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Curio & Relic/Black Powder Curio & Relics and Black Powder Firearms, Old School shooting fun!

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  #1  
Old 10-01-2017, 4:26 PM
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Default Smokeless in a BP gun.

I've been trying to find a test where someone used smokeless in a muzzle loader or BP revolver that wasn't an intentional overcharge to see what actually happens if you do it. The only couple I can find is with people putting huge loads of powder in them. If anyone knows of one where they used a reasonable load please post a link.

I've been thinking about setting up a test rig to see but if it's been done that would be so much easier.
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Old 10-01-2017, 6:07 PM
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Here you go. Fun video with great kabooms.

I know you asked for non intentional overcharge, there are portions of this video where they have loads that didn't grenade the gun. I do NOT recommend doing that!!

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Old 10-01-2017, 7:00 PM
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In good working condition BP revolvers or rifles, it is not only a double or excessive charge that can cause problems. Using a powder with the wrong burn rate can cause dangerous higher than BP pressure spikes.
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Old 10-01-2017, 7:40 PM
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I have a book Smith and Wesson Six Guns of the Old West
https://www.amazon.com/Smith-Wesson-.../dp/1931464103
by gunsmith David Chicoine. He describes the damage caused by using smokeless powder cartridges in S&W top break revolvers that were designed for black powder. The main thing was frame stretching causing increased cylinder end shake and increased cylinder barrel gap.
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Old 10-02-2017, 8:17 AM
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When you undertake this moronic event, please notify me because I won't want to be within a 10 mile radius of you.
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Old 10-02-2017, 8:21 AM
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Going for the Darwin Award?
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Old 10-02-2017, 8:36 AM
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I was so pleased that the first three replies were sensible and shared useful information.

It didn't take long for the drama brigade to step in, but if others would refrain it would be appreciated.
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Old 10-02-2017, 8:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 81turbota View Post
Here you go. Fun video with great kabooms.

I know you asked for non intentional overcharge, there are portions of this video where they have loads that didn't grenade the gun. I do NOT recommend doing that!!

I'm on an old borrowed computer, mine's in the shop, and it won't let me view that video; missing plug in and it won't work. Any chance there's a different way to get to that video? I'm somewhat computertarded.
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Old 10-02-2017, 8:46 AM
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I'm not sure if your computer will be able to use this but here's the direct YouTube link....



https://youtu.be/en384qVqrug
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Old 10-02-2017, 9:11 AM
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It did, thanks.

Unfortunately it's one of the vids I've already seen. Their lowest load of smokeless was about 3-4 times what one would use in a .44 magnum so not really a reasonable amount to put in a BP rifle. The result didn't surprise me too much. Wish they'd had a chrono set up.

For the record, before the comments/questions start muddying this up; I'm not looking to develop smokeless loads for my BP guns and if I decide to test it I'll be doing it similarly and nobody will be anywhere near the gun. The gun(s) will be tested to destruction or otherwise destroyed so they can't be used after being abused.
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Old 10-02-2017, 9:26 AM
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Among shotgunners and collectors of old double guns there exists a group of people who are not afraid to shoot smokeless powder in their twist barrel black powder SxS shotguns. Of those people at least one took the time to put a pressure transducer on a barrel and test some black powder and smokeless powder loads.

The results were that smokeless powder doesn't necessarily make more pressure than black powder, and black powder isn't always lower pressure than smokeless powder. However, smokeless powder always had a faster pressure impulse (i.e. made peak pressure more quickly and relieved that peak pressure more quickly) than black powder.

This person's conclusion was that 'pressure is pressure' and as long as he loaded smokeless powder to reasonable pressures he wouldn't blow up his fine damascus barreled SxS shotguns.

The only real arguments to this idea that pressure is pressure is that the relatively sharper impulse can possibly cause a failure. While the round is firing the chamber stretches as pressure builds, it is possible that some guns may not withstand building pressure that quickly and that while they could ultimately handle the high pressure, introducing that much pressure that quickly could be catastrophic. The other argument is that fine double guns where built with barrels specifically tuned to the expected powder charge such that the barrels are thicker towards the breech end to withstand the pressure but get thinner towards the muzzle in proportion to how long the pressure impulse was supposed to last.

