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I did a search and came up empty, so I will ask here.

What, if any, advantage is there to copper-plated .22 LR rounds vs. bare lead rounds, or vice-versa?
 

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Live Secret, Live Happy
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I don't think the thin copper plating is an advantage against small game, but It may make the bullet less suseptable to damage when loaded in a semi or other repeater.

I have noticed that most target rounds in 22 LR use pure lead bullet, and many of the best 22 LR hunting rounds use copper plated bullets.

Given the choice, I prefer Federal lightning 36g HP rounds, or Winchester power point 40g HP ammo.

Since many weapons chambered in 22 LR are ammo sensitive, I often test a new weapon with a variety of different ammo, to see which function and shoot the best.
 

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Copper plated advantage is for semi-autos to reduce gunk in action from buildup of waxy or greasy bullet lubes. The cladding must be heavy enough to prevent the rifling from cutting through the plating and exposing bare, unlubricated lead in the bore, which will cause leading.

Plated ammo tends to be less accurate because the bullet bases get damaged when tumbling the bullets around in a barrel plater to apply the copper. CCI Mini-Mags are the exception to this because they plate the bullets as pre-formed cores and not as finished bullets, so that the bullets are finish-struck after plating so that the bases remain good.

But plain lead, unplated bullets are usually more accurate in revolvers than plated types, because their basic bullet diameter is larger. Waxed or greased bullets lead less in revolvers.

Most important thing for accuracy in .22 LR ammo is the bullet diameter, as measured at the exposed bearing surface outside the case. Max. bullet diameter is .2255" and you want as close to this diameter as possible. Only way to get .225" all the time is to buy Eley Tenex or RWS R50 match ammo.

US made mass-market .22 LR ammo bullet diameters are .223" diameter or less so that it will feed in crudded up semi-auto chambers that people never clean. "Sporting" .22 LR chamber is .227-.230" which makes for sloppy fit. "Match" chamber is .2245-.2255"

CCI Green Tag and CCI Standard Velocity is .224" bullet diameter, much better if you want to shoot ten-shot, 50-yard groups consistently under 1", with the best groups from a target bolt rifle approaching this with 10X scope at 100 yards.
 

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Since many weapons chambered in 22 LR are ammo sensitive, I often test a new weapon with a variety of different ammo, to see which function and shoot the best.
This is a smart approach, and I do so regardless of caliber. I've had a number of finicky .22LR semi-autos over the years, and found it to be more cost-effective to buy a variety of ammo for a new gun than just stocking up on whatever worked for me with other guns. For instance, I had a Walther that liked old round-nosed lead Federal Lightning, but a Ruger that wouldn't run anything reliably except Winchester copper-plated Super-X, as I recall. I haven't really experienced anywhere near that level of "selective ammo appetite" in other calibers, but I still use the same approach: buy one or two boxes each of a couple different brands.
 

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Copper plated advantage is for semi-autos to reduce gunk in action from buildup of waxy or greasy bullet lubes. The cladding must be heavy enough to prevent the rifling from cutting through the plating and exposing bare, unlubricated lead in the bore, which will cause leading.

Plated ammo tends to be less accurate because the bullet bases get damaged when tumbling the bullets around in a barrel plater to apply the copper. CCI Mini-Mags are the exception to this because they plate the bullets as pre-formed cores and not as finished bullets, so that the bullets are finish-struck after plating so that the bases remain good.

But plain lead, unplated bullets are usually more accurate in revolvers than plated types, because their basic bullet diameter is larger. Waxed or greased bullets lead less in revolvers.

Most important thing for accuracy in .22 LR ammo is the bullet diameter, as measured at the exposed bearing surface outside the case. Max. bullet diameter is .2255" and you want as close to this diameter as possible. Only way to get .225" all the time is to buy Eley Tenex or RWS R50 match ammo.

US made mass-market .22 LR ammo bullet diameters are .223" diameter or less so that it will feed in crudded up semi-auto chambers that people never clean. "Sporting" .22 LR chamber is .227-.230" which makes for sloppy fit. "Match" chamber is .2245-.2255"

CCI Green Tag and CCI Standard Velocity is .224" bullet diameter, much better if you want to shoot ten-shot, 50-yard groups consistently under 1", with the best groups from a target bolt rifle approaching this with 10X scope at 100 yards.
I once measured Remington Thunderduds, the epitome of mass-market ammo, and found bullet diameters as large as .226". How they managed to do this I don't know, but there it is. Other bulk-grade ammo I tested was all in the .224 range, but varied enough that .2235 was not uncommon. Eley Sport was consistently .2235". I cannot find in my notes that any ammo tested was consistently .2230". That test was done in 2012....it's been a while.

