Author Topic: Black Powder Shooting - Powder Selections  (Read 143 times)

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Taurian

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Black Powder Shooting - Powder Selections
« on: October 12, 2018, 05:43:55 AM »
I know that there are possibly some black Powder shooters out there.

Any comments on powders (GOEX, Pyrodex, Triple 7, other BP substitutes)?

For the first time BP shooter, I would be interested in your opinion(s) on these powders.

Currently, I am using Pyrodex P in the Traditions "Kentucky" pistol, and I really don't have any complaints (lack of knowledge = less to complain about).
The fact that the GOVERNMENT would even consider removing the natural right to bear arms is the very reason why the 2nd Amendment was written.

M1911A1

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Re: Black Powder Shooting - Powder Selections
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2018, 01:20:05 PM »
I have never used a black-powder substitute.
If it doesn't make big clouds of smoke, and doesn't stink, what's the point?  ;) 
Steve,
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Taurian

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Re: Black Powder Shooting - Powder Selections
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2018, 01:52:54 PM »
Steve,

Actually, Pyrodex does smell.

My point is that black powder substitutes can be used when black powder (FFG or FFFG) cannot be found. And, some are better than others. Hogdon Tripple 7 or Blackhorn 209, for example.  Some clean better than others, some have undesirable properties that, perhaps, would rule out my using it.

The point is to start a discussion and perhaps gain some knowledge about shooting black powder. You seem to have some knowledge. Would you mind sharing some of it?
The fact that the GOVERNMENT would even consider removing the natural right to bear arms is the very reason why the 2nd Amendment was written.

LEJoe

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Re: Black Powder Shooting - Powder Selections
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2018, 02:55:23 PM »
  I have a .54 caliber Lyman Great Plains rifle. It's my second one. I bought a used one then sold it. Missed it so much I ordered another one just like it. Now, I am not high tech, I am about as high tech as a spatula, some of my relatives might give the edge to the spatula in a run off, but, I can tell you for sure that it is one of my most fun guns to shoot. There is just something about the history and the whole process of firing this gun that appeals to me. It's a fire breather and accurate as they come using only Pyrodex RS (the FFG equivalent) I use @90 grains for each shot. Deadly accurate.

  Now, I know I should not have done this, but I just had to fine out... I put a charge in the rifle, and let it set for SIX months. Took it out in the backyard, slapped a cap on it and nailed a milk jug full of water at 50 yards. Did it again, and left it loaded for TWELVE months to the day, and nailed a milk jug at 50 yards.

  I don't know anything about the difference between black powder and Pyrodex. But now that I am living down here in south Florida I do know that there are some wild hogs that will NOT be happy that I own this rifle.

  Pyrodex does stink. There was a test on the relationship with my wife when I washed the barrel in the bathtub. She's still here, and I still shoot that gun.  Side note: Life is good and flowers never hurt anything.   ::)

M1911A1

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Re: Black Powder Shooting - Powder Selections
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2018, 03:20:13 PM »
...I am not high tech, I am about as high tech as a spatula, some of my relatives might give the edge to the spatula in a run off...

 ;D    ;D    ;D


...You seem to have some knowledge. Would you mind sharing some of it?

Using a black-powder gun is extremely satisfying and rewarding...until you have to clean it. And I've cleaned a lot of 'em: Hot water, brush, hot water, brush, hot water, swab, swab, let dry, rub-in lots of oil, wipe most of it out, check for rust once-a-day. Cuss a lot. Hear wife cuss a lot.


I've taken a deer with a real antique Kentucky long rifle, back when I was 17 (I think...or maybe 18). And I've hunted deer and elk with a modern-made copy of a real Plains Rifle, but I never got one until I borrowed a friend's .30-'06 Mauser and then had to relieve myself in the middle of a logged hillside.

I've shot at clay birds with a real Manton caplock shotgun, and missed every one of them. But then, I've also missed every one of the ones I tried to hit with a Winchester Model 12, too.

I've had fun in practical-shooting practice, using a modern-copy Colt's 1861 Army caplock revolver, but I was singularly unsuccessful. A friend was much more successful in the same endeavor, albeit very slow, doing the Cooper Assault and making the reloads by switching-out cylinders.

But what I remember most from all of this was the clean-up. Man, was that memorable. Every time.
Speaking as an experienced black-powder shooter, I have to say that I continue to be so very glad that some people invented all of metallic cartridges, smokeless powder, and non-mercuric primers!
Steve,
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"Qui desiderat pacem, pręparet bellum."

