Bullseye too dirty for my gun?


March 10, 2008, 11:05 PM
I have been trying to use Bullseye to fire .38 Specials out of my GP100, but it is so dirty that it starts to bind up the action on the gun after just a few rounds. The gun siezes so badly that I can't even pull the hammer back. At first I thought that I had primers backing out, but they are fine. The gun even does this empty once the crud from that nasty powder gets into it.

Today it started seizing on the third round fired. I put 20 more through it with it clunking and seizing the whole way. After that, I wiped it out with a rag and fired 50 factory rounds with no trouble at all. Then I fired 20 rounds loaded with 3.2 grains of Unique which is supposed to give the same velocity as the Bullseye load with no trouble.

What gives? I dont have any trouble with this powder out of my SP-101. In fact, I put 100 from the same batch through the SP-101 today as well.

Anyone else have a revolver that won't function well with Bullseye or is something amiss with mine?

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March 10, 2008, 11:18 PM
The problem is not with the powder, but with your revolver. I believe it is time for a checkup.

March 10, 2008, 11:23 PM
I can't imagine potting soil clogging it that fast. If it worked in one gun and not in the other, then your GP100 is suspect. Did factory rounds (or other handloads) ever cause this problem? +1 stinger for checkup.

March 10, 2008, 11:33 PM
I'm not sure how you can get enough gunk out of three rounds of any powder to make a gun malfunction.

Could it have been the initial starting condition of the gun (some dirt that somehow got into it, etc.), and not the Bullseye rounds? Have you repeated the experiment, to rule that out? I'd start with some other cartridges, see that the revolver is functioning fine, and then switch to the Bullseye rounds and see what happens.

March 11, 2008, 02:41 AM
I shoot Bullseye in .45ACP, 9x19mmP and .38 Spcl., and I've never had the kind of problems that you mention. As a matter of fact, the Bullseye often burns cleaner than other powders that are supposed to burn cleaner...

What load were you shooting with the Bullseye?


March 11, 2008, 07:38 AM
Could it have been the initial starting condition of the gun (some dirt that somehow got into it, etc.), and not the Bullseye rounds? Have you repeated the experiment, to rule that out? I'd start with some other cartridges, see that the revolver is functioning fine, and then switch to the Bullseye rounds and see what happens.

I have repeated it a couple of times with different ammo. As a recap, here is what happened yesterday:

Same range session

Bullseye 2.8 grains - .38 Special, action begins to seize after a few rounds

Switch to factory .38 Special +P, Winchester 125gr Personal defense runs fine

Switch back to Bulleye loads - gun malfuntions

Switch to Unique 3.2 grains- .38 Special, 148gr wad cutter, Winchester LP primers, gun works fine

Switch back to Bulleye loads - gun malfuntions

**Same results as above using CCI primers **

With a gun problem, I would expect it to malfuntion with everything not just a specific powder. Also, The Unique load is "supposed" to give the same velocity as the Bullseye load, though the Bullseye runs at a higher chamber pressure .

As to factory loads, I have fired Winchester 125gr .38 +p, Magtech .38 130gr, Winclean 125gr .357 and Remington 125gr .357 with no trouble and all of these rounds have been used various range trips. All have been fired at the same time that the gun has malfuntioned with the Bullseye loads.

It's just plain weird :cuss:

345 DeSoto
March 11, 2008, 08:18 AM
Any problems with the gun aside, If it were me, I'd simply quit using Bullseye...

March 11, 2008, 09:14 AM
Can't begin to figure how many rounds of .38 wadcutter with varying loads using Bullseye I have shot through the years without a single problem. Of course I was shooting Smith & Wesson revolvers so that may or may not mean something.

March 11, 2008, 09:48 AM
Does seem kind of puzzling. Since you have loads of different powders, they were loaded in different sessions. Are the crimps equivalent on bth sets? Different case lots/lengths could leave the BE loads with an inadequate crimp, less effective burn and a lot more residue.