Plating thickness is reported to be just .0005", which I doubt would preclude lead being exposed when fired through rifles with deep grooves.

The original marketing of plated ammo came before .22 makers abandoned grease lubricant. Grease lubes would pick up dirt and ruin barrels, so the plated ammo was indeed a big advantage for hunters and plinkers who wanted to dump a handful in a pocket for a day's shooting. Not long after, the use of a dry wax lube appeared, and the advantage of plating was negated. But it had by then become in the public mind a mark of "premium" ammo, and that seems to still be true today.

The fact that NO target ammo is plated should tell us something about its' effect on accuracy. Although I do credit MiniMags as being pretty darn good in all of my "hunting" rifles.
 

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Another factor affecting accuracy is now much compression is applied on the crimping machine. Mass-market ammo which must be reliable in semi-autos gets a heavier crimp, which tends to distort the "heel" of the bullet, which is inside the case. Mass-market, high velocity ammo is also made with harder bullets to resist deformation in feeding, but those may not upset as well as a softer bullet upon firing.

Target ammo normally gets only a light crimp to avoid distortion of the bullet base, but "pistol match" gets a heavier crimp combined with a soft bullet and is a good compromise.
 

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Yup!

I retired from an engineering metrology career, last fifteen in the auto industry. We never talked about "quality control"; we talked about "process control". Good ammunition is produced by obsessively monitoring and controlling every characteristic of every feature of every component. I can think of a dozen characteristics of the brass case alone that I would monitor, starting with the chemical analysis of the raw brass from the mill. That's before it even gets primed. Ditto bullets, ditto priming, ditto powder, ditto assembly. It all costs money, which is why Eley target ammo is so expensive.

BTW didja know that when Stevens first introduced the .22 Long Rifle cartridge, it wasn't crimped at all? But in those days all of the guns it was made for were single shots.
 

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Where stingers the first plated bullets? I ask because that was the only .22lr bullet my grandpa would buy. He died before I was old enough to ask.

The coating should keep the bullet from getting dinged up during manufacturing an by the end user. That thin coating may make a small difference in how far a bullet mushrooms I do not know. CCI started manufacturing an all copper bullet I imagine for the new Cali rules on lead. That bullets would make a difference in shooting a harder target. Federal has introduced a new round with controlled expansion a Hunter Match bullet.
 

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I prefer plated ammo as it's cleaner to handle when loading magazines etc. and it performs reliably through my semi autos. Besides, I don't shoot well enough to apply the advantage expensive target ammo (lead bullet) offers.


I stock up on, CCI Mini mag 36 gr, HP, American Eagle 36gr. HP when available and if those are in short supply, Federal Champion 36 gr HP's. Beyond that it's what ever I can scrounge up. CCI and American Eagle are fairly close in performance and quality while the Champions are good just not as good.
 
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Where stingers the first plated bullets? I ask because that was the only .22lr bullet my grandpa would buy. He died before I was old enough to ask.
No. The first plated .22 bullets that I know of were the Western Cartridge Company "Lubaloy" bullets which appeared about 1930. They also applied plating to .38 Special bullets. It is by no means a new process.
 

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Palmetto State has CCI mini mags at $300/5000 round case shipped on there daily deals. Seems a pretty decent price, but we don’t have a need.

Just passing this along, as most of our .22’s run great with federal champion. Which is also on there daily deals @ $14 shipped for 5 or more.

Fair warning: the price of .22 has come way way down. BiMart (a PNW chain of stores) just had them listed in store at $13.50, so look around locally to see what prices are. Picked up over a case of the champions from a local fellow on another board at ~$12/box a few weeks back.

Lotsa pew pew pew for cheap! ;)
 
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Now that the 22 LR shortage seems to be over, I prefer CCI, plated, hollow point.

Waiting for the 22 LR hoarders to start selling off their stock to find some deals. OTOH - maybe a garage full of 22 LR will rise in value in the future depending on what triggers the next panic.

In the meantime, I've gotten back to buying an extra brick every now and then when I have some spare bucks.

Also, need to make an allowance for my grandkids who managed to shoot 550 rounds over two days last Thanksgiving using a bolt action single shot rifle. Maybe take the target another 25 yards down the hill. Rule is that if you miss your brother gets the next shot until he misses. Proud of my boys.

But, then. I digress .

Cheers !
 

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Grevcon 8
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I did a search and came up empty, so I will ask here.

