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  #1  
Old 10-27-2019, 9:27 PM
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Default Winchester 231, clean or dirty? I'm voting...

...clean

I keep reading how people think 231 is a dirty burning powder, but in my .38 special I'm not seeing it. I loaded 158gr Berry's plated flat point with it, and after 200 rounds in my revo it's still clean.

Am I the only one?
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  #2  
Old 10-27-2019, 9:30 PM
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158gr going 800fps, so not a lite load. But still soft shooting.
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  #3  
Old 10-27-2019, 9:50 PM
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In handguns, the dirtyness of a powder is more often from naked cast bullets so it's no suprise that you find 231 to be clean burning when you are using plated bullets.
You will probably find most powders pretty clean.

With naked cast bullets, some powders create more leading that others due to differences in how much lead they vaporize from the base of the bullet.
A whole bunch of factors play into this like pressure, barrel length, bullet alloy etc.

Then you have truly dirty powders like Unique where the powder itself leaves the gun dirty even with jacketed/plated bullets.
231 is definetly a clean powder.
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Old 10-27-2019, 10:34 PM
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I noticed a fair bit of unburned W231 when shooting from my snub nose, but the powder burning itself is very clean. Out of my 4" revolvers I don't see any unburned powder or residue. This is with both plated and cast bullets.
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  #5  
Old 10-27-2019, 11:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyMays View Post
I noticed a fair bit of unburned W231 when shooting from my snub nose, but the powder burning itself is very clean. Out of my 4" revolvers I don't see any unburned powder or residue. This is with both plated and cast bullets.
I'm gonna bet that's ash as opposed unburned powder. Try lighting it.
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  #6  
Old 10-28-2019, 7:25 AM
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Originally Posted by JagerDog View Post
I'm gonna bet that's ash as opposed unburned powder. Try lighting it.
It's powder. I will try lighting it next time to be sure, but it doesn't flake under finger pressure like ash. It's only noticeable after it accumulates on the shooting bench after 100+ rounds.
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  #7  
Old 10-28-2019, 8:43 AM
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231 is like most other powders, if you want cleaner burning then load it hot. Like most powder, it's dirtier at starting loads. However, for 38 special I've yet to find a cleaning burning powder than Clays.
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  #8  
Old 10-28-2019, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilMo View Post
231 is like most other powders, if you want cleaner burning then load it hot. Like most powder, it's dirtier at starting loads. However, for 38 special I've yet to find a cleaning burning powder than Clays.
Are there more than one "Clays" powder?
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  #9  
Old 10-28-2019, 11:26 AM
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I find it clean burning. I used this in my 45acp loads. 5.5gr of 231 pushing Berry’s plated 230gr.
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  #10  
Old 10-28-2019, 5:38 PM
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I’m using American Select for .38 special these days. Super clean, no more revolver fingers! Trail Boss is good too...
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  #11  
Old 10-28-2019, 5:55 PM
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I loaded some Berrys 148 grain wadcutters with 2.3 grain of Trail Boss in 38 special cases. Fired them in my 6 inch 686. Was so light my son in law thought it was a squib. Just a little pop and a hole in the target, no recoil.
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  #12  
Old 10-29-2019, 4:46 PM
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I loaded up bullseye loads and Ramshot Competition loads, and some clays loads. Bullseye is wow ... so sooty! The outside of the cylinder is black! 300 rounds of Ramshot Comp and it's not clean, but it's not filthy either. Unfortunately the clays was with a different bullet (moly coated) and I shot them after the bullseye, so I couldn't tell if it added to the mess.

I don't find 231 particularly filthy. I use it in 9mm and guns get dirty, but not filthy like the bullseye in my revolver.
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  #13  
Old 10-29-2019, 4:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ysr_racer View Post
Are there more than one "Clays" powder?
Yes, there is "Clays", "International Clays" and "Universal Clays"

You want the "Clays", it's label is pinkish tan with green lettering and orange pictures of skeet clays flying.
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  #14  
Old 10-29-2019, 5:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lead Waster View Post
Yes, there is "Clays", "International Clays" and "Universal Clays"

You want the "Clays", it's label is pinkish tan with green lettering and orange pictures of skeet clays flying.
Thanks, that what I thought.
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  #15  
Old 10-29-2019, 5:46 PM
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How is accuracy with 231 in a .38 special? I use it in 9mm.

