Ammo question

dwight55

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Jun 28, 2022
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ohio
I've heard folks at the gun shop argue lead .22 bullets . . . VS . . . copper plated . . .

Never had any top shooter chime in . . . do we have anyone here who can honestly settle this debate for me?

Thanks, may God bless,
Dwight
 

Cowpokey

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    All the top grade "match" .22lr is lead. The "copper plated" isn't really "plated" it's copper washed, very thin coating of copper. I'm not a "top shooter", so I'll let the experts chime in further.
     

    obx22

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    Before I started shooting longer range competition, and for my whole time of shooting, I’ve gravitated to mid-grade fodder purchasing in bulk so I’m not constantly chasing small quantities of the perfect lot.
    Out to 100yds, my go to was the old Wolf Match Target (waxed lead round nose), and Winchester bulk-pack Dynapoints (copper washed with a dimpled nose, not a true hollow point).
    Both shot equally well in my guns, with the dependability going to the Wolf (17K rnds fired with only one failure, which fired on the second strike). Dynapoints would have perhaps 1 failure every 1k rounds or so.
    Another runner-up would be the older Korean PMC, can’t remember if it was Sidewinders or Zappers, that was copper washed round nose, and could break the 1 MOA for 10 shots at 100, but it wasn’t as accurate as the Dynas.
    The lions share of decent mid-grade to precision match ammo is all plain lead round nose with some blend of waxy coating.
     
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    justin amateur

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    Just an amateur who reads everything I can find out there,
    and what I found was...

    Winchester came out with copper plating first...called it lube alloy.
    Supposed to help with reducing friction.
    Even so, copper plated 22lr has a hard wax coating that does the real job of reducing friction.

    Now copper plating is used to make for more attractive cartridges and improve sales, not accuracy.
    Folks see shiny copper and think centerfire, then think it'll make things better.
    The problem being the copper is plated over an already beat up lead core/bullet.
    Do you think with the cartridges below, the copper will improve accuracy? ;)

    CCI_Mini-Mag_Rounds.jpg


    Hard lubricant is intended to minimize dirt from sticking to the bullet
    also to limit lubricant build up in semiauto firearms.
     
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    DownhillFromHere

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    All mid-grade to match-grade factory .22LR is lead coated with some sort of lubricant. None of it is copper-washed. All of it is "standard velocity" - some will lot-test in the 1100fps range but none will be the 1200fps or faster high-velocity stuff. Lapua and Eley are the big players in the premium .22LR ammo arena. Other brands stick "match" in some of their labels, but you won't ever see serious competitors use them.

    Welcome to SH. There is a gold mine of info here - the gentleman in the preceding post has done an amazing amount of hands-on testing, for example, and is worth your time - so take time to do a lot of reading. Enjoy.
     
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    Keeper22

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    Mar 22, 2022
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    I work in a gun store and sometimes we get bored/curious and do some comparisons. Not long ago we took some 22 ammo and measured and weighed several different bulk, cheap brands. The copper plated were the least consistent comparable to just lead. Our guess was it was due to the process of plating. Just my observation
     

    grauhanen

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    Not long ago we took some 22 ammo and measured and weighed several different bulk, cheap brands. The copper plated were the least consistent comparable to just lead. Our guess was it was due to the process of plating. Just my observation
    Inexpensive bulk .22LR ammos often have the most irregular dimensions, including those of the bullet, regardless of whether they are copper plated. They aren't made to the much tighter tolerances characteristic of more expensive .22LR ammo, especially match ammo.

    Justin Amateur has it right. Copper plating with a hard, dry lubricant is used on ammo for hunting and plinking because shooters prefer not to have greasy lubrication on these bullets. When it was relatively new, copper plating was advertised as having the quality of keeping fingers clean. When pocketed, this ammo also avoids picking up lint.

    In his book Ammunition Making, which has considerable information on .22LR ammo including a chapter on "The .22 Match Cartridge", George E. Frost writes "Match ammunition seems to achieve maximum accuracy with a greasier lubricant."
     

    DownhillFromHere

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    In his book Ammunition Making, which has considerable information on .22LR ammo including a chapter on "The .22 Match Cartridge", George E. Frost writes "Match ammunition seems to achieve maximum accuracy with a greasier lubricant."
    Then Lapua has essentially no competition :ROFLMAO: ... get it up to about 80-85 degrees F. and it's so slippery it's a challenge to hang onto it enough to stuff it into magazines...

    Fwiw, Devan at the Mesa, AZ test center told me all Lapua and SK labels except Polar Biathlon use the same lube, meaning one can switch from, say, SK Standard+ all the way to Lapua X-Act and back with confidence that no POI shift will occur due to lube (of course, POI shift due to differing velocity or even lot # is probable). In a little monthly match I attend, the first stage is always close (50 yards) so I use SK Standard+, and then switch to Center-X for the more distant targets. No need to "season" the barrel between the labels.
     
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    grauhanen

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    Fwiw, Devan at the Mesa, AZ test center told me all Lapua and SK labels except Polar Biathlon use the same lube, meaning one can switch from, say, SK Standard+ all the way to Lapua X-Act and back with confidence that no POI shift will occur due to lube
    Yes, there's no point in wasting more expensive ammo for fouling the bore. I season with SK Standard Plus before shooting with CX or M+.