Taurian

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Re: Black Powder Shooting - Powder Selections
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2018, 04:03:12 PM »
Going to Bass Pro Shops tomorrow to see if they have Pyrodex RS. Pyrodex P seemed to do well int eh Traditions "Kentucky" percussion pistol - and I get o see how well it will do in the Traditions "Trapper" in the same caliber (.50 caliber).

I just ordered a Traditions “Plains Hawken” rifle in the same caliber with a 28” barrel. That one will use the Pyrodex RS.

Personally, I found that it does not take a lot of effort to get them clean, although it more than what is called for in modern firearms. I used the 'Moose Milk" mixture and hot soapy water. Then, follow up with a heat gun for drying and lubricated patches for protection. So far, so good. I am also meticulous about swabbing the barrel out after each shot, and that's something our ancestors did not have time to do during fighting off the British, Indians, and Northern Invaders.

I am curious, though. With the Mosin-Nagant, shooting surplus ammo was highly corrosive, as is Black Powder and Pyrodex.  The cure for preventive corrosion during the war was to urinate down the barrel, from which the the ammonia removed the corrosive effects of the primers.  The more modern, and less embarrassing at the range, is to spray Windex (with ammonia) down the barrel to counter the corrosive affects of the primer. I would think that the same principle would apply to corrosive powders like black powder and Pyrodex. But, I can't find anything to verify that.

Being a newbie to the sport of black powder shooting, I probably will be over-thinking and over-doing stuff until I found out that I don't need to.

What does surprise me is that powder could stay in a barrel that long and still shoot.

L.E. Joe, I think that you are more high-tech than you are letting on. Spatulas have been around  longer than both of us.
The fact that the GOVERNMENT would even consider removing the natural right to bear arms is the very reason why the 2nd Amendment was written.

M1911A1

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Re: Black Powder Shooting - Powder Selections
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2018, 10:34:21 PM »
Hot water (and soap) also removes mercuric residues left by corrosive primers. Urine is not necessary.

Also, if the water is hot enough, it self-dries the metal it's been used on.

I have no experience cleaning black-powder firearms with anything but soap and water. The preparations in use nowadays were not available when I was actively shooting muzzleloaders and caplock revolvers.

When I loaded a revolver, I would place a 1/8"-thick, pre-cut disk of graphite-coated paraffin between the powder and the ball. The paraffin sealed the chamber against chain-firing, and also against water, and it helped to keep the resultant powder fouling soft.
I made these disks by pouring melted paraffin into a shallow griddle-pan to make it an even thickness, dusting the surface with graphite so it wouldn't stick to itself, and then cutting the disks with an old .45 "Long" Colt cartridge case from which I'd removed the head. Just press the case down and twist. The disks accumulated in the Colt case, stacked, and finally came out the open top. Then I added more graphite by tumbling the disks gently, by hand, in a can.
If it was actually raining (rare in Southern California), I rubbed a little "bear grease" (home-extracted tallow mixed with Vaseline) around the cap, to seal the nipple too.

That same "bear grease" was my patch lubricant for loads which sat for a long time in my hunting muzzleloaders. But if the bullet was to be shot right away, spit was good enough.

BTW: If you bottle very pure tallow and let it rot, the result is excellent glycerin, which is a really good tap and die lubricant.
Steve,
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"Qui desiderat pacem, pręparet bellum."

Taurian

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Re: Black Powder Shooting - Powder Selections
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2018, 04:31:03 AM »
I haven't warmed up to percussion revolvers just yet, although I do have a Pietta Colt Navy "Griswald and Gunnerson" replica in .36 caliber waiting to be shot.  The 'Gris" has an all brass frame.  I am planning on adding a Uberti "London" in .36 caliber and the Uberti Remington 1858 Army in .44 caliber at some point. But, and for now, I am concentrating on single-shot percussion pistols. I found two "must haves" that will be added when I can afford them. Both are Pedersoli pistols that are fine examples of the pistols used in the mid-1700 to mid 1800s.

I like your "patch work," Steve. Right now, I am just using pre-lubricated patches for the pistols and have some pre-lubricated wads for the .36. I also like the idea of using a cartridge to make them, and I have plenty of used .45 Colt cases to use for the .44. I would think that a used .38 or .357 case could be used for the .36?

I hope to start making my own lubricated patches, as that would cut down on the cost somewhat.  It really depends on how much it cuts down on the cost over buying pre-lubed patches.

Lots to learn.
The fact that the GOVERNMENT would even consider removing the natural right to bear arms is the very reason why the 2nd Amendment was written.

M1911A1

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Re: Black Powder Shooting - Powder Selections
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2018, 01:09:09 PM »
...I...like the idea of using a cartridge to make [wads], and I have plenty of used .45 Colt cases to use for the .44. I would think that a used .38 or .357 case could be used for the .36...

