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staggerwing
December 2, 2009, 02:46 PM
Hi to all. I am brand new to this forum, so please forgive if this has been covered. I inherited 2 pieces from my father. Both are .45 cal. pecussion cap. I have a rifled long gun & a single shot derringer. Neither are antiques. I have done black powder before but I was a young man. (MANY moons ago) My question is how many grains to use for basic target shootin'. I'm using Pyrodex RS FFG equivalent. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. Tim:confused:

Brian Pfleuger
December 2, 2009, 02:51 PM
Some one is going to need to know EXACTLY what cartridge you are loading for and the weight and type of bullet you're using. ".45 cal" isn't enough information.

The make/model/cartridge could possibly be "implied" from your post, but "implied" and "hand loads" are a bad, bad combination.;)

langenc
December 2, 2009, 03:12 PM
I dont do blackpowder or its clones. Be CAREFUL when discussing grains and black powder.

I dont even know how to intelligently give the warning but I do know you dont weigh blackpowder. I wish someone would discuss the 'equivalents'!!

simonkenton
December 2, 2009, 06:32 PM
For the rifle, try 50 grains. You can then try 60 grains, and then 70, see which is more accurate.

For a .45 derringer, maybe 15 grains. I have a .45 revolver and I use 30 grains.
With your little short barrel I doubt the derringer will burn much more than that.
You might go up to 20 grains with the derringer.
You also will get a better burn, and a little more power, with fffg powder, I don't know if Pyrodex makes that, I use it in black powder.

If you tried to post a pic, it didn't come through.

arcticap
December 2, 2009, 07:40 PM
I have a shallow, medium twist .45 round ball rifle that likes a target load of 37 grains of Pyrodex P at 50 yards which admittedly is a pretty light load.

Another .45 rifle of mine has deeper rifling and a slower twist and it likes 50 grains at 50 yards & 70 grains at 100 yards.

I would start out loading about 40 grains of powder in the rifle and then increase the charge in 5-10 grain increments until the groups are satisfactory at 50 yards. Then increase the charge by 10 - 20 grains for shooting out to 100 yards.
Pyrodex P burns a little bit cleaner and ignites a little better in some rifles too.

B.L.E.
December 2, 2009, 08:05 PM
I dont even know how to intelligently give the warning but I do know you dont weigh blackpowder. I wish someone would discuss the 'equivalents'!!

Black powder for muzzleloading is normally measured by volume, not weight. As long as you are using real black powder, the amount thrown by a volumetric powder measure will be close but not exactly what a scale would weigh out. When I set my powder measure to 100 grains, it will throw about 92 grains of Goex fffg by weight.

Where the danger lies is when you are using Pyrodex, Triple 7, or other black powder substitutes which are less dense than black powder. Just understand that "50 grains of Pyrodex" does not mean 50 grains by weight but rather the amount a black powder measure would throw when set to 50 grains.
For example, "100 grains of Blackhorn 209" actually weighs about 65 grains on a scale. If you take that recommended 100 grains literally and actually weigh out 100 grains, you will have a substantial overload.

Hawg Haggen
December 3, 2009, 01:22 PM
I dont even know how to intelligently give the warning but I do know you dont weigh blackpowder. I wish someone would discuss the 'equivalents'!!

Black powder can be weighed. Smokeless weights are based on bp weights. It's when you get into the subs you absolutely have to measure volumetrically.

darkgael
December 3, 2009, 03:16 PM
Those are good posts and certainly correct about the measuring of BP and its substitutes. But
"50 grains of Pyrodex" does not mean 50 grains by weight

In an ideal world that statement would be/should be true. Alas, it is not true for all. Some shooters disregard the convention of volume only and when they state 50 grains of 777, they mean 50 grains as weighed. It's not a good situation and one has to be careful.
Pete

B.L.E.
December 3, 2009, 07:44 PM
There is certainly nothing wrong with weighing out 777 or Pyrodex, but, if you measure it that way, you should specify that the charge was weighed, not measured with a powder measure and vice versa. I often wish all powder measures were calibrated in cc's instead of grains, that way if someone says "my load is 5.3 cc's of 777, there is no confusion as to wether it is by weight or volume.

Further adding to the confusion is the shotgunner's habit of listing their black powder load in "ounces" which actually means the volume of black powder measured by a shot dipper set to throw that many ounces of lead shot.

robhof
December 3, 2009, 07:51 PM
Get yourself one of those variable powder measures; looks like a brass syringe with an open end. I have a small; 1 to 10 grains for my 22 b/p and a large; 10 to 100 for everything else. I only used them a few times to check the spout on my powder horn and adjust it to the powder level I shoot it at. I have a powder horn for each of my guns with a spout cut to the level it shoots best with. Each is distinctly different, so no chance of mixing them up.

mykeal
December 3, 2009, 08:56 PM
So you load directly from your powder flask/horn?

