Favourite BP loads

#1
Whilst looking throught the MLAGB site I discovered the following winning loads list for 2002. http://www.mlagb.com/shooting/index.htm. It is of interest to note the loads for flintlock pistol, up to 40 grn of Swiss no 2! Double the load or more than the percussion pistols. Do any Arrsers have similar experiences with flintlock loads? Also of interest some one was shooting with a Tranter 2nd Model revolver, that must surely be an antique.
My pet loads are:

Pedersoli Charles Moore percussion. 14.5 grns Swiss no 2 under a cast ball.
Pedersoli Chares Moore flintlock, 14.5 grns Swiss no 2 under a cast ball.
Both pistols are nominally the same calibre, but the patch for the flintlock is 15 thou instead of the 10 thou I use for the persussion pistol.
 
#2
Most of the flintlocks are smoothbores..

As a general rule, the heavier the load in a smoothbore, the better, so these loadings look quite reasonable. I usually load my Brown Bess with a 60gn load, but it shoots better with the full military 120gn load (but that is bordering on the unpleasant...).

A percussion lock is also more efficient in igniting the charge, and the diameter of the nipple vent is smaller than the equivalent flintlock vent. The burn rate is faster and more efficient, and less back pressure is lost out the vent as a consequence. Some flintlock shotguns have specially designed "swirl chambers" in the breech to improve ignition, but this was not used much in rifles/muskets and never in pistols.
 
#3
That's an interesting thought there on the flintlocks. My pistol barrel is rifled, just. The grooves are very shallow. As for the ignition tubes, they look very narrow on both weapons, indeed I am surprised that the flash from the pan reaches the main charge on the flintlock. Talking of which, instead of using the extremely expensive, € 190.00 per kilo, Swiss priming powder; I use Swiss no 1. Does the biz quite nicely and at a mere € 54.00 per kilo does not leave my piggy bank in intensive care. :D
 
#4
I have to admit to using Swiss priming powder...

Yes, it is expensive, but you only use a pinch and the reliabaility of ignition is much better...
 
#5
When I was mucking around with black powder cartridge rifles, best results were always obtained by filling the cartridge to the brim with powder (just by pouring powder into it), and then using the bullet to compress the load.

Swiss number 3 in the slightly bigger stuff, Swiss number 2 in the stuff under 10 mm.

Since I'm not a blackpowder enthusiast, I now load light Nitro loads with pistols/shotgun powder, when I can be bothered. Your true enthusiast on these matters is Croque_Monsieur.
 
#6
Because of the burning characteristics of BP, you must never leave an air gap between the powder and the back of the projectile. If you do, you can end up with a "ringed" barrel! In a muzzle loader, you must seat the ball on the charge. If the ball jams in the barrel, use a worm and pull the ball, clean the barrel and reseat... NEVER fire off the gun

With BP carts, the powder should be compressed into the case as Stoaty says.. The best way is to drop the powder into the case using a length of tubing; this gets the most even compression to the powder. Any remaining voids should be filled with wads or inert fillers such as semolina, although I am a bit wary of using wads on necked cases. Historically Martini Henry .577/.450 carbine rounds were loaded with a reduced charge, and the way this was achived was by putting a rolled cardboard tube into the case to take up the space. I think this is a better way to go as there is no chance of a wad jamming in the neck and pushing up the pressure.

I do not like the idea of using Nitro in these large capacity chambers, even in duplex loads. The need for fillers etc, just add too many complications and increases the risk of overpressures..
 
#7
No, there's no problem at all using light Nitro loads. No fillers, either (which should only be used with position-sensitive powders, and then with caution). I used to use 12.4 grains N350 pushing a 240 grain bullet in my old 10.4 x 38, with no difficulties.

The common load over here for 8 x 60 Krop is 24 grains N110 pushing a 196 grain jacketed bullet.

My 303 absolutely loves 6.4 grains BA 10 behind a slightly undersize 160 grain . 313 cast bullet.

You've also got to remember that the original Nitro loads developed less pressure at greater velocity than their immediate blackpowder predecessors (see, for instance, the difference between .303 Mark 1 and .303 cordite Mark 1). In any case, large numbers of the continental last-generation blackpowder cartridge rifles had Nitro service cartridges loaded for them when they were withdrawn from front-line use, e.g. Vetterli, Krop etc.

