Author Topic: Shooting accident!!  (Read 17618 times)

Offline Jerry V Lape

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3020
Shooting accident!!
« on: January 16, 2009, 01:46:14 AM »
Last evening I learned of an accident involving a percussion rifle.  The rifle was not well maintained and there were issues with the powder being used.  The information I have is from the Range Officer who almost lost his life.  At a very large youth event they were firing several percussion rifles.  The gun involved was loaded, capped and fired (but nothing happened so the adult supposed to be supervising this had it reloaded).  It was capped and fired again without a discharge and again fully loaded, capped and fired w/o discharge.  Then the gun was carried to the range officer who endeavored to unload it with a CO2 ball discharger but couldn't.  He then, (without soaking the barrel to kill the charges) attempted to pull the ball with a brass T handled rod.  The screw stripped out of the 3d ball after moving about halfway out of the barrel.  He tried again to get the screw to take a bite in the ball which forced the ball back down the bore.
At that point the gun fired discharging the 2d and 3d balls, and the brass rod.  Some how the range officer, who was twisting the T handle at the time, escaped uninjured but thorougly shaken and somewhat blackened.  The first charge was still in the barrel.   To this point there had been quite a few mistakes made in handling misfires and lack of familiarity with safety procedures.  The biggest ones being the selection of adult supervisors/range officers without proper training. 

When I got to the discussion last evening they were debating what made the middle charge go off.  Most were postulating dieseling as the third ball was rammed back down.  Why this would effect the second charge didn't make sense to me.  So I asked about what powders were involved.  That answer was even more startling.  The range officer said he didn't know (but he was the one who provided it) as it came from a donor in a 10lb cloth bag and was original black powder.  But he didn't think it was any good as there were so many misfires with it and it was so very dirty. 

My question is what powder might this have been.  Possibly mining powder or military naval gun powder?   

Second question is what do you suppose ignited the center charge? My only reasonable conclusion seems to be the physical shock of ramming the 3d charge back down onto the 2d ball.  Is this possible?  If it had been dieseling (a mostly discredited possiblity) it should have been the 3d charge not the second that fired.  Of course the 3d could have ignited first and had enough fire get past the second ball and patch to ignite charge 2. 

This event will reoccur later this spring.  However, having learned of this accident, supervision will be vastly different.  Several NRA and NMLRA range officers have become involved and two blackpowder clubs have a number of knowledgable NMLRA instructors who will be the supervisors on the line with the youngsters.  There will not be any powder of unknown origin, and the well worn (abused) rifles will all be replaced with new ones.  I was proud of all the guys who stepped forward to make this a first class (safe) event once they learned of the need. 

Perhaps we should all make a positive effort to reach out to the organizations in our local areas which might be putting on similar events for youngsters such as the Scouts, 4H and others and let them know we stand ready to assist with properly certified supervision.  I know some of these organizations already have standards for such programs, but there is obviously still a lack of sufficient qualified personnel to control the events and we might just be saving someone kid or grandkids from such a dangerous situtation. 




Offline Dphariss

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9749
  • Kill a Commie for your Mommy
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2009, 02:31:02 AM »
The guy that kept loading the gun needs to be clubbed for.
1.Being stupid.
2. Not PROPERLY SUPERVISING the shooting.
3. Being stupid.

It was not the range officers day to die.
It would have been difficult to kill the powder in all three when loaded in this manner, depending.

Would like to know what the powder was.
Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

Offline Mad Monk

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1033
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2009, 03:03:52 AM »
Forget the dieseling theory.  That started making the rounds after someone misunderstood something I had written.

We know that it was not a slow ignition, or hangfire.  That would have ignited the first charge, not the second charge.

The cloth bag powder was most likely old military powder.  The cloth bags of black powder that had been used in large-caliber artillery loading ran around 1 pound in weight.  But I have no idea as to how many pounds of bp went into the bags used as the intermediate primer in the 16-inch naval guns.

Some military contractors purchased black powder in cloth bags, not trusting plastic bags in cardboard boxes.  These contractors have assembly lines where people scoop black powder out of the bags to be measured out for specific purposes.  Bag charges used in salute cannons comes to mind.