B.L.E.
December 3, 2009, 10:29 PM
So you load directly from your powder flask/horn?

Yep, the flasks have a thumb operated valve in them, hold the tip of the spout shut with your fingertip and open the valve while holding the spout down and the spout tip fills with powder. Close the valve and pour the powder trapped in the spout down the barrel. The longer the spout, the more powder it measures.

Hawg Haggen
December 4, 2009, 12:41 AM
Yep, the flasks have a thumb operated valve in them, hold the tip of the spout shut with your fingertip and open the valve while holding the spout down and the spout tip fills with powder. Close the valve and pour the powder trapped in the spout down the barrel. The longer the spout, the more powder it measures.

If you're lucky you'll never have a hot ember in the barrel when you load from the flask. All it takes is one to turn that flask into a grenade. And don't think the valve being closed is going to help you.

B.L.E.
December 4, 2009, 06:43 AM
If you're lucky you'll never have a hot ember in the barrel when you load from the flask. All it takes is one to turn that flask into a grenade. And don't think the valve being closed is going to help you.


Good point, safety, and maybe another good reason to get into the habit of cleaning the bore between every shot.

robhof
December 4, 2009, 08:30 AM
I also swab between shots on my rifles and load my pistols with a loading stand that requires removal of the cylinder, so by the time the powder is poured any ember is well out. Been doing it this way for 25 years.

madcratebuilder
December 4, 2009, 08:46 AM
I also swab between shots on my rifles and load my pistols with a loading stand that requires removal of the cylinder, so by the time the powder is poured any ember is well out. Been doing it this way for 25 years.

That is a perfectly safe procedure. IMHO, loading directly from a flask or horn is safe IF you apply common sense. If you are short on that then by all means use a measure.:D

staggerwing
December 4, 2009, 11:52 AM
Thanks to all for the tremendous response! Here's what I've taken from this.

Pyrodex powder: $18.00
Lead balls (100 ct) $14.00
Percussion caps $5.00
Powder measure: Priceless
As for loading from the flask. It's been many years since I've done BP, but one of the first lessons drilled into me was not to do it. Certainly swabbing between shots is a good idea, (thanks robhof) but if something is going up in my face, I'd rather it be a measure than a flask. Again I'd like to thank all for the help you're willing to share with this semi-newbie. Great forum. Tim

arcticap
December 4, 2009, 12:53 PM
Don't forget some lubed .015 patches to go along with .440 balls for the rifle and a nipple wrench if you don't already have them.
A thinner .010 lubed patch may be easier to load in the Derringer.
Come back and let us know how they shoot. :)

staggerwing
December 4, 2009, 01:09 PM
Already got 'em, thanks. Frankly the derringer scares me a bit. .45 cal out of a 3 1/2" barrel. I'm fond of my hand. I think I'm gonna just stick with "salutes" with it.

simonkenton
December 4, 2009, 01:20 PM
What's your problem, John Wilkes Booth gave the derringer "Two Thumbs Up."

staggerwing
December 4, 2009, 02:21 PM
"Two thumbs up" Good
"One thumb off" Bad

arcticap
December 4, 2009, 02:28 PM
Here's a picture of staggerwing's derringer:

http://img252.imageshack.us/img252/4896/dscn014916.jpg

simonkenton
December 4, 2009, 02:35 PM
Is that a brass ramrod, or a brass scope?

arcticap
December 4, 2009, 02:39 PM
Is that the Classic Arms New Orleans Ace Pistol [Kit]?
It sure looks like it along with the similar barrel measurement.
Some of their models are also sold already factory finished.

Is that a brass ramrod, or a brass scope?

That's the brass ramrod offset at about a 45 degree angle.


http://www.dixiegunworks.com/product_info.php?cPath=22_162_194&products_id=868

http://www.dixiegunworks.com/images/PH1305.jpg

staggerwing
December 4, 2009, 02:58 PM
That certainly looks to be the same. The piece I have has no marks or stamps of any kind, but the parts look identical. Thanks articap for all your help. So waddya think? Live load or not?

simonkenton
December 4, 2009, 08:02 PM
If that is the Dixie pistol, fire it up!

Read the reviews on the Dixie link that arcticap gave, all the guys are shooting it.
Fifteen grains of powder and off you go.

B.L.E.
December 4, 2009, 11:54 PM
Pyrodex powder: $18.00
Lead balls (100 ct) $14.00
Percussion caps $5.00
Powder measure: Priceless


Powder measure: Free at most public ranges. Pick up an empty 9mm pistol cartridge and use it to measure the powder charge. It will hold approximately 13-14 grains of black powder, nearly perfect for the derringer.