Author Topic: Two types of Swiss powder  (Read 7283 times)

Offline smylee grouch

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Two types of Swiss powder
« on: March 26, 2019, 12:10:26 AM »
Just got off the web looking for powder and saw that Swiss is making two different styles/types of black powder. One is ball powder and the other is the regular old style. Has any one shot the ball style and what are your thoughts on it if you have? Seems it would flow nicely from container to measure. Just a thought but it does cost a little more.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2019, 06:21:22 AM by smylee grouch »

Offline OldMtnMan

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2019, 12:44:32 AM »
Yeah, it's called Caviar. Not sure where you got the 50%? It's $4.00 lb more. I know someone who tried it and was getting slow fires. He then went back to the old Swiss and it fired fine.


https://www.buffaloarms.com/black-powder

Offline Don Adams

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2019, 04:43:36 AM »
If it's ball powder (the newer) could it be for metal cartridge reloading only?

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2019, 06:19:32 AM »
Old Mt. Man, I stand corrected on the price of the two types of Swiss powder. Looking through my blurry eyes I seen a 1 when it was in fact a 7 so there is only a $4 difference from $31.00 to $27.00.

Offline Feltwad

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2019, 12:03:33 PM »
This Swiss powder in the UK is very expensive and I personally cannot see the logic in using it when other makes are half price . Maybe if you are shooting rifle competition then maybe yes  has it is  a cleaner burning , but for me for the use of every day shooting  why pay the price when cheaper grades do the job
Feltwad

Offline OldMtnMan

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2019, 04:54:25 PM »
This Swiss powder in the UK is very expensive and I personally cannot see the logic in using it when other makes are half price . Maybe if you are shooting rifle competition then maybe yes  has it is  a cleaner burning , but for me for the use of every day shooting  why pay the price when cheaper grades do the job
Feltwad

Some are wealthy and don't have to worry about the price. They just want the best powder.

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2019, 05:24:48 PM »
Yes and some ARE NOT wealthy but still don't mind spending  a little more because it shoots and cleans better in their competition guns like Feltwad noted.

Offline OldMtnMan

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2019, 05:35:32 PM »
True, I used to be one of them. However, my income was higher then. Goex if fine for my practice and hunting now. Swiss is a good powder but it's not $10 lb better for me.

Offline hanshi

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2019, 09:13:38 PM »
Price is one of the first thing I look for when ordering powder.
!Jozai Senjo! "always present on the battlefield"
Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.

Offline Marcruger

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2019, 09:34:02 PM »
My experience is that Swiss has less fouling than Goex, but in my climate the fouling is harder. Seems to be harder to clean too. Swiss is the charm for higher velocities though. Faster recoil to my shoulder. Excellent for BPCR cases. Just my experience. Their dust-like NULL B powder is perfect for priming if you can locate some. God Bless, Marc

Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2019, 05:06:44 AM »
I'll come out of hibernation for this one.

Nearly spherical grains of black powder were at hot item towards the end of the 1800s.  But the problem was trying to find a way to make the perfect spheres with the required density.

When you deal with the angular and usually non-uniform grain size and shape see in press densified powder that was then "grained" in a corning mill you get load to load differences that relate to this problem  If you weigh your powder charges you will get uniform shot to shot weight.  But not exactly the same amount of volume occupied by the charge.  The other side of the coin.  If you measure your charges by volume you will get some variation in weight.  With our angular grains you don't get a uniform volume and weight when nesting.  You can get one but not the other.
Manufacturing perfectly spherical black powder grains in a uniform size became the holy grail of the black powder industry late in the 1800's.  My Aussie buddy I used to joke that the only way to do it right is to train a whole bunch of dung beetles.
This push for perfectly spherical black powder grains of uniform size was in the black powder cartridge period.  It would give cartridges with very little muzzle velocity difference for a given powder charge weight in a given cartridge configuration.  Ely used powder grains that had been polished for a long period of time in the polishing barrel.  Given very rounded grains. But not nearly perfectly round.  Powder was then screened to tighter than normal screen size range.  As a result they could produce a box of .295 Rook rounds with only 5FPS shot to shot variation.

These perfectly spherical grains of a more uniform size would also be ideal in the muzzleloading target rifles of those days were pin point accuracy was almost a must to even begin to compete in serious competition.

So this spherical uniform grain size thing had been in the works for a while with the present ownership of the plant.  That plant had made good spherical powder back in the late 1800s but when the demand dropped the machinery was simply put into storage.  Of course the cost of production will be a bit higher than for the regular powder.  But for somebody that wants absolute accuracy for competition shooting might want to look at it.

Bill K.

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2019, 05:44:34 AM »
Thanks Mad Monk for yet another lesson in our hobby,s history. I enjoy and value your sharing and contributions.

Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2019, 06:16:52 AM »
You know smylee how history tends to repeat itself.  Back in the 1970's this thing about load to load differences in weight versus volume of bore occupied by the charges came up in U.S. military artillery loads.  The U.S was slow going to the small uniform diameter and length smokeless powder "grains" in artillery loads.  Uniform ignition speeds/rates and uniform occupied bore volume is critical to accuracy in any gun.  Bigger guns gives bigger margins of error.

In these threads on the various powders and their costs it is simply a point of what you really want from the gun.  How much are you willing to pay to get that degree of performance if that performance is a must in your shooting.  How many hoops must you jump through to get that performance.  When you look at the various brands and types of black powder in the late 1800s you are looking at a highly competitive business.  And if you were less than really good at making black powder you would not be in that business very long.  Big difference in powders used to put deer meat on the table versus trophies on the shelf.

Bill K.

Offline bob in the woods

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2019, 06:38:44 AM »
Very informative, and extremely interesting.  When target shooting with my round ball rifle , I load by volume and accuracy is very good for the distances we shoot . However, my muzzleloader bullet rifle , requires weighed charges, pre-measured [ electronic scale ] and I keep track of the lot #s on the powder cans. All the same lot # is necessary for consistency .  I tried Goex cartridge powder for a while but found that in my long range rifle it was less accurate than 2F
due to greater velocity variances .

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2019, 07:15:59 AM »
That,s a very good point Bill and when it comes to shooting game at 50 yds vs. bulls eyes at 200 a fussy guy could still do ok with two different brands/grades of powder but when you have a stock of the "best" as in Swiss you might just as well use it up. It might be "overkill" to some but when a guy has enough to last till his shooting days come to an end I would say use the best if you got it. When I TRY to compete with the REAL bench rest shooters I will use weighed charges, drop tubes,teflon patches, the whole nine yards but when I,m out hunting my powder measure has a variable hump on top at times.  ;D  :)

Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2019, 08:34:57 AM »
Very informative, and extremely interesting.  When target shooting with my round ball rifle , I load by volume and accuracy is very good for the distances we shoot . However, my muzzleloader bullet rifle , requires weighed charges, pre-measured [ electronic scale ] and I keep track of the lot #s on the powder cans. All the same lot # is necessary for consistency .  I tried Goex cartridge powder for a while but found that in my long range rifle it was less accurate than 2F
due to greater velocity variances .

Bob,
I have not looked at Goex since it was bought out by Hodgdon.  But both Moosic and Minden production lots varied a good deal on grain density, amount of dust clinging to the individual grains.  Then there were major variations on how well the individual grains smoothed, rounded and polished.  These all created lot to lot differences in shot to shot variations.  The idea of perfectly spherical powder grains of uniform size was supposed to do away with the variables that effect how fast the powder charges ignite and therefor how fast they build up pressure behind the projectile as it moves up the bore.  In English writings from the latter half of the 1800s described this as "uniformity of action" in the bore.  Getting this uniformity of action in the bore was crucial in getting the 110 and 120 mm tank cannons to shoot accurately at long ranges.

The GOEX cartridge powder that you mention was made at the old Moosic plant.  After a few years at Minden they came out with another version sold as Express.  The Moosic cartridge was nothing more than regular 2F powder with some of the fine grains screened out.  But you still had lot to lot differences in grain polish.  Depending on the periods of production there was a wide difference in the velocities put out by the same grain size powder.  The thing with black powder is that you have a host of possible variables from one lot to another that all effect velocity and accuracy.  Controlling, or limiting, all of these variables will have an effect on how that particular lot of powder performs in a gun.  This is why you saw contradictory reports on how one performed against the other.

Bill K.

Offline Feltwad

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2019, 12:51:35 PM »
Here in the UK considering the old powders enclosed is a image of grades and make of powder which I considered was the best powder here
Feltwad


Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2019, 06:59:38 PM »
Here in the UK considering the old powders enclosed is a image of grades and make of powder which I considered was the best powder here
Feltwad



Feltwad,
I used to have the process books from the old C&H plant at Ardeer.  I also have a lot on the present Swiss plant.  There is much in common between the two powders.  Until about 1970 the Ardeer plant made their sporting powder charcoal from glossy buckthorn alder wood imported from southern France.  They also charred on site to yield a charcoal that gave a moist burning powder.  No different from the way the Swiss still prepare their charcoal.  But the C&H produced between 1970 and 1972 did not use that charcoal so it was not nearly as good as the powder produced up until about 1970.  They had lost of the French wood source.  The Swiss 1.5F has a gun performance that matches the old late 1800s C&H #6 powder.

Bill K.

Offline Daryl

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2019, 10:10:52 PM »
I remember those cans - Late 50's, early 60's Taylor and I used Curtis and Harvey's 3F in our cannons. The red cans had a pull-up rubber spout. IIRC, the powder was very expensive, around $0.95 a pound.

