Different flux could dictate why some beads look shinier. I seem to recall some Lincoln rod left a shinier bead. Shininess of a bead is certainly not anything I've ever seen as far a weld requirement. Visual maybe on something that is very noticeable and people look at. LoL A 1/8" 7018 should burn about 6" long maybe a little more at the recommended amps (approx. 130) Some like to run up to 150 amps and for sure the rod is almost ready to melt when you get close to the stub and travel speed may allow a longer bead. Burning colder could certainly burn a longer bead. Most 1/8" rods will burn around 6" at suggested amps. 7014 a little longer because of the added iron powder. On pipeline running real hot XX10 rods will burn a long weld, long bead. Look how long a 7024 (Jet rod) will burn. Have had a bead over 2 1/2ft. long with 1/4" 7024.