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Old May 29, 2013, 10:11 AM   #1
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Excessive Smoke--is it the powder or something else?

Went to the range last evening to shoot my first batch of pistol reloads. The only powder I have been able to find is Titegroup but Lee, Lyman's 49th and Hodgdon all had load data for the .38 special using Titegroup so I figured I would be OK with the starting charge. My load was 3.2 grains Titegroup under a 158 gr LSWC from Falcon Bullets with a Winchester small pistol primer and a OAL of 1.475. The gun was a S&W model 65 with 4" barrel.

From an accuracy standpoint, I was more than pleased...some of the tightest six-shot groups I have ever had shooting offhand at 10 yards (single action). I was taken aback however by the HUGE amounts of smoke. After each group of six shots, there was a sizeable cloud hanging in the air around my head. Is this typical of Titegroup? Or was it more likely caused by the lube on the cast bullet being cooked off by the gases? Would bumping up the charge by .1 or .2 grains help?

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
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Old May 29, 2013, 10:17 AM   #2
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Bullet lube is inherently smoky.
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Old May 29, 2013, 10:32 AM   #3
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Some bullet lubes are smoky. Your powder isn't the culprit. A different lube will cure the smoke problem.
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Old May 29, 2013, 10:51 AM   #4
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Is this typical of Titegroup?
Absolutely not. I run the same stiff with plated & jacketed bullets (so there's no lube involved) & you hardly see any at all.
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Old May 29, 2013, 10:52 AM   #5
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I use Titegroup for my jacketed loads and do not get any smoke.
I have tried several loads with Titegroup and LSWC's and have not found a load that will not produce copious amounts of smoke with all the lubes I've tried.
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Old May 29, 2013, 01:11 PM   #6
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Your'e on the right track. Most of your smoke is from the lube and yes a slightly stronger load will help. If I'm buying lead (I seldom do because of what we're talking about) I try to get them at a gun show so I can feel the bullets. If they feel like they are coated with wax, you get more smoke. Some have a very slick feel, they will almost slip out of my fingers. Those are much better. Hopefully someone who knows more about lubes will chime in and tell you what to look for if you are shopping online.
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Old May 29, 2013, 03:17 PM   #7
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Agree, it's the lube. I also have used Falcon bullets (9mm 125g CN) and they were also very smokey. I have tried Missouri Bullet Co, and they were less smokey, but still had a fair amount compared to plated (using HP38).
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Old May 29, 2013, 07:49 PM   #8
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If want to shoot lead, but don't roll your own, try I've had good luck with them and with Moyer Bullets, but both are several weeks behind in shipping. Never noticed much smoke from either bullet - I usually shot 158 SWC.
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Old May 30, 2013, 02:01 AM   #9
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I think Titegroup is smoky with lead loads is because it burns so hot. Hotter burning powders burn more lube.

Try the same bullet with a cool burner like 7625 or Universal.
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Old May 30, 2013, 05:39 AM   #10
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shoot on windy days?

Bingo; TG is 'hot', and can 'smoke' the bullet base.
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Old May 30, 2013, 02:11 PM   #11
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I think Titegroup is smoky with lead loads is because it burns so hot. Hotter burning powders burn more lube.
Yup. I've shot the Missouri, Penn and Falcon bullets over TG. TG is smokey under lead. Change powders if you can. I've tried Zip and there is considerable less smoke.
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Old May 31, 2013, 08:19 AM   #12
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I like it

I grew up watching old Matt Dillon in "Gunsmoke."

Loaded up my first batch of Missouri Bullets and I like to see that smoke cloud drift out through the range. If the temperature, humidity, and wind is just right I can create quite a haze here.
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Old June 1, 2013, 05:09 AM   #13
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Bingo titegroup with anyone's lead bullet is going to be smoky because it burns so hot. Us TG with plated or jacketed bullets and of course you don't get the smoke. Not to confuse it is the bullet lube but you will notice more smoke with TG than most other powders with lead.
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