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Thread: How Bullet Coating Affects Performance

  1. #1
    agentwolf
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    Question How Bullet Coating Affects Performance

    For the past several years in watching all the excitement about coating cast bullets, I'm constantly taken back to the article from the 71st Edition of Gun Digest which speaks to some specific performance(s) of such formulations.
    I often wonder why a reloader hasn't added opinion to this conclusion with their different weapons, calibers, loads, castings, etc...I think it would be a great (different) read, and I'm kind of tiring of only the different castings, coatings, and colors, hoping more for performance specifics.
    I'm seeing the hollow point (HP) coated cast bullets and wondering why, understanding the sense magic of jacketed HP pills and their use (now maybe coated?). Cast was always for me the logical cheap, in an attempt to match the serious carry's...jacketed performance for practice. Am I alone and/or might someone point me to a morsel of food for thought within this forum (it's a vast space) or other outside publication(s)?
    P.S. I did have an email exchange with Veral Smith about his upcoming 4th edition of 'Jacketed Performance with Cast Bullets', but was told there would be little information on bullet coatings... THX!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Rcmaveric's Avatar
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    Off topic, sorry, but I am highly curious about Mr. Smith's new book.

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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I subscribed to gain new info if shared, but like Rcmaveric before me, I too am curious about this new V. Smith book that was mentioned.

    I am happy with the lubes I use & am not in to doing PC right now, but I am always looking to learn more, so I will be following this topic as folks post up more info.
    2nd Amend./U.S. Const. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Do you mean like this thread

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...350-Yds-part-1

    I have also seen PC bullets show up at some of the Cast Bullet Assn bench rest matches.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Or are you interested in pistol performance?

    Lube or PC for pistols? Depends on what you think about lubed bullets. If they perform the way you want then I would say don't change.

    My choice was easier. I don't own a lube-sizer so the lube process was messy and involved several steps along with messing up my bullet seating die at times. PC meant less mess for me and equal performance.

    Pistol hollow point performance? I do not believe PC changes the performance of a hollow point. The issue is the design of the hollow point cavity. Can you duplicate some of the high tech expanding bullets around these days? Maybe, but, you will spend a lot of time messing with cavity design, lead alloy and such. My father-in-law and I managed to duplicate Silver Tip performance with cast (he was a master machinist). It was very critical to get the correct angles in relation to the bullet ogive. We used COWW alloy (30 years ago). IIRC we went through three different bullet molds and 10 or more HP designs. These days I buy my hollow points since the bullet mfgs have spent a ton more time developing bullets that meet or exceed FBI specs.

  6. #6
    agentwolf
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    FWIW, the testing done in the article I referenced and why I anticipate more.
    "Six different types of .45 ACP 230-grain RN bullets were compared to see how they responded to the same load of gun powder. They were FMJ, plated, swaged, cast, moly coated and polymer-coated cast bullets...The bullets used in the testing were Remington FMJ, Berry's copper plated, Hornady swaged, Oregon Trail cast, Bear Creek Supply proprietary moly coasted cast and Bayou Bullets polymer coasted cast bullets...Four different charge weights of Winchester 231 were used. Ten rounds were loaded with each charge weight for a total of 240 rounds." They also tested 10 such bullets in .38 Super with some very interesting velocity results.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master pmer's Avatar
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    I tried to find the article but could not read it. What was the summary of that test?
    Recent cast boolit hunts:
    2 does, 6.5 Creedmoor; Horn. 129 grain sp
    Adult buck, 458 SOCOM 405 grain WFN, Doe 36-225AG
    buck & doe, Accurate Molds 36-225AG Model 94AE

  8. #8
    agentwolf
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlie b View Post
    Do you mean like this thread

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...350-Yds-part-1

    I have also seen PC bullets show up at some of the Cast Bullet Assn bench rest matches.
    Thanks! Several different rabbit holes which heightened my curiosity...long thread, I will have to review it again to congeal my thoughts...whew! Is there a second part?

