Author Topic: How Much is too Much Powder  (Read 13599 times)

Offline Larry Pletcher

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2017, 08:12:05 PM »
The next time I take a muzzle loader out to shoot I am going to see if 49 year old
GOEX sparks more that Swiss. What is the current price gouge now for Swiss??

Bob Roller

Hi Bob,
I can't speak for Goex that old.  The experiment was done in 2005 I think.  I'd have to look back to see.  I do have some Goex bought in '89, but I don't think that was what I was using.  AT one of the woods walks I attended, I could see by the sparks which shooters were using Goex.
Regards,
Pletch
Regards,
Pletch
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Offline Daryl

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2017, 12:12:59 AM »
Same here, Pletch - it did not seem to matter if the person was using 60gr. of 2F in a .62 smoothbore, or 50gr. 3F in a .58. 85gr. of 2f in my .50 48" bl. - all showed a flury of sparks dropping out of the smoke.

Shooting at night, is an especially good show, as noted by the Walker Colt picture.  It is an even better show if shooting 165gr. 2F from my .69, or 82gr. for that matter.

It seems that tighter loads burn the powder more efficiently, maybe much more depending on how loose the loads were to start with in the comparrison.

Another trick is seating pressure.  This also makes a difference & is why black powder ctg. shooters compress the powder slightly.  When playing with my .40, 42" Goodioen barrel, hitting the

starter knob, with the end of the rod inside a hole in the knob, averaged almost 100fps higher average speed with much less shot to shot velocity variation.  That translates into improved

 accuracy- never visible at 25 yards but definitely so at 50yards.

The military practice of throwing the rod onto the seated ball 3 times to ensure it is seated on the powder, usually hurts accuracy as it "meals" the powder on top (turning it to dust).  Too, this
 
could and possibly has caused a discharge due to hydraulic excessive compression of the powder and air in the breech area in a VERY hot barrel.  Whether this actually happened or not, I do not

 know, but it was reported here or elsewhere to having happened. Some have said it cannot happen if there is a vent or nipple.  I see the vent as being a pressure relief for compressed air, but

with the hammer on a spend cap under the nipple, THAT situation creates a seal.  It does this in my .69 and will push the rod on the seated patched ball back up the bore a good 6 to 8".  That my

 friends is with a pure lead ball loaded with a .035" patch. THAT much compression may be enough to cause compressed powder to ignite if the rod is thrown onto the powder.





« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 05:57:25 PM by Daryl »
Daryl

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Offline OldMtnMan

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2017, 06:32:30 PM »
We need to keep in mind that anything seen as sparks, flames etc is not what we're talking about. Unburned granules won't be seen until on the ground. It seems unlikely any could survive ahead of the ball of fire, but might survive behind it.

Turtle

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2017, 02:37:42 PM »
 One mystery for me is that some guns of identical bore size, load, and barrel length make none or lots of sparks out the muzzle when fired. Any ideas?

Offline RichG

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2017, 06:56:34 PM »
the only way to really know whats going on is a chronograph and range work. since only 60% or so of black powder turns to gas, you'll have all sorts of black stuff on the snow, sheet etc. and yes the point of diminishing returns will show up at some point. Without a chronograph your just guessing.

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #30 on: November 06, 2017, 05:45:47 PM »
From a slightly different angle, How much powder do we need to get the job done?
When I got my Mark Silver kit from Jim decades ago, I asked Jim about loads.  (It's a .58, 42" long Getz)
Jim said 70 grs as a decent load.
I Had been using 60gr Go 2F  in a .54 Hawken type, and 120 2F for hunting.
The 70 grs worked and would shoot through mule deer and w-tails most every time. Collected very few balls from them.
Used that rifle 9 years straight for all my hunting just to get a feel of "how it was".
worked and didn't let me down, and I never did bother increasing the powder charge.  Shots from maybe 30 yards to about 125 -30 yards at most. One was a bit more.

Different slant on this interesting subject!
Richard.

