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Plated bullets for pistols

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by phonesysphonesys, Mar 1, 2022.

  1. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    I have no problems using plated bullets except that they have a speed limit recommended by the manufacturer. That is ok by me as I do not load or shoot many full power magnum rounds these days.

    Most plated bullets have a 1200 fps speed limit. Some heavy plated bullets can have a 1500 fps speed limit. Some of the manufacturers that make 30 Carbine bullets have a 2000 fps speed limit for their 30 Carbine bullets.

    I have used alot of plated bullets in 45 ACP, 9x19, 380 ACP and simiular semi-auto ammunition. I load some in 45 Colt and mid-range 357 magnum ammunition.

    38 Special plated wadcutters are the "bees' knees". I love shooting 38 Special wadcutters in revolvers chambered for 38 Special.

    In all the above uses, I taper crimp to remove the case mouth flaring.

    If plated bullet load data is not available, I use cast data.

    Generally, if I want full power magnum ammunition, I load jacketed bullets. I use cast and plated for "fun" ammunition. I know that cast bullets can be driven to magnum velocities, I'm just not interested in the effort to make the cast bullet magnum speed capable.

    Finally, I'm not against shooting magnum, wrist snapping recoil loads, but as I am completing my 7th decade of living, I really do not need to shoot as if my hair is on fire. Paper and tin cans do not need much energy to punch holes in them.

    If I need to shoot some wrist snapping recoil ammunition and damage a big block Chevy block, I can drag out the 460 S&W Magnum (460 XVR 8-3/8" "crew served" pistol). But I do have a great plinking load for the 460 to have fun with.:)
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2022
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  2. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    Ca.
    I shoot a boatload of plated and coated bullets, as most of my shooting is indoors and lead bullet lube smoke doesn’t win you many friends in a busy range.

    I do bell the case mouths a bit, as I have cut plating on the case mouth when pressing the bullet into a case without a bell.

    I also lightly roll crimp, but not too much. I have cut the plating on DEWC .38 bullets and had the nose separate from the rest of the bullet in flight. A light roll crimp keeps the bullet in place even with .41 Mag/.44 Spl/.45 Colt upper-mid range loads. (I only load jacketed bullets to max or near max levels.)

    From 2.8 gr Bullseye/148 gr DEWC .38 Spl. target loads to 10.0 gr Unique under a 250 gr SWC in my .45 Colt Vaquero, loading plated bullets takes a bit more care but its super easy to learn what is needed.

    Stay safe.
     
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  3. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    They work just fine. You’ll have to decide if you like their price point. I used them when they first appeared and were more available than anything else. At that time they (Raineir) said use lead data, which I did, and with a fast powder, TG, stuck a couple in a 6” 686 using .38 data. I switched to jacketed data and didn’t have any problems after that. Good luck.
     
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  4. CQB45ACP

    CQB45ACP Member

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    Why can starting lead data be too low with plated? What would be the indicators of that? I may be guilty.

    No, I should say I AM guilty but typically don’t like the lighter loads so I end up being in the mid- to upper- lead range vs. low. But still, I’m sure I start at the low end but don’t recall any I’ll effects.

    I started using Berry’s plated bullets and this from their website is why I used lead data interchangeably:

    Where can I find load data for your bullets?
    Load data from any load manual or website can be used. Full-metal jacketed, lead bullet, or plated bullet load data can be used as long as the following standards are adhered to:

    • The data contains the correct grain weight of bullet.
    • Berry's max recommended velocity is not exceeded. (This info is displayed on bullet boxes and product webpages.)
      • Standard Plate Bullets Max Velocity: 1,250 fps.
      • Thick-Plate Bullets (TP) Max Velocity: 1,500 fps.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2022
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  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Berrys 148 Gr HBWC
    Light Taper Crimp on a Berry's 148 Gr HBWC In .38 Spl - Pic 1.JPG
     
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  6. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    The copper plating is harder than the raw lead alloy and causes more friction in the barrel. Plated bullets are simply and in-between for lead and jacketed.
    You need to use data in between the minimum for lead and maximum for jacketed. Where it gets tricky is when the maximum for jacketed is below the speed limit for the bullet, like most 9mm loads. They are usually under 1250 fps so now you can use maximum published loads for these plated bullets.

    The accuracy thing at sound barrier with plated bullets, I've heard before but I have never seen it with my loads. I'll have to pay closer attention.