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master






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    veral sells bullet lube and sure isn't going to admit pc is better. Matter of fact if you read his book any bullet design other then his is crap and any mold other then his is inferior. His books are about half knowledge and half a sales brochure. ME? ill take a ballistic cast or mihec mold any day over and lbt and pc over verals lube any day. As a matter of fact ill take Lars lube at half the price over verals and would even if the price was the same. He such a slick salesman he has people convinced making his molds the easy way out of aluminum actually makes a better mold. Tell me. How many get into group buys and choose aluminum over brass or steel? Verals no dummy. But hes also no casting God. Guys like Glen Fryxell and Rob Applegate and one of the originals on here that has gone to his reward Felix have all forgot more about bullet casting then veral knows. I guess to is why would I waste 20 or 30 bucks on a book when I have the combined knowledge of everyone here at my finger tips. unless you collect books. If I want casting knowledge I will ask casters not book writers and mold and lube salesman. Maybe back in the day before we had the internet his book was good reading for a beginner. I had his first book myself. I wouldn't swap a lb of lead for a new addition though. Tell me? Other then pc coating what new has happened in bullet casting since his first book? probably guys here that have casted more bullets in a month and for sure in a year then veral has since the day that first book was up for sale.
    Last edited by Lloyd Smale; 11-21-2019 at 09:05 AM.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Just have to search a bit. There are several threads in here about PC bullet performance as it applies to accuracy and a couple on velocity.

    My interest is in shooting rifles accurately. Cast lead has some inherent strength issues that come into play with certain rifling twist and velocity combinations. My best accuracy with my rifle tends to be below 2000fps, which is fine for my use. Also why many rifle cast bullet shooters use heavier bullets at these lower velocities.
    Last edited by charlie b; 11-21-2019 at 08:58 AM.

  11. #11
    agentwolf
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmer View Post
    I tried to find the article but could not read it. What was the summary of that test?
    FYI, below are the 'Conclusions' in the article.
    With its review you might also understand why I'm interested in a publication of more comprehensive testing.

    "Different types of bullets can produce different velocities with the same load. Different brands of the same type, such as FMJ, can produce different velocities as well. In these tests, the cast bullets were faster than the other types. Plated and jacketed bullets were the slowest. Swaged and coated bullets produced intermediate velocities.
    Moly significantly reduces friction, which decreases pressure and velocity, and explains why they had the lowest velocity of the cast bullets. However, the manufacturer of Bear Creek's bullets notes that while moly coated lead bullets tend to shoot slower than their noncoated counterparts at low pressures, he has observed that they can produce significantly faster velocities than their noncoated counterparts when loaded to high pressures.
    Handloaders might need to make adjustments in their charge weights if they are aiming for a particular velocity and switch to a different bullet, so long as their loads stay within safe operating pressures. Always consult a handloading manual.
    How velocity with different bullet types affects accuracy is difficult to predict and requires testing. Several factors can affect accuracy. These include details of the specific bullet design, such as shape (roundnose, flatnose, hollowpoint, etc.), length of bearing surface, hardness, diameter, weight, as well as details of the reloading process such as overall length, bullet alignment and crimp. Some gunpowders seem better suited for the task than others, and this might vary by bullet and caliber. Different barrels have preferences, as well. In the final analysis, you have to test different loads in your gun to see what it likes.
    It's prudent to find load data for the specific bullet used, but this is not always possible since some bullet manufacturers do not publish load guides.
    Check the manufacturer's website for their recommendation. Start load development at the starting charge weights and work up slowly. Watch for pressure signs to make sure it is safe in your gun. Results of this test are specific to the particular guns used. Your results might be different. Only testing can determine what velocity your gun will produce.
    A special thanks to Mr. Miller of Bear Creek Supply (no relation to the author) for his insightful discussion of moly coated cast bullets"

