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Old January 24, 2013, 11:09 PM   #1
twice barrel
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Soot

I've read about it from time to time but today was my first loading that left me dumbfounded by the degree of soot on my cases. I've been loading for 357 Sig, 40 S&W and 45 ACP with Universal or Titegroup without a hitch. Only using 230 RN lead and plated bullets before the loads have been very clean. Today I loaded 6.1gr Universal with 185gr Ranier HP and went to test a few rounds to be certain they would feed properly. No feed issues and didn't notice any smoke while firing but man; the cases were covered in soot and anything they touched was too. No signs of pressure and the loads proved very accurate. Wonder why the soot with this particular load?
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Old January 25, 2013, 02:33 AM   #2
Unclenick
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It's a couple of things. One is that the faster bullet gives the powder a little less time to burn its constituents up before it leaves. Another is that the lighter bullet's lower inertia allows it to resist the building pressure less, so it will jump forward before pressure is as high, thus giving gases more opportunity to bleed around the case before the pressure is high enough to make the case seal the chamber. About the only way to avoid that is with a faster burning powder. N310, for example.
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Old January 26, 2013, 12:46 PM   #3
budman46
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sooting is a sign of low pressure. in speer no. 13, the powder charge for universal with a 185gr bullet is 6.9 to 7.7 grains...kick it up some.
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Old January 26, 2013, 01:07 PM   #4
joneb
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^I agree^
Could the bullets be undersized ?
What primer are you using ? Maybe try WLP.
I find some brands of brass are thicker walled than others, more case neck tension may help.
How does the Titegroup work with that bullet ?
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Old January 26, 2013, 04:11 PM   #5
twice barrel
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The only manual I currently have is Lyman Pistol & Revolver Hndbk & it doesn't show Universal so I was relying on the Hodgdon Data Center load data which gave a range of 6.0-6.4grain. Since I use a Lee Pro Auto disk I only had one cylinder drop within that range (which suited me fine since these are plated bullets and I didn't want to push them as hard as jacketed).

I'm out of Titegroup but will make a trip to a couple of places I can sometimes get components locally to see what's in stock. Its ashame about the soot because they shoot great.
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Old January 27, 2013, 10:47 AM   #6
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Then ignore the soot. My normal 25 yard target loads are just 3.8 grains of Bullseye under a 185 grain LSWC in my Goldcup with a 13 lb recoil spring. My general purpose practice load for a 1911 ball gun is 4.5 grains of Bullseye or 4.8 grains of Universal under a 200 grain LSWC, which functions the gun, doesn't beat it up or wear the slide fit out too quickly, and it hits so close to the same POI as hardball at up to 25 yards that I can ignore the difference for combat purposes. The cases always discolor about a third to half way back, and soot gradually builds in the gun. Soot leaks out around the edges of the grip panels and darkens my hands over a long course of fire.

On a couple of occasions of intensive practice I've shot about 750 rounds a day for three days in a row without a complete takedown and cleaning and never had a failure to feed or fire. I even went four days once (3000 rounds) and got no failures until the end of the fourth day, when the slide would occasionally ask for a little thumb pressure to complete closing. Upon disassembly at that point, the gun is positively caked up inside with soot (and graphite with Bullseye). Up to a point, it seems to be a pretty good substance for tightening the fit of the barrel and slightly softening the operation of the mechanism. But once it stops functioning 100%, it's time to clean.

I've changed my strategies about this cleaning over time. At one point I made up a gallon of Ed's Red I kept in a clean paint can and would take the gun down, remove the grip panels and set all the parts in it to soak for a week or so. After that, an old toothbrush and odorless mineral spirits will clean off the rest pretty well. These days I usually spray it down with Gunzilla, a less toxic and markedly better carbon remover, and just let it sit overnight before the mineral spirits and brush are applied. At the end a spray with Gunzilla is just wiped with a rag, as a thin layer forms a good lubricating film that doesn't pick up dust and makes the next soot removal session easier, to my perception. You can do the complete cleaning at a sitting with enough spraying and brushing with almost any gun cleaner, but I'm lazy.
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Old January 27, 2013, 04:46 PM   #7
twice barrel
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Follow-up:

Couldn't get N320 but picked up a pound of Winchester 231 to try. Two different loadings with same bullet; 5.2gr & 5.7gr. Both had soot but much less than the 6.1gr Universal load. Went on and tried 6.6gr of Universal while I was out there even though the Hodgdon Data site offers a lower max with hopes that the Speer manual data was accurate. It had about the same soot as the 5.7 gr W231 load but made a distinct flash streak on my brass. None of the casings displayed any signs of pressure and all rounds shot comfortably. Will finish up this batch of cases and bullets with 5.7gr W231 and will probably return to 230 RN loads just because I find them more comfortable to shoot.

Nick, I'm too old school still. I clean my guns as soon as I get home before I put them away... and I have an old metal denatured alcohol 1-gal. can that I mix my Ed's Red in.

TB
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