In my opinion I think the first concern has some real merit, I don't think the second one does.
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Old 10-02-2017, 11:54 AM
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Would a slow burning rifle powder change that pressure curve or is smokeless always going to have that sharper initial pressure just due to how it ignites/burns?
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Old 10-02-2017, 1:42 PM
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This was show in some tests with SR 4759, ACC 5744 for example. I'm trying to remember the source.
45_70_pressures1.jpg

Last edited by otteray; 10-02-2017 at 3:09 PM..
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Old 10-02-2017, 4:56 PM
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You can also shoot a non-sulphur BP substitute, like Triple Se7en. It still produces clouds of smoke, but makes for quick and easy cleanup much like modern loads.
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Old 10-02-2017, 5:07 PM
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Thanks otteray.

Do you know what Prf stands for?
Do you know what the pressure was measured in? It's obviously not PSI. And do you know what "Rise" means?

The pressure graphs for 4750 look milder than the BP with similar velocities with lower "Peak" pressure but the "Rise" is higher.

The pressure is stated as "estimated", do you know if it was measured with something and the numbers were estimated based on the type of test or if it was computer modeling estimates like one would get from a ballistic calculator? The "area" value is blank on all but one; any clue why?

Looking only at the graphs it appears that 4759 is a more gentle propellant than BP pressure wise, just trying to figure out if I'm right or reading it wrong. I did notice that they used a lighter bullet with the 4759 which may explain it, seems odd they changed two components for the test.
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Old 10-02-2017, 5:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoothie View Post
You can also shoot a non-sulphur BP substitute, like Triple Se7en. It still produces clouds of smoke, but makes for quick and easy cleanup much like modern loads.
I've read that and have also read that substitutes are harder to clean and more corrosive, maybe it depends on the user and how he shoots and cleans. Or maybe it's like arguing oils on vehicle forums. I mostly use BP but have also used Pyrodex and not noticed much difference, but haven't paid close attention. I have some 777 now but haven't shot it yet. I recently acquired a partial drum of old Dupont 3F so I'll probably be set for a little while.
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Old 10-02-2017, 5:35 PM
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It's common to use small charges of fast burning pistol powder in big bore black powder cartridge rifles. Muzzleloaders? Nope.
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Old 10-02-2017, 7:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RestrictedColt View Post
Thanks otteray.

Do you know what Prf stands for?
Do you know what the pressure was measured in? It's obviously not PSI. And do you know what "Rise" means?

The pressure graphs for 4750 look milder than the BP with similar velocities with lower "Peak" pressure but the "Rise" is higher.

The pressure is stated as "estimated", do you know if it was measured with something and the numbers were estimated based on the type of test or if it was computer modeling estimates like one would get from a ballistic calculator? The "area" value is blank on all but one; any clue why?

Looking only at the graphs it appears that 4759 is a more gentle propellant than BP pressure wise, just trying to figure out if I'm right or reading it wrong. I did notice that they used a lighter bullet with the 4759 which may explain it, seems odd they changed two components for the test.
I do not know.
Sherman Bell’s pressure testing published in The Double Gun Journal Summer 2002 "Finding Out for Myself, Part VI, Smokeless vs Black", p.19, and summarized in Volume 17: Issue 4, Winter 2006, p. 39

I also find it interesting that in an article written by my father for Handloader Magazine in 1992, he quoted a S&W catalog from 1899 stating that while factory smokeless was okay for the New Model Number 3, reloading was not recommended.
Winchester as well, approved of smokeless and many other rifles dating from the 1873 forward.
1873 Smokeless38WCF.jpg

I can't find the original article or the specifics, but I recall that the lighter charge of 4759 used with the smaller bullet, was to make it more "apples to apples" comparable.
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Old 10-02-2017, 8:07 PM
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I think that was the data I was thinking about when I wrote my post, it appears I had the conclusion backwards however.
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Old 10-02-2017, 8:21 PM
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Rise is probably the time in milliseconds that it takes to reach the peak pressure.

