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Thread: Plated bullets Vs. Jacketed

  1. #1
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    Plated bullets Vs. Jacketed

    I know this topic has been discussed before, but I have not gotten all the info that I would like about plated bullets.

    Okay, here goes. I am throwing my hat into the small business world as a reloading component supplier. For now all I buy and sell is bullets. I just put in an order for some 70k rainier bullets of various calibers and was wondering if people find plated bullets to be as good or useful as jacketed ammo. All of my experience in handloading so far is in the most popular rifle cartridges. I know absolutely nothing about handgun bullets, so please tell me what your impressions are with rainier and other plated bullet suppliers like Berry's and West Coast. Lastly, if I sell my bullets about $5.00 cheaper per 1000 than midway do you think I will make many sells or does it take a while to move plated bullets?
    Sometimes I want more gun control. I achieve this by using both hands.

  2. #2
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    I've used both Rainier and Berry's plated bullets, and although they both worked well, the Rainier's were cosmetically better. I prefer plated handgun bullets over cast for plinking and practice because I hate to clean lead out of bores.

    Since I've found Midway to be somewhat overpriced even when compared to some local prices I wouldn't use them as a basis for pricing. How much do the bullets cost you and a reasonable markup so that you make money should be your price, but my wife tells me I'm a terrible businessman. That probably explains why I was never a businessman, because she's right....

  3. #3
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    I can tell you right now midway has a big markup on their bullets. I am just a small dealer and I can undersell them and still make a reasonable profit.
    Sometimes I want more gun control. I achieve this by using both hands.

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    If you can get the price of plated bullets down closer to the price of cast I think you'll make a fortune. Many people avoid them now because there's not a significant cost saving over buying jacketed bullets. I know that's why I don't even look at them any more.

    I buy jacketed bullets for my rifles and cast or swaged bullets for my handguns.

    Good luck in this venture!
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  5. #5
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    I like Rainier plated bullets for semi-auto and low-med pressure revolver, for plated they are a good bullet.

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    longdayjake, Be sure to tell any of your customers that the HP bullets do not expand. Ranier greatly misrepresents these bullets, and you dont want people coming back to you. Speaking of which, will you be selling .45s? If so could you PM your prices, I may be interested in some.

  7. #7
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    for their designed purpose,JHP are more likely to work as intended.I use plated bullets just about for all my plinking loads,pistol and rifle. jwr

  8. #8
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    I've used both Rainer and Berry's with fine results. Don't yet have a preference between them for quality, but I can get Berry's much cheaper delivered which pretty much nixes my interest in Rainier. Nothing irritates me more than Midway USA's "sale" price and then adding $20 or more for shipping. Berry's, Precision (Kemp, Texas) and a few others include shipping in their prices, which makes comparisons much easier.
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  9. #9
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    What is the difference between plated and jacketed?
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  10. #10
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    Plating is literally taking a lead bullet and dipping it in a chemical solution to deposit a thin coating of copper.

    Jacketed is creating a jacket from existing material, usually copper, in a separate operation and then inserting a lead core inside the pre-formed jacket.

    Jackets are typically much thicker. Plating is usually very thin, but the manufacturer can control its thickness. Plating is bonded to the lead, though that doesn't mean it performs the same way as bonded jacketed bullets.

    In general, plating is cheaper but not as strong. Rainier and Berry's tell you not to exceed 1200fps with most of their bullets.
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  11. #11
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    I like to shoot the plated bullets for the ease of cleaning.

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    I did not get the accuracy I was hoping for from plated (Rainer) as compared to either hard cast or jacketed bullets.

    The reason I tried plated bullets was the fact they are cleaner to handle than cast.

  13. #13
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    Regarding plated bullets - -

    I load a lot of plated bullets and shoot a LOT of them in submachine gun matches. They are significantly more expensive than cast bullets but well under the price of jacketed. While cast bullet loads work fine in my Thompson, they put a lot of fouling in the slots of the Cutts Compensator. In the course of 300 -- 400 rounds, the efficiency of the Cutts is noticeably reduced. The extra cost of the plated bullets is really worthwhile for me. YMMV.

