Muzzle Flash - A different view


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TarDevil
October 30, 2012, 04:38 PM
There was a muzzle flash comparison in November issue of Shooting Illustrated of five of the most popular SD calibers. Surprisingly, the .38 Special was the worse offender with the exception of light .357 loads... full power .357's with heavier grain bullets produced lower flash than almost all the .38s, contrary to much of what is read in this and other forums (both .38 and .357 were shot from the same M&P 360 revolver).

Did anyone else read the article, and if so does it change your opinion about SD loads?

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NOLAEMT
October 31, 2012, 12:12 AM
I would bet that has something to do with the quality of powder used. Some have flash suppressants added to lessen muzzle flash, often in higher priced ammo

mhuxtable
October 31, 2012, 12:48 AM
Ive never read that, but from personal experience at the range, the .357s I've shot have a much brighter muzzle flash than any .38s I've shot,

Hardtarget
October 31, 2012, 01:05 AM
When we think about all the variables it isn't hard to see how muzzle flash could appear so different. Type of powder, primer, charge weight, bullet weight, tightness of crimp. Could be kind of fun to get your camera and experiment. Lots of loads and reloads...could get pricey!

Mark

tipoc
October 31, 2012, 01:12 AM
Tardevil;

There was a muzzle flash comparison in November issue of Shooting Illustrated of five of the most popular SD calibers. Surprisingly, the .38 Special was the worse offender with the exception of light .357 loads... full power .357's with heavier grain bullets produced lower flash than almost all the .38s, contrary to much of what is read in this and other forums (both .38 and .357 were shot from the same M&P 360 revolver).

Which 5 "Self Defense calibers" were shot and what loads were used? You said the 38 Special was the worst offender but what load from what company and what weight bullet was shot?

tipoc

Fast Frank
October 31, 2012, 02:13 AM
Yeah, too many variables.

If you say "Of the loads tested", Then yes... those are the results they got with the bullets they named.

But if we try to transfer those results to every cartridge made by every manufacturer and every reloader...

We are destined to be wrong.

Back when I was reloading for the .357, I got a load from something Elmer Kieth wrote in a magazine somewhere that recommended a big charge of Hercules 2400 behind a 125 grain hollowpoint. (It was a long time ago, the details escape me. Does 17 grains sound right? Be sure to look it up if you want to try this!)

My Dan Wesson was very accurate with that load, and I had a lot of fun blowing up all sorts of stuff with it.

It made a ridiculous fireball about three feet long.:eek:

Obviously not a self defense load, but loads of fun at the pistol range!

I seriously doubt that a .38 load could be found with a bigger or brighter fire ball.

TarDevil
October 31, 2012, 10:17 AM
Tardevil;
Which 5 "Self Defense calibers" were shot and what loads were used? You said the 38 Special was the worst offender but what load from what company and what weight bullet was shot?

tipoc
According to the author Bryce M. Towsley, Secondary Flash is what causes shooters problems.

All listed in order of brightest to mildest. The .38's were worse than all but the Wiinchester 110 gr .357. Secondary flash with this particular load was minimal, but the flame between cylinder and barrel was impressive.
.38

Federal Hi-Shock +p 125 gr
Hornady Critical Defense 110 gr
Gold Dot +p 125 gr

.357

Wiinchester USA 110 gr (worst of the .357's tested)
Federal Premium Expander 140 gr
Hornady Custom XTP 158 gr

9mm

Cor Bon +P 115 gr (biggest flash of the 9's)
Federal Hydra Shok 147 gr
Winchester PDX1 124 gr

.40 S&W

Black HIlls 180 gr (biggest flash of the .40's)
Golden Saber 165 gr
Federal Hydra Shok 165 gr

.45
[LIST]
Hornday Critical Defense 185 gr (biggest flash of the .45's)

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