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View Full Version : How much is too much


okiefarmer
November 19, 2009, 11:13 PM
I have all of my BP shootin' stuff in a big plastic tool box looking thing. Recently I took it out to farm (100 miles from city home) thinking I would have time to play while things were still muddy. Found stuff to fix as usual. Forgot to bring box back with me when came home. Stopped into local gunshop, and got another flask. This one had the 30 grain tip on it. Proprietor said he uses 30 grains in his Navies. I am shooting the '51 Navy in 36. WOW, this seems like a real smart report. Had been loading 22 grains under RB. Not a squib load, but definitely not what 30 grains does.

Is this a bit hot for these open top guns?

Just askin', cause I am still learning something everytime I go out.

TIA,
Okie out

Fingers McGee
November 19, 2009, 11:43 PM
I don't think you can get 30 grains in a .36 Navy cylinder without some heavy duty compressing & even then the ball may stick out. The most I've ever gotten in one of mine (1982 vintage Uberti) was 26 grains with a 380 ball and no wad. Using a calibrated pistol measure, 30 grains overflows the chamber.

FM

OK - Not calibrated. How about 'Using a pistol powder measure set on a marking that is ostensibly equivalent to 30 grains of powder' ??.

okiefarmer
November 20, 2009, 12:14 AM
Alrighty then, are those little flasks with the numbered tips truly the grains that they say they are, or are we not talking apples and apples. The old black powder grains is not that same as a modern day 7000 grain to a pound grain is it? Hey, I turned that flask over, let it fill to the top, poured it in each cylinder, and put a ball over it. It went below flush, but just barely, mebee 1/8" or so.

Like I said, I had been loading 22, but plunger was stroking bottom at about the same time as ball touched powder. I never really felt a powder pack, just a plunger bottom. I had bought some wonder wads to rememdy that issue, when I realized I left my main supply box at the farm.

I am currently looking for a conical mould for this 36. Would like to try something besides the RB.

Thanks

Model-P
November 20, 2009, 12:54 AM
If you can get the ball flush or lower than the face of the cylinder, then you are fine. The only time you need to shoot reduced loads is if your frame is brass. You do need to use enough powder, however, to get some powder compression. There should never be any extra air space behind the projectile such that the powder is loose in the chamber.

Hawg Haggen
November 20, 2009, 05:40 AM
Lee makes a .36 conical mold that casts tapered bullets that load easy even when loaded in frame. Get a double cavity mold and you'll be glad you did.

mykeal
November 20, 2009, 07:46 AM
Three things:

First, powder measures vary. They are not calibrated instruments. "30 grains" in one measure may well be 28 or even 26 in another. And vice versa. I have four variable measures and the spread between them is as much as 13%.

Second, putting your finger over the spout, inverting the flask, opening the valve, shaking it and then closing the valve does not necessarily fill the spout. The powder is loose so there will be voids that even shaking won't fill (you need to tap the spout several times with a hard object), and the valve may have been clogged with a small lump. The odds that you actually got 30 grains are pretty small.

Finally, yes, you can get almost 30 (well, maybe just a bit more than 25) grains in a .36 Navy cylinder. However, its a losing game. A full chamber is universally not the most accurate load, despite the proximity of the ball to the chamber mouth. You're much better off wth your 22 grain load in terms of accuarcy, which, after all, is the point of it all. Unless all you care about is noise and smoke.

Doc Hoy
November 20, 2009, 09:03 AM
...Mykeal,

Are the individual scoops that Lee sells in a set accurate?

Since grains are a measure of weight and the scoops (or most other measures for that matter) measure volume (Reference our conversation of about six months ago) can you rely upon these scoops to give you an accurate amount of powder.

Or is consistency of load more important than accuracy of load?

okiefarmer
November 20, 2009, 10:12 AM
Yeah, Doc, I got my LEE scoops out too. Only problem is getting it into the cylinder (in frame) witout getting h alf of it on the ground. The long brass noses work best.

I know it has been done and there is likely a chart on this forum somewhere that shows the relationship of weight/volume of different powders. I use mostly GOEX FFF in these pistols. I had used Pyrodex in the past. The little booklets that show recommendations for these guns lists standard cylinder capacity of 22 gr GOEX FFF, but just 17 gr Pyrodex P. Soooo, does that mean that each powder respectively takes up the same amount of volume in one of those little brass snouts?

I am going to go find a "round tuit" and get out the 505 and measure a similar volume of each powder to see what it is.