Other than that...?

March 11, 2008, 09:53 AM
It's not the powder, it's the bullets that you are loading over the Bullseye.

Several production runs of the Ruger GP100's have had issues with overly tight barrel-cylinder gaps. The lead builds up and prevents the cylinder from rotating easily.

Switch bullets, and reduce the powder charge to 2.5-2.7gr of Bullseye. I have found that I have to relube all the commercial lead bullets I buy as most have insufficient lubricant. This I believe is the wrong-headed trend of most new reloaders to desire "clean guns" after shooting them !!???

RE: Bullseye Dirty; This is "internet urban myth". Bullseye does leave a "sooty" residue; this is due to the deterent coating. It's also what makes it one of, if not the MOST accurate powder available for it's intended applications.
Hence, it's NOT the powder thats at issue.

I shoot a LOT of Bullseye because I prefer "CLEAN SCORES" to "Clean Bores".

March 11, 2008, 10:44 AM
Bullets would be more of a suspect if he weren't also loading with Unique and not getting the problem...I assume the same bullets were used.

March 11, 2008, 10:48 AM
Heck if I know what is going on with your revolver. I regularly shoot about 150 rounds of 158 LRN 3.5 grains Bullseye through my 38’s in each pistol shooting session. I don’t have any malfunctions.

I do have a Rossi revolver what would gum up, with all ammo’s. There is a gap in the crane “bushing” that allows powder/lubricant residue, under pressure to accumulate on the crane shaft. Since the cylinder rotates on this shaft, in about 50 rounds the cylinder binds. Have to take the cylinder/crane off and wipe the shaft. What a bother.

As for Bullseye being more “dirty”, well dump your cases directly from the cylinder into a box. I have been doing this, at the bench. When you have 50 rounds, rattle the box and take the brass out. What I have noticed is that a “cleaner” burning powder, such as AA#5, actually leaves more unburnt powder particles in the box than Bullseye (or Unique!). I getting to think this “clean” versus “unclean” is simply cosmetic.

March 11, 2008, 12:09 PM
I too use Bullseye in my pistols and have always found it to be cleaner than the other powders I have tried! That is in .38 Spl, 9x19, 9x23 (Largo) and .45 ACP.

March 11, 2008, 12:29 PM
If a powder is too dirty, that means you're not using enough. I know 2.8 grains is listed as the maximum for Bullseye, but that's at a OAL of 1.33". Are your bullets seated flush, or are you using DEWC's and seating them in the crimp groove -- so about an 1/8" of the bullet nose is still exposed?

March 11, 2008, 12:32 PM
Bullets would be more of a suspect if he weren't also loading with Unique and not getting the problemIt's the bullets, or fouling caused by the bullet lube.

Unique is just enough slower powder to not be causing problems for some reason I can't quite understand.

Still, sounds like there is also a gun problem involved.

No revolver should just stop working after 3 rounds, or 300 rounds of any powder!

We shot tons of 2.7 Bullseye + wad-cutter loads in the service in K-38's, and I have never heard of any problem with it binding up a dirty gun during a long weekend match.

I'd get a feeler-guage and measure the headspace & barrel/cylinder gap on the gun. Something somewhere is just too tight.


Uncle Chan
March 11, 2008, 02:28 PM
I quit using Bullseye for this very same reason. Used to use it in my SA Vaqs, 45LC. Got to the point that I was cleaning the guns between stages. I quit using it and went to Titegroup, Unique, W231, and Clays and have never had a problem since.

March 13, 2008, 11:28 PM
Well, it did it again. Different bullets this time. Today I tried a test run of 158gr semi-wadcutters over 3.5 grains of Bullseye. The gun is still seizing up after a few rounds. I removed the ammo from the gun, cycled the action with it empty and it would catch on every 5th or 6th pull of the hammer.

