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Author Topic: 2F or 3F Black Powder for .54?  (Read 6051 times)
Mattole
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« on: November 01, 2010, 10:02:51 PM »

I see mention of 2F and 3F for use in a .54 smokepole. Which do you prefer and why?

Many thanks.
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wattlebuster
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2010, 10:12:01 PM »

I shoot 2f in my .54s an have great groups an very little fowling so im happy with an have never tried 3f but if it is all i had i would shoot it just lower the charge cause it will build more pressure than 2f. good luck to you  Smiley
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Bill of the 45th
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2010, 10:43:29 PM »

It's a matter of personal choice, plus what your gun likes.  While most guns will prime with FFG, I like FFFG because it both as charge, and prime, as I don't have to deal with two powders.  For FFFG you would reduce you load by about ten percent over FFG powder.  I buy by the case, so one order is 25 lbs of FFG, and the next is half and half FFG, and FFG, plus maybe a pound of FFFFG, as I use it in my small bores for prime.  Like Teddy Roosevelt, I may not shoot that well, but I shoot often.  I use the FFG in my big bores .60 and up, and in my BP cartridges.  Did you get the PM I sent you.

Bill
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Mattole
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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2010, 12:07:37 AM »

Bill I just noticed I had a new message and I have replied via PM. Many thanks.
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BrownBear
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2010, 01:35:37 AM »

I don't know why this embarrasses me, but it does: Between flinters and cappers I've got five 54 caliber rifles of various descriptions. As a matter of course I worked out "best loads" with 2f and 3f for each of them.  If I was a match shooter, I might care a little more, but if there's a difference between the powders in any of the rifles, it doesn't translate into groups as much as an inch larger at 50 yards.  All of them give the nod to 3f, and four of them prefer 80 grains while the last likes 90 grains.

Some folks claim less recoil from 2f, but I just can't see the difference.  With a reasonably tight patch, I don't really see any difference in fouling, either.  Since I've got a lot of other guns that also like 3f and I like to prime with it in the flinters, that's what I use mostly.  Last powder shipment was 20 cans of 3f and 5 of 2f, and I'm going to run out of 3f before 2f.

The very next gun I buy could prefer 2f by a large margin.  So be it.
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Dpeck
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2010, 09:20:29 AM »

When I started shooting, the better shots preferred 3f up to their 54's and used less of it.  The old Lyman BP catalog lists pressures and loads comparing 3f to 2f in a 54 and while pressures are greater with 3f they claimed nothing to worry about.  To me the 54 is kind of a cut off in that you can go either way.  I use 2f Swiss in my larger bores, the 54 on up.  I chronographed with both 2f and 3f in the 54 and the velocity variation was about half with 2f.  Also I use a .070 vent size in my 54 and a .073 (a 49 drill bit) in my 58.  3F starts to self prime at those sizes.  I will point out again that I use Swiss in my hunting rifles.  The Swiss burns way cleaner than GOEX or Graf's and gives a little more thump.  I am finding powder choice to be more important than granulation.

DP
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Daryl
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2010, 11:52:20 AM »

Most everyone up here uses 2F in rifles of .50 and larger.  LB uses only 2F in his .40.  I think Crispy might use 3F in his .54's, both smooth and rifled, due to being able to use less.  Normally, it tkes 10 to 20gr. more 2F to match velocity of 3F, however the pressure will be lower with 2f and I've always found, the accuracy is better as well.

Personally, I like to have an accuracy load for both 3f and 2F for all my rifles, including the .40.  I use only 3f in the .32.  I prime with 4F. Having to carry a priming horn is not an inconvenience for me.

Chronograph testing has shown closer shot to shot velocities with 2f than with 3F.   That means the loads are more consistant, which 'usually' means better accuracy - but not always, just as consistancy in velocities does not always mean better accuracy in modern guns.

We find no difference in fouling between 2F and 3F - neither require wiping the bore at any time during a day's shooting.
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Mike R
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2010, 02:17:10 PM »

I use ffg in .54 and over calibers, fffg in .50 and under calibers.  I tried fffg in one of my two .54s but it seemed to open the groups a bit. I am still experimenting with that rifle. I also have seen no difference in fouling between ffg and fffg.  I generally prime with fffg when shooting fffg as a main load, but am using up a little ffffg I have left to prime the ffg charges...I don't notice any difference in ignition speed with fffg...
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Mike Roberts, Louisiana Territory
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2010, 03:22:44 PM »

Subjectively, I prefer the perceived recoil from using 2F, but I don't believe there's any improvement in group size or accuracy in using one or the other.  3F no doubt generates more pressure, but I never load more than 90 grains, so I feel I'm well within safe limits shooting either granulation in my barrel.  If I shot 150 grain loads, maybe I'd feel differently.

