Berry's 180 grain round shoulder bullets... A rant...

Grenadier

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I've been using Berry's plated bullets for a long time, when making reloaded ammo. Their 9 mm 124 grain round nosed plated bullet has been great for me, and their 124 grain flat point bullet works well in my 357 Sig loads. I've also been quite happy with their 165 grain .40 flat point, and 230 grain .45 round nosed bullets.

There does seem to be a stinker in the offerings, though. I recently loaded up a batch of 10 mm ammo, using Berry's 180 grain round shouldered .40 bullets, pushing them to moderate speeds (1050 fps). These are not nearly as hot as my usual hotrodding attempts with the 10 mm (where I usually push a 180 grainer to 1300 fps, safely).

The results for these cartridges, using this recipe:

180 grain Berry's plated round shouldered bullet
7.6 grains Alliant Power Pistol powder
Winchester large pistol primer
COAL = 1.250"

At 7 yards, accuracy was OK, but when I put it out to 12 and 15 yards, I could notice several flyers in the groupings, even when using a benchrest. Totally unacceptable, since this gun has been a tack driver, especially with my custom Olympic Arms barrel.

After firing off a couple magazines at that distance, I decided to call it quits with that load, after firing a couple rounds into the water tank, and retrieving the projectiles.

I pulled apart the completed cartridges, and took a long hard look at the bullets. I had been using a light taper crimp, so no deformation of the soft plated bullet was evident, and that the plating was not cut by the seating and crimping process.

Comparing these bullets to the ones that I retrieved from the water tank, though, I noticed that a lot of the copper plating had flaked off, meaning that the plating wasn't holding up for some reason or another.

I've never had problems with plated bullets in this manner, since I don't push them beyond 1200 fps in most cartridges, and that this load was a mild one that approximated the FBI-spec 10 mm loads ("minus P" as an old friend called them).

I reloaded some more cartridges, this time using Berry's 180 grain flat point, and sure enough, the accuracy tightened up quite nicely, even though the recipe was pretty much identical, all the way down to the crimping process, since my Lee Carbide Factory Crimp die has been quite consistent. Bullets retrieved from the water tank still had their plating intact.

At this time, I can only assume that this batch of 180 grain round shouldered bullets is simply a bad one, since their flat points work just fine, and will recommend that if you want to use plated bullets, that you avoid this specific bullet.
 

bydand

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Could it be a bad batch of that particular bullet? Contact them and let them know what you found, they may send another lot # to replace your defective ones. Kind of strange that their QC would be so different between bullet styles.
 

arnisandyz

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I've found that different bullets are more accurate in specific velocity ranges. Might want to try loading some at higher velocity maybe with a powder with a different burn rate? I was downloading some .223 for 3 gun (minimum powerfactor) using 55 gr boattails and the accuracy was not very good. I progressively loaded heavier until I reached my max load and foud they were indeed more accurate at higher velocities.
 
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Grenadier

Grenadier

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I've found that different bullets are more accurate in specific velocity ranges. Might want to try loading some at higher velocity maybe with a powder with a different burn rate? I was downloading some .223 for 3 gun (minimum powerfactor) using 55 gr boattails and the accuracy was not very good. I progressively loaded heavier until I reached my max load and foud they were indeed more accurate at higher velocities.


I doubt it's a velocity issue. This is more of the plating getting stripped, and as a result, the rounds start to tumble. The "Big Four" plated bullet manufacturers (Speer, Rainier Ballistics, Berry's, X-Treme) all use electroplating processes that deposit a thin layer of electrochemically bonded copper to the lead, and the plating holds up to high velocities normally.

Other than Speer, the other three manufacturers generally discourage using any velocities beyond 1300 fps. This isn't to say that you can't; I've used the 9 mm flat point bullet from all three (Rainier / Berry's / X-Treme) when making 357 Sig cartridges, and pushed them to 1350 fps, and never had a problem with them.

This is most likely a bad batch from them. I'll e-mail them, and let them know.

I know that the defunct company, Triton Ammunition, had a problem with their 357 Sig loads, though, since they were using a particular batch of Rainier Ballistic 9 mm plated hollowpoint bullets, that could not hold the plating at 1400+ fps.

Their older Hi-Vel ammo had rotten accuracy in the 357 Sig, even though it did just fine in the 9 mm, simply because the plating had been stripping during the launching process. After they replaced the Rainier bullets with a Hornady JHP bullet (true, hard jacket), suddenly, the accuracy became amongst the best.

I was simply surprised, though, that a 1050 fps velocity could do this to an electroplated bullet.
 

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