Quality Bullets Compared to Plinking Bullets

Updated with Hornandy XTP
I’m starting a new thread for this post because I thought it might intrest more than just reloaders.

Shown in the picture below (from left to right) are:

  • Speer 124 gr TMJ bulk bullets
  • Berrys 124 gr HBRN/TP bulk bullets
  • Federal 115 gr FMJ pulled from factory load
  • Sig 124 gr V-Crown pulled from factory load
  • Hornandy 124 gr XTP pulled from factory load

My observations from this are essentially meaningless but still a little intresting to show the difference between quality construction and plinking rounds:

  • The lead in the hollow points seems harder than the others as they did not gall during lapping like the others did. They also appear to have a higher density due to having about the same physical cross section as the 115 gr Federal.
  • Federal factory plinking ammo has the least plating of any of the rounds shown
  • speer and berrys bulk bullets plating is about twice as thick as the federal FMJ
  • the v-crown bonded & XTP jackets are orders of magnitude thicker than the others and if you look at their bases they are extremely thick (comparitively). I expect the material in the wall thins as the jacket is drawn up while the base maintains it’s original thickness.
    The thick jacket base should help maintain dimensional stability under pressure.

And there you have it. Factoids for everyone.


It would be interesting to see cross sections of other hollow points to see if the jacket thickness is a common feature. Hollow point jackets have to roll back as the bullet expands unlike the FMJs. Thanks for the pictures and cross section work, very interesting.

The Berry’s is plated, not a “jacket” in the sense. Looks like the Speer is too?

For the Sig, the jacket and core would be optimized for controlled expansion. The others, being FMJ, would not.

Interesting! Thank you!

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Added Hornandy XTP

As primarily a rifle guy I pay close attention to the boolits I use in that venue. On the pistol side of the house I am still concerned with quality and have been know to mike various boolits to ensure concentricity. On the reloading side of the house it is important to understand how the jacket or lack there of effects how the boolit will perform when fired. There is some debate about neck tension on jacketed vs plated vs lead to achieve the same velocities. To that end on the reloading front achieving close string of velocities is the best you can endeavor to make.

The reality of it is, unless you are a better than fair Bullseye shooter you will never know the difference between the bunch crimped to the same standard. I have access to a Ransom rest which should be a drop dead mechanical zero. At 15 yards with a $4K “hyper accurate” pistol I get a 1.5" group, Yay! I take a box stock pistol and bargain bin ammo and I get a 2.5 " group. YAY!! I stand on my hind legs and shoot and I get a 3 - 5" group, YAYY!!!. I mix 185’s, 200’s and 230’s in the same mag and my group gets a little bigger top to bottom but it’s still a 3" x 5" group.

At defensive ranges (3 -15 yards) NONE of us will be more accurate than the pistol or the ammo. Holding a pistol in your hands and going for groups will never net you rifle group accuracy. Keep your rounds inside a coffee can and you are doing fine, keep them inside a soup can and you are better than good to go.



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Some days I’m just happy if certain combinations dont leave my barrel looking like my skivvies after some joker slips me the e-lax!!! Yiu know, streaked and sh…ty.