I have clays, ramshot competition, bullseye, unique that I was going to try for .38. A lot of folks say clays. I have been testing Ramshot Comp but I might relegate it to cowboy action shooting (if I ever do any) because I found a nice load but it's way under minor power factor for uspsa.
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Old 10-29-2019, 6:54 PM
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The load density in a .38 is iffy. There's a lot of air space, and using polyester filler is a pain.
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  #17  
Old 10-29-2019, 7:38 PM
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I used a lot of W-231 and considered it pretty clean burning. It was my favorite IPSC load for 45 ACP using 200 grain SWCs. I used to burn two 8 lbs kegs per year.
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  #18  
Old 10-29-2019, 8:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lead Waster View Post
How is accuracy with 231 in a .38 special? I use it in 9mm.

I have clays, ramshot competition, bullseye, unique that I was going to try for .38. A lot of folks say clays. I have been testing Ramshot Comp but I might relegate it to cowboy action shooting (if I ever do any) because I found a nice load but it's way under minor power factor for uspsa.
It's good. I'm loading a 158gr Berry's bullet going 800fps for a power factor of 126.4.
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  #19  
Old 10-29-2019, 8:53 PM
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I have been using W231 for almost 30 years now, for 9mm and .38spl.
Clean burning and one of my favorite powders.
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  #20  
Old 10-30-2019, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by 357magnum View Post
I have been using W231 for almost 30 years now, for 9mm and .38spl.
Clean burning and one of my favorite powders.
I have a lot of 231, but decided to try Ramshot Competition for .38 special simply because I bought it to use for .40, then everyone said not to because pushing .40 to major power factor exceeds published loads for Ramshot Comp, however there is very little data for Ramshot Comp.

I found I can make minor power factor in .38 with 3.6 gn Ramshot Comp (standard disclaimer) at about 128 pf. Not much cushion, but good enough for local matches. I found it was quite accurate at 3.2 gns, but doesn't make minor power factor, so I might actually relegate it to Cowboy Action shooting (if I ever play that again)
231 and clays is still in play for me. I had bought some .38 Long Colt cases and I might try those too (for USPSA).

Seems there are a lot of options. Which one is "best", I don't know. But 231 is a good standby.
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  #21  
Old 10-30-2019, 12:28 PM
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How does Ramshot compare to 231 in terms of recoil? Because a buddy of mine is using Herco, and swears by it.
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Last edited by ysr_racer; 10-30-2019 at 9:50 PM..
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  #22  
Old 10-30-2019, 7:24 PM
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Both. I've loaded light, medium, and heavy loads in .38 and .45 cal. Using W231 and HP-38. Heavy loads don't have much soot, but all loads have more unburned powder than the other powders which I use. Lighter loads result in more unburned powder.
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  #23  
Old 10-30-2019, 10:58 PM
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When I no longer need to tumble or vibrate cases clean, I will then say I found a clean powder.

231/hp38 are my powder for 9mm, .38 and .45
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  #24  
Old 10-31-2019, 7:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tawadc95 View Post
When I no longer need to tumble or vibrate cases clean, I will then say I found a clean powder.

231/hp38 are my powder for 9mm, .38 and .45
In that case, Bullseye is a terrific powder when you use enough of it. One of my loads is a ".38 Spl +P+" load using a well-lubricated 158gr cast bullet on top of 5.0 gr of Bullseye. It's definitely a stout load for .38 Special, so I'd recommend using it only in a .357M-rated firearm. However, the cases are so clean that I stopped bothering to tumble them anymore.

