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"Dirty" powders??

This is a discussion on "Dirty" powders?? within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Sorry if this is a repeat question. I am fairly new to reloading. I have some 45 LC loads for my Ruger Blackhawk...straight from the ...


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Old February 12th, 2017, 08:41 AM   #1
 
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"Dirty" powders??

Sorry if this is a repeat question. I am fairly new to reloading. I have some 45 LC loads for my Ruger Blackhawk...straight from the manual. I noticed that after each shot I am showered lightly by what appears to be either un-burned powder OR some type of filler. I hate to alter the loads, as they have the right amount of POP and are very accurate. So do some powders burn dirtier than others? OR is this just that maybe the heavier load is not burning completely? Another question related to this. IMR 4227 requires 24 grains in the manual compared to as little as 14 grains of other powders for similar loads. Is this due to filler or just a different manufacturing process? I poked around on the site some and see that some people have mentioned that a powder appears to burn dirty n their firearm while still others say that powder burns nice and clean in theirs...any comments would be appreciated.



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Old February 12th, 2017, 08:50 AM   #2
 
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Welcome from central Ohio.

Check out the Reloading forum by clicking on the Forums at the top then Reloading Forum within the Firearms Forum.
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Old February 12th, 2017, 08:52 AM   #3
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Hello Carolus ... Welcome from SW Ohio ... Glad to have you aboard!

I'm moving your thread to the reloading forum for the greater potential for responses.
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Old February 12th, 2017, 08:53 AM   #4
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Suggest you read your reloading manual about powder burn rates. Different burn rates cause different pressure curves and require different quantities for the best results. The faster the burn the less needed for any given pressure. The reloading manual is an excellent resource and I would give the front section up to the data a thorough read. It gives valuable safety info as well.

Yes some powders are dirtier than others and you can get unburns but the two are not necessarily related. Unburns can be a function of crimp, bullet weight, even BBL length of the firearm. (There are others I'm sure).
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Old February 12th, 2017, 09:02 AM   #5
 
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Thanks. I have read the manual all the way through. I understand that IMR4227 is a slow burner. Apparently a heavier crimp may help and I have been told INCREASING the powder charge may improve the burn in my 7 inch barrel...but that will also increase recoil. It is VERY accurate so I hesitate to change the powder. I was just curious what others might say. Some older and supposedly wiser reloader told me to switch to magnum primers, but there is no data in my manual for that....so it did not seem too 'wise'.
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Old February 12th, 2017, 09:03 AM   #6
 
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Thanks. I leaped before I looked..did not see the reload specific forum
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Old February 12th, 2017, 10:09 AM   #7
 
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Welcome to the forum and to reloading!

I'm sure you'll hear from all the very knowledgeable people in response to your powder question.

Pam
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Old February 12th, 2017, 11:07 AM   #8
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Carolus64, As terry_p noted, different powders all have their own attributes. The first being .... how many inches of bullet travel does it take to get a 100% powder burn? Fast burning powders like Bullseye will totally burn up in a inch or two of bullet travel. Mid-burn rate powders like Unique take about 4" of bullet travel to burn up. Slow burning magnum powders like W-296, Lil'Gun or IMR 4227 take up to 15" of bullet travel to burn up. So if you have a barrel shorter than 15" (which all handguns do) some of the powder will be blown out of the muzzle where it will ignite and generate a huge muzzle flash. This is bound to produce soot on the outside of your gun, your hands, and clothing.

The second contributing issue is chamber pressure. All smokeless gun powders like to have 15k psi chamber pressure or more, to get a clean burn. What happens when powder is still burning when you run out of barrel .... like a 7 1/2" barrel with powder that takes 15" to burn up? As soon as the bullet exits the muzzle, chamber pressure will drop almost instantly .... leaving no supporting pressure for the rest of the unburned powder. This means any powder left in the bore will end up as unburned flakes and any powder that does burn up after the bullet exits, is going to create a lot of soot.

