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Old May 30, 2010, 01:16 PM   #1
Patchman
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Is Varget powder "Dirty"?

Hi all, I'm kinda new to the whole reloading thing. Yesterday was the first time I shot all reloads out of my AR15.

About a month ago I went shooting and shot over 500 rounds of Federal ammo out of it and when I cleaned it, it wasn't really all that bad. Yesterday I shot probably 150-250 rounds of reloads with Varget powder in them. Today when I cleaned the rifle it looked like it hadn't been cleaned in over 2000 rounds.

Is Varget powder a really dirty powder? Like I said I'm new to reloading and so far its the only powder I've used.
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Old May 30, 2010, 01:17 PM   #2
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Yes,,,I have shot it from several polished stainless and nickel guns... I dont use it anymore.
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Old May 30, 2010, 03:08 PM   #3
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Varget is very dirty. Try either Hodgdon powders or even some Vihtavuori. Vihtavuori is the cleanest powder I've ever shot.
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Old May 30, 2010, 03:29 PM   #4
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I've shot thousands of rounds of .308 using Varget and I do not find it particularly dirty. Many powders are dirtier if not run at full pressure.

ETA:
Quote:
Varget is very dirty. Try either Hodgdon powders
Varget is a Hodgdon powder.
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Old May 30, 2010, 06:00 PM   #5
William T. Watts
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Is Varget powder "Dirty"?

IF I had known there was an issue with Varget being dirty/fouling I wouldn't have purchased the 8 pound jug I picked up last week!! William
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Old May 30, 2010, 06:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
I've shot thousands of rounds of .308 using Varget and I do not find it particularly dirty. Many powders are dirtier if not run at full pressure.
I had never heard of powders being dirtier if not run at full pressure. I was shooting a pretty mild load. 24grains Varget with 55grain Berry's Mfg bullet with a CCI primer. Still working my loads up a little. As I still have 3lbs of Varget I guess I will see if it makes any difference.
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Old May 30, 2010, 06:58 PM   #7
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No more then most powder however it's so accurate in my rifles wouldn't care.
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Old May 30, 2010, 07:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
had never heard of powders being dirtier if not run at full pressure
If you search you will find a lot of commentary on this phenomenon.
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Old May 30, 2010, 10:43 PM   #9
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Zacs comment: I've shot thousands of rounds of .308 using Varget and I do not find it particularly dirty. Many powders are dirtier if not run at full pressure.


I believe the same thing.. Sorry for the way I put this but I cant find out how to quote (yet).
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Old May 31, 2010, 12:23 AM   #10
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If it is accurate in your rifle...and you were gonna clean it anyway...why does it matter that its dirtier than some other powder?
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Old May 31, 2010, 01:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
I believe the same thing.. Sorry for the way I put this but I cant find out how to quote (yet).
Hey Farmerboy... when you post your reply just highlight the text you want to quote, right click then copy. When you post your reply just pick the "quote" icon (lower row, 3rd from right) and insert your copied text between the "quotes". This is how I do it... I'm sure if there is an easier way someone will let us know.
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Old May 31, 2010, 07:08 AM   #12
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I've found Varget to be every bit as clean-firing as H-4895 in my rifles.
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Old May 31, 2010, 07:27 AM   #13
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Well for me if a powder is or isnt dirty is down on my list,1st is velocitys, 2nd is how it groups with a giving load. So if the powder meets 1&2 being dirty is a trade off iam willing to take. Varget did provide some right tight groups in my .223 &.308 now iam going to see what it can do in the 8x57
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Old May 31, 2010, 07:40 AM   #14
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I was shooting a pretty mild load. 24grains Varget with 55grain Berry's Mfg bullet with a CCI primer. Still working my loads up a little. As I still have 3lbs of Varget I guess I will see if it makes any difference.
DISCLAIMER: Any load info I give is purely for information purposes and said information is used at your own risk.

That said, I run 26.2gr of Varget behind a 55gr Berrys bullet and it seems to be working very well out of my rifle. Not the cleanest thing I've ever seen but certainly not a "filthy" load and the accuracy is good.
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Old May 31, 2010, 07:53 AM   #15
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I run 26.5gr of varget behind a Hornady 50gr V-Max. I get right at 3200 fps out of that load and I can shoot all day long then look down the barrel and it doesn't look like it has been shot at all....

Some powders are dirtier if you run them at the bottom end of the load data.

IMR powders are dirty no matter what you do. I have also have good luck with VV N133 in my 223 with amazing velocity and accuracy out of a decent load. I load 24.5 gr of vv n133 behind a 50 gr H V-Max and get 3650 fps. I thought I had over loaded them but no my powder charge is right on. Both of my loads will cause a Ground hog to spill his guts when hit.....
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Old May 31, 2010, 02:46 PM   #16
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Thanks Palabman
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Old May 31, 2010, 04:38 PM   #17
Patchman
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Quote:
If it is accurate in your rifle...and you were gonna clean it anyway...why does it matter that its dirtier than some other powder?
Well, it really doesn't was just curios. But, it probably took me 30min longer than it normally does to clean my rifle. And I don't exactly have a lot of free time so if I could find something that burns cleaner I would rather use that as long as it was as reliable and accurate as Varget.