    What your doing with staying with middle to upper lead range is where I load at usually with plated.

    Do those expand as well as the lead HBWCs? Or reasonably well enough? How fast can you push them in your experience?
    I've seen those for sale but haven't tried them yet.

    Also, that case looks long for a 38 Special, is that a .357 case or a 38 Spl case?
     
  7. Y-T71

    Y-T71 Member

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    I never used plated in my revolver cartridges, only cast (usually "hard cast" since I had a commercial caster 5 minutes down the road from me) or true jacketed, like XTP's.

    Only problem I've had with plated was when pushing them too fast.

    I had a bunch of .40 cal bullets but sold off all my .40 S&W pistols so I tried them out in my S&W 1006 under 8 gr of Power Pistol.

    Not exactly what you'd consider a "nuclear load", in fact, I'd call it a "warm" .40S&W but accuracy was terrible.

    In was obviously exceeding the some sort of design parameters for this bullet in this cartridge with that powder.

    Now that I cast and PC my own I'm gonna give the 10mm another go with cast.

    Figure, worst case I'll get some plain base gas checks if I'm having trouble.
     
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  8. rtufixer

    rtufixer Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2020
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    I highly recommend DG bullets out of Wisconsin they sell coated bullets not a huge selection but very reasonable on price. I shoot their bullets using w231 out of my pistols and have no complaints.
     
  9. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    I have also found this to be true when loading plated bullets for all of my pistols. I always use jacketed bullet load data and stay below the maximum charge. I have some plated 158Gr RN bullets for 38Spec but I haven't started load development with them. I will most likely start at the jacketed minimum charge and work my way up until I see over pressure signs and/or accuracy starts to fall off or right before I get to the maximum powder charge.
     
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  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Expand at the hollow base? I assume they do reasonably well enough to seal things up well, soft lead and thin soft copper plating.

    It's a .38 Spl case, although they work well in .357 Mag cases as well

    I loaded these to a velocity that was soft and accurate. Plinker/informal target load.

    For plated in general loading of plated bullets (See post #11), I usually start at jacketed minimum, sometimes a bit more, then find a happy spot short of max, sometimes max. I have shot various 124 grain plated bullets in 9MM and then shot jacketed 124s with the same loads and velocities of plated and jacketed were so close it was statistically indifferent. I don't think any sane .45 ACP load can hurt a plated bullet.

    My light .357 Mag plinker with the X-Treme 158 Gr SWC
    158 Gr X-Treme SWC .357 Mag Light Load @ 40%.JPG
     
  11. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    I used plated bullets for the first 4 years I reloaded. Now I use Hi Tek coated from Summers Enterprises
    Great bullets at a decent price
     
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  12. derek45

    derek45 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2007
    Messages:
    610
    I much prefer hardcast coated to plated.

    Missouri bullet
    SNS
    Bayou
    etc.

    QFCmyQy.jpg

    KYgHWxw.jpg

    28tIZpO.jpg
     
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  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Coated is a great way to go these days. Many years ago plated was way less than jacketed, then it got more and more popular etc, and prices often rival jacketed. Coated is cleaner, shoots well, is easy to load for, and cheaper, at least for now.

    My full power .357 Mag load these days is a coated 158Gr SWC. I shoot coated as well as plated bullets in .32 Cal these days. I shoot coated for .45 Colt, will likely be going that route with .41 & .44 Mag soon. I still like my plated 9MM plinker load, but no doubt coated would work.
     
  14. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    I switched to high tech coated SWC bullets because of cost and availability right after the pandemic started. Plated bullets went way up and disappeared almost at the same time.
    I still like certain plated bullets, like the plated semi-wadcutter that Walkalong has in his picture in post 35. That's my all time favorite plated bullet.
    But I have grown to like Brazo's coated semi-wadcutters after trying my first order from them so I will continue to buy those since they kept me in bullets through the pandemic when no one else had any .357 mag bullets for sale, and they seem to be very accurate, and weight consistent.
    Sadly they had to quit making their 41 mag coated SWC due to lack of sales and having a hard time keeping up, so I will have to source them from somewhere else now.
     
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  15. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    I used the plated for years when i was shooting in a indoor range. What I found my best accuracy to be mid point jacketed data. Plated bullets normally use a soft core. On feeding some guns will put a flat spot on the nose as it hits the feed ramp, there that soft.
     
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