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Practical differences between plated/coated/FMJ

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by ochsen, Feb 28, 2019.

  1. ochsen

    ochsen Member

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    Outside of cost, any other practical differences between the three? I know plated has velocity limitations but for 9mm I load to around 1,050 fps—fairly mild and well within recommended specs.

    The reason I ask is I have always bought plated from Xtreme bullets but they haven’t had 124RN in stock in their bulk configuration in a very long time and I’d like to restock my supplies. So I figure I might as well look at other bullet and vendor options while I’m at it.

    Any advantages of coated or FMJ over plated?
     
  2. zanders

    zanders Member

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    You already stated that the FMJ can be pushed to higher velocities than the plated, but seeing as you're not doing that I'd say not really. As far as coated I'd guess that they would cause less wear on the gun but I couldn't point you towards an article on that or anything.

    Try some coated anyways though, I'm loving them so far.
     
  3. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    For mid range 'plinking' reloads, I'd say no operational differences between plated (all I use) and FMJ. I haven't tried powder coated.
     
  4. Zendude
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    Zendude Contributing Member

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    Load data for FMJ and plated are very close. Not sure if coated is closer to lead load data or not.
     
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  5. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    Welcome to THR.
    Jacketed bullets seem more accurate in .40 caliber polygonal barrels (Glock) than plated bullets. But I had good luck with plated in a Glock 19 and .45 caliber HK's.
    My new 9mm 1911 doesn't seem to like my plated 147 grain RN, but loves JHP's.
    In 357 my revolver would slice through the plating on some plated bullets, causing poor accuracy and leading. Other plated bullets did very well in 357. Some plated bullets were more accurate in my revolver than some jacketed.

    I always used jacketed data for plated. The little chrono data I have on plated bullets seems to agree more with jacketed recipes than lead recipes.

    Overall plated a good value and load easy like jacketed. With the revolver I found the accuracy speed limit to be around 1100 fps. Any faster and accuracy dropped way off. Crimp lightly.

    Coated are great in autos, very accurate, nice price.
     
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  6. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    For me, jacketed bullets tended to produce greater accuracy than plated bullets.

    And regular plated bullets (with around 1200 fps rating) when pushed above mid-range jacketed load data starts to lose accuracy - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.p...ng-at-25-50-yards.808446/page-3#post-10470195

    It used to be coated lead bullets were economical alternative to lubed lead bullets but in recent years, price of coated lead and plated bullets increased to the point where cost savings became less and less. Since RMR started to manufacture their own jacketed bullets in-house, buying their bullets with 5% THR discount or on sales often times made jacketed bullet prices comparable to plated/coated lead after factoring shipping charges.

    Since I load for pistols and 9mm AR carbines, 115 gr FMJ is a logical choice over 115 gr plated RN, especially if they are cheaper.

    Here is current comparison of plated with 10% off sale vs jacketed vs coated lead:

    X-Treme 115 gr RN $295 / 4000 - 10% off + $30 Shipping = $295.50 / 4000 ($73.87 / 1000) - https://www.xtremebullets.com/9mm-115-RN-Quantity-of-4000-p/xc9r115b4000.htm

    RMR 115 gr FMJ $300 / 4000 - 5% THR discount + Free shipping = $285 / 4000 ($71.25 / 1000) - https://www.rmrbullets.com/shop/rmr...rmr-full-metal-jacket-round-nose-bullets-new/

    MBC 115 gr RN Hi-Tek (Parabellum) $276 / 4000 - 5% THR discount + $14 Shipping = $276.20 / 4000 ($69.05 / 1000) - http://missouribullet.com/details.php?prodId=378&category=9&secondary=8
     
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  7. ochsen

    ochsen Member

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    Thanks for the replies everyone. Still looks like I can be happy with just about anything. Although I did think of a possible snag with coated: reading reviews of various coated projectiles report issues with the large capacity case gauges like the EGW 50 and maybe the Hundo. For whatever reason they’ll drop just fine in a Wilson gauge but not the others—which doesn’t make sense to me. I’m loading for seven different firearms so dropping them into each barrel isn’t exactly efficient.

    bds does make a compelling argument for FMJ. More accuracy in higher velocities (my wife does have a PC carbine that I haven’t loaded for) and competes in price w/ all discounts considered. I didn’t know about the THR discounts. The RMR Flat point MatchWinner is looking interesting.
     