Bottom line .... slow burning powders tend to be dirty burners because the barrel just isn't long enough for all the powder to burn. The same dirty burning ammo used in a revolver will shoot nice an clean in a lever action rifle with a 18" barrel.

As noted in your question ....all smokeless gun powders are "doped" with a retardant to control the burn rate. This "retardant" adds weight so you can say .... the powder with the heaviest charge weight that compares to an equal velocity with a different powder will have more doping and will burn slower. The Hornady reloading manual is interesting because it lists loads in order of burn rate with the fastest at the top. It's easy to see how a fast burning powder with a much lower charge weight can develop the same velocity as a slower burn rate .... however it will also develop much higher chamber pressure. Your main concern when reloading is to produce ammo with safe chamber pressure levels. If you want high velocity loads, this pretty much forces you to use slow burning powders and just deal with the soot and dirty burn.

My personal policy concerning magnum primers is to use them only when specified in your reloading manual. H-110 and W-296 always use magnum primers but other slow burners may or may not. Why? The type of doping used to control the powder's burn rate will also affect how well it will ignite. As an example, W-296 / H-110 ignites very poorly at temperatures below 40 deg and even worse as it get colder. Standard primers may create "squibs" in colder weather and for sure with lighter loads so magnum primers are a must.
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Old February 12th, 2017, 03:18 PM   #9
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As iowegan stated, here is an example in high speed....likely w296, h110, or imr4227 from a ruger alaskan.

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Old February 12th, 2017, 04:12 PM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowegan View Post
Carolus64, As terry_p noted, different powders all have their own attributes. The first being .... how many inches of bullet travel does it take to get a 100% powder burn? Fast burning powders like Bullseye will totally burn up in a inch or two of bullet travel. Mid-burn rate powders like Unique take about 4" of bullet travel to burn up. Slow burning magnum powders like W-296, Lil'Gun or IMR 4227 take up to 15" of bullet travel to burn up. So if you have a barrel shorter than 15" (which all handguns do) some of the powder will be blown out of the muzzle where it will ignite and generate a huge muzzle flash. This is bound to produce soot on the outside of your gun, your hands, and clothing.

The second contributing issue is chamber pressure. All smokeless gun powders like to have 15k psi chamber pressure or more, to get a clean burn. What happens when powder is still burning when you run out of barrel .... like a 7 1/2" barrel with powder that takes 15" to burn up? As soon as the bullet exits the muzzle, chamber pressure will drop almost instantly .... leaving no supporting pressure for the rest of the unburned powder. This means any powder left in the bore will end up as unburned flakes and any powder that does burn up after the bullet exits, is going to create a lot of soot.

Bottom line .... slow burning powders tend to be dirty burners because the barrel just isn't long enough for all the powder to burn. The same dirty burning ammo used in a revolver will shoot nice an clean in a lever action rifle with a 18" barrel.

As noted in your question ....all smokeless gun powders are "doped" with a retardant to control the burn rate. This "retardant" adds weight so you can say .... the powder with the heaviest charge weight that compares to an equal velocity with a different powder will have more doping and will burn slower. The Hornady reloading manual is interesting because it lists loads in order of burn rate with the fastest at the top. It's easy to see how a fast burning powder with a much lower charge weight can develop the same velocity as a slower burn rate .... however it will also develop much higher chamber pressure. Your main concern when reloading is to produce ammo with safe chamber pressure levels. If you want high velocity loads, this pretty much forces you to use slow burning powders and just deal with the soot and dirty burn.

