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Old May 5, 2005, 03:55 PM   #1
PinnedAndRecessed
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The Truth About Plated Bullets

I just got off the phone with the owner of West Coast Bullets. I was asking him about urban legends and information circulating about plated bullets.

Legend #1: if you push the bullet to magnum velocities you'll strip the copper plating and leave it in the barrel. Answer: false. He assured me (and Ranier's website bears this out: http://www.rainierballistics.com/loaddataMW.htm )
that magnum velocities are not detrimental. "In fact," he said, "if you strip one because of the velocity, I want to see it."

He said the only way to accomplish this phenomenon is to crimp the bullet so heavily as to break the copper. Then you might leave some copper behind.
But that's going to be one....really.....heavy....crimp.

Legend #2: copper has a higher coefficient of friction therefore cannot be loaded down to velocities as one might see in the minimum velocity for lead bullets. The bullet will get stuck. Answer: also wrong. The data for lead bullets is a good starting point for working up loads for plated bullets. That leaves us with the range all the way up to magnum velocities.

Conclusion: since plated bullets are so economical and perform all the way from lead to magnum velocities it seems like a good choice. No leading of barrels or bloodstream, either.

Last edited by PinnedAndRecessed; May 5, 2005 at 04:42 PM.
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Old May 5, 2005, 04:00 PM   #2
Terry Twit
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I like them. I use Rainier's 147gr JHP in my 9mm subsonic load. No problems, and the price is very right.
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Old May 5, 2005, 10:18 PM   #3
Ranger61
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I use a lot of plated bullets with only a single issue. I have noticed that in one of my 45s the Rainer 200 grain SWC bullets the copper plating came loose but just along the length where the rifling cut into the bullets so the holes in the targets had little rifling width radial lines projecting at 90 degrees from the bullet holes. Bullets were still very accurate just had weird looking holes in the target.
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Old May 5, 2005, 10:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
I just got off the phone with the owner of West Coast Bullets. I was asking him about urban legends and information circulating about plated bullets.

Legend #1: if you push the bullet to magnum velocities you'll strip the copper plating and leave it in the barrel. Answer: false. He assured me (and Ranier's website bears this out: http://www.rainierballistics.com/loaddataMW.htm )
that magnum velocities are not detrimental. "In fact," he said, "if you strip one because of the velocity, I want to see it."
While the information provided by West Coast Bullets may be accurate, I am not inclined to believe the guy is telling the whole truth. The source is dubious as WCB can't say much in the way of negative information given that negative information would negatively impact their sales. I would have a lot more faith in the accuracy of the statement if it was made by a 3rd party not engaged in bullet sales. I would also be more impressed if there was more than one impartial source that supported the claim.
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Old May 6, 2005, 12:01 AM   #5
d_mikey
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Ranier does, however, specify that maximum velocities of 1350 -1400 fps should not be exceeded. And that a roll crimp should not be used.
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Old May 6, 2005, 05:54 PM   #6
cheygriz
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I agree with Mikey completely. Keep velocities to 1300 or so FPS, and don't roll crimp. You'll have no problems.
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Old May 6, 2005, 06:10 PM   #7
Japle
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I've used a few thousand West Coast bullets in 9mm, .38/.357, .44 & .45 with no problems.
They're more expensive than lead, but it's worth it not to have to clean the lube and shavings out of my dies.

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Old May 6, 2005, 06:49 PM   #8
Ben Swenson
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Could be ...

I know this is a rather cruddy picture, but ... look here.

The bullet was fired into water ... was that what stripped the plating?

FYI, that's a Berry's plated bullet in .429 fired from a S&W 629 with a 5" barrel. Don't recall the load, but Nate might be able to remember.
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Old May 6, 2005, 09:33 PM   #9
slimshot
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I was loading Rainier 125gr plated flat points with 15.5 grains of 2400 and sending them out of my 24" bbl Marlin 1894 Cowboy .357 @ 2000 fps before I read anything about limiting the velocity! They were the cleanest, easiest loading and feeding, and not to mention accurate bullet for 50/100 yard target shooting. I shot up the rest of the lot without any problems, only nice neat holes in the black. They worked great in my Vaquero too. I just haven't seen any problem with that particular plated bullet....
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Old May 7, 2005, 10:01 PM   #10
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I dunno if legends change one's opinion on plated. FWIW, IME...I've found FMJ (and lead) more accurate. And with the price of Zeros, Montana Gold, bulk Rem/Win FMJ, etc. etc., plated for $8 less for a 1000 seems a bad deal. I find more load data for FMJ/JHP and hard cast lead loads too.

I've always considered plated more expensive than cheap lead bullets, and less accurate than FMJ. ...but I contine to make impulse purchases
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Old May 8, 2005, 01:41 PM   #11
Peter M. Eick
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I agree with Ruger.

For me in my guns, plateds never seem to do as well as FMJ's and as well good quality lead bullets. I finally just gave up on them.
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Old May 8, 2005, 08:41 PM   #12
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You can even over taper crimp and it's not hard to do. I have done it as well as other shooters I know. It's no big deal. nothing gets stuck in the barrel. When you see more than one hole in your target and you only shot one time you know you over crimped.

Like I said I don't worry about it. I just make sure I back off the taper crimp die when I reload the next batch of ammo.
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