  12. #12
    agentwolf
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd Smale View Post
    veral sells bullet lube and sure isn't going to admit pc is better. Matter of fact if you read his book any bullet design other then his is crap and any mold other then his is inferior. His books are about half knowledge and half a sales brochure. ME? ill take a ballistic cast or mihec mold any day over and lbt and pc over verals lube any day. As a matter of fact ill take Lars lube at half the price over verals and would even if the price was the same. He such a slick salesman he has people convinced making his molds the easy way out of aluminum actually makes a better mold. Tell me. How many get into group buys and choose aluminum over brass or steel? Verals no dummy. But hes also no casting God. Guys like Glen Fryxell and Rob Applegate and one of the originals on here that has gone to his reward Felix have all forgot more about bullet casting then veral knows. I guess to is why would I waste 20 or 30 bucks on a book when I have the combined knowledge of everyone here at my finger tips. unless you collect books. If I want casting knowledge I will ask casters not book writers and mold and lube salesman. Maybe back in the day before we had the internet his book was good reading for a beginner. I had his first book myself. I wouldn't swap a lb of lead for a new addition though. Tell me? Other then pc coating what new has happened in bullet casting since his first book? probably guys here that have casted more bullets in a month and for sure in a year then veral has since the day that first book was up for sale.
    If I understand you correctly, you don't think there's a comprehensive investigation of today's cast bullets, coatings and combinations, or their performance, and we're left to viewing the millions of forum post rationale across our public interweb? Yikes!
    What new has happened since he published his first book? Hmm...it's a pretty old book, maybe a superior understanding of how lead flows and moves under pressure, new powders, many different types of coatings, concave based bullets, coated bullets, coated and lubed bullets, gas checked cast bullets coated, coated cast bullets gas checked, coated plated bullets, coated jacketed bullets...we're limited by our imagination with a huge choice of combinations. And I was hoping while not reloading to reading of someone's results who's reappeared since going down those deepest of rabbit holes.

    Edit: I also hadn't thought about trying to get a bad gun to shoot better with different combinations, I've only rationed finding the best load for the gun at hand without clearly understanding what I might be physically trying to overcome...
    Last edited by agentwolf; 11-21-2019 at 02:23 PM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Yep, you probably are limited to doing a search since what you are asking would take a considerable abount of time and resources to accomplish in a manner that gives conclusive results across the board.

    Have to test different bullets, different coating techniques, multiple coats, thicker coats, different powders and different rifles with different twist rates, seating depths, etc, etc. At least 10 rounds per 'option' and different combinations. A lot of bullets down range.

    And, there are many of us who would not care about those results. Like I stated above, if you want the bullet to go a certain velocity then load some and measure the velocity. Adjust charge until you get the velocity you want. And, yes, PC is different than lubed, which is different than plated, which is different than jacketed. Most of the time only a slight difference. Less than the difference between seating the bullet into the lands and .020" from the lands.

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master






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    If I understand you correctly, you don't think there's a comprehensive investigation of today's cast bullets, coatings and combinations, or their performance, and we're left to viewing the millions of forum post rationale across our public interweb? Yikes!
    No a simple post here with get you in touch with many people that have casted at least as many bullets as veral and some that have casted MANY more. In different types of guns with molds and lube that there not trying to sell and don't waste my time patting themselves on the back. RIGHT HERE you have the most comprehensive collection of casting experience and skills in the whole world and have it for free. No need to pay for a sales brochure/self praising book. What the man did for casting is introduced the LFN. Granted its probably hands down the best bullet design. but he also introduced some duds like the wfn and worse of all the wlfn.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master