Also, if you stick to the pistol/shotgun powders there just is not enough powder in the provided volume to generate overpressure.
 
#8
Postscript: of course my above piece applies only to intelligent people. Anyone attempting to use a "modern" load in a blackpowder cartridge rifle deserves to suffer the consequences.
 
#9
stoatman said:
No, there's no problem at all using light Nitro loads. No fillers, either (which should only be used with position-sensitive powders, and then with caution). I used to use 12.4 grains N350 pushing a 240 grain bullet in my old 10.4 x 38, with no difficulties.

The common load over here for 8 x 60 Krop is 24 grains N110 pushing a 196 grain jacketed bullet.

My 303 absolutely loves 6.4 grains BA 10 behind a slightly undersize 160 grain . 313 cast bullet.

You've also got to remember that the original Nitro loads developed less pressure at greater velocity than their immediate blackpowder predecessors (see, for instance, the difference between .303 Mark 1 and .303 cordite Mark 1). In any case, large numbers of the continental last-generation blackpowder cartridge rifles had Nitro service cartridges loaded for them when they were withdrawn from front-line use, e.g. Vetterli, Krop etc.

Also, if you stick to the pistol/shotgun powders there just is not enough powder in the provided volume to generate overpressure.
Ooh Sorry Mate....

GOT to counter you on that one... you have this 100% wrong! A large chamber filled with fast powder is absolutly not where you want to be...

Pistol and Shotgun nitro powders have the highest burn rate in the book. If you overload with these, you WILL blow your gun..

Pistol and shotgun powder are physically very similar, however they work in completely different ways in the different weapons. The big difference is that the burn rate of nitro powders is very pressure sensitive. A small increas in pressure makes the burning rate accelerate almost exponentially.

In pistols, especially revolvers, the problem is the all burnt point. The powder charge needs to be burned before the base of the bullet reaches the end of the chamber. In practice thes means that you need to use a very fast burning powder in a strong chamber. You get a very high pressure peak which burns all the powder in the case and kicks the bullet up the barrel. If the burn rate was slower, the powder would still be burning as the bullet passed the cylinder gap and your ballistics would be all over the place.

The Shotgun problem is at the other end of the spectrum.. In this case you have a very much larger chamber, which cannot withstand very high pressures. The burning rate is therefore much slower, and you need to use a "fast" powder that will burn consistently at these lower pressures. The projectile cross sectional density is less and the shot column moves up the barrel much more quickly. The all burnt point is typically 2/3 of the way up the barrel. If you used a slower powder, the low chamber pressures would mean the the burning rate would not be fast enought to achive full combustion.

In a rifle, you need to spread the pressure buildup so that the all burnt point is again about 2/3 up the barrel. A rifle barrel is however capable of withstanding higher pressures, so the burn rate has to be held down to ensure that the peak pressure is not exceeded. You therefore choose a slower burning powder for a low calibre, high pressure gun..

So, If you try to use shotgun powder in a rifle, which has a similar projectile cross sectional density to a pistol, you can very easily end up with high pressure problems. If you do not achieve the rapid acceleration of the projectile and the increase in the chamber volume, you will end up with a runaway burn rate which can (and does) lead to breech failure and/or detonation, partularly with double base propellents such as Bullseye...

I have personally witnessed an individual blowing up a .310 Cadet by "filling up the case" with Bullseye.. He was extremely lucky he chose a Martini action rifle to try out this theory, the action cracked and he got a bloody nose, but with anything else he would have ended up with the bolt in his brain...

Please be aware that the early nitro powders such as Schultz and EC were what were were known as "bulk" powders, and could be loaded with rough equivalence to black powder. Cordite, although a very hot propellent, produced very low pressures when the correct shape was used (this is why Ballistite was used for grenades). They are no longer available (apart from Pyrodex I suppose..). Modern smokeless powders are far more powerful and are much more pressure sensitive than their predecessors..

I have no issues with your cast bullet loadings, indeed I shoot most of my small bore (.30 ish) rifles with 5gn of Unique, but you need to be very aware that even double loading this may get you into trouble...
 
#10
That was a rather long winded way to say "don't double charge"... which any fool knows...

I certainly don't predicate what I do and do not load based on what might happen were I an idiot and load a full case of Bullseye

don't forget that you can double charge and possibly even triple charge a 38 special, maybe even quadruple charge 45 long Colt, and I could probably double charge my 45 ACP. The solution? Not to be a moron, and to load carefully.
 
