FMJ or MC ammo?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by tionico, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. tionico

    tionico Active Member

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    I've noticed lately that some manufacturers have gone to the MC (metallic coated) bullets, particulary for handgun ammunition. These have a very different look to the surface, a bit rough and uneven, not perfectly round any more. Mould marks on the tips, particularly on flat-nosed, as in .40 S&W. I have not yet been able to find out how thick that thin film of copper is...

    thin enough to be cut through by the rifling? down to bare lead?


    I''ve always preferred the FMJ bullets... far more even and precision. When the same manufacturer has both, and they are sitting on the same shelf (rare....) the price difference runs about $2 the box/50 rounds in 9 or 40. I've never yet seen FMJ in .380 anywhere in the Northwest. Only the MC.

    One concern is that I've a couple of new pistols to break in, and wonder if the thin sprayed copper is thin enough to be broken through by the new, sharp rifling. I really would prefer to break in these new barrels with solid clean copper......

    any input, feedback, etc?


    after having bought the UMC MegaPacks for a long time, always with FMJ, I notice now they are sending them out marked MC. Same price as the older FMJ. Now, whenever I see a megapak of FMJ, I buy it whether I can afford it or not.

    Am I being too picky? Are the MC rounds just fine? My guess is, since the FMJ are more perfect in their shape, they will fly truer, thus being more accurate. Againn, any feedbackm correction, etc, on this point?
  2. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Well-Known Member

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    My belief it that the copper coating you're seeing actually a thin plating, not sprayed on. In any event, yes the riflings will cut through it.

    Glock doesn't recommend that or lead bullets because of their microgroove barrels. The barrels don't have typical lands and grooves. You can change that with a Wolff Barrel for about $100. A lot of people do shoot that ammo in Glocks with microgroove barrels, though, but I don't in mine so I can't say.

    FWIW, the Marlin 60 .22lr rifle is microgrooved, has been in production since 1960, and obviously gets a lot of lead and copper plated ammo through it without problems. I don't know if that's even relevant due to different speeds and pressures compared to center fire, but there are 11 million Marlin 60's out there.

    Bottom line. I never buy cheap bullets, period. I reload and by the time I tumble, inspect, pocket clean, case length size and carefully install new consumables in the brass, it's just not worth it to me to skimp on bullets.

    I feel the same if I buy ammo. The cost difference isn't enough to entice me. I can also tell you that my earlier experience with cheap bullets taught me that they will be less accurate if they aren't perfectly formed. A good cast bullet will be swaged for size and roundness, for instance.

    If I'm needing plinking ammo and can't find time to reload, Win White box and other volume brand ammo seems to work fine for me. Otherwise I use even higher quality bullets for reloading.

    $.02
  3. tionico

    tionico Active Member

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    Gunner, thanks so much for taking the time to respond, and for the helpful nfo. This is precisely the sort of thing I was hoping to get back.


    Interesting, I've asked the countermen at a few places about the MC vs FMJ, and most didn't really seem to know... one guy had not even noticed the change. UMC seems to be the main proponent of this technology for CF, particularly pistol rounds. As I mentioned, they're now producing the Mega packs with the MC...... when I pointed that out to one clerk, he looked, and seriously had never noticed the change.

    I did manage to get hornswoggled into a couple of boxes of MC, some in .380 and some in .40. When I opened the box after I got home, the rounds just LOOKED different.... a close inspection shows an uneven surface... the copper is obviously added after the lead core is formed, not the old way, the "right" way, forming a very precise copper shell then filling that with lead.

    I also believe in quality ammunition.. until now, I've been happy with UMC, but for sure won't buy the MC grade. Winchester white, blazer brass or bronze, and I've also seen some oddball label stuff from CCI recenlty.. found eight boxes of .380 in a gunshop in Holmes County Ohio last month.... $14/box, brand I've never seen before but its CCI FMJ. My friend who took me there got one box, I got the other seven. Llimited my ammo allowance on the plane... worth it.

    I need to move into reloading, but just haven't had the time, energy, and bux to get educated and aquire what I need. I've made a point of ONLY buying ammo with real brass casings..... I rather suspect it willl be a steep, but short, learning curve. I know its the way we'll all have to go. These short-supply scenarios are nuts. At least some of the BiMarts have got decent stocks now... last summer I checked all three in northeast section of Portland (Troutdale and on in toward town). I shoot fifteen different calibers, between handguns and long guns, and, except for one or two boxes (not bricks) .22 LR I found not one thing in any of those three stores... and I've made it a point t spread out what I use to increase the likelihood of always being able to find SOMETHING. Got entirely skunked. amazing. I did happen by to check in on Wally, at Troutdale.... they had .40 S&W, and 7,, Rem Mag. I limited out three times in two days, cleaned out all their forty and almost all their 7mm.

    I've been aware of the Marlin microgroove .22 LR long guns...... I remember seeing full page adverts for them in the old Boys' Life magazines... along with the Peters .22 LR pages. Saw one of those mags recently, at my nephew's place. Yup, its been wimped down, while they didn't seem to be saying guns are evil, they sure didn't have any adverts for anything as "manly" as firearms. No, we're all about raising "cultured" boys, now, none of that rough and tumble outdoor stuff. Oh, maybe a nice hike on a trail...... but GUNS? No, not HERE.....

    makes me wonder if there isn't a place, once more, for a real outdoor and skills sort of magazine.....

    one thought on the matter of plated bullets and Marlin microgroove barrels... I've noticed that nearly all .22 LR bullets have a shoulder, almost a land, that has a sort of checkered pattern, or a couple rings of pressed indents. This shoulder is not very long, relative to the whole bullet. That shoulder is obviously what engages the lands in the rifling. Maybe its being "swiss cheesed" makes it seal better and work well in all manner of bores whilst minimising fouling. Also, I would think you're right about the much lower velocities and pressures compared to CF. Although .22 WRM gets right along, and the bullets seem to be very similar.

    thanks again for the input, You've largely confirmed what I had surmised... but its great to get it from someone who's far more knowledgeable than I.
  4. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Well-Known Member

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    The only thing that I could add is about the CCI you found. I can't promise what's there today, but in my experience, CCI has always been a top brand and top quality in everything I've used. I prefer their .22lr ammo over all others although it's expensive and I admit to shooting cheaper stuff too. I prefer their reloading primers over all others. I believe their primers are used in military ammo, although I don't know if that's exclusively, and I'm not positive about it but I've read it lots of times. I believe those primers are a bit different (harder steel) than what we typically buy, but it shows that the company can make top stuff.

    Some other folks here may well want to add info to that impression I have.

    $.02