Author Topic: Measuring blackpowder?  (Read 1837 times)

Offline Jakob

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Measuring blackpowder?
« on: August 29, 2023, 02:34:13 AM »
What is the most accurate way, in terms of getting consistent loads, to measure powder? By weight or volume?

Offline Jerry

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2023, 01:53:23 PM »
Jakob, I have an inexpensive Frankfort Arsenal digital scale that I use when I reload for cartridge guns. I make my measures out of brass tubing found at Ace Hardware. When I find the charge I want, I cut to length and cap one end with a round piece of brass or copper. This method has worked for me. Good luck! Jerry

Offline ScottNE

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2023, 04:25:22 PM »
Measuring solids by weight (mass) is more accurate (or should I say precise) than measuring by volume, by definition, right?

Offline Pukka Bundook

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2023, 04:46:05 PM »
Scott,
You are correct of course, but a Consistent method of measuring by volume can be just that, surprisingly consistent.
Black is not finicky about a part grain difference.

Offline Don Steele

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2023, 04:50:13 PM »
Weighing powder charges individually on an accurate scale is the best way to know you’ve reduced a variable that can affect group integrity. That said… in shooting flintlock longrifles… it’s only one of many. For the casual shooter, I’d recommend practicing your technique, using a volumetric measure and checking reproducibility ( precision) with a scale until you get consistent results.
 ;)
Look at the world with a smilin' eye and laugh at the devil as his train rolls by...(Alison Krauss)

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2023, 05:43:59 PM »
When I made the long range muzzle loader I shot locally at 500 meters,I have a number of glass vials with corks that could hold 100 grains of black powder and used  them for weighed loads and got good results at the 500 meter range and was able to hit knock down targets with no real effort using a lubricated bullets.Uniform powder charges AND to the degree possible,uniform seating pressure with the loading rod.
The vials came from a police officer who got them in a SWAT raid on a drug house years earlier. ;D.I used 80 grains weighed and a weighed 485 grain bullet,Lyman 451112 now discontinued.Home brewed lube also.
Bob Roller

Offline Jakob

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2023, 07:01:26 PM »
Part of my reason for questioning this, was that measuring by volume seems a lot more variable. Tapping the side of the measure will often cause it to settle enough to fit an extra grain or 2 and then suddenly you're adding 2-3% variation just in power load.
I really should test how consistent the weight is of my volume based load.

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2023, 07:51:14 PM »
Jacob:  in my experience, pouring powder from a horn into a measure, then from the measure into the muzzle is as consistent as is required to shoot one hole groups offhand at 25 and 50 meters, and slightly over a minute of angle at 100 meters.  Ned Roberts, in his book "The Muzzle Loading Caplock Rifle" describes the stricken measure as being the most consistent.  That is filling the measure from the flask or horn to overflowing, then striking off the excess with a piece of horn or wood, or even a knife blade.
As has been mentioned, spend a half hour in your shop with a scale and your horn and measure, pour charges, weigh them, dump them into a vesssel, then repeat, to see how uniform you can throw charges.
There is no need to tap on the measure to settle the charge.  If you need that extra 2 grains in the charge, make the charge bigger and just use the pour and dump system.
My brother goes so far as to proclaim that using a scale to thrown charges even in a cartridge like the 45-70 as an example, will not produce better consistency on the target than weighing every charge to the tenth of a grain.  And he beats me regularly at that game.
And I agree with Pukka Bandook, that black powder is not particularly fussy about precise charges.
Don't make yourself crazy over this by overthinking it.
D. Taylor Sapergia
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Art is not an object.  It is the excitement inspired by the object.

