Copper Plating of Bullets and Projectiles

Bright Copper Plated BulletsAdvanced Plating Technologies is a leading supplier of heavy build copper plating of bullets and projectiles within the ammunition and defense industries.  Advanced Plating Technologies provides copper plating of lead, steel, tungsten or aluminum cores/projectiles as well as frangible powdered metal cores for tactical or training applications.  APT pioneered the use of proprietary high-speed copper chemistries paired with ultra-efficient spray-thruTM barrels to provide heavy build copper plating of bullets and projectiles to thicknesses exceeding 0.020-inches per side.  In addition, the chemistries developed for copper plating of bullets eliminate the potential for workout or brown spotting to occur on lead cores – a problem that plagued the ammunition industry for years.


223-Bullet-X-sectAdvanced Plating Technologies offers a wide range of high-speed copper plating chemistries that are tailored to the specific function or application of the projectile.  The deposit hardness can be adjusted based upon the specific application from 100HV100 to 250HV100.  In copper plating of lead bullets an extremely ductile copper deposit is applied that allows for post-plate swedging to final net shape.  Percent elongation of over 25% is attainable with our copper plating of lead bullets or projectiles.

Copper Plated BuckshotFor frangible applications where a more brittle copper deposit is preferred, Advanced Plating Technologies has developed a hardened copper deposit ensuring the best possible disintegration of the copper deposit at terminal impact.  APT has successfully plated “green” powdered metal and sintered frangible cores of various configurations for both training and tactical applications within the ammunition industry.  Resin impregnation can be provided prior to plating of frangible cores if required by the specific application.


9mm Copper UpcloseHeavy build copper plating of bullets or projectiles for armor-piercing applications are also available.  Plating on hardened steel, aluminum or tungsten alloys provides a fully concentric heavy build copper plated jacket with greater jacket uniformity than can be achieved by traditional drawing methods.  Due to the strong metallurgical bond between the heavy build copper plating and the bullet core, plated bullets have the distinct advantage of a fused design that greatly aids in terminal performance and overall projectile weight retention.

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Advanced Plating Technologies offers heavy build copper plating on both lead core and frangible core bullets.  Due to the ductility of lead substrates, deformation of the lead core during the plating process generally requires plate-to-weight inspection of the rounds.  Plating process variation of less than one half of a grain per round is common.

 For heavy build copper plating of rigid substrates such as frangible cores or tungsten cores, Advanced Plating Technologies offers plate-to-gauge inspection.  In plate-to-gauge applications the plating time/rate is based upon preplate dimensions of the round to achieve a final targeted dimension.  All plate-to-gauge rounds go through a preplate receiving inspection for dimensional verification prior to production release.  Multiple in situ measurements of a statistically relevant sample set are made during the plating process to ensure each lot of parts meets the final plate-to dimensions.  Plating process variation of less than 0.00025 inches per side is common.

Screen-shot-2012-08-22-at-3.49.59-PM1Advanced Plating Technologies employs proprietary high-speed copper chemistries that completely eliminate the potential for brown spotting of the copper deposit due to their unique formulation.  This plating technology ensures that even extremely porous substrates such as powdered metal frangible cores will be free of brown spotting or workout staining during inventory and shelf storage.

 To further protect the appearance of heavy build copper plating of bullets or projectiles, a post-plate inhibit can be applied to the deposit.  A 24-hour high humidity test can be passed with APT’s copper inhibit, ensuring that the copper maintains its bright as-plated appearance during storage to final point-of-purchase.  The applied inhibit is an invisible organic monatomic barrier that does not affect the size or function of the copper plating on the bullets or projectile.


Silver & Heavy Copper Frangible 223sIn addition to heavy build copper plating of bullets or projectiles, Advanced Plating Technologies offers heavy build copper plating for various other industries and applications including heat-treat stop-off, coinage, eddy current drives and fittings or components for brazing or soldering applications.  In addition, Advanced Plating Technologies offers heavy build plating of other deposits including lead, tin/lead, silver and electroless nickel.  You can learn more about our full line of copper plating services on this site or discuss specific applications with a member of our technical sales department