I think a good part of the "problem" is that rounds like the .38 Special are relatively low pressure. We know that the higher the pressure (within reason), usually the more complete of a powder burn we'll get. This is also true of cases like the .45 Colt or .44 Special; when I bump up the charge to, say, past about 20,000 PSI or so, things clean up nicely.

On the specific subject of Win 231 powder, I've used it, and other fellow reloaders near me use it. It's good stuff and isn't really very dirty with loads of reasonable pressure.
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  #25  
Old 11-01-2019, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ysr_racer View Post
...clean

I keep reading how people think 231 is a dirty burning powder, but in my .38 special I'm not seeing it. I loaded 158gr Berry's plated flat point with it, and after 200 rounds in my revo it's still clean.

Am I the only one?
I always thought W231 was cleaner than Bullseye or Unique especially in 38 Special or 45 ACP.
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  #26  
Old 11-02-2019, 8:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ysr_racer View Post
Are there more than one "Clays" powder?
Sorry, I didn't see your question but I see it was answered. Is there a way to see notifications? I'm subscribed to the thread but nothing tells me when someone has quoted my post. Other forums show notifications when someone has quoted or replied so hopefully calguns has the same but I just don't see it.



As for Hodgdon Clays, the only issue I have with it is that it's a bit bulky and since the load is just 2 or 3 tenths between min and max, my powder measure (Hornady AP) isn't quite up to the task. I only load a few hundred 38's per year so a dipper works just as well for me.
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Old 11-02-2019, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by NeilMo View Post
Sorry, I didn't see your question but I see it was answered.
Is there a way to see notifications?
I'm subscribed to the thread but nothing tells me when someone has quoted my post.
Other forums show notifications when someone has quoted or replied so hopefully calguns has the same but I just don't see it.
When you subscribe to a thread, you can choose to receive email notifications or not receive email notifications of the new replies to the subscribed thread.
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Old 11-02-2019, 1:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowboy T View Post
On the specific subject of Win 231 powder, I've used it, and other fellow reloaders near me use it. It's good stuff and isn't really very dirty with loads of reasonable pressure.
I recently helped a friend with some 9mm rounds, about 1k, with W231 that he used for a class. He found that it coated his internals pretty well. It wasn't a powder puff load as the objective was function for the class. He's now trying some N320 and E3

I use W231 in .45ACP, as it is the "old standard", but I have to bear in mind that it is temperature sensitive during the hotter months. Might try some WST next time.

Tried W231 in .38Spl under a 170gr Hi-Tek coated bullet and found it was pretty dirty when loaded to 114PF for IDPA. I found Clays a much cleaner choice
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Old 11-02-2019, 2:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9mmepiphany View Post
I recently helped a friend with some 9mm rounds, about 1k, with W231 that he used for a class. He found that it coated his internals pretty well. It wasn't a powder puff load as the objective was function for the class. He's now trying some N320 and E3

I use W231 in .45ACP, as it is the "old standard", but I have to bear in mind that it is temperature sensitive during the hotter months. Might try some WST next time.

Tried W231 in .38Spl under a 170gr Hi-Tek coated bullet and found it was pretty dirty when loaded to 114PF for IDPA. I found Clays a much cleaner choice
When you say "temperature sensitive" what are you referring to?
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Old 11-02-2019, 2:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ysr_racer View Post
When you say "temperature sensitive" what are you referring to?
The amount of pressure change with temperature change.
Since most people can't measure pressure, they use velocity which is easier to measure.
The more temperature sensitive a powder, the more velocity change you will see with temperature change.
Here are the same loads run at 3 different temperatures:

Code:
Cartridge          : .38 Special (SAAMI)
Bullet             : .355, 124, HOR LRN 10058
Useable Case Capaci: 18.416 grain H2O = 1.196 cm
Cartridge O.A.L. L6: 1.550 inch = 39.37 mm
Barrel Length      : 5.0 inch = 127.0 mm
Powder             : Winchester 231 ?, Temperature: 40 F

Predicted data by increasing and decreasing the given charge,
incremented in steps of 7.506% of nominal charge.
CAUTION: Figures exceed maximum and minimum recommended loads !

