fps requires more than a paper patched or lubricated cast bullet.

Life interferes and I wasn’t able to do much experimenting or shooting for a time.

My brother and I met Ted Smith who was running SAS-Shooter’s Accessory Supply making bullet swaging presses, bullet swaging dies, and swaging tools.  He was tired of it and wanted to sell.  Ted named a price and we paid it.  Ted was to continue making presses, dies, and tools which we would market and sell.  But he could not produce products quickly enough and the quality was less than desired.

I began to make the swaging presses, dies, and tools.  The original Mity Mite press was made until the supply of castings was used up.  I then redesigned the press to strengthen it and improve it.  A stronger press was needed to meet the increased needs of modern bullet making so I designed one.

After working with my brother for several years I decided to sell out and form R. Corbin Enterprises.  The named seemed too long so I formed a Limited Liability Corporation and shortened the company name to RCE, LLC.  Since then I’ve designed some twenty-five different swaging presses most of which were never made other than prototypes.  The original Walnut Hill press is discontinued and replaced by the stronger Walnut Hill-2 press.  The Walnut Hill-50 press is designed for reloading the 50 BMG cartridge or similar cartridges.  It can also swage bullets and reload standard cartridges.  The smaller Sea Girt press has been redesigned and is now the Sea Girt-3 press.  It is an entry level or companion press.

The Walnut Hill press has been in continuous production since 1999 and is always in stock.

A production press for commercial bullet swaging was needed so I designed and built the HydraSwage and the MultiSwage II hydraulic presses.  The smaller What Cheer hydraulic press was available for those who did not need the bigger presses.  The What Cheer could swage bullets, reload standard ammo, as well as do the usual jacket redrawing, bullet resizing, and cartridge case reforming.  The two larger hydraulic presses could swage bullets, extrude lead wire, reload the 50 BMG and reload standard cartridges.  In addition the two presses could produce deep drawn bullet jackets from strip.

I have been designing, making, and using bullet swaging presses and tools for the last forty-nine years.  I have reduced the hours that I work and no longer put in seven days a week and twelve-hour days.  Getting out to do some shooting to check accuracy of swaged bullets and doing bullet penetration and expansion testing will occupy what little spare time I have.  But I still have many things left to do in bullet swaging and many interesting tools and bullet making die sets to build.

Richard Corbin