I wanted to get out of the house, but didn't have my box, so just got another pour flask, where I had been pouring from the flask into one of those little adjustable measures and using 22 GOEX. If this snout was truly 30 grains (and it seemed much more compared to how far down my RB was in cylinder from previoius 22 gr loads) then the 30 gr load just seemed right snappy.

The 22 gr loads were very accurate, I must admit. When shooting the 30 gr loads, I was also having some issues with faulty #10 caps, was ticked, so was just aiming in general direction of dirt hill to empty revolver and start over.

BTW. anyone ever have a run of bad caps. Have always got mine at local gunshop. Was in Tulsa last week, and picked up some at super mega shop, and these are what I am having trouble with.

Doc Hoy
November 20, 2009, 11:12 AM
Right...I don't have a set of those lee measures but I was thinking about getting one just to check accuracy. But then I realized (with Mykeal's assistance) that there are too many variables to apply that logic.

I would be willing to bet that there are not a few shooters who don't use a measure to actually measure the powder. They use the measure, as you say, because they need something funnel-like to get the powder into the chamber. But they actually pay little attention to the amount of powder that is coming out of the measure.

It is as Mykeal says....You can't just put your finger over the end and dump the flask over and expect to get the same volume of powder every time.

I am working on a design for a measure that is clear so that you can see the voids and eliminate them before the powder goes into the chamber. That project went onto the back burner when the loading press became essential.

LHB1
November 20, 2009, 11:24 AM
Quote: "Right...I don't have a set of those lee measures but I was thinking about getting one just to check accuracy."

I would NOT use any scoop or volumetric measure to test the weight of another. Would only trust a good scale (mechanical or digital) properly set up, zeroed, and tested with a known weight first. Modern powder measures, which drop powder by volume, are tested carefully for each new setting or adjustment by using a good scale.

okiefarmer
November 20, 2009, 11:49 AM
OK, we are getting tooooooo precise here. What did the cowboys do? They didn't have an RCBS or LEE scale in the saddle bags.

If one determines that one of those LEE scoops throws a certain weight in grains of powder, a cc is a cc is a cc, and it's gonna be pretty consistant, respective of how the user dips his powder and levels it. Another user would be different, but consistent in his/her pattern.

It just seems that I have read on here in the past that black powder was originally measured by volume,. not weight. Now, many of our calculations are by weight.

What I need to do is get my play box back from the farm, find me a bunch of different sizes of spouts for that little brass flask, and compare them to that little adjustable measure I got from BASS PRO shop. It just seemed like it was exhibiting quite a large difference in the measured 22 grains from previous shoots to the now pre-measured snout on this new flask. It's roughly 1/3 more powder, which volumetrically is quite a jump. Where does one go to find the extra snouts that screw into those little round flasks. The stores only carry the flask with one snout per package, they never have different size snouts, even though they tout the flasks as having replacable snouts. Go figger

Doc Hoy
November 20, 2009, 01:04 PM
Okie,

My guess is that they;

1. had a hollowed out antler or some such that they used, which would give excellent consistency

or

2. dumped powder into the chamber, visually checking the level in the chamber until it looked right. Probably also pretty consistent.

madcratebuilder
November 20, 2009, 01:30 PM
It just seems that I have read on here in the past that black powder was originally measured by volume,. not weight. Now, many of our calculations are by weight.

Your correct, for muzzle loading rifles and cap and ball revolvers you use weight by volume.

I have a adjustable volume scale like this one.

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d37/madcratebuilder/bpmeasure.jpg

I use this scale to calibrate the spouts on my different powder flasks. Weighing black powder is not rocket surgery, you need a change of about five grains to really see any difference.

How accurate is my scale? I don't know, or care, as long as I have a consistent measurement.

Using your finger over the flask spout well work, use the same technique and you should be consistent within ten percent, or two or three grains. I would call that close enough for government work. This is not smokeless powder where a tenth of a grain makes a difference.

We are shooting antique replicas with an obsolete propellant for recreational purposes. If I was shooting in competition I may then consider using a scale for exact weights.

For me the point is to have fun.

Flask spout (http://www.trackofthewolf.com/(S(1sp3lk45r1rjxzef0n15she4))/Categories/partDetail.aspx?catId=1&subId=11&styleId=32&partNum=SPOUTS) sets.

You can file the ends for finial adjustment.

okiefarmer
November 20, 2009, 02:30 PM
Thanks madcratebuilder,

That is exactly what I have, the adjustable measure in your pic. Thanks also for the link to some spare parts.

