Why are FMJ bullets preferred?


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RM
July 14, 2008, 10:54 PM
In terms of reloading and shooting, why are FMJ bullets preferred over plated bullets, lead cast bullets, etc? Thank you.

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308sc
July 14, 2008, 10:58 PM
I would like to know too :)

Griz44
July 14, 2008, 11:03 PM
Guess that depends on who you talk to. I prefer lead cast....

LJH
July 14, 2008, 11:05 PM
I am with Griz44, I perfer lead

FieroCDSP
July 14, 2008, 11:11 PM
Generally, a jacketed bullet can be pushed to higher velocities, and thus better penetration and/or longer range. The ability to get a rigid, sharp point on them, as well as better and stronger wall-uniformity, lend to accuracy as well. Generally better aeros.

Lead has one major advantage in the accuracy department, that being the way it fills the rifling to get a more stable spin. You can't get a spire-point to maintain shape with lead, however, and even if you could, the lack of uniformity along the bullet's sides can cause long range accuracy to be spotty. You can cast harder bullets to offset that, and to take more pressure, but it still pales to jacketed for 1000 yd accuracy.

Use lead for hunting ranges (100-400yds) Past that, you're probably going to need a jacketed.

Floppy_D
July 14, 2008, 11:12 PM
No lead fouling from FMJs. That said, I load almost exclusively cast bullets.

rbernie
July 14, 2008, 11:13 PM
Copper jacketed FMJ tend to feed more reliably in semiautos than bullets of other material/construction.

Griz44
July 14, 2008, 11:14 PM
Great explanation Fiero... One problem.... I can't even see a 1,000 yrds anymore... :(

FieroCDSP
July 14, 2008, 11:16 PM
Plated are mainly driven as a safe/cheap alternative to exposed base jacketed and the obvious lead. Since plated isn't as strong as the drawn jackets, it can fill the rifling some, but is inconsistant and even fragile when expanding on impact. The surfaces are also not as consistantly aerodynamic as their jacketed breathren. Not a great choice for hunting/long range work. Great for cheap plinking and pistol range practice.

DaveInFloweryBranchGA
July 14, 2008, 11:20 PM
I prefer lead I cast myself.

Dave

FieroCDSP
July 14, 2008, 11:23 PM
I completly forgot the feed issue, thanks RBernie.

I'm not a flight-ballistician, so my knowledge comes from what I observe and what makes sense. Some guns like certain ammos. Some guns like lead better than copper. So long as there's 357 Magnum, there's going to be a 357 wadcutter. It's just the way it is.

wally
July 14, 2008, 11:27 PM
Price? I prefer hard cast lead since they are cheaper to shoot, but if FMJ or JHP were the same price I'd use them instead.

--wally.

Otto
July 14, 2008, 11:30 PM
FMJ's can be driven at higher velocities.
FMJ's are harder and provide better penetration.
FMJ's are don't require lubrication and are cleaner.
FMJ's help reduce the exposure to lead metal.
FMJ's are not gun specific, (ie. lead bullets are not recommended in Glocks or Hk's.)

Shoney
July 14, 2008, 11:40 PM
RM: Who is making that claim? Please site your sources.

FieroCDSP: 1. there is a difference between jacketed and FMJ bullets! 2. jacketed bullet get a rigid, sharp point on them. What about polycarbonate tips??????????
3. jacketed bullet give better penetration and/or longer range. Really!!!!!!!!!!! Lets see, a 55gr FMJ 223 will shoot farther and have better penetration than a 510 gr cast lead 45-70 bullet????????????? and those buffalo hunters shooting buffalo from 500 to 1000 yards is just a Fairy Tale??????????

.38 Special
July 14, 2008, 11:48 PM
FMJ's can be driven at higher velocities.
In rifles, that's usually true. But hardcast gaschecked lead bullets can be driven a bit beyond 2000 FPS without difficulty. In a handgun there is no practical velocity limit with cast bullets.

FMJ's are harder and provide better penetration.
The former is true, but the latter is extremely debatable. Nothing outpenetrates a properly designed cast bullet, at least in handguns. And anyone who has done penetration tests with heavy cast bullets from a 45-70 or similar can tell you that nothing gets deeper except perhaps the Nitro Expresses.

FMJ's are don't require lubrication and are cleaner.
I'd rather clean lead fouling out of a gun than copper fouling.