The most logical explaination is that when the top charge was rammed down onto the other charges there was an impact shock ignition of the powder comprising the second charge in the bore.

Normally black powder is said to be only moderately sensitive to impact shock ignition that is based on a standardized laboratory test.  This test is a fairly common one in the chemical industry used to quantify the impact shock ignition sensitivity to a variety of chemicals.

The standard test uses a holder with a 1/4" hole machined in it.  A 1/4" diameter plunger goes into this hole.  These two items have highly polished surfaces.  The critical surfaces are the portion of the plunger that rests on the sample being tested and the bottom of the hole in the holder where the sample being tested rests.  Any surface imperfections may act to give false readings.  This would be readings at impact energy levels below those with highly polished surfaces.
This sample holder is affixed to a large heavy base to prevent rebounding that would cause multiple impacts with one "hammer" drop.
There are a pair of rails that extend vertically above the specimen holder.  A 2 Kg weight rides on these guides.  The guides are calibrated for height.  When you run this test you have a specified weight of sample in the holder with the plunger resting on the sample.  You raise the "hammer" to a specific height and release it.  It free falls and strikes the plunger.  If there are no ignitions in ten drops you move to a greater height and do 10 more drops.  You note the greatest height at which 10 drops give no ignition and continue increasing the height until you have 10 ignitions for 10 drops.  This data then goes onto a graph.  Most of the time the data forms an "S" curve on the graph.

But the whole test is based on the fact that you have the plunger and the base with a specified amount of surface area that is highly polished.
In this test you have the kinetic energy of the falling weight (hammer) being converted to heat energy where the grains of powder would be in contact with the face of the plunger and the bottom of the hole.  Any surface irregularities would concentrate the force in very small areas which would greatly increase the amount of heat generated on the contact points.

There have been several deaths and serious injuries with smokeless cartridge rifles where loaded cartridges were stuck in the chamber.  The shooter would take a rod and run it down the bore until it touched the bullet.  Then take a mallet and hit the rod to drive the cartridge out of the chamber.  The fatal accidents involved full cases of powder where the base of the bullet rested directly onto the grains of smokeless powder.  One or two blows was all it took to light the charge in the cartridge from heat generated where a few powder grains were in contact with the base of the bullet.

In the case of a round ball in the bore with heavy blows on a ramrod you have a very small area where this kinetic energy is being converted to heat.  If the powder was old and the grains crumbling it would be easier to ignite in this manner compared to a good hard-grain powder.

In the fall hammer test the saving grace with black powder is that the blow from the falling "hammer" ususally crushes the grains which adsorbs, or dampens, the blow.  If you were to rapidly drop the hammer several times you could easily get ignition of the powder since each blow would add a bit more heat to the powder in contact with the face of the plunger.

This is one explosive test that gives data not totally applicable to field use.  It is used to compare various explosive compositions.  The data obtained is at best relative and certainly far from absolute.


E. Ogre

Offline Roger Fisher

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6805
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2009, 03:56:00 AM »
Well now, I for one thank you for that explaination and it makes sense.  We can all assume that the fellow that pounded down that 3rd charge and ball was by then 'stronger' than usual due to being quite angry - excited - embarassed! :o

Every club should have the simple slotted steel L bracket mounted on the line to a post, tree or whatever to hook that rod knob on to to pull the ball.  We for one no longer allow anyone to pull the ball by hanging on to the rod!  The CO2 rig should be tried first then the L bracket!

Candle Snuffer

  • Guest
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2009, 04:45:58 AM »
Well now, I for one thank you for that explaination and it makes sense.

Every club should have the simple slotted steel L bracket mounted on the line to a post, tree or whatever to hook that rod knob on to to pull the ball.  We for one no longer allow anyone to pull the ball by hanging on to the rod!  The CO2 rig should be tried first then the L bracket!

I to thank you for the explanation.

I also agree with you as well Roger about having a CO2 rig, and the set up for pulling a ball.

Now for my personal opinion;

I also will add that I will not pull anyone's load if their firearm fails, period!  If mine, or my son, or daughter's, or wife's, muzzle loader would fail to fire, and we've exhausted the powder under the nipple or digging out and working some powder through the vent of our flinters,,, and I don't have a CO2 rig available,,, I will pull the ball only after pouring water into the bore, drum, vent area, and waiting for awhile.

