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Lead vs. jacketed bullets

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Wobbley
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Lead vs. jacketed bullets Empty Lead vs. jacketed bullets

Post by hengehold Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:31 am

I have a new guy question here. I see that many BE shooters use lead Bullets while others use jacketed. Obviously there is a cost savings with using the lead Bullets.

However, Is there greater accuracy potential in lead Bullets over the best jacketed Bullets?

Thanks,
-Trevor

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Post by james r chapman Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:41 am

The best jacketed bullets are more consistent in size and weight.
Generally consistently more accurate at 50 yards.

Meticulously formed lead bullets can be as accurate.
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Post by chiz1180 Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:45 am

Both lead and jacketed can both shoot equally well. Comes down to rules/preference. Lead may be a bit softer shooting, but that is also load dependent
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Post by David R Thu Feb 11, 2021 10:49 am

For my 45, I buy a box of Federal Match 185 FMJ which are SWC.  

I shoot groups and try to get my lead to shoot as well.   

I use coated Brazos.   I have a 25 yard 10 shot group that is 3/4" center to center.
Good enough for me.  

In 9mm its easier to use HAP. I can't get lead to shoot as well.  Right now I am shooting Missouri bullet 125 SWC in my  PM-9.   115 HAP are unobtaineum.   I just tried Brazos coated  150 SWC in my Sig P210,  getting good results, but not as good 115 FMJ @ 1200. 
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Post by Allgoodhits Thu Feb 11, 2021 11:06 am

Out of the box, my findings are that quality jacketed bullets such as Zero, Nosler, Sierra are more consistent by weight and dimension than are quality lead cast or swaged bullets. Since quality and consistency lend themselves to more accuracy then the edge has to go to jacketed out of the box, but at a price that is typically 30 - 100% more costly than lead.

I would suspect, although I have not done it, and do not know why I haven't done it, but if one weighed each of their jacketed and each of the lead bullets for 50 yd testing, I would suspect that the groups of each would tighten and the difference between the groups would also tighten. 

Currently, I don't have the primers to spare for such.

MJ


Last edited by Allgoodhits on Thu Feb 11, 2021 12:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by James Hensler Thu Feb 11, 2021 11:49 am

I always shot just lead until I went to the 2019 US Nationals and most if not all the top shooters used Jacketed at the Long Line so I got some and worked up a tight load and never looked back
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Post by hengehold Thu Feb 11, 2021 4:02 pm

Allgoodhits wrote:Out of the box, my findings are that quality jacketed bullets such as Zero, Nosler, Sierra are more consistent by weight and dimension than are quality lead cast or swaged bullets. Since quality and consistency lend themselves to more accuracy then the edge has to go to jacketed out of the box, but at a price that is typically 30 - 100% more costly than lead.

I would suspect, although I have not done it, and do not know why I haven't done it, but if one weighed each of their jacketed and each of the lead bullets for 50 yd testing, I would suspect that the groups of each would tighten and the difference between the groups would also tighten. 

Currently, I don't have the primers to spare for such.

MJ

Great points. Thanks for the info.

I have been a competitive long range shooter for almost 20 years now and have been shooting with the US Palma team for about 15 yrs. I have tested groups at 1,000yds by shooting a group with the extreme low weigh and the extreme heavy bullet weights found within a given box of match grade Bullets (Sierra). I did not notice a change in the point of impact between the two extremes. Consequently, I would be surprised if bullet sorting by weight would result in an improvement in group size at 50yds.

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Post by BEA Fri Feb 12, 2021 12:34 am

I believe the industry standard for bullet weight that the manufacturers go by is + or - 1%.  Although I have a ransom rest, I do very limited testing.  In what little testing I have done, I have found jacketed bullets to shoot smaller groups.  I am sure lead bullets can be made to shoot as accurately but I never wanted to spend the time to make it happen.  Personally, my range time is better spent training.


Last edited by BEA on Fri Feb 12, 2021 8:13 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by BEA Fri Feb 12, 2021 12:38 am

Deleted by BEA


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Post by CR10X Fri Feb 12, 2021 5:24 am

While the potential accuracy for lead versus jacketed may be similar or a little biased towards jacketed (sometimes enough or sometimes not enough to warrant the cost), the actual results will be different for each individual gun / barrel.  

