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Old June 20, 2010, 09:19 PM   #1
mshpx645
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plated vs copper jacket?

I am getting ready to buy 2,000 9mm and 40 cal bullets to reload with. What is the difference between something like Remington FMJ and copper plated like Berry bullets or Montana Gold. A bit of difference in price of course. I have had good results with Remingtons but starting to shoot more, looking at saving a penny or two.
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Old June 20, 2010, 11:11 PM   #2
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True jacketed bullets typically have a copper cup that is filled with molten lead. These bullets are able to withstand very high speeds and have a fairly thick jacket. These are usually the most expensive.

Plated bullets start as a swaged lead slug and go through an electroplating process that results in a hair-thin plating. These bullets should not be sent to magnum velocities that true jacketed bullets run at, because the plating will not hold up. Most plated bullet manufacturers rate their plated pistol bullets for 1,200 FPS or under.

Because of this razor thin plating, you also should not try to give them too firm a roll crimp if used in a revolver round. Plated bullets are cheaper than most jacketed bullets, but usually cost more than cast lead bullets.

Plated bullets aren't a great substitute for jacketed bullets, but they do make a pretty good replacement for cast lead bullets. No exposed lead means that indoor ranges don't prohibit them, and clean-up is typically easier than with cast lead.
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Old June 20, 2010, 11:23 PM   #3
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Great explanation, Sevens!

I personally think shooting plated bullets makes it a bit harder to clean the barrel than conventional copper JHP/FMJ, but easier than lead.

And as Sevens mentioned, if you over-crimp the plated bullets and shoot a revolver, you may experience splash from the over-crimped copper plating hitting the forcing cone causing fragments to exit the cylinder gap - it's very painful for the guy shooting right next to you..

I guess it all depends on what the OP is trying to accomplish with his reloads on which would be a better choice. Generally plated bullets like Rainier and Berry's are very reasonably priced.
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Old June 20, 2010, 11:38 PM   #4
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I think it really depends upon the velocity you will load them to. I avoid anything over 1200 fps. Thus my 1250 fps 158 grain are SJSP, while the 158 grain 950 fps loads for my S&W M&P 340, and my 124 grain 9mm 1100 fps loadings are with plated bullets. I've never noticed a copper fouling problem.
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Old June 20, 2010, 11:47 PM   #5
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First, let me just say that Montana Gold bullets are actually jacketed bullets and not plated like berry's. Second, not all plated bullets are like berry's or rainier. I sell a brand of plated bullets that has a much thicker plating than any other manufacturer I have come across. I have personally shot them at about 1500 fps with great results (from a revolver no less). I have customers that shoot them at 2000 fps from carbines. I have been so impressed with them that I stopped shooting jacketed bullets all together.
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Old June 21, 2010, 06:09 AM   #6
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Powerbond plated bullets will act and load and shoot like a jacketed bullet. Have shot thousands in .45 auto. Them and Ranier, is really no comparison.
Montana Gold bullets seem consistant also, and the 125 grain .357 and the 95 grain .355 I have used chrono'd identical to hornady xtp, and right where the Hornady manual said they would be.The MG 158 grain .357 seem to be more like a Sierra copy bullet and match up close to published Sierra data.
Never tried a Berry bullet, but I like these others alot and plan to keep using them.
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Old June 21, 2010, 05:31 PM   #7
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Its gonna be for competition shooting mainly. Been looking at both fmj and hp's. Any recommendations that you like, brand, hp or fmj. For Glock 9mm and 40 cal.
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Old June 21, 2010, 05:53 PM   #8
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I personally prefer Berry's and Rainier bullets driven to a moderate velocity. They both have excellent JHP feed profiles for reliable functioning, and feature a fully encapsulated base allowing shooting at EPA restricted indoor ranges - many brands of FMJ bullets have lead exposed at the base restricting their use to outdoors only..
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Old June 21, 2010, 06:15 PM   #9
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Let me just say that for competitions some people don't like using plated bullets (especially with glocks). Why? Well, some believe that the polygonal rifling of the glock is hard on plated bullets. This is further frustrated by the heat of mag dump after mag dump that you get in some competitions. However, plated bullets are no less accurate than jacketed and some argue that they get better results from them.