Offline Maven

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2023, 08:15:05 PM »
Very well said Taylor!
Paul W. Brasky

Offline Daryl

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2023, 09:01:59 PM »
Further in testing,  I have found that the inside diameter of approximately 3/8's for a powder measure will throw much more consistent charges of powder than a larger diameter "measure".
I personally work uploads for a rifle using an adjustable powder measure. When I find the "stricken" load that shoots best with that combination, I weigh the  charge  then make up  powder measure that consistently throws that amount of powder, or that combination.
With a 3/8" I.D. powder measure, I find I can "throw" charges within a grain's  weight, normally, in charges up to 100gr. My measures that throw over 100gr. are slightly larger in diameter, roughly.45" ID.
The approximately 3/8" inside diameter tubing I use is the .015" wall brass tubing I found in a hobby store. This tubing is the put-together stuff, available in sizes from about 1/16th inch to over an inch.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2023, 02:06:09 AM by Daryl »
Daryl

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

Offline hudson

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2023, 05:55:06 PM »
I have run comparison teats on a few popular powder measures. The conventional brass cut off is surprising accurate but every so often will throw you a really off charge, thinking operator error, well maybe. With mechanical measures several popular ones were mostly ok but only with only one grade of powder (FFg FFFg). Settings seamed to vary on an off for the same charge. Overall a cheap Lee came out a wee bit better than the others.

Offline Daryl

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2023, 09:17:04 PM »
Settings cannot be trusted as not only different grades  but different makes of powder will vary even though the "FG" marking might be the same.That is why I weigh the charge on a grain scale  then make a stricken measure to hold that amount.
Daryl

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

Online Hungry Horse

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2023, 06:05:30 PM »
 Why not use a digital scale, and a four foot long drop tube like the cartridge guys use. Then you could wring every last drop of enjoyment out of muzzleloading?

 Hungry Horse

Offline Daryl

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2023, 06:57:58 PM »
Some do and think it's fun. Whatever turns your crank.
Sarcasm really isn't needed. Some folks insist on using thumb start loads only. It's their choice and that's how they have fun.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2023, 11:31:40 PM by Daryl »
Daryl

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

Offline Maven

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2023, 08:08:23 PM »
Overall a cheap Lee came out a wee bit better than the others.

Agreed!  Even though many deride Lee Precision's products, their "Perfect" powder measure does a great job, but you have to confirm with a scale and your volumetric BP measure.
Paul W. Brasky

Offline Jakob

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2023, 04:44:32 AM »
So, tested this yesterday.
50grain on my adjustable measure, very consistently gave 52gr (2F Schuetzen) by weight, with max variance of 0.2grain. More than good enough for me!.
I should have tested that first :).
Thanks for all the help.

Offline Jerry

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2023, 01:44:02 PM »
Some do and think it's fun. Whatever turns your crank.
Sarcasm really isn't needed. Some folks insist on using thumb start loads only. It's their choice and that's how they have fun.
  Daryl, I have always had better accuracy when patch and ball combination  required using a short starter. Jerry

Offline Daryl

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2023, 06:42:15 PM »
Same here Jerry. Some folks are not interested is achieving this result and only in hearing and feeling the gun go off,  I assume.
Whatever floats their stick.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2023, 02:03:03 AM by Daryl »
Daryl

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

Offline flatsguide

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2023, 06:13:41 AM »
The fact that the grain sizes within a can of powder vary in size is what causes the perceived “problems “.  Measuring charges by weight with an accurate and precise scale will give one different volumes by reason of the different grain sizes. So for casual shooting or hunting weighing or volume work equally well. Some hardcore target shooters buy the best powder available and sort it by screening and “socking” out the fines. My personal opinion and it’s only an opinion is weighing sorted powder gives a slight edge. But first one needs an accurate rifle, the ability to shoot, load consistently and dope the wind before the difference between weighed and volume charges makes a difference.

Cheers Richard, known to have hit a barn door on a good day.

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Measuring blackpowder?
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2023, 07:49:52 PM »
What is the most accurate way, in terms of getting consistent loads, to measure powder? By weight or volume?
Either will work but in BPCR VOLUME with consistent levels of slight compression is the key.
MLs volume will work to but with long bullets like a slug gun then weight might be a good idea if the range is extended. With a RB I would see weighing as a waste of time IF the measure is used right. I always load from a pouch and horn and how the powder is put into the measure is the key and with practice, if you check it with a scale, you might be surprised at how consistent it can be when the measure is good and the horn tip fits it right. Where variations in velocity is at ranges well past where a RB is going to be uses. Over 200 yards. 
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine