1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

FMJ composition

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by john917v, Aug 29, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. john917v

    john917v Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    What are FMJ rounds typically comprised of, that makes them harder than HP rounds? Anyone fired a (except for the case) completely copper or completely brass/other metal bullet?
  2. Jorg Nysgerrig

    Jorg Nysgerrig Member

    Apr 13, 2006
    What do you mean by "harder"? I haven't found FMJs are substantially harder than a most JHP rounds. There or some differences in penetration/expanson due to designs and/or penetrators that might be involved, but for the most part, they are mostly made of the same stuff (aside from metallurgical variations).
  3. Stump Water

    Stump Water Member

    Feb 21, 2007
    FMJ bullets are composed of copper and lead (lead alloy). They typically aren't any harder than other bullets, but the "full metal jacket" keeps them from deforming as much as other bullet types.

    I load/shoot Barnes "X" bullets. They're solid copper.
  4. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    Most FMJs use dead soft pure lead.
    This allows easy swaging of the lead and jacket.
  5. everallm

    everallm Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    Mainstream hollow points are swaged as well and made with the same materials.

    You will see some minor metal/alloy differences between the varying manufacturers recipes depending on where they source their stock.

    Plated rounds can be more susceptible to mechanical damage as the plating can be really thin in comparison to a "standard" FMJ
  6. kurts_armory

    kurts_armory Member

    Aug 29, 2008
    the jhp is meant and designed to expand upon impact, whereas the fmj is designed for penetration. some of the fmj's i have seen are alloy instead of copper.
  7. 230RN
    • Contributing Member

    230RN Marines raising the left-leaning Pisa tower.

    May 27, 2006
    You do mean the jacket itself, don't you?

    Working purely from memory:

    Used to be that jackets were made almost exclusively of what is known as "gilding metal," an alloy of copper and tin, which was developed as follows:

    A long time ago the French used to add tin flakes to their artillery shell powders to eliminate the copper fouling caused by the pure copper rotating bands on their shells.

    Sometime later, when copper jackets for small arms became commonplace, the copper fouling became really severe with the higher velocites attained in these small arms, especially near the muzzle, where the bullet was moving fastest.

    The military started to add tin flakes to small arms powders to alleviate the fouling problem. To differentiate these from the regular powders, a "1/2" was added to the powder designation.

    For one of the 1920s National Matches, Col Townsend Whelen developed a copper jacketed bullet which was plated with tin.

    This was called "Tin-Can" ammunition, and apparently shot very accurately, and almost completely eliminated the fouling problem, but was quickly withdrawn from the matches because despite explicit instructions to the contrary competitors insisted on dipping the bullets in grease for lubrication. This practice was known to increase pressures disastrously and several Match rifles were "broken" because of the grease on the bullets.

    After that, I believe it was Winchester-Western who discovered that the same effect would be obtained by alloying the copper jacket material with tin directly. This product was called Lubaloy (for "lubricating alloy", also known as gilding metal), and could be used with either full-metal jacked bullets or soft-point hunting hunting bullets, the advantage being the reduction in jacket material fouling, not any other magical property of the material.

    Nowadays, the jackets of FMJs can be made from very soft ("mild") steel, but are usually "copper-washed," meaning lightly plated with copper.

    Variations in "hardness" may be due to either the thickness or exact composition of the gilding metal jacket material or to the annealing methods and thickness of steel-jacketed bullets.

    Whether they are FMJs or hollow-points or soft-points.

    Note that even steel-cored bullets (as opposed to the steel jackets) have a thin layer of lead between the jacket itself and the steel core to allow the bullet to be engraved by the rifling.

    Again, strictly from memory. Anyone can feel free to correct or add to this story of bullet jacket materials.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2008
  8. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

    Nov 28, 2006
    Allentown, Pennsylvania
    Some milsurp ammo is steel core, but that has little to do with jacket type.

    I've never fired any monolithic solid bullets (other than lead), but they do exist, made out of copper, tin, and a few other materials, mostly for very high performance long range cartridges like .416 Barrett, .338LM and .408 CheyTac. I'm sure there are some MS bullets for .50BMG as well.
  9. Artiz

    Artiz Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    Somewhere in Canada.
    MAGTECH makes a 100% solid copper hollow point bullet called MAGTECH FIRST DEFENCE, for law enforcment.
    Available in most handgun calibers like 9mm Luger or .40 S&W.
    No jacket to tear away that generally cause loss of effectiveness and power.
    This bullet delivers deep penetration and devastating expansion.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page