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    If I understand you correctly, you don't think there's a comprehensive investigation of today's cast bullets, coatings and combinations, or their performance, and we're left to viewing the millions of forum post rationale across our public interweb? Yikes!
    No a simple post here with get you in touch with many people that have casted at least as many bullets as veral and some that have casted MANY more. In different types of guns with molds and lube that there not trying to sell and don't waste my time patting themselves on the back. RIGHT HERE you have the most comprehensive collection of casting experience and skills in the whole world and have it for free. No need to pay for a sales brochure/self praising book. What the man did for casting is introduced the LFN. Granted its probably hands down the best bullet design. but he also introduced some duds like the wfn and worse of all the wlfn. More real knowledge on bullet casting right here http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Contents.htm if you like reading. But sorry they wont sell you anything. Rob sold molds for a while and anyone that has one will tell you they put verals molds to shame. they were almost nice enough to wear as jewelry. What would you expect from a craftsman so talented that he was inducted into the gun builders guild. Whats veral do? Makes a mold not much better then a lee 6 cav at three times the price and like I said lube that cost 3 times as much as lars because it says LBT on it. Buy into it if you want but some know better.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  16. #16
    agentwolf
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd Smale View Post
    No a simple post here with get you in touch with many people that have casted at least as many bullets as veral and some that have casted MANY more. In different types of guns with molds and lube that there not trying to sell and don't waste my time patting themselves on the back. RIGHT HERE you have the most comprehensive collection of casting experience and skills in the whole world and have it for free. No need to pay for a sales brochure/self praising book. What the man did for casting is introduced the LFN. Granted its probably hands down the best bullet design. but he also introduced some duds like the wfn and worse of all the wlfn. More real knowledge on bullet casting right here http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Contents.htm if you like reading. But sorry they wont sell you anything. Rob sold molds for a while and anyone that has one will tell you they put verals molds to shame. they were almost nice enough to wear as jewelry. What would you expect from a craftsman so talented that he was inducted into the gun builders guild. Whats veral do? Makes a mold not much better then a lee 6 cav at three times the price and like I said lube that cost 3 times as much as lars because it says LBT on it. Buy into it if you want but some know better.
    Knowing we don't get a second chance to make a first impression...I believe you misread my stated interaction with Veral Smith, and I do not currently own his book(s). I only contacted him to find out IF the 4th edition would have any information on coated cast bullets and their performance...his answer to my question brought me to this forum. I'm sorry Veral clearly must've filthied your hot liquid silver leaving a bad mold for bullet casting books and their pen holders. I promise and cross my heart, I will not mention his name again anywhere in this thread, recognizing you're a 'Boolit Grand Master' and I most times come across as too straight a shooter (PUN Intended). I think you fired a good group, it just a little to high for my liking, but I thank ya for your solid and rapid draw! :-J
    Last edited by agentwolf; 11-22-2019 at 08:13 AM.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Hick's Avatar
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    There is another aspect of this I don't see covered well in the above (good) posts. I have a mold that makes a nice flat based spitzer that is just right for my Lee Enfield in 303 British. The trouble is, it is plain base. As i increased velocity, accuracy got better and better, until the leading started. I switched to PC for this bullet and was able to find the accuracy sweet spot for this rifle at a velocity that was just too high for the lubed version of this plain based bullet. PC gives flexibility. I now PC all my plain-based rifle bullets.
    Hick: Iron sights!

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I can't speak for anyone else, but I am not seeing what I expected to read in this topic. Subscription removed.

    Ya'll have fun.
    2nd Amend./U.S. Const. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

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    For the Fudds > "Those who appease a tiger, do so in the hope that the tiger will eat them last." -Winston Churchill.

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  19. #19
    agentwolf
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlie b View Post
    Yep, you probably are limited to doing a search since what you are asking would take a considerable abount of time and resources to accomplish in a manner that gives conclusive results across the board.

    Have to test different bullets, different coating techniques, multiple coats, thicker coats, different powders and different rifles with different twist rates, seating depths, etc, etc. At least 10 rounds per 'option' and different combinations. A lot of bullets down range.

    And, there are many of us who would not care about those results. Like I stated above, if you want the bullet to go a certain velocity then load some and measure the velocity. Adjust charge until you get the velocity you want. And, yes, PC is different than lubed, which is different than plated, which is different than jacketed. Most of the time only a slight difference. Less than the difference between seating the bullet into the lands and .020" from the lands.
    Thank you for helping me to clarify my quandary...

  20. #20
    agentwolf
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlie b View Post
    Do you mean like this thread

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...350-Yds-part-1

    I have also seen PC bullets show up at some of the Cast Bullet Assn bench rest matches.
    After carefully review of all posts in the above suggested thread for a second time (whew!) I've realized the importance of my initial curiosity and want for a similar disclosure which was provided in the Gun Digest article. Before I start, might there be a list on this forum of commercially available coated rifle castings?
    What I discovered in the above thread is the great number of inconsistencies with individuals casting(s) and coatings, bullets, etc., which lends to the inability to have a consistent starting point for any comprehensive performance data base, therefor no clear way to understand the benefits of one coating method over another (too many variables). So, I'd clarify my initial question by asking does anyone know of such published information for the commercially available coated castings (e.g., Acme Bullet Co., Gallant Bullets, Missouri Bullet co., etc.)?

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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