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Old August 27, 2011, 07:33 PM   #1
glockster157
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Muzzleloader Powder Question

I know I will get yelled at for even asking this question but I can't figure this out. If I can load a black powder equivalent of Accurate MP5744 in a 45-70 or similar type BP cartridge, why can't I load a muzzle loader with 5744, as long as you keep the pressures under 15K or so? I mean what is the difference in a old trap door and a muzzle loader as far as they are both designed for BP?
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Old August 27, 2011, 07:56 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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Muzzleloader barrels (except the Savage ML10) are not (almost ever) made of "gun quality" steel.

Some smokeless powders can misbehave when compressed, especially when they're heavily compressed, like a typical muzzleloader would be.

In theory, you could do it under the right circumstances if you did the right things, which would likely include a modified ramrod which would stop the seating to avoid compressing the powder.

Most generally, the smokeless powders burn rate would require charges so low that the performance would be dismal. I ran some scenarios in a custom QuickLoad file to simulate a "caseless" situation and the predictions are lousy.

However, it's generally considered so dangerous as to be essentially off limits for discussion on TFL.
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Old August 27, 2011, 08:12 PM   #3
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Thank you for your reply. I don't intend to do it as I don't even do muzzle loading, I do however reload the 45-70 and 38-55 to BP equivalents. I just find it curious as 5744 is such a good powder in BP cartridges, my rifles love it and I read Mike Venterino state that he uses it almost exclusively in his BPRC now. Oh well, I still can't figure out why we wash up but scrub down either so I guess I can't figure everything out.
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Old August 28, 2011, 08:08 AM   #4
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Smokeless powder does not burn correctly unless there is a minumum amount of pressure in the chamber and cartridges rely on a powerful primer with a short and rather large flashhole to establish that minimum pressure. Also, a tightly seated bullet and crimp hold the bullet back until that pressure is established.

On the other hand, muzzleloaders have an ignition system that's designed to simply set the gunpowder on fire. Even those that use 209 shotgun primers have breech plugs that have long and tiny flashholes.
I'm pretty sure if you examine a Savage ML 10, you will find not only gun quality steel but also it uses 209 shotgun primers in a breechplug that has a short and large flashhole so that the primer can establish a minimum chamber pressure as well as setting the powder on fire. You can't simply set smokeless powder on fire and rely on it to burn to its efficient burning pressure. It will be very inconsistant and dangerous, you will get bloopers that fool you into thinking it is an undercharge and when you increase the charge suddenly a kaboom.

Large artillary that used caseless ammo, powder in silk bags loaded behind the shell, usually used a black powder ingiting charge between the primer and the smokeless powder load to achieve the initial pressure needed for smokeless to burn efficiently.

Last edited by B.L.E.; August 28, 2011 at 08:38 AM.
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Old August 28, 2011, 10:17 AM   #5
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Ghosts of the past !!

glockster
Certainly not to be picking on you and you have already stated that you do not intend to use Smokless in an M/L. ....

When I first got into this Great Adventure of M/L's, There were a group of guys that I shot with, who were playing with smokless, in M/L's. They were bragging about their results; That is until one of them got hurt. I know what they were using back then but will not list those powders. M/L's are engineered to specific shot strings. Even the Savage 10ML is very specific on what powder to use. I know that even today, there are many barrels out there that won't even take a max load of BP Replacement Propellant. In the past, I have asked the following questions.

1) Why would anyone want to use MP5744?
2) In a .50, what would be your max load?
3) What is your optimum load?
4) Do you measure by weight or volume?
5) What is your optimum ShotString.

Keep in mind that if you are off a few grains of BP or replacement, safety and performance are not compromised. Being a few grains off, using smokless, can be disastrous. ....

Be Safe !!!
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Old August 28, 2011, 01:13 PM   #6
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My reasoning for 5744 is I read where some guy named Doc something had used 30 grains in a black powder rifle. Combine that with the fact the 5744 is really easy to light off, is not position sensitive and that is why it works so well in BP cartridges. It never burns complete in my barrels as I load the 35-55's to around 1500 fps and the 45-70's to between 1200 to 1600 fps depending on which gun and purpose. They all group really well with my cast bullets and pressures are always low. In the 45-70 I have used between 28 to 34 grains of 5744 and pressures have remained low.

That being said, I have considered trying a muzzle loader with Blackhorn 209, as what I really don't like about BP or Pyrodex is the clean up. I enjoy the big slow bullets a lot though. BTW, I don't even hunt, I just like to tinker, cast and shoot.
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Old August 28, 2011, 01:56 PM   #7
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I have never tried BH209 in an actual muzzleloader because all my muzzleloaders are traditional sidelocks designed for #11 percussion caps, however, it works quite well in cartridges, if only it wasn't so expensive.

I have used it to make a 'cap and ball' style load for a .44 magnum revolver using a slightly compressed load of BH 209 under a .433 roundball in a .44 mag case. Chronograph readings were about 1100 fps and the velocities were extrordinarly consistant with each other.
My brother has a modern muzzleloader and swears by the stuff.

I think BH 209 is actually a nitro (smokeless) powder with a built in black powder or black powder substitute igniter charge which I understand technically makes it a duplex powder and for that reason, is outlawed by the SASS rules, or so I hear.

Last edited by B.L.E.; August 28, 2011 at 02:18 PM.
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Old August 28, 2011, 08:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahoo
Even the Savage 10ML is very specific on what powder to use.
This is not strictly true. There are certainly powders to avoid for both safety and performance reasons but there are any number of powders that work perfectly well.

