Reloading with Plated Bullets can save you money, help you shoot in more places, and help you with shooting characteristics – but what about load data? I recently had the chance to speak with Berry’s Manufacturing about plated bullets and special considerations. In this story, I’m sharing the insights I gleaned from that conversation.
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Berry’s Manufacturing – Background
Berry’s Manufacturing is a trusted brand with a strong reputation. Here’s a quick look at some key points:
- Founded in 1961
- 3rd Generation Family Owned USA Business
- Plated Bullets are their primary offering
- They also offer other products
From the Berry’s Manufacturing About Page
A Brief History of Berry’s Bullets
For 60 years, Berry’s Bullets has been producing superior bullets for shooters everywhere. Established in 1961 by Ray Berry, Berry’s is still family-owned and operated today. At the age of 18, Gilbert Berry took over the business for his father Ray after an industrial accident forced Ray into early retirement. After 40 years of hard work and dedication to making Berry’s the preferred choice for superior quality bullets in the shooting and ammunition industries, Gilbert has retired and turned the reins over to his son Tony. Tony Berry’s vision of providing quality products and services to our customers is right in line with his father’s. By sticking to the core beliefs of faith, family, and hard work, Berry’s will continue to be a pillar of excellence in the arena of shooting products.
World-renowned for over 60 types of Superior Plated Bullets, Berry’s also provides a line of injection molded reloading products such as ammo boxes, vibratory case cleaning tumblers, & media sifters. With the capability of our state-of-the-art CNC shop, we also produce the innovative VersaCradle System of vises & accessories. Decades of experience in the shooting industry make Berry’s Bullets the superior choice for your shooting and reloading needs.
When you choose Berry’s Bullets, you are selecting a family-based business centered on exceptional quality, friendly customer service, and a product base that is proudly Made in the USA.
About Plated Bullets
Plated Bullets bring some of the following strengths to the range:
- Encapsulation of lead, unlike jacketed or lead bullets
- Fowling Reduction
From Berry’s Website:
Berry’s Superior Plated Bullets are the finest bonded copper-jacketed bullets available today. Starting with a swaged lead core, they are electroplated with copper to their final weight, leaving no lead exposure. They are then re-struck to precise specifications, ensuring a solid bond and providing consistency with every round. Indoor range safe and unbelievably accurate, Berry’s Superior Plated Bullets® are the choice of shooters everywhere.
Special Considerations & Issues
Before reloading with Plated Bullets, you should take a couple things into consideration. The 2 main considerations are going to be velocity, and crimping.
It is critical to stay under the velocity threshold. When you visit the Berry’s Website and took a look at Loading Tips, you will see a max velocity listed. If you go over that max velocity, the bullet will stretch and cause the plating to crack and separate.
Over crimping can cause separation of the plating – be sure to crimp just enough for proper neck tension.
So, you want to stay under that max velocity for Plated Bullets – but what is it? As stated above, the Loading Tips on Berry’s Website will give you a velocity ceiling recommendation. Here, we have a quick list of velocities:
- Pistol: 1250 fps
- 44 Magnum: 1850 fps
- Normal Rifle: 2000 fps
Note that you’ll find specific recommended velocity ranges for particular bullets on Berry’s website that correspond to general performance expectations for each bullet type. That and the maximum velocity will help to guide your velocity expectations while testing your loads.
Chrono Test: Plated -vs- Jacketed
So – what about load data?
You can actually use Jacketed Bullets Load data as long as you stay under that max velocity.
With this in mind, I wanted to conduct a test to see how Berry’s Plated bullets compared to Hornady XTP Jacketed Bullets. I found that performance results are similar.
Hornady XTP VS Berry’s HHP
I wanted to conduct a fair, apples to apples test. So, I made sure the bullet and cartridge overall lengths were the same. I also made sure the bullet seating depths were equivalent lengths so that pressures would be the same. I proceeded to load up 20 rounds – 10 shots of each each . Here are the averages:
- Hornady 230 grain XTP Jacketed, 6.0 grains Hodgdon CFE Pistol: 742.1 fps
- Berry’s 230 grain HHP Plated, 6.0 grains Hodgdon CFE Pistol: 750.5 fps
As you can see, there was less than a 10 fps difference between the Hornady Jacketed Bullet loads, and the Berry’s Plated Bullet Loads.
Some calibers to keep in mind:
- High Velocity Rifle (ex: 308 win)
- Pistol Caliber Rifles (Ex: 357 Mag Lever Gun)
Two Key Issues to look for
If you are following recommended load data, and working up your loads safely, you should be in the clear. If you want to conduct a test, try setting up a target at approximately 30 feet and look for 2 things:
- Copper flecks around bullet holes – (I’ve seen this with 44 magnum)
If you’re seeing either of these signs (keyholding indicated in the above image), you’ll want to check your loads and try again.
Summary and Conclusion
I hope this has helped you understand how to think about Berry’s plated bullets, load data, testing, and validation.
I frequently use Berry’s Plated Bullets. Some loads I love to shoot are my 9mm, 45 ACP – especially because they are Subsonic, and I’m doing lots of suppressed shooting. Berry’s 220 gr 300BLK subsonic bullet is awesome to not as well! Also, be on the look out for some Lever gun action coming soon! What has been your experience with plated bullets, loads and load data? Let us know!
Here are some other stories we’ve published featuring Berry’s plated bullets you’ll want to check out:
Subsonic 9mm with Berry’s 147gr Plated Bullets
Reloading 7.62x39mm with Berry’s 123 grain Bullets
Subsonic AK: Berry’s 220 grain Plated Bullets + Starline Brass
TESTED: Berry’s 220gr 300 BLK Bullets
9mm 147gr Subsonic “Magic Load”, Hard to Believe!
Start Loading with Berry’s Bullets
Shop here for Berry’s Plated Bullets
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One thought on “Plated vs Jacketed Bullets: Load Data and Considerations”
I am LTC instructor in Texas, and I sometimes see the small tears or fllecking you mention in this article on targets that are being shot with FMJ factory Ammo. Usually at 3 yards which is first and closest distance used. Can you offer any explanation for this? Last night it was Blazer Ammo out of a Glock 43x. Thanks Joe