Black Bullet anomalies

I’ve mentioned Black Bullet International before (and here, here, here, here, and here) and that I use them for outdoor USPSA matches. They give excellent accuracy, consistent velocity, and are a good price. I have reloaded 7563 rounds of ammunition using these bullets and have about another 875 on hand.

Earlier this month I ran into this:


One of these is not like the others. Instead of the 180 grain 0.40” diameter bullet it is a 124.9 grain 0.359” bullet. Of course, there is no danger of reloading it in a .40 S&W casing and causing a problem. But if it had been a 200 grain bullet while reloading for 180 or a 180 grain while reloading 165 grain bullets there would have been a serious concern.

I thought it was funny and set it aside.

This afternoon I opened a new box of Black Bullets which had been shipped many months after the last batch of bullets from them. I decided to weigh them to make sure they were essentially the same weight as the previous batch (important for making Power Factor for USPSA matches). I weighed 19 bullets and they were essentially the same as the previous batch:

  • Mean: 180.7
  • Standard Deviation: 0.612
  • Max: 182.2
  • Min: 179.7
  • Extreme Spread: 2.5.

When I weighed the 20th bullet I was shocked. It was 177.5 grains. This is over three grains below the mean of the other 19. This is significant enough to endanger “making major” at a match. Hmm…

I weighed another 10 and found a 178.5. Hmm…

I measured their diameter and length compared to typical bullets. The diameter was the same but the length was 0.005 less:



All the typical bullets were within 0.001” in length of one another. Then there were the two out of thirty which were 0.005” shorter.


Then I compared the stats of the Black Bullets to what I find typical of Montana Gold bullets:

  • Mean: 180.22
  • Standard Deviation: 0.159
  • Min: 179.9
  • Max: 180.5
  • Extreme spread: 0.6.

Remember when Barb and I toured the Montana Gold factory Norm told us they keep the weight of their bullets to about +/- 0.3 grains? Yup, that matches my measurements of their bullets.

Now, I did once find a partial jacket in one of the Montana Gold boxes, but I have reloaded nearly 40,000 of their bullets. That is over five times as many as the Black Bullets.

I have to conclude that the Black Bullets International company is not as quality conscious as the Montana Gold Bullets company with 180 grain .40 caliber bullets.

3 thoughts on “Black Bullet anomalies

  1. Sounds like their QC is about at Blazer Brass standards — the company that prompted me to buy a cartridge gauge. Once I had that, I gauged all my ammo and found that Blazer was about 50% out of spec, and at least 10% sufficiently oversize that my picky gun (Boberg XR9) would misfeed on it. I checked with my micrometer and the SAAMI spec sheet to double check, sure enough, they were indeed well over the max permitted case diameter. I didn’t pull bullets or other checking to see why; I just set them aside and put Blazer on my “do not buy” list. Some day I may run them in a more forgiving gun, or give them to a friend who has one.

    • From when I last purchased some about a year and a half ago:

      • Mean: 180.78
      • Standard Deviation: 0.874
      • Max: 181.5
      • Min: 180.5
      • Extreme Spread: 1.0

      What I don’t like about Blue Bullets is the coating comes off easily and makes a mess on the reloading equipment and bench.

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