What, if any, advantage is there to copper-plated .22 LR rounds vs. bare lead rounds, or vice-versa?
Less transfer of lead onto your hands and thus lead poisoning after you've been handling it. Lead poisoning's not terrible for an adult, just lowers the capacity of oxygen that your blood can hold, and it's relatively temporary. Can do permanent damage to any kids you contaminate though.
 

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This is hilarious to me because this came up on Sunday at my local Rural King --

This Rural King location has *exploded* in popularity of their firearms department -- they are putting out $5000 NightForce-scoped 6.5mm Creedmoors and $10K Barrett .50s with Leupold Mk IVs and they're getting bought right away, handguns are getting scooped up all day every day, and their ammo sales are like truckload high. Obviously the staff has gotten big heads. Nice people but of course they act like they're gunsmiths and Delta Force guys and we the people are morons ...

well as it happens, RK had an ad last week where 325rd Federal AutoMatch .22LR was on sale for $14.99 -- this is an OUTSTANDING PRICE, as I literally remember *THE DAY IT CAME OUT* -- I want to say May or June 2010 ... I went to my local WM back up North, and the guy was PUTTING IT IN THE CASE, "Hey this is brand new off the truck, a new product, designed for high accuracy in autoloading .22LRs etc." -- $14.99 .. a year or two later, Newtown, and never saw a box for at least a year or two, then it was going for $35-45 a BOX. So, now to see it at it's original price, 8+ years later, it's refreshing. Plus my collection of .22LRs always shot it really well.

Of course they're out of stock ... BUT .... "We have the Armscor! It's better!! AND a better deaL!! BUT IT'S BETTER AMMO! *** I'm sure you don't know this, but you don't want that AutoMatch anyway! It's a lead bullet! It'll ruin your barrels! It builds up and you'll have a ruined gun soon enough! The Armscor is a HOLLOW POINT! AND PLATED! That gold plating makes all the difference! Armscor Armscor Armscor! Better ammo better price better everything! (read: better kickbacks from the distributors , surely).

I tried to bite my tongue and not get into a "I know more than you think I know, in fact I know more than you!" type of conversation. But then I hear them explaining the same thing to every customer. You'd think a 40gr RN .22LR round is a poison-bullet.

Not like it's like the freaking most popular round ever for the caliber or anything like that.
 

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When I was young and shot competition .22, we always used lead. When my wife started shoot .22 matches and was really getting into it, I bought her match grade ammo, usually Eley. It was expensive, but it shoots well. I honestly don't know if she would have had the same results with other ammo, but...

I use plated ammo when I'm just plinking. I stay away from the Remington Target "green box" stuff. I had a LOT of misfires with that stuff. That was about fifteen years back and I just stopped buying it. Haven't bought any to this day.
 

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I don't blame a clerk for pitching what they have on hand, they want to move it. Caveat emptor...


Plated bullets are preferable in semi autos as they provide a slightly smother harder surface to the feed ramp. That said most modern semi auto 22's are capable of feeding lead bullets.
 

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I use plated ammo when I'm just plinking. I stay away from the Remington Target "green box" stuff. I had a LOT of misfires with that stuff. That was about fifteen years back and I just stopped buying it. Haven't bought any to this day.
Back in 2012 I did a long study of .22 ammo, mainly just getting weight variance data, but also studying the effect of "bumping" to make bullet diameter a uniform .2250". I did not find ANY American made "target" ammo that scored well on weight variance. CCI Standard Velocity was just as good. MiniMags were pretty close.

The last decent competition ammo made here was the Federal UM1 Ultra Match, which is a collector's item today.
 

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In the 1992 Gun Digest there was an article "Getting the Best from Your .22 Rimfire" in which a variety of variables, rim thickness, bullet diameter, cartridge weight, chamber type were tested in large sample sizes and providing statistical analysis of the shot groups. That article proved to me that standard velocity ammo with unplated bullets, having a greasy or waxy lube, having the largest bullet diameter, fired in a Match chamber shot best. Bullet diameter was more important than rim thickness.

With ordinary hardware store quality ammunition all the monkey motion was mere mental masturbation. Best buy for the buck was CCI Standard Velocity, if you don't want to spend the money for Green Tag, R50 or Eley Tenex.
 

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If you want "good" 22LR ammo, you are going to be looking at CCI, a flavor or two, from Winchester and Federal.

You will get far superior results in both accuracy and reliability from RWS,ELEY and Lappua/SK branded ammo.

My plinking ammo is CCI SV and I hunt with either RWS SSHP or ELEY SSHP.

22's are fickle and MUST be lot tested, if you are looking for accuracy. When the 22LR was scarce, I started shooting the mid range stuff @ $6.00 a box of 50...I will never go back to American made, bulk ammo, until they clean up their act.
 
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