I simply will not pull anyother person's ball except those I've said above (if ever came to it) as for the exact reason given in the story that started this thread.

My opinion is simply my opinion, but I will not baby set idiots, though I will certainly point out idiotic moves to those I see performing them and who are endangering everyone else such as loading a loaded firearm over and over because the first charge didn't go off.  How stupid is this?  I think we all know the answer to that one.

Maybe I'm a hard'a$$ over this, but by god if you're going to own and shoot one of these smokepoles (or any firearm) read the instructions, ask questions, get someone to teach you, but by god learn how to use it and care for it.

Maybe it's my age, but I simply have no tolorance anylonger for idiotic people who seem to think they know it all and in reality know very @!*% little about what they're doing simply because they don't want to spend the time learning "a" proper way of doing things.  This seems to be our society these days...

Sorry for going on so,,, but it's the idiots that give our sport/hobby a bad name when they bring their stupidity and know it all attitude to our house which just happens to be our shooting ranges and great outdoors.  Their ignorance gives all of us a blackeye.

Take the time to learn how to do things the right way.  It sure saves a lot of trouble and possible greif...

 

« Last Edit: January 16, 2009, 04:46:57 AM by Candle Snuffer »

Offline Mad Monk

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1033
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2009, 05:41:30 AM »
Candle Snuffer,

You are a wise man.

Let's say that you pull a ball from somebody's gun.  Then they blow the thing up at some point in the future.  Let's say they hire a fast-buck contingency fee lawyer to sue the gun manufacturer.  Guess what?  You get named as a third party in the suit.

I just heaved out some legal files going back a few years.  And one was exactly that.  guy bought a Spanish-made longrifle at a yard sale.  Had a local bp gunship, in his area, replace the nipple.
So the guy goes to a cabin on a lake for a weekend with friends.  After a bit of drinking they take the gun out to shoot.  Using some 15 year old powder.  Fire 5 or 6 rounds without wiping between shots.  Then park a patched ball 11 inches from the breech.  Fires the gun.  The barrel bulges and then splits at the position of the patched ball.  The barrel only splits, not fragments.  But the escaping gases blow away a piece of wood from the stock.  Which rips a hunk of muscle off the guy's left hand at the base of the thumb.
Now besides trying to sue a company no longer in business they go after the gunshop that did nothing more than replace the old nipple.  It did not go before a court.  Went before some sort of ararbitrator.  Cost the guy 18 grand plus legal fees.  I did it for the gunshop owner as a freebie even though I never met the guy and wouldn't know him from Adam's off Ox.

ANYTIME you touch someone's gun you take a risk.  How much can you trust your friends and shooting club members in something like this.


E. Ogre

Candle Snuffer

  • Guest
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2009, 05:56:17 AM »
Wow!  This certainly does make a person think.  $18,000 dollars for someone elses ignorance...  Just doesn't seem right. >:(

And thanks for helping out the gunshop owner.  I'm sure he never saw this coming.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2009, 05:59:55 AM by Candle Snuffer »

Offline Mad Monk

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1033
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2009, 05:59:51 AM »
To quote the original posting.

>The range officer said he didn't know (but he was the one who provided it) as it came from a donor in a 10lb cloth bag and was original black powder.  But he didn't think it was any good as there were so many misfires with it and it was so very dirty.<

Now I keep hearing that black powder will store indefinitely and keep its strength during long periods of storage.

Whenever I would go into my work and writings on how black powder can deteriorate, and sometimes rather rapidly, I am taken to task.  By those who have never seen it so therefor it does not happen.

The question here is what sort of a container the cloth bag of powder was stored in.
If you store black powder in a container that allows air in and out with atmospheric pressure changes you will see both physical and chemical changes in the powder.  In most cases making it rather dangerous to use in a gun.

As the moisture content of the powder is cycled by moisture pick up and moisture give back to the air in the container that "breathes" there is a migration of potassium nitrate from within the grains.  This will be seen as a fine coating of white crystals on the surfaces of the grains.  The extent of this has a lot to do with the purity of the potassium nitrate used to make the powder and how high the humidity gets in the area where it is stored.

