Coated lead questions


So I’ve read a lot of marketing blather about coated lead bullets for reloading. But I’m always skeptical of marketing.
So to you guys with experience, what are the true pros and cons of coated bullets?
Cost, types of coating, etc.
I used to shoot lead SWC years ago with no ill affects as long as cleaning was done quickly.
I’m looking obviously at cost but not yet ready to cast my own.

So let’s hear it.


Loaded 500 Badman Bullets in 147g 9mm subsonics with 3.2gr of Titegroup. They shot very very well out of all 3 of my glocks, and my 7.5" AR9 build. Super quiet suppressed, zero barrel fouling from the bullet, just carbon, and very consistent. My only stumbling point with them is that they are more expensive than almost any plated bullet out there. Not significantly more expensive, but also don’t perform significantly better IMO.


So a quick look at Badman Bullets shows
147gr poly coated @ $0.10 (1000)
147gr hard cast lead @ $0.09 (1000)
And on another site (freedom munitions)
147gr copper plated @ $0.09 (1000)

So would you recommend the copper plated from a cost perspective? But maybe the poly coated are slightly better? Is that from an accuracy standpoint or feeding, or something else?

I was thinking that poly coated would be cheaper but maybe that’s a bad assumption.


From a performance perspective I saw really no difference between the two. They worked very well, but so do less expensive options, so I’d likely just stick with whats cheapest for reloading. I sold my XL650 before I moved, and 9 is so inexpensive these days, I’m not likely to be reloading for 9 or even 5.56 anymore. Maybe some specialty rounds on my turret press, but thats about it for those two. I was loading for high volume practice/club match shooting anyway to keep costs down.


Years ago we manufactured tons of lead bullets and sold both the coated and non-coated ones. The feedback we received from customers was they preferred the coated, biggest reason was the leading was reduced and they didn’t feel gummy and leave residue in the dies. Although the wholesale cost of manufacturing them is low, due to the popularity, they have quite a markup compared to non-coated.

You may want to take a look at Bayou Bullets, as they were one of the pioneers of the commercially produced coated bullets and their prices are pretty good usually and their shipping is pretty reasonable too.


I’ve never loaded the poly-coated bullets, and probably never will unless they are significantly cheaper. However, I believe that poly-coated and other polymer bullets will become more common in the future. Lead is a finite commodity and unlikely to decrease in price over time. Plus, it may get banned for environmental reasons someday???


Yeah my assumption was that they should be significantly cheaper than even plated just because of the cost of copper. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. So for now and for practice ammo I’m sticking with plated bullets.
I can see polymer bullets getting more popular and the fluted polymer are interesting.
Not sure I have much faith in poly cases though.


Same here…for now anyway. Some day we will have polymers that are superior to brass, but probably not in my lifetime.


I hope not. I like metal / brass.


I started casting my own bullets about 30 years ago after being disappointed with the commercial cast bullet offerings, the one size fits all didn’t really fit my particular firearms. Back in the day lead wheel weights were free for the asking so buying lead is not a issue I’ve have to deal with as I’ve put back enough not to have to worry about bullets probably for as long as I’ll be shooting.

I also powder coat all my own bullets, but I’ve lubed bullet in all the other ways as well over the years. I prefer the coated bullets for most applications mostly handgun and some rifle loads but I’ve also found that some loads shoot more accurately with standard lubed bullets.

I’ve shot many a plated 9 mm bullet as well and found them to be very accurate. If I had to purchase bullets and the difference was only a couple pennies per bullet difference I would just buy the ones that preformed best in my gun.


Check out the Missouri bullet company . They offer cast bullets in different hardnesses in each caliber. And sized and lube to different diameters.


Look into SnS Casting out of Flanagan Illinois.
They also sponsor a lot of competitions and shooters , most like the Hi-tek coated lead due to it also taking less powder “usually “ to produce the same velocity as plated/jacketed bullets due to the coated lead typically having a better bullet to barrel seal


Take a look at ACME Bullets They offer coated bullets at the same price as uncoated. I’m currently shooting their 500 and 405 grain in 45-70 115 grain in 9mm and 200 grain in 45 ACP with great results. For the same price I cant see any reason to buy the uncoated version due to the lack of leading issues alone . If you slug your bore and shoot the correct size uncoated lead bullet you can virtually eliminate most leading issues but the coated bullets give you some latitude in bullet size.