Note: Images are missing. Have marked placeholder in italics, just in case.
Several SRF members have been in the Chat Room and talking about Powder Coated cast lead bullets.
Without going into a long post on how to do it I will say I have done it and conducted a range test to see for myself how well they do or do not work.
TommyT cast me up a few hundred .330 round nose gas check bullets of 210 grains a few years ago. Well made of a good hard alloy.
Still,only being gas checked and lubed,you could not really push them too fast without lead fouling the bore. This is true with all rifle caliber cast lead bullets. Until powder coating was tried by others.
"The polymer plastic paint coated bullets can be pushed to 2,400 fps with no lead fouling or leading of the bore." That is what is posted on the WWW and Youtube. Makes sense. Powder coat a bullet with a coating that reduces bore friction and increases the bullet diameter to fill the bore for a better gas seal.
The coating I was able to apply is about one point five thousands thick coating to the bullets I used. This took the bullet from .330 to .3315
The plastic is very hard but not too brittle. You can flake it off if the bullets are mishandled or your seating die has the wrong bullet point seater.
You do not fill up the grease grooves. No reason to. The plastic paint is very slippery.
What I wanted to see and prove to myself is one: Is the bullet accurate? two: Does the coating cause to not fly straight? three: Will the plastic coating slough off the bullet as it travels down the bore? four: Is there any leading of the bore?
The rifle I used is a 1895 Steyr-Mannlicher long rifle in 8x56R. This rifle has a very nice bore and the rifle is a good shooter.
My target was a 18x24" AR500 3/4" steel plate set to 200 yards. The weather was bright,cloudless,dead calm.50 degrees F.
I shot from the prone,front sand bag rest only. A very easy shot.
The first shot was high of center,just to the left. I overcompensated and held too low. My Spotter did not have any optics,just the mark one eyeball.
I let another nine shots go down range. Other than hearing the steel plate ring after each shot I was not sure just where they were striking the target.
After I was able to call a cease fire from the other members shooting at the 500 yard targets,I drove down and studied the target. The powder coated bullets show very promising results and had I known where the group was starting I may have been able to really close up the group. I was shooting to hit the plate as well as heat up the barrel at the same time to test for plastic or lead fouling.
powder coated bullet target1.jpg
powder coated bullet target2.jpg
I drove home and ran a dry patch down the rifles bore. I photoed the patch as it left the bore and fell to the bench. The only residue on the patch were a couple of unburnt powder grain pieces and powder fouling. Not a single piece of Red pain or any lead.
powder coated bullet patch.jpg
My questions were answered.
No plastic in the bore, not even a hint of it.
The plastic coating protected the bore of the rifle from lead 100%
I pushed the bullet to 2,400 fps and the bullet was accurate.
I was hoping that the bullet strike on the steel plate left a paint mark as the bullet melted and fragmented into a white cloud of dust. It did NOT leave a paint mark at this bullets speed. I do not know if pistol bullets do?
Are powder coated/coating bullets worth the time and effort? Absolutely. In fact the powder coating process is much faster and requires far less effort than setting up the bullet lube/sizer, and seating the gas check.
I'm told you do not need a gas check on these powder coated bullets. I have not tried this yet.
Can you size the bullet if you want to? Yes. It will NOT remove the powder coating. Can you lube the bullets as well? Yes but why bother? The plastic is very slippery.
Hornandy is now selling powder coated loaded ammo. They are the first to jump on the band wagon.
It is very easy to do do and to get all the goodies to start powder coating your bullets the cost is far less than a bullet sizer,dies,and lube. My set up with toaster oven,plastic tubs,powder paint,airsoft BB's,tin foil was less than 50 bucks.
