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Old 05-15-2017, 10:09 AM
Eddietruett Eddietruett is offline
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Default Clean Burning Powder?

My go to powder for .38 target loads has always been Bullseye. Trying to find something that is cleaner burning. I shoot a lot of 148gr hbwc, 158gr swc and lately been using 158gr Berrys 125 and 158gr plated bullets. Loads are 2.8-3.5 gr. On a suggestion from another shooter tried Titegroup but that does not seem any better. Any suggestions?
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:27 AM
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At the lower velocities you need to load the HBWC's at just about any powder will not burn too clean. Most powders burn cleaner as the pressure goes up. My go to powder is 231, and with lighter target loads is not very clean, but push it up for a +P 38 and it is surprisingly clean.
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:26 PM
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I load 158gr. SWC's with WST for soft shooting target loads. It's a fast powder and burns pretty clean at low velocities.
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:36 PM
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3.2 of American Select is clean in 38s in my autos. The older Bullseye was a little dirty but easy to clean. 3.2 of A. S. is about like 2.8 of Bullseye. The new Red Dot is clean also.

Last edited by 4barrel; 05-15-2017 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:40 PM
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Default I was 'forced'...

I was forced to try Red Dot during the shortages. Turns out that I like it, a LOT. Hodgdon's Titegroup is worth a try. And I really like the Accurate Powders but haven't tried #2, which is their 'target .38' powder.
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:48 PM
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You will have a VERY difficult time beating Hodgdon Clays. Not Universal Clays, just "Clays".

It also happens to be an outstanding target load propellant

These folks have some in stock:
Powder Valley, Inc.

Last edited by SLT223; 05-15-2017 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:54 PM
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N310 is great for powder puff loads.
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:05 PM
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2.3gr of Hodgon Clays with a heavy crimp at the leading edge of the Hornady 148gr HBWC bullet is about the cleanest I get out of 2.5" 686-4 and 3" 66-2.

The heavier crimp is essential to a cleaner burn of this fast powder.

You can start at 2.1gr of Clays

Try Winchester SP primers for this load.
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwsmith View Post
I was forced to try Red Dot during the shortages. Turns out that I like it, a LOT. Hodgdon's Titegroup is worth a try. And I really like the Accurate Powders but haven't tried #2, which is their 'target .38' powder.
AA2 burns well in my guns but I do clean them.
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:37 PM
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I never had any complaints with Bullseye, but I don't run it with low pressure lead.
Clays, N310 burn pretty darn clean even at low pressure, but danger, fast stuff!
Universal and plated bullets make a very clean combo.
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Old 05-15-2017, 02:46 PM
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CFE pistol is pretty good.

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
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Old 05-15-2017, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calliope View Post
I never had any complaints with Bullseye, but I don't run it with low pressure lead.
Clays, N310 burn pretty darn clean even at low pressure, but danger, fast stuff!
Universal and plated bullets make a very clean combo.
No really faster than BE, maybe a tiny bit, just cleaner burning. I would probably use Clays, pretty good loft & data is available.
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:44 PM
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All powders leave residue, no matter how clean they seem to burn, I clean my guns after each range visit, no matter what powder I use.
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Old 05-15-2017, 10:40 PM
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Thanks to all for the suggestions. One thing that surprised me recently was shooting 100+ rounds of factory 130gr ball ammo and everything was virtually spotless. No powder residue at all. Winchester brand loaded at around 850fps according to box if I remember correctly. Always wondered if factory loaded ammo was loaded using powder available to us. Especially Winchester. I think they are the only company that sells powder as well as factory ammo. I do know from pulling bullets through the years that manufacturers do change powders at times. I've seen the same load but with different lot numbers that would have powder that were completely different at least in appearance. BUT with all that has been said, I'm sort of glad there is no one perfect powder and/or bullet. That would eliminate 90 percent of the fun in reloading. I'm sure a lot of us would load even if there was not a huge money saving. I think every range trip consist of at least one "new load" to try out.
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtgianni View Post
AA2 burns well in my guns but I do clean them.
I agree with all that. AA #2 isn't completely clean at 38 special pressures, but it isn't nearly as dirty as some others either. Works for me.
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:53 AM
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Just a note, the powder isn't as dirty as the lube on cast bullets. Most likely the lube is causing most of your soot.