Loading with 3F means I only have to keep one granulation on hand for both my 54 and my 36 squirrel guns.  And, if one likes to prime the pan from the same horn as the main charge, 3F is probably a better priming powder than 2F.

As far as numbers go, I measured 1250 fps of muzzle velocity from a 60 gr charge of 2F,  and around 1420 fps MV from a 60 gr (by volume) charge of 3F.    50 gr 3F yielded an average MV just under 1300 fps. 



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rsells
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2010, 04:49:18 PM »

I would work up a load with each and see what works best.  I had a .54 Hawken that would shoot a 1 1/2 inch group at 100 yards  using FFFg.  However, I had another that liked FFg.  As a whole over the years, FFFg has worked best for me in the .54, but not always.  Part of the fun is working up a load and seeing where it shoots at different yardages.
                                                        Roger Sells
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Swampwalker
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2010, 05:30:39 PM »

I prefer 2F period.  I prefer it in my .54s, I prefer it in my .50s, I even prefer it in my .32!  Some of the responces above hint at why - better velocity consistency with 2F.  This translates to better consistency on the target. 
My favorite load for the .54 - 90 gr. 2F, thick ticking patch, oil lube, .530 ball.  Very consistent performer.
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Pete G.
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2010, 07:25:38 PM »

I use 2F in almost everything because I've got more of it. Seems that 2F gives a little less recoil to me, but I also believe that it gives less velocity, therefor the recoil would be less. Once you load up to get the same velocity I doubt you could tell any difference. Theoretically the 2F should recoil more at the same velocity due to having a higher weight of powder. I don't see any discernable difference in the two in a rifle. I save the 3F for the six shooter because you can only pack just so much powder into a cylinder.
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Standing Bear
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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2010, 10:07:06 PM »

Another vote (election day pun intended) for 2F in everything but the priming pan and 4F there.  Smaller shot to shot MV variation.
TC
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Leatherbelly
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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2010, 12:16:43 AM »

 I shoot 2f in 62,50,and a 40. If you experiment enough with either, you'll find your pet loads. 2f works for me.
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wmrike
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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2010, 03:27:34 PM »

My experiences pretty much track everyone else's.  I've used both powders, and much prefer 3f because of reduced fouling.  My most accurate loads are around 80 grs with 2F, and about 75 grs. with 3F, but the finer powder seems to give more latitude.  No doubt in my mind that, volume for volume, the 3F has a bit sharper recoil.
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Mattole
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« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2010, 12:00:59 AM »

Thanks for the input, everyone. Very interesting, as usual!!

I plan to do an extended range session this weekend with my humble Investarms Hawken .54. Goex 2f is all I have on hand, so we'll see if she likes it or not.. I'll report back with results.
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Daryl
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« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2010, 09:58:52 AM »

2F shoots accurately in all rifles, no matter the calibre. Your job is to find the accuracy load and accuracy powder charge.  It can and generally is different for each powder granulation and ball/patch combination.

If - 2F sems to be fouling, ie: shooting dirty, the ball/patch combination isn't tight enough - or - not enough lube - or - not a good enough lube.  As to lube, even spit or plain water shoots all day without having to wipe the bore - the bore never accumulates fouling.  If yours does, go back to the first sentence in this paragraph.

Many people have difficulty due to using insufficient lube - ie; shooting dry. Licking a patch on your tongue is not using spit for lube. Put the patch in your mouth and saturate it- dripping wet - when you smack it down flush with the muzzle's crown, it should splash the guy (or gal) beside you. Pre-lubed patches should be wet - with grease, oil or water-based lube.

Never use a water based lube for hunting - this is Dphar's favourite lesson.
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BrownBear
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« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2010, 10:38:03 AM »

...on hand and need to feed it to something.

Fact is, I think it's important to know how to wring the best out of all powders, "correct" granulation or not, sub or the real thing.  You don't always have the right thing on hand, or you might not have access to it, or you might have an excess of something else.  Better to be able to shoot with what you have or can get than to stop shooting until the situation can be resolved. 

In my case there's no local source for real black, and it takes an act of congress and great expense to get it, while subs are available OTC.  I've managed it and am pleased to be shooting black for the foreseeable future.  But I'm well versed in using subs and could return to them successfully if I had to.

Others will face much the same situation if they fly to their hunting destinations. 

Shoot the 2f and even if it performs well, get acquainted with 3f and the subs.  You never know when knowing how to use it best will mean the difference between being a shooter and a collector.
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Mattole
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« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2010, 02:40:45 PM »

Good advice on learning how to optimize with whatever powder is on hand. I have a pound of 3f 777 that a gunshop owner sold me a few years ago for use with the Great Plains conicals he recommended to me. Even a 65gr load in my .54 with that combo put a bruise over my cheeckbone.. I'll be curious to try the 777 with a prb sometime.
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Daryl
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« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2010, 06:04:51 PM »


I see mention of 2F and 3F for use in a .54 smokepole. Which do you prefer and why?