However, the final result on the target when shooting the match will be the result of the shooters ability, the variability of which is much greater than the potential difference between good lead or jacketed bullets.  

In other words, you can shoot good lead loads for less money as you work toward your ultimate skill level, then see if it makes a difference.

And you can edit or delete you posts until someone makes a reply.  After a reply is made you can only edit your post. When you sign in and look at  your posts you will see the buttons on the upper right of the post. (Quote, Edit, Delete)

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Post by Axehandle Fri Feb 12, 2021 6:07 am

I've got one for you guys to run in tight little circles about....  The original Joe Chambers told me that with jacketed bullets the gilt edge accuracy of a 45 barrel was gone in 4000 rounds.  The gilt edge in the same barrel with lead lasted many times longer.    Smile

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Post by Kp321 Fri Feb 12, 2021 7:04 am

^^^^^This!

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Post by BEA Fri Feb 12, 2021 7:53 am

There are ways to make your equipment last longer, just like there ways to drive that make your fuel mileage better.  It just depends on the measures you are willing to take in order to reach whatever you have identified as your primary goal.  There does come a point where reaching maximum efficiency (or obtaining the smallest groups) becomes aggravating so we back off to the point that is determined by the individual as being the most enjoyable.  In other words, make yourself happy.


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Post by BE Mike Fri Feb 12, 2021 7:59 am

The old "Marine Load" used a Nosler 185 gr. JHP .45 ACP bullet. Dave Salyer passed on to me an alternative powder load using Bullseye rather than VV. After machine rest testing the load, I was convinced that it was a very accurate load and from then on used the jacketed bullet load at the long line and lead bullet at the short line. I have also been convinced that the 9mm shoots most accurately with a copper jacketed bullet. Having said that, I know that there are Master and High Master shooters who use a cast lead bullet in their .45 ACP ammo for their long line loads and it performs very well for them. I also don't think it is very valuable to try to obtain better than 3 1/2" groups at 50 yards, unless you are at least way up in the expert class. More points will be obtained by training than by improving equipment/ ammo.
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Post by Brent375hh Fri Feb 12, 2021 12:39 pm

Always remember that those .22 bullets that shoot into 1/2" at 50 are not jacketed.

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Post by BEA Fri Feb 12, 2021 6:31 pm

That is true, but we will never know how well a 22 LR might shoot with jacketed bullets.

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Post by Tim:H11 Fri Feb 12, 2021 7:13 pm

Axehandle wrote:I've got one for you guys to run in tight little circles about....  The original Joe Chambers told me that with jacketed bullets the gilt edge accuracy of a 45 barrel was gone in 4000 rounds.  The gilt edge in the same barrel with lead lasted many times longer.    Smile

I'm not going to say who's right or wrong, especially since his information could be specific to gun/ammo/cleaning practices... There may not be a right or wrong here.. 

But just as an example, and food for thought, I have shot thousands of rounds of jacketed ammunition through my guns. Much more than 4,000 rounds. These guns have not been rebarrled and still test out 1.5'' at 50 yards. They are checked every year.

I was warned about how to clean the barrel. I was warned that if the copper fouling isn't removed and allowed to build up, I could ruin the accuracy of that barrel. But if I clean the barrel as I was instructed to do so, then everything should be fine. I've even heard of barrels testing out good still but the frame and slide had been shot loose and welded up too many times, they trash it and build a new gun. They can always weld up barrel lugs but a frame will eventually have had enough.
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Post by Axehandle Fri Feb 12, 2021 10:40 pm

Joe meant the barrel NOT the gun...  You guys remember when the old Pachmayr Gun Works advertised that they would take the barrel from your gun, stick it in a fixture and test it?  If it shot well enough it would be welded up and fitted to your gun.  If it did not you'd get notified that you needed a new barrel.. While Joe is long gone, so we can't ask him, I believe this is what he was talking about.

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Post by john bickar Fri Feb 12, 2021 10:51 pm

BEA wrote:That is true, but we will never know how well a 22 LR might shoot with jacketed bullets.  