  8. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    RMR 5% discount code is thehighroad5 and enter your THR ID in the order comment box.

    PM a member for MBC 5% discount code (At vendor's request).

    And Optics Planet also offers 5% discount with THRFORUM code on $50+ orders.

    I have a wide assortment of Berry's, HSM, PowerBond, Rainier, RMR, X-Treme plated and jacketed bullets. If you want to do comparison testing, PM me and I can "Pay it Forward" you a sample pack of bullets.

    RMR FP MatchWinner comes in 115, 124 and 135 gr weights. For my 9mm AR carbines, I have found lighter 115 gr bullets with higher velocities can benefit from less bullet drop at longer distances.
     
  9. AABEN

    AABEN Member

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    I like the powder coated bullets for target shooting that is what keeps me shooting there is different powder out there so check around to see what people likes the best I like the ford blue I can not think of the maker of it it does a better job than some of the other powder out there.
     
  10. ochsen

    ochsen Member

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    I think I will eventually try out powder coated, probably my next round of bullet purchasing.

    One of the companies (maybe Missouri) sells them in different diameters. I guess if I want to optimize my handloads I’d want to slug my barrels.

    There’s thebluebullets.com where all they sell is blue, maybe that’s what you’re thinking of.
     
  11. ochsen

    ochsen Member

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    Wow, thank you bds for the offer on the sample pack, I really appreciate it. However I think I will just go with your suggestion on the 115 gr FP for the carbine—maybe 1,000 and then 2-3,000 of the RN. Any idea what makes it better for matches? Maybe it punches a cleaner hole in paper.

    I will say it feels weird using a code specific to the forum, when my only contribution is this thread. Although I do want to post later in the spring/summer about some test results I’m going to do on shellshock technologies “brass.” I’d like to hear some opinions and other feedback when I eventually get everything together. There’s not much info out there about it—and maybe for a reason, ha ha.
     
  12. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    FP bullet is essentially RN with materials removed and added to the base, making bullet base/bearing surface that engages the rifling longer. The longer base increases bullet seating depth, especially in comparison to 115 FMJ with shortest bullet base length, which increases neck tension and more consistent chamber pressures.

    The longer bullet base/bearing surface not only improves engagement with rifling, but the center of gravity shifting towards bullet base supposedly improves rotational stability in flight.

    Take a look at the comparison picture below of 124 gr bullets and compare the bullet base/bearing surface length from right to left. Notice CN and SWC nose profile shows significantly longer bullet base. Short bullet base length of RN was one of many reasons why various bullet casters switched to/also offer RN with shorter/rounder nose profile that increased bullet base length.

    [​IMG]

    Now compare finished rounds with RMR 124 gr jacketed bullets below. Notice 124 gr FP MatchWinner is loaded to 1.080" OAL which results in deeper bullet seating depth than 124 gr FMJ loaded to 1.130" OAL. The greater area bullet base in contact with case neck increases neck tension and improves consistency of chamber pressures using less powder charge to generate same velocity. Same idea for 115 gr FMJ vs 115 gr FP MatchWinner.

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Powder coating is Paint, Hy Tek Polymer coating is not the same. Them terms often are interchanged, not the same.
    MBC does not sell POWDER coated bullets. Neither does Blue Bullets

    http://missouribullet.com/faq.php


    What is the Hi-Tek coating and how is it applied?
    The coating is made in Australia and imported here. We are currently lined to up distribute this coating along with unsized/unlubed bullets so that folks can apply the coating themselves. The coating itself consists of a catalyst which binds a polymeric colorant agent with acetone which is then applied in bulk to raw bullets and baked onto the bullets' surface at nearly 400 degrees. The coating is a polymer (bonded with metal) and forms an extremely tough new surface for the bullet. The application of the coating is repeated for an additional coat. The bullets are then sized normally but not lubricated, as the coating itself acts as bullet lube. Nominal bullet diameter is not affected.

    What are the advantages of Hi-Tek coated bullets?
    Many indoor ranges prohibit the use of lead bullets but allow the use of coated bullets due to the fact that no lead is exposed to the environment.

    Leading of the bore is dramatically reduced, as is lube smoke. Long shooting sessions do not have to be interrupted by bore cleaning.

    Higher velocities can be attained with coated bullets.

    Health benefits for the reloader, as there is no touching of bare lead.

    Reduced force required to seat and crimp because the bullets are slippery.

