What Are “Plated” Bullets?

Jacketed, Plated, Hard Cast? What does it all mean? Aren’t all bullets lead anyway? Well, there are some differences between different bullet types, and what they might be appropriate for.

Let’s start with the most basic, Hard Cast Lead.

Cast bullets are made just like they sound. A lead alloy, generally containing 3-6% antimony to increase hardness is melted down and poured into a mold to cast the metal into a bullet.

They are then sized to the correct diameter, lubed and ready to load. Lead bullets are the least expensive to manufacture, therefore usually the least expensive option when it comes to bullets.

Downsides to cast bullets include additional exposure to lead, more smoke while firing and increased leading in your barrel, especially at higher velocities.

Now, let’s move on to the other main type, jacketed bullets.

Jacketed bullets came about to solve the main problems associated lead bullets. Jacketed bullets can hold together and perform at much higher velocities than lead, while reducing the leading and smoke.

Jacketed bullets are manufactured by swaging a bullet core from lead wire, using another punch machine to form a jacket cup from copper.

The cores and cups for a 55 grain FMJ-BTs 223 Remington ready to go into the press.

Bullet core and jacket are then united in another operation before being washed, polished and sent to the next happy customer. Jacketed bullets by nature are very consistent and hard, but this also makes them the most expensive to manufacture.

That leaves us with our specialty, Plated Projectiles.

Plated bullets combine the best of both worlds, the reduced smoke and leading of jacketed bullets, with a much lower cost of manufacturing.

Making plated bullets starts out very similar to jacketed, in which the core is swaged from lead wire. After that, it starts looking a little like a custom bumper shop, as the process of plating copper onto lead to is very similar to chrome plating a part for your custom hot rod.

The anode (in this case copper) is attached to a power source which draws an electron from the material and deposits it into the cathode (in this case, the lead bullet cores).

This makes for positively charged copper, and negatively charged lead cores, which are submerged in tank with a solution that breaks down the copper, allowing it to flow freely and build up on the lead cores.

Depending on the bullet being made, it takes between 6-12 hours for that process to be completed.

After a quick wash and dry, X-Treme Bullets undergo a full re-strike operation to ensure absolute consistency. This allows us to have absolute control over the finished product to ensure you see the best results possible.

Another advantage of plated bullets is that they are completely clad in copper, whereas most traditional jacketed pistol bullets still have an exposed lead base, which can create additional smoke during firing and exposure if you’re hand loading.

Believe it or not, both bullets are the 100 Gr 380 FP. However the bullet on the right has undergone our full strike process to ensure absolute consistenc

X-Treme Bullets manufactures all 3 types, so you have plenty of options to choose from next time you’re in the market for projectiles.


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