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Plated Bullets

Discussion in 'Ammunition' started by CaddmannQ, Aug 4, 2021.

  1. CaddmannQ

    CaddmannQ .50 BMG Supporter

    Messages:
    10,016
    Reading the 115gn/9 mm Luger thread, it started me thinking about the ammo that I have loaded and what it consists of.

    I have loaded a lot of rounds which are Berry’s plated bullets. I think they are all 9 mm but I can’t be sure until I go dig through my ammo chest.

    But from what I’m reading, it sounds like plated bullets should never be used in certain firearms (or certain types of firearms) and interests me greatly to know which and why.

    What features of a firearm would make using a plated lead bullet a poor idea?

    Do any particular folks have blanket recommendations against plated bullets?
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  2. John A.

    John A. Unconstitutional laws are not laws. Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator

    Messages:
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    Plating exists to try to reduce fouling. That's its' only purpose.

    Plating will wear off of a bullet when it's fired.

    It's a step up from shooting plain cast bullets, but there are better options.

    I even like properly done powder coating better than like copper washed or whatever. While powder coating is a plating, it seems to be able to withstand the heat and friction a little better than plated it seems.

    And of course, jacketed is best.

    It can hold up better to faster bullets, more friction and more heat than any of the previous ones I've mentioned. You can literally shoot the copper plating off by shooting too fast. 22 magnum for instance will leave a C3PO covered/plated baffles in surprisingly few shots.

    If you can clean your weapon, it doesn't really matter. But, it's easier if you don't have to scrub and scrub.
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  3. fellmann

    fellmann Esoteric Supporter Premier Member

    Messages:
    1,165
    I know some shooters in my pistol club, who seem to powder coat their cast bullets
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  4. John A.

    John A. Unconstitutional laws are not laws. Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator

    Messages:
    16,532
    Powder coating is simple.

    Step 1
    Use plastic bowl to put the cast bullets and powder in and shake to build up small electric charge. Shake it for about a minute and until well coated.

    [​IMG]

    Step 2
    Take out of bowl and put on baking sheet and bake at 350 or maybe 400 for 15 minutes (I'd have to look to verify for the temperature)

    [​IMG]

    Step 3
    There is no step 3, other than let them cool down before you pick them up.

    Load as normal

    [​IMG]
  5. Ernst

    Ernst .30-06 Supporter "Philanthropist"

    Messages:
    1,487
    Years ago we all tended to shoot soft lead bullets which provided built in lubrication. These worked well with the "slower" powders of the day and at reduced velocities. Fouling wasn't all that bad nor was barrel wear.

    However, with the advent of faster powders and a big jump in velocity lead fouling increase dramatically. If I remember correctly that's when plated bullets first appeared. But as discussed above the plating wore off rapidly. So you traded one "problem" for another.

    I suspect barrrel wear these days is more a product of aggressive cleaning than high round count. Many folks shoot a box of rounds and aggressively scrub the barrel. In reality, most modern weapons can shoot several hundred to several thousand rounds between cleaning. Cleaning, from my perspective, should occur when your accuracy degrades.

    Regards
  6. John A.

    John A. Unconstitutional laws are not laws. Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator

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    I used to clean all of my guns with the white glove treatment. Museum nice.

    Not anymore.

    I'll shoot until it needs cleaned now, or until I start to see some failures. Yes, I have some dirty guns. Dirty doesn't mean neglected. I don't neglect any of my guns. But, most of them are dirty.
  7. CaddmannQ

    CaddmannQ .50 BMG Supporter

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    10,016
    Well we are 100% sidetracked here, and nobody is answering the real question I had, which is again:

    Is it a bad idea to use plated bullets in certain firearms? What happens?
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  8. John A.

    John A. Unconstitutional laws are not laws. Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator

    Messages:
    16,532
    I thought I addressed that earlier.

    When plated bullets are fired, the heat and friction heats up the plating to ionizing levels, which causes it to deposit the plating onto all contacting services of the gun. Whether only the barrel, or in even worse cases, inside the gas tube and other parts of a gas system that are not really able to be cleaned, will become worse over time with use.

    This often doesn't happen with handgun ammunition because they're slower velocity and less heat, but once the velocity and power increases, it's much more likely to occur.

