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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
There has been quite a bit of discussion about people using plated bullets in reloading, and I've been watching from the sidelines because I am ignorant on the topic. However, I did see a problem with plated bullets show up in a match a few weeks ago, and I wanted to pass that information along and seek comment.

In a local USPSA-sanctioned match, a very experienced competitor, a master level shooter, was having lots of feeding problems with a 1911 (in .45 ACP). He had made some changes to the gun (unspecified), and was using new magazines and plated bullets. I believe that the bullets were 200 grain, and I know they were plated round nose.

I don't know what other changes he may have made to the gun. It could be that he had worked on the ramp, or the magazine springs were changed, that part is a mystery. Maybe the only change he made was to try plated bullets because they are less expensive, and as much as this guy shoots that would not be an unreasonable thing to do.

In trying to solve his problem, we all pondered the matter during the match, swapping out all of his magazines (with no effect), and then finally I gave him 100 rounds of my reloads, which were 230 grain Montana Gold FMJ bullets on Winchester 231 powder, power factor of about 184. I always bring an extra 200 rounds to matches in case I have some re-shoots. Using my ammo, the problem was immediately solved, and he went on to win the Single-Stack Division of the match. Problem solved.

The problem we solved was that the plated bullets were deforming on the ramp in his gun, which could easily be seen on inspection of the ammo. He came to the conclusion that the plating was too soft, and when the bullet bumped into the ramp they were deforming enough to jam. The FMJ bullets that I gave him had no such problem, they were strong enough to feed perfectly in the gun. I believe that the plated bullets were new to him, so I'm pretty sure he has switched back to FMJ.

Is this true with all plated bullets? I don't know, but I doubt it, or the news would have been all over the web. What I do know is that FMJ bullets in this case solved a problem caused by plated bullets. This is something to think about if you ever encounter feeding problems with plated bullets in a semi-auto pistol.

Your thoughts?

Chris
 

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Not all plated are created equal but I will say this I have shot thousands of rainier without a single hitch. Thanks to Ed and some other forum members I am working with extreme plated and Rocky Mountain reloading bullets. So far no feed problems. The plating thickness does vary substantially among brands. Maybe I should get some cross sections of the three brands I have at the house?


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Man, I've shot thousands of plated and never had a feed problem unless it was a gun issue... That is, evident with other ammo. Osageid is correct though, there are many different plated suppliers anymore. The (2) main ones I use, Berrys and Xtreme, both state that they are "double struck", which I believe means double coated... With the rise in copper price, I'm sure there are suppliers "thinning the mix'...

If you find out more about his issue, please let us know.

Osageid, I like your idea about cross section pics. Have at it!
 

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Man, I've shot thousands of plated and never had a feed problem unless it was a gun issue... That is, evident with other ammo. Osageid is correct though, there are many different plated suppliers anymore. The (2) main ones I use, Berrys and Xtreme, both state that they are "double struck", which I believe means double coated... With the rise in copper price, I'm sure there are suppliers "thinning the mix'...

If you find out more about his issue, please let us know.

Osageid, I like your idea about cross section pics. Have at it!
In ICU today , maybe when I get home!

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In ICU today , maybe when I get home!

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In your job it is definitely better to "give than receive!" Thank God for folks like you!
 

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I shoot Ranier plated and I have never had any failure to make note of. I can't tell of any performance issue compared to factory FMJ loads.
The only difference i notice between my xtreme plated 115s and my remington 115 gr fmj is how much smoke the tight group made on the back of the jacketed. I will hardly buy fmjs any more.

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The timing of this thread is perfect! I bought some commercial reloads that used 115 gr Xtreme bullets. Seems to work well so far for me, but I've only shot 50 so far. I've read that depending on the bullet/barrel combo, some lead can get exposed. Anyone have this experience with Glock barrels and plated bullets in general?
 

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The timing of this thread is perfect! I bought some commercial reloads that used 115 gr Xtreme bullets. Seems to work well so far for me, but I've only shot 50 so far. I've read that depending on the bullet/barrel combo, some lead can get exposed. Anyone have this experience with Glock barrels and plated bullets in general?
Not yet, but I keep loading them hotter and hotter.... One can only hope! LOL!
 

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The timing of this thread is perfect! I bought some commercial reloads that used 115 gr Xtreme bullets. Seems to work well so far for me, but I've only shot 50 so far. I've read that depending on the bullet/barrel combo, some lead can get exposed. Anyone have this experience with Glock barrels and plated bullets in general?
I would render that polygonal rifling would be less likely to expose lead than traditional rifling. I have recovered plated bullets shot out of glock and HK that the plating was intact.
 

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The problem we solved was that the plated bullets were deforming on the ramp in his gun, which could easily be seen on inspection of the ammo. He came to the conclusion that the plating was too soft, and when the bullet bumped into the ramp they were deforming enough to jam. The FMJ bullets that I gave him had no such problem, they were strong enough to feed perfectly in the gun. I believe that the plated bullets were new to him, so I'm pretty sure he has switched back to FMJ.

Chris
How did you come to this conclusion?

If you racked one and then ejected it from the chamber could you see dents/marks in the bullet?