Offline OldMtnMan

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #31 on: November 06, 2017, 06:32:19 PM »
I agree. It takes less powder than some realize. I've used 80gr 3F for elk for years. Most of the time it shoots right through them. I think using more powder just makes the ball expand faster and I got less penetration.

Why beat yourself up with more recoil, more fouling, more expense, and get less penetration?

I'm thinking 75gr might be enough and i'm thinking of trying it next year. Could 70gr be enough? How low can I go and still get a humane kill? I think i'll stop at 75gr. I don't have a long barrel like some of you guys use.

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #32 on: November 06, 2017, 08:11:58 PM »
Pete,
If I was going looking for an elk I might push my charge up a bit. 
Mind, I have sat in the bush here ion the farm with a bull elk within 25 yards of me...couldn't see a thing of his head to know if legal. Had a short Jaeger in .58 with same old load, but couldn't risk a shot.  I think if I'd Known he Was legal I wouldn't have hesitated to pop him in the ribs with it!

Offline OldMtnMan

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #33 on: November 06, 2017, 08:28:48 PM »
I've hunted them since the 50's. A couple of holes in their lungs and it's meat in the freezer. Most guys think they need way too much gun.

Before getting into muzzleloaders in 1980 I hunted elk with a Win 94 in 30-30. The magnum boys laughed at me saying my gun was barely adequate for deer. I never lost an elk and they did from taking long risky shots. I'm a still hunter and all my shots are up close. I love that style of hunting and have done it all my life ever since dad taught it to me when I was a youngster. Be sneaky, get close, hunt like a cat. Dad told me that over and over.

So, with that in mind. My muzzleloader load doesn't need to be as strong as someone who takes long shots. Another advantage is at almost 75 I can still use open sights.  :)

Offline hanshi

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #34 on: November 06, 2017, 09:15:10 PM »
After using pretty heavy loads in my flintlocks for a few years, I finally settled on 60 grains of 3F in the .45 and 70 in the .50.  My .54 also is very accurate with 60grns.
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Offline Daryl

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2017, 08:45:01 AM »
Really loose range shooting large game with huge X rings does not need much powder for accuracy.

It's when you hunt and shoot in the plains or areas with bush with large open spaces, that more powder is needed for flatness of trajectory and improved accuracy.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline OldMtnMan

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #36 on: November 07, 2017, 05:43:07 PM »
Yup! I only hunt the dark timber in the mountains. Muley's, elk, and bear. Up close and personal.

If I have an itch for long shots I hunt for coyote.

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #37 on: November 07, 2017, 11:40:07 PM »
Pete,

You have it pretty well figured the same as me. 
I've been that close to deer I could hear them breathing, when my hearing was working right that is.
Up close and make it count.

The old English soft game guns were usually 16 bore for deer, but you only used 2 or 3 drams of powder. Range was close and it was the weight of the ball that did the trick.  I think with a small bore of .44 or so, we need more powder to scale, but with heavy lead, not so much.

We have a Victorian shoot once a year up here on the farm, and shoot 100, 150 & 200 yards, but also shoot an old baler at 700 yards.
That does me for the longer range itch.   (And coyotes)

Richard.

Offline Daryl

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #38 on: November 09, 2017, 10:00:56 PM »
Forsyth spoke of the fast twist large bore deer and stag guns of the Northern UK.

He was not very complimentary of them - talking about the light charges they used.

He stating that to wound was therefore as much the intent as to kill outright, as all

deer hit were brought to bag with the use of dogs, and that these fast twist

bore rifles that needed small powder charges did THAT (wounded) better than anything.

Just to state, the wounding was not due to not having enough POWER - but the problem

is that with such low velocities from light charges, the trajectory is horrific & actually hitting

the vitals very difficult.  My own bore rifle is case in point.

Last time out, Taylor and I were checking sights and using Neetsfoot oil for lube.  I decided

to use a mere 4 1/2 dram charge (smaller than my normal hunting charge of 6 drams.

