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Old May 15, 2018, 10:27 PM   #1
kmw1954
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HP-38 in 45acp

Hoping someone can explain this for me. I've recently started loading 45acp and have been using three powders, HP-38, AA#5 and Silhouette. Also have been using plated bullets in the 185gr and 200gr range.

I have been using the HP38 very successfully in our 9's and know many people including a friend that use HP-38 in the 45acp. Heck I've even shot my friends 45 loaded with HP-38 in a compact Witness and it was a pleasure to shoot.

Now when I loaded up some to test fire in my 4.5" Witness and the wifes 4" XD Mod2 we were getting a very large amount of muzzle flash in both guns. I haven't seen this in any other loads so why this one?

BTW the load was 5.2gr over a 200gr Xtreme RN and a 200gr Berry's Flat Point.

I'd really like to use this powder in the 45 but we shoot a lot indoors and the muzzle flash is very noticeable and distracting.
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Old May 15, 2018, 11:15 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmw1954 View Post
I'd really like to use this powder in the 45 but we shoot a lot indoors and the muzzle flash is very noticeable and distracting.
Simple solution: don't use it.
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Old May 15, 2018, 11:22 PM   #3
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Thanks for the hint it was brilliant!
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Old May 16, 2018, 07:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmw1954
......Heck I've even shot my friends 45 loaded with HP-38 in a compact Witness and it was a pleasure to shoot.
.
.
I'd really like to use this powder in the 45 but we shoot a lot indoors and the muzzle flash is very noticeable and distracting.
Are you using the same recipe that your friend uses?
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Old May 16, 2018, 07:50 AM   #5
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The flash from a load can range from unnoticeable to very noticeable based on the lighting. While shooting in the sunlight you'll never notice the flash from any round. Shooting inside with low lights and you'll notice the flash from every round. I'd guess the amount of flash you noticed was due to this rather than the difference in guns.
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Old May 16, 2018, 08:09 AM   #6
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I’ve been shooting HP-38 in my Kimber Master Carry Pro and my Charles Daly Officer. I’ve shot mostly 230gr Berry’s CPRN using 5.4gr. This is currently 0.1 gr above maximum on Hodgdon reloading site, but well within the middle range from multiple other sources, which show HP-38 behind a 230gr plated bullet up to 6.8gr max.
I had previously worked up multiple loads from 4.8gr to 5.4gr in 0.1gr increments. The 5.4gr feels best, provides me the greatest accuracy. My indoor range has decent lighting. I’ve never observed a muzzle flash in any of my HP-38 loads.
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Old May 16, 2018, 08:11 AM   #7
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If you want a load with little to no flash, get some VV N340. It has no noticeable flash even in the dark.
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Old May 16, 2018, 09:49 AM   #8
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Thanks folks.
The load I started with was not the same I was using 5.2gr powder over a 200gr plated bullet while his is 5.0gr powder over a 230gr cast lead SWC. The barrel on his witness is 3.6" while the barrel on mine is 4.5" and I don't recall ever seeing a muzzle flash from his even when at the same range.

Currently loading with AA#5 and not seeing the muzzle flash with that powder but it is using about 3.2gr more powder per load.
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Old May 16, 2018, 06:53 PM   #9
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I have never shot indoors, so I can't directly answer.

But worth mentioning is that sometimes you can reduce flash by increasing the charge. It's counter-intuitive, but increasing the charge can sometimes create a cleaner burn condition, with leaves less burning propellant flying out the muzzle.

Might be worth a try. Also, moving to a heavier bullet can reduce flash - more or less for the same reason.
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Old May 16, 2018, 07:40 PM   #10
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Well we just got back from the range and shot off about 50 rounds of 45 loaded with the AA#5 and watched for the flash and didn't notice any with the Accurate. Also shot out about 100 rounds of 9 mm that was loaded with HP-38 and again didn't notice any flash from the 9mm either.

Will try the HP again and maybe bump it up a couple grains.
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Old May 16, 2018, 07:43 PM   #11
Jim Watson
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It helps to put the powder under the bullet.

I think Nick is right, you have a rather light load with poor burnup in the chamber.

I get a lot of muzzle flash from HP38 in 3" 9mms, very little in 5".

I had a gunzine article ranking powders for muzzle flash, but ironically it was lost in The Incident's house fire.
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Old May 16, 2018, 09:00 PM   #12
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Kmw1954,

I don't recall muzzle flash issues with light target loads indoors. Maybe 4.3 grains under a 185 grain cast bullet. The guns were mostly Goldcups at the bullseye league, so 5” barrels, and sometimes a little extra length can make a big difference, but this seems a bit much. I wonder what seating depth you have? More of it will raise pressure and improve burn cleanliness a bit.

A magnum primer may help.
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Old May 16, 2018, 09:26 PM   #13
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Unclenick, thanks because as I stated my friends load is 5.0gr under a 230gr LSWC fired from a Compact Witness with a 3.6" barrel and I don't recall ever seeing a muzzle flash like I am getting.

