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Old December 29, 2005, 04:08 PM   #1
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Copper Plated vs. Copper Jacketed

I'm new to reloading and was wondering the difference between jacketed and plated. I pretty much shoot .45 ACP with a 1911 and an HK USP. I know that I shouldn't use lead bullets with the HK, so my question is to whether or not copper plated bullets are OK to use in it.
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Old December 29, 2005, 04:31 PM   #2
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The copper plated bullets do not have as hard or as thick a covering over the lead as the copper jacketed bullets. I think it is a faster/more economical means of achieving a jacketed bullet. The plated ones may have some uneven-ness to the thickness of the copper however.

In higher-powered loads, the copper-plated loads according to some can have the rifling cut thru the plating and expose lead to the rifling. It means that your loads are less resilient to leading.

I shoot .44magnum with "lighter" powders like titegroup and unique in copper plated bullets and don't notice any difference in leading (none) than when I shoot the same bullets with "heavier" powders like H110 or Win296.
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Old December 29, 2005, 04:37 PM   #3
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My club is an indoor range, and will not allow any jacketed ammo, but will allow copper plated (they sometimes call it "copper washed") ammo. My understanding is that the copper plated bullets reduce (but don't eliminate) leading, but the copper isn't "structural" in the sense that it doesn't help the bullet hold togeather. Therefore, it will behave, more or less, like an all-lead bullet on impact.
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Old December 29, 2005, 07:51 PM   #4
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Plated vs jacket can effect pressures. Make sure you use a load map for the correct bullet. Especially in a polygonal rifled bore = HK.

If you want to shoot lead just get a aftermarket bbl for your HK. Jarvis and CCF are good choices. That's what I did.
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Old December 29, 2005, 10:59 PM   #5
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I just tried plated bullets today

I picked up 250 9mm 125 grain plated HP's this past weekend for $10. The brand name is Berry. Seemed like a good enough deal, so I figured I'd try them out. I loaded up 50 rounds last night pushing them with 5 grains of Unique. This was certainly not one of those "Pet" loads. The accuracy was very poor, I was shooting at a 3" spinner at 20 yards and only hit it a handful of times out of 50 compared to much better hit ratio with other ammo. From what I could see they were grouping very poorly (like 16" at 20 yards) where I can usually group inside of 5" offhand just messing around. I could see that the plated bullets were flying pretty erratically and probably would have key holed had I been shooting at a paper target. For the heck of it, I swung over and let a couple rounds go at my 100 yard target. One round hit 10 feet left, and the other hit a good 30 feet right (I don't think that was all me...). The bullets mic'd out at .3567 so they were a little tight, but my gun seems to like that with other bullets.

I can't by any means conclude that plated bullets are bad by this experience, but I just wanted to share this experience with them. I think I was pushing them a bit hard. Anyone have any input here?

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Old December 30, 2005, 07:23 AM   #6
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I have bad luck with plated.
I tried lead, and, while it was a little better, name brand JHPs seem to behave the best for me.
For certain calibers, lead has some advantages (Like .45 colt and .38 spl.), and some auto calibers seem to like lead, (Like .45 acp), but for the most part, I stick with jacketed.
Hornady's XTP-HP bullets have been the benchmark for accuracy in jacketed bullets, if I find a bullet that is as accurate as those (And is cheaper), then it's a keeper.
I'm not just a gun.
I'm YOUR gun.
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Old December 30, 2005, 08:28 AM   #7
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I shot about 5000-8000 plated Ranier bullets in .40 a year in USPSA. They shoot very well in my STI Edge and I don't ever clean the barrel (because I never need to).
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Old December 30, 2005, 10:38 AM   #8
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Load your plated bullets like you would load plain lead and your luck will likely turn around. Plated and stiff loads of fast powders haven't been good for me, step back to middle range powder and normal velocities and they shape up pretty well.
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Old January 1, 2006, 09:00 AM   #9
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I have loaded many thousands Rainier plated bullets used in over one hundred guns chambered in: 9x19, 9x21, 38 Special, 357 Magnum, 38 Super, 40 S&W, 400 CorBon, 10mm, 44 Special, 44 Magnum, 45 Colt, and 45 ACP.

They work well (enough; maybe not perfect, but certainly well enough).

45 ACP = 230g TCJ-RN, CCI300, sized case (best 45 ACP case = IMI), 5.0g W231, OAL 1.245--1.265", based on specific gun.
LEE Carbide Factory Crimp die.
"all my ammo is mostly retired factory ammo"
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Old January 1, 2006, 01:56 PM   #10
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Rainier Plated Bullets

I shoot Rainiers in my .45, after trying many loads, the most accurate one I found is 230gr rn/ 3.8gr clays/ WLP / Mixed brass.. OAL 1.250/ .469 Lee fc.

25 feet off hand is by no means a test of accuracy, but I can hit 4" spinners at 60' with same load all day long. Rainiers are good replacment bullets instead of lead, keep your loads down and they fly straight. JDG

Last edited by JDG; January 1, 2006 at 06:49 PM.
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Old January 1, 2006, 02:01 PM   #11
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Proof that Ruger autos can SHOOT!!
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