Many thanks.


Goex 3F has always been faster and produced less fouling for me than 2F in .40/.45/.50/.54/.58cals...including my .28 and .20ga smoothbores shooting PRBs and/or shot loads.

There are a lot of variables involved with loading and shooting, including weather...and maybe some of those are involved with different experiences.
For example, my experience is that I've tested Goex 3F and Goex 2F in my Rice .620 bore at the range on the same day, same everything...using a .600" cast ball and Oxyoke .022" patch...a very well lubed, very tight fitting PRB combo...in a smoothbore barrel...and there's no question that 2F leaves more fouling every shot.

Interestingly, I did get better groups using 2F out of this new 38" x .620" barrel than I did when I compared 3F & 2F out of a 32" GM smoothbore a few years ago, so I sighted in the .62cal with 2F...and have also switched the .58cal load to 2F as well, because I have a case of Goex 2F on hand and need to feed it to something.


That's interesting - I've done the same test, 2F and 3F, and used either/or in the .40, .45, couple .58's and .69 for the entire day with no difference in fouling. I find there is never any buildup of fouling in the bore - shooting in 6% humitidy or 90% - no change.  If fouling is going to present itself, it will be when it's hot and dry - that's when ball/patch combinations fail.  I had to increase patch thickness in my .69 for shooting in 100F and 6% humidity, but found no fouling buildup with 82gr. 3F (plinking load) or up to 165gr. of 2F my long range and hunting load - same day on gongs. Maybe it's the type or quantity of lube being used?
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Harnic
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« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2010, 06:13:19 PM »

I decided to use Goex 3f in my .54 cal. flintlock years ago after testing 2f as well.  I didn't notice any difference in accuracy, both shot very well & the fouling was about the same, but velocities were noticeably higher with 3f & it was my hunting rifle at the time, so a flatter trajectory was very desirable.
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Flinter
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« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2010, 05:54:24 AM »

2F shoots accurately in all rifles, no matter the calibre. Your job is to find the accuracy load and accuracy powder charge.  It can and generally is different for each powder granulation and ball/patch combination.

If - 2F sems to be fouling, ie: shooting dirty, the ball/patch combination isn't tight enough - or - not enough lube - or - not a good enough lube.  As to lube, even spit or plain water shoots all day without having to wipe the bore - the bore never accumulates fouling.  If yours does, go back to the first sentence in this paragraph.

Many people have difficulty due to using insufficient lube - ie; shooting dry. Licking a patch on your tongue is not using spit for lube. Put the patch in your mouth and saturate it- dripping wet - when you smack it down flush with the muzzle's crown, it should splash the guy (or gal) beside you. Pre-lubed patches should be wet - with grease, oil or water-based lube.

Never use a water based lube for hunting - this is Dphar's favourite lesson.

Daryl

Thanks for posting this. In my effort of trying to find an accurate load, I have way too much fouling build up. Besides different patch lubes, I am going to try some .020 patches.
I am also going to shoot some 3f.
Now, if I can just find my mike. Huh

Mike
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jmwilson
Daryl
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« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2010, 09:42:58 AM »

As long as your patches measure properly for you and you record what that measurement was, using your equipment, that's what's important.

As above, though, I sure prefer the mic.
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Flinter
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« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2010, 02:52:51 AM »

Well I found my mike this morning, and my.018 Ox-yoke patches measured way to thin. I cut some denim from an old pair of blue jeans and carried everything to a machinist this morning. He said, with the mic closed, the first mark with one turn backed out to zero was .025 instead of 010.

One thing I can tell is the 3f meters or pours easier out of the powder horn than 2f does.

Mike
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jmwilson
Daryl
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« Reply #24 on: November 11, 2010, 02:07:22 PM »

The 'yellow' (probably bore butter) oxyoke patches I bought from Track many years ago for testing, mic'd something closer to .013" and .015" with the calipers I was using at that time.  Nothing I have now will measure them thicker than .016".   I just figured they were mis-bagged.

Oh - that stretchy 100% cotton drill .017"/.018" material I talked to you about?  We tried it in Taylor's .50 cal.  Virginia (Rice rounded grooves) with a .508" pure lead ball by punching it down into the bore about 1/2", then pulling it out with the material strip's ends. The ball came right out, easily and didn't cut the material.  By the numbers, that's .006" compression into the ball in the bottom of every groove. On the tops of the lands, it's .022" compression - on every one of the lands and yet was easily accomplished with a smoothed crown, without damaging the cloth in the least- one smack with the palm on the starter did the 'work'. No, it wasn't hard on the hand.
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