X-Treme Bullets vs. Berry’s Bullets [Comparison]

When handloading, your ammunition is only as great as the bullet you put in. With that in mind, we will look at two of the most well-known names when it comes to copper-plated bullets: X-Treme and Berry’s Bullets.

The search for the best-plated bullets is on. By best, we not only consider performance but affordability as well. After all, we’re shooting them over jacketed because of their price advantage. Also, a little price difference wouldn’t seem too little anymore if you have boxes of them stacked up. 

Here’s a quick look at how some 9mm X-Treme and Berry’s bullets compare in terms of price:

 X-Treme
(quantity: 500)
Berry's
(quantity: 500)
9mm 115gr Round Nose$42.75$58.50
9mm 124gr Flat Point$44.84$61.50
9mm 124gr Round Nose$44.84$61.00
9mm 147gr Round Nose$45.60$62.50

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Hard Cast, Jacketed, and Plated Bullets

Hard Cast, Jacketed, and Plated Bullets
Hard cast bullets

Hard cast bullets have been around for a long time. As the name says, it’s lead alloy cast into a mold. Common elements in this mixture include antimony, tin, or silver. While there are still some that use them, we shy away from these bullets because of the leading. 

The exposed lead means users are often in contact with toxic material. With higher velocity, they cause more smoke and barrel fouling. In short, they are the cheapest and the dirtiest option of the three. 

For differentiating purposes, cast bullets are not the same as “lead bullets.” While hard cast projectiles are made of alloy, pure lead bullets are much softer. They are also more prone to leaving deposits on the bore.

X-Treme Bullets vs. Berry's Bullets Full metal jacketed (FMJ) bullets with exposed lead on the base.
Full metal jacketed (FMJ) bullets with exposed lead on the base.

Jacketed bullets are the answer to the lead problems associated with cast bullets. They are called “jacketed” because the soft core has a hard metal casing. This outer shell is an advantage to high velocity. It does not foul the bore as much as lead bullets and also controls expansion. Because of this, jacketed bullets are also more costly.

We may have heard of the terms FMJ and total metal jacket (TMJ). Although an FMJ has the word “full” in its name, it does not enclose the projectile completely. We can see that it has some openings on the base which exposes the core. Meanwhile, TMJ totally covers the core and leaves no opening.

X-Treme Bullets vs. Berry's Bullets Plated bullets
Plated bullets

With plated bullets, the core is, as the name implies, plated with copper. In this process, the core is dipped into a solution and removed when enough thickness is achieved. How much “enough” thickness is will depend on the company. 

We can think of plated bullets as the hybrid child of the lead cast and jacketed bullets. The plating acts as a barrier to avoid leading, without costing as much as the jacketed ones. But because they are not as rigid as the metal jackets, they can’t also go as fast as them. But generally, when looking for plated bullets, thicker plating means more velocity.

Why Plated Bullets?

X-Treme Bullets vs. Berry's Bullets Rich Texan from The Simpsons firing pistols
Rich Texan from The Simpsons firing pistols (from Giphy.com)

Using plated bullets means less smoke and saying goodbye to lead exposure at a lesser cost. Or at least, that was the case before. Nowadays, they can become as expensive as jacketed bullets. 

Despite that, plated bullets still come at a lower cost in general. X-Treme and Berry’s remain two of the most affordable ones that will make you stick with plated, not only because of the cost but in terms of quality as well.

A Bit About X-Treme and Berry’s 

It’s important to know the background of the company we’re buying our bullets from. Do they have good reputations? How have they performed through the years? It helps to know a little about how X-Treme and Berry’s Bullets have been doing so far. 

Also, we checked both their sites to see the availability of their plated bullets. After all, that’s where everyone is flocking right now when the shelves have been emptied in their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

X-Treme Bullets

There have been many changes to X-Treme since it started. Even its name has been changed several times. It started as West Coast Bullets. However, it didn’t last long until it was sold and renamed Accura. After that, they sold it again and the brand’s name became X-Treme Bullets. 

X-Treme Bullets have been generally successful this time around. Its parent company, Howell Munitions and Technology (HMT), added its own line of ammo, which we now know as Freedom Munitions. Things seemed to be going well until, once again, HMT filed for bankruptcy petition in 2018. 

The owner of LAX Ammunition, Dan Kash, purchased X-Treme Bullets and Freedom Munitions in 2019. The two companies are now under Kash CA Inc. After the long history, let’s look at X-Treme’s site:

X-Treme Bullets vs. Berry's Bullets X-treme Bullets copper-plated page
Screenshot of X-Treme Bullets site for the copper-plated page.

Navigating X-Treme’s site is easy. The copper-plated bullets are put together on one page. The calibers for handguns and rifles are mixed. With that, it might be a bit of a challenge to those unfamiliar with the differences. 

X-Treme Bullets vs. Berry's Bullets X-treme Bullets bullet description and price.
Screenshot of X-Treme Bullets site with bullet description and price.

The bullet description is pretty straightforward with its caliber size and weight. The bullet profiles are presented in acronyms, which need a bit of familiarization. The company has a legend for it, though, so everyone can know the difference.

