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This paper investigates encoders optimization for the Hamming weight after periodic puncturing, and discusses minimality issues that may affect the performance of the punctured encoders. Periodically puncturing a minimal encoder produces a higher rate encoder that may or may not be minimal. If it is not minimal, it may have a zero-output loop and it may be catastrophic. A code search can use a fast algorithm to determine whether an encoder's state diagram has a zero-output loop under periodic symbol puncturing, and a proposed method to assess the performance of codes with a zero-output loop that are not catastrophic. As an example, the paper optimizes rate-1/4 unpunctured codes for Hamming weight under both bit-wise and symbol-wise periodic puncturing. Code tables and simulation results are included.