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I have started reloading 38 special, and soon gonna be loading 357 mag for three different revolvers. The firearms are a ria m206 with two inch barrel, a Taurus 605 with two inch barrel and a ruger gp100 with three inch barrel. The first round of 38's were loaded with a 125 grain cast bullet with 4 grains of win231. The rounds were really accurate, but the brass was really dirty on the outside. I assume that it is insufficient pressure being formed in the chambers causing the brass to not swell enough and letting a little gas get around it. If this is the cause is there any reason to bump up the charge and possibly lose accuracy. The brass is easily cleaned while tumbling. I still have quite a bit of room to bump up the charge. What is the consensus of the experts on here.
 

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A couple things. First mic those cast bullets and check for correct diameter. Second, for lead I've found the standby 158gr RNFP or SWC to be the most accurate. Third, bump the charge or try a different powder.

Also, I'd check the throats on all the pistols.
 

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This is just me personally, I'm not telling you what to do...

I ignore soot stains on the outside of the brass,
as long as I don't see evidence of gas leakage
at the breach or erosion of metal from hot gas.

I have fun loading different combinations:
light bullets, heavy bullets, fast powder, slow powder,
all kinds of different combinations just for fun.
Usually I look at characteristics like recoil and control,
economy, function in the gun, accuracy, etc.
(And of course, a lot of it is just practice ammo
for my own shooting skills and competency.)
Some combinations stain the brass, some don't.
But staining is not one of the characteristics that concern me.

That's just me. :)
 

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If the load is accurate, the soot doesn't hurt a thing. You will need to clean the chambers of course, but you should be doing that anyway. Personally I would live with it if it was a highly accurate load, but a little experimenting might turn up a more accurate load, and if not, you can always go back to the tried and true load.
 

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A couple things. First mic those cast bullets and check for correct diameter. Second, for lead I've found the standby 158gr RNFP or SWC to be the most accurate.Doesnt' sound like you've tried any 147-8gr full wadcutters. Third, bump the charge or try a different powder. just to lessen/eliminate the sooting? Why?

Also, I'd check the throats on all the pistols. If his only complaint is the sooting with one particular load, all other loads are acceptable,,what would the throats have to do with it? What woudl be the solution, get different pistols?

Like Nick, I've never had a problem with stained cases.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies. I've already cleaned the chambers and brass. I will probably work up some more and check accuracy, just to see what happens. The 4 grains of 231 is a very easy load to handle, and it was accurate enough I actually got a group out of the little Taurus. I want to get some semi-wadcutters and regular wad cutters to try but the local fun shop didn't have any. I want a light load for my girlfriend to shoot in her m206. Again thanks for all the replies.
 

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Many years(I do mean many!) ago I found that a 2oogr LSWC and 3.8gr of Bullseye powder in 45ACP brass gave me an extremely accurate load in my Colt Gold Cup. That load combo also gave me a fair amount of soot on my brass and some in/on the gun. I was not willing to give up the accuracy and recoil comfort to decrease the soot.

I tried other powders, and different loads, along with OAL and crimps. In the end, I went back to what worked the very best for me and MY guns.....no regrets for my decision.
 

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As others have said, dirty brass doesn't concern me at all. If accuracy is good and no signs of over pressure, I'm happy with the load.
 

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The .38 special is a huge case for the amount of powder used. Try using some magnum primers and see if that does not help.

I load 5.0 grains of 231 with the 125 conical bullet.
 

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I want to get some semi-wadcutters and regular wad cutters to try but the local fun shop didn't have any. I want a light load for my girlfriend to shoot in her m206. Again thanks for all the replies.
Send me your address in a PM and I'll send you a couple dozen.

Bob
 

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Like Nick, I've never had a problem with stained cases.

Bob
Bob,

Check the throats because he's loading commercial cast for multiple revolvers. Seems like a very simple precaution. Bump the charge, sooty cases obviously bothers OP, the reason for the thread, a slight bump may seal better. Nope, don't shoot 148gr dewc boolits, don't care to. The classic 158gr SWC or RNFP over 3.5grs bullseye does everything I need in 38spl. Accuracy trumps sooty cases. Doesn't bother me, comes off in tumbler anyway. Just offering some experienced advice...
 

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dman24, I load a lot of 125gr TCBB and 130gr LRNFP bullets over W231 and they do come out pretty sooty. My 125gr loads run an average of 560 fps and the 130gr average 680 fps out of my 2" S&W Model 64. My charges are 0.2gr and 0.3gr heavier than your loads.

The soot cleans off easy and as you have found with your 4.0gr loads, are pretty accurate the normal ranges these snubbies were designed for. My wife loves them (a major goal for mine). :)

As the others have pointed out, if you like them don't sweat the soot.

Grumpy
 

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My cast lead 38sp load with Unique, smokes and soots and coughs out loud but hits where I point it. (If I do my part.....)

A little tumble in the tumbler and alls well again. :D
You might try to tighten your crimp some in stages and test.
I usually use a lite/medium crimp with under 148gn cast bullets.


Don2
 

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I like a light load to punch holes in paper at the range. Plus it saves me on my lead supply. I prefer a 357 case and a light bullet, only because I'm lazy. This combo is easier to clean up afterwards. A little soot is nothing I would get overly concerned about.
 

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I am wondering what size bullets you are useing. Cast need to be slighty larger than jacketed to properly seal the bore and a light load will exacerbate the soot problem. If you are crimping too hard on a cast you can swage the bullet down and do this also.
If the soot really bothers you look at these things and try increasing your powder charge.
When working up a load I start at min and stop when its accurate no matter what the charge or soot is but cast is particularly prone to soot, leading etc if the right bullet is not used.
The only loads I have that go anywhere near full power are my hunting loads, some self defense loads with jacket not cast and when I am fooling with my 45colt blackhawk and linebaugh loadings using 270gr and up cast.
Me, I ignore the soot unless its so bad the gun jams. That's why they sell giant bottles of hoppes #9 is the way I figure it
 

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This is just me personally, I'm not telling you what to do...

I ignore soot stains on the outside of the brass,
as long as I don't see evidence of gas leakage
at the breach or erosion of metal from hot gas.

I have fun loading different combinations:
light bullets, heavy bullets, fast powder, slow powder,
all kinds of different combinations just for fun.
Usually I look at characteristics like recoil and control,
economy, function in the gun, accuracy, etc.
(And of course, a lot of it is just practice ammo
for my own shooting skills and competency.)
Some combinations stain the brass, some don't.
But staining is not one of the characteristics that concern me.

That's just me. :)
This^^.

As you say, it wipes or polishes right off.
 
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