The 4 1/2 dram charge struck a wee bit higher than normal at 50yards. I thought

 COOL! It should be on at 109yards(100meters), however we found it to strike 8" to 10" low.  Now

that was with 4 1/2 drams.  2 or 3 drams has about 14 to 16" of drop at 109yards from a 50yard zero,

which, when shooting in the wide open heather, makes for very difficult accurate hitting over unknown,

guess-at  ranges.

« Last Edit: November 09, 2017, 10:11:47 PM by Daryl »
Daryl

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Offline smylee grouch

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #39 on: November 09, 2017, 11:34:42 PM »
Daryl: Is it possible that the lighter charge striking a bit high was from a longer time in the barrel and recoil affecting a higher strike at 50 yds. much like a modern hand gun with slower or heavier bullets?

Offline Daryl

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2017, 12:55:50 AM »
Daryl: Is it possible that the lighter charge striking a bit high was from a longer time in the barrel and recoil affecting a higher strike at 50 yds. much like a modern hand gun with slower or heavier bullets?

Not in my rifle - more powder, strikes higher.  For example, 3 drams (82gr. 2f ) strikes on the bead at 50 meters.  4 1/2 drams (125gr.) strikes 1 1/2" higher, but is still really low at 100 - thus the point blank range is not very good.  If I use it's normal moose hunting charge of 165gr. (6 drams) I then generate 1,550fps fps and have a 3" point blank range of 120yards ie:with the ball no more than 3" above nor below the line of sight.  That load poleaxes moose - just staggers them.

Most all handguns and BP ctg. guns strike higher with lower velocity loads - my .69, for some reason, does not follow that 'rule' - perhaps stock design has a part in that.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #41 on: November 10, 2017, 09:37:04 AM »
Daryl,

That  is why the English term for these 16 -bore rifles is usually a "Park rifle", for  where deer are confined to a park, and must be culled and such to keep the herd healthy.
Such shots are often close, so no great power is needed, and the fast twist will give needed accuracy.  Totally different to out on the moor for wild beats.
Dogs weren't usually used in a park setting. 

All the best,
Richard.

Offline hanshi

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #42 on: November 10, 2017, 06:06:54 PM »
Daryl, I notice the same thing; heavier loads hit higher, sometimes much higher.  Back when I was first getting into muzzleloaders - 1960s - I read that way back then riflemen increased the powder charge for more distant shots because it elevated the poi.
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Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.

Offline OldMtnMan

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #43 on: November 10, 2017, 06:24:06 PM »
I can use 120gr in a 1-48 twist and it works fine. I just don't find a need to use anywhere near that much of a load. I can't see good enough anymore to use open sights that far, so why use a load for that distance. Not that I took long shots when my vision was above average, so not seeing is a moot point.

I'm more impressed by the hunter who can sneak in to take a close shot than the hunter who takes long shots. One is hunting and the other is shooting.

Offline Daryl

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #44 on: November 10, 2017, 10:08:49 PM »
Daryl,

That  is why the English term for these 16 -bore rifles is usually a "Park rifle", for  where deer are confined to a park, and must be culled and such to keep the herd healthy.
Such shots are often close, so no great power is needed, and the fast twist will give needed accuracy.  Totally different to out on the moor for wild beats.
Dogs weren't usually used in a park setting. 

All the best,
Richard.

Richard - I had never heard of 'Park rifles' before.  Thanks for that tidbit of information.  I was referring to Forsyth's book where he talked about the fast twist bore guns used in the Highlands for shooting deer and what poor killers they were with their tiny charges.  Forsyth specifically spoke of the use of dogs to run down and catch wounded game.

Where does this Park Shooting happen?
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V

Online Bob Roller

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #45 on: November 11, 2017, 05:51:24 PM »
From a slightly different angle, How much powder do we need to get the job done?
When I got my Mark Silver kit from Jim decades ago, I asked Jim about loads.  (It's a .58, 42" long Getz)
Jim said 70 grs as a decent load.
I Had been using 60gr Go 2F  in a .54 Hawken type, and 120 2F for hunting.
The 70 grs worked and would shoot through mule deer and w-tails most every time. Collected very few balls from them.
Used that rifle 9 years straight for all my hunting just to get a feel of "how it was".
worked and didn't let me down, and I never did bother increasing the powder charge.  Shots from maybe 30 yards to about 125 -30 yards at most. One was a bit more.

