Cleaning Load with CFE

I though a “Copper Fouling Eraser” powder would be great for jacketed loads meant to be shot at the ned of a session to “clean” out lead fouling. I was skeptical of the very high velocity / low pressure load data the powder maker published. It looked too good to be true. My initial load didn’t use exact components and chronographed ~10% slower than advertised. So I tried exact components, and was pleasantly surprised to get within 1% of the advertised velocity.

Cartridge: 45 Colt

Brass: Winchester, 1x fired

Primer: Rem 2½ Large Pistol

Powder: CFE Pistol 8.8gr (per Hodgdon)

Bullet: 250 gr Nosler JHP, #43013

Crimp: Heavy Lee factory crimp

Velocity: 841 fps (814,868,844,850,825,845)

Extreme Spread (6 shots): 814-868 = 54fps

Standard Deviation (6 shots): 19fps

LabRadar Series: S29

Firearm: Ruger Blackhawk, 5.5″ Barrel

Notes: Low flash.

Hodgdon claims 915fps at 13kPSI with a Hornady XTP, WLP Primers, 7.25″ test barrel. I started with the maximum load, on the assumption I would get a cleaner burn at a higher pressure (since 45 Colt is much lower pressure than most modern pistol rounds CFE was presumably designed for). I felt safe doing that because I had a tremendous safety margin since this was intended for a Ruger Blackhawk.

The WLP primer Hodgdon used in their load data is suitable for hard-to-ignite “magnum” powders. Given the inconsistent performance of this load, I should try the WLP or a magnum primer, with my next CFE load, and see if I get more consistency.


I tried this same load with mixed brass, and 250gr HiTek coated lead bullets and got:

Velocity: 963 fps (940, 948, 952, 963, 937, 948, 972, 963, 967, 972, 980, 966, 948, 951, 983, 983, 971, 977, 978)

Extreme Spread (19 shots): 983-937 = 46.12

Standard Deviation (19 shots): 14.63

LabRadar Series: S106

Notes: Recoil was not bad, but a bit snappier than I expected. Hodgon’s load data for a “250gr. cast LRNFP” bullet predicts ~972 fps.


Next, I exactly duplicated the online load data. But I also used a different gun which should give higher velocity on it’s own (6″ Freedom Arms Model 83 with 45 Colt cylinder & minimal cylinder gap).

Brass: Winchester, 2x fired

Primer: Win WLP

Powder: CFE Pistol 8.8gr (per Hodgdon)

Bullet: 250gr Hornady XTP

Velocity: 905 fps (898,909,913,889,910,878,920,916,911,905)

LabRadar Series: S121

Extreme Spread(10x): 42 fps = 920 – 878

Standard Deviation (10x): 12.93

Firearm: Freedom Arm M83, 45 Colt cyl., 6″ Barrel

Notes: 9/10 shots on steel silhouette at 100 yards. Within 10fps (1%) of published velocity. ES and StdDev do not seem much better.

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