Bead Roller Options?
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Thread: Bead Roller Options?

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    Happy Camper hcpookie's Avatar
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    Default Bead Roller Options?

    Who has one? I'm intersted in them. I am going to be making some magazines for some of these wildcat builds I'm working on. Obviously, there is no 357 AMP magazine for an AK... nor is there an AK magazine for a .45 Win Mag!

    I've considered the use of only my bending brake to make rectangles, however I would like to give it a bit extra and roll beads into the side for smoother feeding. I wonder what people think about a magazine with beads vs. one without? At this point, I'm designing my mags as pure boxes - no beads at all. However I can't help but think that less surface area for the bullets to touch the inside of the mag can do nothing but help feeding stay more reliable.

    Yes I know springs will be a challenge but I expect that an Uzi or any other 9mm SMG spring will do the trick. Perhaps a .223 spring for the 45 WM

    I see that Harbor Freight has them for about 125. I didn't realize they started at that price. I expected more like $40 Are there any pros/cons to rolling a bead that I should know about? I watched it being done once on one of these Monster Garage shows, and it looks like a fairly easy job. I just don't know anything and want to learn at this point.
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    Administrator pirate56's Avatar
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    sounds like an excellent idea for the mags, should improve feeding. check on ebat for a used one. they are expensive because you need hardened & ground rollers.


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    Gunco Regular Tailgunner's Avatar
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    I'd tend to think most of the beads you see in mag bodies or recievers are stamped, not rolled. The Pexto style bead rollers are typically only rated for 24 gauge mild steel, you can find rollers that'll do heavier metal but they're typically upwards of $1500.

    As far as rolling beads, it's not that hard to learn, but the takes quite a bit of practice before your beads don't wander like a drunk trying to stay in one lane.

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    Happy Camper hcpookie's Avatar
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    (slaps forehead) ebay! Should have thought of that.

    Honestly, for the little amount of use it will get, I was actually thinking about lathing some rollers out of mild steel, or even aluminum, and finding some round bars to install them on. Then just build a frame and "presto" a light-duty bead roller, for the cost of some aluminum round bar. Making a meshing gear for those two rollers would be the only part requiring some thought. A rudimentary gear wouldn't be too difficult to build if I had to, but I would hope I could find some cheap, basic gears like a timing gear or something like that. I know the supply places have gears, but I've only ever looked for plastic stuff.

    As I'm typing, I just though that an old-style roller washing machine gizmo could be adapted. It would save some time on the frame.

    LOL @ Tailgunner! - I will keep that "wandering" in mind. I hate to waste metal Actually the one I saw at HF was good up to 22 gauge, which I think would be PERFECT for magazines. Cheap, easily available at Lowe's and HD, and already cut into nice rectangles. They are galvanized, but I could probably dip them in phosphate to etch the steel enough for paint.
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    Gunco Veteran pjm204's Avatar
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    i once tried to bend up an uzi mag, it was a bit difficult to bend something that small

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    I'm not quite sure what the tool is called but I saw on a car restoring show a machine that made beads in metal. It some type of press in that it had an upper arm with a male die that moved up and down very fast, and a bottom arm that was fixed with a female die. the female die was longer so that it helped guide the bead and keep it straight. It you have some scrap metal to build a frame and dies along with a spare air chisel laying around I think you could make your own. The male die could be welded to a spare chisel shank with an attatched guide to keep it from rotating. Of course you'd need a lot of time on your hands also.

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    Always sore, always tired Bradrock's Avatar
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    I have seen plans on Ebay, but you still need to buy the expensive rollers.
    Must be a way to use the hydraulic press with a die.
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    Gunco Regular Tailgunner's Avatar
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    If you're going to build one, I'd copy the Low Buck Bead Roller design.

    I have one so here are a few pics to show how it's put together.







    I will say you really need a second person to crank the handle on a manual type bead roller, part of the "wandering bead" problem comes from trying to guide the piece with one hand while cranking with the other.

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