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Old October 17, 2001, 03:46 PM   #1
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Wheelgun problem with reloads...


I've got some pretty good reloads going now. Two problems though.

1. The unique powder I am using is pretty dirty (If this is the NEW Unique, I'd hate to see the old!!) and doesn't burn completely. After 100 rounds, there is about 1 round worth of powder laying in the box I throw the shells into.

2. After 20 or so rounds, the I can't get the cylinder to turn correctly. When I try to cock back the hammer, it sticks hard. I have to eject the cylinder, spin it a little and put it back into place.

I have never had this problem with factory ammo, only reloads, even factory reloads. Is it just that Unique powder is so dirty that it's jamming up my gun? Is there a place I can oil it so it's not catching during these times?

Any advice?

BTW. My pistol is a Taurus 605.

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Old October 17, 2001, 04:17 PM   #2
Mike Irwin
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Probably a combination of the powder fouling, a tight cylinder gap, and possibly lead and lubricant debris if you're shooting cast lead bullets.

I don't like Unique simply because it is so dirty.

I'd suggest switching to a cleaner burning powder, such as WW 231, Hodgdon Clays, AA(x), etc.
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Old October 17, 2001, 05:04 PM   #3
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Check under the extractor star, if you eject the empties with the barrel down, unburnt powder can build up under the star and the cylnder will start to bind with no apparent reason. I used to have this problem with a Mod. 29 Smith and 2400 powder. If you eject the brass barrel up and let them drop, this should stop the problem, or at least ease it.
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Old October 17, 2001, 07:00 PM   #4
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If your using lead bullets try some jacketed or plated and see if the problem lessens or goes away. Some lead bullets are really nasty to shoot even with clean burning powder.
Check for shaved lead around the forcing cone. Have seen build ups on the top strap prevent cylinder rotation.
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Old October 17, 2001, 10:03 PM   #5
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What type of load are you using? I have found that Unique does not completely burn in reduced loadings. I don't have a problem with it in full power loads in .38 and .357 with lead bullets. Also, how many times have your cases been loaded? If they have been loaded a few too many times, it may cause incomplete combustion because of the lack of neck tension. I had this problem once.
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Old October 18, 2001, 08:11 AM   #6
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Thanks for the good information. I think I've got my problem nailed down. AK103K pointed out that I may be turning the barrel down to unload empties. That was right. I'll try turning it up from now on. Also, as PT pointed out, yesterday, I shot 50 reduced loads (4.3gr) before I started messing with my hotter loads. I am using jacketed 125gr. bullets in 38spec. cases. My new recipe that I started using yesterday for powder was 5.4gr of Unique.

It is quite possible that the first 50 rounds I shot 4.3 to 4.6gr Unique caused the gun to get so dirty that I could not assess the difference in the later Hot loads.

Also, in cleaning the gun last night, I did find ALOT of residue built up under the star. Never really thought to look there.

I'll let you know how it goes!

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Old October 18, 2001, 03:02 PM   #7
Johnny Guest
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Blarneystone -- -

I really don't think of 4.3 of Unique as a very LIGHT load. Not heavy, with az 125 bullet, no, but not heavy.

Unique and the other quick-burning powders need a firm crimp. Combination of old brass (weak tension, as mentioned) and little or no crimp might result in incomplete ignition, with attendant unburned powder granules.

I've loaded many thousands of cast and swadged bullet rounds with old Unique, which can be a fairly dirty combo, and have never experienced the problems you describe. Not even after 200--300 rounds without cleaning. But, early on, I'd been told about brushing out under the extractor star whenever cleaning, so that, with a light crimp, may be the cause of your problems.

If you continue to have difficulties, we can work out a way for you to ship your revolver and all your components to me, so I can do a detailed study of the matter. Shouldn't take more than six months or so. No charge. I just like to help out.

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Old October 20, 2001, 09:52 PM   #8
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After burning up that Unique, I'd go and buy a can of 231. I shoot light target loads and lead all day long with my S&W 586 without a hitch. It's quite a bit cleaner.
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Old October 21, 2001, 06:01 AM   #9
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Are you using case lube when you resize?
Are there streaks of black down the sides of your fired cases?
What are you using to clean your revolver?
Are you using a Lee hand loader? The pound em in and pound em out type? I experienced the same type of trouble back in my early days using my Lee and Red Dot. The crimper on the pound em set doesn't do a very good job. I went to a faster powder(Unique)and a heavier bullet (158 gr) and it helped.

Unique is filthy, but the soot it generates isn't *sticky or gummy* unless it gets mixed with a lube of some sort. Usually it's bullet lube, but since you're using jacketed bullets, that can pretty much rule that out. My guess though is that the factory reloads are lead, and do have a lube. Black streaks on the sides of the cases indicate incomplete sealing of the case against the chamber walls due to insufficient pressure. I've shot tens of thousands of Unique loads over the years and found that using less oil on the gun itself reduces a lot of problems. Clean the revolver, then sparingly lube the ejector rod. I did exactly what others have suggested and switched over to Win 231 because it was supposed to be a cleaner burning powder. My experience was that I had MORE problems with 231 than with Unique using the Lee pound em set. Unique is a flake style powder, and 231 is a ball powder. The ball powder is harder to ignite than the flake. Since at the time, Universal Clays wasn't available I went back to Unique. Today though, Universal Clays would be a good alternative. What litle I've used of it has worked fine albeit, not using the pound em in set.
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Old October 21, 2001, 03:41 PM   #10
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New powder OR

To finish off this can of Unique, up the charge and tighten your crimping. That should decease the residue or any unburned powder.
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