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Old April 19, 2021, 10:56 AM   #1
lugerstew
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Is CFE Pistol a dirty powder?

I have loaded a batch of misc. 9mm brass, 100 each about 5 times now with Cfe Pistol powder and Im am seeing quite a bit of blackening around the case mouths and down about 3/8 inch or so. Each time I dry tumble these about 3 hours, but the black doesn't come off. I haven't tried my wet tumbler yet, but was wondering if anyone else has noticed this with this powder. I'm complaining not because I need perfect looking 9mm brass, but this makes it hard during inspection to tell if there are any case mouth cracks.
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Old April 22, 2021, 07:57 AM   #2
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Gas traveling back along the case from the mouth usually means the pressure wasn't high enough to expand the brass firmly against the chamber at the moment the bullet cleared the muzzle. Using a faster powder or heavier bullets or warmer loads are the usual ways of treating the issue. That said, it may well just be dirtier than other powders. I haven't tried it, but have heard others comment that the CFE powders don't burn cleanly.
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Old April 22, 2021, 09:33 AM   #3
lugerstew
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Thanks Unclenick, I think I'm ok with the load I'm using, 5.6 grains cfe pistol with a 115g berrys plated RN bullet. It is about in the middle of the load data and every round cycles and fires great, its just there must be some kind of different chemical in the cfe pistol that is hard to remove from the brass, all my other brass come out after 3 hours nice and clean. As I said, I guess I need to try a few hours in the wet tumbler.
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Old April 22, 2021, 09:55 AM   #4
Rhinohead
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It’s dirty, I’m about 3/4 through a pound right now. Power pistol is what I prefer. But it goes bang.
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Old April 22, 2021, 09:55 AM   #5
Reloader270
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Blackening of the case near the mouth of the case is a sign of low pressure. You can either increase the load or get yourself a Lee Factory Crimp Die. It not only give the case neck a solid crimp, but also smooths cases up for better feeding.
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Old April 22, 2021, 10:06 AM   #6
FrankenMauser
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What you describe is an indication of poor chamber seal, as mentioned by others.

But the 'de-coppering' powders, in general, are very dirty. The primary additive for "de-coppering" is usually Tin dioxide or Bismuth. Doing their job requires leaving residue behind. As such, they're dirty powders.
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Old April 22, 2021, 06:09 PM   #7
Mike38
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First time I used CFE, I noticed something different / strange / weird about the bore. There's a black residue of sorts left. I have no idea what it is, but the bore was easier to clean. Not sure I like this powder.
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Old April 22, 2021, 08:08 PM   #8
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I don't shoot 9mm, but have tested CFE Pistol in several of the revolver cartridges (.32 h&R Mag, .357 Mag, .44 Spec, .44 Mag, and .45 Colt). I guess I didn't find it any dirtier than any other powder. Now black powder .... yes... but easy cleanup. I found acceptably accurate loads in each cartridge tested looking at my spreadsheet. No mention of dirty. Accuracy is more important anyway.
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Old April 22, 2021, 10:15 PM   #9
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Never tried cfe pistol. Using cfe223 for rifle. Have found it to be dirtier than other powders I have tried, but no harder to clean.
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Old April 22, 2021, 11:10 PM   #10
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Unclenick is spot on , CFE pistol in my experience is pretty slow burning powder . This results in it liking heavier for cartridge bullets . It would do 147gr much better then 115gr . I had/have the same issue with CFE-pistol and I almost stopped using it . Scorched case mouths and it burning hotter ( heat hot ) then other powders heating up my barrels faster concerned me for awhile but I've grown to really like CFE pistol . It meters really well , you get pretty good velocities and is generally economical . It replaced HS-6 as my slower burning , best for heavier bullets and higher velocities powder in pistol loads . If I want super clean burning I use Titegroup but considering switching to Bullseye . However I still have 3 or 4 pounds of Titegroup and that stuff is SUPER economical so it should take me several to many years to use that up before any switch .
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Old April 23, 2021, 08:53 AM   #11
BillM
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As others have said, CFE pistol is slow. It is made by the same company
(St Marks) and is practically identical to Autocomp. It works well at higher
pressures, and has a following for Major power factor 9mm for USPSA Open
guns.
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Old April 23, 2021, 10:02 AM   #12
Unclenick
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The hard-to-remove stain could result from a bit of tin bonding to the copper in the brass. That's just speculation on my part, but if it happens, it would make a little bit of bronze at the surface which is going to be hard to remove. You might see if a chemical cleaner has better luck with it. A quick experiment would be to take a case that has tumbled for an hour to get the dirt off and set it in vinegar or citric acid solution to see if that removes it. There are other chemical cleaners like Iosso brass cleaner that could be tried, too.
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Old April 23, 2021, 10:55 AM   #13
RGRacing
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I have the same issue - Never contributed it to CFE but now maybe that's the issue.

I use Lime-A-Way spray as a first application for 5 min then my good old

4 parts water (warm if possible)
1 part white vinegar (Not ACV)
1/2 tsp salt - Light
1/2 tsp Dawn dish soap - Light
Leme-Shine Dishwashing Booster - Powder 1/2 teaspoon
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