Why I can't warm up to plated bullets


May 19, 2006, 11:55 AM
I think this A/B test yesterday will show you everything you need to know.

I've tried 'em in 9mm. I've tried 'em in .38 Spl. I've tried 'em in .45 ACP. I've tried 'em in .40 S&W. This group is typical, can't seem to get any better no matter what I do. Some .40s were WORSE--5 inches at 25 yards.

All I can say is that for a little more money than lead, I don't need to clean leading out of the rifling. Big whoop--an extra 5 minutes and 2 cycles of brush and patch last time (.40). But sometimes the price is hardly anything less $$ than hot deals on jacketed bullets.:scrutiny:

Oh, that shot on the right was called out in that direction, too.:neener:

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May 19, 2006, 12:05 PM
I never had luck with them in my .357. They were meant to replace jacketed bullets in high speed loads,but I had accuracy problems with them in heavily crimped loads. They usually cost the same as the Star FMJs that I buy at local gunshows,and they're far more expensive than my home cast,so I generally don't use them.
I shoot a lot of .38 and .45 though,for which use plated and jacketed bullets aren't really needed.

The Bushmaster
May 19, 2006, 12:31 PM
All I load is jacketed bullets. Just plain easier and more convenient. For me anyway.
Oh yeah...Right...You called that one shot. Sure......:neener:

Steve in PA
May 19, 2006, 02:03 PM
I shoot Ranier plated bullets in .380, 9mm and 45.acp all shoot excellent.

I have no idea why some people have problems or complaints about them. I load mine to the same velocity as jacketed bullets.

May 19, 2006, 05:56 PM
I don't think they're meant to replace jacketed bullets - the plating just isn't thick enough. I thought the main idea behind them was to reduce lead exposure and offer slicker feeding than lead in automatics, both of which they do reasonably well.

My Taurus PT-140 shoots them quite well and they're economical for practice rounds. They sure are pretty, too :D

May 19, 2006, 08:12 PM
Cant say i have had many problems with rainers the ones for the 500 dont hold up and you get lot of unburnt powder but swap to the Berrys and they hold up all the way to 1750fps

Also some guns just dont like certain bullets i have a 38 like that will only shoot lead well and jacketed it sprays them

May 19, 2006, 10:01 PM
I shoot Berry's bullets by the thousands in 9x19, 9x21, 357 Sig, .38 Super, .40 S&W, 10mm, .45 acp and 45-70. Loaded correctly, they are exceedingly accurate and easy to load. I really like them and for just plinking, or informal target practice, they can't be beat, especially for the price, but I buy them wholesale.

The best 100 yard group I've ever gotten from my Marlin 45-70 was with the Berry's 350 grain plated bullet and 50 grains of IMR 3031. Three rounds were touching in a clover leaf and one round was 1/2" out from the rest. I've never been able to get a jacketed bullet to match that out of that rifle.

I think a lot of the problems people have with plated bullets is in the loading procedure. You have to bell the case mouth, the same as loading lead bullets, and use a minimal crimp. They are designed for 1200 fps in pistol rounds, and if you exceed that by much, they will tumble, though I've pushed them to 1300 fps in the 357 Sig and they were still accurate. At 1400 fps, they tumbled and were all over the place.

Hope this helps.


May 19, 2006, 11:04 PM
I really really dislike plated bullets. Few of my guns like them, and ALL of my guns shoot a good bullet better whether that good bullet is jacketed or plain lead.

I buy some once in a while just to prove to myself that the extra couple bucks for a thousand good jacketed bullets is worth it.

Crimp is UNBELIEVABLY important with plated bullets, it has to be JUST right or the groups will be horrid in most cases. My best results have been with no crimp at all and fast powders, but my best results have been about like mediocre jacketed loads taken straight from a book and they are after literally hours and hours of fooling with the loads and trying different combinations.

pilot teacher
May 22, 2006, 04:57 PM
I've used Rainier plated 45ACP and encountered some things I did not like.
At the faster velocities, the plating strips with resultant leading. My main target 45 is a Gold Cup National Match.
When seating round nose 230 gr. bullets the nice round nose would slightly distort due to soft lead. The bullets do not feed properly when using my Lee Load Master press with the bullet feeder because the bases are concave. Contacted Rainier via e-mail and explained the situation. Never got an answer. Tried Hornady, with no problems.
Leading none, flattened nose none and perfect feeding through the Load Master. With plated bullets it's a love hate affair. I don't think the savings are worth using them if you have problems.

May 22, 2006, 05:21 PM
I use Montana Gold for 9mm and .45ACP, and have had no problems. I can generally shoot about 4" groups at 25 yards, unsupported.

May 22, 2006, 05:37 PM
You have to bell the case mouth, the same as loading lead bullets, and use a minimal crimp. They are designed for 1200 fps in pistol rounds, and if you exceed that by much

That's exactly what I'm doing. Accuracy still sucks, to my tastes for anything other than 15-yard tin can blasting junk.

Owen--what does your unsupported 4-inch group (what shooter, gun & ammo combined are capable of doing) translate to in terms of sandbagged or Ransom-rest groups? Based on what I've done with revolvers and the semiautos, 5 carefully fired shots offhand at 25 yards, with all called OK, adds only an inch to the extreme spread. Yours would be only 3-inch ammo/gun combo for me.

