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  1. #1
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    First Impressions: Puff-Lon for .300 Blackout

    ***This thread will have reloading nerd talk***

    What is Puff-Lon


    It's a case filler that helps eliminate powder shift and other problems in reduced loads. This comes in especially handy for subsonic loadings for 300 Blackout.

    I would venture to say the use of Puff-Lon is safe but for it to be most effective it's a medium to advanced reloading technique that can have really good benefits.


    My Tests


    I have been experimenting a bit with some cast bullets that have Hi Tek coating on them. My bullets are 217 grain non jacketed bullets. That said cast bullets or jacketed bullets Puff-Lon could provide a lot of benefits.

    Cast bullets when put up against similar grain jacketed bullets will give you quite a bit more velocity with everything else remaining constant. 100 to 200 fps increase in velocity is to be expected, and quite possibly much more than that. In one test I reduced a published load data by one full grain (using cast bullets) and STILL got 200fps over the published data of it's jacketed counterpart.

    For my test I chose to use Hogdon H110, precisely because it's a much more difficult powder to work with for subsonic use. I wanted to prove that it's either going to work or it will fail miserably. It's the go to supersonic powder, but I chose that one for my tests because it's hard, not easy to work with for my purpose.

    My preliminary testing showed 7.9 to 8.2 grains of H110 with my bullet should produce 'about' what I was looking for. Starting at that baseline I noticed serious powder shift issues. My velocity spreads were wildly off by hundreds of fps.

    Conversions


    I figured out (using Lee's published powder volume tables) about how much case fill I would have. After the bullet was seated my rough estimations were that I had about one cubic cm of space to play with inside the case. With a 7.9 grain charge of H110 I have about 50% or 51% case fill. Such a low percentage allows the powder to shift all over and hence the wildly different velocities shot to shot.

    So yes you will need to measure by weight (grains) but you also need to know the volume in cubic centimeters as well.

    I tried just putting 'a little' puff-lon into the cases (no measurement). I also tried putting as much as reasonably possible in the case. The best results though came from calculating out my volumes and using a measured amount of puff lon. Using a .3cc Lee scoop and a .5cc Lee scoop I did some testing. The .3cc would leave me slightly under full, and the .5cc would leave me slightly over full based on my 1cc net case volume estimation.

    The Standard

    All of my bullets were seated exactly to the same length.
    The same exact crimp was applied
    All of my charges were EXACTLY 7.9grains.
    Brass was mixed, once fired.

    With the .3cc of Puff Lon my velocity was still way high for my target. The highest velocity was 1141 fps and the lowest was 1087. There were clear signs of powder shift and maybe pressure spikes although nothing dangerous at all. The gun functioned well but there was no bolt hold open. So far in all my tests I have not touched my gas block adjustments at all, but it's another option here.

    With the .5cc addition of Puff Lon my average velocity was 1074fps with about a 30fps deviation. That 30fps could be from my not having a perfect chrono setup or the differences in brass. I had full function and bolt hold open on the last round all with my gas settings unchanged.

    Other Benefits


    Puff Lon seems to open the door to a much wider array of powders that can be used.

    It also opens the door wide open for using a much wider array of bullets (hence a lot cheaper round). At this point I would be comfortable stating that I could make very light subsonic loads that will also fully run and cycle an AR platform. For plinking this is a big deal when it comes to cost. This alone could allow subsonic shooting for 1/3 the cost (or less) and it would still run the gun just fine.

    Suppression Levels


    I have long held that ammo can make or break the 'sound suppression levels'. I've shot some Remington 220 grain and that stuff is subsonic but it's BARELY tolerable. On the flip side I've shot some Hornady 208 grain factory ammo and that was substantially quieter out of the same gun and suppressor on the same day with everything else being equal.

    In that vein, my loads easily challenged the quiet level of the Hornady ammo and I am not even close to done testing powders. There are several powders out there that are 'quiet' one of which I have, and the other I haven't gotten any yet. By the use of certain pistol powders you can achieve all the right velocities, have very good consistency, and your sound reduction will definitely be noticeable.

    Once I get all worked up and ready I would be interested in sending some ammo off to someone with a meter so that I can prove the concept. I would say using that Remington 220 ammo (super loud) but still subsonic as a baseline, that you could easily shave 4 to 6 DB (and possibly more) off of the sound signature both at the ear and muzzle.

