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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been using 231 and bullseye in light loads - min published or .1 more.

I know lead is smoky, but is there a powder that burns more completely in light loads?

A lot of the SASS/cowboy shooters use titegroup. I have some and will try it to see if it makes a difference. Didn't like it with lead last time I tried it, but that was in a 9 not 38.
 

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TiteGroup tends to be worse about smoking with cast lead bullets.

Something that will help with any powder is poly-coated bullets because there is no lube used that is part of the smoking problem.

WST is a low smoke powder and Hodgdon lists data for the Hornady 140 gr. Cowboy bullet that is soft swaged lead. They also show data for a 148 gr. LHBWC and a 158 gr. LSWC.


Editing to add that V-V Tin Star is also popular because it burns clean and gives good case fill by charge-weight. The negative is its price. AA#2 also gives good case-fill by charge-weight and I know several reloaders that use it for .38 Sp. accuracy loads. ;)
 

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A lot depends on the bullet lube you use. TG is terrible, so is BE, with most conventional lead bullets. WST is really good, but get the wrong lube, it smokes quite a bit. One aspect of casting your own, you can experiment with diff bullet lubes. PC looks promising, but until they make it easier to apply, I am not sold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm buying the bullets. Lube appears to be blue (in the bullet recesses)
 

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Sounds like Magma lube, common in comm cast. It smokes more than some of the stuff home casters use. So best to stay away from high flame temp, double base powders.
 

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TiteGroup is crazy hot... it has a high nitroglycerine content. I once melted a front sight off a gun using it.

I am really liking the coated lead bullets for several reasons, one of which is the reduction of smoke to nothing with some of the cooler burning powders, and a significant reduction even with the hotter ones. As long as you are buying the bullets anyway, look into getting some of the coated ones. SNS, Blue Bullets, and several others supply them and no matter what powder you wind up with (recent shortages coming into play here!), you will find them better for your purposes I think.
 

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I have never understood the popularity of TiteGroup. I tried it and it was fairly accurate but I melted the FO out of my front sight twice in the same day not to mention my gun melted into my Kydex holster on long steel shooting sessions. The gun would get so hot you could not touch it anywhere near the end of the slide for 15 minutes. With plain cast you look like you are shooting a Civil War cannon. I guess it's whatever blows your skirt up but you won't ever see me extrolling the virtues of TiteGroup. WST, WSF, PB, American Select and 700X are also good for me.
 

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VV (lapua) powders tend to burn very clean. Many are treated to be low flash also.
Flash is not the same as heat. TG, gotta be the hottest burning powder going, not lead bullet friendly.
 

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Ramshot ZIP is another powder to keep in mind if it's available. It's very similar to W231 in burn rate but burns cleaner. I haven't used it in .38 SP because most of my loads tend to be on the warm side, but I would expect ZIP to produce less smoke than W231. It's a little slower than AA#2 and Western/Ramshot/Accurate provide data. There are also some good single-based flake propellants I'd consider for cast lead loads like Solo 1000, IMR 7625 & 4756. Problem is, 7625 & 4756 are being discontinued by Hodgdon who owns IMR. Solo 1000 is from Accurate and should be around for a while. ;)
 

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Heck, all the Ramshot powders suitable for the "defense calibers" are on the cool burning side. True Blue, Silhouette, and Zip (though it is a bit fast for anything but target loads) will all give excellent results with lead bullets and no perceptible smoke at all with coated lead.

The Accurate powders we might use in defensive, target, and competition loads, such as AA5 and AA7 are also pretty good and smoke very little with lead.

The trouble is, you will have a very hard time finding any of these powders. They are among the rarest of powders, mainly BECAUSE of their suitability for the type of shooting most of us are interested in doing.
 

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I have never understood the popularity of TiteGroup. I tried it and it was fairly accurate but I melted the FO out of my front sight twice in the same day not to mention my gun melted into my Kydex holster on long steel shooting sessions. The gun would get so hot you could not touch it anywhere near the end of the slide for 15 minutes. With plain cast you look like you are shooting a Civil War cannon. I guess it's whatever blows your skirt up but you won't ever see me extrolling the virtues of TiteGroup. WST, WSF, PB, American Select and 700X are also good for me.
I really like titegroup - it's been a good powder for 9mm plated loads and I will continue using it. That being said, titegroup will never be used for lead in my loads. I tried it and found a lot of smoke with non coated lead.

I guess I've never experienced the high heat you're talking about. I don't shoot 250 round strings but it's never been so hot I can't hold the gun. I don't doubt the claims I've just never experienced it. I know it burns hot and fast.

Flash is not the same as heat. TG, gotta be the hottest burning powder going, not lead bullet friendly.
I would recommend more along the lines of JSG, silhouette or aa 5 or 7 are better choices. I will be doing some testing of silhouette with Missouri lead bullets in my xdsc soon.
 
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