My personal policy concerning magnum primers is to use them only when specified in your reloading manual. H-110 and W-296 always use magnum primers but other slow burners may or may not. Why? The type of doping used to control the powder's burn rate will also affect how well it will ignite. As an example, W-296 / H-110 ignites very poorly at temperatures below 40 deg and even worse as it get colder. Standard primers may create "squibs" in colder weather and for sure with lighter loads so magnum primers are a must.
Thanks Iowegen. That is the answer I was looking for..there is a buffer of sorts added that slows the burn. There is surprisingly little flash out the end of the barrel considering the kick of the load. It is a 7 1/2 inch barrel. Also on the load chart the 4227 was the only one in stock at Cabelas and I was eager to get started. I was just looking to make sure there was not a simple way to stop this that I was overlooking, or worse yet causing. I may try another powder, but other than the unburned on my wrist when I am finished, I am more than happy with the load performance. And that is only something I notice when firing 50 rounds through it....one shot while hunting would not be an issue.
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Old February 12th, 2017, 04:17 PM   #11
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Tacky, a very nifty photo!!! Like the saying .... "Smile, wait for flash". I've seen a lot worse with a muzzle flash plume that extended at least 3 feet. What's neat about your photo .... it shows flame from the muzzle, B/C gap, and recoil shield plus a large cloud of soot. This means most of that extra powder is being burned AFTER the bullet exits the muzzle .... which is also a cool part of your photo (bullet heading downrange).
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Old February 12th, 2017, 04:33 PM   #12
 
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I recently purchased a Redhawk 4.2 inch in 45c and 45ACP. I only had a Vaquero in 45c and could only load the lower velocity rounds. I tried the IMR4227 and 250g XTPS a couple weeks ago and was very pleased with accuracy and recoil. I think this is a great powder for some higher velocity 45c. I also tried W296 with 250g Nosler Sporting bullets. There was considerably more muzzle flash and kaboom with the W296 powder. Also very accurate and a couple hundred more feet per second. I'll keep those for hunting. The XTPs will be fun to shoot with the IMR4227. Just thought I'd share.
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Old February 12th, 2017, 04:34 PM   #13
 
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Tacky: great picture. How did you get the high speed shot?
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Old February 12th, 2017, 06:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowegan View Post
Tacky, a very nifty photo!!! Like the saying .... "Smile, wait for flash". I've seen a lot worse with a muzzle flash plume that extended at least 3 feet. What's neat about your photo .... it shows flame from the muzzle, B/C gap, and recoil shield plus a large cloud of soot. This means most of that extra powder is being burned AFTER the bullet exits the muzzle .... which is also a cool part of your photo (bullet heading downrange).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rugerfan57 View Post
Tacky: great picture. How did you get the high speed shot?
I wish I had the equipment to take that kinda photography, but I stumbled upon a guy that had posted these on the web, he does alot of high speed pictures and firearms. So I give him all the credit. I just felt it was a great visual aide to iowegans explanation on the subject. Glad I could contribute.

I also have 2 more highspeed photos, (same guy) the first is a desert eagle 50 ae, second is a 500 smith. I own one of the 50ae's and its blasty. I have also had the (painful) pleasure to shoot a 8" 500 smith maybe 20 rounds, and I can vouche for boths muzzle displays. These are also very interesting photos.






I do have a video a friend took with a gopro years back when I was shooting my desert eagle 50, it has a highspeed picture capability, however its a very samll windo so you have to time shooting precisely. It shows a slight puff from the desert eagle below the barrel where its gas piston is located. Only true pisrol I am aware of that has a gas piston setup like an ak. Only way to see the puff is high speed, it also throws a wild ring of fire about the size of a basketball 3 feet in front of the barrel. Its so fast you cannot see it without highspeed photography. I will see if I can dig up the photo.


I found the guys website for the highspeed phots, here you go for your viewing enjoyment.

http://kuulapaa.com/home/highspeed.html

Last edited by Tacky; February 12th, 2017 at 06:08 PM.
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Old February 12th, 2017, 07:41 PM   #15
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I love the smell of 296 in the evening!!! Fun stuff. One of the fire plumes in your reference has to be at least 3 feet long ..... very impressive.
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