What is the opinion on Copper Plated bullets vs. Cast Lead for target practice
I'm loading 9mm, 38spl, 357mag, 44/44mag.
My bullet maker is now offering the copper plate and thought I would give it try unless there's negative side to it.
I'm no expert on this subject, but all bullets, lead, or copper, will leave fouling in the barrel. Copper being harder than lead should produce less fouling. What speeds do you plan to get these pistol rounds up to? If you've been shooting lead, the copper plated bullets should show a marked improvement over the lead, in the fouling catagory.
I find the narrow price margin between plated and jacketed is too little to justify buying copper plated (yes another dig on Berrys here). Buy jacketed from precision delta or roze dist. For me lead on the cheap or jacketed but never plated, I find no reason in dealing with it, looks jacketed, its price near jacketed but it needs to be loaded like lead; I dont see the logic.
Plated bullets have been around for decades, actually. Rainier is the first supplier I became aware of. When they came out they split the difference price wise between jacketed and cast or swaged lead bullets. But the pricing has slipped up in the last few years such that they are much closer to jacketed bullet prices than in the past. I have used them all these years for revolvers and semi-auto pistols.
In more recent years I switched back to full jacket bullets for the 9mm and 45ACP because I was seeing some feeding problem with the plated bullets. I now get the Bulk Packed Winchester or Remington jacketed bullets for a bit more. I still use the plated Rainier bullet for my revolvers.
If you follow the directions from Rainier and Berrys, they say to load them at velocities for cast bullets, not jacketed bullets. They do limit lead buildup in the barrel. I keep all the cast and plated bullets at velocities below 1000 FPS but can still get lead build up with cast lead bullets in some guns. (commercial cast, not home cast)
Why would you selected plated bullets? Some indoor ranges have rules about no exposed lead bullets. They worry about the lead dust in the air inside the range. Even if they have fans to keep it away from the shooters, I am sure the EPA is not too keen on them exhausting lead dust to the outside. The jacketed or plated bullets tend to not breakup and emit lead dust. I started using the plated bullets when my mild sub 1000 FPS cast bullet loads required me to dig the lead out of the start of the barrel using a pick.
For my 45acp plinking ammo I prefer platted. Then I don't have to worry about lube cracking and falling out of the grooves. I found that plated bullets cost slightly less than lead. My last buy was 2k 200gr TC 45 bullets for $225 with FREE SHIPPING.
Plated bullets are a bit "cleaner" than lead bullets. Cleaner to handle; no lube to get on yer fingers (lube on fingers don't bother me). Guns shoot a bit cleaner; no lube to "gunk up" the gun, (not a problem for me either). And no leading with plated (not a problem with lead bullets if they are sized/purchased to fit the gun). Worth the higher cost than lead? Personal decision...