    As might be expected, firing these loads in an open bolt SMG does not demand gilt-edge accuracy, but they shoot well in my handguns.

    Speaking of accuracy -- Ranier bullets at first had a bad reputation for inaccuracy. I believe this had to do with quality control of the thickness of the plating. After the first few years, Ranier began to "double strike," that is, to re-swedge their bullets after plating, giving a far more uniform diameter This also put a deep, wide dimple or hollow base on the bullets. I surmise that this promotes the bullet ""slugging out" to properly fill the bore. In this regard, the plated projectile behaves more like a cast bullet than jacketed. The lead core is pretty soft and the plated bullet is somewhat malleable.

    Also, early on, many loaders treated plated bullets like jacketed in two particulars: They tended to load them too hot and the plating didn't stick well. Additionally, I've found that the case mouth needs to be flared out just slightly more than with plated bullets. Without the extra "belling," a sharp case mouth would sometimes dig in and tear the thin plating. This would build up enough on the mouth to prevent proper chambering.

    I noticed that many of my loads with the early 9mm bullets suffered when being fired through a rough barrel. This was particularly true in one particularly crude Sten Gun barrel. I attributed this largely to the somewhat crudely-cut rifling of the wartime bore. Recovered bullets oftimes had plating torn away along the line of the land engraving. I suppose it could be that the slight additional velocity from the longer barrel might have contributed. I've never seen this effect with high quality (smoothly rifled) handgun barrels. The Sten Gun was not mine, so I never observed the workings of the late model Ranier bullets in that barrel.

    As mentioned above, Ranier bullets tend to be a bit "prettier" and more uniform than Berry's.

    longdayjake, I imagine that Midway has complicated formulae to figure their pricing, all across the board of their products. It stands to reason that many of their customers are willing to pay just a bit extra for certain products, for the convenience of ordering a bunch of stuff from that single source. I should think that a "Bullet Boutique" would be able to undersell them on a LOT of projectiles, their huge volume notwithstanding.

    Good luck in your new enterprise.
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  14. #14
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    My experience has been that plated bullets are great as a replacement for cast if the cost is not much more. I tend to use jacketed for more serious purposes such as hunting, and for recreating self defense loads cheaper than say speer gold dot factory ammo.

    +1 on not getting as good of accuracy out of plated as I do cast. Of course cast comes down to specific design/hardness/lube of the bullets you're using. I've had some cast bullets that completely sucked and some that were very nice.

    I think if I was going to make a business out of bullets I'd look at a good selection of properly lubed/sized cast bullets which were actually rated for given velocities based on the hardness of the alloy used to cast them. It seems like the local volume casters are using the hardest alloy they can and that just doesn't work well in something in the 750-800fps range.

  15. #15
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    I used to use plated bullets almost exclusively except for my magnum cartridges. Since then I switched to Moly covered bullets when possible. No leading of your barrel, and not much more cost than hard cast. STill use plated if I can find deals on them and if I can't find molys in that caliber. Stick to jacketed for my .454 Casull, though.

  16. #16
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    My experience has been that plated bullets are great as a replacement for cast if the cost is not much more
    I tend to agree with that. I use them on our indoor range as lead is prohibited and shooting several hundred a week makes jacketed very expensive. Outdoors for the most part I use lead.

    I have used Berry's for the past few years because out club buys them thought their group order rate which makes them cheaper than any dealer or mail order house.

    Shoot both Rainer and Berry's and didn't notice a great difference.

  17. #17
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    I use plated bullets for practice, 9mm, .357 magnum and .44 magnum. I like them because they are cheaper than jacketed bullets and have the same ballistics as the jacket bullets I load for serious work. I buy probably 3:1, plated:jacketed. I avoid unplated lead because I hate scrubbing lead out of the barrel of one of my firearms.

    Will you make a profit ? Beats me. I order 1,000 plated bullets at a time. If you sell $5 cheaper than midway, have no special handling charge and do not charge the same high S&H charges midway does, I'd look over your site.
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