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  #1  
Old 04-20-2019, 10:42 AM
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anonymouscuban anonymouscuban is online now
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Default Lighter Loads - Why do powders run dirtier?

Hey guys.

So I have read quite often that some powders run dirtier/smokier with lighter loads. Can someone explain why?

I assume it's because they burn at lower temperatures but that's just a guess.

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Old 04-20-2019, 11:04 AM
bruce381 bruce381 is offline
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the pressure / speed of burn makes a cleaner load so light loads will be dirty and smokie if you want a light load use a "faster" powder.

HP-38 will burn dirty at maybe 750 fps in a 45 but up the load to 850 or 900 and it burns cleaner.

Or go to a faster powder like vVctan BA-10 and you can go slower with a clean burn.
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Old 04-20-2019, 11:07 AM
bruce381 bruce381 is offline
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or a better way to say it all powders have a "optimum" pressure / powder density range they work best in as designed if you to low thea than that range to load is dirty and smokey not effecant.


Go to high out of theta range and you may get spikey high pressure or a Kaboom.
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Old 04-20-2019, 11:18 AM
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Awesome guys. Makes sense. I'm new to loading so just wasn't sure what the science behind it was. I like to know how things work so was curious.

I'm reloading for IPSC so I am running lighter loads but I'm using Tightgroup which I've been told is a faster burning powder. I noticed there is mixed opinions on TG and it being smokey, dirty. I haven't found it to be. All the guys at the matches run TG so that's what I chose. So far I haven't found it objectionable at all. I've settled on 135gr coated bullet with 3.3gr of TG, WSP primer, OAL of 1.13. Mixed brass that I collected for months before reloading. Pretty accurate at 25 yards and softer shooting. Cycles well in my CZ.

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Old 04-20-2019, 11:18 AM
hambam105 hambam105 is offline
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It happens.

Often times the smoke is related to bullet lube and not so much the powder that appears to be the obvious suspect.


Bench rest pistol shooters often claim that the original 1940 & 50s standard bullet lube, if there is such a thing, increases accuracy
and reduces smoke especially when using reduced loads.

They also claim that the popular & hard crayon type lube often used on cast bullets, meant for home progressive machines,
smokes a lot more that the old time wet lube mentioned above under the extreme heat of cartridge combustion.

A standard full pressure 38 Special, 9mm or 45acp load with a FMJ with a fast burning powder and standard primer always appears
to me to smoke less and clean up easier than using reduced loads.

Last edited by hambam105; 04-20-2019 at 11:31 AM..
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:09 PM
bruce381 bruce381 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouscuban View Post
Awesome guys. Makes sense. I'm new to So far I haven't found it objectionable at all. I've settled on 135gr coated bullet with 3.3gr of TG, WSP primer, OAL of 1.13. Mixed brass that I collected for months before reloading. Pretty accurate at 25 yards and softer shooting. Cycles well in my CZ.

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stick with that it works BUT remember tite group as all fast powders if DOUBLE charged will build high pressure.

I run a dillion powder checker to sense any high charges. RCBS and others make then too.

Progressive machines are nice when running forward but any bobble may or will require you to stop and look make sure nothing got over charged or under charged.

That's why a lot of people say for first timers use a FULLish case full of a slower powder in that a double charge will over flow and is pretty easy to see.
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce381 View Post
stick with that it works BUT remember tite group as all fast powders if DOUBLE charged will build high pressure.



I run a dillion powder checker to sense any high charges. RCBS and others make then too.



Progressive machines are nice when running forward but any bobble may or will require you to stop and look make sure nothing got over charged or under charged.



That's why a lot of people say for first timers use a FULLish case full of a slower powder in that a double charge will over flow and is pretty easy to see.
No doubt. I haven't had a double charge but I did load my first squib in only my 2nd batch of rounds. Luckily it wasn't enough to cycle the gun so it ended well. The plus side it was a quick lesson in that loading is something that demands full attention. I made a lot of adjustments to my reload process because of it.

I added LED lights to my press. I added a Powder Cop, which in hindsight is kind of useless. I am gonna swap to the RCBS Powder Stop. I visibly inspect every case, twice, after the powder drop to make sure it's not under/over loaded. I also now shut myself off and have no distractions. If my wife wants to chat, I stop reloading. I think that's what led to my squib.

It's been a learning process for sure. I have since shot about 1500 rounds without a hitch. I shot 400 rounds this morning and really happy with my loads.

