30 November 2022
Aaron, I am no expert, but I have poly-coated handgun and rifle bullets for a couple years now. I have also played with the Hi-Tek coating, though with mixed results.
I have learned to really enjoy running my poly-coated (PC) bullets through my Lee APP machine to size the bullets. I have a couple Star lubrisizers, but sizing the PC'd bullets in the Lee APP is so much easier and even faster. Although the only reason it is faster is that I don't have a bullet feed kit for my Star machines.
I haven't had to size much more than a couple thousandths, and I have never noticed any coating deformation or cracking. For the Hi-Tek coating system, one of the tests that you are supposed to run after running them through the oven cooking cycle is to smash the bullet on your anvil and see if the coating comes off. So I also do that to my PC'd bullets - to check the adhesion. I can't say I have ever had a problem in that regard with the PC'd bullets. Though I have had some issues with the Hi-tek system (almost 100% certain that it is operator error - not the system).
I don't have the experience to tell you that one method or the other is better for accuracy. So far the only down side to PC'ing the bullets is that I detect a weird smell after shooting them. I have never had any residue in my barrels that I have noticed either.
One of the biggest advantages to me, living in the hot climate of Houston TX is that I don't have to worry about the lube melting off in storage in my garage. It is also night and day cleaner loading them, versus grease lubed bullets.
I have a couple of the NOE Hi-Tec (HTC) groove-less bullet molds. I can't detect any difference shooting them, versus the PC'd lube groove designs. Again - I just don't have enough experience. I am sure there are others on the forum that have far more to share.
Another thing I like is that I was able to buy the NOE adapter for the Lee APP so that I can use my NOE sizer bushings in the Lee APP. They are much cheaper to buy than a Star die - or even the Lee push through dies.
Almost all of the powder I have came from Smoke - over on the other cast bullet forum. I did start off with the Harbor Freight powders - which worked well. I even still have the Harbor Freight Electrostatic gun that I used the first couple times before I went to using the plastic air soft BB's in the bowl. The last time I coated I even omitted the BB's and the bullets came out just fine.
My last power purchase was from Columbia Coatings. They have a chrome powder that is as shiny as my old Schwinn Stingray bicycle fenders. It is a much harder coating. I used it on .32 caliber SWC's for my revolvers. I haven't loaded them yet, but I am curious what they will do. Especially since I PC'd a third of the casting session, lubed and sized a third, and used alox liquid lube on the last third. I wanted to see if I could detect any meaningful velocity or accuracy differences.
For me - it is very quick to dump a few pounds of bullets into a big plastic bowl with a lid, swirl the powder and dump them into a homemade hardware cloth basket. Bake them for a short while, and then I am done. I have gotten to the point I don't even size my bullets until I am ready to load them. I have had quite a few instances of my grease lubed and sized bullets "growing" in diameter after sitting in the garage for a few years. So I usually run them through the Lee APP before loading anyway. So I just leave that to be the last step before loading them now.
Anyway - I just thought I would throw my 2 cents in.