    If you're firing 9mm or 38 special or other lower powered round, it probably won't hurt anything. If you start pushing them into higher heat and pressures, the likelihood of it coating everything is more prevalent.
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  9. CaddmannQ

    CaddmannQ .50 BMG Supporter

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    Here. This is what tripped the switch in my brain.

    “my GLOCK 23C which has a barrel and slide cut for compensator ports. Because of the barrel porting I should only use really fast powders and jacketed bullets, never plated or cast.”
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  10. John A.

    John A. Unconstitutional laws are not laws. Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator

    Messages:
    16,532
    If you use plated over time, it will make the barrel and the ports a decidedly a gold'ish tint over use with time.
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  11. Ernst

    Ernst .30-06 Supporter "Philanthropist"

    Messages:
    1,487
    The biggest problem I've seen with plated bullets is over crimping when loading which damages the plating to a point it flakes off when chambered and shot. However, doubt you'll have any problems If you're not pushing the velocities.

    Lots of folks shoot hard cast from Glocks even with OEM barrels. On my 10mm I bought an aftermarket barrrel with conventional groves to specifically shoot cast. It gaves better stabilization of the hard cast rounds. As with plated ammo you don't want to push the velocities.

    Regards
  12. CaddmannQ

    CaddmannQ .50 BMG Supporter

    Messages:
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    I guess I’m not shooting enough for it to make a difference to me but I did notice that tint from jacketed bullets as well.

    I hit the guns quick with some anti-fouling powder solvent, neutral solvent & a nylon brush, and then oil them out good with patches & put them away like a powdered baby.

    But my situation is different here guys. I don’t have any protesters or wild animals coming over my fence.

    Most of my guns are locked up but if I was in a different situation they might be stashed in every nook.

    Anyhow my original concern was that using plated bullets would tend to ruin the action on certain firearms or cause jamming because the bullets were not cased hard enough.

    I know they’re not gonna Hold together like a jacketed bullet. But my suspicion was always that for low powered target rounds and close contact shots they would be OK in all my hand weapons.
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  13. CaddmannQ

    CaddmannQ .50 BMG Supporter

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    I bought some powder coating powder a couple years ago right before I stopped reloading, and I never did try any of it.

    But I have bunch of .38 bullets that I have cast and oiled and put away. I plan to try the new powder coating when I start reloading those.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2021
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  14. CaddmannQ

    CaddmannQ .50 BMG Supporter

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    I know about Ballard rifling and Microgrooving. What kind of grooving do the stock Glocks use?
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  15. Ernst

    Ernst .30-06 Supporter "Philanthropist"

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    Glock uses polygonal rifiling which incorporares a pattern unique to Glock.

    However, polygonal rifiling style is also used by CZ, Heckler & Koch, and Walther today. Each has their own unique style.

    I've has good luck with stock barrels with the exception of heavier hard cast bullets which stabilize better in more traditional barrels with lands and grooves. My experience with heavy hard cast out of polygonal rifiling is tumbling of the round. Lighter hard cast seem to do fine.

    Regards
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  16. nitesite

    nitesite Average Guy Moderator "Philanthropist"

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    Thank You Brother.
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  17. nitesite

    nitesite Average Guy Moderator "Philanthropist"

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    Brother, if they have any lube of any kind on them after casting, then powder coating will be a giant fail.
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  18. CaddmannQ

    CaddmannQ .50 BMG Supporter

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    Before I tried to paint them I would degrease then put some Jasco metal prep on them, which would remove the lube and etch the lead a little bit.
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  19. CaddmannQ

    CaddmannQ .50 BMG Supporter

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    Oh yeah, I forgot about the Polygonal rifling. They must do that with some kind of broach or button.
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  20. nitesite

    nitesite Average Guy Moderator "Philanthropist"

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    Copper plating on pistol bullets is just fine, even into Magnum cartridges. The rifling and the bullet would be just fine together if the velocity is within specs and the case neck tension isn't ruined by too much crimp. Heck, I have cast some .357 bullets and lubed them with ALOX or a mix of 45/45/10 and shot them screaming out of a 16"rifle barrel!!!

    The only "doubt" I have with plated (vs jacketed) is thru a barrel that has cut out ports.

    My powder coated bullets are GTG thru virtually any gun if I have done my part on the coating. :)

    Except that one dang GLOCK23C with the cut ports in the barrel. :) Jacketed bullets or nothing........
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