"Berry's Superior Plated Bullets® are the finest bonded copper-jacketed bullets available today....." ??

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Post by mikemyers on Fri Sep 20, 2019 6:59 pm

I asked my newly-found favorite gunsmith, Frank, at the "Only the Best" gunshop in Ft. Lauderdale Florida to help me with some remaining issues with my S&W Model 52, the one I've been working on/with for months.  He did a fantastic job, in only a few days, for a reasonable price.  I thought it was going to take weeks.  Anyway, the remaining issues I had are now gone, rounds no longer get "stuck" going into the chamber, and the slide feels like it's running back and forth on an air bearing.  He polished several places, including the feed ramp that used to have a "gouge" in it, but now looks like a glass mirror.

He gave me lots of advice about the gun, and strongly suggested I stop using lead bullets.  He recommends the bullets posted below, from Berry's Manufacturing.  He tells me the gun will remain cleaner, and the plated bullets offer better precision than what I used to reload, or the cartridges I'm buying now from Federal, Magtech, and Zero.

Copied from that page:  "Berry's Superior Plated Bullets:registered: are the finest bonded copper-jacketed bullets available today. Starting with a swaged lead core, they are electroplated with copper to their final weight, leaving no lead exposure. They are then re-struck to precise specifications, ensuring a solid bond and providing consistency with every round. Indoor range safe and unbelievably accurate, Berry's Superior Plated Bullets:registered: are the choice of shooters everywhere."

What are your thoughts?

(I'm asking this for the future - I stopped loading 38 Special for a while, using Terry's #514 bullets, and I've only been using purchased 38 Special cartridges for the past several months.  The only reloading I'm now doing is 45 ACP.)

https://www.berrysmfg.com/product/bp-38-357-148gr-hbwc

"Berry's Superior Plated Bullets® are the finest bonded copper-jacketed bullets available today....."  ?? 20190821164911_148HBWC


Last edited by mikemyers on Sat Sep 21, 2019 9:46 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Typo, I meant #514, not 515.)
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Post by lablover on Fri Sep 20, 2019 7:02 pm

Right!  What would years of high masters know about lead bullets!  Good lord.
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Post by james r chapman on Fri Sep 20, 2019 7:05 pm

You asked my thoughts.
Zero, Magnus, Bobs, Brazos all sell lead bullets that equal or exceed the accuracy of Jacketed factory bullets.
Notice, I did not include plated bullets.
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Post by TonyH on Fri Sep 20, 2019 7:18 pm

What do you have in your inventory for 148 Lead HBWC’s? If it’s something that works for me I’ll trade you two plated Xtreme DEWC for one lead! Deal?
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Post by mikemyers on Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:30 pm

If you bought them, I assume you used them?  In what way were they inferior to lead bullets?
My question was "What are your thoughts?"


Frank, my gunsmith, used to compete but not in Bullseye - he was into "action shooting" and "combat shooting".  Maybe they're good for what he did, but not for Bullseye?   


I've got enough Magnus #515 bullets to last me for several years.  I stopped reloading 38 Special, because I wanted to concentrate on loading 45 ACP so when I sent photos of my rounds to Terry Labbe and Dave Salyer, they would eventually approve them, which eventually they did.  The only change since then was from Bullseye too WST.

Meanwhile, back to this thread, what is it about these bonded bullets that you guys don't like them?  Are they less accurate, or too expensive, or ????
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Post by Olde Pilot on Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:33 pm

Hard to beat expensive and inaccurate!

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Post by zanemoseley on Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:42 pm

I've never heard anything good about plated bullets in regards to bullseye shooting. Maybe for light target or action shooting. Maybe try some hitek coated 38's, they may cut down on leading and typically perform more like lead bullets but I think results vary on the particular bullet and barrel.


Last edited by zanemoseley on Fri Sep 20, 2019 9:50 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by mikemyers on Fri Sep 20, 2019 9:04 pm

Frank looked at the lead in my Zero bullets, and told me in his opinion it was poor quality lead.  He also looked at my Federal ammo, and told me it was a lot better lead.  He looked at the Magtech ammo, and said it was somewhere in-between. 

I do remember having "lead issues with my barrel" from my reloads; you guys helped me get everything clean.  Back then I was using Bullseye, and I never did get it to look as good as what I'm now doing with 45 (probably because I was seating and crimping in the same station back then).

The Zero ammo seems to me to be more "dirty".  I don't know enough to really say one way or another, but the gun seems to get dirty faster than it does with Magtech and Federal, and I got the impression the smoke when I fired the Zero ammo was more than with the Federal or Magtech.  

My gun got very dirty very quickly when shooting half a box of Zero.  After shooting the same amount of Federal today, the gun still looks clean.