Yes. That ought to work.

Paraffin is very malleable. If the wad is a bit too small in diameter, pressing the ball down onto it will spread it out. If it's a bit too big, it'll still stuff into a chamber under thumb pressure.
The graphite powder (door-lock lubricant) serves only to keep unused wads from sticking together, but in a warm climate it's only moderately successful over time. My old, unused wads (from more than 25 years ago) are now stuck together, and require pressure from a fingernail to separate 'em.

The advantage of paraffin wads over pre-lubricated fiber is that paraffin won't ever leach into the powder charge. I worry that the fiber-wad's lubricant will eventually ruin a shot.
Steve,
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"Qui desiderat pacem, pręparet bellum."

M1911A1

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Re: Black Powder Shooting - Powder Selections
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2018, 01:26:11 PM »
...I hope to start making my own lubricated patches, as that would cut down on the cost somewhat.  It really depends on how much it cuts down on the cost over buying pre-lubed patches...

I only used home-made, pre-lubricated patches in a rifle when I was hunting.

I was privileged in that my leather shop boasted lots of different-size leather punches, the larger round ones being perfect for making rifle patches.

The first problem is finding out how large the patch has to be. It shouldn't be too large...or too small. My sizing technique was to use a sheet of patch material, to start a ball through it, and then to cut the material off at the muzzle with a patch knife. Then I pulled the ball (and eventually re-melted and re-cast it) and measured the patch I'd made.
Then I found the correct punch to make a patch as close to that size as I could manage. I prefer cast-steel arch punches, even though they're very expensive, because they are essentially permanent. Also, they're easy to sharpen (outside only) with emery cloth.
A good-quality punch should be used only by cutting through the cloth into end-grain wood. Otherwise, you'll quickly ruin the punch. And use a mallet (rawhide or wood), not a hammer.

Nowadays, there's probably lots better lubricant than the "bear grease" that I used.
Steve,
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"Qui desiderat pacem, pręparet bellum."

Taurian

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Re: Black Powder Shooting - Powder Selections
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2018, 08:59:43 AM »
Thanks, Steve.

I'll measure the o.d. of the pre-lubed patches that I have, and then see what punches I can find in a similar size.

Good to know about the 'end-grain" wood thing.

I am also trying to find a 'scraper" that will work at the breech plug end of the barrel, although the 'breech plug' on these pistols are welded to the barrel, but which would clean any residue buildup in that area. I was told that 'scraper' tips are made to fit most cleaning rods. Someone also suggested cutting the bore tip off of a AR-15 chamber brush and use the remaining brush to clean that area. I am not comfortable about pushing a (what seems like) steel brush through a bore. I just might try to find the brass scraping tools.
The fact that the GOVERNMENT would even consider removing the natural right to bear arms is the very reason why the 2nd Amendment was written.

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Re: Black Powder Shooting - Powder Selections
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2018, 11:27:58 AM »
...I am also trying to find a 'scraper" that will work at the breech plug end of the barrel...


Dixie Gun Works is your best blackpowder friend.


You want a scraper? They've got scrapers. And worms, another necessity. And everything else, for that matter. It's like the old Herters' catalog, or maybe Sears Roebuck and Monkey Ward combined.

Scrapers? Click on: https://www.dixiegunworks.com/index/page/category/category_id/593/category_chain/578,346,593/name/Rods%2C+Brushes+%26+Patches/
Steve,
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Taurian

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Re: Black Powder Shooting - Powder Selections
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2018, 11:58:35 AM »
I have found Dixie Gun Works ot be goo, and also Track of the Wolf has many items that interest me - in fact, too many. I found pour spouts in various sizes for powder flasks that I will probably get the various calibers.

The Pietta "Griswald" was ordered from Dixie Gun Works; however I caught it on sale. They do seem high in prices for BP firearms, as compared to others.

I just ordered a scraper from Midway, but there was no clue as to caliber.  I'll try it for $5.

I went to my local Bass Pro Shop this morning after range duty. I checked with them last night for Pyrodex RS and they said that it was "low stock." I am learning that when you find this stuff (black powder, percussion caps, etc.) to get it while you can - and 2 cans came home with me. Now, they have no stock.  ;D

I also scored some Remington #10 and #11 percussion caps. I am taking a chance on these as some reports say that they are not as good as the CCI percussion caps. 

Like life, it's all one grand experiment, but unlike life, I can come out of this one alive.  ::)
The fact that the GOVERNMENT would even consider removing the natural right to bear arms is the very reason why the 2nd Amendment was written.