Youtube and members in our chat room can fill you in on how to do it. Give it a try you will be very pleased with the results on target and how clean your firearms stay when shooting these bullets.
powder coated bullet patch.jpg
Rob and I have been discussing this subject for the last couple of weeks in the chat room. I will also be adding my results to this subject but in a different caliber. Mine will be in a Swiss K31. The cast bullet will be 180 grain cast in a NOE 311-180-FN 2 cavity GC (K-31) mold. I will be shooting both gas checked PC bullets as well as just PC bullets. Should be interesting to compare results.
k31 PC Bullets.jpg
I experimented with powder coated bullets in my .358 mgp. I used the lee 200 gr flat nose bullets. I tumble coated them. You must use a plastic bowl with a lid. The bowl must have a 5 inside the recycle symbol to create the static electricity to get the powder to stick. I also used a few of the super heavy air soft bbs. About 3 layers thick in the bottom. Throw the bullets in. A little bit of powder. Shake the Urine out of it until the bullets are evenly coated. Use a small pair of pliers to stand the bullets up on their base on a layer of nostick aluminum foil on a cookie sheet. After baking install a gas check and size them. They shot submoa in my ar and left zero residue of any sort. The first patch was barely gray after 75 rounds. That is a hand lapped barrel. They can be pushed to jacketed velocities. They shot great and hit hard. Image
Ready for the gas check.
Some colors work better than others. The harbor freight red works well. Bullets for 3 1/2 cents each, basically the price of a gas check. Can't beat that.
You cannot powder coat a lubed bullet and expect it to stick. However if you use a non lubed bullet you can take a hammer and smash a bullet flat and it does not flake off. There is a very strong bond between the bullet and the powder coat.junkadict wrote:
I would like to see one of these at the end of their flight. I don't know how this could be managed but i'd think the paint would not make it out the barrel.
Did some more testing with the 358 mgp and powder coated bullets. I bought the harbor freight gun and have taken to spraying them. I used a 200 gr flat nose .358 bullet. I clipped on the gas check, sprayed them, baked them, then sized them. Actual weight was 205 gr. I ran them at a chronod 2340 fps in my 16" barrel. No pressure signs and room to go up.
Here's the cool part though.
That is after 75 rounds in my ar. You can see how clean it is.
I ran one patch and it came out like a mirror. This is the total amount of fouling after 75 rounds.
I took a crack at tumbling some 9x18 Mak and some 125 gr RN .358 castings. It took two coats to do what I considered a nice finish. Some of the powder seemed to puddle at the base of a few of the upright bullets after baking. A little filing seemed to fix it. I think a run thru the sizer would be a good idea. I need to get one for the Mak. I also used the Harbor freight red powder. It seemed quite appropriate for the Mak bullets.
If you guys are getting 2400 fps with your rifles, the pistol stuff should be a piece of cake. My Tokarev rounds will be next. I didn't like the way the regular Alox gummed things up. Didn't get any leading, just gummy and smoked a lot.
I do have the old Harbor Freight powder gun that I used for racecar parts years ago. I may make some trays and holders and try spraying them down the road.
I love this hobby!
I understand the higher quality paint does a much better job of giving a more uniform coating on the bullets. I have a lot of the HF paint left so I'm going to hold off until its gone.
I loaded up twenty rounds of.45-70 using a powder coated 475 grain semi-round nose bullet. I used a IMR-4198 loading.
The weather was nasty. Cold and raining,windy. 1873 Trapdoor Springfield Rifle
I was using our AR500 target set to 200 yards. The powder coated bullets did very well and were accurate. Bore had NO leading what so ever. A very pleasant load to shoot,mv 1,300 fps 20,000 psi,safe for the Trapdoor rifle.
I tried something new today. Bullets coated all but the nose,which is not needed anyway.
45-70 powder coated bullets loaded.jpg
I drilled 100 holes in a piece of Masonite that will just hold the nose of a .458 bullet and it will fit my toaster oven. The Masonite is then covered with non-stick aluminum foil.Mashuga wrote: How did you keep the paint off of the noses Rob? Do you use an ES gun?
A Harbor Freight Powder Coating gun was used.
Once baked on the foil peels off of the bullet noses.
I plan to do a 500 yard test this weekend.