To be honest though, that's not what I was looking for today.  My question was whether the 52 would reliably fire round after round, which it didn't before Frank worked on it.  I had no problems.  

When I got home, I didn't take the gun apart for cleaning yet, but I did look at the barrel with a light - still looks clean.

(My own 52, not the one I've been working on, seems to fire anything, and never has an issue with purchased ammo.  It was my gun, shooting my reloads, that got the barrel all leaded up a couple of years ago.  That might have been because I was trying to avoid "shaving" lead as I reloaded, and now that I'll use separate stations for seating and crimping, if that was the reason for my problems, it won't happen again.)

Oh well, I could go on typing forever, but while I don't have the reason "why", it's obvious you guys don't think much of the jacketed ammo, so I'll forget about it.   Thanks!
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Post by oldsalt444 on Fri Sep 20, 2019 9:08 pm

Plated bullets of any make just don't give you the accuracy needed for bullseye shooting.  Everyone I know including myself who has tried them gave up on them quickly.  You could get lucky, but I'm not optimistic about that.  

I would suggest you try Bear Creek Supply.  Their bullets are rosin/molybdenum coated.  Their 148 gr. HBWC is excellent and won't lead at any reasonable velocity.  I use 2.5 gr. Titegroup in my K38 revolver.  Accuracy is quite good.
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Post by lablover on Fri Sep 20, 2019 9:29 pm

Jacketed and plated are 2 different animals.  My gun stays clean as ever shooting jacketed Bullets. I shoot lead because for me they are more cost friendly and my gun shoots them well. I have not even thought of shooting plated because I’ve read here most don’t have luck with them.  So, I save myself the aggravation and don’t even try.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Have you ever thought the leading you are getting may be your loading process?

I only wish I could look at a lead bullet and say whether it’s of low quality.  Take a look at the Remington 38 wadcutter...no longer made but from what I saw looks like a turd!  However shot like a house on fire (shot very well).  Also, why do you think 90% or better of the people here seek Bullseye Gunsmiths!  Because we play with different cats and only certain gunsmiths KNOW THOSE CATS.  I own a formula one car..I ain’t bringing it to pep boys!
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Post by mikemyers on Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:08 pm

lablover wrote:.........Have you ever thought the leading you are getting may be your loading process?......................Also, why do you think 90% or better of the people here seek Bullseye Gunsmiths!  Because we play with different cats and only certain gunsmiths KNOW THOSE CATS..........
Yep, I thought I wrote that up above - it was likely my reloading process, but then I stopped reloading 38, and learned how to do it properly with 45.  At some point in the future I'll go back to doing the 38, using what I've been taught for the 45 ammo.

Gunsmiths - I've been looking for someone for years and years.  Then others at my club told me how pleased they are with the gunsmith at "Only the Best", so I had him do some simple things, then a few that were more complicated, and then I trusted him with my 52.  I'm very pleased with how he tells me about things, and how well he does them.  

I don't think of him as a Bullseye Gunsmith, just a Gunsmith.  I wouldn't expect him to do the trick things that others have done to optimize their guns, but I do expect him to make things work "like new".  The trigger job he did on a gun for one of the guys at my range felt great.  Plus he's local, a 45 minute drive, he does the work in a timely manner, and his rates may seem high, but they seem reasonable to me.  

Oh, and he tells me exactly what he needs to do, or did, to my guns.  He didn't just "clean" my 52, he polished everything.  I liked it so much I gave him my original 52 to do the same things.  


Oh well......     I didn't mean to make a big deal when I posted this thread, I was just trying to understand.  Maybe these special bullets are great for some applications, but if they were better than lead, I expect people here would already be using them.  

Besides, Terry's now a good friend, and everything else being equal, I'd prefer to use his Magnus bullets.  Any time I need help, he's one phone call away.
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Post by Wobbley on Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:59 pm

I had some reloads from a large west coast reloaded using Berry’s plated HBWC bullets. The groups looked like shotgun patterns. I have 500 bullets to load too. But they’re ONLY for ranges that don’t allow lead. I have no intention of using them in any match.
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Post by james r chapman on Sat Sep 21, 2019 6:31 am

Since Terry is now your friend, you should ask his opinion on plated bullets.
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Post by mikemyers on Sat Sep 21, 2019 7:25 am

No need - you guys already answered my question.

"Magic bullets" are just a fig newton of the imagionation......  What's left is the "tried and trued" and lots of work/play/fun.
I suspected that much, but figured I'd ask anyway.

