Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Plated Bullets vs. Lead

    I have been shooting lead bullets for 9mm & 45 for a while now. On the 9mm I keep the velocity below 1200 FPS (and 45 below 900) & don't seem to have bad leading. Reason I shoot lead is they are cheaper than FMJ bullets. What is the advantage of a copper plated bullet? The cost is a little more than lead, but not as much as a FMJ.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Plated Bullets vs. Lead

    Copper plated bullets tend to lead up the bore less than plain lead bullets, and you get the advantage of the lubricity of the copper, so the copper plated bullets don't require grease grooves.

    Coated bullets perform much the same as the copper plated bullets, in my experience. I've fired thousands of Berrys and Ranier copper plated bullets, and a couple thousand Steel Valley coated cast bullets in .44 caliber, and have had zero problems with leading.

    Noah
    Currently seeking a sufficiently witty statement for 2020.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2010
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    Narvon, Pennsylvania
    (Lancaster County)
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    Default Re: Plated Bullets vs. Lead

    I have been using Berry's and Rainier plated for probably 50- 60% of my reloading, 40, 45, 41 Mag and now some 30-30, I love them. as long as you keep the velocities down , no issues,I just started to experiment with a taper crimp die in the 41 magnum vs the roll I use for lead and jacketed. some say the roll crimp if too deep will strip the plating away and accuracy will suffer, since I'm loading on the mild side I just kiss the casing with the roll crimp on revolver cases plus I believe a good chamfer on the inside neck can go a long way in eliminating this

    Another big advantage is your not handling the lead and the lube, My youngest daughter occasionally helps me in the loading room and loves to feed the shiny bullets to me, no exposed lead.
    The 30-30 loads I'm making up are low recoil to introduce her to centerfire cartridges, I may try them out on groundhogs and assorted varmints.
    Also as another note the .41 Mag lever gun I have, if getting a bit zealous on the stroke a lead SWC sometimes digs itself into the edge of the chamber mouth, the copper plated slide right in

    Although I've been doing some good work with the polymer coated lead lately, still to early to tell if i go that route more, these like the copper plated shoot really clean

    If you buy the plated in bulk (250-500 ) some good savings can be had, the XTP,s I typically load for hunting /defense are getting to pricey to punch paper with, try a batch you will like them

  4. #4
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    Feb 2007
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    Default Re: Plated Bullets vs. Lead

    I don't see any benefit to plated bullets. You can get FMJ for the same price. I think polymer coated are the way to go to save money if you don't want to shoot lead. Precision delta 115 gr FMJ is $84/1000 with free shipping if you buy 2k bullets. Berrys plated are $93/1000. Why would you ever buy Berrys?
    "Never waste a good crisis" Winston Churchill

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Plated Bullets vs. Lead

    Quote Originally Posted by Yoder View Post
    . . . Why would you ever buy Berrys?
    When they are priced less. In your example, I would not buy them.

    Noah
    Currently seeking a sufficiently witty statement for 2020.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Plated Bullets vs. Lead

    And why would you buy Berry's or Precision when mine are cheaper ?

    Inquiring minds want to know.
    www.Steelvalleycasting.com is your new home for coated bullets and custom ammo.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Plated Bullets vs. Lead

    Quote Originally Posted by DucatiRon View Post
    And why would you buy Berry's or Precision when mine are cheaper ?

    Inquiring minds want to know.
    Personally, I bought a metric crap ton of 9mm and 45 Berrys and Rainier plated bullets betw. 2007 and 2011, and have been loading and shooting off the inventory ever since. As I have bought new inventory, it has been almost exclusively Steel Valley coated bullets, based on the excellent experience with 240 gr 44s, and since then a couple of cartons of coated 9mm and 45. I've bought 3500 or 4000 coated Steel Valley bullets since trying the 240 gr 44s.

    What I don't buy in coated Steel Valley flavor are plain cast rifle bullets from Moyers in Madisonburg, PA, especially his 200 gr .309 rifle bullet which I use in Krags and Springfields, and some .380 diameter for the 38-55s.

    But if I come across some New Old Stock Berrys or Rainier plated stuff at pre-2012 prices, I will pick it up.

    Noah
    Currently seeking a sufficiently witty statement for 2020.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Plated Bullets vs. Lead

    Wow, thanks Yoder, I thought I've visited every bullet site on the webz, the Precision Delta looks promising, I will give the 40's a shot the next time I tool up the progressive for a run of a thousand.
    my problem is not many places cater to the "best magnum" the .41, which is the bulk of my reloading, and I usually piggy back other calibers to the order

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Chalfont, Pennsylvania
    (Bucks County)
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    Default Re: Plated Bullets vs. Lead

    If you are handloading the plated rounds, you need to add more powder to reach the same velocities of plain lead or coated lead. Just something to consider if you are requiring certain velocities like us competition shooters.

  10. #10
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    Apolacon Township, Pennsylvania
    (Susquehanna County)
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    Default Re: Plated Bullets vs. Lead

    Still have about 1K of 125 gr plated .38s that I thought would be great for .38 Spec.. But so far I can only say it is the most disappointing bullet I've ever used. Believe me they LOOK beautiful! But I've tried them with VV 320, A#2, A#5, Ramshot Silhouette, and CFE-Pistol and cannot get them to a velocity fast enough to hit the old IDPA PF of 125K! At least not without going to +P or maybe even +P+! It might be a great bullet weight for .357 Magnum! But they suck for .38! On the other hand I have some 124 gr 9mm that are very good performers, but no better than Steel Valley's Coated 125 gr. bullets. I've given up on cast lead, I'm tired of the smoke from the burning lube, and leading the barrel isn't the only cleaning issue, seating and taper crimp dies, hands, also stay cleaner with coated than cast.

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