That is the idea I was kicking around. Great minds think alike? I picked up a cookie sheet at a resale shop. Drill the holes and turned upside down was the plan. This would eliminate the "puddle" effect I was getting on my standing bullets. This might even work for tumbling them. I was surprised that sizing the bullets after coating showed no removal of the coating except for that puddle on the very bottom. I made some 45 ACP rounds that were tumbled and sized. I loaded them at FMJ loads to see if any ill effects would happen. Worked perfectly with no sign of leading. Having fun playing with this process.
The ideal way to coat the large bullets would be to cast hollow point bullets. Drive brads/nails from the back side of Masonite through a layer of tin foil or thin sheet metal. This gives you the electrical circuit for the PC Gun. After coating the bullets on the nails,you knock off the powder on the Masonite for reuse.
The bullets will be fully coated,perhaps even the hollow point if the powder is drawn into the hole.
So far none of my loads have shown any leading of the bore. By not sizing the bullets,the rifles with the large bores ,Enfields and Mosins,the bullets should shoot more accurately.
After the match today I tried the Trapdoor out to our man torso AR500 target set to 500 yards. Wind was 5 mph fishtailing. After finding the rifles zero I tried to hit the target . I was able to get five good hits with the misses very close to the target. The windage adjustment on the rear sight is anything but precise.
The angle on the hits was about 35 degrees. Flight time was 1.38 seconds.
I had four other club members try my rifle. Two of them were able to get several shots on target. We estimate that the rifle was shooting 3 MOA.
I tried to recover a fired bullet but was not able to find any of the misses in the berm.
My hits are the larger splatter marks on the target.
4570 500 yards1.jpg
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After I got home I ran a dry patch down the bore. There was one flake of lead on the patch that fell off.
4570 500 yards3.jpg
I scrubbed the bore with a bronze brush for several minutes and then a patch with some strong solvent on it. No real signs of leading. I'm pushing the bullet pretty fast. Right around 1,400 fps. We did get the barrel hot enough you could not hold the barrel. I'm not sure just what a hot barrel would do to the PC bullets?
4570 500 yards5.jpg
What we found out today was:
Powder Coated 500 grain bullets shoot very well.
No real leading of the bore was noticed.
The bullets were not sized. They were PC'd and measured .460 with no problems loading into the case or pressure signs when shot.
les1234 wrote: Interesting that all the splatter marks on the target are pointed to the 3:00 position. Due to wind drift? or caused by bullet rotation?
We were shooting at the 500 yard target from four firing points to the left of the target. The true distance was closer to 550 yards due to this steep oblique angle, but no one had a range finder to verify the true range.
The bullet was coming down at a 35 degree angle as seen through a spotting scope, and from about 45 degrees to the left.
Bullet spin at such a slow rifling rate of twist would be hard to see on target.
Today I took two rifles to the range. A Remington Rolling Block smokeless rifle in .50-110 pushing a 650 grain PC bullet and a Mosin Sniper pushing a 190 grain PC bullet.
The good news the .50-110 did OK,not great. Accuracy at 200 yards was a little disappointing. I was hoping for two inch groups. The rifle shot about 12" groups. Recoil was stout to say the least. Bullet was pushed to 1,400 fps.
I had to dig over a foot into the berm to find the bullets I shot into it recovery. They "mushroomed" very well.
The Powder coating stayed on the base of both bullets. A little stayed on the sides of the bullets as the bullet hit and expanded. The color went from bright red to a dark brown. Perhaps from friction?
I ran a dry patch through the bore. 10" in front of the chamber I hit a rough spot. I forced the patch all the way out and found a clump of silver powder or paint fouling. It is not lead. You touch any of the "flakes" and it turns to dust. No idea just what the material is.
Close up of 200 yard target. Smaller hits were from another shooter. Cant miss the .50-110 strikes
Through the spotting scope,just the .50-110 hits
recovered bullets with paint
Dry patch with shiny powder or paint fouling
The second rifle was a Mosin Sniper firing a 190 grain gas check bullet. I loaded the bullet for 2,500 fps. It did not work well. Even with a hard cast, gas check and powder coating,there was no accuracy at all. I think the bullet was going too fast for a cast.