I agree it should make for an interesting discussion. Thanks for giving it a thread of it's own, Captain.
There are advantages and disadvantages, as with everything in life. LOL. In my opinion, some of the advantages of jacketed are:
a. Reloading - I don't have to ever clean my dies. Call me lazy, but it is the truth. Buildup of lube can change seating depth and cartridge OAL. Doesn't happen all the time but has happened to me in the past. As an added advantage, my hands stay cleaner during the loading process as well with jacketed.
b. Shooting - Barrel and to a lesser extent gun stays cleaner. True, this varies in each barrel, but I pretty much don't clean my handgun barrels when I shoot jacketed bullets. Check out a well-respected pistol barrel maker's thoughts on barrel cleaning in this article
. I am not quite as extreme as Wil and do at least pull a bore snake through it from time to time, but I generally have to take more action with lead. Also, some faster powders will cause leading with a lead base bullet yet work great with a jacketed bottom.
2. Higher velocity - Not a huge issue in many handgun rounds, but in my experience, lead starts, well, leading if pushed beyond a certain velocity. With store bought regular lead bullets, I have seen problems as low as 1100-1200 fps. I believe gas checks are recommended at 1400 or so and above, and they may be needed at lower velocities if rapid fire often causes the barrel to heat up. Hard cast can go up a little more, maybe 2000 fps or more? I have no real experience on that.
3. Smoke - This is the big one for me personally. I think it is the lube more than the lead itself, but smoke is generated by shooting lead bullets. If there are multiple shots from one position and no breeze, it is a hindrance in the games I shoot, especially if the sun is low, either in front or at your back. We joke at matches that someone is shooting "black powder" if they engage an array with lead bullets and leave a standing smoke cloud when they leave the position. As a side note, I wonder about the health effects of this. I had my lead level tested once and it was within normal limits, but shooting high volumes in either a confined area or with little breeze would have to lead (ha, here it's pronounced "leed" as in "proceed toward", not as it has been used in the rest of this post) toward higher levels of lead in the blood.
There are others, I'm sure, but that is what comes to mind. On a related note, both the Precision Black Bullets
and Donnie Miculek's Bayou Bullets
compete very well with jacketed and neutralize most of these advantages, but the price isn't that much less than jacketed either.
Some disadvantages to jacketed:
1. Cost - This is an obvious one. Lead is cheaper, whether store bought or home cast.
2. Accelerated barrel wear. Lead is much easier on the bore. I am not that worried about it though. I should have to shoot somewhere around $7,500 worth of jacketed bullets or more to wear out my $200 handgun barrel. I'll buy a new one when the time comes and have it fit.