Plated? Coated?
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Thread: Plated? Coated?

  1. #1
    Junior Member BZimm's Avatar
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    Plated? Coated?

    I am slowly learning about reloading handgun calibers and I'm in a position to stock bullets and powder.

    My question is: Do you guys have experience with plated bullets, or maybe these coated bullets that are available?

    I want to be cautious and careful, but I am curious how these products would compare with a 180gr FMJ style?

    I shoot a G23 and G19 (both Gen4) and not a lot; I guess "recreational" shooting would be my style.

    I'd appreciate any input at all. Thanks.

    BZimm
    Last edited by BZimm; 02-17-2017 at 04:09 PM. Reason: Forgot Gen4

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    Junior Member Argon18smith's Avatar
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    For recreational, the cheaper the better. Just read an article on Xmetal 9mm. The guys that did the testing were pleased with the results they got, better accuracy than FMJ, cleaner, no worries about shrapnel and slightly cheaper. They did notice a smell once the barrel got heated up. My next order will include some Xmetal.

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    Junior Member BZimm's Avatar
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    To be clear, I've read that shooting a plain lead alloy is not the ticket in a Glock or other barrel with polygonal rifling. I'm following up on that, and specifically wondering about these non-traditional methods in lieu of "jacketing" the lead in copper. I guess what I'm really trying to avoid is becoming enamored with a particular bullet and learning later (or worse yet, the hard way) that I'm shortening the life of my Glock barrels. Maybe I'm being overly cautious, maybe I'm just likin' this hobby waaayyy too much.

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    Member Craigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BZimm View Post
    To be clear, I've read that shooting a plain lead alloy is not the ticket in a Glock or other barrel with polygonal rifling. I'm following up on that, and specifically wondering about these non-traditional methods in lieu of "jacketing" the lead in copper. I guess what I'm really trying to avoid is becoming enamored with a particular bullet and learning later (or worse yet, the hard way) that I'm shortening the life of my Glock barrels. Maybe I'm being overly cautious, maybe I'm just likin' this hobby waaayyy too much.
    I don't shoot Glocks very often and don't have polygon barrels either. Also, I don't know much about newer coating which might be currently in use, so why am I responding? Because I've loaded quite a few lead bullets over the years and can talk about this. I also know of a few companies who over the years have used copper washed bullets which look a lot like full metal jacket but are not. The ones I purchased at a gun show then sold were basically spray painted copper on a soft swaged lead bullet. They were made in Miami by a now defunct American Ammunition. I've never ever had a bullet to lead up my good clean rifling like these did. What a mistake. In rifle calibers, I've heard the copper washing stays on the bullet while it goes down the barrel, but I know for a fact this did not happen on these cheazie Miami made bullets. They were more like the copper wash in inexpensive 22 rimfire bullets. They were actually worse than my old Speer 200 grain soft lead swaged bullets I used to load in my youth.

    The guy I sold them to insisted I was wrong and offered to buy mine. I sold him the 500 rnd box for cheap. A couple of months later at a club BBQ he laughed and wanted to know if I'd buy them back. I said no.

    The more modern Speer soft lead bullets come lubricated with supposedly a new coating which doesn't lead, but I'd have to see that. A good Keith style cast lead bullet, properly lubricated, tends to be pretty hard. I've never experienced any severe leading with this kind of bullet. At the end of the day, just run a gas check through the barrel. LOL That's meaning fire a jacketed round.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    I've read, and been told, that one mustn't fire coated or lead-alloy bullets through Glock polygonal rifling.
    Evidently, Glock's standard rifling leads up, and thus raises chamber pressures to much-too-high levels.
    (Truth: I have absolutely no Glock experience, except that, years ago, I once did a practice run with someone else's Glock pistol, just to see what it was like.)

    My understanding of plated (not merely coated) bullets is that, if they are properly made by a reputable manufacturer, the plating would be thick enough to be considered a true jacket.
    Therefore, my sources tell me, properly made plated bullets are acceptable for use in Glock rifling.

