Jacket Maker Kit, Penny 308
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Catalog No.: JMK-P-H
Shipping Weight: 10.00 pounds
This special set of dies will turn copper alloy pennies
made before 1982 into 1.15 inch long .308 caliber bullet
jackets. You can also add optional draw and trim dies to
make good 7mm (284) or .270 (6.7mm) jackets.
Except during 1943, when pennies were made from steel to
preserve copper for the war effort, and up until 1982, pennies
were predominantly made from 95% copper and 5% zinc (gilding metal alloy),
except for some experiments with bronze (95% copper with a
5% mix of tin and zinc) during the period from 1864 to 1942,
and again from 1946 to 1962.
During 1962, a transition was made to predominantly zinc
with a small amount of copper, and then to a zinc core with
a copper/zinc laminate on the surface. These later pennies
are not suitable for making jackets. They crumble and crack
and may cause damage to the dies.
The pennies made prior to 1982, with the 1943 exception,
need to be heated to a dull red color to anneal them,
and then they can be drawn. Some of the bronze alloys
may or may not draw as well as the gilding metal alloys.
However, the quality of jacket that can be made is quite
decent. The stamped pattern on the penny is virtually
invisible by the first draw.
This set consists of a cupping die and a series of draw
dies with stripper plates and guides, and a trim die to
adjust the length. You can add a 7mm draw die or a .270 draw die also.
It can be operated in the CSP-2 Mega Mite press with the
long handle option, but is easier to use in the CHP-1
Hydro-Press. The drawback of this system is that modern
pennies are not suitable, and only the pre-1982 pennies
have the proper composition for making jackets. However,
there are millions of such pennies in circulation. Except
for the very old or limited runs, most of them are still
available for face value. Paying 1 cent for a .308 or
.284 jacket is a huge bargain. It is possible that copper
coins from other countries might be used, but this has not
To determine if the coin will work, it first must fit the
cupping die. If it is the same diameter as a US penny,
the next test is whether it can be annealed. Heat it to
at least 1,200 degrees F. If it melts, it isn't copper.
If it turns silver, it isn't copper. If it glows red
and then when cool is a dull bronze color, it probably is
a suitable copper alloy.
You can also sort pennies by weight. Zinc alloy pennies are slightly lighter than copper pennies. If you drop the penny on a hard surface, such as a formica table top, you can probably hear the difference in sound between the zinc and copper pennies. One is more of a flat thunk and the other has a higher pitched sound (copper). Note that not every penny made before 1982 is copper, and not every penny made in or after 1982 is zinc, but the majority fall into one catagory or the other.
Do not attempt to form jackets or cups without first
annealing the penny! It won't work, and it may cause
Note that while it may be illegal to deface currency for fradulent purposes (alternation of the value, for instance, to try and pass a dollar as a ten dollar bill or some such thing) if it were illegal to alter a penny for your own purposes not involving any kind of fraud, it would put a heck of a lot of vending machine owners in trouble, especially the ones that roll a penny into a ring or a medallion at tourist attractions -- including the US Mint! Read the law carefully and you'll be able to debunk that myth rather easily. At one point it was illegal to melt coins to get the metal value when their face value was less (selling the metal in another form, such as melting a five dollar gold piece and selling the gold for more than five dollars). But that's not the same thing as alternation of the shape for your own purposes. Lots of silver dollar key fobs and such on the market, not too many treasury agents perp-walking the owners, evidently.