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Plated bullets tumbling


jeff40
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Hi everyone, I've been away for some time!

So I'm using West Coast plated 180gr. RNFP in my .40 limited guns. One has a well-used Scheuman barrel, and the other a brand spankin' new Nowlin.

One lot of these bullets (I had at least 3K) would tumble to the point that I couldn't reliably hit a 12" plate at 10 yards, and could very well throw a miss on a metric target at 15! The bullets that hit were obviously going through sideways. I did all the usual, checked for too much crimp, checked for not enough bell...no good.

So I call West Coast, give them the lot#, and they say send them back, we'll replace them. They were very good about replacing 3K that I had left.

I loaded the new bullets without changing a thing with the load or the press, and proceeded to go out and shoot a 1 3/4" group offhand at 25 yards! (Way better than usual)

Thing is, West Coast will give me no explanation for why the other lot was so crappy, and not knowing is driving me nuts.

Does anyone have an idea what may have caused the first lot to be so erratic??

 

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Thicker coating on the good bullets? No idea, I had the same thing happen with 9MM plated bullets in my Infinity with AET barrel.

I shot thousands of them with excellent accuracy at 25 meters and all of a sudden I had a lot of misses and tumbling bullets, even at 10 meters.

It took me a few weeks to work out it was a new batch of bullets causing the issue, back to the old batch and all was good.
Never buying that brand again. (LOS bullets).

 

Bullets worked fine in a "normal" barrel btw.

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Would be interesting to Chrono some of the tumblers versus some of the good bullets. 

 

One guess is that they got the lead hardness wrong, incorrect alloying or overheating and burning off alloy (a well known coated bullet supplier had thermocouple issues a while back, was told you could hit the bullets with a hammer and the bad bullets would crack whereas the good ones would just deform). As I recall, too hard and you do not get a good gas seal, too soft and you get a lot of leading (I think). Just a guess, could be coating related as well I suppose. 

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i have given up on plated bullets in 1911/2011. for whatever reason, they have always run great in my cz's, but intermittent problems in 1911's. using the same batch on the same day i could shoot 4-5" groups off-hand at 25 yards with my p01 (pretty much as good as i can shoot), but couldn't keep all the bullets even on the target with my 1911.

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On 9/30/2019 at 9:22 PM, motosapiens said:

i have given up on plated bullets in 1911/2011. for whatever reason, they have always run great in my cz's, but intermittent problems in 1911's....

 

Strange.

I've been using plated bullets for years for 357Mag revolver (loading to Major, or so) and 45ACP 1911-style. Never problems and accuracy is good. I've been using European brands, though: H&N and sometimes LOS bullets

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3 hours ago, perttime said:

 

Strange.

I've been using plated bullets for years for 357Mag revolver (loading to Major, or so) and 45ACP 1911-style. Never problems and accuracy is good. I've been using European brands, though: H&N and sometimes LOS bullets

allow me to clarify, 1911/2011 guns in 9 and 40 have been the problem (several different guns). I have had good luck shooting  plated bullets in 45-1911 guns.

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3 hours ago, motosapiens said:

allow me to clarify, 1911/2011 guns in 9 and 40 have been the problem (several different guns). I have had good luck shooting  plated bullets in 45-1911 guns.

I have come to the conclusion that the problems I have experienced with plated bullets are velocity-related.  

 

Any 9mm plated bullets I have used that produce much more than 1100 FPS MV show signs of tumbling as ranges increase to 20 yards and beyond.

 

I have never experienced tumbling plated bullets with any .45 ACP when MV's are in the 750-870 FPS range, or with 9mm plated bullets when velocities are kept to about 1000 FPS.

 

Tumbling has been significantly more apparent with Glock pistols in 9mm and .45 ACP caliber when compared o STI 2011 pistols in 9mm caliber and 1911 pistols in either 9mm or .45 ACP caliber.  I shoot a lot of CZ's now, and have moved on from plated bullets, so I don't know if they would show any different results from those in the above mentioned pistols.   

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