Oh and I forgot to mention that the plated bullets I sell are the Powerbond that alloy was referring to.
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Old June 21, 2010, 07:06 PM   #10
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Montana Gold is a relatively expensive - and a high quality jacketed bullet. You can order FMJ or CMJ ( complete metal jacket - has the bases jacketed too / so less smoke ). If you grab 10 out of a box / you will find they are very consistent / maybe 0.2gr from what they intend like on a 124 gr as an example. I've shot a lot of Montana Gold - great bullets / you can order direct in case lots - they ship free.

The next step down is plated - and the thicker the coating the better in my opinion. Berry's has a good reputation / and they're pretty consistent but maybe 0.5gr off of a set goal / like 124 gr. Keep them under 1200 fps. You can load them mid-way between lead and a true jacketed bullet. I like them / shoot a few of them.

Rainiers are a thinly plated bullet / and they're cheap and fine for the range ....but I've seen them vary as much as 2.0gr on a 124gr bullet. But for plinking / or practice - they're just fine / I shoot a lot of them. In general you want to use specs on "lead" bullets for Rainiers not jacketed bullet specs.
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Old June 22, 2010, 05:30 AM   #11
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in 9 and 40

I've made a fairly large quantity of 124g Rainier TCJ-RN and 180g TCJ-FP for Glock pistols.
I suggest 5.4g under the 124g --MAX 6.0g-- and 6.0g (makes Major from most guns) under the 180g.
OAL of 1.145" for the 9mm; 1.130" for the 180g; crimp using the LEE Carbide Factory Crimp die.
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Old June 22, 2010, 10:16 AM   #12
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Quote:
Plated bullets aren't a great substitute for jacketed bullets
That's a pretty big generalization. Plated bullets are an excellent replacement for jacketed bullets in some calibers. I load them exactly as I would jacketed bullets in 9 and 45.

For training/practice ammo I realize NO performance difference in jacketed and plated bullets.
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Old June 22, 2010, 04:32 PM   #13
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Yeah, I'll give ya that.
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Old June 22, 2010, 08:43 PM   #14
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Old June 23, 2010, 09:46 AM   #15
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Plated versus Jacketed loading

The advice I've seen for plated bullets is:
Not over 1200 FPS.

For me that means I shoot plated bullets (cause they are a little cheaper) when I load 200 or 230 grain bullets in 45 acp.
Anyone planning on shooting 200 grain bullets at over 1200fps won't be using any 45acp pistol I own.

For 10MM, I use plated 180 grain at (per loading manuals) around 1100 fps.
If I decide to try Higher speed/Lighter weight bullet loads, I'd switch to jacketed bullets.
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Old June 23, 2010, 11:14 AM   #16
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There is a lot of misconception on what a plated bullet is in this thread. I would not describe our plated as well as Rainier as having "Razor Thin Plating". Depending on caliber our plating is no less than .006" and goes up to .012" thick. Speer TMJ bullets are a plated bullet with an even thicker plating coming close to a jacket at about .015 in thickness. Berry's and Rainier bullets have a swaged lead core and have enough plating on them to be used as a practice or match bullet. Nobody pours molten lead in a drawn jacket to make a bullet, the are swaged from lead wire made on a wire extruder under great pressure. Plated bullets are made to fill a niche and not intended to be used as a self defense or magnum projectile. For that I use a jacketed bullet and not our plated bullet. I hope I don't come across as defensive with this, but they were made to fit a specific need.
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Old June 23, 2010, 11:42 AM   #17
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Jay, finally some straight talk on just what a plated bullet is! I was going to say the same thing, but would sound like a voice calling out in the wilderness. IOW, nobody would believe me!

Now if you would be so kind as to explain that a strong taper crimp will NOT crack the plating" on a plated bullet. Or that the plating will separate when doing so.

Now another revelation, the Speer gold dot bullet is a plated bullet! So is the Federal fusion rifle bullet that was developed by Speer. The gold dot takes a plated bullet, punches a huge hollow point and forms the nose. The tiny gold dot in the bottom of the HP is what's left of the plating on the nose. Ever hear of a GD separating the "jacket" when hitting soft material?
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Old June 23, 2010, 11:48 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snuffy
The gold dot takes a plated bullet, punches a huge hollow point and forms the nose. The tiny gold dot in the bottom of the HP is what's left of the plating on the nose. Ever hear of a GD separating the "jacket" when hitting soft material?
I can tell you that a Speer GD 357sig round will go through a frog, 6 inches of water and richochet of an underwater rock with enough force to completely flatten the bullet in the impact area and show no signs whatsoever of seperation.... and show a perfect "mushroom"... except for the part that hit the rock.