FMJ's help reduce the exposure to lead metal.
Got me there, especially when totally encapsulated bullets are used.

FMJ's are not gun specific, (ie. lead bullets are not recommended in Glocks or Hk's.)
Funny that plastic guns require jacketed bullets. :neener:

Shoney
July 14, 2008, 11:49 PM
Otto:
FMJ's help reduce the exposure to lead metal.
Only TMJ bullets will do that. FMJ,s have exposed lead at the botom, an it does vaporixe when shot and upon impact.

FMJ's are not gun specific, (ie. lead bullets are not recommended in Glocks or Hk's.)
Please don't repeat these Urban Myths. I dare you to go to Glock Talk or the HK Pro Boards and say them.

1911user
July 15, 2008, 12:22 AM
Hardcast lead and jacketed bullets have hardness in common; they are relatively hard. Plated bullets are soft lead with a thin copper coating.

Hard bullets are more forgiving in terms of reloading errors especially when people severely overcrimp. When squeezed too much, soft bullets do not spring back as much as the brass case resulting in loose bullets. That sets up a situation where bullet setback can happen easily. Plated are also harder to set the right amount of crimp for semi-auto rounds. If not enough bell is removed, then they may not chamber reliably. If crimped too much, then the copper coating gets cut and accuracy goes to hell quickly.

IMO new reloaders should learn the craft with hard lead or jacketed bullets THEN move to plated if plated bullets are somehow a requirement. With cheap jacketed bullets priced about the same as plated, I really don't see the advantage of using plated for anything.

Also with FMJ you don't have to worry about velocity or leading. If jacketed and lead bullets were priced the same, I'd use jacketed almost exclusively. However, hardcast lead is cheaper so I use a mix of jacketed and lead depending on the caliber and load.

fireflyfather
July 15, 2008, 12:24 AM
Lead bullets are note recommended in octagonal rifling, because they cause excessive leading. Glocks (as far as I know) ship with octagonal rifling in the barrel. A simple aftermarket barrel fixes that problem, and voila! lead bullets out of a glock.

Actually, certain weapons do NOT function well with jacketed bullets. Pretty much anything black powder (muzzle loader, or black powder cartridge) does much better with soft lead. Also, schuetzen rifles use strictly soft lead. Rimfire ammunition works much better as plain lead.

Shoney
July 15, 2008, 12:30 AM
fireflyfather: If what you are saying is not Urban Myth (no lead in polygonal barrels), please cite the authority which say you are correct.

I have shot tens of thousands of hard cast lead in each of my polygonal barreled pistols.

TAB
July 15, 2008, 12:40 AM
Glock recomends that you not shoot lead.

The only reason I know of too shoot lead vs FMJ is cost.

AgentAdam
July 15, 2008, 12:46 AM
Lead increases barrel life, or should i say jacketed decreases barrel life.

Shoney
July 15, 2008, 02:18 AM
TAB: put up a copy of that statement in a Glock Warrantee.

I have read over mine many times and it only mentions that the warrantee is invalid if you shoot reloaded ammunition. No mention of lead. The same is true with my HK warrantee.

TAB
July 15, 2008, 03:13 AM
Thats going to be rather hard since glock does not put any warrenty and/or owners manuels on line.

Otto
July 15, 2008, 06:09 AM
FMJ's are not gun specific, (ie. lead bullets are not recommended in Glocks or Hk's.)

Urban myth or not, I'm not changing my position regardless of what the Glock fanboys think.

http://glockmeister.com/faq.shtml
http://www.angelfire.com/co3/markcolo/kabooms.html
http://www.glockfaq.com/reloading.htm

Marlin 45 carbine
July 15, 2008, 08:13 AM
hard-cast slugs shoot as well as many jacketed and are cheaper - sometimes (as for .32acp) much so. with gas checks (where required) and the right powder fouling is kept down with the right size diameter.

kymarkh
July 15, 2008, 08:53 AM
I prefer FMJ because they are the least expensive high quality practice ammo I can buy. It also makes maintenance much easier.

Pilot
July 15, 2008, 09:17 AM
I use Lead Semi-Wadcutters in most of myy reloads for both semi-auto a revolver. I only shoot FMJ for practice in my HK P7 and HK USP due to the gas system in the P7 and the barrel in the USP.

snuffy
July 15, 2008, 11:36 AM
Who says FMJ's are "preferred"?