I agree Clays and AA#2 are probably the cleanest target powders out there right now. I use W231.
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:01 AM
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Lead has lube..
plated should not have a heavy crimp........

So just go out and get coated bullets that don't smoke and
can hold a heavy crimp on the 158gr bullets.

The fastest powders are always the best with reduced loads
for minimum clean up. However I would rather have accurate loads
over loads that are cleaner.
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
Lead has lube..
plated should not have a heavy crimp........

So just go out and get coated bullets that don't smoke and
can hold a heavy crimp on the 158gr bullets.

The fastest powders are always the best with reduced loads
for minimum clean up. However I would rather have accurate loads
over loads that are cleaner.
There is no reason why you can't have both clean and accurate loads in one.
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:26 AM
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Glad to hear you have found a clean load.........

I have yet to find a load that leaves the front of my stainless 686 cylinder and crane area clean.
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Old 05-16-2017, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
Glad to hear you have found a clean load.........

I have yet to find a load that leaves the front of my stainless 686 cylinder and crane area clean.
LOL, and I doubt you ever will! Doesn't take much residue to show up on the stainless or nickel guns, huh?

"Clean" is a relative (and highly subjective) term.

For example: in terms of housekeeping there is "bachelor clean" and then there is "housewife clean". Not the same thing at all
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Old 05-16-2017, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLT223 View Post
You will have a VERY difficult time beating Hodgdon Clays. Not Universal Clays, just "Clays".

It also happens to be an outstanding target load propellant

These folks have some in stock:
Powder Valley, Inc.
My experience as well. Not a lot of velocity, but VERY clean and very accurate.
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Old 05-16-2017, 02:42 PM
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The switch to plated bullets will probably be a bigger factor than the powder you use.

I make .38 level loads in 357 brass and even with Unique my gun stays very clean with plated bullets.

With plated you generally need to add a bit more powder to compensate for the loss of velocity.
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Old 05-16-2017, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
...Bullseye. Trying to find something that is cleaner burning.
Win 231/HP-38 (same powder different container) would be my first choice.
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Old 05-16-2017, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
Glad to hear you have found a clean load.........

I have yet to find a load that leaves the front of my stainless 686 cylinder and crane area clean.
An accurate and mostly clean load for me is a coated 158gr SWC over 4.0gr W231.

A coated 148gr DEWC over 3.4gr W231 is very accurate for me too. If accuracy is off bump the charge to 3.5gr W231/HP-38.

I usually run those loads with lead bullets because I don't feel the need to run coated bullets in a .38 Special. I worked those up for a shooting buddy who now loads them for himself who did not like the soot generated but the lube.
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Last edited by ArchAngelCD; 05-16-2017 at 05:51 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:31 PM
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post 24,......... Right on !

I used coated in the 9mm test and they were nice and clean.

Just that I have yet to shoot coated or plated in my 38/357 revolvers as yet
due to all the lead I have laying around my house.

By the time I shoot all my lead there will probably be a "New Kid" on the block that makes coated look like lead?
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Old 05-17-2017, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
post 24,......... Right on !

I used coated in the 9mm test and they were nice and clean.

Just that I have yet to shoot coated or plated in my 38/357 revolvers as yet
due to all the lead I have laying around my house.

By the time I shoot all my lead there will probably be a "New Kid" on the block that makes coated look like lead?
Sounds like you need to get an old toaster oven and some powder coating powder and start coating your own! Its really easy and very cheap to do - and the results are more than worth it IMO.
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Old 05-17-2017, 03:13 PM
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For me it's WST ( Winchester Super Target ) . I use it in 38spl , 45acp , 44spl . I use it for target loads in 41magnum and 44 magnum . There's a lot of good powders . You ask a dozen guys that reload and you'll probably get at least a half dozen different suggestions . Just need to find the powder that works for you .
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