Federal Ballisticlean 9mm variations

I was looking at some recently acquired Federal Ballisticlean 9mm and noticed that I have two index numbers which represent two different projectile types from the first style of this line.

The current “Ballisticlean” uses the “RHT” bullets which are typical looking compressed copper/tin, but the original style was the soft-point looking projectile which had the zinc core/tip with copper jacket. These were available in common pistol calibers from the mid-90’s through to around 2000 when Federal switched to the RHT style bullet for this line. The two that I have are the BC9NT1 and the BC9NT2. Oddly enough, the BC9NT2 appears as an earlier variation from what I have, hailing from at least 1995, while the BC9NT1 is dated as a 1998 design from my box. The BC9NT2 has the original style zinc wire wrap look to it which various internet postings refer to as a deadly “roto-rooter” type of bullet, while the BC9NT1 was a more solid looking zinc tip with no detectable wire segmentation. The headstamps are different with the “NT” being oriented differently for each.

The boxes are exactly the same except that the end-flap sticker labels are different in terms of description (CQT vs “soft point”), stamped lot number, and printed index number. Also the boxes have printed year dates on the back (1995 for NT2 and 1998 for NT1)

Matt, these two different loadings were evidently made during the same time because I have a picture of a “100 gr JSP” with code BC9NT1 which is dated 1995. Also, at least the side panel is different because the word “Clean” is green color.

Interesting Fede, on my two boxes, dated 95 and 98, both “Clean” words on the side are green in color, unless you mean your image shows the end-flap with the word being green. I wonder why they would bother making virtually the same load during the same time span? Was one considered more of a trainer, while one was more of a duty / carry load?

I don’t remember details, but I do remember the “stranded Zinc” Federal bullets had some problems, as when they fragmented, they had a tendency to damage the range’s target hardware.


To the best of my knowledge, no JSP loads were marketed by ATK in the US as duty loads in that timeframe, and no products from the Ballisticlean line have been marketed as duty loads (‘green’ primers are usually deemed as having too high a failure rate for LE duty ammo).

All the ATK overseas contract JSPs that I know about have been outside the Ballisticlean line.

My experience with the stranded zinc load pictured is that it does produces fragments of a size and hardness not desirable for close-range use of steel targets. I’ve seen them embedded 0.25+ in 2x4 range fixtures.

Here is a picture:

In 2001, when the 100 gr CQT (copper-tin) load number BC9NT3 was announced as a new product, it was the only BallistiClean load offered in 9 mm. In 2002 the caliber line was expanded and offered in both BC9NT2 and BC9NT3 loads, but the first one was then redesignated “Stranded Zinc Core” and its bullet JSZ (Jacketed Stranded Zinc).

All of these were designed for training; the JSZ to break up on hard targets and the CQT to breakup immediately on metal targets.

Reading these posts got me to digging in my Federal collection.
I found a few interesting early 9mm Ballisticlean items.
I’m not sure of the composition of the iron round but it
sure loves a magnet. I also don’t know which non-toxic
metal is in the early 115 gr. round from 1994. My guess would be zinc or tin.