This migration of potassium nitrate weakens the grains of powder.  First at the surface and then working down into the grains.  The grains begin to loose their mechanical strength, soften and crumble.
At the same time you can see a loss of sulfur through chemical changes brought about by an increased amount of moisture in the powder.  The sulfur forming an oxide which then forms sulfurous acid with the small amounts of moisture present.  Initially this chemical change is slowed by the presence of caustic mineral matter from the charcoal ingredient.  Potassium carbonate (potash) in the charcoal acting as something of an anti-acid and stabilizer.  But once that small amount of potash is used up in the process this acidification change in the powder picks up speed.

The loss of sulfur alone will make the powder increasingly more difficult to ignite.  The actual ignition temperature rises as the process goes on.
At times you can see very long hangfires with such powder.  Sometimes hang fires in a percussion gun of several minutes.
I know of one where the shooter tried to fire the gun.  Did not go off.  Tried with another cap without results.  Then leaned the rifle up against a tree and started digging through his possibles bag to get a nipple wrench out.  While leaning up against the tree the rifle fired.
There had been several such incidents reported.

You really have to wonder why the range officer did not get rid of the powder as soon as he noticed the many misfires and dirty powder.  While it may have been cheap, as in free, it mad no sense to use it at a youth event where few would know the ins and outs of dealing with black powder firearms.  While his intentions might have been well meaning, using such powder is a serious error in judgement.

E. Ogre

billd

  • Guest
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2009, 07:15:08 AM »
Mad Monk,   What would you feel the life expectancy of black powder in original unopened cans is?

Thanks,
Bill

Offline Scott Bumpus

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 481
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2009, 07:20:07 AM »
For what its worth, If the co2 fails a good way to move remove the charge on a percussion gun is with a grease gun.  hold it tight over the nipple and pump.  i have never had this to fail and always seemed safe enough since i was behind the gun and filling the bore with grease.  Clean up with kerosene. 
YOU CAN ONLY BE LOST IF YOU GIVE A @!*% WHERE THE $#*! YOU ARE!!

Offline Jerry V Lape

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3020
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2009, 08:55:23 AM »
Thanks for reminding me about the use of a grease gun.   This evening the range officer in the incident sought me out and asked me to help them with the same event coming up in March.  I learned that the supervisory person who had the student reload the gun three times was not an adult, but a 16 or 17 year old who had only fired a muzzleloader as part of the same program a year earlier.  Apparently there were only 5 or 6 adults for the 30 firing points, the balance were senior students.  I think we are going to have a very large meeting of all the range safety personnel long before this thing goes into motion in late March.  We have brought in a very experienced NRA Master to be the new range officer, and we will hopefully have an experienced adult for every shooter.  The supervisors will be getting additional instruction before they go.  There are also several experienced NMLRA trainers involved now as well. 

To complicate the problem, this is not conducted on a regular range.  It is setup in the woods with 20 firing points along one side of a drawl, no benches, or tables.  That I will have to see about before I accept the conditions for first time shooters.  There will be additional safety equipment arranged as well, and new rifles are being acquired already.  This is a large undertaking as there will be potentially 1300 new shooters over a 3 day period.  I am already scared and we are a few months away.  The pressure to get them all fired in the time alloted doesn't appear to be adequate but I know most of the new safety crew and know that safety will be first. 

I like the explanation of the second charge being set off by impact.  It was the only one that made much sense to me.  Also think you were right about the possible sources of this old black powder in a cloth bag.   

The range officer is very contrite now a day.  He is a great person but always too much on the "I'm taking charge" side.  Not anymore.  He is actively seeking wiser counsel. 


Offline Mad Monk

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1033
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2009, 05:47:56 PM »
Mad Monk,   What would you feel the life expectancy of black powder in original unopened cans is?

Thanks,
Bill

Bill,

That depends on which company produced the powder and when it was produced.