    Many years ago, one could buy special bullets made of Zinc that came with hardened Zinc washers cast onto their bases.
    You were supposed to fire one or two of these after a range session with lead bullets. They were supposed to scrape out all of the leading in the barrel.
    Did they work? The people I knew who tried them said that they were as effective as snake oil, and were a complete waste of good Zinc.

    In my own experience, firing lead bullets in practice followed by jacketed bullets in matches, the jacketed bullets seemed to iron the lead even more strongly into the barrel's metal, and made it that much harder to remove.
    So instead, I used a Lewis Lead Remover after the last practice of the month, and fired my jacketed match bullets through a clean, lead-free bore.
    BZimm likes this.

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    Member Craigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    Many years ago, one could buy special bullets made of Zinc that came with hardened Zinc washers cast onto their bases.
    You were supposed to fire one or two of these after a range session with lead bullets. They were supposed to scrape out all of the leading in the barrel.
    Did they work? The people I knew who tried them said that they were as effective as snake oil, and were a complete waste of good Zinc.

    In my own experience, firing lead bullets in practice followed by jacketed bullets in matches, the jacketed bullets seemed to iron the lead even more strongly into the barrel's metal, and made it that much harder to remove.
    So instead, I used a Lewis Lead Remover after the last practice of the month, and fired my jacketed match bullets through a clean, lead-free bore.
    Yeah, I didn't buy the gas check or jacketed round either, though I'm not sure it actually makes it worse. I don't think so, that's why I "LOL"ed my remarks on this. I have found, over the years, cleaning with a good wire brush and nitro solvent right after range time, does do a fair job and adds considerable time between needing a formal de-leading. Many I knew, as did I, had a Lewis Lead Remover on their bench if they shot lead. Some swear by chunks of copper pan scrubbing pads. claiming they work as well, and some claim white vinegar, but you have to be concerned about the bluing. I've even heard of hydrogen peroxide with Choreboy chunks, but never would try it.

    But though you and I might poke fun at the idea of a gas check or firing a jacketed round after a match, quite a few swore by it back in the day. Not all of them felt it was snake oil, a waste of zinc or of gas checks. I never had a use for gas checks either.

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    I've used Rainier and Berry's plated bullets in auto-loaders but I'm not a Glock guy so all I have is a guess about Glocks.
    Rainier advertises their plating is .004" thick. I tore one apart, the plating measured .004".
    I can't see a bullet with 'real' plating being a problem with polygonal rifling. BUT that's only a guess on my part.

    Back when I had 380's I found plated bullets would move more as they worked up through the mag when I applied any taper case crimp.
    No crimp at all worked best, at least with the relatively thin 380 brass. You have to rely only on neck tension to hold the bullets.
    Hours of testing various amounts of crimp verified this to be true. (Using Rainier plated bullets).

    Very little taper crimp testing seems to indicate the same may be true with the thicker 9 mm brass when using Berry's plated bullets.
    Being in-between nines at this time, I haven't had a chance to verify the above statement to be positively true.

    I only use jacketed or plated bullets in my auto-loaders.
    I will use hard cast lead bullets in revolvers. (With gas checks for magnum loads in 44 and 357 magnums).

    FWIW, I've met a Glock competition shooter that claims lead bullets in Glocks are no problem.
    (Don't take that one to the bank, he might know what ain't so).


    Sam

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    Junior Member BZimm's Avatar
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    I'm leaving for a local gun show in a few minutes with a small wad of cash. My lovely wife is working today.......

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    Member Craigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BZimm View Post
    I'm leaving for a local gun show in a few minutes with a small wad of cash. My lovely wife is working today.......
    Don't have a wife, but like you, I went to two gun stores today with an eye to look for a Light Weight Combat Commander Colt in .45. I didn't find one I liked, but there's plenty more stores.

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    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    I've got a wife, and she comes with me to gun stores.
    I just wish that there was a gun store to visit.
    The nearest one is a $40.00 ferry ride and 50 road miles away.

    We have a licensed dealer here on the island, but he's mostly for facilitating on-line purchases. No stock.
    And I maintain my C&R FFL, just in case. I've needed it about three times, during the last 20 years.

    I'm too old to need to buy anything, although I do occasionally get sorely tempted.

