View Full Version : Anybody shooting cap&ball revolver: grain-volume vs. grain-weight

02-16-2007, 8:23 AM
New to cap&ball revolver scene. Why measure powder charge by grain-volume instead of grain-weight, all for the sake of tradition? Does any of you use Hodgdon triple-seven (FFFg), what's the equivalent 15gr - 20gr.volume to gr.weight?

02-16-2007, 9:45 AM
Mostly because in the old days it was a lot easier to carry grain volume measures rather than scales for individual loads and it's still more convenient today when you are dealing with loose powder. So, when all the blackpowder substitutes like pyrodex, triple 7 etc. were designed they did it to match the equipment that the blackpowder shooters were already using.

IMHO, It's safer and easier to measure loose powder by volume rather than weight in uncontrolled conditions, (outside in the wind, in a hurry, etc.).

02-16-2007, 10:01 PM
I do all my charges by volume and I use triple 7, and pyrodex p. the triple 7 works better in the walker and dragoon and pyrodex work better in the 1858 remington and 1851 colt.
Its easier if you get a flask with a premeasued charger so you can quickly throw charges in the gun.

02-17-2007, 7:20 AM
I don't shoot my 1860 Colt very often so I use the pre-measured pellets. They work great and are simple to use although it is more expensive than bulk powder and you can't adjust the powder charge.

02-17-2007, 7:53 AM
use triple 7 the same way as pyrodex and black powder. When I change between the powders I use the same amount of grains. I have a 1851 colt and a 1860 colt, and I use 25 grains of either Triple 7 or pyrodex, Triple 7 is far superior though. So what I am saying is 20g of triple 7 is equivalent to 20g of pyrodex or black powder.

02-18-2007, 12:25 PM
In early days the method of charging a firearm with powder was standardized to volume measurement of grain-weight charges for convenience in the field. It seems that the grain-weight to volume measure conversion was based on FFg powder, since in my experience a 30g-volume charge of FFg weighs on my scale about 30 grains, but a 30g-volume charge of FFFg weighs out at 27 grains (fluffier). Finer powders seem to throw lighter.

Substitutes like Pyrodex and Triple Se7en are different:

Pyrodex is formulated to throw at the same volume for an equivalent black powder charge, but will weigh lighter on a scale. My experience bears this out.

Triple Seven has similar characteristics as Pyrodex, but the energy content is 15% higher. Not only will the 30gr volume charge weigh lighter on a scale, but the charge itself should be reduced 15% to 26-27gr for the same charge strength.

See Hodgdon's info here:

02-23-2007, 12:21 PM
Just came back from Chabot shooting my repro. 1851 Navy (36-cal) w/ 50rds of 17.5gr-vol triple-7 FFFg behind .375 ball. I was able to put 6-shots in 4 to 5-in groups at 20yrds off bench. I'm not a pistol shooter, but I thought the grouping is pretty good for this cap&ball.

BTW, I pre-measured the powder last night and stored each load in a 7.62x39 case and cap it w/ a drimmel-sliced 9mm shell-base. Instead of lube-wad, I used Crisco shortening to seal my chamber after seating powder and ball (to prevent simultaneous discharge). Loading caps are pain in the a** though, I was able to get off 3 relays (18 shots) in 15 min. Now I know why Civil War troopers carried 4 cap&ball in battles.