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Model-P
September 8, 2010, 11:53 AM
Many reference sources say it is best to use Mugnum primers when loading BP cartridges, so that the powder will burn more cleanly. But, how did the old mercuric primers compare with today's standard primers? Were they more powerful, like today's Magnum primers, or about the same as today's standard primers? Or weaker???

In other words, which of today's primers (Magnum vs. standard) really replicates the 19th Century standard for BP cartridges?

Mike Irwin
September 8, 2010, 01:26 PM
As I understand it, the old mercuric fulminate primers were very feisty and burned quite hot.

Jim Watson
September 8, 2010, 01:33 PM
I read that the .45-70 Gov't primer was specially designed for a "long burn" to break up and ignite the compressed charge. Whether Winchester and Sharps ammunition on the same case had similar primers, I don't know.


BPCR target shooters are getting away from magnum primers, moving towards standard or even pistol primers, sometimes with a primer wad to soften the flame. But they are interested strictly in accuracy and have the leisure to blow tube or wipe every shot.

Hawg Haggen
September 8, 2010, 07:26 PM
Standard primers work fine for me.

Oh yeah, I use Pyrodex.

noelf2
September 8, 2010, 07:31 PM
Oh yeah, I use Pyrodex.
:barf::barf::barf::barf: Me too! ;)

andrewstorm
September 8, 2010, 10:46 PM
work great for 777,cant imagine a hotter non ruger load ,hotter prime increases pressure,bad for antique shooters:eek:probably original antique primers were non magnum, because the term had not been used in gun making,until this century as the quest for more power,ensued

Erich
September 9, 2010, 09:49 AM
Well, let me ask the group this: I understand that 777 ignites at much higher temps than Holy Black. Andrew says that CCI standard caps (#11s?) work for him. Is that the common experience?

How about the other BP substitutes? I've done okay with Pyrodex RS and standard CCI caps in my Scout pistol but American Pioneer gave pretty much terrible results and slight hangfires. (I now have some CCI magnum caps to try.)

I ask because I have a Scout carbine on the way (I liked the Scout pistol a lot :o ) and the old in-line T/C Scouts are strictly #11-cap-only (their proprietary breechplug/nipple does not allow switching out with musket caps or 209 primers). I've been wondering what I can run through it effectively - and I don't want to buy a pound of the stuff only to learn it doesn't work well.

Thanks for any info that you might have for me, and thanks for an interesting thread.

mykeal
September 9, 2010, 11:44 AM
Erich:

It is true that Triple 7 (and all substitute black powders for that matter) has a significantly higher ignition temperature than real black powder - almost twice as high. Standard caps will generally ignite them, but many people report occasional problems. If reliability is an issue (like drawing a bead on a 10 point for that once in a lifetime shot) many people have gone to musket caps or 209 primers to be assured of ignition. However, that's not the only answer. You can also use magnum caps, which are the same size as standard caps but with higher gas pressure and temperature.

Here's some data published earlier on the forum; I believe member arcticap is the source but I'm not sure, so apologies if I have that wrong:

On page 83 of DaveEhrig's book "Muzzleloading for Deer & Turkey", he lists some information on percussion caps and primers.
#11 standard cap - 6.53 cc of gas at 3,024 degrees F when fired.
#11 magnum cap - 7.59 cc of gas at 3,717 degrees F when fired.
U.S. #2 musket cap - 14.36 cc of gas at 3,717 degrees F when fired.
#209 shotgun primer - 21.98 cc of gas at 3,024 degrees F when fired.
#200 rifle primer - 11.68 cc of gas at 3,024 degrees F when fired.

Erich
September 9, 2010, 02:46 PM
Mykeal, thanks: that's very useful info. (I'm going to print it out and tape it to one of my black powder manuals.) I've been discussing the possibility of having a fusil/breech plug custom-made: that may be necessary. Or, I suppose, I could learn to live with what I've got. :o

Thank you again for really on-point info. :)

Andy Griffith
September 9, 2010, 05:11 PM
This is what I don't understand...

I have some older Fiocchi Lecco #11's or #10's- they are a bit shorter than the longest #11's, and much much heavier constructed out of brass. When shot on an empty chamber to "clear" it of any oil or debris prior to shooting- the residue left behind is much thicker and dirtier than more recent caps. I have also found that these things never split- even with heavy loads.

Is it possible that cap specs have changed drastically over the years.

mykeal
September 9, 2010, 06:02 PM
Percussion caps have indeed changed drastically over the years. The explosive compound has seen the most changes; it used to be fulminate of mercury, a fairly stable impact sensitive compound that was corrosive both before and after firing. We've also seen lead azide, potassium chlorate and potassium perchlorate. Today's caps all use lead styphnate. The metal has also changed from brass to copper due to sensitivity to corrosion induced by the priming compounds.

arcticap
September 11, 2010, 12:13 AM
How about the other BP substitutes? I've done okay with Pyrodex RS and standard CCI caps in my Scout pistol but American Pioneer gave pretty much terrible results and slight hangfires. (I now have some CCI magnum caps to try.)

I wonder if the APP ignition problem has more to do with the powder granulation than with the primers. Are you using the APP 2F or 3F?

Model-P
September 11, 2010, 12:42 AM
As I understand it, the old mercuric fulminate primers were very feisty and burned quite hot.

Thankyou. So it seems they burned hotter and with more gusto than today's standard primers, but maybe not quite as much as Magnums?

Erich
September 11, 2010, 08:50 AM
@arcticap - 2f equivalent, per manual's instructions for all other powders (manual pre-dates APP). Stuff gave pathetically low velocities and I've just walked away from it.

B.L.E.
September 11, 2010, 09:43 AM
I have always questioned the need for magnum primers for black powder loads. Is there an easier to ignite propellant than black powder? Put some IMR 3031 in the flash pan of a flintlock and see how many times you have to snap the flint before a spark finally manages to ignite the stuff.

When I load BP cartridges, I just use whatever primers I want to get rid of and they seem to work just fine. Even the weakest primer is many times more powerful than a percussion cap explosion going through the tiny flash hole of a percussion nipple, let alone the ignition system of a flintlock.
Even standard pistol primers will set of a black powder .45-70 load.

arcticap
September 12, 2010, 05:41 AM
@arcticap - 2f equivalent, per manual's instructions for all other powders (manual pre-dates APP). Stuff gave pathetically low velocities and I've just walked away from it.

I only buy the 3F because the 2F is too chunky and like cannon powder.
Folks load APP in the .45-70 cartridges and obtain good enough velocity for long range shooting.
Others use it in muzzle loading rifles and cap & balls and it works.
Adding a little more powder helps to compensate for any lower velocity.
The Goex Pinnacle is basically the same powder and good results have been reported with that too. But I would still only buy the 3F, and usually load 5 extra grains of it in an 1858 Remington with a loader and plenty of compression.

Erich
September 13, 2010, 02:57 PM
Interesting! :)