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Advice for polymer coated bullets?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Zendude, May 18, 2019.

  1. Zendude
    • Contributing Member

    Zendude Contributing Member

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    I am thinking of trying polymer coated bullets for 9mm, 38 special, and 32 H&R. The ones from Acme look pretty good and the price is right. I’ve only loaded copper plated and jacketed bullets so far. So, a couple of questions on the polymer bullets:
    I am going to work up loads, but in general do polymer bullets require less powder for achieving similar velocity to plated bullets? The bullet diameters for polymer are slightly larger than the plated bullets I have been using. Seems like less powder would be needed to produce the same pressure and using cast lead bullet load data would be appropriate since the polymer bullet diameters are the same as cast lead.
    Another question is whether I can seat and taper crimp in one step with the polymer bullets. I’ve always seated and (very lightly) taper crimped with one die and haven’t had any shaving problems with copper plated bullets, but are polymer coated more sensitive?
    Are there any other things I need to consider with polymer bullets? Do they hold up well at 9mm pressures and velocity?
     
  2. Goneshoot'n

    Goneshoot'n Member

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    I load polymer coated bullets for my 9mm. I do seat and taper crimp in the same step with pretty good success. Every once in a while, maybe 1 in 50 it will shave off a little material from the bullet, but for what I do that is fine with me. All in all I treat them just like any jacketed bullet. They work great
     
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  3. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Treat them like cast as far as load data and process. The only difference is that you can drive them harder than plain based caat.
     
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  4. 2011redrider

    2011redrider Member

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    Acme has 10% code.....IY6C.
     
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  5. earplug

    earplug Member

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    I think you will find that loading and shooting coated bullets gives you the cost of cast with benefits of jacketed. I find them easier and less finicky then plated bullets. I'd use cast bullet data to start with, until you have a baseline reference that works with your bullets, dies and firearms.
     
  6. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    I have been working on a batch of powder coated, gas checked 358 swc bullets I cast out of lyman #2 alloy. Betting I can push these extremely fast in 357 mag and 35 rem rifles.
     
  7. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

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    Acme makes some good bullets and I like the coated bullets from them. In fact, I now prefer coated to plain lead. Get a box and try them.

    I can't comment on 9mm but reload them for 357 and find the coating to be durable.
     
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  8. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    Polymer coated bullets are much more sensitive than plated. I get one, two or five that shave lead when seating/crimping in one step.
    I thought about what was causing it, the short cases or the longer cases.
    The short cases don't flare as much as the long cases, but the long cases hit the crimp part of the die sooner.

    After studying this for a while I think it's more seating the bullets a little crooked that skins the side of the bullet. Not seating and crimping in one step. The edge of the brass case will do that very well with coated bullets.

    The round nose profile also doesn't help you when seating bullets. Flat nose profile will tend to help straighten the bullets out a little when seating but the round nose profile will seat them as crooked as the seating die body will allow. That is working against you also.

    Chamfering the inside of the cases helps a lot also. Really helps if bullets aren't set perfectly straight. The burs inside the case will cut the coating up very easily. They get you when the taper crimp part of the process starts and the bullet is still moving from the last little bit of seating.

    With plated bullets there has to be something seriously wrong to skin the plating off on a bullet that is not seated perfectly straight.

    I started using Acme coated bullets a while ago and have loaded about 700 of them so far in 9mm and ,357 mag.

    I started using M-style expanding dies for my 9mm and .357mag. That helped a lot with keeping my bullets straighter in the case before seating if I do my part.
    I do like Acme's bullets and I do still seat and crimp in two different steps and have a 100% success rate now with not shaving the polymer off side of the bullets now but when loading them I do 100% inspection of all loaded rounds, with plated, not so much.
    I do believe the seating/crimping could be done in one step though with a 100% success rate if all bullets were set perfectly straight and cases were bur free.
     
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  9. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    "In general", my workups in my guns, for 9mm and .38, yes, but, I've never had an identical plated vs coated matchup, and the difference in powder has been a few tenths of a grain so I'm not sure it's a fair comparison. That statement is for a Rainer Plated vs a Bayou since plating thicknesses will affect this as well. When I do shoot coated I use Bayou and get them sized .357 for 9mm since my barrel is a bit big. If you're not pushing max limits and the seating depths are similar, a couple tenths off your current load should have you close in velocity.
    I found I had to flare a bit more to avoid shaving coating and/or lead and even then I'd get some rounds having a haircut. I do seat and crimp in separate stations and keep the canned air handy to clean up every once in a while.
    OR, just order from RMR and save the hassle.
     
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  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Loading coated bullets is easy enough, but do heed the advise here and make sure you have enough flare and start/seat bullets straight. Don't depend on sleeved seaters to do it for you, get it started as straight as you can and life will be fine.
     
  11. total recoil

    total recoil Member

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    2011redrider- your coupon code is outdated, expired, or reached it's limit. Where do you get a discount code? I'm ready to try the bullets.
     
  12. brutus51

    brutus51 Member

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    Been using them with great success, only problem I've encountered has been with Tightgroup powder, it burns so hot that you get this burnt electrical smell. Pee you:what:
     
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  13. sparkyv

    sparkyv Member

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    I use similar loadings for PC as I do for plated. There are many suppliers of PC boolits, with a variety of diameters. I seat and crimp separately, crimping done with Lee FCD. I enjoy the price and variety of colors of PC boolits, and have had great success with them.
     
