HOOK AND FUR
By Bob Brown
Last year, the Hodgdon powder company introduced a new propellant called CFE 223. Made by St. Marks Powder in Florida, CFE stands for Copper Fouling Eraser. Hodgdon said CFE prevents the disposition of fouling from ammunition loaded with it and helps with the removal of previously deposited fouling as more shots are fired.
The copper-removal property of CFE was initially developed for high–volume military systems, where bore fouling is a major problem. The exact way CFE limits copper deposition is a closely guarded trade secret, but basically the principle involved a lubricity property that shields the pores of barrel steel and erases existing copper as you shoot.
Steve Gosh, writer for Hodgdon’s 2013 Annual Reloading Manual, said he has no idea how CFE works, but knows it does – and best of all, handloaders now have access to this new technology.
Gosh said he loaded buckets of 204 Ruger and .223 Remington ammo using CFE on various projects with great success. After firing long strings, the rifle bores were examined using a Hawkeye bore scope. Very little copper fouling was found compared to conventional ammo, and what there was cleaned out easily with modern ammonia-free solvents.
A Hodgdon engineer told Dick Metcalf, technical editor for Inter-Media Outdoors Group and contributing writer for Hodgdon’s 2013 manual (How FCE Works), the active ingredient in the new propellant does two things. First, it forms an oxide with the almost-molten and still-malleable copper smeared from the bullet, which then leaves the barrel in microscopic fragments as part of the muzzle blast. Second, CFE leaves a residue in the bore so that fouling from following rounds does not adhere to the metal.
Asked if using CFE 223 in an already-fouled bore would remove previous fouling, their answer was, “That’s not been proven.” Metcalf said he took that as an invitation and decided to do his own testing of CFE.
Metcalf’s test rifle barrel was already fouling-free, thanks to 200 rounds of handloads just fired, so he put another 100 rounds of American Eagle commercial ammo through it. A bore scope revealed definite fouling, though not quite as much as from twice as many rounds of the same load the first time. The rifle was then allowed to sit for a week (uncleaned), and then 100 CFE 223 handloads were rapid-fired through it. It came out like a freshly-cleaned barrel.
The new powder definitely does “erase” previous fouling, but Metcalf said he agrees with the Hodgdon engineer who commented it would probably be a lot more cost-effective and time-effective just to clean a heavily fouled and inaccurate bore by conventional means than to shoot hundreds of CFE 223 handloads through it. But a steady diet of the “eraser” propellant from the onset will certainly keep it from getting fouled in the first place.
Mallard versus Muscovy ducks
The Mallard duck is probably the most recognized wild duck in the U.S. and is the foundation breeding stock for all domestic duck breeds except the Muscovy. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requires all domestically hatched Mallard ducklings to be identified to prove they are domestically bred and raised, usually by removing the back toe as day-olds.
Because of the wild nature of the Mallard, their meat is considered more gamey than other duck meats. One of the healthiest meats on the market today is Muscovy meat, which is 98 percent fat-free. Muscovies, unlike other duck species, have no genetic influence by the great daddy of all other ducks, the Mallard. They are their own species. Thanks to Minnesota resident Janice Cole.