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Dirty burning reloads

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Horsemany, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. Horsemany

    Horsemany Well-Known Member

    Yesterday I shot some factory loads for the first time in 7 years. I noticed my handload cases are never as clean as factory cases. I'm not a novice reloader and load for 12 cartridges 3 being used competetively in benchrest matches. I'm wondering why in all my years of reloading I've never gotten lucky and found the perfect combination of primer/powder/bullet to get a perfectly clean burn like a factory case.

    I was shooting 270 Win. Federal Fusion 130 grains vs new brass Win. cased load using 57.0gr IMR 4831 under a 130gr Nosler ballistic tip. Inspecting both empty cases the Fed. factory round is almost spotless inside while my handload is dark grey(it was cleaner than most of my handloads). As usual the handload had a touch of carbon on the outside of the neck while the factory load looked perfect.

    I'm not really concerned about my handloads being a little dirty. I'm more curious what ammo factories are doing to make such clean burning loads. What's the difference between there's and mine?
  2. JDGray

    JDGray Well-Known Member

    Ever find NT cases on the ground at a range? Them things are spotless, and could be sold as new:D Factories use powder, that we can't get.
  3. USSR

    USSR Well-Known Member

    They match the bullet weight with an appropriate burn rate powder, and run them at a pressure level that ensures a clean burn. Personally, I would use a slightly faster 4350 burn rate powder (4350, N160, RL19) with your 130gr bullets.

  4. helg

    helg Well-Known Member

    Beside the magic of powder, dirty brass may appear when:
    - outside neck diameter is smaller (thinner brass, overcrimping, etc).
    - brass at neck is worked, it becomes harder and does not expand quick enough to seal the chamber - time to anneal necks.
    - underloaded rounds - shell seals the chamber later than with a regular load.
  5. Horsemany

    Horsemany Well-Known Member

    I agree with these being common causes. My cases exhibit just a little carbon not much. They were not crimped, new cases, and near max load. They don't fall under any of the criteria listed above. But I don't mean so much this load in particular. I have NEVER loaded a round that shot as clean as these factory rounds and I've loaded a lot of different bullet/powder/cartridge combos.

    Thanks Don. I'm gonna try my favorite load in 270 with RL19. These handloads are really pretty clean. They're just not spotless like the factory loads. The factory cases are nearly as clean inside as out. They look like a cotton swab inside would come out clean.
  6. helg

    helg Well-Known Member

    Also, some rifle factory loads seal the bullet. An extra pressure build up is required to push it out. For the time of the buildup brass expands and seals chamber better.

    My reloads, when prepared to perfectly fit the chamber, are about as clean as a new brass, and much cleaner than fired factory ammo.
  7. Horsemany

    Horsemany Well-Known Member

    Intersting....maybe the factory crimp is making some of the difference.

    I would certainly like to see a handloaded case cleaner than the Federal Fusion cases I fired yesterday. They are still shiney inside. Spotless.
  8. helg

    helg Well-Known Member

    Oops, I totally missed that you are talking of the dirt inside the cases. My bad, inside the cases my fired brass is black. Definitely, nothing but powder could make such a difference.

    It is easy to verify that this is the magic of powder by disassembling factory round, and using its powder to load your brass of the same caliber, your bullet of the same weight with your brass sizing and crimp.

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