Also, one thing to check on the site is its “Deal of the Week.” Who knows, you may be lucky to take home your bullet of choice at a discounted price. 

Berry’s Bullets

Berry’s has had a much steadier history than X-Treme. It remains family-owned since it was founded in 1961 by Raymond Berry. Initially, the company began with fully loaded ammunition. However, after Berry’s early retirement, it shifted its focus on making bullets to accommodate reloaders.

Gilbert Berry, Raymond Berry’s son, took over. The company then moved its headquarters to Utah and expanded over time. Now, Berry’s is in the hands of its third-generation owner, Tony Berry, Gilbert Berry’s son. This time, let’s take a peek at Berry’s site:

X-Treme Bullets vs. Berry's Bullets Berry's Bullets site homepage
Screenshot of Berry’s Bullets site homepage.

Berry’s site has seen great improvements through the years. The layout is good and the pistol and rifle calibers are separated. We just think it’s a more organized way of putting things in order. 

X-Treme Bullets vs. Berry's Bullets; Berry's Bullets bullet description and price
Screenshot of Berry’s Bullets site with bullet description and price.

The labels are also more descriptive, so it’s a great plus for easier navigation. Another thing to check at Berry’s is its “Factory Blemish” bullets. These are seconds with some minor issues that didn’t make the cut in quality control. Offered at a lower price, they can perform just as much as non closeouts, so it’s also another way to try to save some bucks.

Eye on the Price

We’ve seen how 9mm bullets from Berry’s and X-Treme differ in the intro. Now, let’s look at some .38/.357 and .45 ACP from both:

 X-Treme
(quantity: 500)
Berry's
(quantity: 1,000)
.38/.357 125 gr Flat Point$45.98$126.99
.38/.357 158 gr Flat Point$51.30$149.99
(quantity: 500)(quantity: 500)
.45 185 gr Flat Point$57.95$84.99
.45 200 gr Flat Point$61.37$92.99
45 200gr Round Nose$59.85$88.99
.45 230 gr Round Nose$78.66$94.99

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We are seeing a consistent difference in the price difference between the two. Although X-Treme boxes come with 500-count, we can just buy two of them to have as many as a box of Berry’s. Even so, the price difference is still pretty significant. We can clearly see this gap with the .45 bullets where Berry’s offers a box of 500, just like X-Treme.

Many shooters have observed that the price of plated bullets is now as close as the FMJ. X-Treme offers some 9mm FMJ while Berry’s doesn’t. So, for the sake of comparison, let’s bring in another name to see how plated bullets compare to FMJs in terms of price.

 PLATED FMJ  
X-Treme
(quantity: 500)
Berry's
(quantity: 1,000)
X-Treme
(quantity: 500)
Sierra
(quantity: 100)
9mm 115gr Round Nose$42.75$116.99$56.05$30.95
9mm 124gr Round Nose$44.84$121.99$61.94$32.96

*Sierra is 125gr

Here, we have two FMJ bullets from X-Treme and Sierra. We can already see a $13 (115gr) and $17 (124gr) difference between X-Treme’s plated and jacketed bullets. 

Starting with the 115gr, Berry’s plated bullets (11.70 cents each) cost even a bit higher than X-Treme’s FMJ (11.21 cents each). Now, with Sierra, we can see that its FMJ costs much higher than the two at 30.95 cents each. 

The same trend is true with the 124gr X-Treme’s plated is very affordable at 8.97 cents each. Berry’s plated is still around the same price as X-Treme’s jacketed bullets. Meanwhile, Sierra’s FMJ costs more than two to three times that of Berry’s and X-Treme’s plate bullets.

Although this is just a small comparison, we can still trust plated bullets when it comes to price advantage over FMJ. Also, though they are accurate at the time of writing, prices have been so unsteady these days. With that said, it’s always better to always stay in the loop.

Our Bullet of Choice

Trying to decide between X-Treme Bullets and Berry’s Manufacturing is a tough call. Both are well-known names when it comes to great-value plated bullets. We have used both and have no problems with them so far. But between the two, we’d seal the deal with X-Treme. 

Since both plated bullets are of high quality, the only other major tiebreaker is the price. Other observations, although not very major, are that we like how X-Treme looked a bit shinier than Berry’s. We also find that it has thicker plating. 

We randomly weighted 10 9mm samples of X-Treme’s 115gr and 124gr round nose (RN) to see how consistent they are. Impressively, the difference was no more than a grain from both. We reloaded and tested them to the range. As always, we were just as satisfied as before, hitting quite consistent groups.

Conclusion

Plated bullets are a great must-have item for hand loaders. We recommend X-Treme Bullets for the low cost and great plating. They’re economical and accurate and can become real shiny.

We’d definitely reload with Berry’s as well, no doubt about that. But the thing is, these days, we don’t get to pick that much. With the great ammo shortage, most people would just grab what is available, so it helps to check online from time to time.

You might want to read more about the reason for this ammo crisis. Also, if you need some new handloading boxes and similar stuff, make sure to read our MTM Case-Gard Review.

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