If this were more of a serious discussion, which it ain't, I'd be asking why a plated bullet would be any more or less accurate than a bare lead bullet.  I'm guessing the lack of accuracy is more due to the bullet, than to an possible plating or coating.  Except, again, in my mind, bullets are not created equally, and you guys have found the ones that work best.  Chrome plating all over a Yugo would not magically turn it into a serious automobile.  ........anyway, that's what I think, but I'm going to forget about this, and I'm going to continue using the Federal ammo for the most part until one day I wake up with an overwhelming desire to convert my press back to 38 Special, in which case I'll be using Magnus #515 and WST, and the "better" cases I've stored away for the future.

Thanks.

Finis.....
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Post by zanemoseley on Sat Sep 21, 2019 8:53 am

Why not try tumble lubing some of your bullets and see if that help the leading. Easy to do and worth a shot.

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Post by mikemyers on Sat Sep 21, 2019 9:00 am

zanemoseley wrote:Why not try tumble lubing some of your bullets and see if that help the leading. Easy to do and worth a shot.
First question - what is "tumble lubing" for bullets?   First I've heard of it.

Second question - is this something all of you guys do, and I'm just not aware of it?

Whatever it is, it won't apply until I start reloading 38 again.


"Worth a shot".......  nice!

(I suspect most of my "leading problem" came from incorrect reloading, most likely because I was shaving lead because of seating and crimping in one station.  With the auto-index kit for my RCBS Pro2000, and adding a small mirror so I can visually observe that cases have powder in them, I no longer use the seater-crimper dies, and with 5 stations I can do things correctly.  When/if I start reloading again, I hope you guys will rate the reloaded ammo as "A+".  )
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Post by zanemoseley on Sat Sep 21, 2019 9:14 am

Lots of us that home cast use tumble lube instead of traditional lube groove wax lube. You can find recipes or buy pre mixed.

https://lsstuff.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=13&zenid=1s8if1654kgle7rlmm2lf1gii1

I usually heat my bullets a bit with a hair dryer as well as my bottle of lube, then drizzle a bit on the bullets in a Tupperware container and swirl/agitate the bullets. Let sit overnight and they're ready to go. I can do hundreds at a time.

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Post by mikemyers on Sat Sep 21, 2019 10:17 am

So, you would even do this to bullets that already had the lube built-in ?

I can understand what you're writing, if you cast your own bullets, but in this case the bullet already has the lubrication built-in ???

"Berry's Superior Plated Bullets® are the finest bonded copper-jacketed bullets available today....."  ?? Screen70
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Post by orpheoet on Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:11 am

Why would you have a truck mechanic work on your Ferrari? This is an apples and oranges type situation having a non bullseye smith work on a bullseye gun with action shooting performance as a goal. My suggestion is to run some known good bullseye ammo through it and confirm that it runs at least as well as it did before. 90 rounds at minimum. That feed ramp polishing makes me very nervous.....I recently found a local guy doing work out of a range I occasionally go to and was initially excited as he talked a good game and was willing to detail strip my 52-2. However I soon realized he was not familiar at all with the 52 and when I mentioned the scarcity of parts he reconsidered pretty quickly.


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Post by james r chapman on Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:33 am

let's see that polish job.
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Post by mikemyers on Sat Sep 21, 2019 2:58 pm

For a year, the owner of this gun had been trying to get it fixed.  People at the range tried, with no success.  It was sent back to S&W twice, with no success.  I bought it as-is, for $500.  Then, for a month, with the help of a fellow who used to assemble the Model 52's as his job, talked me through a teardown and rebuild.  When re-assembled, it worked for a month, then ithe feeding issues returned, and every so often the firing pin never hit the primer.  

Fast forward to a month or so ago, when I learned of this gunsmith who was already fixing bullseye guns for people at my club.  He worked at a shop 20 miles north of my range, so I went to see him.  He did on wonderful job on every gun I brought him.  

Last week my 52 was going to go back in storage, and I figured I'd shoot my original 52 and forget this one for a while.  On a whim, I called Frank (the gunsmith) and tried to ask enough questions to decide if he was up to the job.  He seemed amused that I'd even be asking those questions, and told me he has done a lot of work on the 52 and knows it very well.

So, in reality, the choice came down to placing the gun back in the safe, trying to fix it myself, or taking it to Frank.  He got it, fixed it, shot it himself to verify it was working well, and I got it back much sooner than I anticipated.

To me, he's no "truck mechanic".  I've had experience with those, who "fix" things with stupid ideas like loosening the "strain screw" in a revolver to make it shoot better.  For that matter, I no longer think of the 52 as a Ferrari.  It's a beautiful design, very nicely put together, much nicer to me than anything S&W is selling today, but the more I learn, it's rather straight forward.  Plus, he's local - the gun doesn't have to travel around the country at $100 per trip, each way, or whatever it is down to.  