The load was 5.2gr HP-38 under either an Xtreme or Berry's 200gr plated RN. OAL was at 1.265" to 1.260" Am experiencing this out of 2 different guns.

Also just finished reading another thread here and HP-38 was talked about a lot with everyone having good results and no mention of flash. Most were also seeming to use a 5.0gr charge. So I'm at a complete loss.
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Old May 18, 2018, 02:16 PM   #14
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You can't have much of the bullet in the case with that long OAL, so very little bullet pull. I'd load that same 5.2 g down to 1.23" OAL and see what happens. Burn should improve.
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Old May 18, 2018, 02:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by black mamba View Post
You can't have much of the bullet in the case with that long OAL, so very little bullet pull. I'd load that same 5.2 g down to 1.23" OAL and see what happens. Burn should improve.
Wow....talk about a major oversight on my part.
Sorry Kevin, when I mentioned my favorite HP-38 load I neglected to mention that my OAL is 1.22". I'll try black_mamba's recommendation and take mine to 1.23". Since I'm all shot out I have a lot of reloading to do. Who knows? I may try loading down to 5.2gr just to see what happens.
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Old May 18, 2018, 03:02 PM   #16
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Kmw1954,

Just to cover the bases, ask to borrow about 50 grains of your friend's powder that isn't flashing, just to make sure your's isn't breaking down, contaminated or some other such thing.
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Old May 18, 2018, 04:55 PM   #17
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Quote:
But worth mentioning is that sometimes you can reduce flash by increasing the charge. It's counter-intuitive, but increasing the charge can sometimes create a cleaner burn condition, with leaves less burning propellant flying out the muzzle.
Maybe Nick is onto something here.

I load a RMR 200 gn RNP bullet with 5.5 gn W231, OAL = 1.272. You didn't mention your primer. I use Federal #150 Large Pistol primers.

I shoot those rounds in an HK 45C with a 4" barrel. I have no muzzle flash that I can see at all.
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Old May 20, 2018, 12:09 PM   #18
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Thanks everyone for the replies. Been out for a couple days at a remote campground with no access.

One of the things we are going to do is also try a few of his loads in my Witness because I an also having a chambering problem with this gun and his loads are also finished with a FCD. So we are going to see if that makes a difference.

Black mamba at 1.265" there is plenty of bullet inside the case and there is enough crimp to leave a light mark on the plating.

Unclenick my friend and I are trying this coming week to plan a get together with both of our Witnesses and some of his loads which again are very light and just above starting spec., as are mine.

Louca at 5.5gr and a OAL of 1.272" we should be making pretty close to the same pressures.

I promise I'll report back after we shoot again.
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Old June 4, 2018, 02:11 PM   #19
kmw1954
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Finally made it back to the range this afternoon and shot the 45acp load with there different powders. Starting at the HP-38 load which was 5.0gr under an Xtreme 200gr RN @ 1.265" oal. This is an advertised starting load. Next was this same setup except for 7.5gr of Ramshot Silhouette. Lastly was 8.0gr of AA#5

Still seeing more muzzle flash from the HP-38 and next to nothing with the other 2.

After reading many threads here and elsewhere I seem to be the only one noticing this while using the HP-38 and from what I read there are plenty of people using it.
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Old June 4, 2018, 10:09 PM   #20
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Ramshot Silhouette is flash suppressed, so I would expect HP-38 to be flashier. That said, I would have guessed AA#5 would outflash HP-38 since it's slower and not suppressed.

As mentioned before, I shoot outdoors (under cover though), so muzzle flash is meaningless to me, except to note in my load work up. (I usually only see flash out the ejection port, or from big booming magnum rounds.) I will say that I have noted that HP-38/W231 tends to be "thrustier" than its burn rate contemporaries. All things being equal, it tends to deliver more recoil "push" than others. Perhaps, that also translates to more muzzle flash in lower light conditions.
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Old June 4, 2018, 11:20 PM   #21
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Another note while shooting these loads today. Those loads with the HP-38 were also consistently low almost 2.5" when compared to the other 2 powders.

Still haven't been able to meet up with my friend to swap some powder with him as Unclenick has suggested.
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Old June 5, 2018, 05:08 PM   #22
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I have to qualify a statement I made in an earlier post (#17).

Quote:
I load a RMR 200 gn RNP bullet with 5.5 gn W231, OAL = 1.272. ... I shoot those rounds in an HK 45C with a 4" barrel. I have no muzzle flash that I can see at all.
That was true when I was shooting outdoors. I just recently shot the same gun, bullet, and load at an indoor range and it surely DID have a muzzle flash. It's wasn't anything that caused me any problems, but it was definitely there. Sorry for my slightly erroneous post. I should have also stated where I shot.
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