  14. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    That's the thing about loading poly coated bullets. The coating is more susceptible to being shaved than either plated or jacketed.

    Differing case lengths mean that it is more important to ensure that the shortest case has enough expansion. You can mitigate this somewhat by using a M Die profile expander to create a case mouth which has parallel sides. Chamfering the inside of the mouth also helps prevent it from catching the coating. Crimping in a separate die can avoid the crimp starting while the bullet is still being seated.

    There is a lot of truth in this.

    I use a Redding Competition Seating die to load coated bullets. It's sleeved extension is machined with tight tolerances to guide the bullet to a aligned seating plug which is less prone to knock the bullet askew as it contacts the bullet at the ogive
     
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  15. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    MBC hitec are my new favorite bullet. I haven't tried any of the other brands.
    You can push them very hard.
     
  16. rskent

    rskent Member

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    Interesting, I thought I might have that problem. That’s why I went with CFE. But I haven’t been getting the accuracy I like. So, this weekend after I loaded a bunch of plated with tight group, I loaded 50 Acme coated with the same load. I shot them this afternoon. Couldn’t tell the difference. They shot the same. If you didn’t look to see if they were red or not you couldn’t tell one from the other.
     
  17. Cemetery21

    Cemetery21 Member

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    I still get some "burned electrical" smell with 231, but I don't think it's as bad. I've shot both MBC and Acme and I like them both. I load light and seat/crimp in 2 steps just because that's the way I was already set up.
     
  18. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    That's the experience I have had and 90% of my 9mm loads are loaded with Titegroup powder.
    The rest are 231.
    I haven't smelled the "burned electrical smell" and I am an Industrial Electrician and Controls guy of some 40 years, so I would know. Maybe the indoor range I shoot at has a better air system and it all goes down stream.
     
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  19. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    I emailed Acme about how hot I could load their bullets and this was their reply.


    This was about a button nose wad cutter in .357 mag.
     
  20. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    Zendude,
    You don't have anything to worry about as far as heat according to Acme bullets.
    As far as scrapping the coating off, as I said in post 8 and Walkalong and 9mmEpiphany re-enforced they have to be seated straight or your going to have problems.
    Don't be afraid of using them. They will make you a better re-loader as they will force you to correct bad habits that you can get away with in using plated bullets. The only thing that will happen is the ammo that you load will just get more accurate from forcing you to seat your bullets straighter. That's always a good thing.
     
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  21. forrest r

    forrest r Member

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    There really isn't a lot of difference between a coated bullets and a traditionally cast/lubed bullets.

    It really isn't a good idea to "scrape" a cast bullet or a cast bullet that's been tumble lubed.
    It's really not a good idea to start any bullet crooked, the harder jacketed & platted bullets tend to mask this issue. But at the end of the day accuracy suffers.

    FWIW:
    It doesn't matter if the bullets are jacketed, plated, cast/lubed, coated. When roll crimping I seat & crimp in 1 step. Any time I taper crimp I seat in 1 step and taper crimp in a second step.
     
  22. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Member

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    Been casting, loading and shooting polymer coated (powder coated) bullets for about a half dozen years now. About 10-12,000 per year. Making the bullets takes about as much time as traditional lubed bullets (2 hours to cast 1000 bullets, an hour to coat them and an hour to size with no messing with lube so they're ready to load).
    utuDK66n_o.jpg

    qKvkCvYe_o.jpg

    Harbor Freight Red and Sherwin-Williams purple powder coating on Lee 356-120-TC bullets

    Just like cast bullets, it's best to have the final bullets 1-2 mils wider than the groove diameter of your gun e.g. 0.401"-0.402" for a 40 S&W, 0.451"-0.452" for 45ACP, etc.



    Belling the mouth of the case is very important. I use the Lee powder through expander from the pistol die set to expand the case mouth just enough so that a bullet will sit in the case without tilting over. This starts the bullet in straight and the PC is tough enough so as not to be removed as the bullet is seated. I can then set the seat/crimp die to just barely kiss the rim to bring the case walls back to vertical or use the FCD to also just kiss the top of the case to straighten out the case mouth.

    I've pulled seated PC bullets and the PC is fully intact so I am sure there is full coverage as the bullet goes down the barrel.

    I've shot deliberately undersized PC bullets (0.355" bullets down a 0.356" barrel) and got no leading. The gas cutting is done to the PC which deposits itself as a soot in the grooves.

    11asmrzT_o.jpg

    The soot cleaned out with a spritz of CLP or Hoppes No9 and wadded up piece of paper towel.


    4xKtPzVl_o.jpg

    I usually use reclaimed lead shot to cast my bullets. The PC has a BHN of about 20-22 (H lead pencil test) so it's pretty tough.

    PC works very well for me both performance wise and economically.
     
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  23. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I have shot Eggleston Munitions and Missouri Bullet Company coated bullets in .38/.357 and .41.

    As was stated, a decent flare along with making sure you have a straight bullet when starting the seating process will keep you from shaving the coating.

    So far no leading, but I'm not running them at upper-magnum velocities. For plinking-target loads I like these a lot.

    Stay safe!
     
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