Keep in mind that I'm just "me".  I'm no expert, and the weakest link in my shooting anything is me, not the gun.  


I used to clean and lube the gun, and re-assemble.  I know how it felt.  Now it feels SO much smoother.  Racking the slide now feels like the parts are floating on oil.  


I wouldn't disagree with what you wrote - if I was (un)lucky enough to own a Ferrari, and it needed attention, I'd be going to the Ferrari shop.  I suppose I'd have concerns if I had a Colt Python.  I've read how the few remaining gunsmiths who understand the Python are passing away, and soon there will be nobody left who really knows how to work on them.  

Anyway, I'll be doing what you said, for a different reason.  I expect to be shooting it a lot, just for the sheer enjoyment. I like the gun, and it likes me.  It probably deserves a better sight than my Vortex Venom, but that sight is so light and low, it feels like it's just part of the gun.  

Frank was very emphatic about two things.  First, he wants me to ONLY shoot good ammunition, and second, he wants me to keep it much cleaner than what I've been doing in the past.  


Jim, next time it's apart, I'll take a close up photo of the polish job.  There's no more sign of that nasty gouge he showed me.  He's more excited about the gun than I am - he told me he put five rounds through the same hole.  One of his targets is hanging on the wall of the shop, with a single hole I'm guessing two inches in diameter from a large number of rounds at 50 feet.  I'm sure a professional Bullseye Shooter would do much better, but he competed in Action sports.         ...............like I think I said earlier, I've been trying to find a good gunsmith for many years, with no luck.  Frank has done everything I've asked him to do very nicely, and one time he did the work while I waited.  That, and the recommendations I got from other bullseye shooters at my club have impressed me.


These were shot two-handed:
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Post by Allgoodhits on Sat Sep 21, 2019 3:20 pm

My experience has been as follows:

I have never seen any plated bullet that met my accuracy requirements. They may be fine for IDPA, maybe USPSA, but not for PPC, NRA AP or BE.

I have never seen any ZERO lead bullet that was not accurate. I have not seen any of their jacketed bullets which were not accurate either. Some better than others, all better than any plated bullet.

Bayou and Brazos, probably others, make excellent HiTek coated bullets.

IMO opinion unless accuracy tested to 50 yds, 25 yds minimum, the data collected is near meaningless. Our standards vary, of course.
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Post by DA/SA on Sat Sep 21, 2019 4:13 pm

mikemyers wrote:So, you would even do this to bullets that already had the lube built-in ?

I can understand what you're writing, if you cast your own bullets, but in this case the bullet already has the lubrication built-in ???

I tumble all lead bullets regardless of whether or not they are already lubed.

I've never seen any lead in my barrels since and I don't think I've cleaned a barrel yet this year. I field strip to clean and lube the slide and just look through the barrel and they are spotless. I shoot lead in .45, .40, and .38

When I first started reloading 45 I had leading problems, so I bought a small bottle of Lee Alox for about ten bucks. As soon as I smelled it I felt like a fool, as I had half a gallon of Par-Al-Ketone on the shelf. I mixed some Par-Al-Ketone with some Bees Wax and have been using that for tumble lubing ever since with no trace of leading whatsoever.

The only bullets I haven't used it on are the Hornady 148 HBWC's. Whatever they have on them already works, but it really stinks!

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Post by orpheoet on Sat Sep 21, 2019 4:16 pm

I have to ask what does he consider good ammunition? S&W told me they won't work on the 52 so I'm surprised you got anywhere with them. What did they say about it?
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Post by BE Mike on Sat Sep 21, 2019 4:26 pm

Allgoodhits wrote:My experience has been as follows:

I have never seen any plated bullet that met my accuracy requirements. They may be fine for IDPA, maybe USPSA, but not for PPC, NRA AP or BE.

I have never seen any ZERO lead bullet that was not accurate. I have not seen any of their jacketed bullets which were not accurate either. Some better than others, all better than any plated bullet.

Bayou and Brazos, probably others, make excellent HiTek coated bullets.

IMO opinion unless accuracy tested to 50 yds, 25 yds minimum, the data collected is near meaningless. Our standards vary, of course.
^^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^^^ I shot an 8 round magazine full of Acme 200 gr. coated SWC .45 ACP rounds last Thursday with my iron sighted Springfield Armory Match Target. I used two hands, standing/ unsupported at 25 yards. They were shot on a 25 yard T&R center. 6 of the 8 shots were in one hole in the X and the other two were tens (my fault, I'm certain). I don't know and won't speculate how they would shoot at 50 yards. It amazes me how few on here don't do any testing at 50 yards and speculate how good this or that load or bullet or this or that pistol shoots.
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