Steve in PA
May 23, 2006, 12:55 AM
Don't know why some people can't load the 230gr Raniers. This pic is from last year. Its a fist sized group shot at 15yds, about 50 rounds of 230gr Ranier shot through a Sig P-220 and loaded with RCBS .45acp dies using 6.0gr of Unique.. No bullet deformation, no flat tips, no plating coming off, etc.


May 23, 2006, 09:03 AM
Grump, I don't know the answer to that. It's accurate enough for my needs. I basically played with the powder charge until I got the appopriate power factor, and left em that way.

edited to correct name of addressee

May 23, 2006, 09:34 AM
I shoot Berry's in .45,.40.,9mm, .38/357, and .32, I'm not that great of a shot anyway so they work fine for me.


Kramer Krazy
May 23, 2006, 10:25 AM
I've shot 1000 rounds of 230 gr Rainers without a single problem. This was somewhat typical of the bullet with 5.4 gr of #231 at 15 yards, two-hands, free-standing:


May 23, 2006, 03:16 PM
Steve and Kramer:

If I could get those 15-yard group sizes you get, offhand, at 25 yards with plated bullets I would be quite happy. I just really, really want the gun and ammo to be capable of a 25-yard A-zone headshot, so *I* can be assured of getting my B-zone hits at that distance.

I guess I'll just stick with jacketed and high-quality cast bullets.

Steve in PA
May 23, 2006, 04:16 PM
My 25yd groups are not much bigger than the 15yd group I posted. I'll look and see if I have a pic from last year.

May 24, 2006, 01:32 AM
8 rounds. 25 yards 45ACP 200gr West Coast Bullet plated RN. Accurate, cheap, easy to load, no mess, no smoke: I'm plenty warm on them

May 24, 2006, 03:05 AM
Have shot plated out of the 10MM and .45 and accuracy was pretty decent.

Crimp is UNBELIEVABLY important with plated bullets
Boy, you got that right. If you over crimp you can get results like the picture below. Too much crimp on a 10MM round will get you this. Shaved off ring which will not let the next round cycle into the action. West coast 200gr bullets by the way. Used a Lee Factory crimp die as well. Chock this up to a rookie reloader mistake.



September 18, 2006, 05:06 AM
Accuracy is fine, many a clay pigeon broken with plated bullets. On my 10mm, I seat and crimp in two different operation to prevent the rings and the copper skin from bunching at the case mouth.

For 9mm, no issues thus far. For 45ACP, I have not used them and FWIW from my learning on the 10mm rounds, I'll be going to hardcast lead for the time savings offered by the single seat and crimp operation. I could probably figure it out on the plated rounds, but it's been a hassle that I would rather eliminate.

I only shoot outside, so I'm not concerned with the lead exposure too much. I watch the wind and stay out of the way of the smoke. And when shooting cast lead, the lube makes plenty of smoke, easier to avoid this way.


September 19, 2006, 03:08 PM
I've seen them with both jacketed and plated when seating and crimping in the same step. Never an issue since going to two steps.

Maybe I just happened to hit the exact right crimp right off the bat, but with Rainiers and a taper crimp I get great accuracy in .45 and .40.

Maybe it's your particular guns, or your loads. I've had no problems.

September 19, 2006, 07:56 PM

The ring of copper in your pictures is usually caused by either not having enough flare on the case mouth, or a seating die that's too tight, and reduces the flare before the bullet is fully seated. I've got a .45 acp die that does this, but another die with a larger diameter doesn't cause any problem and cured the shaving of the bullets. You might want to take a look at that. If you can feel the case mouth dragging on the inside of the seating die, then it's too small.

Dies are mass produced and all of them aren't the same size. I also seat and crimp in two steps for all my pistol ammunition. Between these two things, I've eliminated any shaving and get great accuracy with plated bullets from Berry's Manufacturing.

Hope this helps.


.38 Special
September 19, 2006, 10:49 PM
Tried a few brands of plated bullets. None of them were any better than lead, as far as accuracy, and when velocities get high enough for leading to be a problem, I just switch to a checked design.

I quit using plated bullets entirely after a batch of them started tying up my gun with flakes of copper.

YMMV, of course.:)

September 20, 2006, 11:31 AM
I've stopped using cast bullets and now use plated Rainiers for all my .38 and .45 caliber shooting.

Most of my loads are in the 800 --> 900 fps range, and I've be thrilled with the accuracy.


September 22, 2006, 01:22 PM
I'm relatively new to the reloading scene even though I've been shooting for over 30 years. I like the Rainers. Great accuracy and consistent quality. I seat and crimp in 2 steps so I don't get the ring. I like the Lee speed dies with the FCD. Keeps equipment clutter down. Just wish I could find the Speed die for 10MM. :mad:

September 22, 2006, 05:10 PM
They're my favorite in my .357 Magnum Desert Eagle, which cannot digest cast or swaged lead bullets because of the gas port in the barrel. I run the 158gr truncated plated bullets over 1600fps on top of a full load of 296, but use a taper crimp to prevent punching through the thin copper plating. The big gas pistol has polygonal rifling, which probably treats the plated bullets better than lands and grooves. Regardless, I get excellent accuracy, no leading, and save money on jacketed bullets.

I also run Berry's 148gr plated DEWC bullets in my S&W Model 52, flush-seated to the case mouth. Never a problem, and no leading, with accuracy second only to 148gr HBWC swaged bullets.

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