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Hold your reloading cost down by using copper plated bullets

I have been scrounging around and doing the best I can with the bullets and powder I had, but all I really had to scratch for was small pistol primer and that was just temporary. I guess the manufacturers and retailers have gotten pretty well caught up and there seems to be only a short wait if any when you want to purchase some.

Bullets and some cases, like .357 Magnum, 45 ACP, or 9mm, are kind of hard to come by but they seem to have loosened up the supply and like the primers it seems like a short wait if any on most bullets and brass. But I have been faced with a new and different problem for me and that is a handgun caliber change.

I now have a .38 Super Automatic therefore I needed brass and bullets and possibly a powder change to handle the changeover from .357 Magnum. Oh, I forgot to mention the new reloading loading dies, .38 Super Automatic case trimmer, and I always use a factory crimp die.

I had no problem getting any of the required items and as I wrote about last month I built a brass catcher to catch my .38 Super Automatic brass when I am shooting at the range so I can save time trying to find my brass after I have shot it.

The big problem I faced was which bullets I was going to use. Now to fit my criteria I wanted the best, most accurate bullet for shooting at the range for practice and I also wanted the least expensive bullet I could get. As you know those two requirements, inexpensive and most accurate, are not usually found in the same product.

I started with Natchez Shooters Supply, Midsouth Shooters Supply, Midway USA, and I did not want to spend many hundreds of dollars for a box of a thousand Full Metal Jacket bullets.

I also had to decide between bullets that ranged from 115 grain all the way up to 158 grain and had no idea which one was best for my purpose and on top of that they were expensive for everyday shooting.

I recall that my son once purchased some reloaded, 130 grain FMJ loads and believe it or not we could not put them on the paper at 15 feet. He finally went into the Gun Emporium shop, we were on the range, and bought a new box of UMC 130 grain FMJ and we immediately went to keeping them in a one foot circle at 25 yards. After due thought and consideration I had to accept that the original reloads he purchased were junk and the inaccuracy had not a thing to do with the gun.

I decided I would look and see what I could find in lead bullets knowing full well that if I found a lead bullet, even a hard cast lead, they would probably lead up my barrel and could not be shot on an indoor range.

Then I was struck by a fact that I had purchased in the past and am still shooting some copper plated bullets from Berry’s Manufacturing that do not lead up my barrel and are indoor safe. They are 125 grain, hollow point, and copper plated, lead bullets for my .357 Magnum revolvers.

I load them to around a thousand feet per second and you talk about nice shooting. I used a load of 4.5 grains of Titegroup from Hodgdon and you can drive nails with them, they don’t lead up my barrel and with the Titegroup my gun is almost as clean when I finish shooting as before I started.

Now folks that was .357 Magnums that I was describing, that are known for leading up barrels. If you walk into a store that carries lead fishing weights and are carrying a .357 Magnum revolver the barrel will lead up before you can leave.

So considering my successful experience with the infamous, leading up, .357 Magnum I figured I could hardly go wrong ordering some 130 grain, Round Nose, copper plated bullets from Berry’s Manufacturing.

Well I was right again; I ordered one thousand, Copper Plated, 130 grain RN bullets and 10 – 50 round, smoke colored, plastic ammo boxes and received them in a week.

I Loaded up 50 rounds of .38 Super Automatic with 4.1 grains of Titegroup and the 130 grain, Copper Plated bullets and headed for the range. The results were beyond my hopes and at 25 yards I put the first five bullets in a group of two inches around a one and one-half inch square like those used by bench rest shooters. I kept that up for the most of the box of ammo then my arm got tired and the group went down the toilet.

So folks with everything going up faster than we can keep up with them I can tell you without a doubt that I have had excellent results from the copper plated bullets I have used from Berry’s Manufacturing in my .357 Magnum revolvers and also in my .38 Super Automatic pistol and saved a considerable amount of money as compared to using jacketed bullets.

Berry’s supplies can be found in the Gun Emporium in Conroe or you can order them online at www.berrysmfg.com.

Larry J. LeBlanc is executive director of the Texas Outdoor Writers Association and a member of the Outdoor Writ ers Association of America. Check out his website at www.larryjleblanc.com.

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Re: Hold your reloading cost down by using copper plated bul

Ranier Ballistics, as well as Berry's plated bullets are lead bullets with a couple thousandths of an inch of copper electroplated on the surface. They are relatively inexpensive, and will work just fine without leading your barrel.... IF you keep them under about 1,000 fps. If you start going over that, all bets are off.

I load tons of them in .45 ACP, .38 Spl, and .38 Spl +P.
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