It would be interesting to measure some of his new plated reloads and compare them to yours...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
How did you come to this conclusion?
The plated bullets that jammed had the nose dented. We associated the dents with the jams.

If you racked one and then ejected it from the chamber could you see dents/marks in the bullet?
The shooter did recover some of the jammed rounds and found them to be dented. Not always, it was not a 100% failure, but consistent enough to make the ammo unusable in competition because it jammed so frequently.

It would be interesting to measure some of his new plated reloads and compare them to yours...
He did hold them up together (side by side), and I believe the profile (COL) was identical, or close enough that, aside from the bullet color, it was hard to tell them apart.

The more I think about this, I can imagine two causes: the plating was too thin and it folded or deformed, or there were voids in the lead under the plating, and the plating just collapsed over the voids when the bullet hit the ramp. I believe (not sure) that the latter was what he found. I will ask him on Saturday, we will be in a match together again.

Chris
 

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The more I think about this, I can imagine two causes: the plating was too thin and it folded or deformed, or there were voids in the lead under the plating, and the plating just collapsed over the voids when the bullet hit the ramp. I believe (not sure) that the latter was what he found.
I would believe this, remember whether it is plated, swedged, or encased, (fmj), the copper clad is very thin and copper is soft, if the underlying support, (lead/steel core) is not uniform it would stand to reason that the copper will not hold the form under duress.
 

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I would believe this, remember whether it is plated, swedged, or encased, (fmj), the copper clad is very thin and copper is soft, if the underlying support, (lead/steel core) is not uniform it would stand to reason that the copper will not hold the form under duress.
Exactly and that is why I like the double struck bullets that Ed was referring to in his previous post.

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OK, better late than never....sorry just got back to the house. A couple of things are jumping out at me to begin with. First off I need to comment on something that Ed had to say. The term "double struck" has nothing to do with the copper coating but instead the hardness and consistency of the lead core before copper plating. I have shot thousands of rounds of Ranier's now and love them. They are consistent and I have recovered many rounds only to find them completely intact. Now to your friends problem since you were there you may have noticed is his "1911" a race rig perhaps? Since you indicated that it was indeed a .45 acp were the plated bullets full round nose, round flatnose or straight flatnose bullets. As we all know many 1911's are extremely picky on what they will eat and what they won't. As to the denting I am very interested as to the maker of the bullet. Because of the "shortage" I can say that I have seen some less than desirable projectiles being passed off to folks. I would also be interested if the base of the bullet was open showing lead or fully coated. Lastly most of the major companies are using a uniform 0.005 coating and it holds up well. Inquiring minds want to know.
 

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OK, better late than never....sorry just got back to the house. A couple of things are jumping out at me to begin with. First off I need to comment on something that Ed had to say. The term "double struck" has nothing to do with the copper coating but instead the hardness and consistency of the lead core before copper plating. I have shot thousands of rounds of Ranier's now and love them. They are consistent and I have recovered many rounds only to find them completely intact. Now to your friends problem since you were there you may have noticed is his "1911" a race rig perhaps? Since you indicated that it was indeed a .45 acp were the plated bullets full round nose, round flatnose or straight flatnose bullets. As we all know many 1911's are extremely picky on what they will eat and what they won't. As to the denting I am very interested as to the maker of the bullet. Because of the "shortage" I can say that I have seen some less than desirable projectiles being passed off to folks. I would also be interested if the base of the bullet was open showing lead or fully coated. Lastly most of the major companies are using a uniform 0.005 coating and it holds up well. Inquiring minds want to know.
I was referring to OT post about lead being consistent under neath the plating. I will agree that Rainer have been great and these Xtreme and Rocky Mountain reloading seem to be very nice and so far function flawless but I do not have the round count I have with Rainier. Btw OSS not been able to come to OK but one day will have that cup of Joe with ya!

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I stand corrected.... Here's what Berrys has to say... "All of our Preferred Plated bullets are swaged from a custom alloyed lead for uniformity, then plated to final weight and put back in a carbide die to be Re-Struck to the preferred dimension."
 

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I stand corrected.... Here's what Berrys has to say... "All of our Preferred Plated bullets are swaged from a custom alloyed lead for uniformity, then plated to final weight and put back in a carbide die to be Re-Struck to the preferred dimension."
Rainier has similar wording. I just don't think one can go wrong with reputable manufacturers. Btw I did cut down some bullets and the pics did not turn out quite like I wanted them to. Plating hard to visualize

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
.... Now to your friends problem since you were there you may have noticed is his "1911" a race rig perhaps?
The 1911 was nothing that special, it was being used in USPSA Single-Stack Division, so it had to fit within the rules.

Since you indicated that it was indeed a .45 acp were the plated bullets full round nose, round flatnose or straight flatnose bullets.
All the bullets were round-nose, and very close to the same COL. As I mentioned, except for the color, it was hard to tell the difference between the plated bullets and my Montana Gold FMJ bullets.

..As to the denting I am very interested as to the maker of the bullet.
Me, too. I will find out on Saturday.

..I would also be interested if the base of the bullet was open showing lead or fully coated...
I don't know, but I will ask on Saturday. I think he has several hundred of the particular make of plated bullets that he won't be needing.....

Chris
 
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