Full Power Practice Loads with Berry’s 200 Grain 10mm Flat Point Thick Plate Bullets

The 10mm semi-auto is expensive to shoot! To gain and maintain proficiency in self-defense handgun shooting, shooters should expend a significant amount of ammunition in various drills to promote skill development. This adds up, especially in a caliber like 10mm.  In order to cut training costs let’s look at using a quality but inexpensive bullet, the Berry’s 10mm 200 grain FP-TP

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About the Berry’s 10mm 200 Grain Flat Point 

Berry’s has been making bullets since the early 1960’s and offers them in over 60 different bullets! In general their plated bullets offer an affordable alternative to cast lead and jacketed bullets for training and practice purposes. I’ve found that they shoot clean, leaving the firearm cleaner than do some lead bullets. 

This .401” 200 grain projectile is a new bullet in Berry’s lineup and is capable of holding up to a muzzle velocity of 1500 fps. The older version of this bullet has standard plating and is limited to 1250 fps. This thick-plate version may not yet be available on their website or on store shelves, but it’s coming! We got an early chance to load and shoot this bullet which is contoured to feed well in semi-automatic firearms. This bullet averages $0.18 each compared to $0.18 to $0.36 for jacketed or cast bullets. 

**Linked below is the older version of the bullet, not the thick plate. It’s limited to 1250 fps, which would have been adequate for our shooting. The new thick plate bullet should be arriving on dealer’s shelves soon! 

From Berry’s:

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.

    • Bullet O.A.L.: .656″
    • Cartridge Name: 40 S&W
    • Cartridge O.A.L.: 1.125″
    • Max Velocity: 1250 fps
    • Cartridge Name: 10mm
    • Cartridge O.A.L.: 1.250″
    • Max Velocity: 1250 fps
    • Load data for our Superior Plated Bullets® can be found in any manual or on any powder manufacturer’s website.
    • Cast or jacketed data with the same grain weight and profile will work with our bullets.
    • You can use a taper or a roll crimp.
    • Don’t over crimp the brass after seating. This causes bullet core separation, leading to increased copper fouling and accuracy issues.
    • Don’t exceed the recommended maximum velocities listed. This creates bullet core separation and accuracy issues.

About the 10mm Cartridge

Developed in the 1980s, the 10mm is a powerful handgun cartridge suitable for self defense against man or beast. Original specifications called for a 200 grain bullet at 1200 fps from a 5” semi-automatic pistol.

This was later changed to a 180 grain bullet moving 1030 fps to 1275 fps. The cartridge was adopted by many American law enforcement agencies but isn’t as popular among departments today as it once was. Interestingly, the 10mm has been issued by Denmark for their patrols in Greenland who sometimes encounter polar bears! Today the 10mm is seen as a specialty cartridge, often carried by hunters and others who venture into bear country and want a powerful but controllable sidearm for protection. 

About the Pistol

Probably the most popular 10mm pistol of all time, the GLOCK 20 is reliable, reasonably accurate, and easy to shoot.

The double-stack magazine has a good capacity (15 rounds for those in unrestricted states). The sights are large and bright, making them very easy to see. The 4.6” barrel produces good velocity while still keeping the pistol reasonably compact and easy to carry. It weighs 30.7 ounces empty and nearly 40 ounces with a loaded magazine.

About the Load

For this article, I wanted to build ammunition that approached the original 200 grain 10mm ammunition velocity of 1200 fps. Since I had a GLOCK 20 with a 4.6” barrel to shoot, I expected the velocity to be a bit lower than that. I’ve used Hodgdon’s Longshot shotgun powder in the 9mm, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, and now in the 10mm cartridge. It has produced excellent velocities and tight extreme spreads and standard deviation figures in those cartridges. Hodgdon notes that it does this while producing less pressure than other powders.

 

I paired unfired 10mm brass cases with Winchester large pistol primers for this load. Hodgdon’s online reloading data center listed 7.0 grains of Longshot for a starting load and 8.2 grains as a maximum load with a 200 grain bullet. Looking for greater velocity with the Berry’s thick plate bullet to support it, I loaded the maximum on Lyman’s All- American 8-station turret press with Hornady dies.