Different slant on this interesting subject!
Richard.

An old friend,Bob Watts once said that "If the last two inches of the barrel doesn't
turn red then the load ain't right."
Turning from levity and farce,the late Tom Dawson had a 16 bore Manton rifle that
was marked "1 and 1/2 Drams".I would assume that it was a "Deer Park"rifle and
remember that the lock was so fast that the ignition was as good as a cap lock.
I don't know if any of his family/descendants still have it or not.
I had a cased 16 bore Greener double rifle that used 90 grains of DuPont 3fg
with patched round balls to make "snake eyes"at 50 yards.9 groove barrels with
an unknown twist.

Bob Roller

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #46 on: November 11, 2017, 06:33:27 PM »
Bob,

I like the bit about last2" turning red!

Daryl,
Where does this Park Shooting happen?

In England and Scotland, there were many large country houses, Country seats really , maybe also known as Manor houses. These had extensive park-like grounds, of varying acreages, but could be 1,000 acres or more.  some a lot less. It was fashionable to keep within these grounds herds of deer, quite often fallow deer.  These with no natural preditors so had to be kept at a healthy limit. This meant that  so many bucks and does had to be removed each year.
Sometimes the gamekeeper was roped in for this, and at other times the landowner had his sport .
 As these parks had woods/shelters and single trees scattered about, stalking fairly close to the herd and picking out the required animal was not too difficult.  Difficult enough to be called sport, but not impossible anyway!
In W Keith -Neal's book, GBG 1740n-1790, he has a charming chapter on the guns of Packington Hall, near Birmingham;
This was the seat of the Earls of Aylesford, and their herd of black fallow deer had been kept there for hundreds of years.
The lands of this estate were a part of the ancient forest of Arden, and had been a deer chase since the times of William the Conqueror.
In this book, he shows photos of the rifles used for this purpose and kept at one time at Packington,  in the old Hall.

Richard.

Offline Daryl

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #47 on: November 11, 2017, 08:26:44 PM »
Thanks for the explanation Richard.  The only thing I had to go on, was Forsyth's little book & his disdain for fast twist rifles, common in the mid 1800's.
In particular he spoke of a 13 bore he once had, with a 36" twist that 'stripped'(was inaccurate) if he shot over 40gr. of powder in it. His main trouble was
the 13" trajectory over 100yards, IIRC.
I am sure I could get it to shoot with more powder than that, but then, I use tighter loads than he did, I am sure.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2017, 08:27:36 PM by Daryl »
Daryl

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Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #48 on: November 11, 2017, 08:54:22 PM »
Daryl,

Some of the blokes back then had an agenda as well.  :-)
(Like Greener bashing all the other makers.)

I'm quite sure that a 1~36" could be got to shoot more than 40 grs accurately, tight ball/patch and all.
I have an old Germanic barrel at present, still a bit rumbly to load in the rough old bore.
It is 1~33".
Seems to want to shoot with 70 grs, (20 bore it is)   Still cutting patches yet though, so throws some wild ones.  When we get it smoothed up more, I'll try more powder and let you know.

Offline Daryl

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Re: How Much is too Much Powder
« Reply #49 on: November 12, 2017, 12:20:00 AM »
Back then, as today, sportsmen are/were resistant to using tight combinations.  Thus, it took a slow twist (or very low powder charges) to get accuracy, I assume, as I have not tested this out.

For dangerous & very large game, heavy charges were needed and could not be used in the fast twists without very poor accuracy, which makes sense.

Scotch-Brite is really good at smoothing rough bores.  As it follows the rifling, it will not hurt accuracy - at least from our experiments - all good results on smoothing up bores, even bores with rough spots.
Daryl

"a gun without hammers is like a spaniel without ears" King George V