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View Full Version : copper plated vs. "bare" (coated) lead


scootle
12-10-2010, 7:59 PM
So I've kinda been trying to figure this out, but there isn't much practical explanation that I've found as to why some .22LR ammo is copper "plated" (washed really) while others are "bare" lead sealed with wax or other polymer.

Is there any performance difference or other end-user issues that are worth discussing?

e.g.
Copper Plated:
CCI Mini-Mag (both 40gr RN and 36gr HP) (high velocity)
Federal Champion 36gr HP (high velocity)
Federal GameShok 40gr (high velocity)
CCI "Tactical" 40gr (standard velocity)

Wax/Polymer-coated Lead:
Federal Auto Match 40gr (high velocity)
CCI 40gr (standard velocity)
Eley (all types) (standard velocity)
Federal Gold Medal Match 40gr (standard velocity)
Aguila SuperExtra 40gr (sub sonic)

Copper plating appears to be exclusively for high-velocity loads (mostly), but clearly the CCI Tactical and Federal AutoMatch break this convention?

Some people allude to the degree/amount of lead fouling as somewhat of an item to note, but there is also discussion that lead fouling can be a good thing, to a certain degree, before it becomes a problem.

It's a tad confusing! I'm sure some of you veteran rimfire guys will shed some light. :D

Thanks!

Izzy43
12-10-2010, 8:14 PM
Of course the copper wash and wax, etc.. is a lubricant on the bullets. Generally we find that the waxy type of lubricant is found on higher end (usually standard vel) ammo of the target variety. Most of the bulk ammo is copper washed, hence less expensive type of lube. As an example, Wolf MT tends to be pretty accurate in most rifles. The lube is a proprietary mix of wax and other stuff that Wolf doesn't publish. Federal bulk, Remington bulk, Winchester bulk is all copper washed. CCI mini-mag is copper washed but normally will be more accurate than the bulk. CCI SV (Target) is wax lubed.

My rule of thumb is this: Copper washed is plinking ammo, waxy is target grade. Not always true but will be for a lot of ammo. I have found some copper washed (Win 333) bulk ammo that shoots nearly as good as some target ammo, but only in one rifle. That's just part of the thrill of .22 ammo.

AJAX22
12-10-2010, 8:42 PM
interestingly, coper washed bullets in .22lr were developed so that the oss coujld have ammo that was in compliance with the hauge convention in wwii

high standard model D was what they wanted to issue IIRC... but all .22LR of the period was not jacketed or clad so it was not allowed

scootle
12-10-2010, 8:54 PM
Hmmm... I didn't notice the breakdown tended to be plated = cheap and waxy-coated = higher-end, but that must be it. "Bare" lead coated in secret-sauce is the uber stuff, eh? When in doubt, always add secret-sauce...

interestingly, coper washed bullets in .22lr were developed so that the oss coujld have ammo that was in compliance with the hauge convention in wwii

high standard model D was what they wanted to issue IIRC... but all .22LR of the period was not jacketed or clad so it was not allowed

I presume this was out of concern for lead poisoning or something? Um... you were just shot, sir... lead poisoning is probably the least of your concerns? Or is there some other factor? :confused:

Anyhow, thanks... I have a selection of secret-sauce rounds now to test out, finally. Hopefully the one that works best won't put me in the poor farm. It's almost like playing the lottery... in reverse!