When GOEX operated the old du Pont plant at Moosic, PA they had several periods of production where the powder produced had very little chemical stability.  During storage the grains would suffer from increasing surface softness and a chemical conversion of the sulfur.  One such period was 1974 during one of the worst droughts on record in the area.  Some of this 1974 production gave the military fits and caused a number of "breech blows" in large-caliber military guns.  Problems in the 5 and 7 inch naval guns and in 155mm howitzers in the Army.
Then in 1988 into 1990 there was another period of drought production that was seen by some of the shooters.  One BP cartridge shooter on this list had some 2F GOEX where the grains broke up during transportation and the 2F ended up looking like 3F in the cans.

The problem is that you never know for sure by looking.

But there is a very simple little test to look for this business about grain surface softening.
Place a few grains of powder on a sheet of white paper.  Use a finger nail to try and crush the grains.  The flat of the finger nail, not the front edge.  When put under pressure the grains should give you an audible snaping sound and simply break up into small chunks.
Powder that has started to go over the hill will not produce that sound.  The grains will simply crumble quietly into dust. You may sometimes see where the outside of the grains crumbles easily while leaving a hard core.

I should point out that powder where the grains surfaces get soft will often give poor accuracy and a lot more bore fouling.

E. Ogre

Offline Roger Fisher

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6805
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2009, 06:05:19 PM »
Gotta say thanks again for this valuable information in particular that finger nail test for soft grains of powder!!


Fellas, this ol Monk knows of which he speaks!

Daryl

  • Guest
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2009, 07:59:49 PM »
Wow!  This certainly does make a person think.  $18,000 dollars for someone elses ignorance...  Just doesn't seem right. >:(

And thanks for helping out the gunshop owner.  I'm sure he never saw this coming.

Only in America - thankfully our courts aren't that stupid yet.

billd

  • Guest
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2009, 08:15:47 PM »
MM,  Thank you.    I was refering to Goex powder I bought last summer locally, actually from a distributor near Moosic.  I have it in the original cans in the original box in an unheated garage.  No trouble with dampness, but normal seasonal temperature changes.  I live about an hour north of you so our weather would be about the same.

Bill
« Last Edit: January 16, 2009, 08:19:01 PM by billd »

doug

  • Guest
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2009, 08:27:47 PM »
     it would seem to me, more likely that the first charge to fire was the outermost one and that blowby from that explosion set off the second or middle charge.  What surprises me is that the first charge apparently did not fire.   It is also incomprehendable to me why the range officer continued to add loads when the gun did not fire; particularly load number 3.

      I have tried detonating black powder by hitting a small pile on an anvil using a ball peen hammer.  I could not get that to work.  I was hoping to make paper caps for a tape primed lock.

cheers Doug

Offline longcruise

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1819
  • Arvada, Colorado
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2009, 08:30:05 PM »
Quote
Then take a mallet and hit the rod to drive the cartridge out of the chamber.  The fatal accidents involved full cases of powder where the base of the bullet rested directly onto the grains of smokeless powder.

MM, this is taking us away from ml guns, but that caused me to wonder about the practice of compressing powder when loading BPC.  Have you heard anything or do you have any thoughts on this?
Mike Lee

Offline Mad Monk

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1033
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2009, 08:51:23 PM »
With black powder in black powder cartridge loadings it is not unusual to see some compression of the charges.  In most cases this compression to a uniform point in the case involves what you must deal with in working with granular propellant powders.

This is a thing of how much volume is occupied by what weight of powder.  How do you get uniform "nesting" of the grains in the case.  So that a given weight of powder will occupy almost exactly the same amount of space in the case.
With compression of the charge in the case there may be some fracturing of the edges of the grains.  This is usually seen where the compression die is pressing on the top of the powder charge in the case.  When you try and compress the charge the force is applied in all directions.  If not carefull you can bulge the case in the process.  It is this thing about the pressure being exerted in all directions that limts grain edge crushing to the very top of the charge being compressed.  This compression can raise velocities and reduce ES data.

There is something of a similar thing with ml rifles.  The Kadooty loading rod was designed to do much the same thing.  If you weigh a 100 grain charge and pour it into a cyclinder (such as the breech) you will get different volume measurements as far as bore volume occupied by the charge.  At the same time if you measure charges by volume you can get different weights.

