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Old November 5, 2013, 08:33 PM   #1
rebs
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loads with W231 powder.

I shot a few 38's and 45 acp's today that I loaded with W231 powder, they had lots of smoke. Why so much smoke ? 38's with 3.5 of W231 and a 158 gr lswc and 45 acp with 5.0 W231 with a 200 gr lswc. Am I loading too light or is W231 just a smoky powder ?
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Old November 5, 2013, 08:41 PM   #2
oldpapps
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Haven't loaded/shot a 38 in so many years....

I run 5.6 grains of 231 with 200 grain LSWC in several .45s and don't notice smoke. Mite try upping your charge a bit to see if the smoke lessens.

Note: I do a running average of my loads. The loading listed above is currently listing a velocity of 902.7 FPS.

Load with care,

OSOK
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Old November 5, 2013, 08:41 PM   #3
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It's not the W231. W231 is quite clean; and 5.0g/200LWSC is my pet load. The smoke - well, probably 80% of it anyway - is being generated by the lubricant on the lead bullets. It's normal. Lead is smokey.

Smoke aside, how'd they shoot?
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Old November 5, 2013, 08:42 PM   #4
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On the 38 side, my pet load with a 158g LSWC is 4.0g's. But I'd think 3.5 would be fine too.

Speer #14 has 231 at 3.8g to 4.3g's.
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Last edited by Nick_C_S; November 5, 2013 at 08:46 PM. Reason: Additional information added.
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Old November 5, 2013, 09:27 PM   #5
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Sorry for going off on a tangent here but it's a timely thread cos I just ( not an hour ago ) loaded some 308's with a small dose of this powder,, 6.2 grns to be exact for plinking in my yard with my ishy,
The smoke as mentioned is probably the lube ,,, no biggie,,, enjoy.
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Old November 5, 2013, 09:28 PM   #6
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You loaded 308 with Winchester 231??
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Old November 5, 2013, 09:44 PM   #7
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yup , with cast bullets I forgot to mention that, sorry.

I use pistol/ shotgun powders a lot when I just want "cat sneeze" loads for plinking,.

Bullseye, red dot, 231, all work .

Makes for a fun shoot when killing pop cans and such...
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Old November 5, 2013, 09:52 PM   #8
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What made you decide to load 308's with W231? Normally a pistol powder. How did it shoot?
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Old November 5, 2013, 10:02 PM   #9
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I was getting low on certain powders for my rifle shooting and I let my wife have my 9mm revolver for her cc and she won't use hand loads so I decided I had to do something with the 231 and I found 5.5gns to be a little light ( wasn't sealing the cases, dirty necks , unburnt powder).

I found 6+ gns to be a happy medium for "back yard" fun.

Edit====.

It shoots real good at 75 yards, 1" groups using the noe 311407 , 180gr bullet.
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Old November 6, 2013, 06:00 AM   #10
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I will try upping the charge a little since this is a light charge and see if there is less smoke.
I am using Mastercast bullets.
Is there any particular brand of 200 gr cast bullet than the lube is not as smoky, maybe Penn bullets or Cast Boolets, Missouri bullets etc ?
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Old November 6, 2013, 07:57 AM   #11
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W231 is my main pistol powder. The stuff is just smoky with lead bullets. As near as I can tell, that is its only liability for light to medium-heavy loads in a wide spectrum f handgun cartridges. I invariably shoot outdoors, so it doesn't matter to me. If I shot much on indoor ranges, I'd find another powder.
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Old November 6, 2013, 11:10 AM   #12
Nick_C_S
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Quote:
If I shot much on indoor ranges, I'd find another powder.
If I shot much at indoor ranges, I'd use jacketed or plated bullets. I honestly believe the powder is not the culprit.

When I shoot 231 with jacketed bullets and I have to look hard to see the smoke. When I shoot with lead, it's quite smokey; but lead is smokey with any powder - because it's not the powder.

I shoot with HSM, Missouri, Friendswood, Penn, and others. They all seem to smoke about the same. I only gave it passive thought until recently. But starting just recently, the smoke has caused me some sinus, bronchial, lung aggravation (I created a post regarding my ills with it in the "Bullet Casting" section).

At any rate, even before my ills, I generally take a look at the weather conditions before I go shooting. My (and most) ranges face north-ish. I've always made an effort only shoot when there's a slight south breeze (which happens to be common here). I've always followed this guideline to some degree; but now I'm a lot more regimented about it.

I'm not sure if you can buy unlubricated bullets - maybe you could contact the casters for a special order. And if you could, the smoke would be greatly reduced, but it would likely bring about a whole new set of issues (leading).

Shooting with lead is - by far - the most economical. Loading jacketed or plated brings good cost savings. But lead is where the big savings is. And they also tend to be the most accurate (with lots of exceptions).
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Old November 6, 2013, 02:00 PM   #13
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Any powder you use with lead alloy bullets will be smoky...it's the lube on the bullet. Rod
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Old November 6, 2013, 03:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
smoky...it's the lube on the bullet.
I agree. The bullets that I have that are tumble lubed with Alox do not smoke nearly as much as the wax lubed while using the same powder as the OP.
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Old November 7, 2013, 02:38 AM   #15
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It's the bullets, IMO. If it bothers you, or you shoot indoors I'd switch to plated/jacketed. Otherwise, if shooting outdoors i wouldn't worry about it. Lube smoke is just a side effect of shooting lead.
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Old November 7, 2013, 06:38 AM   #16
rebs
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OK you guys have convinced me its the bullet lube and not the 231 powder. On our club indoor range we are not allowed to shoot and jacketed or half jacketed bullets, only lead bullets are allowed. We have exhaust fans to pull out any smoke, they work quite well.
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Old November 7, 2013, 07:12 AM   #17
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loads with W231 powder.

I would love to get a hold on some 231. Been waiting for over 6 months to get some of it. It's my favorite pistol powder.
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Old November 7, 2013, 10:24 AM   #18
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Quote:
zx9rt1: "I would love to get a hold on some 231. Been waiting for over 6 months to get some of it. It's my favorite pistol powder."
In about an hour, I'll be standing in line outside Sportsmen's Warehouse. When they open, W231/HP-38 will be the main thing I'll be looking for. It is my favorite powder too.

I'm pretty well stocked up, but the 231 is running a bit low.
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Old November 8, 2013, 08:49 PM   #19
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I don't know how he did it but my LGS got in some hard to find powders. He had both HP38 and IMR 4064. A bit high $24/HP38-$28/4064 but under the circumstances acceptable.
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Old November 9, 2013, 01:00 AM   #20
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Oldreloader: My trip to Sportsmen's was fruitless But now that you mentioned it, they did have IMR 4064. I didn't get any.

I'm pretty well stocked. But I am hurtin' for 231. I've got a little over a pound. The rationing has begun: I'll only use it for 45 ACP until I get some more in. I have AA2 for the other calibers - it's good stuff too.
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Old November 9, 2013, 02:23 AM   #21
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I am looking too, I only have 4 lbs of hp-38 left. Thank goodness I have 4 lbs of 231. Hopefully tomorrow i can find some.
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Old November 9, 2013, 09:53 AM   #22
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Rebs..

My non-plated Bullets smoke alot as well... especialy the 38s loads, guess its due to less power behind em

I love W231 in 38s and .357..... so either deal with it or get some Plated RN or FN ta shoot indoors

Also try 4.3gr in the .38s... Nice load... I also did some 4.6gr and those where nice... They also shot real good in my Henry Rifle
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