#11
stoatman said:
That was a rather long winded way to say "don't double charge"... which any fool knows...

I certainly don't predicate what I do and do not load based on what might happen were I an idiot and load a full case of Bullseye

don't forget that you can double charge and possibly even triple charge a 38 special, maybe even quadruple charge 45 long Colt, and I could probably double charge my 45 ACP. The solution? Not to be a moron, and to load carefully.
Well, (and trying not to rant.. honest :D )

Your last statement in your previous post

"Also, if you stick to the pistol/shotgun powders there just is not enough powder in the provided volume to generate overpressure."

is what I am concerned about, as I think you have got this wrong (as I tried to explain). Slow rifle powders are safer in rifles as an overcharge will either bulk out or blow out the barrel unburned..

I would rather have put it:

"Be very careful using reduced charges of fast pistol and shotgun powders in large calibre rifles, as the charge weight can be very critical, and overcharging is less noticeable with a small charge in a large case"

If the guy in my example had used a slower powder such as 2400 or N140 he would not have been able to get a critical load in the .310 case and get the bullet seated...

Most modern .38spl and .45 LC are made much more strongly that the originals as modern frames are designed to take .357 or .44mag. The factor of safety on pistol design is much greater than on rifles becuse of the need to withstand the peak pressure on shot start. I would be careful overcooking .45ACP, particularly if you are using an old 1911! (unless you have an ample supply of top slides and toggles..)

Not in any way accusing you of Moronity, but I have had to deal with quite a few instances, (particularly from ex pistol shooters it has to be said), who have got this wrong...

1. Pistol/Shotgun powder develops HIGHER PRESSURE than rifle powder.
2. Pistols have a much greater safety factor in their design than rifles.
3. You do not place your face next to the chamber when you fire a pistol!

As you so rightly say....

"don't double charge"... which any fool knows...

trouble is, the evidence would seem to prove the opposite :roll:

Unless you have access to a ballistics range and a pressure barrel, stay within 10% of what the book says...

Safe shooting mate :thumright:
 
#12
HE117 said:
stoatman said:
No, there's no problem at all using light Nitro loads. No fillers, either (which should only be used with position-sensitive powders, and then with caution). I used to use 12.4 grains N350 pushing a 240 grain bullet in my old 10.4 x 38, with no difficulties.

The common load over here for 8 x 60 Krop is 24 grains N110 pushing a 196 grain jacketed bullet.

My 303 absolutely loves 6.4 grains BA 10 behind a slightly undersize 160 grain . 313 cast bullet.

You've also got to remember that the original Nitro loads developed less pressure at greater velocity than their immediate blackpowder predecessors (see, for instance, the difference between .303 Mark 1 and .303 cordite Mark 1). In any case, large numbers of the continental last-generation blackpowder cartridge rifles had Nitro service cartridges loaded for them when they were withdrawn from front-line use, e.g. Vetterli, Krop etc.

Also, if you stick to the pistol/shotgun powders there just is not enough powder in the provided volume to generate overpressure.
Ooh Sorry Mate....

GOT to counter you on that one... you have this 100% wrong! A large chamber filled with fast powder is absolutly not where you want to be...

Pistol and Shotgun nitro powders have the highest burn rate in the book. If you overload with these, you WILL blow your gun..

Pistol and shotgun powder are physically very similar, however they work in completely different ways in the different weapons. The big difference is that the burn rate of nitro powders is very pressure sensitive. A small increas in pressure makes the burning rate accelerate almost exponentially.

In pistols, especially revolvers, the problem is the all burnt point. The powder charge needs to be burned before the base of the bullet reaches the end of the chamber. In practice thes means that you need to use a very fast burning powder in a strong chamber. You get a very high pressure peak which burns all the powder in the case and kicks the bullet up the barrel. If the burn rate was slower, the powder would still be burning as the bullet passed the cylinder gap and your ballistics would be all over the place.

