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  1. #1
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    Coated Cast Rifle Bullets (First Impressions)

    I am new to 300 BLK but I have been surveying the landscape for all options for a way to shoot subsonics without breaking the bank. I reload so there will be a bit of reloading talk in this 'first impressions' thread. I have learned quite a bit in the past few weeks.

    The bullets

    The bullets I have been testing out are cast bullets that have a coating applied to them.


    The coatings


    There are numerous different types of coatings out there. The two that I have been learning about are 1. Powder Coated bullets and 2. Hi Tek coated bullets. These products are NOT the same. Powder coat is pretty self explanatory. Hi Tek coating is a brand name of some kind of coating that was I think developed in Australia.

    The bullets I have been using have Hi Tek coating on them. From what I gather the coating methods are somewhat similar but after that it's not really the same stuff (or so I'm told).

    The purpose

    The purpose behind using these coatings are several fold.

    You can shoot bare lead. People do that all the time. There are though issues with using hot burning powder and bare lead which basically leads to leading up your barrel and other things of that nature. Also if shooting bare bullets through a suppressor it can leave deposits of lead in your suppressor. Hence using the coating is better.

    People also can make their own bullets and experiment with different bullet designs. One guy for example pushed the envelope and made a 265 grain coated bullet that is for subsonic use in 300 BLK. All reports are that it hits extremely hard, cycles in almost every gun, and it is actually quieter (or so I'm told). If you are limited by velocity why not increase mass?

    Most of these bullets are all oversized. For a .308 caliber the range is typically .309 to .311. They also come in varied and odd grain weights. The bullets I got are 217 grain.

    These coatings basically prevent metal on metal contact and when reloaded properly prevent the gassification of the lead and hence preventing a lot of issues. The Hi Tek coating also acts as a lubricant. All of that together reduces or almost completely eliminates fouling when compared to bare lead. I am not expert enough nor do I have the gear to examine that on any useful level.


    Reloading


    I have reloaded untold numbers of jacketed and plated bullets over the years. These Hi Tek coated bullets are a thing of their own though. Any load data you have, toss it out the window. You're basically going to have to use a completely different data set. With less powder you get A LOT more velocity.

    When reloading there are basically two extra steps that need to be done and they have to be done with care. The first step is you need to slightly bell the case mouth out using a special die. At first it was kind of fiddly, but after about 20 rounds it wasn't a problem at all. The reason you have to bell the case mouth out is because the coating will scrape off if you don't do it. The other thing that is needed is to add a very slight crimp.

    Accuracy

    I am finding these bullets to be pretty accurate. At over 50 yards away I did shots using random charge weights ranging from 7.9 all the way to 9.5 grains. I haven't tuned it all in yet but I was right about an inch or less at that distance. Some people say that after they finished their work ups using better powders that they can hold about 1.5 MOA at 100 yards. I definitely believe it.

    Suppressed shooting

    I have not shot these bullets suppressed yet. The main reason for that is that I haven't developed a good load yet. I need different powders to make a better round so I am holding off on that for now.

    Everyone with out fail says 'never shoot a bare bullet through a suppressor'. Conversely a traditional jacketed bullet is still the best option. The only real fouling you get is the carbon from the powders you run. But where do these other bullets come into play? Some people claim they experienced a slight bit of fouling in their suppressor with powder coated bullets. Notice I said 'slight'. Apparently it's not too horrible.

    With the Hi Tek coating most people say the fouling is minimal at best. Based on what I hear it's light years better than bare lead, better than powder coating, but not quite as good as copper jacketed.

    Conclusion

    I think these bullets are actually great, but there is some unknowns still until I get more experience.

    So far the only real 'downside' is there is almost no load data around. It's hit and miss. Also the reloading process adds a couple of vital steps.

    Shooting subsonic fully functional, fully feeding, reliable fully loaded up ammo for a grand total cost of around 15-16 cents per round is quite attractive. Buying these bullets in big 2000 count boxes is a good way to stay in full supply for a while.

    Now consider that most major bullet manufacturers are going down the ultra high BC route for their new offerings, and at least at present getting big bulk boxes of heavy grain jacketed bullets is not really happening, these are a good alternative for anything 1,300 fps and under.
    Last edited by alamo5000; 9 August 2018 at 20:25.

  2. #2
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    Send me 2k rounds and I'll test them through my Alpha. :)
    There's no "Team" in F**K YOU!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joelski View Post
    Send me 2k rounds and I'll test them through my Alpha. :)
    I figured you would be the perfect person for a test like that LOL! (seriously).

    2100 bullets costs $254 with all shipping included. That is .12 cents per bullet. Then add .03 cents for a primer. Then add .03 cents or so for powder and you wind up at .18 cents per round.

    If you already have the brass then you just have to reload em. It would be a perfect learning experience (I am being serious). If you can reload .300 BLK then everything else is pretty much the same.

