CFE Pistol Powder

CFE Pistol Powder

This is a discussion on CFE Pistol Powder within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Went Friday evening and picked up my very first reloading kit. I bought a Lee Breech Lock kit from Bass Pro for $144.95 and got ...

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Thread: CFE Pistol Powder

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array herpjunkie's Avatar
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    CFE Pistol Powder

    Went Friday evening and picked up my very first reloading kit. I bought a Lee Breech Lock kit from Bass Pro for $144.95 and got a 3-die set of Lee 9mm Luger dies for $30.00. I also picked up 500 small pistol primers. But, after I filled my buggy with all those goodies, I found that Bass Pro was completely out of pistol powder, and didn't have not one freakin' box of 9mm bullets.

    But I didn't let that discourage me, I went to another place, across town from Bass Pro, and they got me fixed up. And, BTW, I will never, and I do mean never, go to Bass Pro again. That was the first time I went in there and needed help getting all the stuff I needed. The customer service there was atrocious. But that's all I'll say about that, for now. So back to reloading:

    I got one pound of the new CFE Pistol Powder and plenty of 9mm bullets at the other place. The only problem with the CFE powder is that since it's new, there doesn't seem to be an awful lot of loading data out there. I bought the 2014 Annual Hodgdon Reloading Manual where I picked the powder up, but like I said, info is still limited right now.

    One thing I noticed about the CFE powder is it seems to be extremely dirty? Since loading data is limited, I had to get Magnus 125 grain LCN (Lead Conical Nose) bullets vs. copper. They didn't have copper jacketed bullets, only Berry's copper plated, which the guy said required different loads than jacketed and there was no load data in the magazine. I later read the magazine and found a small paragraph that said to use the same data for Berry's plated as the corresponding weight in lead. But it was too late, I had already bought the lead. But, my question is, is the CFE powder causing my gun to get so dirty, or is it because I'm using lead bullets?

    Next time I'll be buying the Berry's copper plated bullets, or some copper jacketed providing I can find some that have a weight listed in the magazine with the load data.

    But anyway, I loaded 250 rounds of those lead bullets with my new press. It was really super easy. And I'm profoundly impressed with the accuracy of my handloads vs. factory ammo. Christ almighty is there a huge difference. If I had known that I would have begun loading my own ammo years ago. Not to mention it is fun, and can be a great family activity.

    Sorry for the rambling, only got a few minutes left on lunch break
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  2. #2
    Member Array wrinkles's Avatar
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    You can use lead data for copper plated bullets like Berry's.

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    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    image.jpg

    The first thing that I noticed as soon as I opened the bottle was how fine the powder was. It is a spherical powder which is perfect for metering. It wasn’t flaky like Unique.
    I decided to test this powder out on my .38 special loads as well as 9mm.
    For the .38 load I used a hard-cast semi-wadcutter 158 gr bullet. The reload data called or a starting point of 4.8 grains with a maximum of 5.3 grains. I loaded some at 4.8 and some at 5.0.
    The metering was exactly how I expected it to be—accurate and easy. I used my new Lee Precision Perfect Powder Measurer for this project and I was impressed with its ease of use, but that is a topic for another day.
    I tend to be a little on the overly-cautious side when charging my rounds, so I dump every tenth round out on to my scale to see what is getting thrown. In this case the variance was very minimal, usually right around .05-.1. Well within the tolerance of the load data.
    The 9mm I loaded using 115 gr full metal jacket. The load data called for minimum of 4.9 and a max of 5.4, so I loaded 4.9 and 5.1. Again, throwing the powder was super easy and metering was as accurate as I have had.
    The hard part was going to the range. My job can be so difficult at times, but I am willing to make the sacrifice for you, my readers.
    First I noticed that this powder was a little dirtier than I thought it would be, but that could just be me expecting the wrong thing. I found the rounds to be consistent and accurate.
    Overall, I like the higher-grain reloads, but all of the loads worked well and were consistent.
    The real question is, does this powder really help with copper fouling? I am pretty sure that it does. Even though my guns were fairly dirty after the day at the range, they were extremely easy to clean. In the 9mm, I did not notice any copper fouling. It seems like it works and isn’t a gimmick.


    this was all
    i could find
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    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    Set your sights on pistol reloading data | Hodgdon Reloading hogdon has all the data now on CFE pistol

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    Member Array wrinkles's Avatar
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    Why do you guys fixate on dirtying your firearms?

    Shoot, clean repeat as needed.
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    Senior Member Array herpjunkie's Avatar
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    What I really need is the VMD of CFE Pistol so I can stop weighing every charge and use my Lee perfect powder measure.

    Anyone know what the VMD is? I just emailed Hodgdon, hoping to get a number back soon.....

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array herpjunkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrinkles View Post
    Why do you guys fixate on dirtying your firearms?

    Shoot, clean repeat as needed.
    The fixation has to do with the amount of time it took me to clean my gun last night. I don't mind cleaning it, I do it after every range trip, but this was ridiculous. I spent 5 times longer than I ever have before last night cleaning. Too long.

