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.
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.
Give The Blue Bullets a try.
See how they stack up. If you use my friend Luke’s discount code “Triangle” you get a discount, I think 10%.
From when I last purchased some about a year and a half ago:
What I don’t like about Blue Bullets is the coating comes off easily and makes a mess on the reloading equipment and bench.