    As a note, H110 is not on the quiet list of powders (that I know of) but my combination easily was quieter than at least 3 or 4 commercially available subsonic loads. I don't know exactly how many DB or whatever, but I could easily tell a difference.

    Some Accurate Powder and some Vihtavuori powders are supposedly really quiet with reduced loads so I will test soon. I have some of the Accurate powder but not the other. Supposedly the VV powder is the quietest and cleanest. I will report back later and let you know if you're interested.

    As far as I am concerned the concept is proven. Using slower burning pistol powders in reduced load(s) and adding Puff Lon for consistency in velocity and pressure should provide interesting results. That's not a bad deal at all, especially since we are not talking about some single shot bolt action but a fully functioning semi auto AR platform.

    Maybe I am just a nerd but this is pretty exciting stuff.

    On another note, the manufacturer claims that Puff Lon can help reduce FRP in many suppressors. I definitely think this is possible. Very much so.

    Conclusion


    The odds of me buying more Puff Lon at this point is right about the 99.8%. I am going to test other powders and put together other loads of varying grain weight bullets and see what happens. At this point I will probably try 180 grain and 190 grain jacketed bullets and see what happens. After that I might try some more stuff just for kicks. In the end though, if you are calculating enough and patient enough to try it, Puff Lon could be a pretty good ticket for certain applications.

  2. #2
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    I should note that I only got the puff-lon yesterday. On my first try there with 8.0 grains at the deeper seating depth my average velocity was 1090 to 1099. A total of 9 fps variance across all shots. I will revisit this 8 grain load but with my now longer seating depth and see if that reduces my velocities to where I want them at.

    I am experimenting with a lot of different stuff here but it's all been going very well so far.

  3. #3
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    Is that the nonsense Sig puts in their subsonic Blackout ammo? If it is that crap gets into everything after just one magazine. After 15 minutes it was still coming out of the suppressor in a ultrasonic cleaner.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SINNER View Post
    Is that the nonsense Sig puts in their subsonic Blackout ammo? If it is that crap gets into everything after just one magazine. After 15 minutes it was still coming out of the suppressor in a ultrasonic cleaner.
    I don't know. Do you have any pics of it? I have some Sig subsonic ammo so I might have to shoot some and find out.

    This stuff is FINE grained and made out of some fancy stuff that I don't know what it is. It's slightly more 'coarse' than baby powder but it's puffy and light and fluffy and supposedly a dry lubricant. It's like a fine grain women's make up powder that is soft to the touch.

    http://www.pufflon.com/newfront.html


    Here is another quote from their page

    "The ingredients in Puff-Lon are as follows:

    Puff-Lon filler is made with dry, light weight powdered synthetic
    lubricants and molybdenum disulfide impregnated into a light weight
    100% natural cellulose (about 1/10th the weight of water, 1cc = about
    15gr. of gunpowder in volume) that is able to withstand temperature in
    excess of 650 degrees Fahrenheit that is compressible, and resilient.
    Resiliency is very important to be sure that a compressed load is always
    maintained and the position of the powder will not change. The
    combination of dry lubricants slide together without sticking together to
    create a better coefficient of friction that any one lubricant alone. The
    lubricants, which are made of particles as small as .1 um and have the
    capability of traveling with the gases. The product has been granulated
    so it can be handled with the same ease as your gunpowder and has an
    infinite shelve life. The lubricants have been formulated to avoid
    excessive build-up in the barrel, while leaving a moisture resistant one
    layer coating that is smoother than any known dry surface. The only
    build-up of lubricant in the barrel are in the micro voids left by imperfect
    machining and polishing of the barrel or in the pits of old eroded and
    corroded barrels. The lubricants fill in the low points and voids where
    the projectile never touch, this is where the copper and lead fouling
    would normally start the building process by shaving off the fouling and
    stuffing it into these cavities. We recommend cleaning the barrel as little
    as possible but always oil your barrel before stowing it away. This will
    give you less settling-in shots the next time you shoot."
    Last edited by alamo5000; 13 July 2018 at 04:38.

  5. #5
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    I have seen Gemtech ammo leave a ton of yellow granules in lower receivers. Can you post a picture of your puff lon in a scoop or something? If it burns off, that’s awesome.

    Interesting results.

    But, I can’t help but think this is a bandaid. Im not knocking your tests, it is very helpful especially when some powders aren’t locally available. As popular as 300BLK is, you’d think powders specifically made for 300BLK (CFEBLK?) would be more prevalent that fill case volume like Trail Boss

  6. #6
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    I will put up pics soon. As far as I can tell it burns off 90% or more and what doesn't you can blow off like you would do with a piece of lint.

