Coated Bullet Review (10mm)


May 10, 2014, 08:55 PM
CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

I recently ordered several hundred coated bullets from Bayou Bullets ( for testing. The purpose of this exercise was to determine if these coated bullets would hold up to full-power 10mm loads. The order arrived within 3 days of placing the order. Total cost with shipping was $44 for 300 bullets in 3 calibers (all green). The price for a case of 2,500 .40-caliber bullets WITH shipping is $242, which works out to .0968 cents per bullet. A regular lead bullet works out to about .06 cents, depending on the source.

The first thing I did was mic a handful of the .40 bullets (175gr SWC) at random - all measured at .401.

The next step was to match up suitable powder with the bullets. This was my first attempt to load lead for 10mm, so I had to do a little powder research. I settled on Red Dot and Bullseye, primarily because that's what I have on hand, although Bullseye was also listed favorably in the Lyman manual. Unique was also initially considered but rejected after I remembered that it had performed poorly in 10mm when using plated bullets.

I used 3 test charges of 5 rounds each using both Red Dot and Bullseye, for a total of 30 test rounds. Red Dot loads were 5.4gr, 5.7gr and 6.0gr. Bullseye loads were 5.9gr, 6.2gr and 6.4gr. My current standard 180gr plated bullet with 13.5gr of AA#9 was used as a benchmark. These loads were chosen due to their similar numbers on the charts, i.e., 5.4gr Red Dot aligns closely with 5.9gr Bullseye.

Before I went to the range and wasted my whole day for nothing I made sure to chamber a full magazine. I seated the bullets to the manual-recommended 1.253" and they chambered with no problems. This seating depth is .013" shorter than normal 10mm, but I haven't used SWCs in an auto and was concerned they might hang up.

My S&W 1006 was used for the test as it is the sturdiest auto 10mm I own.

The first load fired was 5.4gr of Red Dot. The report and recoil seemed slightly underpowered, but the rounds shot to point of aim and in fact were some of the most accurate fired during the test. 5.7gr showed a noticeable increase in recoil, but was still manageable. The max load of 6.0gr Red Dot closely replicated the AA#9 control loads and were quite snappy. All Red Dot loads hit point of aim consistently. I did not notice any smoke while firing any of these loads. Additionally, the barrel and action were pristine with no traces of leading or residue.

Next up was the Bullseye, starting with the 5.9gr load. I noticed a slight decrease in accuracy compared to the Red Dot loads. The 6.2gr loads were worse for recoil, but accuracy improved slightly during this string, possibly indicating a sweet spot for this gun/load. The max load of 6.4gr Bullseye had extremely heavy recoil, more so even than the 13.5gr AA#9 control. All Bullseye loads had a mild amount of smoke, but far less than a regular lead bullet from any other caliber I have shot. I don't have any .40-caliber lead bullets on hand to compare this against, but remember the Red Dot loads had none. It should also be noted that the max Bullseye load of 6.4gr generates an additional 45 FPS over the max 6.0 Red Dot load (1197 vs 1152 FPS) while generating 300 PSI lower pressure (paper figures).

CONCLUSION: These coated bullets worked well and in fact exceeded my expectations. Listed velocities for these loads range from 1113 FPS (5.4gr Red Dot) to 1197 FPS (6.4gr Bullseye). I will be ordering more in the future and will likely use Red Dot to propel them as it did very well.

Sorry for the long post but hopefully the information will help someone down the road.

5.4 5.7 6.0 Red Dot
5.9 6.2 6.4 Bullseye

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May 10, 2014, 10:11 PM
Red Dot being handy in 10mm is a pleasant surprise for me, I had no idea it would perform so well. Congrats.

What I really want to know is how you like those holes the SWC's leaves in the target? ;)

I have been planning on some coated bullets from another supplier (but of course you know that) but good to know there are choices out there. I have been spreading the word on these for a little while, now it's high time I tried them myself!

May 10, 2014, 10:34 PM
Unique should work as well or better with 10mm, but only if you load it to comparable pressures. That would give you more velocity and more recoil which would affect your shooting if recoil bothers you. The difference between Red Dot, Bullseye and Unique at equivalent pressures would only be about 100 fps with BE being right in the middle.

I've tested the same 3 powders in 9/38/40/45 and they are all so close for paper punching that my preference is usually based on what I have more of at the time. I would throw Power Pistol in there for fun, but I like to reserve that for maximum effect of muzzle blast and flash in low light.

Thanks for the information. The cool thing is that you can powder coat yourself if you cast bullets and have an old toaster oven.

May 10, 2014, 11:29 PM
The Red Dot also surprised me. I didn't think it would perform well at all.

Rsrocket1, I would have tried Power Pistol if I had any on hand. As for the Unique, all the test loads I tried previously with plated bullets made an odd "POOF" sound when they fired. These were at or near max charge. There were no squibs but it was quite unsettling, so I stopped load development. In any event, I have many other uses for Unique, so perhaps it's best that way.

May 11, 2014, 05:55 AM
OP, I wonder, would you comment on cleanup? Was there leading in your barrel? Any strange smudges or leftover coating or anything unusual?


May 11, 2014, 08:33 AM
Absolutely NO leading of any kind. The barrel looked brand new immediately after firing. I honestly expected a LITTLE fouling at the very least.

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