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BiMetal bullet jackets!!

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  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Yep, I agree. That report wasn't exactly what I wanted to see. Makes sense. I mean I just recently decided to shoot up some of my Wolf steel cased ammo and surplus, but now will rethink what guns and how much of it if any I'll use.

    I never have fired much surplus because it's corrosive (almost all of it, despite some claims as being "Mildly Corrosive") and not much Russian new factory like Wolf/Brown Silver Bear because it simply is not as accurate as American made or my reloads using quality components.

    I guess with AR type rifles like in the test you have to weigh the ammo cost of each type and the effects on your rifle and what you are willing to accept as a trade off before it needs re-barreling.

    Those good deals on ammo may not have been so good after all. Of course, getting an SKS/AK semi-auto rifle and 1000 rounds of ammo fer a couple hundred bucks back in the day was a dream come true for American shooters.

    Now, maybe I'll just save my Bi-metal ammo fer when and if the :fan: :fan:

    I wonder which ammo is Bi-metal..............I mean what about the Russian/Romanian/Bulgarian 7.62X54R Light Ball with Silver Tips...........it supposedly has a small steel core rod to help penetrate better (not AP) surrounded by lead core core with a thin metal jacket (Copper?). That should be OK to shoot I would think. Kinda like our SS109 penetrators or green tip, whatever they call it.

    I'd like to shake the hand of the man who shot out a Mosin Nagant barrel using Bi-metal ammo, cause most of us will never even come close enough to notice anymore wear since they day we bought them.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
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  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,397 Senior Member
    Big Chief, the Russian Brown Bear, Silver Bear, Herter's, and other foreign made 7.62x39, 7.62x54, and other chamberings are most likely bimetal bullets. Easy to check with a magnet. Steel core bullet will not attract a magnet nearly as hard as steel jacketed bullet.

    Something else you may run into with surplus ammo. Some of the brass cased stuff with Berdan priming has steel primer cups, and some of the Boxer primed surplus have steel anvils under the primer cup which may also be steel. (The things you discover when you finish a reloading session and are bored! :tooth:)

    What I've done over the years with surplus ammo may be stoopid, but I did/do it now, anyway. If my little alnico magnet I keep on my reloading bench attracts the bullet, I scratch the bullet with an old knife blade. If it comes up steel(as opposed to steel core), I pull out the collet bullet puller and pull all the bullets, and replace them with copper jacketed bullets. I melt the lead out of the steel case bullets for making cast lead bullets. I sure wish surplus copper jacket bullets were as cheap as they used to be. I remember buying them from Shotgun News ads for $25-$30 per thousand back in the good old days.

    And if I can't find the surplus copper jacketed fmj bullets in the weight/diameter I need, I dump the powder and reload with a lead gas check bullet with a known good powder charge from my own powder stash. I can't tell you what I do with the unknown type powder I dump; might give someone ideas. :rotflmao:
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  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    So I'm confused on how some places word their descriptions of the ammo they sell. Some come out and say Bi-metal, others say Copper Clad or Thick Copper Clad and some say Copper Coated Steel Jacket...........

    NATO Spec and USGI used issued by our military may be different things?

    I think most of the cheaper imported stuff and surplus has a Bi-metal jacketed bullet, even some White Box NATO Spec Winchester WCC 7.62 Ammo, who would have thunk!

    I'm not sure it is USGI issue?????? However some of the imported foreign made blasting ammo with a US name brand marketed by some companies may very well have Bi-metal jackets unbeknownst to a lot of shooters.

    Could this possibly be another reason some shooters say the Generic stuff shoots OK, but not as good as Regular ammo by the same companies? Besides being foreign made/cheaply made components used?

    BigAl.............you have opened a can of worms, but think it is a good thing and we all should investigate exactly what we are pushing down and out of our firearms bores.



    I on a couple sites about this, read customer comments.........

    This batch is USGI issue ...