But I will probably stick with Varget because it is the easiest powder for me to find. Going to step my loads up to a hair over 26grains as others have suggested in this thread and try it again next week. Like I said before I'm fairly new to reloading and, I was being pretty cautious with some of my first loads.

But, that is why I like reloading. Just one more thing to tinker and experiment with!
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Old May 31, 2010, 07:39 PM   #18
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All powders are dirtier at lower pressures. This is because temperature increases with pressure in a powder burn, and higher temperatures result in more complete combustion; particularly of the powder at the base of the bullet that moves down the bore with it. That powder is running at a disadvantage because of the pressure gradient that drops pressure right behind the bullet as compared to the pressure at the chamber end.

Yikes! Now you've gotta worry about the frigging pressure gradients on top of everything else! Well, not really. Yes, technically this is rocket science, but no, you don't need to know all the details. All you've got to keep in mind is that the lighter the bullet, the faster a given pressure will accelerate it. The faster it scoots forward, the faster the powder has to burn to make gas fast enough to keep up with it. That's where Varget gets into trouble with 50 and 55 grain bullets. Yes, compressed loads can be made that will shoot well with Varget and those light bullets in some chambers, but you risk secondary pressure spikes in barrels 20" and over, and you burn more powder weight than you would if you were using something more efficient for that bullet weight, so it's costly. I've had good results with Varget firing 69 grain match bullets and heavier, but with 50 grain bullets I use either IMR4198 or H4198, and with 55 grain bullets Reloader 10X is about as slow as I like to go.

Long ago, Julian Hatcher suggested that you want to look for powders that produce ballistic efficiencies (the percent of chemical energy stored in a powder that is translated to kinetic energy in the bullet) of about 30% in medium power cartridges (like the .30-06, .308, and .223). With a 52 grain A-max or a 53 grain Sierra MatchKing in the .223, maximum loads of IMR 4198 will produce ballistic efficiencies of around 31%. Reloader 10X will get to 29% (these are according to QuickLOAD). Varget has trouble making 23% even if heavily compressed. Indeed, the peak pressure is below the usual starting load range when you use these bullet weights and Varget, even when the Varget compressed a modest amount.

The result of that low pressure is incomplete burning and higher charge weight than you would need to get to the same velocity with the other powders I mentioned. Among them, IMR 4198 has an excellent accuracy reputation, and you won't likely exceed 22 grains of charge at peak accuracy and pressure. 10X has developed an increasing following and will get you more velocity than 4198, and the charge will still be around 23 or 24 grains. At that, it gives about the same velocity as 27 to 28 grain compressed charges of Varget. So, 10X is more economical to use, runs at pressures nearer the normal peak cartridge pressure, and therefore burns cleaner.

I recommend you get one of the 4198's or the 10X for your light bullets and save the Varget for heavier ones or for .308 or .30-06 loads, where it really shines, IME.
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Last edited by Unclenick; May 31, 2010 at 07:47 PM.
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Old May 31, 2010, 07:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
I recommend you get one of the 4198's or the 10X for your light bullets and save the Varget for heavier ones or for .308 loads, where it really shines.
Good info. I'll see if I can find some 4198 or 10x.
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Old May 31, 2010, 08:40 PM   #20
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I find Varget very close to 4895 and 4064 with the added resistance to weather changes. I don't find it dirty.
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Old June 1, 2010, 09:33 AM   #21
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I was shooting a pretty mild load. 24grains Varget with 55grain Berry's Mfg bullet with a CCI primer.
For 55 grain FMJ's, I'd find an easier powder to work with than Varget.

Some might even say you're wasting the Varget on those bullets.
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Old June 1, 2010, 06:41 PM   #22
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I would imagine Varget (or any powder in that burn rate speed) would be dirty in 223Rem. I would not even consider it as it is too slow for that cartridge.
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Old June 1, 2010, 07:02 PM   #23
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Yeah, I'm going to switch powders in my .223. I liked Varget because I could get it at Wal-Mart. We have one gun shop in my town and they are way overpriced on their powders. I'm going to go out of town this weekend and see what I can find.
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Old June 1, 2010, 08:48 PM   #24
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Try something that says H335 or H322 on the label.
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Old July 21, 2010, 01:48 PM   #25
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I was working with Varget and 748 on some 69gr SMK loads this past weekend.

24.8 grains of 748 left the outside of the casemouths and shoulder clearly much dirtier than either of the two charges of Varget I tried (24.2 and 24.7).

I hand marked the powder charge on each case with a sharpie. And after tumbling all of them I grouped them together and could see a noticeable difference between Varget and 748.
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