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Dirty, muzzle flash, smoke... Normal?

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by light-switch, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. light-switch


    May 31, 2009
    Western PA
    I've been shooting my first reloads. Lead bullets, BE powder, CCI 500 primers, out of a Lone Wolf barrel. I've noticed increased muzzle flash and the gun running "dirtier" than shooting factory ammo. I verify each case for signs of overpressure and do not see them (bulging primer, scratched case, excessive force by ejector). The load I'm using is conservative 125gr bullet, 1.14 OAL, 4.0 of BE. Am I missing something, or BE is considered "dirty"?
  2. glock_collector


    Dec 23, 2011

  3. dbarry

    dbarry Silver Member

    Feb 15, 2010
    the Buckeye state
    The wax on your bullet is the primary culprit. Going with a plated bullet will nearly eliminate your smoke issue.
  4. Colorado4Wheel


    Nov 2, 2006
    Lead is just dirty. It's mostly the result of the lube burning off. Powder does make a difference. I have never used BE with lead but I know it's not the worst choice by far.
  5. WiskyT

    WiskyT Malcontent

    Jun 12, 2002
    North Carolina
    I've been using BE for decades and often in loads similar or the same as yours. Muzzle flash is definately not something I have noticed.

    Smoke is a product of using lead bullets. Some brands of bullets use lubes that smoke more than others. If it's a still day, or a poorly ventilated indoor range, especially if it's humid, will make the smoke seem worse.

    I never understood the whole dirty thing. Lead bullets will dirty up your gun. After several hundred rounds you'll get waxy carbon crud under the extractor etc. It's nothing a little gun solvent like CLP or #9 doesn't wipe right off. A toothpick is a good way to pick it out without worrying about scratching anything.
  6. PCJim

    PCJim Senior Member

    Aug 4, 2008
    Your load is for all intents the same load I used to run, 125gr LTC over 3.9gr BE at 1.145. As stated, bullet lube is the major contributing part of the smoke. The very fast BE powder doesn't help.

    My rounds were for the most part fired thru the P226, my primary range gun. It would get absolutely filthy inside after 5-600 rounds between cleanings.
  7. ron59

    ron59 Bustin Caps

    Jan 3, 2009
    Smyrna, GA
    Lead is SMOKY.

    I had the idea to shoot lead awhile back. All my practice was at an indoor range.

    Ha. WAAAAYYYY too smoky. And I bought several thousand, luckily for me Jack bought them from me.

    I'm shooting moly bullets right now from Bear Creek. Lead with a plasticized outer coating. They're between jacketed and lead for smokiness (maybe closer to jacketed), and they're easily $20 per 1000 cheaper.

    But jacketed will be your cleanest shooting.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  8. Jake Starr

    Jake Starr

    Jul 30, 2005
    Louisville, KY
    Just shoot it...

    Wash your hands...

    Clean your brass....

    Reload and shoot. :upeyes:
  9. fredj338


    Dec 22, 2004
    Yes, but the carbon from BE will still be there. I don't think the formula changed from when it was one of the first "smokless" powders. PRobably why there is so much carbon left behind. There are sooo many better choices today, but it has a huge following.
    Yep, lead bullets will shoot diry, it's the lube mixing w/ the carbon. So yes, changing powders helps but nothing completely stops the smoke except using a dry lubed lead bullet or plated or jacketed.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  10. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 Grumpy Old Guy

    Jan 25, 2008
    Clarksville, Tn.
    The bullets will smoke due to lube but flash and dirty may be due to the powder you are using.
  11. I remember my first lead reloads, those UltraMax rounds or whatever they're called.

    Fired a few at the local indoor range, they immediately smoked up my lane so bad I had to quit. Swore them off for years, but discovered it's just a lead bullet thing with the wax burning off. I've since cast thousands of my own with similar results.
  12. light-switch


    May 31, 2009
    Western PA
    Thanks for all the replies, guys. I guess I'm too cheap to buy jacketed bullets for now :cool: so I'll just have to get used to the side effects!
  13. Steve Koski

    Steve Koski Got Insurance? Millennium Member

    Jan 31, 1999
    Smoke, flame, soot, fire, dirt.

    All part of the fun.
  14. JBnTX

    JBnTX Bible Thumper

    Aug 28, 2008
    Fort Worth Texas
    Switch to Unique powder.