    "This batch is USGI issue M80 ball, NATO marked Western Cartridge Company (WCC). M80 features a bi-metal projectile consisting of a thick brass jacket over a mild steel jacket which encases the lead core. The bi-metal jacket has been quite common on USGI ball ammo for 100 years. The mild steel jacket enhances penetration and reduces the amount expensive metals (copper & lead) used to make projectiles. Accuracy from my M1A Super Match and HOWA HBAR Varmint averaged 2 MOA or less. Excellent for mass produced GI ammo."

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/2900366288/winchester-ammunition-762x51mm-nato-147-grain-full-metal-jacket

    Product Information
    Shop more Winchester products
    MidwayUSA is pleased to offer this military production overrun ammunition. Available for a limited time only, this NATO spec ammunition features a copper-clad steel jacket bullet with a lead core in boxer-primed, annealed, reloadable brass. Makes a great practice round. Manufactured by Winchester and packaged in Winchester boxes.

    Technical Information
    Caliber: 7.62x51mm NATO
    Bullet Weight: 147 Grains
    Bullet Style: Full Metal Jacket
    Case Type: Brass

    http://www.the-armory.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/308_Ammunition.html
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  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,397 Senior Member
    The ammo descriptions on foreign and U.S. made cheap blasting and mil surp ammo is beyond confusing.

    "This batch is USGI issue M80 ball, NATO marked Western Cartridge Company (WCC). M80 features a bi-metal projectile consisting of a thick brass jacket over a mild steel jacket which encases the lead core. The bi-metal jacket has been quite common on USGI ball ammo for 100 years. The mild steel jacket enhances penetration and reduces the amount expensive metals (copper & lead) used to make projectiles. Accuracy from my M1A Super Match and HOWA HBAR Varmint averaged 2 MOA or less. Excellent for mass produced GI ammo."

    Herein lies the problem. How thick is the copper part of the jacket? If the ammo was really reasonable I wouldn't immediately cull it because of the bullet construction. I'd buy a few boxes, and pull a bullet and split it with a Dremel and a cutoff blade and measure the copper jacket thickness. (I have a 50X monocular with a gradient grid that is marked off in thousandths of an inch in 5 thousandths increments.) If the copper part of the jacket was less than 0.010", I'd pull all of the bullets and replace with all copper jacket bullets of same weight. And not buy any more of the stuff.

    The military can afford to shoot the thin copper coated steel clad stuff because they can just replace the worn barrels, at taxpayer expense. So they aren't concerned that much with barrel erosion from steel jacket ammo.

    I'm old and forget things. The first rifle I rebarreled was an 8x57 Mauser I got for Christmas back in 1965. It had a 'sporterized' stock and sold by Sears Roebuck and cost $49.95. Barrel was sort of bad with lands and grooves flattened and washed out a bit. I shot a truckload of corrosive brass case ammo with steel jacketed bullets through it. It started out as minute of car door at 100 yards, and deteriorated to minute of side of a barn at 100 yards by the early 80's. I cleaned it thoroughly after shooting because of the corrosive priming. By that time most of the bullets keyholed; they made a funny whistling noise as they traveled downrange. By that time it was really hard to see any rifling at all. I quit shooting it until I got my lathe in the mid 80's. I bought a never fired surplus barrel from Numrich, and a complete stock set. When completed it shot a LOT better; 2-2 1/2 moa with handloads and better eyesight than I have now. It has not had any steel jacket ammo shot through it since rebarreling.

    Soooooooo, I guess it would be wise to shoot the steel jacket ammo in only one milsurp if you have multiple examples of the same rifle, and not shoot it in high priced rifles unless you're willing to pay the price of rebarreling it at some point. And reload only copper jacket bullets for the others, and watch for sales on surplus copper jacket bullets(steel core O.K., steel jacket NOT O.K.).