I used the Frankford Arsenal Perfect Seat Hand Primer to seat primers and Lyman’s Brass Smith powder measure to quickly throw charges.

My loading sequence was as follows: 

  1. Size the new brass in the titanium nitride sizing die
  2. Bell/flare the case mouth slightly
  3. Prime the cases
  4. Charge the cases with powder
  5. Seat the bullet
  6. Crimp the cartridge in a Lee taper-crimp die 

I like to size new brass to be sure it’s going to give the bullet good tension to avoid bullet set-back when the cartridge is pushed from the magazine and the bullet slams into the feed ramp. 

Priming off-press with a hand priming tool is my preferred method of priming. The Frankford Arsenal hand priming tool has become my favorite tool for this chore and does an excellent job.

I’m sure to swipe the cartridge case head with my finger to be sure that the primer is seated flush or just below flush. 

The powder measure worked very well with Longshot, a spherical powder. I like to charge all the cases then check them—using a flashlight if necessary—to visually confirm that none of the cases were double-charged or under-charged.

Test Results

In addition to traditional chronograph testing, we also conducted a self-defense-oriented shooting session involving several drills: 

  • One hole drill at 5 yards (beginning and end of shooting session)
  • Failure (or Mozambique) drill at 5 yards
  • Magazine Dump drill at 5 yards
  • Steel shooting at 7 to 20 yards

The point of the one-shot drill is to shoot five shots slow-fire and get them all in one ragged hole. The failure drill is two shots to the chest and one to the head of a silhouette target. 

Guy Practicing the Failure-Mozambique Drill

These drills were a test of the shooter but also of the accuracy and reliability of our ammunition. Would it function reliably from the GLOCK 20 pistol? Was the bullet capable of providing sufficient accuracy for serious training? 

Guy Critiquing his Failure Drill Results

The ammo shot well. Other than a  few light primer strikes, the ammo fit properly in the magazine, cycled smoothly into the chamber, and extracted reliably.  I don’t know if the primers were contaminated in some way or if the pistol has a maintenance issue. I will explore this further. 

Once again, Hodgdon’s Longshot powder produced exemplary results. This maximum load  produced a very respectable 1148 fps average with the 200 grain Berry’s bullet. Also impressive were the 22 fps ES and 7.9 fps SD figures.

Anytime I see SD figures under 10 fps from a powerful defensive firearm, I’m quite pleased. 

Handload Cost Analysis

10mm commercial ammunition is expensive. Some bargains can be found with FMJ practice type bullets, but it still adds up. At $0.31 each, my reloaded ammo is considerably less expensive than any factory ammo ($0.54 to $1.82 each) I found while researching this article.

This handloaded ammunition is an inexpensive substitute for high quality factory FMJ ammunition! It’s got all the power of a standard factory 10mm 200 grain load and is safe to use in any 10mm pistol in good condition.

The cost is considerably less than factory ammunition and this ammo proved more than accurate enough for serious training. 

Guy’s One Hole Drill Group

Get the Gear

**Linked here is the older version of the bullet, not the thick plate. It’s limited to 1250 fps, which would have been adequate for our shooting. The new thick plate bullet should be arriving on dealer’s shelves soon! 

Berry’s .40/10mm 200 Grain Flat Point Bullet

Hodgdon Longshot at Midsouth Shooters Supply

Lyman Brass Smith All-American 8-Station Turret Press Reloading Kit at Midsouth Shooters Supply

Lyman Brass Smith Powder Measure at Midsouth Shooters Supply

Frankford Arsenal Perfect Seat Hand Primer at Midsouth Shooters Supply

Hornady 10mm/.40 S&W Series 2 3 Die Set With Taper Crimp at Midsouth Shooters Supply

Garmin Xero C1 Pro at Creedmoor Sports and Midsouth Shooters Supply

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Thanks,
Guy Miner

 

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