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There are needles designed specifically for metallic thread. Most that I know of are a 90/14, but they have a eye that is specially designed to allow the metallic thread to run without fraying or shredding.
 

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I run a design fairly frequently that uses Rapos metallic gold and I run it through a 75/11 ballpoint on Port Authority CP86 5 panel.
 

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You should be able to embroider on hats with an 80/12. I ran some last week using the metallic thread. Make sure your design is not too dense for the metallic, take some stitches out.
 
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