For some reason your first statement seems an oxymoron - "Your correct, for muzzle loading rifles and cap and ball revolvers you use weight by volume.
"

Weight by volume. Clear as mud.

I know what is meant. I will get me a handful of those tips, and measure by weight each one, and just tinker with them until I find a charge I like. It's a "whatever melts your butter" type of thing, right. One shooter might like hot loads, another medium, and another light loads. To each his own.

Okie out

Smokin_Gun
November 20, 2009, 02:44 PM
1 grain by volume of Black Powder weighs 1g grain ... therefore you fill a case with a volume of Black powder or the converted table to a substitute that it will hold. Contains a volume of 22gr of BP .380" ball. Navy .36.
These rules pertain to Black Powder and substitues. (By Volume)
"Not for the Smokeless Powder challenged minds." :O)

mykeal
November 20, 2009, 03:08 PM
...Mykeal,

Are the individual scoops that Lee sells in a set accurate?

Since grains are a measure of weight and the scoops (or most other measures for that matter) measure volume (Reference our conversation of about six months ago) can you rely upon these scoops to give you an accurate amount of powder.

Or is consistency of load more important than accuracy of load?
__________________
Doc
Lee's scoops are both consistent and accurate with respect to volume. However, there is no volume standard for grains, since it's a measure of weight, so the question of 'accuracy' of measurement is moot; it cannot be answered.

We (the practitioners of the black powder shooting sports) have, since the mid 1600's or thereabouts, perverted the meaning of grains by using the term as a measure of volume. What we really mean when we say "30 grains by volume of black powder" is "the volume displaced by 30 grains by weight of fresh water at 59 degrees Farenheit". I've not tested the Lee dippers using that standard, but I'm assured by those that have that they are "accurate" when compared to that standard.

The variable measures we all (well, many of us) use for convenience to load our guns are notoriously NOT accurate with respect to the water standard, and don't even compare well with each other. After all, what kind of precision can you expect for a device made up of two pieces of metal that move with respect to each other but only costs about $10? A 'grain' by weight is 0.002286 ounces. That's OUNCES, and you know how small an ounce is; do you really believe those $10 pieces of brass with moving parts are that accurate? But, I use one anyway, because I have several pistols, rifles, revolvers and shotguns, so a single good variable measure is very convenient, as opposed to several fixed measures that I'd have to keep track of.

The key is once I determine an 'optimum' load for a given combination of gun, powder, projectile, lube, patch, wad, phase of the moon, day of the year, shooting stance and how I hold my mouth I stick to it USING THAT SAME MEASURE, regardless of whether it's 28, 29, 30 or 31 grains by volume or weight. And when other people tell me they get good performance using 30 grains instead of 27, I take that with the same grain (sic) of salt as them saying they shoot better if they put their tongue in their left cheek and stand on one foot. No disrespect intended.

Besides, it's fun to shoot the guns, so I'd rather spend lots of time sending pieces of lead downrange through clouds of smoke under the pretense of 'working up the right load'. After all, everyone needs a hobby.

By the way, Traditions, and I believe Thompson Center, sells a clear plastic powder measure.

Doc Hoy
November 20, 2009, 04:45 PM
Mykeal,

"I believe Thompson Center, sells a clear plastic powder measure."

Yes, they doodly do.

TCG7224 - $34.95

But I am working on one which separates the chamber (which might contain still smoldering embers) from the main powder vessel of the flask. I had this thought as a result of our previous conversation on the topic of powder flasks. I like the CVA1400 but it is subject to the criticism that it is potentially hazardous because of the way the spout, valve and vessel are all in a line.

Unfortunately right now the design is about the size of a small sewing machine. You all know that size doesn't bother me given the size of the loading press I posted photos of a coupla days ago. I had to go buy a bigger pickup truck just to haul it round.

madcratebuilder
November 20, 2009, 08:13 PM
I will get me a handful of those tips, and measure by weight each one, and just tinker with them until I find a charge I like. It's a "whatever melts your butter" type of thing, right. One shooter might like hot loads, another medium, and another light loads.

That's about it. A good rule of thumb is use a starting load of one half the revolvers caliber. A .44 would be .22grs and a .36 would be 18gra.

Some shooters well use a filler(corn meal or cream of wheat) to fill the chamber enough to have the ball seated right at the mouth of the chamber. Some shooter see more accuracy using this method, some do not.

As long as you are getting the ball seated on the powder charge you are safe.