    The problem with steel jacket ammo, as I see it, is that I don't trust either U.S. manufacturers of the stuff, or the foreign sources. The U.S. manufacturers take greater pains to make sure the steel jacket composition is the correct hardness(military contract thing), but since WE are paying for all those rebarrel jobs on military rifles, they don't care as long as it meets contract specifications. The foreign manufacturers may not be all that careful with the steel composition, and it may be way too hard, and vary considerably batch to batch of steel sheet. But they don't care all that much, either; not their barrel that is getting reamed out.
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  • BufordBuford Senior Member Posts: 6,713 Senior Member
    I don't know what the hell I'm running. The military 308 is not magnetic, some of the 30/06 for my Garand has a weak magnetic pull. I know the old White box 7.62x39 had a strong magnetic pull. That ammo was used in my SKSs, I have a bunch of battle packs of 7.62x39 and I have no idea if it's magnetic or not.
    Just look at the flowers Lizzie, just look at the flowers.
  • BufordBuford Senior Member Posts: 6,713 Senior Member
    Good thread never gave this stuff much thought.
    Just look at the flowers Lizzie, just look at the flowers.
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Oh man, thinking on all this makes me wanna take some of this!

    [IMG][/img]unnamed.jpg
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
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  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,094 Senior Member
    I know the Greek M2 ball CMP sells (or sold?) has bimetal jackets. Someone on here doubted me the last time I posted that, so I took a pulled one, melted the lead out with a torch and took a pic on the empty jacket sticking to a magnet.
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,397 Senior Member
    Big Chief wrote: »
    Oh man, thinking on all this makes me wanna take some of this!

    [IMG][/img]unnamed.jpg

    Big Chief (BC) taking BC???!!! Cannibalism!!!!! :silly: :tooth:

    It does make you think, don't it. I've sectioned quite a few bullets over the years with a Dremel and cutoff wheel because I was curious about the construction. Wish I hadn't thrown them away. The steel penetrator core stuff was the hardest to section, but the most interesting as to the different penetrator shapes(I cut around, not through the penetrator). One thing is for sure, the steel jacket let you know jacket composition fast; lots of sparkly bits from the wheel when cutting.

    Buford, really weak magnetic attraction of a bullet to a magnet is a good indication of steel core penetrator, from what I've found. Steel jacket usually has a very strong attraction to a magnet. When in doubt of jacket composition it's pretty easy to scrape off the copper coating with a knife blade. The steel jacket will show up as a silver line between the copper on either side. The magnet from an old hard disc drive is primo stuff for that.
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  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 24,714 Senior Member
    I have some RWS 9mm that a magnet sticks to; but, not with the .45 acp.
    Shut up-----KAREN; OK Cynthia
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    NN wrote: »
    I have some RWS 9mm that a magnet sticks to; but, not with the .45 acp.

    RWS makes some good shootin ammo. Big thing now is seeing where hair was cut on entry or some weird European thing.

    Now they use a Tombac jacket on some of it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tombac

    "Tombac, as it is spelled in French, or Tombak, is a brass alloy with high copper content and 5-20% zinc content.[1] Tin, lead or arsenic may be added for colouration.[2][3] It is a cheap malleable alloy mainly used for medals, ornament, decoration and some munitions. In older use, the term may apply to brass alloy with a zinc content as high as 28%-35%................................."
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Good points brought up in this link. I wonder how much difference the actual bullet diameter US vs foreign made ammo. In other words Russian ammo even in a 7.62X54R runs .309/.310 in dameter and ours is .308 and so forth. Also a lot of the Mosin Nagants have bores that run way over .310.

    Not trying to defend the obvious here. We all know even using copper clad over lead core bullets wears more than a solely lead bullet and thus is usually a smaller diameter because it is harder like using .358 lead and .357 in a jacketed bullet for a .357 mag and so forth.

    This sure has me thunking about Bi-metal ammo more than I ever have before and it will be a consideration for me from now on whether and what guns I shoot it outta.

    http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_4_54/150350_Russian_Bi_Metal_bullets_related_to_barrel_life.html
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
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