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Cleanest burning powder for .38 Special

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by elktrout, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. elktrout

    elktrout Well-Known Member

    I have loaded W231 for so long that I cannot recall when I changed to it. It burns very cleanly in my .40 S&W, but I noticed in recent shooting of a two inch barrel .38 that it was not that clean. I am sure the barrel length is the difference.

    Please save me the buy and try circus. What powder works well for two inch .38s and burns cleanly? I only load jacketed bullets and use them for target practice. Thanks.
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    700X, Clays, American Select, Red Dot. All of these are very clean unless you go real, real light. AA #2 can also be very clean but leaves some burned ash behind until the pressure gets up past where those others are already cleaned up.

    MMCSRET Well-Known Member

    I have been using AA#2 Improved since it came out with jacketed and cast, works well in my short barreled 38s.
  4. tactikel

    tactikel Well-Known Member

    +1 on clays, also titegroup is clean.
  5. bluetopper

    bluetopper Well-Known Member

    +2...... on American Select and Clays.

    I'd like to try Alliant's new "e3" powder. It's supposed to be the cleanest on the market.
  6. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

    Damned system...Have a look at post #9
  7. Landric

    Landric Well-Known Member

    I've been very happy with HS6 in .38 Special. My loads are at the top of standard pressure or into +P levels, depending on who's data one looks at. My understanding is that HS6 works best near max loads. Since most of my loads using HS6 are just that, that could be the reason I see so little unburned powder.

    I have worked up an excellent light load using Trail Boss that is very clean, but its only good for lead bullets.
  8. Landric

    Landric Well-Known Member

  9. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

    "What powder works well for two inch .38s and burns cleanly."

    W-231. I don't know how much powder you are using, or what weight bullet, but I use 5.0 grains [my favorite] (up to 5.3 grains. Sierra Vth Edition lists up to 5.6 grains.) with 140 grain SJHP and get a very clean burn from a 2" S&W model 10. I would be very carefull with anything above 5.3. Especially in guns not rated for +P as 5.0 grains is at the basement of +P.
  10. D. Manley

    D. Manley Well-Known Member

    And I'd add Solo-1000 to that mix as well.
  11. jmorris

    jmorris Well-Known Member

    You have to be willing to pay higher prices but there is no powder that I have used cleaner than Vita Vouri powders (I've used n310 and n320 for 38 spl). You can tell a big difference between VV and 231. To a lesser degree between VV , titegroup, clays and HS-6 in order from clean to dirty.
  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I imagine you are shooting jacketed bullets in the .40?

    And maybe lead bullets in the .38?

    If so, the crud & crap is from the bullet lube, not the powder.

  13. Nate1778

    Nate1778 Well-Known Member

    Not saying its clean at all, I have noticed the higher pressure you push Unique the cleaner it burns......Still not a candidate for clean burning, but I thought it was interesting.
  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Yep. Forgot about it. Very good powder. Loads like 700X, but burns a tad better at lower pressures.
  15. Larry Burchfield

    Larry Burchfield Well-Known Member

    clean burning powder

    I'll second the vote for the VV powder. It cost a little more but it will take less to get the job done.:)
    Larry Burchfield
    SEABEES/RVN 67/68/69
  16. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    The trick to burning clean is pressure. If you download most powders they will be dirty. If you load them up neat the Max they clean up quickly.

    You said W231 was clean in your 40 S&W. I'm guessing since the 40 is a high pressure round you were loading it up near the top end of the range with W231. If you load near the top end of the .38 Special range it will also burn clean.
  17. bluetopper

    bluetopper Well-Known Member

    There's a great deal on American Select on Gunbroker right now.
  18. New User

    New User Well-Known Member

    I also run 5.0 grains of W231 in my .38spl loads, but fire the loads in a 4" revolver. The 5.0gr load in the 4" is pretty dirty, but nothing I can not deal with.
  19. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    Those who are finding W231 dirty in the .38 Special, are you using a jacketed bullet or lead bullet? Much of the time when using a lead bullet it's not the powder that's dirty but the lube used on the lead bullet which is causing the soot.

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