You could buy a Dairy Queen for 5cents & a loaf of bread for 25cents. Pack of Phillip Morris for Mom was $0.34.
Daryl

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Offline Skirmisher

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2019, 06:22:53 PM »
Bill, what in your opinion is an appropriate application for Swiss 1.5?  And do any of the other Swiss granulations correspond closely to old C&H grades?

Offline Scota4570

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2019, 06:43:09 PM »
Why can not black powder be extruded, like smokeless.  The short symmetrical cylinder shaped grains would then be polished.  This would make a uniform smooth grains that would meter as well as a perfect sphere? 

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2019, 07:32:04 PM »
Ka-blooey!
Andover, Vermont

Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2019, 08:03:37 PM »
Bill, what in your opinion is an appropriate application for Swiss 1.5?  And do any of the other Swiss granulations correspond closely to old C&H grades?

The Swiss 1.5 F has seen a lot of use in the bp cartridges.  A lot in the .45-70.  It is a nearly perfect ballistic match for the old C&H #6 powder.  When I first started testing the Swiss when GOEX was distributing the first container I shot the Swiss 3F in my .45 flinters and my .50 cal percussion rifles.  They kinda freaked at that.  The 3f was intended for the small caliber cap and ball pistols and the small caliber percussion rifles.  I switched over to mainly their 2F powder for both the .45s and the .50s.  But I did try the 1.5F in the .50s.

You must watch load sizes with the Swiss.  You can reac a load size that would not be a problem with the other slower cooler burning brands.  The temperatures in the bore created by the burning of the Swiss powder are a good bit higher than the temperatures with other powders.  You reach a point in charge size increase when suddenly you exceed the melt point temperature for the potassium carbonate in the combustion residue melts and form a thin glass like film in the bore just above  here the projectile sat on the charge.  That glass like film is totally soluble in water but takees a bit more work to remove.  It is a lot slower to dissolve in the water in the swab than potassium carbonate in a fine particle powder state.

When you mention the old C&H grains sizes.  Around 1990 C&H switched to the grain sizes we now use.  Before that they had a larger number of grain sizes that were just screen to a closer size.
Our "U.S. Standard grain sizing system was first proposed in 1836 but at first not widely accepted in the industry. Going by average grain diameter (mean diameter) in our system.  2F is half the average size of 1f.  Then 3f is half the size of 2f.  Think of that in terms of differences in grain surface area for a given weight of grains.  It would be close to say that the old C&H grains sizes were in a 1/4 diameter change sequence versus the halving seen in the U.S. system.

Bill K.

Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2019, 08:24:05 PM »
Why can not black powder be extruded, like smokeless.  The short symmetrical cylinder shaped grains would then be polished.  This would make a uniform smooth grains that would meter as well as a perfect sphere?

If you attempted to extrude black powder you would simply blow up the extruder. Even if it was slightly moist as going into the historical powder press.  Even with the standard plate and frame powder press they had numerous explosion as they started to apply pressure in the press.  Bits of powder caught on edges of the frames would go up as they applied pressure to the press. Black powder can be set off it you heat it quickly.  No spark or flame needed.  In the extruder it would be rubbing against the extruder barrel under pressure from the edges of the rotating extruder screw.That frictional heating would cause it to ignite.  Then there is the question of surface area to the mass of the grain. With the cylinders you would have a lot less surface area under ignition and combustion compared to regular grains.  Time required to burn the charge would be increased which would drastically lower velocities.  Especially in guns shooting projectiles with a low mass compared to diameter and weight.

The thing about compacting the mass of powder from the wheel mill with a minimum of danger is seen in the present Swiss powder plant.  They did away with the dangerous plate and frame powder press going to a roller press.  The moist powder from the wheel mill is laid onto a moving heavy rubber belt.  It then passes under a big heavy roller that compacts it to a density equal to that found in plate and frame pressed powders.  They trim the edges off the rolled powder since the edges are lower in density. The rolled (pressed) powder is broken up into large pieces and allowed to sit and "cure".  This so-called curing is nothing more than some of the water evaporating out of the powder cakes.  This cause the microscopic crystals of potassium nitrate to fuse together.  This gives the desired hardness and mechanical strength to go through the corning mill.  Prior to that "curing" the pressed powder would simply crumble back into dust when you tried to "corn" it into grains.

Bill K.

Offline Daryl

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Re: Two types of Swiss powder
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2019, 09:28:01 PM »
Bill, what in your opinion is an appropriate application for Swiss 1.5?  And do any of the other Swiss granulations correspond closely to old C&H grades?

I would certainly use 1 1/2F Swiss in any application I would normally use 2F GOEX. The velocity will be slightly higher for the Swiss powder if using 'stricken' (equal volume) loads.
Daryl

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