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Old February 16, 2012, 02:42 PM   #1
Wyoredman
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Nasty black soot from .38 spc

Just made some test loads:

158gr. Bear Creek Supply LSWC
3.5gr. 231
CCI 500
S&B once fired brass

Shoot very lite, acurate, quiet, but after fireing 10 test loads, my Smith 686 was black. What gives?
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Old February 16, 2012, 03:30 PM   #2
m&p45acp10+1
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Win 231 is a dirty burning powder in most loads. So is Bull's Eye I still use Bull's Eye for most of my handgun loads. It will clean off. Most factory .38 spcl loads are dirty as well.

If you want soft shooting 158 LSWC's that are a clean load. Try using about 4.0 grains of Trail Boss. Very clean burning powder. The black stuff you see after shooting with it is a result of carbon from the buring lube.
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Old February 16, 2012, 04:07 PM   #3
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Thanks M&P. I have used the same BCS bullets with unique in .357 Mag, but didn't get the soot from them, so that is why I was thinking it was the 231, not the bullet lube.

I have never used Trail Boss, so another pound of powder is in my future.

Thanks again.
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Old February 16, 2012, 05:36 PM   #4
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I use Unique in my handgun loads (and a little Bullseye for target loads), and I put up with the smoke and what little soot I get. It's all part and parcel of shooting.
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Old February 16, 2012, 05:42 PM   #5
Wyoredman
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Paw Paw,

What is your favorite .38 spc 158 gr LSWC load?

Edit: Alliant's web site says 4.7 gr Unique is max for 158gr. LSWC. What have you found is a safe "lite" load with Unique?
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Last edited by Wyoredman; February 16, 2012 at 05:51 PM.
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Old February 16, 2012, 05:56 PM   #6
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I generally decap and the give the dirty brass a bathe with som Dawn dish soap & hot water, that usually cleans them, a rinse with hot water and sread out on a old bath towel to dry over night.
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Old February 16, 2012, 06:14 PM   #7
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I load 2.6 g clays with a 122 g cast bullet & Fed. SP primers for cowboy shooting. I worked the load back slowly & never have any problems with this load. It seems like a very clean load. After several hundred rounds, my guns still appear clean on the outside. This load is accurate for me in my Ruger Vaqueros & S&W 686. Also in a 1873 lever rifle. I've fired over 1000 rounds in this loading.
This is a very light load, lower than the charts recommend, but functions well for me.
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Old February 16, 2012, 10:31 PM   #8
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I would work up the W-231 load, it cleans up at 4-4.2gr but sometimes it doesn't and then I use a warm load of Bullseye. For some reason W-231 and certain bullet lubes are very smoky, but not with Bullseye
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Old February 17, 2012, 12:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
another pound of powder is in my future.
Try 9 ounces.
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Old February 17, 2012, 08:06 AM   #10
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I have found that running W231 .2 grains hotter then the amount needed to be accurate makes it burn cleaner. That is so long as you have not reached the max load. It should also stay accurate. For some reason that little extra powder makes for a cleaner burning load. I suggest trying some test rounds since you already have the powder on hand. WST burns much cleaner and will still give you accurate soft shooting loads. It also fills the case fairly well too.
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Old February 17, 2012, 02:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyoredman
Paw Paw,

What is your favorite .38 spc 158 gr LSWC load?
My favorite .38 special load is anybody's lead 158 SWC over 4.3 grains of Unique. That gives me 780 fps from my Model 66, great accuracy, and enough recoil that the grandkids don't think they're shooting the .22. I've been loading that recipe for almost two decades now and my grown kids know that if they pick up a baggie of .38s and it's not marked, it is 4.3 grains of Unique. That same load, fired from my Marlin 1894, chrony's out at 950 fps. Very satisfying.
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Old February 17, 2012, 02:46 PM   #12
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Thanks Paw Paw.
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Old February 17, 2012, 05:20 PM   #13
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A couple of people I shoot with that use W231 for 38 spl loads also use SP mag primers. They may burn cleaner. Does anyone know if they do burn cleaner. I know they burn more complete in light loads.
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Old February 17, 2012, 06:39 PM   #14
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I just got done testing this load (158 gr SWC) with HP-38/W231 in my 2" snubbie...at 4.1 grains and a good crimp it burns very clean and is pretty accurate.

I've seen suggestions for mag primers with HS-6 which is a bit slower burning than the W231.
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Old February 18, 2012, 12:43 AM   #15
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With my Trail Boss, and Bull's Eye loads in .38 spcl I have been using small rifle primers. I do not have a chrono so I do not know about the numbers. They feel the same, they group the same, and the POA, and POI match up. No signs of pressure have shown in the loads I have used, and all have gone bang every time. I use them due to the fact that I have so many of them, and it makes buying primers easier.
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Old February 18, 2012, 04:54 PM   #16
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231 may seem dirty, but it's a soft dirt and cleans off real easy.
Some of the cleaner burning powders leave less residue, but it can be much harder to remove.
And 231 seems to be very consistent, with little variations in velocity.
Obviously, it's a favorite around here.
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Old February 18, 2012, 06:58 PM   #17
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One of the VihtaVuori powders would be really clean burning plus soft recoiling,maybe N320 or N340.
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Old February 18, 2012, 07:50 PM   #18
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I use a great deal of 231, my favorite powder in 45 ACP and get used in lots of other cartridges. Light loads can be a little dirty but it cleans up easily. It cleans up well with higher pressure loads.
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