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    Member Array agalindo's Avatar
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    Jeez. It takes 15 min or less to clean a dirty gun, no matter how dirty it is.

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    Member Array StripesDude's Avatar
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    I bought two pounds of it. Only thing I noticed was more burn marks on the outside of my cases, on one side. This would indicate low pressure. I was loading 230 gr LRN bullets at 6.0 gr of CFE. So 0.2 short of Hodgdons max for that bullet. I'd think at this load the pressure should be adequate, unless Hodgdon is being conservative. I'll load to the max next time.
    My EDC: Springfield XDS
    My sometimes EDC: Colt XSE LW or G26

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    Senior Member Array herpjunkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StripesDude View Post
    I bought two pounds of it. Only thing I noticed was more burn marks on the outside of my cases, on one side. This would indicate low pressure. I was loading 230 gr LRN bullets at 6.0 gr of CFE. So 0.2 short of Hodgdons max for that bullet. I'd think at this load the pressure should be adequate, unless Hodgdon is being conservative. I'll load to the max next time.
    I noticed the very same thing, nasty burn marks down one side of the casing. I was loading LCN (lead conical nose) - recommended starting load is 4.4 grains with a max load of 5.0 grains. I loaded at the min, 4.4.

    Could the low pressure also be caused by the bullet not being seated and crimped enough? The finished product looked perfect, hell, better than factory loaded ammo actually, but it was my first time reloading and the first bullets I ever produced.

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    Senior Member Array herpjunkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalindo View Post
    Jeez. It takes 15 min or less to clean a dirty gun, no matter how dirty it is.
    It should, yeah, but it didn't after shooting those rounds.

    Don't know how you clean yours, but I clean mine until it's clean, I don't put a time limit on it.

  12. #12
    Member Array wrinkles's Avatar
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    If you do it right it doesn't matter if you have shot 500 rounds trough it or 10 it still doesn't take more than 15 min to clean a gun. Been shooting for over 30 years and no gun has been so dirty that it's needs more than 15min to clean until it's really clean.

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    Senior Member Array herpjunkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrinkles View Post
    If you do it right it doesn't matter if you have shot 500 rounds trough it or 10 it still doesn't take more than 15 min to clean a gun. Been shooting for over 30 years and no gun has been so dirty that it's needs more than 15min to clean until it's really clean.
    Think what you want, I know how long it took me to get it clean. You seem adamant about getting your opinion in here for some reason. I've said repeatedly now that it took longer than 15 minutes, to my chagrin, much longer, and I know how to clean a gun. Get over yourself dude, jeez. If you don't like the fact that it took me longer than normal, and I'm not exactly satisfied with the powder - tough. What kind of nimrod keeps repeating "well it should only ever take 15 minutes in my book, duhrrrrrrrrr". Blimy.

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    Member Array StripesDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by herpjunkie View Post
    I noticed the very same thing, nasty burn marks down one side of the casing. I was loading LCN (lead conical nose) - recommended starting load is 4.4 grains with a max load of 5.0 grains. I loaded at the min, 4.4.

    Could the low pressure also be caused by the bullet not being seated and crimped enough? The finished product looked perfect, hell, better than factory loaded ammo actually, but it was my first time reloading and the first bullets I ever produced.
    Someone with more experience than me should weigh in as well...but I think crimp, seat depth, and load could all be culprits. The case expands when the powder is ignited, creating enough pressure to push the case sides against the chamber. With enough pressure, this happens uniformly. When you don't have enough pressure, as you and I both noticed, the hot gas flows down the side of the case. My fear with over crimping non cannelured bullets, you could end up digging into the bullet and create a dangerous situation. And shortening the OAL can create pressure and feed issues.

    My strategy is to add more powder, maybe 0.2 grains, and see what this looks like. I'm already crimping as much as I'm comfortable with, and my OAL is at spec for the bullet.
    My EDC: Springfield XDS
    My sometimes EDC: Colt XSE LW or G26

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    Senior Member Array herpjunkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StripesDude View Post
    Someone with more experience than me should weigh in as well...but I think crimp, seat depth, and load could all be culprits. The case expands when the powder is ignited, creating enough pressure to push the case sides against the chamber. With enough pressure, this happens uniformly. When you don't have enough pressure, as you and I both noticed, the hot gas flows down the side of the case. My fear with over crimping non cannelured bullets, you could end up digging into the bullet and create a dangerous situation. And shortening the OAL can create pressure and feed issues.

    My strategy is to add more powder, maybe 0.2 grains, and see what this looks like. I'm already crimping as much as I'm comfortable with, and my OAL is at spec for the bullet.
    I hear ya, that's what I started doing last night. I increased 0.2 grains from the 4.4 gr starting load. I'm going to see how that works out.

    I'm also thinking a likely culprit might be that I over-flared the end of the case during the neck expansion process. I've backed that die out to where I'm just barely flaring enough to allow for adequate bullet seating.

    I'll post the results and a detailed list of what I did different after my next range trip. If you will, so the same. I'd like to hear if you get it straightened out.

    Thanks StripesDude.

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