I then put 50 rounds of Mag-Tech .38's through the gun with no trouble followed by 20 more of my 148gr wadcutters loaded with Unique.

I took the gun to a local shop and had the gunsmith there take a look at it for me and he could not find anything wrong with it.It looks like I will be using Unique for my revolver loads from now on and only using the Bullseye in my .45acp loads until it is used up.

zxcvbob, in answer to your question, I am using a slight roll crimp into the seating grove. I used the same amount of crimp on both the Bullseye and the Unique loads.

I know that a couple of folks mentioned bullet residue on the forcing cone could be causing the problem and there was one sugestion to reduce the load with Bullseye to help prevent this. Considering that Unique is a slower burning powder, there may be something to that suggestion. I have a theory based on that myself, although I admit that I could be off base.

Alliant's website shows 2.8gr of Bullseye giving a chamber pressure of 15,900 PSI versus Uniques chamber pressue of 15,300 PSI using 3.3gr of powder even though the reulting velocity out of a 5.6" barrel is the same for both loads, approximately 815fps.

It could be that there is lead building up on the forcing cone caused by the bullet hitting it harder due to the higher chamber pressure of the Bullseye. The built up lead may then be getting blown loose when I change to a different load. With the residue now gone, the gun functions properly again.

Again, I may be just pulling at straws. Forgive me if that theory sounds stupid, but at this point it makes as much sense as anything else that I can come up with! :)

March 13, 2008, 11:46 PM
As a data point, I just shot 50 rounds of 158gr LSWC through my 4" GP-100 this weekend using 4.5gr of Bullseye with no problem.

My gun does bind when feeding it CCI Blazers. No more Blazers.

I've run Unique, Universal, W231 and Bullseye all with no problems.

March 14, 2008, 01:18 AM
Maybe too lite of a load?

Dumpster Baby
March 14, 2008, 08:55 AM
I used to shoot lots of .38 Star reloads and my own reloads. The only time I ever experienced that kind of binding was when I let my Colt Trooper MKIII get dirty and dry down in the action. I took it apart far enough to expose the clockwork and cleaned the crap out of it. I re-lubed it properly and never had another problem.

There's been billions of Bullseye loads fired without that kind of problem.

March 15, 2008, 04:42 PM
3rd try was the charm I guess. I took the gun to the range again today with 50 rounds of fmj Mag Techs and 100 reloads using Unique powder. This time I left it dirty from the last range trip

After just 1 dozen rounds it started to bind while shooting the Mag Techs. I changed over to the Unique reloads and within just a few more rounds, the gun stuck up so tight, I had to shove the cylinder out to get it open.

When I opened it up, I could see drag marks on the front of the clyinder and on the forcing cone. It looks like the cylinder/barrel gap is too tight after all. Since the gap is very narrow, as soon as the fired powder residue builds up on the forcing cone and the front of the cylinder, the gun starts to stick. I guess the Bullseye was just building up faster.

Looks like this one is going back to Ruger.

At least my SP-101 allowed me to save face. It chewed up all of the ammo leftovers without a single complaint.

lee n. field
March 15, 2008, 05:26 PM
Bullseye is all I use. Things get pretty filthy, but it takes a lot longer than three rounds worth for it to start binding. (Usually from crud built up on the front of the cylinder.)

March 15, 2008, 05:42 PM
Has anybody use Bullseye for full-power .357 Magnum loads? Did it burn clean like most other powders do at high pressure? I've used it in .357 wadcutter loads (5.7 grains of powder), but I didn't shoot enough of them to notice if it was overly dirty. (I did find out that wadcutters bulge some .357 brass too much to chamber -- probably one of the few good applications for a LFC pistol die.)

I'm fixin' to load some 9mm using Bullseye for the first time, but I won't get a chance to shoot them for a while. (don't want to have to pick them up out of the cold slushy mud.) 9mm's operate at the same pressure as .357 Mag; I just wonder what to expect.

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