Certainly, Savage lists only very specific loads but that doesn't mean other loads/powders are necessarily unsafe, any more than any loads not listed in ANY load manual are unsafe by virtue of simply not being listed.
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Old August 28, 2011, 08:38 PM   #9
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After reading several articles about Blackhorn, I think it will do what I want it to do. It is basically a smokeless powder designed for muzzle loaders. It even requires oil based cleaners. I have way too much 5744 & SR4759 to use Blackhorn in my cartridge rifles so cost will not be a big deal. I have a Traditions Tracker 209 I was going to sell because it was new and unfired, I picked it up in a trade, but I think I will tinker with it. I 10oz bottle of Blackhorn will last me a while in a muzzle loader.
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Old August 28, 2011, 10:32 PM   #10
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How would smokeless powder handle in a factory made for smokeless cylinder that was threaded and modified to have threaded in rear chamber caps with nipples and then put in a steel '58 Remy revolver frame with standard factory barrel? Remember, the cylinder would be factory made for handling smokeless. Even though the modified to have nipples cylinder being originally made to take smokeless, could take the smokeless pressures just fine, would there be any issues with the made for black powder steel frame or barrel? How about any issues with the threaded in rear chamber caps nipples themselves where they threaded into the modified to have nipples smokeless cylinder?




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Old August 29, 2011, 03:09 AM   #11
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The pressure coming out of the nipple would probably shear the hammer off if nothing else.
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Old August 29, 2011, 06:48 AM   #12
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Does the pressure coming out of the cylinder-forcing cone gap sheer the top strap of a modern .44 magnum, .454 Casul, .500 S&W Magnum revolver?
I doubt that the nipple blowback would sheer the hammer of a cap and ball revolver.
A cap and nipple ignition would give endless bloopers and misfires with smokeless. To be sucessful, such a cylinder would have to have a sealed primer ignition system.
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Old August 29, 2011, 10:15 AM   #13
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Quote:
This is not strictly true.
It is true and I would not have posted so if it were not. ....

Quote:
Certainly, Savage lists only very specific loads but that doesn't mean other loads/powders are necessarily unsafe
You even confirm so in your reply. As for other loads smokless loads, I have seen many, going back to the early 80's. My point is that if you play with this snake, you are likely to get bit. That is exactly what happened to a friend of mine that was playing with this stuff, on a sidelock. The last time I saw him, he was carrying the scars that enhnaced his Buckskinner looks. ....

Be Safe !!!
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Old August 29, 2011, 12:35 PM   #14
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Yeah, but playing with loads in a Savage is no more dangerous than playing with unpublished loads in a "normal" rifle. It's not REMOTELY like screwing with smokeless in a BP-only gun.

In fact, the Savage barrels are tested to at least 110,000 psi, FAR beyond the proof rating of any normal rifle cartridge. That, combined with the fact that it's much, much harder to build pressure behind the sabot, makes it very, very safe.

Savages have been shown, more than once, to survive double powder/double bullet loads with no apparent damage.

The only person who seems to have any trouble with them is the totally discredited, disgruntled, former Savage employee Toby Bridges who miraculously blew up 2 of them.

You'd have to be incredibly stupid to blow up a Savage.
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Old August 29, 2011, 12:51 PM   #15
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Guns and Ammo did a story on trying to blow up a black powder rifle back in the either the late 70's or early 80's. It was a typical sidelock hawken style if memory serves. They took it out of the stock and put it in a rifle vise. I tried up to 600 grains of BP and 2 or 3 500 grain slugs and never even bulge the barrel. Finally they left some bullets about halfway down the barrel and blew it to smithereens. Doesn't really apply to the smokeless question but I would love to see a test done in the same manner under controlled conditions to see what would happen.
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Old August 29, 2011, 01:27 PM   #16
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My opinion is that unless you are versed in doing engineering calculations concerning burn-rates and pressures and metallurgical strength, and you have a laboratory for safely testing such concoctions, no one should experiment with such things.

Stick to published load data that is known to be safe.

To do otherwise is Russian Roulette.

Steve
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Old August 29, 2011, 02:49 PM   #17
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Don't fight Love or Safety !!

Quote:
Stick to published load data that is known to be safe. To do otherwise is Russian Roulette.
Exactly my point and know of two past shooters that can relate to you, what worked and where it went wrong. ...

I know that some of you are playing with this stuff and I hope I can stay happy for you but have to ask; WHY ???

It would be totally irresponsible of me to promote such conduct ....

Now, getting back to the 10ML; One afternoon I was shooting with a guy who really knew his rifle. I noted his "hunting" shot string and technique. I even shot few rounds. I can honestly say that I am not aware of any past or present SideLock that could stand that force nor would I want to find out. ..

Be Safe !!!
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Old August 29, 2011, 10:32 PM   #18
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Nitro conversion cylinders are popular in countries where cartridge revolvers are severely restricted by the government.
These aren't cartridge conversions but cylinders designed to use loose smokeless powder in a cap and ball style pistol.
These all use shotgun primers instead of percussion caps. You can't just set smokeless on fire like you can black powder. You have to hit it with some pressure as well as ignite it. This is what the primer in a cartidge does.

http://www.westlakeengineering.com/4640/4694.html
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Old August 29, 2011, 10:53 PM   #19
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They do make cartridge conversion cylinders, Midway carries them. They do state they are for black powder cartridges or BP equivalent cowboy loads.

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct...tNumber=292272
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