Black powder is a faster propellent than smokeless powder, it reaches it's peak pressure quicker but the pressure decays quicker, also.

This is the opposite of what most of the people above are saying.
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Old 10-02-2017, 8:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_R View Post
It's common to use small charges of fast burning pistol powder in big bore black powder cartridge rifles. Muzzleloaders? Nope.
Which mostly doesn't make sense to me. Both guns were made for BP. Only thing I can figure is that with a cartridge there's a pre-determined amount of air space where with a ML the norm is to push the ball/bullet right to the powder giving no free air to absorb the initial expansion, but I don't know enough to know if that would actually make the difference between safe and not.
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Old 10-02-2017, 8:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Hunt View Post
Rise is probably the time in milliseconds that it takes to reach the peak pressure.

Black powder is a faster propellent than smokeless powder, it reaches it's peak pressure quicker but the pressure decays quicker, also.

This is the opposite of what most of the people above are saying.
And opposite of everything 'everyone' says about BP vs smokeless.
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Old 10-02-2017, 9:14 PM
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RestrictedColt, to answer your question of the reduced charge of powder in the test, it was reduced to match the original BP velocity of the other samples shown, making in more "apples to apples."
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Old 10-02-2017, 9:43 PM
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That totally makes sense and it did hit very close velocity. My only questioning about it was using a lighter bullet for the smokeless load instead of staying with the same bullet. I'd generally expect a test like this to change only one thing at a time, but maybe the person concluded that he needed to change the bullet to go with the smokeless.
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Old 10-02-2017, 9:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otteray View Post
This was show in some tests with SR 4759, ACC 5744 for example. I'm trying to remember the source.
Attachment 645068
I don't know about gunpowder, but I know about something analogous. In missile warheads, there is something called a thermobaric "metal augmented charge" where aluminum powder is mixed into the explosive. They are used in Hellfire and some handheld rockets (SMAW I think). The result is a decreased total peak pressure, however that pressure maintains maximum for longer, just like the third graph here. It is significantly more destructive when detonated in a closed space (a building) because the pressure holds long enough for the materials to reach failure. That seems to match better with the claims that BP burns "faster", so it reaches peak quickly and then drops, and why it doesn't kaboom.
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Old 10-02-2017, 10:06 PM
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I knew I had a picture. left is basic warhead, high pressure but low duration. right is mac warhead, lower pressure, longer duration.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg mac.jpg (14.9 KB, 26 views)
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Old 10-03-2017, 8:05 AM
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I found the source that I originally got my info from, https://www.levergunscommunity.org/v...fc3072#p339567

"In the above data, he used a 410 grain bullet with IMR SR4759. To compare apples to apples, you should increase the peak pressure by 25% to compare with the 500 grain bullet. This will raise the peak pressures to be pretty much identical with FFg and still lower than FFFg, but higher than Fg. It will also reduce the 'rise' (the length of the curve).

"Sherman Bell, in his comparisons (not shown here) used the same bullet but with different smokeless powders and black powder. What he showed is that slower smokeless powders (he used IMR 4198, IMR 3031 and RL-7) can give the same or higher velocity with lower pressure, including lower peak pressure (for the same case, same bullet and same velocity). Thus, the right kind of smokeless powder is actually easier on your old guns. You might think, therefore, that the slower the powder the better. Not so. If the pressure gets too low, it fails to expand the case to seal against the chamber walls, and two things happen. First, the outside of your cases get all sooty. Second, and worse, all the axial thrust is against your bolt face, which you don't want for toggle link actions like the Winchester Model 1873 and 1876. Thus, I use only a narrow range of smokeless powders in the 1873 and 1876 that runs in burn rate between 2400 and 5744, with 5744 being at the slower end of the range.

"So my procedure is to first find a load using a powder in that burn rate range that will give me original black powder velocities. If the case is sooty, I keep the velocity the same, but go to a slightly faster powder, until the case eject clean. Then I know I have sufficient peak pressure to temporarily bond the cartridge case to the chamber walls during firing. For original old guns, I stay away from fast powders. For the same black powder velocity, they give way too high peak pressures. Take a look at the Trail Boss pressure curve above, for example. If you like to use Trail Boss or Unique or other real fast powders, you need to back down on your velocity accordingly, or back down on your bullet weight.