Now for a question.... thousandth for thousandth, is all plating created equal? Is the Berry's plating the same as the GD plating, except for the thickness?
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Old June 23, 2010, 11:49 AM   #19
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I have been using X-treme plated for over 10 years with excellent results. Recommend them highly.

http://www.xtremebullets.com/

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Old June 23, 2010, 12:02 PM   #20
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I use Zero bullets for the past 3 years they have given excellent results..


http://www.rozedist.com/mm5/merchant...egory_Code=ZJB
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Old June 23, 2010, 12:21 PM   #21
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You guys are all really well versed, and that is what makes a great forum great! Speer, Rainier and Extreme all use the same pure copper anodes as we do and the processes are apples to apples. You are right on the deep punch that is on the Gold Dot. The plating on that bullet is almost .018" thick the last time we checked one, that is why it performs so well. It's a great bullet and shows how well a high-end plated bullet works. The thickness of the plating makes the difference. A properly plated bullet will be a better bond with the lead than a swaged jacketed bullet that has not been bonded using a flux. It's like painting a clean rough surface or a smooth uncleaned surface.

As far as a crimp, the strong taper usually will not be enough to compromise the plating. If you have a question on how much, you can pull a loaded round and take a look to see if you have created a waistline with a bulge above or below the crimp. The reason most roll crimp dies do not work well with plated bullets is because most are a seater/crimp die. At some point in the stroke the crimp will be coming in while the bullet is still being seated. These opposing forces make the roll crimp turn in so the case mouth is no longer parallel. The Dillon Accu-Crimp die is a hybrid between a roll and a taper and works very well with or without a cannelure.

We do make a .30 carbine bullet that has been tested to 2,000fps with no problem. That bullet has double the plating at about .015" so it can handle the pressure.

If i missed any questions please hit me with them. I very much enjoy your feedback.
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Old June 23, 2010, 12:34 PM   #22
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Quote:
True jacketed bullets typically have a copper cup that is filled with molten lead. These bullets are able to withstand very high speeds and have a fairly thick jacket. These are usually the most expensive.
Rarely is molten lead used, and when it is it is prominently advertised.

Most jacketed bullets are pure lead cores swagged into the jacket.
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Old June 23, 2010, 03:45 PM   #23
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In Auto's I would expect plated bullets to feed better than if you were just using lead. That's why I went with plated for my 9mm. Save some $ and reduce the possibility of a jam.
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Old June 23, 2010, 04:11 PM   #24
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The OP has titled this plated versus copper jacket. I think that would disqualify the Montana Gold from the discussion since these are Brass -Jacketed, with a Brinell hardness of about twice that of copper.

I am surprised no one has mentioned that plated (at least the Rainiers and I suspect the Berry's as well) are a great combination with Trail Boss.
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Old June 23, 2010, 05:42 PM   #25
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I use plated bullets in .32, .380, 9mm, .38 Special, .45 and .30 Carbine and I get them all from Berry's and order direct. Apologies for my mis-information about molten lead poured in to a bullet jacket -- I got that info from a gun rag. Could it have been an article covering the Corbin jacket swaging tool that was used in years gone by? (does anyone still use that device?)

In all the listed calibers I use them, it's because the indoor ranges I frequent won't allow my cast lead bullets. Except for the .30 Carb, I use that because it's cheaper for me than buying rifle bullets and also because I find them to be quite accurate from my Ruger Blackhawk when used with Alliant 2400.

Since we've got a Berry's rep on here, here's a question: What do you think about the idea of using your plated 7.62x39 slug in a .327 Federal Magnum, running a medium load? Better still -- how about building a .312" slug exactly like the .30 Carbine bullet, with the very thick plating to withstand the 45,000 PSI and 1,500 FPS+ speeds the .327 Federal Mag is capable of? Anywhere between 100 and 115 grains would do nicely. The purpose would be to build .327 Fed Mag loads for paper punching practice with the same feel of defense rounds without the high-tech slug and much less cost.

On my last bullet order from you guys (early May, 2,500 bullets in three sizes) I asked if you'd drop in maybe five pieces of those 7.62x39 slugs so I could examine them and maybe see how they "fit" in some .327 Fed Mag brass. There was a note written on the packing order to include them, but none were in there. Like you meant to, but it slipped past the packer.
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