Step    Fill. Charge   Vel.  Energy   Pmax   Pmuz  Prop.Burnt B_Time
 %       %    Grains   fps   ft.lbs    psi    psi      %        ms

-75.1    8     1.00    232      15    1633    476     50.6    2.532
-67.6   10     1.30    307      26    1980    673     57.1    1.959
-60.0   12     1.60    371      38    2367    898     62.9    1.673
-52.5   15     1.90    431      51    2831   1146     68.3    1.485
-45.0   17     2.20    488      65    3402   1413     73.4    1.344
-37.5   19     2.50    543      81    4068   1695     78.1    1.231
-30.0   22     2.80    596      98    4822   1987     82.3    1.139
-22.5   24     3.10    648     116    5661   2284     86.0    1.060
-15.0   26     3.40    699     134    6584   2582     89.2    0.992
-07.5   29     3.70    748     154    7591   2878     92.0    0.933
+00.0   31     4.00    796     174    8681   3167     94.3    0.881
+07.5   33     4.30    843     195    9854   3446     96.2    0.848
+15.0   36     4.60    888     217   11110   3714     97.7    0.797
+22.5   38     4.90    931     239   12451   3967     98.8    0.752
+30.0   40     5.20    974     261   13875   4205     99.5    0.711
+37.5   43     5.50   1015     284   15386   4424     99.9    0.674  ! Near Maximum !

Results caused by  10% powder lot-to-lot burning rate variation using nominal charge
Data for burning rate increased by 10% relative to nominal value:
+Ba     31     4.00    834     192    9885   3251     98.5    0.835
Data for burning rate decreased by 10% relative to nominal value:
-Ba     31     4.00    749     155    7489   2978     87.5    0.963
Code:
Cartridge          : .38 Special (SAAMI)
Bullet             : .355, 124, HOR LRN 10058
Useable Case Capaci: 18.416 grain H2O = 1.196 cm
Cartridge O.A.L. L6: 1.550 inch = 39.37 mm
Barrel Length      : 5.0 inch = 127.0 mm
Powder             : Winchester 231 ?, Temperature: 70 F

Predicted data by increasing and decreasing the given charge,
incremented in steps of 7.506% of nominal charge.
CAUTION: Figures exceed maximum and minimum recommended loads !

Step    Fill. Charge   Vel.  Energy   Pmax   Pmuz  Prop.Burnt B_Time
 %       %    Grains   fps   ft.lbs    psi    psi      %        ms

-75.1    8     1.00    237      16    1645    490     52.2    2.509
-67.6   10     1.30    313      27    2004    694     58.9    1.941
-60.0   12     1.60    378      39    2403    926     65.0    1.656
-52.5   15     1.90    439      53    2903   1181     70.6    1.467
-45.0   17     2.20    497      68    3511   1454     75.7    1.326
-37.5   19     2.50    553      84    4212   1741     80.4    1.214
-30.0   22     2.80    607     101    5004   2035     84.5    1.122
-22.5   24     3.10    660     120    5883   2333     88.1    1.044
-15.0   26     3.40    711     139    6849   2629     91.2    0.977
-07.5   29     3.70    760     159    7900   2920     93.8    0.919
+00.0   31     4.00    808     180    9035   3202     95.9    0.867
+07.5   33     4.30    855     201   10256   3473     97.5    0.821
+15.0   36     4.60    900     223   11562   3729     98.7    0.779
+22.5   38     4.90    943     245   12953   3969     99.5    0.737
+30.0   40     5.20    985     267   14431   4190     99.9    0.697
+37.5   43     5.50   1026     290   15996   4393    100.0    0.661  ! Near Maximum !

