Clean vs dirty propellants

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by HPCadm17, Oct 15, 2019.

  1. HPCadm17

    HPCadm17 Member

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    I got to thinking about this after my latest range trip. I brought the new P320-M17 to the indoor range on Sunday to put a box of 50 through it just to verify function. I forgot that I had used up my supply of Federal American Eagle 115gr bulk ammo, so I grabbed an old box of Remington Golden Saber 147gr that had been sitting in the back of the safe. Of course the pistol ate it up with no malfunctions whatsoever.

    Now, I've had guns that were filthy after just one 50rd box of range ammo, and some that showed some residue, but I was very surprised that the M17 didn't even look like it had been fired. There was practically zero residue anywhere, even inside the barrel. I know it was just 50 rounds, but I've never seen a gun look this clean even after putting just one box through it. Apparently the Remington GS uses a very clean powder. I would expect that most manufacturers would use cleaner burning propellants for defensive loads, but this was surprising to me.

    What are some other factory loads that burn clean, specifically practice/range ammo?
     
  2. kcofohio
    • Contributing Member

    kcofohio Contributing Member

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    I don't shoot factory ammo much. But in picking up other's spent casings, I would say CCI Blazer may be a candidate you're looking for. Blazers are still somewhat shiny on the inside. The primers add to the equation of how dirty ammo is. I believe the CCI small pistol primer is one of the cleanest primers. There are other clean(er) ammo, but I can't remember them offhand now.
     
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  3. illinoisburt

    illinoisburt Member

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    Often when reloading you will see a direct correlation between carbon residue and pressure, with loads getting progressively cleaner as charges increase and crimp is added. Many self defense loads are marketed as +P with blended flash suppressants so burning clean would seem to be expected.
     
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  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    That effect is seen in factory loads with as fast burning powders as will make spec velocity at spec maximum pressure. If you can save half a grain a round, it doesn't matter much to the home reloader, but if you are running a factory cranking out millions, it adds up.
    I think the other contributor is that it is NEW. New springy brass gives good "bullet pull". Primers seated to the bottom of a clean tight primer pocket ignite better.
     
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  5. HPCadm17

    HPCadm17 Member

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    Great answers! I'm always learning something new here.
     
  6. sequins

    sequins Member

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    My experience is that max loads always burn cleaner. You need high pressure for maximum combustion. I also feel CCI primers are indeed the cleanest and I pretty much use them exclusively.

    Fiochi factory loads are some of the cleaner ones, in addition to the aforementioned Blazer.
     
  7. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    I bought a couple boxes of IMI 5.56 to test function in my AR build a few months back. Not even firing half a magazine it looked like I had fired a lot more. For whatever reason, that ammo is just a little bit more dirty than other ammo I shoot. I didn't inspect the inside of the fired brass, as the range doesn't allow brass scavenging once it hits the floor. I imagine it was pretty dirty brass however, from incomplete combustion of the powder.

    For handguns I am fairly brand loyal, even for target ammo. Winchester white box/bulk and Blazer are fairly clean burning. Even the remanufactured ammo I have burns rather cleanly.
     
  8. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    As others have stated, what I've seen in reloading is that lower level charges tend to dirty up a chamber and leave sooty residue on cases more frequently. The reason is that the lower pressure of a light load often fails to fully expand the case into the chamber before the bullet leaves the case. This allows a bit of gas to escape into the chamber, causing the fouling of the gun and sooty cases.

    This is very evident when working up loads, as you typically develop a ladder of increasing charges to see what shoots well from your gun. I've seen light loads dirty up my gun and the cases using several different powders. Higher pressure loads expand brass faster and more completely, and lead to cleaner burns.

    Most premium defense loads are loaded warmer, and of course this is true of +p offerings. I would estimate that it is very likely the cleanliness of your gun was caused more by a greater charge of powder and higher pressure than the specific powder used.

    There are some powders that burn cleaner. H110 is a good example in my experience. But H110 likes near max loads in most uses. So load data typically starts high anyway, and the burn looks clean.

    Range ammo is often powder puff charges.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
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  9. Virginia Jim

    Virginia Jim Member

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    Cleaning your firearm is a good way to get familiar with it. That’s why I shoot ~3.8 grains of Bullseye in my 1911.
    After 50 rounds, I become VERY familiar with all the nooks and crannies that soot can embed itself in.
    (tongue in cheek)
     
  10. cheygriz

    cheygriz member

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    I agree that higher pressure loads generally burn cleaner. My carry loads, Federal 9BPLE, 115 grain +P+ are very clean.

    OTOH, I decided long ago, that I should clean and lube my guns whenever I shoot them, so clean burning versus dirty burning is less of a consideration for me in choosing a powder. I try to find the powder that will give me the desired velocity at the lowest pressure. I want +P+ performance at +P pressure if I can get it.

    that's not always possible, but whast the heck? I can try!:)
     
  11. wbbh

    wbbh Member

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    Try your favorite load with lead free primers. Even Unique rounds left the brass with just a very light coating of soot. Using Titegroup and lead free primers the results are even better. I use Fiocchi lead free small pistol primers.
     
  12. berettaprofessor

    berettaprofessor Member

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    All I can add is that since purchasing a 6.5 Creedmore bolt rifle, I'm astonished at how clean the rifle is every time I shoot it, no matter the ammo; commercial or reloads the same, almost no residue.

    Maybe I just got too used to cleaning AR's and it's the difference between bolt and direct gas?
     
  13. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    Max loads tend to seal case mouths better to the chamber walls, perhaps that's why cases look cleaner.
     
  14. berettaprofessor

    berettaprofessor Member

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    Well, the commercial loads may be maxed (the Hornady Match does seem a little hot) but my reloads are moderately under max.
     
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