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Thread: Smoke's Clear PC: My Technique Wrong???

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Smoke's Clear PC: My Technique Wrong???

    Morning Fellas...

    Up until now, my initial trial uses of PC have been with some generic black stuff from Princess Auto (probably similar to Harbour Freight) on .35 caliber bullets, used just as shooters. No drama or issues.

    Now I have a custom mould for my .303 No. 4 Mk1 and a supply of Smoke's clear and black colored PC. Last night I finished setting up the Lee Enfield with a no-gunsmithing scope mount and PC'd some already picked over 314299 bullets. Same technique as I did with the previous Princess Auto powder:

    Some powder in a plastic container, dump in the bullets, swirl for a few minutes, then pick the bullets out with long lab tweezers, give a few knocks against the side of the container to knock loose powder off, stand on parchment paper on a tray, into 400 degrees for 25 minutes, then dump into water.

    The bullets look like things of beauty - except for the big rim/fin at the base of the bullets. Depending on where I measure across which bullet, they fin is about .34". Measuring across the bands of the 314299, I'm getting about .323".

    I was thinking "That's a LOT of PC" as I stood the bullets on the tray for baking, but my only experience so far has been with the generic PC I started with, where I often wondered if they were sufficiently coated.

    I'm thinking I've got WAY too much PC on these bullets, and even after a trip through the Saeco Lubri-sizer, that rim of PC at the bottom of the bullets is going to contribute to inaccuracy.

    Anyways, I'm going to run them through the sizer, load them, and head to the range to get the scope setup zeroed for group testing with bullets out of my new mould and Smoke's powders. That will also give me some idea of how sizing these bullets with this much PC worked out.

    Am I PC'ing these bullets in less than the best way? Should be doing something different to knock even more of the PC off before baking? Anybody else getting fins/rims this big at the bottom of long bullets like these 314299?

    Thanks for any tips guys...

  2. #2
    Boolit Bub
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    Okay... cancel running them through my Saeco Lubri-sizer and trying them.

    The coating added another 5+ grains to the bullets. Whether it's the huge amount I'm trying to resize in one pass along with the bullet hardness, coating, etc... these are NOT going to resize when I don't have the right larger sizer dies to resize in steps. One brief attempt ended that idea; not going to see how hard I have to lean on my Saeco before I break something in the linkage.

    So these are either donators to somebody who wants to give some PC bullets this size a try, or they recycle through the pot.

    Glad I'm old enough that I don't take anything for granted anymore and only did a batch of 25 with this PC of smokes. Would really suck to be dumping a couple of hundred back in the pot...

    Back to figuring out how to properly get the right amount of coating on the bullets prior to baking - unlike the guys who can't get enough powder to adhere...

  3. #3
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    Firmly Grab the coated boolit by the lub-groove using tweezers (this is a new technique that works well) smack the base of the boolit on something hard with a piece of parchment paper to catch the excess. now you'll have the desired amount of PC on the boolit.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    If I’m gas checking them I use this $4 basket I found in the baking section at Wally World. Then the PC flows under the boolit or into the tin foil...if I over loaded them. If I am not Gas checking them I use Silicone mats and have the same issue you do. But after I run them through my lee sizer the PC “lip” Disappears.


  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    MOC031

    Conditor22 beat me to it. I'm a novice, at best, but that has worked for me.

    Unrelated -- Was in Whitefish last year. Stayed a block or two from the train station. Very nice place. Would like to get the wife to consider moving there. She, however, is years away from retirement.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conditor22 View Post
    Firmly Grab the coated boolit by the lub-groove using tweezers (this is a new technique that works well) smack the base of the boolit on something hard with a piece of parchment paper to catch the excess. now you'll have the desired amount of PC on the boolit.
    Tapping against the side of plastic tube also excess powder drops back into tube.

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conditor22 View Post
    Firmly Grab the coated boolit by the lub-groove using tweezers (this is a new technique that works well) smack the base of the boolit on something hard with a piece of parchment paper to catch the excess. now you'll have the desired amount of PC on the boolit.
    I did the smacking thing - I've been doing the lab tweezer thing since I started trying PC (thinking as I did so that, if I was doing them in large batches, it would probably get annoying in a hurry).

    Apparently not smacking them hard enough, I guess. I'll have another go here tonight if possible with a technique change.

