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Thread: Why powder coat?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Why powder coat?

    We get so many posts in the “Coatings & Alternatives” and their real question is powder coating worthwhile and why should I give it a try. With the help of others I have compiled a list of my reasons to powder coat and I am sure there are more:

    WHY POWDER COAT?

    Lubed bullets are simply that, grease applied to the bullet alloy to reduce leading; Powder Coating (PC) is more than just another lube or coating providing lubrication. A properly applied and cured PC actually creates a Polymer Jacket that does not leave any leading or copper fouling in your barrel, so cleaning time is significantly reduced and money spent on exotic cleaners is not needed. The fact is lubed lead bullets leave lead residue and copper jacketed/plated bullets leave copper residue in barrels

    Since PC does not leave a lead residue it can be shot in polygonal barrels such as Glocks. Firing lubed lead bullets is a safety issue posted by Glock as the polygonal rifling swages the bullet causing sever leading. However, shooting any reloaded ammunition voids Glocks warranty. PC save the expense of purchasing a non-polygonal barrel just to shoot lubed lead bullets.

    • PC is a superior bullet lubricant at preventing lead deposits. In a recent test of identical loads where several different lubricants were compared, PC bullets chronographed approximately 4% higher velocity over all conventionally lubed bullets with no lead deposits.

    • Powder Coating add thickness the cast bullet diameter, which can be of benefit for bullet molds that cast undersize or for oversize barrels.


    Powder coating creates a very tough and 2H+ hard chemically bonded Polymer Jacket that can totally encase the lead making it safer to handle and to shoot than lubed lead bullets.

    The Polymer Jacket (PJ) created by the powder coating process virtually eliminates feeding problems in semi-autos, both rifle & pistol. A PJ bullet will reliably feed when bare lead, plated, coated and metal jacketed bullets will not because the entire PJ is a lubricant.

    Powder coating is hard, but more than hard it is tough. A bullet alloy can be hard, but lacks toughness and with the increase of alloy hardness other problems increase, like brittleness and inaccuracy.

    Typical PC creates a polymer jacket similar in thickness and hardness of pure copper plating, but PC does not have the velocity restrictions (1250 fps) of a standard copper plated bullet. Due to the chemical bond and toughness of the Polymer Jacket the coating does not flow back under pressure like copper plating. This can be easily verified by recovered bullets.

    The polymer jacket created by PC resists the stress force created by chamber pressure allowing PC bullets to use a much softer alloy that lubed bullets. PC pure lead bullets can be fired at handgun velocities without leading. I as well as others on the Cast Boolits site have coated and fired PC pure lead with no leading at velocities far greater than an identical lubed bullet would allow.

    PC saves money, by eliminating the need for copper plated/jacketed bullets for handgun calibers and many rifle calibers.

    PC bullets do not leave a grease residue in reloading dies, eliminating the time and materials needed for cleaning. Also eliminating the constantly changing Cartridge Overall Length (COAL) as lube residue builds up in the bullet seating die.

    PC does not pick up and trap contaminates (dirt/sand, etc.) that can then be loaded into a cartridge.

    PC bullets function in a bullet feeder, lube bullets do not, allowing those with a progressive press and bullet feeder to increase the speed of production.

    When tumble coated and cooked base down PC flows into the imperfection on the cast bullet’s base creating a much more uniform flat base for accuracy similar to a gas check. The imperfections due to the cut sprue on the base of the bullet remain on standard lubed bullets. The coating on the base of the bullet also insulates the bullet from the heat of ignition, resisting gas erosion, similar to a gas check and the tough coat appears to have a much higher shearing resistance than the lead substrate.

    Powder coating may eliminate the need for gas checks, but more high velocity testing must be performed. Lubed lead bullets and other coatings offer no protection against gas erosion, necessitating the need for gas checks at higher pressures.

    PC does not burn, altering the chamber pressure/velocity as bullet lube can do when ignited. With PC there is no infamous lube burning smoke cloud that obliterates the view of the target, annoys others and has the indoor range office asking you to leave the range or shoot something other than lubed bullets.