Are they good bullets? Yes! But preferred, NO.

When I started shooting IPSC and IDPA, the need for an inexpensive bullet became apparent. Searching forums like this, I came across a link to west coast bullets,(now called extreme). I ordered some, they're plated like berry's and ranier. BUT the plating is the thickest of the 3. Also they are ALL double struck, meaning they are sized after the plating is finished. I've had nothing but good, accurate shooting from the extreme line of plated bullets.
http://www.xtremebullets.com/index.htm

Now the myth that a taper crimp can separate the plating on a bullet. It seems that people turn off common sense when repeating the oft heard lament of the plating cracking under a crimp. They must think that the copper is somehow brittle. It's the same stuff the "preferred" FMJ's are made of. Nobody worries about the FMJ's cracking. OIC it's because it's so thin!;) It's still soft copper, it'll give to take the crimp.

BTW better tell SPEER that copper plated bullets won't work. Their new fusion bullets for RIFLE are plated! Yes, I know the plating is MUCH thicker, but it's still copper plated unto a swagged soft lead slug.

Shoney
July 15, 2008, 11:41 AM
TAB: You talk as a Glock expert, you should then have the Glock Manual/Warrantee. Cite the passage from your literature that says "don't shoot lead".

Otto wrote Urban myth or not, I'm not changing my position regardless of what the Glock fanboys think. That is funnnnnnnnnnnnnnneeeeey!!!!!! In other words I can baffle you with bull, but I don't dare confuse you with facts??????????

RM
July 15, 2008, 12:55 PM
To answer Shoney's question: several times I have seen THR posts stating that "for almost the same money as Brand X bullets, I could buy FMJ bullets." So as a new reloader, it suggested to me that FMJ bullets are best.

Shoney
July 15, 2008, 01:06 PM
RM: If it said so on the interweb, it's gotta be true. So I just realized I need to sell something to buy more FMJ bullets.

Hey RM, I've got it! I have this nifty bridge back east I will sell you really cheap. How bout a dollar two ninetyeight. Don't thank me until after you make a killing by going back there and selling it yourself. Where is it? OH yeah, its in Brooklyn.

RM
July 15, 2008, 03:45 PM
That's why I asked the question, because I don't know that much about it.

fireflyfather
July 15, 2008, 06:38 PM
Shoney: I said that lead is not recommended (implied: by others). I never said it voided a glock warranty. Many people safely shoot lead out of glocks. Most of those that *I know* who do so, use aftermarket barrels. From what I've been told, and again, this is admittedly hearsay, though more reliable than "what I heard on the internet", is that shooting only lead is also fine. The problem supposedly cropped up when firing lead, then firing copper. I do not have empirical data on this, so I can only say what people who owned these weapons have told me.

AS for slightly more reputable sources, try George Miller, the owner of kead bullets (a somewhat popular bullet manufacturer):
http://reviews.ebay.com/RELOADING-WITH-CAST-LEAD-BULLETS_W0QQugidZ10000000000010958

According to him, he has been told by glock not to use lead. He does it anyway. He does, however, suggest that a harder alloy is better for this purpose:

http://www.keadbullets.com/

It may be perfectly fine to use lead in glocks, or it may require a harder alloy, or it may be dangerous. There is little agreement on this. However, it seems pretty likely that glock has AT LEAST been telling manufacturers that lead shouldn't be used in glocks...my original point. All of that was found in less than 5 min of google. Some people may be misreading the glock manual, but if so, they are people who really ought to know better. For the non-bullet caster/industry insider, it's hard to know what to think. I tend to think Glock doesn't specifically mention lead, because they are already suggesting that reloading is not recommended.

Also, there is no need to be joyously sarcastic/insulting to others in this case. It's ironic, as I am usually the one on the receiving end of admonishments of this nature.

Shoney
July 15, 2008, 08:36 PM
fireflyfather: Please note that in earlier post #19 above, I secifically mention using HARD CAST bullets.

