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Thread: Copper plated Swaged Bullets

  1. #1

    Copper plated Swaged Bullets

    Has anyone had any experience of copper plated swaged lead bullets in rifle calibres?
    I have obtained a couple of hundred in 8mm and 9.3mm in order to load inexpensive training rounds for my 8x57jrs and 9.3x74r rifles but so far trials have been disappointing certainly not anywhere as good as cast bullets.

    Data from H & N in Germany suggest that these should only be loaded to moderate velocities yet bullets of similar design and construction seem to have quite a following in South Africa for meat hunting.

    Would it be reasonable to assume that the same modern thinking regarding pressure limitations on the bullet rather than velocity limitations could be applied?

    This is a question open to all but I am sure that Muir will be able to enlighten me on this one.

  2. #2
    8x57: I have shot Ranier bullets here in the US but these are handgun bullets and I load them to full pressures. Usually such bullets are made" in an electroplating process similar to those used on CCI and Federal 22WMR 40 grain loads. They are a jacketed bullet but very thin shelled. I am wondering how the bullet diameter matches to your groove diameter. If these are just a very thin shelled pure lead bullet, pressures would be a very big issue and especially if the bullets are a mis match to the groove diameters of the weapons. The bullets may obturate under pressure but they may not obturate equally. What kind of loads are you using? I would slug your groove diameters and compare them to the bullets. Should they be close, I'd use (at least in the 8x57) IMR or Hodgdon's 4895 powder and load it to 66% of maximum. This will be a very light load in both velocity and pressure. If they shoot better, up the charge incrementally.

    I'll be curious to see how it works out for you.~Muir

  3. #3
    Thanks Muir for the suggestions. I will keep plugging away at both the load development and my research for information.
    One of the problems that I have as regards the 8x57 is that it has an inertia trigger (the 9.3x74r has double triggers) and I need a fairly hefty recoil impulse to allow firing of the second barrel.

    I've run across pistol bullets similar to the Ranier type before and not had too much of a problem in revolvers, though I understand that there have been some concerns in certain semi-auto pistols. Copper plated rifle bullets seem to be another thing alltogether. Many of the problems that we encounter here in the U.K. are more due to restricted access to components or unavailability, often because of the relatively limited market and the reluctance of importers to import a full line of products. This combined with a shortage or should I say almost total lack of good gunshops. Powder choice often comes down to taking what you can get, when you happen to come across it.

  4. #4
    Gad! I envy your double guns!

    I feel for my UK shooting bretheren. I have been shooting since I was three years old (or so the story goes: I do know that my Dad bought me my first .22 the morning I was born and I cannot remember a time when I wasn't shooting) and it is a huge part of my life. I can't imagine living under the restrictions you folks must tolerate. It would make me crazy.

    A question about your casting activities: Have you ever considered heat treating your bullets?? Not only do you get a bullet that is more tolerant of chamber pressure, but the gas check is annealed in the process. Annealing gas checks has been an accuracy trick for cast bullet bench rest shooters for a decade and a half now and the results are well documented. Of course, that is under the consideration that all other matters regarding bullet fit are attended to. How big is your 8x57 groove? I have a 226 grain RN mold that cast a whopping .328" I could let you borrow for a year or so... provided I could get it to you, of course. It is a handsome bullet and one I use in my 1914 Danzig Sporter as the groove is .325 inches. With a field-worthy charge of 4895 it shoots clusters at 50M and as good as I can hold at 100M. If you like the bullet you could have a copy made?? Or just cast a life-time's worth of bullets and mail the mold back! Let me know. I'm mailing out JAYB's christmas present soon. I could attempt to slip it in the box and he could mail it off to you from the Highlands.

    At least you are exploring possibilities. I am flatly amazed that so few shooters in the UK consider casting bullets. I know that they aren't legal for deer but for all other applications -target, small game, off hand practice - they are perfectly suited.

    My hat's off to you for taking the plunge.~Muir

  5. #5
    Muir thanks for the offer of the loan of the 8mm mould but if you donít mind I will give it a miss, as I am quite satisfied with the results that I am getting using my Lee mould and have more than enough variables to ponder for the time being.
    I havenít measured the groove diameter of my barrel but fortunately my 175 grn Lee gas checked bullets run through the Lee sizing die seem to be just about spot on. I am very very happy with the three shot 1.5 - 2 inch groups (at 100yds) that I have been able to achieve from the top barrel using cast bullets. The next step will be to try to develop a load using these bullets that will ďregulateĒ at 50 yds with both barrels, but perhaps that will be asking just a little too much.

    I have cast and stockpiled quite a few 8mm bullets, and these along with the copper plated bullets in both 8mm and 9.3mm bullets, should keep me quite busy for some time trying out all the permutations. But I will try heat treating the next batch of cast bullets as from what I have read this process should be advantageous.

    Over the week end I tried some different loads using the copper plated bullets and slow pistol powder, the results show promise but only as light training rounds. Early indications are that hard cast bullets are superior to copper plated swaged bullets and can be driven by suitable rifle powders at respectable speeds. Now my next stage will be to source a suitable 9.3mm mould and start casting for that rifle as I donít think that copper plated bullets exhibit any advantages over cast lead unless you look at exposure to lead particles on indoor ranges.

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