Starting reloading. Lead or coated bullets?

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February 22, 2019, 03:43 PM
Starting reloading. Lead or coated bullets?
I'm going to start reloading for a new SW 686 357Mag I picked up. I'm going to be shooting 158gr bullets from either summers enterprises or Missouri Bullet. Would you recommend coated bullets or just plain lead? I plan on using about 6 gr of Unique and a small pistol primer.

Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice - pull down your pants and slide on the ice.
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February 22, 2019, 05:50 PM
I prefer coated

Regular lead, tends to smoke more, be a little messy, and the exposure to the lead is not worth it.

February 22, 2019, 05:55 PM
Coated or plated is all I ever reload. For the amount of money you save by using lead, it just is not worth it to me.

"But, as luck would have it, he stood up. He caught that chunk of lead." Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock
February 22, 2019, 06:03 PM
I have been pleased with both the 158 grain lead and the coated RNFP bullets from Summers...but all things considered, I like the Hi-Tekcoated bullets better...the cost is not that much more shipped when you order in bulk with flat rate USPS. The coated are somewhat cleaner on your seating/crimp die...they have also shot very clean with less smoke...

I also like shooting his 130 grain coated RNFP bullet in .38/.357 using cowboy action data (3.0-3.5 grains of Hodgdon Clays)'s been quite a few years since I loaded .357 with Unique, but if I'm not mistaken, I think my Unique loads were around 5.0 grains with 158 grain LSWC home cast bullets and I've always leaned towards softer recoil loads.

Again, for the price and quality, Summer's coated bullets are hard to beat.


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February 22, 2019, 06:51 PM
Thanks for the great feedback, everyone!

Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice - pull down your pants and slide on the ice.
ʘ ͜ʖ ʘ
February 23, 2019, 06:55 AM
Buy yourself some coated Bayou Bullets and don't look back!!! Great bullets at a good price!!


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February 23, 2019, 06:24 PM
For the longest time, all I could do was shoot indoors. These would often be family trips and my brother would always shoot his home cast lead bullets. The smell and the tremendous cloud left in the air on that tiny indoor range was terrible. Talk about black boogers... He started to PC his bullets and I went to plated and coated for economy shooting because the price difference was more than worth it to me. Now I shoot mostly outside and still don't want to shoot the lead stuff without the coating with the exception of slow fire large caliber guns.

Dirty guns don't bother me at all since I'm going to clean frequently any way. I don't miss the smoky lube either.
February 24, 2019, 07:56 PM
The lead bullets gumming up the seating and crimp dies with wax build up sent me on my way to coated bullets. I now use Summers mostly. I also like the Missouri products. For a while Summers had some coating issues, but the last few K have been very nice, including those I've seen in bulk at a buddies place.
February 25, 2019, 08:42 AM
I have been using Bad Man Bullets (polymer coated) for about one year now. I load them in 9 m/m,.38/.357 & .41.

With the 9 m/m (124 grain) I have experienced zero malfunctions and no leading. About 1500 rounds 9 m/m.

With the revolver bullets (158 SWC and 215 RNFP), again no leading. About 2300 rounds .38/.357. In .41 Magnum, 150 rounds.

I have been keeping my velocities around 1000 - 1200 feet per second in pistol/revolver.

One additional benefit with the polymer coated bullets is that they minimize exposure to lead. Read some of the "warnings" on lead bullets as well as primers. In LE we call these "clues".

At my age I do what I can to minimize my exposure to lead and petroleum-based cleaners/lubricants.

March 06, 2019, 11:56 PM
I ordered a ton (at least that's how heavy the box felt) of Summers' 158gr coated bullets. I placed the order Friday afternoon, Donny emailed me Saturday that they shipped, and I got a hernia on Monday moving them into the garage. That kind of service puts Amazon to shame!

Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice - pull down your pants and slide on the ice.
ʘ ͜ʖ ʘ
March 14, 2019, 02:38 PM
I switched from plated to coated a year or so ago and now use coated bullets exclusively from Acme bullets. Reasonably priced with good customer service and expedited shipping.
March 14, 2019, 08:58 PM
I used some Summers and they must have been the ones with a coating issue. Shot well though. Tried some Bayou’s and Gallants.

I’ve now settled on The Blue Bullets brand. I won’t load bare lead. I tried some a long time ago and didn’t like the mess.

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April 05, 2019, 01:34 PM
I know there are a few people on this forum that coat their own lead bullets. I started casting and coating for three different hand guns three yrs ago. I visit all the local tire shops and collect all the tire weights they will give me. I also go the the scrap yards and get linotype lead. I have made this part of my hobby of reloading & I also like all the money I save. I tried using powder coat paint but found the polymer does a better job. Also I found that if you use powder coat you have to use the High Temp type to get the same quality as polymer which is more expensive. The low temp stuff will burn off and leave some lead in the barrel. I found this out when I melted some bullets coated with the powder coat along with some coated with polymer. The paint turned to powdered ash but the polymer remained in one peace.
April 09, 2019, 05:58 PM
Make sure you separate the seating and crimping to two actions otherwise a powder coated bullet will get mangled and may clog up your chambers

I got myself last month shooting USPSA when my gun wouldn’t run after the ammo I had reloaded jammed the gun up due to this simple issue.

I made some ammo the night before on a single stage press cause I haven’t set up my Dillion yet since moving.

I use Precision bullets made here in Kemp TX, they are coated much like blue bullets or bayou.

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June 17, 2019, 09:30 PM
Gutpile Charlie
I have bnever loaded coated or plated bullets but really don't shoot lead at high velocities. I've had good luck with 230 gr RN lead in .45 ACP. I just keep velocity moderate and leading, smoke, etc. is not a problem. In .38/357 jacketed bullets are used for high velocity and lead for slow target loads.

"If you think everything's going to be alright, you don't understand the problem!"- Gutpile Charlie
"A man's got to know his limitations" - Harry Callahan

June 18, 2019, 08:20 PM
1) The bullet must be a tight slip-fit in the cylinder's throats. Measure them as well as you can.
2) The bullet must be at least 0.001" larger than the groove diameter of the barrel. Slug your barrel.
If you meet those two requirments, lead or coated lead will work just fine.
I prefer to buy swaged and coated bullets from Precision Bullets in Texas. Great bullets--accurate and consistent in geometry and weight.
Personally, when I buy cast bullets, I stick to plain lead bullets as they are cheaper and work just as well.
June 24, 2019, 03:40 AM
I load Bayou Bullets, coated. The barrel is very clean after several thousand rounds.
July 07, 2019, 10:03 PM
Coated hard cast for several reasons. No leading, higher velocities without leading worries, no need for a gas check, less exposure to toxic lead, easier to press in without shaving lead off of the projectile.

I like Missouri Bullet. Lots of options depending on usage.

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