  12. #11
    Junior Member BZimm's Avatar
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    Not gun store,..... gun SHOW!!! My lovely wife had to work, like I said. So later in the afternoon when she asked "if I bought another firearm", I openly answered "no".

    I did, however, come home with 1000 SP primers, a Lyman 55 powder measure, a Forster case trimmer setup, a small Lee press, a Lee hand priming tool and a RCBS hand priming tool.


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    Member Blackhawkman's Avatar
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    I shoot Glocks alot, 17, 19, 21. I shoot only FMJ bullets. Lead doesn't work well in the "polygonal rifling" barrels. jmho works for me.

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    Member Craigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    I've got a wife, and she comes with me to gun stores.

    I'm too old to need to buy anything, although I do occasionally get sorely tempted.
    Jan will not go into a camera, fly fishing, or gun store with me and would rather be left at home, if that's my intent. She knows my mouth when around fellows who indulge in said subjects.

    As far as being sorely tempted, how about a minty Bulgarian Makarov 9x18 with both magazines and both grips, including the red bakelite grips? .. maybe unshot and still gunked up with original cosmoline, and all for under $300?

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    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craigh View Post
    ...As far as being sorely tempted, how about a minty Bulgarian Makarov 9x18 with both magazines and both grips, including the red bakelite grips? .. maybe unshot and still gunked up with original cosmoline, and all for under $300?
    Nope. Doesn't do it for me.
    My particular weakness is for a Swiss K.31 barrelled action, which I would attempt to convert to 7.62x51mm and "scout" configuration. Just as an experiment.
    Or (my furthest-fetched dream) a minty Winchester 95, takedown, in .30-'06.

    Years ago, a friend (now deceased) had our talented gunsmith-friend (now also deceased) convert a M.95 in .30 US Army to accept .30-'06.
    It worked quite well.
    Nowadays, I wouldn't do a conversion on a M.95. They're just too valuable as collector pieces.

    I've gotten too old for my dreams.

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    Member Craigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    Nope. Doesn't do it for me.
    My particular weakness is for a Swiss K.31 barrelled action, which I would attempt to convert to 7.62x51mm and "scout" configuration. Just as an experiment.
    Or (my furthest-fetched dream) a minty Winchester 95, takedown, in .30-'06.

    I've gotten too old for my dreams.
    I think I have too. I did fulfill one of my dreams years ago. I made a beautiful sporter based on one of my favorite actions, the Chilean small ring Mauser. I had it chambered in 257 Roberts Ackley Improved with the 40° shoulder. It had a Douglas barrel and Fajen Reinhardt fiddle-back walnut wood, 90% inletted. The famous Henry Borgheresi from Chili, then retired to Greenville S.C. helped me build a checkering cradle then taught me how to use it. He also taught me how to fit various things, like lapping the bolt, etc. I polished it but let a local company Henry recommended do the bluing. You could see your face a mile deep in that metal. I won't get into the arm length list of other things like trigger and safety, but I spent a good bit putting it together. I shot my first deer with it in 1983 or 1984, if memory serves. It was one of my dream guns. I got hooked by a book by Williams Gunsight called something like Sporterizing Military Rifles.

    I made one almost like it a couple years later, but was not as cool. It was based on an old 700 Remington action from a rifle I found in a pawn shop for $35 and almost ruined. It was actually painted with royal blue paint. Still with a new barrel and pretty wood, it came out very nice. Henry taught me how to jewel the bolt on this one. It was in 244 Remington, changed by the barrel to 6mm Remington and I gave it to my best friend as a surprise for his birthday (I knew Steve would not want a wildcat), the guy who owns the ranch next to our family property. Even though he had a lot of ranch, he always was short of spendable income. We've been close for over fifty years. Both of these rifles had glassed actions and floated barrels. Both could group on a dime at 100 yards with handloads. Steve claimed better than MOA with factory Western ammo. I know he shot a turkey through the head at around 100 yards from a fence post. I was there. The turkey was holding still for a change.

    I do want that Bulgarian Makarov 9x18 if I can find a clean one with all the extras like at least two magazines, both grips with the Russian Star, holster and so on. If it's reliable, I can see it as my EDC in the future.

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