In the testing of this volume to weight relationship you take a 50 cc graduated cylinder and fill it with powder by simply pouring the powder into it.  Then gently tap the sides of the cylinder and watch how much the powder settles.  That percentage volume change is effected by the difference in sizes of the grains within the mass, how well the surfaces have been polished during powder production and how rounded are the corners and edges of the grains.  If the powder grains were perfect spheres there would be no difference or variation in this.  but dealing with black powder grains will all of the corners and edges there can be a considerable variation in the weight to volume relationship in 5 or ten throws from a measure.

This is why the polishing step in the powder-making process is so critical to accuracy in the gun.  The better polished the powder the fewer hoops the shooter must jump through to get best accuracy out of the load.  And ONLY the Swiss have an understanding and grip on this aspect of black powder manufacturing.

E. Ogre

Offline Dphariss

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9749
  • Kill a Commie for your Mommy
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2009, 10:07:50 PM »
Quote
Then take a mallet and hit the rod to drive the cartridge out of the chamber.  The fatal accidents involved full cases of powder where the base of the bullet rested directly onto the grains of smokeless powder.

MM, this is taking us away from ml guns, but that caused me to wonder about the practice of compressing powder when loading BPC.  Have you heard anything or do you have any thoughts on this?

Some people excessively compress powder charges in BPCRs. In most cases this is to overcome some other deficiency in the loading process or some problem with the chamber etc.
I did a 3 part write up on powder compression in the SPG  BP Cartridge News some time back. Back issues might be available.
With a compression die it is very easy to put 3000-4000 psi on the punch face when compressing the powder. But this is done slowly and to my knowledge it has caused no accidents.
I don't compress powder to this extent since I have never seen any advantage to it.
Reducing 10-15% (or more) of the powder charge to dust defeats all the powder makers efforts in granulating and polishing the powder and turns that percentage into something similar to powder made in the 1500s.

Counter productive.

Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

Candle Snuffer

  • Guest
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2009, 10:15:10 PM »
I remember those Kadooty Rods being advertised years ago.  I never bought one.  When I took up muzzle loading 30+ years ago eventually I happened across Shawnee LongRifles when I lived in Ohio.  I learned a lot from those ol' boys.

Probably one of the best things I learned was when you push that patched round ball down on the charge - stop when the patched ball sets on top the charge and don't crush the powder by packing it down repeatedly with the ramrod.  Mark that ramrod so you know where to stop with a given powder charge.  Boy, that sure made a big difference in my shooting scores, and to this day after short starting the patch and ball I try and make one smooth push down the bore with the ramrod stopping when the ball is on top the powder - then checking the mark on the rod to be sure I'm where I need to be.

I have seen folks continue to pound their ramrod down on top the ball after they've seated it and they just don't seem sure of their self if their patch and ball is seated or not, all the time crushing and packing the powder more and more.  Never really knew for sure why they thought they had to do that and it made my tamping the load down years ago seem minute compared to what some do.  

doug

  • Guest
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2009, 10:37:03 PM »
Quote
Some people excessively compress powder charges in BPCRs. In most cases this is to overcome some other deficiency in the loading process or some problem with the chamber etc.

      In my case, I felt that if a little was good, then a lot was better.  Trouble was that it compacts the powder into a large granule resulting in lower velocities at least in my experience.  The gun shot up to 12" lower at 100 yds as a result of overcompression.
      To put some muzzle loading content on this; if you are loading with a solid brass range rod and thumping it down on the bullet/powder, you can probably also overcompress the powder.  Also worth noting that dropping the powder down the barrel is more or less analogous to the drop tube commonly used in cartridge loading.
     I remain puzzled however about the apparent detonation of the powder in the accident.  I continue to think that there was something that we were not told and am a bit suspicious that the powder in the bag was either not black powder or not completely black powder.  As an example I was given some packets of powder, several years ago that the fellow thought was black powder.  I was sure that it was not and in fact it turned out to be a type of thermite for welding electrical connections.

cheers Doug
« Last Edit: January 17, 2009, 03:25:37 AM by doug »

Offline Dphariss

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9749
  • Kill a Commie for your Mommy
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2009, 01:35:49 AM »
Quote
Some people excessively compress powder charges in BPCRs. In most cases this is to overcome some other deficiency in the loading process or some problem with the chamber etc.