Many years ago there were 2 revolvers on display at Bisley (Fultons?). Both with slight mods to the top straps. Some clown, a policeman in one case, had grossly overloaded the cartridges, so much so that on the 357mag revolver not only did the top strap enter Earth orbit, but another cartridge in the next chamber went off as well. Goodbye large chunks of cylinder. The 44 Mag revolver merely lost its topstrap and a small chunk of the cylinder. I suspect that large charges of something fast burning were responsibe. Revolver powder no 1 or Hogdon 110 allmost fill the cases with sensible loads anyway.
Whilst on the subject of fast burning powders, I had an interesting experience with N310 in 9mm years ago. As pressure increases this powder gets rapidly antisocial! One tenth of a grain made the difference between OK and f**kin hell. I now only use the medium burning rate powders in 9mm.
 
#13
Sorry, I didn't phrase the statement entirely correctly: it should have read something more along the lines of "you're not using enough powder within that space", morons excepted.

N310/Bullseye/BA 10 are all very forgiving in the slightly larger cases, such as 45 ACP, 38 special, and larger. I never tried any of them in 9 mm because it always seemed that the powder space was just too damn small and likely to create overpressure at relatively modest velocity.To be honest, I was rather sceptical of the vectan data in 9 mm for BA 10, in which a very small charge of powder reaches an extremely modest velocity (leading me to wonder whether I would be wasting my time regarding whether it would actually cycle properly or not) yet at over 30,000 PSI. I didn't want to go there. BA 9 gives better velocities at less pressure, so seemed to be the better bet.

I also use BA 9 in 7.62 x 39 with a 130 grain cast bullet -- I'm trying to hit a balance between accuracy and trajectory at the moment with this combination. 6.5 grains gives the best accuracy, but 8.5 grains is 3 minutes of angle flatter at 100 m, with still acceptable accuracy for the purpose. No high-pressure signs, by the way... I wouldn't try the same velocities with BA 10 though, which seems best kept below about 1200 ft./s.
 
#14
By the way, I remember a story from Bisley a few years ago about a guy being banned after loading a full case of Bullseye (30gn) into his replica Remington rolling block instead of a full case of black.

He was fine, although shaken, and part of the lock was apparently found embedded into a tree behind the firing point (must have been 200 yards on short Siberia.)
 
#15
Right, enough of all this sci-fi nitro loading waffle! The post is about the holy, righteous, sacred and slightly salty tasting black stuff only :bom:

Generally I work with reduced BP loads in my rifles, both cartridge and ML. I'm shooting at 50m, and 100m once in a blue moon so what is the point of burning expensive powder for nothing.

My standard cartridge load is 45grn (volume) Swiss#2 for .329 (Kroptaschek) through to all the 11xU-name-it 19th century European military cartridges, with coarse polenta taking up the air gap. One curious exception is the tiny Swedish rolling block arty carbine in 12,4x44R which likes only 35grna of Swiss. For the large capacity cases like the Martini and Sniders I use 50-60grns Swiss#3. The polenta will not clump so is ideal for the necked brass. If I bother putting something between the filler and bullet at all, it is simply a lube soaked (dry) felt wad.

The reduced load in most cases either shoot POA at 50m on the lowest sight setting or a bit low, which then means you can use the original sights to compensate.

The muzzleloaders vary since it is easy to alternative loads on the firing point. My Baker is POA at 50m with a very light 45grn Swiss#2 and a tight patch/ball combo. For the Bess I have not yet toyed with it enough
 
#16
Croque_Monsieur said:
Right, enough of all this sci-fi nitro loading waffle! The post is about the holy, righteous, sacred and slightly salty tasting black stuff only :bom:
Croque_Monsieur said:
You eat the stuff! 8O
Apart from that more dirty talk!

eg If you don't smell like an old sewer pipe, you aren't a real muzzle loader shooter.
 
#18
Croque_Monsieur said:
Sewer pipes? Good basis for a canon that, now where is my corned powder?

A true powder monkey will know the taste of powder!
Saw a programme on German TV months ago, somewhere in former East Germany there is a club that fires a 6 pounder on an old military range. It was very impressive, just hate to think of the powder consumption.
 
#20
Cant't help you there, but the next best thing is cannon shooting with various devices including ancient mortars in Deutsches Eck near Koblenz, there are regular shows for tourists in the summer, there is another show event near Coburg. Unfortunately I have just ditched my old copy of Visier with all the details. The pictures were spectacular, the canonier dressed up in uniform created masses of flame and enough smoke to hide a house. :D Didn't state how much powder he used, but he must use the stuff by the ton.
 

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