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unburnt powder?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Reefinmike, Mar 23, 2013.

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  1. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Member

    Apr 17, 2012
    SW Ohio
    I was at the range last week chatting with the RO and another range junkie. topic moved to how my buddy just bought 10k lpm primers. Topic moved to how he likes large pistol magnum primers in 45's as he was getting unburnt powder with regular large pistol primers. He's an hp-38/win231 fan as Am I so I asked what he noticed. He said yellowish debris left in the casing. I went to shooting and sure enough my go-to 38 load(which i have several thousand of mind you) knocks out some of this greenish/yellow grunge from the casings. I piled up what little i could knock out of the casings and it burnt up under a lighter. None of this was noticed with my 230gr 45's but I did see a significant amount of the junk built up in the 1911 after shooting a box of some 200gr reloads I have. Honestly I have seen it knock out of the casings in the past and just dismissed it as alox residue.

    my go to 38spl load is a 158TLSWC(actually about 160gr) with 3.4gr HP-38 with almost zero roll crimp.my 230gr 45 load without issues is a homecast 230TLTC and 4.9gr hp38. the 200gr 45 load that shows excessive signs of unburnt powder is a commercial cast 200gr flat point round nose with 4.9gr hp-38.

    I know its nothing to worry about, but does anyone have any suggestions as to how to solve these problems? more powder, tighter crimp? Id be fine crimping the 38 more, the 200gr 45's... well, they feel pretty light compared to the 230 grainers(which really actually hurt to shoot on a 25 degree day) but does anyone want to post their favorite 38spl and 45acp cast loads using hp38/win231?
  2. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    I also use a metric ton of W231/HP-38 especially in the .38 Special and 45 Auto. My first thought is, you said you're getting unburnt powder yet you describe this powder as "greenish/yellow grunge". Now, you may be seeing some residue but that's not unburnt powder. Unburnt powder would be flattened ball powder flakes which are the same color as when you put the powder in the case. There is always a byproduct when you burn powder and most other fuels like wood and coal. That "greenish/yellow grunge" you are seeing is a byproduct of the powder, not unburnt powder. BUT, you might be able to reduce the leftovers slightly by upping the pressures a bit because like any powder, W231 will burn cleaner at the upper range of it's pressure curve.

    Your rounds are a lot lighter than the ones I build. I charge 4.0gr W231 under a 158gr LSWC with a light crimp. With a 230gr LRN bullet in the .45 Auto I charge 5.5gr W231 with an OAL of ~1.265" most times.

    With a 148gr HBWC it's 3.2gr W231
    With a 148gr DEWC it's 3.5gr W231
    On the rare occasions I load a 200gr SWC in the .45 Auto the charge is the same 5.5gr W231. I use CCI primers when at all possible although recently I've been using a lot of Winchester WLP primers in the .45 Auto.

    I hope this helps at least a little...
  3. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    Sep 10, 2008
    SW Arizona
    ^^ is correct. I use a lot of 296, Longshot, and a number of other rather bulky powders, and I never see any powder skeletons, as we often refer to what your seeing as. And the primary reason I experience such an efficient burn, is because pressures are high enough to effect a complete and clean conversion of a solid to a gas. However, if I were to reduce the powder charges to below, or border line published data, I would most certainly start experiencing an inefficient conversion.

    So increase your charge, while remaining within SAAMI guidelines, and your skeletons will very likely disappear.

    Do not attempt to increase the crimp on a rimless cartridge as a means of increasing neck tension. Not only does this do nothing for increasing neck tension, but it interferes with proper head space and can cause serious mishaps if the case mouth gets pinched in the throat where the mouth head spaces. 45 ACP and other rimless cartridges do not rely on a crimp to achieve neck tension at all! The crimp is only needed to remove the belling of the case mouth utilized during bullet seating and serves no other purpose. If you suspect you are not getting enough neck tension, decrease the amount of bell to only what is necessary to prevent bullet shaving, and provide easy seating starts. In this regard, you may in fact be over crimping, thus reducing neck tension, which could contribute to the inefficient burn your experiencing? I have trouble not over emphasizing on this topic, as it seems many re-loaders have over looked the purpose of the crimp on rimless cartridges, it shouldn't even be referred to as a crimp.

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