    2-Extreme Hi-Tek catalyst – We use this newest catalyst from the manufacturer because it has superb lubricity. It is well worth the extra cost relative to the standard catalyst. The bullets actually look "wet" and are very slippery. This lubricity reduces friction-related heat as the bullet traverses the bore.

    In summary, Hi-Tek coated bullets offer the advantages associated with plated bullets without the expense.
     
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  14. Kp321

    Kp321 Member

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    I use mostly plated bullets in my 9mm pistols and have found that all plated bullets are not the same. I have had very good luck with Frontier double struck match grade bullets. They have proven to be more accurate than other plated, including the Frontier standard bullet. I buy them from Black Hills, $78 to $85 per thousand, shipped, depending on quantity ordered.
     
  15. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    Actually, I was just pondering such a question this morning... I'll be curious to read all the answers. I am completely unfamiliar with coated bullets. Back in the good old days, you shot jacketed (real jacketed) bullets because that's all there was besides cast. When plated bullets became available, they were a good option because they were, at the time, quite a bit cheaper than jacketed... I just loaded them the same as FMJ. Now that the cost of plated bullets is about the same as FMJ, I'll have to see if coated bullets are a reasonable option.
     
  16. fxvr5

    fxvr5 Member

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    https://www.ssusa.org/articles/2017/3/7/coated-bullets-the-future-of-lead-bullets-for-handloaders/
     
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  17. Average Joe

    Average Joe Member

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    try Everglades reloading , they usually have FMJ bullets cheaper than Xtreme's plated, and with free shipping.
     
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  18. Skgreen

    Skgreen Member

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    In my shaky old hands, at close range, with a pistol,,, Just about anything works,,,
    But,
    My PC-9 Carbine on bags @ 50 really shines best with FMJ's,,, I have RMR's 124 FPMW and RN's,,, Contemplating some of their 115's,,,
    FFL has my suppressor / waiting on a Tax stamp, so most likely try out the 135/147's then,,,
     
  19. Dudedog
    • Contributing Member

    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    I have been really happy with the bullets I have gotten from RMR (Rocky Mountain Reloading), their jacketed are not much more or the same cost as some plated.
    My pistols prefer 124s and I have had excellent results with both the MPR HP and the FN Matchwinner.
    Fast free shipping, great people to do business with.
    They have a couple 115 gr bullets as well, I would say give them a try.

    I have had good results with coated bullets from Acme and Missouri Bullet Co, but not that much more for the jacketed ones by the time you pay shipping on the coated.
     
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  20. ochsen

    ochsen Member

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    Thanks for the detailed info. The photos aren’t loading for my browser but I can understand what you’re saying easily enough through your description. When I think of bearing surface and neck tension I always think of them being critical for rifle cartridges. Makes sense handgun competitors would be concerned about it too. Maybe this summer I’ll try to work up my best handloads using both RN and FP profiles to see how much accuracy I can get out of them.

    Edit: this is in response to bds’ post
     
  21. ochsen

    ochsen Member

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    Ah, duly noted. One of the many takeaways from all of this is every time I enter this thread I leave with more options.
     
  22. ochsen

    ochsen Member

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    I’m looking forward to putting something together for my wife’s pc carbine. I’m going to have to pull the red dot off and install a scope for load development. Due to my astigmatism, the dot is more of a splash.
     
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  23. SCC

    SCC Member

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    May I suggest that if you're shooting at steel targets, avoid FMJ. The shards of copper emitted on impact are quite sharp and are moving fast. The RO at one of the matches at my range took a shard in the trigger finger. It resulted in a trip to the ER and followup procedures, stopped him from shooting for a few weeks, and cost several thousand to the range and workman's comp. Yes it was a freak occurrence, but it can happen. All proper match safety, stage setup rules, and distances for steel were being observed. The lead just seems to pulverize or flatten and either blow away as dust or fall quickly to the ground on a good hit, but the copper jackets seem to want to come off and bounce around unpredictably.
     
  24. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    I've used lead, coated lead, plated and FMJ. Currently using Acme coated and I've shot thousands of those. It's a good bullet.

    When those are gone I'm going back to FMJ for my autos. I just like the way they crimp and shoot. Lead and plated deform too much if you have to pull them. Never say never. FMJ is Cadillac and I'm not exactly standing in the soup line anymore. :D
     
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  25. frogfurr

    frogfurr Member

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    CoalTrain49 likes this.
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