What gave Glock and lead bullets the reputation for KABOOMS????? Read
http://www.thegunzone.com/glock/glock-kb-faq.html

Kosh75287
July 15, 2008, 09:10 PM
In MOST centerfire rifle calibers, where cast bullets are USUALLY not optimal for use, the FMJ form is generally the least expensive configuration that won't severely lead the barrels at high velocities. For .308, I pretty much reload 147grain FMJBT just because it works well in gas auto actions, and I don't REALLY need a softpoint's expansion for defensive purposes. I also reload some 168grain BTHPs for long range rifle competition. Unfortunately, at MY current level of skill, I'm prolly wasting expensive bullets for nothing.

fireflyfather
July 16, 2008, 06:44 PM
Shoney, I saw that you used hard cast. I understand that. It still doesn't change the original point: Though it hasn't been categorically proved, the jury is out on this topic, and many people who should be in the know (bullet manufactuers, some glock armorers I've spoken with) believe that lead is not for glock/polygonal rifling.

And, if you read your own source (the one you linked), they include this:

Some people have also postulated a relationship between the use of cast lead bullets and kB!, arguing that buildup of lead in the chamber can lead to pressure buildups as well. The jury seems to be out on this one as a direct causation, but lead build-up will sometimes cause a round to not fully chamber, and as Glocks can discharge with the action not completely locked up ("out of battery," [see Annotation #4]), this can lead to a catastrophic failure.

I don't claim to have a monopoly on truth. I honestly DO NOT KNOW if this is a safe practice. What I do know is that short of getting confirmation from glock directly (good luck), I'm going to buy an aftermarket barrel if I get a glock (not likely), because I am not fond of jacketed bullets. The cost of a barrel is cheaper than the cost of having to scrub out lead. Others may find this practice acceptable. Good on them.

Glock does not recommend using lead bullets. It is matter of opinion, not public record, whether they are simply being silent, or telling industry insiders not to use them. Either way, the have not publicly said one way or the other.

fireflyfather
July 16, 2008, 06:46 PM
Kosh:

That really depends on what you mean optimal use. If your standard of optimal involves super high pressures and velocities, you are correct. For short and medium range use, however, lead bullets can provide longer barrel life, better accuracy, and lots of inexpensive practice, not to mention an easier cleaning regimen (lead is much easier to clean than copper).

RustyFN
July 16, 2008, 09:11 PM
I prefer lead cast over FMJ, that's why I got into casting my own bullets. When you can load 100 rounds of 45 auto for $3 and still shoot accurate ammo it's a no-brainer. As far as shooting lead in a Glock it's not a problem. Where most people go wrong is they think they will shoot a couple of FMJ's to clean the lead out of the barrel, wrong choice. A Glock barrel will require a larger lead bullet so slug the barrel and use the correct size bullet and you shouldn't have any problem. For example a G17 will need close to a .358 lead bullet. All of the lead in a Glock barrel info was given to me by a Glock Armorer. I haven't shot any lead in my Glock yet but I don't have my 9mm mold yet. I have friends that have shot thousands of rounds of lead bullets in stock Glock barrels without any problems. As far as penetration I haven't seen any difference between lead and FMJ in IDPA or GSSF targets.:neener:
Rusty

shootinstudent
July 17, 2008, 01:19 AM
Shoney,

TAB: put up a copy of that statement in a Glock Warrantee.

I have read over mine many times and it only mentions that the warrantee is invalid if you shoot reloaded ammunition. No mention of lead. The same is true with my HK warrantee.

page 15 of the Glock manual (for a G17):

"Glock does not recommend the use of unjacketed lead ammunition"

It's in big red letters in my book.

Shoney
July 17, 2008, 02:40 AM
I got my polygonal barreled 40S&W’s when the ”lead bullets cause Glock and other polygonal-barrel KAGOOMS” was being wildly bantered about on many forums, with very little truth to the mix. Before reloading lead, I did extensive research and discussed the problem with some well known gunsmiths and the Glock people at the SHOT Show. Both sphincters on every Glock staff were tighter than a bull a$$ at fly time. Nice folks, but NO HELP THERE! But they did make a valid point. Glock pistols are tremendously popular, and by shear weight of numbers you will have more “supposed problems” (their words).

There was no single factor that caused the problem; there were combinations of contributing factors. The shortest oversimplification is, “Glock KABOOMS were most commonly caused by lead buildup which could have been avoided with frequent inspection and cleaning of the chamber and barrel.” Just how often is frequent??? Every 100 rounds is anal???????? Every 200 rounds is prudent??????? Hell, I’ll err on anal until I get some data to increase or decrease.

