A Guide to Ammunition Tooling Production Equipment

Ammunition Tooling Provides Ideal Solutions for Manufacturers

When it comes to ammunition production equipment, tooling is perhaps the most important consideration. Using different types of tools, ammunition manufacturers can efficiently create tight-tolerance ammunition that results in a great experience for the end-consumer. So, what is ammunition tooling and how does it work? Let’s dive in.

Types of Ammunition Tooling

Die Sets

Die sets — including extrusion dies, swaging dies, and more — are commonly used to shape and form various components of ammunition, like bullets and cartridge cases.

Extrusion dies are used to manufacture bullet jackets, which are the outer casings of a bullet. Operators use machines to force a metal alloy through the extrusion die to form a cylindrical shape with the desired dimensions. This process ensures accurate dimensions and structural integrity of the bullet jackets, which play a crucial role in the overall performance and reliability of the ammunition.

Swaging dies are most commonly used to produce bullet cores. The die applies significant force to the material, causing it to take on the desired form. This ensures precision in creating bullet cores with specific shapes and dimensions, contributing to the overall performance and consistency of the ammunition.

Case-forming dies can also be used to produce cartridge cases. This process involves inserting a heated and softened blank into the die, which is then closed to create the desired shape. Once this process is completed, you’re left with cases that can be trimmed, cleaned, and prepared for the next stage of the manufacturing process.

Bullet seating dies are responsible for precisely placing and securing the bullet into the mouth of the cartridge case. The reloading press positions a primed and charged case beneath the die, and the bullet is placed on top. As the press rises, the die engages, seating the bullet at the desired depth within the case. This process ensures uniformity and consistency in bullet placement.

Crimping dies come into play after the bullet is seated in the cartridge case. It applies a crimp to the mouth of the case, which secures the bullet in place and prevents movement during recoil. Overall, the crimp ensures stability and reliability in the assembled ammunition, particularly in cartridges used in firearms with significant recoil forces.


There are two common types of molds used in the ammunition manufacturing process — bullet and cavity molds. In both cases, they are essential for achieving standardized and high-quality bullets for various applications.

Bullet molds are designed to shape molten materials into specific bullet profiles and weights. The manufacturing process involves melting the material and pouring it into the mold cavities. Once the material solidifies, the mold is opened, and the newly formed bullets are ejected. Overall, bullet molds are great for batch production.

Cavity molds are specifically designed to create bullets with hollow points. These kinds of bullets feature a concave tip, and cavity molds provide manufacturers with precise control over the size and shape of the point. Like bullet molds, cavity molds are filled with molten metal, which then cools and is ejected in the final form.

Case Trimmers

The purpose of a case trimmer is to ensure that cartridge cases are trimmed to a consistent and uniform length. This process is essential for maintaining consistent ammunition dimensions, which in turn affects factors like chambering, accuracy, and overall reliability in the finished rounds.

How to Create the Right Ammunition Production Equipment for Your Needs

While the tooling above is the most common type of equipment for ammunition manufacturing, this is not necessarily an exhaustive list. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced tooling manufacturer who can help determine the right ammunition production equipment for you. At Pivot Precision, we have decades of experience helping businesses get the right tooling for their ammunition and firearm needs. We’d be honored to help you, too.

Founded in 1961, we are a trusted tooling supplier for customers across the world. With over 60 years of experience, an ISO 9001:2015 certification, a dedicated workforce, and extensive manufacturing capabilities, we’re ready to take on even the most challenging projects. Learn more about us here, or reach out to our team to chat about your ammunition tooling needs.