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Clean burning 38 Special loads?

Discussion in 'Ammo & Reloading' started by adamsredlines, Feb 7, 2017.

  1. adamsredlines

    adamsredlines Sharpshooter

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    So I'm shooting cast 125's using 4.8gr of HP38. They do what I want 'em to but man are they smokey. Any suggestions for a good .38 plinking load thats cleaner burning?
     
  2. Shadowrider

    Shadowrider Sharpshooter

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    No such thing as clean cast loads. If you put a powder in the case it's just gonna smoke. That said WST is a good powder for cast lead. Alliant E3 is too, use Red Dot data backed off 10%. Titegroup is the worst I've ever seen, burns way HOT.
     
  3. D. Hargrove

    D. Hargrove Sharpshooter

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    I like WIN 231 @ 4.3gr under the 125gr LSWC.
    My old book that I started with has that load @ 800fps. I find it comfortable to shoot and burns clean. I have found that the lube is what I was having "smoke me out". I was using Alox, switched to White Label BAC and much cleaner results were had.
     
  4. adamsredlines

    adamsredlines Sharpshooter

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    Is that due to the low velocities needed for cast?

    I tried a pretty heavy crimp and magnum primers just to see if it would help and I couldnt notice any difference. Its not the end of the world, I like the "nostalgia" of cast projectiles in certain loads so if thats just part of it...I guess I will tolerate it :D
     
  5. Shadowrider

    Shadowrider Sharpshooter

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    No on the velocities. Cast bullets do just fine over 2000FPS in rifles when properly loaded.

    HP38/231 powder isn't known for being clean but it is very versatile. I shoot matches with a guy that casts his own .45 bullets and they smoke very little for cast lead. He gets his lube off of ebay and I can't remember which. Red Rooster maybe? Something like that. He runs WST powder and I suspect it's a pretty light charge. I myself have shot thousands of cast lead in 9mm, .40 and .45ACP with WST and never came close to him on smoke, but I was loading a commercial bullet too, so the commercial lube may be a big part. Always liked WST for target loads and still do. I can't stand the mess but I shoot a lot of rounds too, so I'm pretty much done with lead. I do get the nostalgia though, nothing wrong with that.
     
  6. adamsredlines

    adamsredlines Sharpshooter

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    These are all commercial projectiles so I have no clue what lube they use.

    By "mess" are you referring to leading, or just smokey/dirty powders?
     
  7. Shadowrider

    Shadowrider Sharpshooter

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    The smokey dirty powders for the most part. But the residue with plain lead bullets seems to be about 10 worse than jacketed or plated no matter the powder. Some powders like Titegroup burn so hot they will flame cut the sides of the bullet while they travel down the bore so they'll just gunk it up even more. Often they'll tumble due to this, but the leading in the barrel will get bad quick with this going on even if they don't tumble. Titegroup has a high nitroglycerin content, that's what I'm told causes it to be so hot. The new High-Tek coated bullets like Bayou that everyone is selling don't do this, they hold up and are almost as clean as plated and probably still cleaner than jacketed bullets that have an exposed lead base. And no wax lube. Supposedly OK with Titegroup too but I'm only using that stuff with jacketed. They are all I shoot now besides some jacketed.
     
  8. Pulp

    Pulp Sharpshooter

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    This subject comes up a lot on the SASS wire, the general consensus is to load above mid-level power recommendations and heavy crimps. The higher pressure helps ensure a more complete burn.
    I load .45ACP cast lead with TrailBoss, the other night at the range I thought I had accidentally fired some BP loads I made a couple of years ago. My 9mm cast with TiteGroup also smoke quite a bit, but oddly enough, I had no leading in the 9, quite a bit in the .45.
     

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