BEN THAT SOUNDS LIKE A CHALLENGE! Laughing
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Post by hengehold Fri Feb 12, 2021 11:11 pm

Axehandle wrote:I've got one for you guys to run in tight little circles about....  The original Joe Chambers told me that with jacketed bullets the gilt edge accuracy of a 45 barrel was gone in 4000 rounds.  The gilt edge in the same barrel with lead lasted many times longer.    Smile

This idea of shooting out a pistol barrel is intriguing to me. In the world of rifle shooting, the culprit responsible for shooting out a barrel is heat and not necessarily friction. For example, shooting a given rifle bullet, increasing the muzzle velocity generally results in a decrease in barrel life. This can be altered to some degree by using slower burning powder which changes the peak of the pressure curve which applies the heat from the burning powder over an increased surface area.

How may this relate to pistol? My understanding is that both pistol and lead Bullets are shot at similar velocities such as shooting a 185 gr JHP or a LSWC in a 45 ACP may both be shot around 700 FPS. Is that correct?

If this is the case, I can imagine that heat generated through bullet/ bore friction may be slightly different. However, I have a hard time believing that it would be such a dramatic difference that it would result in Lead Bullets = infinite barrel life vs. jacketed = 4,000rd barrel life. This just sounds unlikely based on the conventional understanding of contributions to barrel life in rifle shooting.

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Post by noylj Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:13 am

For 45, you'll have a hard time beating JHPs or swaged lead bullets from Zero, Precision Bullets, Precision Delta, or Magnus. I find Hornady and Speer swaged bullets to be underwhelming for accuracy. YMMV
Out to at least 25 yards, a lead bullet can be a wrinkled ugly thing, but as long as the base is completely filled, still shoot better than most trigger pullers.
I don't know if my 45s have even seen a jacketed bullet since they left the factory.

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Post by noylj Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:27 am

Lead has a brinell hardness of about 38 MPa. Copper is about 875 MPa. Don't know conversion to BHN.
Pistol barrel life is measured in tens of thousands of rounds. I have known several folks to shoot out pistol barrels.
Rifles can do it in under 500 rounds in some over bore magnums, but that is blow torch amounts of heat applied to throat and a few inches of rifling. Closest you normally get to that is top strap erosion in revolvers.

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Post by Tim:H11 Sat Feb 13, 2021 6:44 am

Axehandle wrote:Joe meant the barrel NOT the gun...  You guys remember when the old Pachmayr Gun Works advertised that they would take the barrel from your gun, stick it in a fixture and test it?  If it shot well enough it would be welded up and fitted to your gun.  If it did not you'd get notified that you needed a new barrel.. While Joe is long gone, so we can't ask him, I believe this is what he was talking about.

I agree - talking about barrel not entire gun. Most of what I said was about just the barrel except the last part was just extra info.
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Post by hengehold Sat Feb 13, 2021 9:03 am

noylj wrote:For 45, you'll have a hard time beating JHPs or swaged lead bullets from Zero, Precision Bullets, Precision Delta, or Magnus. I find Hornady and Speer swaged bullets to be underwhelming for accuracy. YMMV
Out to at least 25 yards, a lead bullet can be a wrinkled ugly thing, but as long as the base is completely filled, still shoot better than most trigger pullers.
I don't know if my 45s have even seen a jacketed bullet since they left the factory.

What do you mean when you say the lead Bullets need a base that “is completely filled”? Does that mean that there are no air pockets due to manufacturing defects?

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Post by Wobbley Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:17 pm

noylj wrote:Lead has a brinell hardness of about 38 MPa. Copper is about 875 MPa. Don't know conversion to BHN.
Pistol barrel life is measured in tens of thousands of rounds. I have known several folks to shoot out pistol barrels.
Rifles can do it in under 500 rounds in some over bore magnums, but that is blow torch amounts of heat applied to throat and a few inches of rifling. Closest you normally get to that is top strap erosion in revolvers.
Pure lead has a Brinell  Hardness Number (BHN) of about 5.  Other lead alloys used for bullets range from 12 (Wheelweights), 18 (1/2 Lino-lead, Lyman #2) and 22 (pure Linotype).  A jacketed bullet is an odd duck as the jackets are too thin.  But gilding metal (1/2 hard) has a BHN of around 100.  Normally hardness values are a Number and don’t have units attached.
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