    PC bullets are accurate. My Ransom Rest testing of PC handgun bullets indicates accuracy equal to jacketed bullets. Others are finding excellent accuracy in rifle calibers.

    PC bullets will store indefinitely with no special care. Storage temperature is not an issue as it is with lubed bullets.

    Powder coating in different colors allows quick identification not only of a particular bullet design; it can be used to define a particular load. A 44 magnum cartridge loaded at maximum for a rifle looks just like a 44 magnum cartridge loaded for a pistol. If one load has a red bullet and one a blue bullet it makes identification easy and could save damage to a gun and possible injury.

    PC can be achieved with a minimal investment in time, materials or equipment.

    PC eliminates the boredom of the casting process and opens up new venues of creativity and enjoyment of a hobby. PC is a good topic of conversation for range talk, generating more associates and friends. Powder coated bullets are prettier than lead bullets; Women love PC bullets and detest ugly, sticky lead bullets.
    Last edited by Dragonheart; 02-24-2016 at 11:22 AM. Reason: additions

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Great post Dragon heart. I might add, that PC can slightly add to the dimension/diameter of a boolit when needed.
    Maker of Silver Boolits for Werewolf hunting.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    They're "pretty", too!

  4. #4
    Boolit Bub mannparks's Avatar
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    Well time will tell, but it sounds positive .

    so far my PC experience is been positive.

    This is another thought that came to me ,as far as leaving a residue in the barrel behind how many sabot bullets are being shot from muzzleloaders now and I don't hear any of those guys complaining about plastic residue. And they're pushing them over 2000 ft./s
    Last edited by mannparks; 02-19-2016 at 10:07 AM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hickok View Post
    Great post Dragon heart. I might add, that PC can slightly add to the dimension/diameter of a boolit when needed.
    Good point, I will add to the list as others come up with more.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master fredj338's Avatar
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    I can't disagree with most of that. The better lubricant part though, not buying it. Make a bullet slicker, it builds less pressure, less vel, not more for a given powder charge. My own vel testing with identical bullets, lubed, PC or HT, within the std dev for a given load. Temp or altitude will have a greater affect on vel.
    EVERY GOOD SHOOTER NEEDS TO BE A HANDLOADER.
    NRA Cert. Inst. Met. Reloading & Basic Pistol

  7. #7
    Boolit Master flyingmonkey35's Avatar
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    PC is now a recognized by the ammunition manufacturers.

    (Not that lubed aren't)

  8. #8
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    The only down-side I have observed during my powder coating and shooting is that the process is much slower than running them through a lube/sizer (have to pick each bullet out of the air soft BB's one at a time). I shoot way to many home-cast handgun bullets to keep up if I powder coated all the bullets I shoot. But, there are some applications that I have gone to powder coating as the lube method over 50/50 NRA Alox...but not all. And I am definitely not going to remove the Alox from all those bullets I have in storage and powder coat, and then re-size them again...I will shoot them up as they are, but I am going to be doing way less lube/sizing with NRA Alox from now on.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    wow.
    you really needed to learn how to use cast boolits before slamming them like that.
    leading residue? pshaw... I have barrels I ain't cleaned since 1991.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    Some of the claims are only true within a narrow frame of reference. PC does work but is not a magical fix for bad bullet casting and reloading methods. It is simply an alternate way to achieve a limited set of objectives.
    Liberalism is the triumph of emotion over intellect, but masquerading as the reverse.

    I don't know how we ever shot maximum loads before P/C come along and saved us all. R5R

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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by runfiverun View Post
    wow.
    you really needed to learn how to use cast boolits before slamming them like that.
    leading residue? pshaw... I have barrels I ain't cleaned since 1991.
    Wow! Sure hope they are not Glocks? 50 years ago when I started casting there was no such thing as powder coat.

  12. #12
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    Why powder coat?