    If I can juggle getting the half frozen plums off the tree, trying to get out hunting, helping the wife with the her kitchen reno... I'll try running another batch here and see if I can get skimpier with the powder left on the bullet before they go in the oven. These look like they were dipped in polyurethane. The ones I did with the cheapo black powder didn't look nearly as nice, but this first batch with Smoke's clear are so nice that they aren't useable as bullets.

    Thanks for the suggestions fellas.

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by 725 View Post
    MOC031

    Conditor22 beat me to it. I'm a novice, at best, but that has worked for me.

    Unrelated -- Was in Whitefish last year. Stayed a block or two from the train station. Very nice place. Would like to get the wife to consider moving there. She, however, is years away from retirement.
    Yes, we think it's wonderful here - especially when the tourists aren't here!!!!

    Actually, we don't go into either Whitefish or Kalispell much (live between the two) and we aren't on the highways much so tourists enjoying the place aren't much of an issue. If you are thinking of moving here, you'll find a pretty significant difference in house prices between being in town proper, and looking at places a couple of minutes just outside of town.

    If it's in your plans, you might want to think about buying/renting now - the areas a few minutes out of town are starting to fill up. When we bought here 15 years ago, our nearest neighbors were a couple of hundred yards up or down the street. Now we have next door neighbors on each side, across the street, and across the alley behind us. Still a nice place to live and next to the school trust lands, but it's getting more like feeling like you're in town rather than out of town. Several large housing developments going up along the highway between Whitefish and Kalispell on what was farmland just a few years ago.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Less powder in the tub. If they look "fuzzy" add a handful more bullets and shake again. With Smoke's clear I usually gently blow off the excess after standing them up, stuff clings quite firmly and I havent had an issue with blowing off too much.
    "In God we trust, in all others, check the manual!"

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    I barely put any clear PC in my tumbler to the point it just dusts the bottom of my Tupperware. You’d be surprised how well and even it lightly coats. I also drop them in separate Tupperware container after tumbling and bounce my boolits up and down to remove the excess PC.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    A colander or mesh tray also works to dump the coated boolits in and give them a shake to knock off excess powder

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Smoke's advice to shake up and down after swirling has been useful to me. The swirling puts excess coating, and the up/down shaking knocks off the excess. Takes a little trial/error to get the right number of shakes. Too many and things start rubbing bare spots.
    "There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something."
    ~Thorin Oakenshield

  13. #13
    Is this typical of Smoke's powder? I've been using PBP with no overly thick coatings.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Hick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MOC031 View Post
    Morning Fellas...

    Up until now, my initial trial uses of PC have been with some generic black stuff from Princess Auto (probably similar to Harbour Freight) on .35 caliber bullets, used just as shooters. No drama or issues.

    Now I have a custom mould for my .303 No. 4 Mk1 and a supply of Smoke's clear and black colored PC. Last night I finished setting up the Lee Enfield with a no-gunsmithing scope mount and PC'd some already picked over 314299 bullets. Same technique as I did with the previous Princess Auto powder:

    Some powder in a plastic container, dump in the bullets, swirl for a few minutes, then pick the bullets out with long lab tweezers, give a few knocks against the side of the container to knock loose powder off, stand on parchment paper on a tray, into 400 degrees for 25 minutes, then dump into water.

    The bullets look like things of beauty - except for the big rim/fin at the base of the bullets. Depending on where I measure across which bullet, they fin is about .34". Measuring across the bands of the 314299, I'm getting about .323".

    I was thinking "That's a LOT of PC" as I stood the bullets on the tray for baking, but my only experience so far has been with the generic PC I started with, where I often wondered if they were sufficiently coated.

    I'm thinking I've got WAY too much PC on these bullets, and even after a trip through the Saeco Lubri-sizer, that rim of PC at the bottom of the bullets is going to contribute to inaccuracy.

    Anyways, I'm going to run them through the sizer, load them, and head to the range to get the scope setup zeroed for group testing with bullets out of my new mould and Smoke's powders. That will also give me some idea of how sizing these bullets with this much PC worked out.

    Am I PC'ing these bullets in less than the best way? Should be doing something different to knock even more of the PC off before baking? Anybody else getting fins/rims this big at the bottom of long bullets like these 314299?