Results caused by  10% powder lot-to-lot burning rate variation using nominal charge
Data for burning rate increased by 10% relative to nominal value:
+Ba     31     4.00    845     197   10274   3256     99.3    0.822
Data for burning rate decreased by 10% relative to nominal value:
-Ba     31     4.00    762     160    7802   3038     89.5    0.947
Code:
Cartridge          : .38 Special (SAAMI)
Bullet             : .355, 124, HOR LRN 10058
Useable Case Capaci: 18.416 grain H2O = 1.196 cm
Cartridge O.A.L. L6: 1.550 inch = 39.37 mm
Barrel Length      : 5.0 inch = 127.0 mm
Powder             : Winchester 231 ?, Temperature: 100 F

Predicted data by increasing and decreasing the given charge,
incremented in steps of 7.506% of nominal charge.
CAUTION: Figures exceed maximum and minimum recommended loads !

Step    Fill. Charge   Vel.  Energy   Pmax   Pmuz  Prop.Burnt B_Time
 %       %    Grains   fps   ft.lbs    psi    psi      %        ms

-75.1    8     1.00    243      16    1656    504     53.9    2.486
-67.6   10     1.30    319      28    2026    716     60.9    1.922
-60.0   12     1.60    386      41    2445    955     67.1    1.638
-52.5   15     1.90    448      55    2983   1216     72.8    1.449
-45.0   17     2.20    507      71    3626   1495     78.0    1.308
-37.5   19     2.50    563      87    4364   1785     82.6    1.197
-30.0   22     2.80    618     105    5195   2081     86.6    1.105
-22.5   24     3.10    671     124    6115   2378     90.1    1.028
-15.0   26     3.40    722     144    7123   2671     93.0    0.962
-07.5   29     3.70    772     164    8218   2956     95.3    0.904
+00.0   31     4.00    820     185    9401   3230     97.2    0.852
+07.5   33     4.30    866     207   10670   3489     98.5    0.807
+15.0   36     4.60    911     229   12026   3732     99.4    0.766
+22.5   38     4.90    954     251   13469   3957     99.9    0.722
+30.0   40     5.20    996     273   15000   4162    100.0    0.684  ! Near Maximum !
+37.5   43     5.50   1035     295   16619   4360    100.0    0.649  !DANGEROUS LOAD-DO NOT USE!

Results caused by  10% powder lot-to-lot burning rate variation using nominal charge
Data for burning rate increased by 10% relative to nominal value:
+Ba     31     4.00    855     201   10673   3250     99.8    0.808
Data for burning rate decreased by 10% relative to nominal value:
-Ba     31     4.00    775     166    8127   3092     91.5    0.930
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Last edited by ar15barrels; 11-02-2019 at 2:53 PM..
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  #31  
Old 11-03-2019, 4:23 PM
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bergmen bergmen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 357magnum View Post
I have been using W231 for almost 30 years now, for 9mm and .38spl.
Clean burning and one of my favorite powders.
Me too. W231 is all I have used for .32 S&W long, .32 ACP, .38 special, 9mm, .45 ACP and low powered .45 Colt.

Dan
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  #32  
Old 11-12-2019, 10:37 PM
bruce381 bruce381 is offline
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231 to me is more sticky than dirty
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  #33  
Old 11-16-2019, 8:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce381 View Post
231 to me is more sticky than dirty
Sticky?
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Old 12-07-2019, 12:04 PM
bazineta bazineta is offline
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231 with mouse fart loads is in my experience pretty filthy. Normal loads, clean enough. I've read that the filth condition can be caused by the load being light enough that the case doesn't fully seal to the chamber walls, so you get some blow-by as a result.

I have no idea if that's true and am supremely unqualified to hold an opinion, but this being the Internet, I can just repeat it as if I knew what I was talking about. Seems reasonable to me given what I've seen, though.
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Old 12-07-2019, 4:12 PM
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I really like 231 for both 9mm and 38sp. Cleaner than unique, which is also good for 38. I really don’t care about how dirty a powder is as I’m anal about cleaning my guns after every outing.
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  #36  
Old 12-07-2019, 11:09 PM
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I used to use 231 for 38sp, but then I tried Trail Boss. 231 takes up so little space in the case its a little scary. Trail Boss fills up the case, is pretty clean burning, and impossible to double charge.
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