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Unburned powder ?
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March 5, 2024 - 12:57 pm
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I shot some reloads yesterday and noticed some unburned powder remained in the bore .

The loads were 38 55 and I used 27.5 grains of 3031 with some factory primers and some CCI bench rest primers , should I try a different powder ?

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March 5, 2024 - 1:35 pm
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Any idea how old the powder may be? How has it been stored? Bullet weight? Barrel length? Load sounds good.

 

Mike

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March 5, 2024 - 1:44 pm
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TXGunNut said
Any idea how old the powder may be? How has it been stored? Bullet weight? Barrel length? Load sounds good.

 

Mike

  

Hey Mike , the powder is less than a year old , kept in my work room upstairs in the container it came in , lid closed tight , bullet weight is 260 grain cast from bear creek and barrel lengths are 22″ and 26″ , both old model 1894’s .

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March 5, 2024 - 2:00 pm
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Chris-

How’s the accuracy? If not what you’re expecting you could move up or down a half grain at a time. I’ve had good results with a bit heavier charge of 3031, Lyman lists 26 grains as a potentially accurate load with what may be a similar bullet. A chronograph may be helpful in identifying a consistent load. 

 

Mike

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March 5, 2024 - 2:11 pm
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TXGunNut said
Chris-

How’s the accuracy? If not what you’re expecting you could move up or down a half grain at a time. I’ve had good results with a bit heavier charge of 3031, Lyman lists 26 grains as a potentially accurate load with what may be a similar bullet. A chronograph may be helpful in identifying a consistent load. 

 

 

M8ke

  

Accuracy is pretty good out of the 22″ barreled 1918 made and high out of the 26″ barreled 1902 made  .I did try a few with 28 grains with the same results.

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March 5, 2024 - 2:19 pm
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Unburned powder means insufficient pressure.  Heavy crimp would increase pressure, but could be detrimental to accuracy.  If you can find magnum primers, that’s worth trying, too.

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March 5, 2024 - 2:23 pm
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clarence said
Unburned powder means insufficient pressure.  Heavy crimp would increase pressure, but could be detrimental to accuracy.  If you can find magnum primers, that’s worth trying, too.

  

Okay I’ll give that a try , thanks .

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March 5, 2024 - 6:08 pm
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My pet load for the 38-55 is 23.5 grains of IMR 4198… it is a very mild load, but it is wonderfully accurate in my Single Shot (high-wall) rifle.  Hodgen lists 24 grains of H4198 as a starting load with 28 grains as max.  In your shoes, I would start with the 24-grain load and see how it performs in your rifles.

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March 5, 2024 - 7:48 pm
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Bert H. said
My pet load for the 38-55 is 23.5 grains of IMR 4198… it is a very mild load, but it is wonderfully accurate in my Single Shot (high-wall) rifle.  Hodgen lists 24 grains of H4198 as a starting load with 28 grains as max.  In your shoes, I would start with the 24-grain load and see how it performs in your rifles.

Bert

What is the weight and bullet mould of your presumably cast bullet used?

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March 5, 2024 - 9:08 pm
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mrcvs said

Bert H. said

My pet load for the 38-55 is 23.5 grains of IMR 4198… it is a very mild load, but it is wonderfully accurate in my Single Shot (high-wall) rifle.  Hodgen lists 24 grains of H4198 as a starting load with 28 grains as max.  In your shoes, I would start with the 24-grain load and see how it performs in your rifles.

Bert

What is the weight and bullet mould of your presumably cast bullet used?

  

255-grain bullet weight.  I bought the laser-cast bullets from Oregon Trail – TrueShot / Cast Bullet (oregontrailbullets.com)

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March 5, 2024 - 10:01 pm
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Thank you, Bert!

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March 6, 2024 - 4:16 am
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Bert H. said
My pet load for the 38-55 is 23.5 grains of IMR 4198… it is a very mild load, but it is wonderfully accurate in my Single Shot (high-wall) rifle.  Hodgen lists 24 grains of H4198 as a starting load with 28 grains as max.  In your shoes, I would start with the 24-grain load and see how it performs in your rifles.

Bert

  

Thanks Bert , I’ll give that a try .

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March 6, 2024 - 9:47 am
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What diameter of cast bullet are you using? Most of those old 38-55 barrels are .379-.381 bores. Anything less bullet diameter can cause what you are seeing. Matching bullet to the bore is everything with those guns. Try 10 grains of Unique powder. That fast powder will often “bump” up a cast bullet to the bore diameter. If that works it is a good indication your cast bullet diameter is a little small.

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March 6, 2024 - 7:03 pm
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I run my 255grn cast bullets (20:1 Lead, 255 grn bullet with gas check, 0.280″ diameter) with 28.5 grns of IMR 3031 (average 1587 fps).  For similar performance, and load I prefer,  uses 22 grn of Accurate 5744 (average 1615 fps). 

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March 7, 2024 - 1:16 pm
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[email protected] said
What diameter of cast bullet are you using? Most of those old 38-55 barrels are .379-.381 bores. Anything less bullet diameter can cause what you are seeing. Matching bullet to the bore is everything with those guns. Try 10 grains of Unique powder. That fast powder will often “bump” up a cast bullet to the bore diameter. If that works it is a good indication your cast bullet diameter is a little small.

  

I’m using .380 cast bullets , both rifles slugged at .379 , I was also told to try blue dot powder . I have neither blue dot or unique , maybe I will get some and try that , thanks !

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March 7, 2024 - 3:22 pm
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Just what does your unburned 3031 look like?  Are you seeing entire particles (full sticks) remaining in the barrel after firing?  Are they distributed down the length of the barrel or just a few in the throat?  Or is it more of partially burned sticks remaining in the barrel?

 

If I encountered partially burned powder in a handload, all of these things would be useful in determining the underlying cause.

 

I’m interested in seeing what you find as the ultimate cause of this.

Paul

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March 7, 2024 - 4:36 pm
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Nevada Paul said
Just what does your unburned 3031 look like?  Are you seeing entire particles (full sticks) remaining in the barrel after firing?  Are they distributed down the length of the barrel or just a few in the throat?  Or is it more of partially burned sticks remaining in the barrel?

 

If I encountered partially burned powder in a handload, all of these things would be useful in determining the underlying cause.

 

I’m interested in seeing what you find as the ultimate cause of this.

Paul

  

I noticed a couple full sticks close to the chamber , maybe four inches or so from there .

Chris

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March 7, 2024 - 6:31 pm
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If no more unburned powder than ‘a couple of sticks’, and this has never happened previously with this lot of powder and firearm, I’d suspect a primer (old, too mild, faulty) before doing anything more radical.

It’s probably not possible now, after the fact, but it would be useful to know if every shot contributed to the residual unburned powder, or did a single load perhaps create the entire problem.

You’ve had plenty of useful suggestions here from experienced reloaders. If you do, in fact, discover what caused the issue, I’m sure many of us would like to hear.

Nevada Paul

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March 8, 2024 - 12:43 pm
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Nevada Paul said
If no more unburned powder than ‘a couple of sticks’, and this has never happened previously with this lot of powder and firearm, I’d suspect a primer (old, too mild, faulty) before doing anything more radical.

It’s probably not possible now, after the fact, but it would be useful to know if every shot contributed to the residual unburned powder, or did a single load perhaps create the entire problem.

You’ve had plenty of useful suggestions here from experienced reloaders. If you do, in fact, discover what caused the issue, I’m sure many of us would like to hear.

  

Thanks Paul , I’ll let you all  know if I figure it out  .

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