    Thanks for any tips guys...
    I do it exactly as you describe (including tweezers and just a tap on the side of the container)-- but I only cook Smokes clear at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, not 25, and I don't get a rim at the base. The PC is so hard It stays on recovered bullets that have gone through target boards and bounced along 50 yards of gravel. Maybe something is happening due to the overly long cook time? (just speculating-- I don't know for sure, but its the only thing you and I are doing differently).
    Hick: Iron sights!

  15. #15
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    initially, he was not removing the excess PC fom coating. the clear sticks really well and if you don't remove the excess you can have a problem.
    excess PC and be partially removed by:
    shaking the bowl up and down at the end of the swirling process,
    Grab the coated boolit by the lube grove and tapping the tweezers on the edge of the bowl
    Grab the coated boolit by the lube grove and tapping the base against a solid surface
    Dumping the boolits, BB's and PC into a colander and sifting the BB's and out all the excess PC (my preference)

    I bought these stackable containers at the dollar tree, layed out a grid and drilled holes

    then I sanded the holes/bottom smooth

    stack the containers and shake the BB's & excess PC through to the bottom

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    I believe the key is to use less powder when tumbling.

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master
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    25 mins seems like a long time to cook
    I always go 14 never fails on any powder
    Hit em'hard
    hit em'often

  18. #18
    Boolit Bub
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    Success... (or a great start to success)

    Never posted this up yesterday (with my thanks) before getting preoccupied with getting out to the range.

    Quote Originally Posted by jcren View Post
    Less powder in the tub. If they look "fuzzy" add a handful more bullets and shake again.
    Aaaannnnddddd.... too late: the next batch is already in the oven. To late to follow up on all your suggestions - I have a big rocket lens blower from photography might be just the ticket if it comes to having to blow them off.

    I think what I tried might get me at least close to your suggestion - we'll see in a while.

    They did indeed look fuzzy, almost like they had a little bit of cottonwood/fireweed fluff all over them. Or white mold...

    I emptied almost all the powder out of my coating tub to start with as I'm doing small batches of 15. Then banged the bullets against the sides of the container pretty good. Looking a little bit fuzzy still, but we'll see if the combination of less powder and more bullet base banging will get me close at least.

    Kind of hoping that the right balance of little powder/lots of bullets will make it a simple process of shaking and baking. The idea of having to bang and blow on each bullet... not a deal killer, but the ease I've had with the Princess Auto stuff has kind of spoiled me in my rookie first attempts at powder coating.
    __________________________________________________ __

    Update this morning...

    First stab at getting it right looks extremely promising. No more fins on the bottom of the bullets; the coating still a bit thicker than I would prefer, but whatever.

    Anyways, fearing another excessive diameter result, ran them though my Saeco .314 sizer die (which actually sizes to .3155... but what's nearly two thou bigger than it is supposed to be?) first. Then coated and baked, sized again. Left a tiny little, microscopic fold of coating where the sizing ended - I guess the coating is plastic enough to be a little bit malleable.

    Loaded a few up for sighters, loaded ten up over 16.0 gr. of 2400... rushed out to the range...

    And after getting on paper, promptly shot two back to back five shot groups at a 100 yards that went a little less than 1.5" each!!!!!

    Woohooo! Nothing special either - didn't weigh the bullets or anything other than giving the bullets I grabbed from the pile from the casting session a quick visual inspection before prepping and loading them.

    Now that's a good place to be starting load development from. Particularly with a Long Branch No. 4 Mk 1. Although, this rifle was the pick of the litter of ten unissued Long Branches I bought back in 1993.

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    Last edited by MOC031; 10-15-2019 at 02:12 PM.

  19. #19
    Boolit Bub
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    BTW, thanks to all who offered their suggestions. The common thread seems to be a technique that ensures there isn't too much coating on the bullet with the Clear PC is the way to go.

    On the one hand, I want to dive back down into the basement and do some load development and more shooting. On the other hand... the Griffons are reminding me that pheasant season is on, and my wife is reminding me that there are elk and deer out there that should be visiting our freezer...

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by MOC031 View Post
    BTW, thanks to all who offered their suggestions. The common thread seems to be a technique that ensures there isn't too much coating on the bullet with the Clear PC is the way to go.

    On the one hand, I want to dive back down into the basement and do some load development and more shooting. On the other hand... the Griffons are reminding me that pheasant season is on, and my wife is reminding me that there are elk and deer out there that should be visiting our freezer...
    she got any sisters
    Hit em'hard
    hit em'often

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BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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