Problems:
Unsupported Chamber - Glock started with loose chambers with a small grove at the rear in the 6 o’clock position, thus the case was not touching anything at that point, it was unsupported. If the pressure is sufficient and/or the case weak, then it will either expand into the unsupported portion of the chamber or will rupture.
Firing Out Of Battery - Means the weapon will fire when the slide is not completely forward; therefore, the cartridge brass is not properly head spaced against the front of the chamber. Glock violently denies their weapons do this. However, everyone I know with an older Glock will tell you they do.
Lead Bullets – the lead needs to be at least a Brinell hardness of 19. Velocities should be kept under 1000fps.

So what causes the KABOOMS?????? The common factor of kabooms was usually case failure, and most of the failures were with reloaded cases. But remember that factory rounds cause good numbers of KABOOMS every year as well.

Glock’s research of KABOOMS showed a build up of lead at the point of head-spacing. This caused the cartridges to be progressively set farther back in the chamber farther and farther as more rounds were fired. The design of the older Glocks allowed them to fire (fire out of battery) these rounds which were set back. If the pressure were sufficient, the case would rupture.

What factors can cause over pressure????? Obviously an overloaded round will do nicely. Lead bullets will cause leading in the barrel and the chamber. The degree of build up and the number of shots required to reach overpressure will vary wildly with lead composition/velocity/powder/lube and so on. The leading of the chamber in combination with the increased pressure of a leaded barrel can cause the case to rupture. There are lots of other factors, but will not be discussed here.

As mentioned, shooting jacketed bullets after lead in polygonal barrels does not clean out the lead. In reality the jacketed bullets irons the lead to shiny flat coating and the bore is decreased.

Bottom line. Shooting lead in polygonal barrels is safe as long as you use hard cast bullets, check the chamber and barrel for leading frequently, and clean the weapon more frequently than you would with jacketed.

fireflyfather
July 17, 2008, 03:30 AM
Bottom line. Shooting lead in polygonal barrels is safe as long as you use hard cast bullets, check the chamber and barrel for leading frequently, and clean the weapon more frequently than you would with jacketed.

That sounds entirely reasonable to me. I can still understand why glock wouldn't want to go there, considering how stupid many people are, and their strong desire not to be sued by aforementioned idiot.

It also makes sense to me that slugging the bore of the glock and using slightly oversize bullets would also be helpful, keeping pressures in mind. I have a great lee mold that drops at .358.

Now, we can bandy about the REASONS that glock doesn't recommend lead in their guns, and I might be willing to even be convinced that it is safe. It still wouldn't change the (apparent) fact that it's not a recommended practice. Then again, I would sure as hell shoot reloads in a glock, too, so, there you go.

Shoney
July 17, 2008, 03:37 AM
fireflyfathr: Read every manual for every pistol on the market today, and you might, Might, MIGHT find one or two that say "OK to shoot reloads in our weapon".

Are you following those CAVEATs, Do NOt Shoot Reloads in Our Weapon?????????

Otto
July 17, 2008, 05:49 AM
TAB: You talk as a Glock expert, you should then have the Glock Manual/Warrantee. Cite the passage from your literature that says "don't shoot lead".

Shoney,
page 15 of the Glock manual (for a G17):
"Glock does not recommend the use of unjacketed lead ammunition"
It's in big red letters in my book.

Thanks shootinstudent for the information. As far as I'm concerned that settles the lead issue.

fireflyfather
July 17, 2008, 07:52 PM
Shoney: It may be few and far between that say "please shoot reloads". I do think you will be likely to see many that don't mention the practice at all.

Bearhands
July 17, 2008, 08:00 PM
"In terms of reloading and shooting, why are FMJ bullets preferred over plated bullets, lead cast bullets, etc? Thank you."

Simply........ they aren't

RM
July 17, 2008, 10:14 PM
Yes, Gentlemen. Thank you for your informative replies. I see now that my original question is based on a false assumption- that FMJ bullets are considered best by everyone.

GaryL
July 19, 2008, 01:08 AM
3. jacketed bullet give better penetration and/or longer range. Really!!!!!!!!!!! Lets see, a 55gr FMJ 223 will shoot farther and have better penetration than a 510 gr cast lead 45-70 bullet????????????? and those buffalo hunters shooting buffalo from 500 to 1000 yards is just a Fairy Tale??????????The 45-70 doesn't hold a candle to the 50 cal. So what's your point? If you're going to make a comparison, don't compare apples to oranges. That doesn't provide any useful information. (You usually do a lot better than that)

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