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Old December 5, 2012, 01:23 PM   #1
hulley
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Powder question, W231 vs. Unique

I was at the range last night and all I shot were my reloads.
9mm using W231 and Berry's plated 115gr RN.
.38sp using Unique and Missouri Bullet hardcast 158gr RN.

The 9s were coming out very clean but the .38s would leave a cloud of smoke. Is the "smoke" from the Unique or the hard cast lead bullet or combo of both?

I dont really want to make a batch of .38s using W231 if its the hard cast lead bullets causing the smoke.

Thanks
Steve
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Old December 5, 2012, 01:24 PM   #2
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Cast bullets smoke from the lubricant burning off. Sometimes quite a lot.
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Old December 5, 2012, 01:27 PM   #3
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It's the wax/lube that is burning off. I loaded up some 125g round nose lead 9mm rounds a few years ago and thought there was a problem! The amount of smoke from these loads was insane! It was like shooting a black powder pistol!

Once I was told they were fine I shot some more as they were really accurate in my CZ75B.
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Old December 5, 2012, 01:54 PM   #4
hulley
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Thanks guys, and yes the smoke cloud is huge coming from my .38spl. I guess I'll just live with it and buy FMJ or plated bullets next time.
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Old December 5, 2012, 02:02 PM   #5
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Why not load up 12 or 18 rounds of .38 with 231 and see what happens. I believe Unique "IS" a smoke'er powder than 231. I know Bulls Eye sure is.
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Old December 5, 2012, 02:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
I dont really want to make a batch of .38s using W231 if its the hard cast lead bullets causing the smoke.
Why not? Half the fun is working up loads and finding what the most "accurate" in your handgun... not which smokes the least. Try some other powders as well.... Get a chronograph and do some more testing ... Fun! BTW, as for smoke ... what is the problem with that? As long as the load is 'accurate it shouldn't be a problem. As you can tell I don't mind puffs of smoke as long as I hit what I aim at.... Even better is shooting some Black Powder ... and now you really have smoke .
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Old December 5, 2012, 02:43 PM   #7
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Yup, I learned that from this site. I'm working on using up my lead 115 RN that I bought from Arizona bullet co. After they are used up I'm going to switch over to plated. Fortunately I mostly practice at an outdoor range. Besides, I think that plated will be more accurate. I did find a lot of the lead bullets I'm using to have a seam from the casting . I would imagine this will affect accuracy as well. The price was right but I'm going to switch over to a less smokey situation that the lead lube causes. I found a local spot in my area that sells plated bullets for about $7 dollars more per 1000.
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Old December 5, 2012, 02:45 PM   #8
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Well the one problem I had was in a indoor range. The smoke was overwhelming in this particular range that had a older air filtration system. Outdoors should not be a issue unless the wind is in your face. Other then that the smoke is not a big issue.
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Old December 5, 2012, 02:46 PM   #9
hulley
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I see what your saying and I often works up several loads to try out at the range, but last night I was at an indoor range and the smoke was pretty bad. Outdoors I'm sure that wouldnt be bad at all. I think I was a little more concerned it was lead dust in the air. The hard cast wont be going anywhere thats for sure, except downrange!
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Old December 5, 2012, 02:49 PM   #10
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Don't get me wrong I love the smell of gunpowder but, as you already know there is a point where it's just a bit to much.
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Old December 5, 2012, 02:52 PM   #11
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I shoot lead in 9 mm. .45 ACP .38 .357. and 44 Mag. at indoor ranges. With W231 there is very little smoke. With Bulls Eye it's almost choking. The hotter the load the less smoke.
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Old December 5, 2012, 03:21 PM   #12
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Yup, I learned that
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Old December 5, 2012, 05:02 PM   #13
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If you have hp38/w231 on hand already I would load up some .38s with it for sure. Not because of the smoke, but because chances are you will have better results. There is a 38 in "HP38" for a reason.
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Old December 5, 2012, 05:33 PM   #14
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Ok, I can understand now about smoke 'indoors'.... I've never seen the inside of an indoor range, let alone shoot in one. Seems sort'a constricting! Well, let me back up... In the winter sometimes we will start up a wood stove in the range 'house' and shoot through open windows. Guess you could call that shoot'n indoors.

You might want to stick to 'plated' or 'jacketed' for true indoor use unless well ventilated. Try the W-231 though. Might make a difference. Worth a shot! or two!
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Old December 5, 2012, 08:21 PM   #15
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I just can't seem to get away from using Unique in the 9mm if ultimate groups are my goal. Yes, I know Unique does not like most powder measurers. In shooting comp, I always measured out each with a trickler and a scale.
I like 231 also. Can't recall smoke ever an issue.
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Old December 6, 2012, 10:39 AM   #16
hulley
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I think for fun I'll work up some 9mm/Unique and 38spl/W231 loads and see how that works out. I actually didnt think my 38/Unique loads are that accurate but I chalked that up to using a 2.25" SP101. However my 9mm/W231 are very accurate, thats what I use when I got to bowling pin matches and I usually make it to the final round, which goes to prove that even a blind squirrel finds a nut!
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Old December 6, 2012, 01:14 PM   #17
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Quote:
Besides, I think that plated will be more accurate. I did find a lot of the lead bullets I'm using to have a seam from the casting . I would imagine this will affect accuracy as well.
That seam, unless it's just horrendous like a cancer hanging off the round, will have almost no affect on accuracy.

The base of the projectile and internal consistency of the cast have far, far, far more affect on how the projectile performs.

Plated may be more accurate, but there is no guarantee. Keep in mind that the plating is harder and doesn't grip the lands as well as lead does, so you are already starting off with a miniscule hamstring with plated and jacketed projectiles.
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Old December 6, 2012, 01:43 PM   #18
serf 'rett
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Try some Power Pistol! You'll then get some fireball to go with your smoke.

I have worked up 9mm loads using both Berry's plated and MO hardcast with Unique and W-231 powder. The lead bullet loads are smoking with either powder.
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Old December 6, 2012, 02:08 PM   #19
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I quit using lead bullets at indoor ranges all together. I have tried about every combination of powder/weight with the hard cast bullets I use and still get a smoke cload the size of a small car.
It doesn't smell good either. Even though the ventilation system takes it all away from you I here the people in the lanes beside me quit shooting until the smoke clears.
For me it isn't worth it. I use all Berrys plated bullets now. The plating is soft and marks easily, they are very accurate and NO SMOKE TO CHOKE ON.
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Old December 7, 2012, 02:59 PM   #20
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Shmelba99, thanks for the info about the cast seams. The seams range from non existent to barely visible to defined . The defined ones actually change the oal , but all worked just fine through the gun. I figured if some have no seam at all than all can be that way. They did have the best prices.
Another thought about lead bullets and the lube is that it dirties up the gun pretty good as well. I clean my gun almost every trip so its not that big of a deal to me.
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