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Old 04-20-2019, 1:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce381 View Post
the pressure / speed of burn makes a cleaner load so light loads will be dirty and smokie if you want a light load use a "faster" powder.

HP-38 will burn dirty at maybe 750 fps in a 45 but up the load to 850 or 900 and it burns cleaner.

Or go to a faster powder like vVctan BA-10 and you can go slower with a clean burn.
Makes sense.

I decided to try Unique for the first time and made some light load ladders for 38sp, 45acp, and 44mag. All of them shot dirty.

I have always avoided Unique because of reports that it meters erratically and because it shoots dirty. Both claims proved to be true.

I wonder if the dirty loads are because of the light charges? Looks like I'll be rolling some hotter loads now for comparison.
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Old 04-20-2019, 2:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertrider View Post
Makes sense.



I decided to try Unique for the first time and made some light load ladders for 38sp, 45acp, and 44mag. All of them shot dirty.



I have always avoided Unique because of reports that it meters erratically and because it shoots dirty. Both claims proved to be true.



I wonder if the dirty loads are because of the light charges? Looks like I'll be rolling some hotter loads now for comparison.
I've only loaded Tightgroup. I bought 4 pounds so at 3.3, its gonna last me a few months. I have a pound of Red Dot and 3N37 powder but haven't been compelled either. Someone gave it to me. I will probably try Power Pistol next.

What I can say about TG is that it meters well out of my LnL power measure. Easy to work with. I can get consistent loads down to 0.1gr with TG. It's a pretty efficient powder too. Can't beat 3.3gr per round for 9mm. Goes a long ways.

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Old 04-20-2019, 11:05 PM
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Just a little side note:
The soot on fired brass of lighter loads is from the brass not expanding against the chamber walls to seal the chamber. I don't see soot on brass on upper range of powder loads. But I tend to see it on the lower range of load data.
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Old 04-21-2019, 12:00 AM
hambam105 hambam105 is offline
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Unique is great powder, very versatile, does not meter well, and always leaves what appears to be incomplete combustion flakes of powder behind.
Red dot likes to clog the star of the revolver from which you shoot from.
If there is a Dillion User who currently uses either of these powders please step forward.
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Old 04-21-2019, 4:47 AM
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Many of the older powders are dirtier than the newer stuff. Lots of reasons in this and no one thing is correct for all. If you think Unique or Red Dot doesn't meter well you would really be upset by using the old DuPont "Bulk", but it worked. A couple of the older powders have been reformulated some over the years and probably give a little less of what someone calls a problem, it's a matter of perception but they function just fine. Just because it's newer doesn't mean it's better. Smokey cases mean nothing to me in my revolvers or auto loaders for that matter you just have to clean them and the gun which doesn't bother me one bit. Yes I cling to my old ways so I use oil on my guns.
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Old 04-21-2019, 9:16 AM
bruce381 bruce381 is offline
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"If my wife wants to chat, I stop reloading"

Yeah me too my wife can do multiple things well at same time I cannot.

So when se tells me about 5 things to do I'm still thinking about the first when she is on the 5 one.
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Old 04-24-2019, 7:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouscuban View Post
I've only loaded Tightgroup. I bought 4 pounds so at 3.3, its gonna last me a few months. I have a pound of Red Dot and 3N37 powder but haven't been compelled either. Someone gave it to me. I will probably try Power Pistol next.

What I can say about TG is that it meters well out of my LnL power measure. Easy to work with. I can get consistent loads down to 0.1gr with TG. It's a pretty efficient powder too. Can't beat 3.3gr per round for 9mm. Goes a long ways.

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I also use Titegroup for PCC and Production. Meters very well, very consistent, but DIRTY as hell. It'll foul up my pcc barrel comp if I don't get on top of it.

My buddy at a recent match suggested trying Shooters World Clean Shot. Just a tad slower than Titegroup but his pcc stays uber clean.
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Old 04-24-2019, 8:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce381 View Post
"If my wife wants to chat, I stop reloading"

Yeah me too my wife can do multiple things well at same time I cannot.

So when se tells me about 5 things to do I'm still thinking about the first when she is on the 5 one.
LMAO! That is so true!
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Old 04-24-2019, 4:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mofo1111 View Post
Just a little side note:
The soot on fired brass of lighter loads is from the brass not expanding against the chamber walls to seal the chamber. I don't see soot on brass on upper range of powder loads. But I tend to see it on the lower range of load data.
This is my experience as well. I only load for semi autos at this point (donít really shoot my centerfire bolt actions anymore) so the window of charge weights to get them to run reliably is a lot tighter.
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