    The granules are smaller than most if not all spherical powders.

    1680 and cfe black still won't let you use lighter grain subs without a bit of tweaking. Also from my understanding cfe black is very loud in muzzle report and chamber pop. Same thing with 1680.

    Like I said, the sound report just from that one powder is substantially less.

    I have 6 powders to try and about 4 or 5 bullet weights so I will be testing for a while.

    I would even venture to say the sound reduction could be more than 4 to 6 db with the right powder in a heads up competition with Remington ammo and still several db quieter than with cfe black or 1680.

    At the same time retaining full functionality of the AR including cycling and lock back.

    I don't have a sound meter but the only thing that even comes close sound wise is Hornady. The other 5 or 6 brands I've tried don't even come close and I haven't even gotten to the good stuff powder wise yet.

  7. #7
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    All that said this is for sure a specialty load. It's got one or two more small steps involved but the benefits are there if you want those.

  8. #8
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    Also as far as I know Trail Boss will not cycle the action on an AR.

    I hear trail boss is great for single shots but I'm only making fully functional ammo for my SBR.

    Also the use of faster than rifle powders and some mid to slower pistol powders in reduced loads it means all the powder is burnt and gone in 4 to 5 inches of barrel.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by alamo5000 View Post
    Also as far as I know Trail Boss will not cycle the action on an AR.

    I hear trail boss is great for single shots but I'm only making fully functional ammo for my SBR.

    Also the use of faster than rifle powders and some mid to slower pistol powders in reduced loads it means all the powder is burnt and gone in 4 to 5 inches of barrel.
    I only said Trail Boss because of how much case volume it provides, not that it functions semi autos just for the record

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Former11B View Post
    I only said Trail Boss because of how much case volume it provides, not that it functions semi autos just for the record
    No worries man. LOL. I was on my phone and trying to read and type so maybe I didn't catch it all.

    Anyway I have a lot more testing to do...I hope I stumble onto something miraculous. LOL!

  11. #11
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    Here are some pics that I found online of puff lon in the wild. These are not my pics but you get the idea. My puff lon though does seem to be a lot finer of a grain than these photos indicate but it might just be the close up view they took to show the stuff. Like I said, mine is kind of slightly more coarse than baby powder but with a unique texture to it.

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    So far I have been doing a lot of various tests at my own chaotic and random pace. I am trying out cast bullets (see the other thread) as well as a few jacketed bullets. So far other than my cast bullets I have tested 180 grain jacketed bullets and a very few 190 grain jacketed bullets.

    So far the 180's...I would call a resounding success. I have gotten consistent subsonic velocity with full function of the gun with those rounds. With that one round I did a 10 shot string and my single shot extreme low velocity was 1028 and my single shot extreme high velocity was 1107. All the rest of the shots were consistently 1036 to 1085 in range. In that case I was using a soft point jacketed boat tail bullet.

    I am going to keep on trying various bullet weights too.

    I have been experimenting with much faster than normal powders. On my burn rate chart Accurate 1680 is #84 on the list. Some of the powders I am aware of and/or am currently testing range from #62 on my burn rate chart down to the very low 70's on that chart. One of the ones I tested already (a little) is 7 or 8 spaces faster than H110. I also have some of the 'regular powder' for 300 BLK as well but I haven't opened those up yet.

    It's definitely an advanced reloading thing to work with non published data, but I took my suppressor off afterwards and I was AMAZED at how clean it was. I mean there was ZERO carbon. It seemed like my suppressor was cleaner AFTER I shot with those powders than it did before. My muzzle device was spotless.

    For the most part, and I think it varies powder to powder, but for the most part the puff-lon pretty much evaporates upon shooting. I have seen with a few loads a few specs here or there on my muzzle device and in the blast chamber but they blew away with a puff of breath. It's definitely not leaving any big granules of heavy material in the suppressor.

    I will need to run more test to check on accuracy of the stuff I am working up, but my goal is for quiet, clean, and accurate all three. Cheap too. Cheap is good. The primary reason for wanting to try 180 and 190 grain bullets (or maybe even lighter) is sheerly cost of shooting. I want to be able to shoot more for less. Over 40 cents per projectile for heavier grain bullets is crazy expensive when you add it all up.

    If I can make it quieter too, that's all the better.

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