Handloading Speer Gold Dot Bullets

Handloading Speer Gold Dot Bullets
Gold Dot rifle bullet design and terminal performance are tailored to match typical velocities in cartridges that are chambered in AR-type rifles and carbines.

Using Speer Gold Dot rifle bullets for ammo reloading provides optimal performance in AR-type rifles and carbines.

Speer’s new Gold Dot rifle bullets are not conventional cup-and-core jacketed bullets. Instead, they are made using Speer’s proven production process of electrodepositing a thick copper sheath on a swaged lead-alloy core before final forming and sizing. It’s the same method Speer developed to manufacture the Gold Dot personal-protection and law enforcement handgun bullets. Likewise, these new component bullets are targeted for cartridges typically chambered in AR-style rifles and carbines.

I tested 10 of the new bullets. I did not perform any load development but simply used the recommended propellant/charge weights/primers listed in Speer’s data, which technicians spent several thousand hours developing. I also didn’t push for maximum velocity charges, but I did choose recipes near the top of the charts. Overall lengths in almost every case were defined by magazine length because varying bulletseating depth to improve accuracy is not usually considered when handloading for the typical AR.

//content.osgnetworks.tv/shootingtimes/content/photos/Speer-New-Gold-Dot-Bullets-1.jpg

I quickly discovered that handling Gold Dot rifle bullets requires a bit more focus and dexterity because they’re coated with a slick, powdery residue. When I asked Speer’s Product Development Engineer Jeff Williams about it, he explained that the pure copper jacket is stickier than typical gilding metal (copper/zinc alloy) used on jacketed bullets. The boron-nitride coating makes them quite slippery in the bore—and also in your fingers—and it serves to smooth out shot-to-shot pressure variations. The coating also means reduced jacket fouling, so cleaning your gun should be easier.

I also asked if years from now we might learn that handling the boron-nitride-coated bullets will cause unexpected health issues. “Not likely,” Williams said. “The same compound has been used in women’s makeup for decades now with no apparent impact on their well-being.”


So two caveats to remember when loading Gold Dot rifle bullets: Use only Speer’s load data specifically developed for them and pay extra attention to holding onto them while seating them.


I prepped and loaded 20 rounds of each of 10 test loads with the intention of firing four, five-shot groups for record. Then I invited a neighbor, Jeff Cheatham, to shoot some of the test loads. Jeff is a recently retired Air Force NCO who deployed seven times to the Middle East and is very familiar with ARs. During the first range session, I fired three groups of each load and saved the rest for Jeff.


We spent the following Friday morning at the range, with Jeff firing 10 five-shot groups. Five out of 10 times Jeff’s groups beat my previously fired results. And his 0.56-inch group with the 120-grain 6.5 Grendel Gold Dot handload matched the best result for all 30 of my groups. Keep in mind he had never fired any of these rifles before.

//content.osgnetworks.tv/shootingtimes/content/photos/Speer-New-Gold-Dot-Bullets-2.jpg

As you can see by the results in the accompanying chart, the performance of Speer’s new Gold Dot rifle bullets was quite good. The overall accuracy for the 10 loads I came up with averaged a little more than 1 MOA.

Some of you will be wondering how the new Gold Dot rifle bullets compare to Fusion component bullets. Fusion bullets are loaded and sold by Federal Premium, Speer’s sister company. The main differentiator between the two is the boron-nitride coating, which is appropriate given the number of rounds typically fired in ARs. In addition, Speer is intent on keeping the Gold Dot brand focused on personal protection and law enforcement applications.


Speer precisely skives each Gold Dot rifle bullet nose in order to provide reliable expansion at typical AR velocities. That’s done to ensure that they will consistently and reliably penetrate typical urban environment barriers or whatever target a citizen may encounter.

After loading and shooting the new Gold Dot rifle bullets, the bottom line is you’ll likely achieve optimal AR performance at a reasonable cost with them.

Recommended for You

The 1911 Ultra Compact pistol from SIG SAUER is offered in .45 ACP and 9mm with an all-black nitride finish and blackwood grips, with a nickel PVD finish and G10 grips, or with a two-tone finish and rosewood grips. Handguns

SIG 1911 Ultra Compact 9mm Review

Joel J. Hutchcroft

The 1911 Ultra Compact pistol from SIG SAUER is offered in .45 ACP and 9mm with an all-black...


 

Smith & Wesson has just announced its new Shield handgun. It's an addition to the Ammo

Introducing the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield

Joseph von Benedikt - April 12, 2012

  Smith & Wesson has just announced its new Shield handgun. It's an addition to the

True Velocity is exploring options to make its distinctive ammo available to civilians. Ammo

True Velocity Rifle Ammo

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 31, 2019

True Velocity is exploring options to make its distinctive ammo available to civilians.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

All About .300 Blackout

All About .300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout is here to stay, and we take some time to look at new technology surrounding this cartridge. Next, we pit subsonic rivals against each other before stretching the legs of this CQB round out to 600 yards from a short 9-inch barrel.

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

David Fortier talks with Jeff Hoffman of Black Hills Ammunition about the evolution of the .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match bullet.

Skills Drills: 3-Second Headshot

Skills Drills: 3-Second Headshot

James Tarr runs through the 3-Second Headshot drill.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

The Remington Model 700 PCR is a long-range rig built for punching paper, ringing steel, and hammering hogs, deer, and coyotes. Rifles

Remington Model 700 PCR Review

Sam Wolfenberger - April 15, 2019

The Remington Model 700 PCR is a long-range rig built for punching paper, ringing steel, and...

Daniel Defense has blazed a new trail with its first-ever bolt-action rifle, the Daniel Defense Delta 5. Rifles

Daniel Defense Delta 5 Review

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 31, 2019

Daniel Defense has blazed a new trail with its first-ever bolt-action rifle, the Daniel...

The joys of handloading are many, and one of them is sharing the experience with a novice. Reloading

Share the Handloading Experience

Lane Pearce - May 19, 2019

The joys of handloading are many, and one of them is sharing the experience with a novice.

See More Stories

More Reloading

Federal Premium is now offering new Fusion hunting bullets just for reloaders. Reloading

Reloading Federal Fusion Component Bullets

Lane Pearce - December 05, 2019

Federal Premium is now offering new Fusion hunting bullets just for reloaders.

Two classes of fillers for reduced rifle reloads are 'puffballs' and granular. Puffballs are the most troublesome, 
but granular is no cure-all. Reloading

Fillers for Reduced Rifle Loads

Allan Jones - October 10, 2018

Two classes of fillers for reduced rifle reloads are 'puffballs' and granular. Puffballs are...

The 6mm Creedmoor is a new member of a wonderful family of 6mm-caliber (.243) cartridges; it's easy to handload and should make its mark in the hunting fields, just as it has in competitive shooting. Reloading

6mm Creedmoor Load Data

Layne Simpson - August 19, 2019

The 6mm Creedmoor is a new member of a wonderful family of 6mm-caliber (.243) cartridges; it's...

See More Reloading

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.