    There are no issues shooting cast in Glocks if you size and lube properly. But the same can be said for all applications. If there is leading you are doing something wrong. And while you are correct that lead and copper will leave some deposits behind. The same is true of PC. The question is can the PC deposits be cleaned out easily once they accumulate. The round count may be extremely high for this to happen. But there is no such thing as a free lunch.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    glocks don't need powder coat.
    there is an entire sticky explaining how to go about working with them.
    they are just a funny shaped hole with no rifling much like a marlin.
    fill the hole and keep the gas pressure behind the stopper and your golden.

    stop making things out like they are hard.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  14. #14
    Boolit Master spfd1903's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonheart View Post
    Wow! Sure hope they are not Glocks? 50 years ago when I started casting there was no such thing as powder coat.
    I have shot a couple thousand lead alloy, Alox lubed boolits through a Glock 23. The bore is so shiny I use sun glasses before I look down the tube. Cast the Lee TL 401-175-TC with both 10:1 and 20:1 alloy. One coat of Alox, size to .401, and re-tumble. What little room I have available for casting and loading is taken up with more molds, or dies. No room for toaster ovens. I have only shot a hundred or so boolits through a Glock 20. So far, so good.
    "Semper quaerendo plumbum"

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by dahermit View Post
    The only down-side I have observed during my powder coating and shooting is that the process is much slower than running them through a lube/sizer (have to pick each bullet out of the air soft BB's one at a time). I shoot way to many home-cast handgun bullets to keep up if I powder coated all the bullets I shoot. But, there are some applications that I have gone to powder coating as the lube method over 50/50 NRA Alox...but not all. And I am definitely not going to remove the Alox from all those bullets I have in storage and powder coat, and then re-size them again...I will shoot them up as they are, but I am going to be doing way less lube/sizing with NRA Alox from now on.
    I recently started powder coating and have asked the question but have seen no reply. Why use the air soft pellets at all? I bought some but have not used them when powder coating and see no reason they are needed. They coat just fine without them. and it would speed up the process.
    Aim small, miss small!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mooman76 View Post
    I recently started powder coating and have asked the question but have seen no reply. Why use the air soft pellets at all? I bought some but have not used them when powder coating and see no reason they are needed. They coat just fine without them. and it would speed up the process.
    It is generally held on these forums that the Air Soft BB's do two things...increase the static charge and cushion the bullets from banging into each other and knocking the powder off. If you have achieved successful coverage without them, by all means do not bother with them then. I cannot see how eliminating them would speed up the process to any extent in that inasmuch as the bullets still need be picked-up one at a time and placed on a rack to bake...that is what adds to the time. I dump my Powder Coated bullets and BB's onto a paper plate and pick them up from there.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master fredj338's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mooman76 View Post
    I recently started powder coating and have asked the question but have seen no reply. Why use the air soft pellets at all? I bought some but have not used them when powder coating and see no reason they are needed. They coat just fine without them. and it would speed up the process.
    Not sure how it would speed things up, you are still plucking or dumping out on wire to claim the coated bullets. My understanding is the ASBB help with the static charge that gets the powder to stick well to the bullets. I find I use very little powder to do 100s of bullets using the ASBB method.
    EVERY GOOD SHOOTER NEEDS TO BE A HANDLOADER.
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  18. #18
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    I don't use the BB's...and it works fine.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    What ever works for you, because we all live in different parts of the country.

    Here on the Gulf Coast humidity is a real problem when tumble coating. I use the BB's because it helps build the static charge, but I can see that those that live in Arizona probably get complete coverage with little effort in 30 seconds.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master noisewaterphd's Avatar
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    Just a few edits you should make to an otherwise great post:

    1. PC is NOT a jacket. It is a coating. It's in the name of the product.

    2. Higher velocity means you had more pressure, meaning it was an inferior lubricant to those tested against.

    3. PC bullets are not guaranteed to work in a bullet feeder. More likely than lubed, but there are still problems.

    4. And most importantly, do not claim accuracy equaling that of a jacketed bullet.


    There is certainly other contestable information in your post, but you can probably get away with them.


    Here is the thing, powder coating definitely has it's place. If you want it to be taken seriously then don't make exaggerated/unverified claims about it. All it does is give haters ammunition, and make us all look bad.
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check