      In my case, I felt that if a little was good, then a lot was better.  Trouble was that it compacts the powder into a large granule resulting in lower velocities at least in my experience.  The gun shot up to 12" lower at 100 yds as a result of overcompression.
      To put some muzzle loading content on this; if you are loading with a solid brass range rod and thumping it down on the bullet/powder, you can probably also overcompress the powder.  Also worth noting that dropping the powder down the barrel is more or less analogous to the drop tube commonly used in cartridge loading.
     I remain puzzled however about the apparent detonation of the powder in the accident.  I continue to think that there was something that we were not told and am a bit suspicious that the powder in the bag was either not black powder or not completely black powder.  As an example I was given some packets of powder, several years ago that the fellow thought was black powder.  I was sure that it was not and in fact it turned out to be a type of thermite for welding electrical connections.

cheers Doug

Actually many MLs benefit from the use of a drop tube down the bore. Slug guns and picket rifles.

Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

Daryl

  • Guest
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2009, 02:47:30 AM »
I used to seat the ball down onto the powder and stop when the ball came to the powder, without a 'touch' of compression.  I know give the starter (on top of the rod) one light whack with my hand.  Failure to do this will result in 50 top 100fps redcution in the velocity and excessive shot to shot variation in speed.  Using the one whack, each and every time, exactly the same gives much better results - eithe rin my mind, or on the chronograph. Perhaps this is why some people get over 20fps or more spreads, high to low.  Over compression is self defeating and injures the powder. What I do seems to help so I will continue to do this.

 I see a lot of folds throwing the rod down onto the loaded charge, time and time again until it 'rings' and bounces almost out of the barrel. They seem to think this is a GOOD thing & nothing will turn them from it.  It seems to be prevelent in the Southern and Central part of the Province. Wham, wham, wham, wham, RING!   If the accident of this thread was caused by compression/detonation as thought, the age and deterioration of the powder must have been a MAJOR contributing factor - else, these powder charge RINGERS would be detonating all over the place & ringing the barrel would be against the rules of all clubs.

Thanks Bill - excellent posts - really good to learn every day.

docwhite

  • Guest
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2009, 07:11:57 PM »
The comments on BP deterioration with time and exposure are interesting and very practical. However, years ago I purchsed a double barrel percussion pistol of Belgian manufacture in Brazil. The nipples were well beat up. I kept it around for years, stored out of sight and out of mind, then one day in a fit of curiosity ran the ramrod down the bore. I was embarrassed to find the @!*% thing loaded with a grass wad on top of some chipped shot, then another grass wad then BP, about 20 grains each side. The grass was brown, fragile and dry and obviously many years old. The chipped shot indicated age too, but no real indication as back country Brazilians were still chipping shot in the 1950's. Anyway, once removed, I burned the BP just to get rid of it. It went up in a fluff of smoke and flame just like any  other PB. My insight, don't depend on time or exposure to make BP any weaker than you might expect from new stuff. It deserves proper respect no matter how old. Reminds me of myself being now long in the tooth. DOC

Candle Snuffer

  • Guest
Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2009, 03:59:20 AM »
Over the years I have heard/read of accounts of someone coming across an old muzzle loader that had been loaded for years and the powder still being able to ignite after pulling the ball (or conical) which ever the case.

With this said, I have often wondered if these loads had been water soaked before pulling the bullet and working out the powder?  If so, (and it should be), and I'm not 100% sure about this but all that mucky wet powder once it's collected would have to dry our and be recrushed from small cake form, then ignited.

I saw a documentry once where an English powder maker (don't know his name) stumbled across this method of wetting down the new made powder and he rolling it into balls then crushing them when they dried out.  It supposedly made the English powder of that time more "powerful" then what it had been in its orginal finished state before being wetted down.

So yes, I could see where black powder could recover its properties and still work, and I expect if it were not glazed as our modern black powder is, it would stand a chance at recovering to a usable state without the glazing to interupt the blend.

Just my thoughts from things I've heard, read about, and saw on documentries.