    I can help you pick out a good starter set of reloading stuff...which we can discuss more on your thread, but once you get everything set up right you could probably do 2K rounds in not very long. It might take an evening or three of skipping out on tv but that would be it. That way you can spread the work out over a few evenings and it won't be so tedious.

    It might take you a little bit longer since you have to set up your press and all that.

  4. #4
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    I will begin acquiring the gear next payday. All extra play money is devoted to having time off over the holiday. Off all week, just need the temps to subside to an agreeable level!
    There's no "Team" in F**K YOU!

  5. #5
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    Update:

    I ran into some problems with these bullets but it has since been resolved. I will be doing more endurance and accuracy tests in the near future.

    The Problem

    I was shooting these and then when the bolt went to close, nada. I had a bullet somehow stuck in my chamber with a partially opened bolt. It really puzzzled me. I got the bullet out, but I also was able to recreate the problem a second time. I didn't have any idea what was causing it.

    I gave the gun a good cleaning and low and behold a nice round ring of lead popped out of my chamber. It had built up in there to where the next round would not chamber.

    As a result I went on the hunt to figure out the crux of the problem. This involved me capturing fired bullets somehow. I collected a bunch of water jugs and even used a cardboard box with a trash bag in it and filled that with water.

    Before

    Below is the first bullet that I captured.



    After lots of thinking and getting feedback from various sources I thought I had come up with the root cause of my problem.

    The problem was multi fold.

    1. My brass was not formed correctly and didn't have the right neck tension. (20%)
    2. I was seating the bullets way too short. (80%)

    The ogive on these bullets is extremely different than most of the jacketed bullets I've used. The same seating depth setting on the die with this bullet led to a very short OAL.

    The bases of the bullets are not perfect, but what really was happening is when the bang went off the bullet had just enough space to 'rattle' or 'yaw' in the chamber even if for a split second. What would ultimately happen is the bullet would enter the bore but wouldn't be exactly square when that happened. It was a combo of my brass and my short seating depth that caused my chamber to scrape off just a bit of the bullet.

    The Fix



    Same charge, same crimp, same everything, except I seated my bullet a lot farther out. The round was definitely magazine length but seating them out farther completely eliminated the problem.

    I will be doing a lot more accuracy testing but so far they seem to be shooting really good.

    Other stuff

    Reloading for cast bullets is an entirely different game than jacketed bullets. I have been going through a crash course so any questions and I will be happy to help.

    For 300 BLK cast bullet subs are basically a very cheap way to plink and shoot a lot more.

  6. #6
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    Accuracy Test

    I did a quick and dirty accuracy test. I did not take my time at all. All shots were fired in under a minute.

    I was shooting off of a simple rest with a 1x Aimpoint T2 at a target that was approximately 50 yards away. I think my dot is 2moa but I am not certain of that.

    I kept all 10 shots easily within a 1.5 inch circle if you are counting from the outside edges.

    The ammo hasn't been tuned for accuracy just somewhat in the neighborhood of the right velocity for subsonic use. I am sure with more magnification I could hold these bullets at an inch or less if I were to devote the time to it.

    As it sits right now without tuning the load they are easily within 2 to 3 MOA. For a CQB type setup I think that's more than adequate.

  7. #7
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    I shot them suppressed too. No problem. Stability is for sure there.

  8. #8
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    So what was the before and after OAL ?

    what barrel?

  9. #9
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    I don't know the before OAL but the after is around 2.14.

    I am shooting these out of a 9" ballistic advantage 1:7 twist barrel.

    If you're interested in shooting coated bullets let me know. I seriously had to do some major league adjusting to non jacketed bullets but once I got the hang of it it seems to work really good. I can see myself going down that route for plinking ammo on the basis of cost alone.

    Cast bullets whether they are powder coated, hi tek coated, or whatever are a different animal all together than jacketed bullets. I have shot a ton of plated bullets too but only in pistols.

    After getting my crash course over the last month (where I almost basically had to learn reloading all over again) if I had to choose I would go with jacketed bullets first and then Hi Tek coated bullets as a second option. I haven't messed around with powder coated bullets yet but everyone seems to think Hi Tek is better and I have no reason to doubt them.

  10. #10
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    Just as a comparison on cost, the bullets I am shooting I can buy them shipped to the door for .12 cents a bullet, which would make my loaded round cost for good subsonic rounds to be around .16 or .17 cents each, and I can buy them in bulk packs of 2,100 bullets.

    Just for comparison heavy jacketed bullets start around .30 cents per bullet plus shipping and you can't buy them in bulk anywhere. 100 bullet packs is all they sell them in. So far my favorite jacketed bullet is the Hornady 225 grain. It's really nice but by the time I get them to the house they are around triple the price of the cast ones I bought.

    The cost is my primary motivation here. If I could buy a whole ton of those 225 grain bullets I would shoot those all day long.

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