"For some information on burn rates and relative quickness of different powders, check out http://www.chuckhawks.com/powder_burning_speed.htm and use IMR SR4759 as being equal to FFg for comparison purposes. Blue Dot is approximately equal to FFFg and 2400 a little closer to Fg. You should also know, from Sherman Bell's work, that IMR 3031 has an erratic burn rate. I find that 2400 has an even more erratic burn rate (gives high extreme spreads in velocity under certain conditions). I like to have quite a bit of air space when using 2400 to reduce extreme spread, and with IMR 3031 I use a filler to reduce air space, which reduces extreme spread.

"In general, if you are going to use smokeless powders in old black powder guns, you need to stick with published loads that give velocities similar to black powder velocities. Do not hot rod your old black powder guns. Developing smokeless loads for black powder guns is for more advanced loaders who understand what the burn rates and relative quickness of various powders mean as far as pressures."
(End quote)
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Old 10-03-2017, 8:18 AM
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Also, black powder is an EXPLOSIVE, NOT a propellant.
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Old 10-05-2017, 7:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoothie View Post
You can also shoot a non-sulphur BP substitute, like Triple Se7en. It still produces clouds of smoke, but makes for quick and easy cleanup much like modern loads.
Triple 7 is 15% hotter than BP. Keep that in mind with antiques.
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Old 10-06-2017, 9:18 AM
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A little birdie once told me about a guy who used smokeless powder (I want to say Blue Dot but really can't remember) in a BP revolver. Loaded it with round balls and topped it off with a regular cap, bang no problem.


Quote:
Originally Posted by otteray View Post
This was show in some tests with SR 4759, ACC 5744 for example. I'm trying to remember the source.
Attachment 645068
I remember reading that, it might be where I snagged a couple graphs, can't say because the posts there have suffered Photobucket Collapse Syndrome.

Besides the BP v. smokeless pressure curve, I wanted to show people why you shouldn't use Trail Boss in a BP firearm and how you can't make assumptions about pressure based on velocity of a given bullet weight. Thought it was interesting that the right load with the right smokeless can be safe.



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Old 10-06-2017, 3:16 PM
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I would not put smokeless in a muzzleloader. I did have a a 45-70 Pedersoli Creedmoor that I loaded smokeless in though. I have no problem using smokeless in a modern cartridge black powder rifle. Find the right recipe and pack it with filler and you are good to go.
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Old 10-06-2017, 3:25 PM
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I know I would never muzzleload smokeless powder for the simple reason that smokeless powder is impact sensitive, while BP isn't.
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Old 10-07-2017, 1:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AragornElessar86 View Post
I know I would never muzzleload smokeless powder for the simple reason that smokeless powder is impact sensitive, while BP isn't.
I've never heard that and only that it's not impact sensitive, please site a source of info. Even if it is impact sensitive what does that have to do with being loaded in a ML?-unless you're using jackhammer to ram it home.
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Old 10-07-2017, 1:56 PM
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I've always thought there should be safe smokeless loads, but 'everybody' says NO WAY so I was half convinced it might be true.
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Old 10-07-2017, 2:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AragornElessar86 View Post
I know I would never muzzleload smokeless powder for the simple reason that smokeless powder is impact sensitive, while BP isn't.
Impact sensitive? Never heard that before. Did you mean compression sensitive? I'd buy that.
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Old 10-07-2017, 5:00 PM
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Old 10-12-2017, 11:53 AM
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Looks like the caps are blowing off that revolver- percussion caps are NOT designed to hold smokeless pressures.
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Old 10-12-2017, 8:50 PM
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I couldn't see the video, missing plug-in, so glad you posted. I was thinking about caps as being a pressure sign kinda like we read brass for pressure signs. Once one knows what their caps normally look like a change in pressure could be deduced from them.

I've never thought to pay attention to them, but will try to keep that in mind.
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