Shooter's Glossary: Zinc Plated Ammunition

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Shooter's Glossary: Zinc Plated Ammunition

Zinc Plating refers to ammunition that uses casings coated with a layer of zinc to provide protection against corrosion and to enhance functionality.

Popular zinc-plated ammo calibers often include:

  • 9mm Luger
  • .223 Remington
  • 7.62x39mm
  • .45 ACP
  • .380 ACP

Also available, zinc-plated shotgun ammo offers a protective measure against the corrosive effects of moisture, making it a preferred choice for shooters in wet or marine environments.

Zinc Plated Shotgun Ammo

Here's a comprehensive overview:

Purpose of Plating

Corrosion Resistance
Just like with other types of plated or coated casings (e.g., nickel or brass), the primary purpose of zinc plating is to offer protection against rust and corrosion. This ensures that the ammunition remains functional and maintains its appearance even in humid or adverse storage conditions.

Smooth Feeding and Ejection
The smooth, slick nature of the zinc plating can aid in reliable feeding of rounds into the chamber and can also help ensure consistent ejection of spent casings.

Zinc vs. Traditional Brass Casings

While brass remains the most common material for cartridge casings in the shooting sports world, zinc offers an alternative that can be more cost-effective in some cases.

Zinc plating can be applied to steel casings, which are often cheaper than brass. This combination results in ammo that's affordable yet still resistant to corrosion.

Zinc plated ammo is made by electroplating a thin layer of zinc onto the surface of the cartridge casing. This process ensures an even and consistent coating.

Performance and Use Cases

Range and Training
Due to its often lower cost, zinc plated ammo is popular for range shooting, training, and other applications where large volumes of ammunition might be used.

Shelf Life
The protective nature of the zinc coating means this type of ammo can have a good shelf life, making it suitable for stockpiling or long-term storage.

In terms of ballistic performance, the plating does not significantly affect the round's velocity, accuracy, or terminal ballistics. The primary considerations are the quality of the powder, primer, and bullet.


Firearm Care
While zinc plated ammo is generally considered to be cleaner shooting than some other budget-friendly options (like lacquered steel cased ammo), it's always a good practice to clean and maintain firearms regularly to ensure longevity and performance.

Recycling and Reloading
Unlike brass casings, which are commonly reloaded, zinc plated steel casings are not typically reused by reloaders.

Zinc Plated Rifle Ammo

In summary, zinc plated ammo provides a cost-effective, corrosion-resistant alternative to traditional brass or bare steel casings in the shooting sports world.

Its characteristics make it suitable for a variety of shooting activities, especially those requiring high volumes of ammunition.

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