Plated vs. Jacketed


January 2, 2006, 02:02 AM
First, I'm happy to announce this is my first post in this sub-forum. Given how much I shoot, I knew that frugality would drive me here sooner or later, and here I am!

I hope my first question is neither stupid nor too frequently asked. While looking at bullet costs for handgun reloading, I noticed that Rainier bullets are a lot less expensive than some of the big-name alternatives. I assume this is due to the fact that they are copper "plated" instead of jacketed. My question is, what's the difference? I assume that the copper-plated rounds are inferior to copper jacketing due to the price, but why are jacketed rounds to be preferred?

Thanks for any info you can provide.

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January 2, 2006, 02:23 AM
to the question of the copper plated bullets a guy once told me that
usually the lead in the plated bullets is soft and the bullet does not offer the same resistance that the true copper jacketed bullet does. The plated bullets also do not hold up good when traveling at exesive speeds.The softness of these bullets make them bad candidates for super high speeds as they will distort from centrifugal forces and land/groove engagement which can shear the plating. Heavy crimping also is impossible due to plating scoring or bullet deformation. If it wasen't for the thin copper plating the bullets would greatly lead your barrel. Their biggest attribute is one or two steps above plain lead bullets, and you are allowed to shoot them on indoor ranges as there is no lead being "vaporized" during ignition and firing.

jacketed bullets can take much higher speeds as the forces applied to the bullet will not distort them and cause accuracy problems. I peronally shoot ONLY jacketed bullets out of my rifles for only the simple reason I am shooting way to fast for plated bullets...I may stand corrected but I believe 1500 fps is around tops for a plated bullet... not true for a plated witch can top over 4000 fps.

Brass N bullets
January 2, 2006, 02:33 AM
Plated bullets are cast lead with an outer coating that is very thin.
Jacketed bullets start with a copper jacket and the lead is forced in to the jacket under pressure.
Jacketed bullets will be more consistent and accurate.
Hope this helps.

January 2, 2006, 10:45 AM
Rainier bullets are as accurate as jacketed at target speeds. I wouldnt load them for my .357, but I shoot my .45, alot, and these bullets are great. Rainier says dont shoot em over 1200fps. JDGray

January 2, 2006, 11:34 AM
Rainier bullets are as accurate as jacketed at target speeds
It's not the speed relevant to accuracy, it's the distance. That target above is from 25 ft. Repeated Ransom testing has demonstrated for Bullseye shooters (start at 50 ft indoor winter, outdoor is 25 yd and 50 yd) that plated are not as accurate as jacketed. Take a look at the annual Camp Perry Rainier, Berry's, etc. - lead and Noslers, some Hornady only.

They are quite adequate for 50 foot, especially since a lot of the indoor ranges won't allow lead or exposed lead bottoms.

January 4, 2006, 01:30 AM
Thanks for the info. Looks like 9mm speeds might be approaching not a good idea with Rainier bullets, especially if they're going to see polygonal rifling. What I'd like to know is why Speer doesn't make a 124-grain 9mm FMJ bullet.

January 4, 2006, 02:44 AM
What I'd like to know is why Speer doesn't make a 124-grain 9mm FMJ bullet.

They do, but they are Uni-Cor -

Not all plated bullets are the same. Some have thicker plating than others.

January 4, 2006, 09:05 AM
Plated is fine for self defense practice, 7 yards rapid fire, etc.
But for 25 yard target work, I can definately tell a major difference.
I tried to make a 9mm 124 grain rainier bullet shoot good out of my 357SIG (I was informed that it was accurate.).
It never did work, not at 1450 from a 357SIG, not at 1150 from a 9mm.
I could still keep 'em all on a 9 inch paper plate at 25 yards, but with factory winchester I could keep 'em on a 3" orange sticker in the middle of the plate.

Basically, anytime I need accuracy at more than 15 yards, terminal performance, or the bullet needs some integrity like I'm gonna shoot 135 grain bullets in my 10mm, then plated just won't do......

January 4, 2006, 09:46 AM
I use Rainier 230gr RNs for my .45 ACP loads. Part of my practice routine is shooting from prone at an IPSC target at 50yds. The Rainiers drop right into the A zone just fine. :cool:

January 4, 2006, 09:55 AM
That would be the huge A zone that is COM...not the little head shot A zone...the little head shot zone is still a couple of times bigger than Bullseye shooters are aiming for.

January 4, 2006, 10:27 AM
Thats why they make rifles.:rolleyes:

January 4, 2006, 10:39 AM
My very first bullets for reloading were 115gr 9mm plated Ranier. They worked just fine at 25 yards. I get better results out of Remington 115gr JHP, but I was able to get 5 or so inch groups at 25 yards with the Raniers. For a first bullet for reloading, and you want to shoot close, go for it! Or, get the "bulk" Remington JHP for close to the same price.

Edited to add - Midway USA - Ranier 500 plated, $27.99, Remington 115gr JHP box 500, $27.49. I have gotten excellent groups with this bullet.

January 4, 2006, 10:46 AM
Check Cabela's also - they ship based on price not weight so if you're buying a decent quantity, they're cheaper than Midway...shipping tops out at $13.95 regardless of weight.

January 4, 2006, 10:55 AM
Looks like 9mm speeds might be approaching not a good idea with Rainier bullets, especially if they're going to see polygonal rifling.

A friend wanted to know if I would load some range rounds for him, and I only had rainiers on hand. Since the piece was a Kahr .45 with polygonal rifling, I had my doubts if it was a good idea. A call to Kahr confirmed that plated bullets are fine for polygonal rifling in all calibers, its only lead you have to worry about.

January 4, 2006, 11:51 AM
I have had good luck with plated Berry's bullets in 9mm and .45 acp. I shoot a lot of them through my Glocks, Springfield .45 and Beretta 92FS with no problems or accuracy issues. They are not recommended for loading over 1200fps. They may not be as accurate as other bullets at longer distances but most of us won't be able to tell:) . I think they are great for range plinking and IDPA use.

I have found them to be quite accurate at normal distances in all my pistols. I pretty much only use plated Berry's bullets in my handloading/reloading. I get cheap from the semi local Cabela's.

January 4, 2006, 12:26 PM
Berry's has a good FAQ on this on their site. I'd give you a link, but I'm at work and can't get there from here-firewall.


January 4, 2006, 12:32 PM
How about:

Scroll down aways.

January 8, 2006, 12:53 AM
So what are "copper washed" bullets?

January 8, 2006, 11:05 AM
I'm using Rainier 124gr. rn right now, shooting them through a G17. I don't compete, but if I did, it sure wouldn't be in Bullseye. I never could grasp a practical application for Bullseye.

I don't think you'll have any shearing problems with the Rainiers in your Glock, unless you load them really hot.

All that having been said, I agree with the others that I prefer true jacketed bullets. Check out Montana Gold bullets. Used to get a great deal on 124 IMI fmj's @ Widener's, but they never have them in stock now.

January 8, 2006, 11:38 AM
Yeah, if you're shooting timed 15 yard events, load 'em up as cheap as you can, and they'll be fine.
Past 25 yards, and you'll want JHPs. Trust me.

Copper washed bullets are plated. Lead bullets plated by a mineral salt bath. Plated very thin.
The lead is cast imperfect, and the plating is deposited imperfect.
With jacketed hollow points, the gilding metal is made, the lead is injected through the nose, then the nose is formed "struck". Making it very dimensionally stable, concentric, and consistant.
The bullet is where you get 90% of your accuracy from, at least in pistols.

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