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Old April 19, 2012, 03:16 AM   #1
Ben Towe
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30 grains safe in a Dragoon or Walker?

I know that a 30 grain charge isn't excessive, but I want to make sure that the loading mechanism will seat the ball against that light a charge. I have some 30 grain pistol pellets is why I am curious. With the Walker I can always load two, but I can't do that with the Dragoon. Thanks fellas.
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Old April 19, 2012, 06:10 AM   #2
Doc Hoy
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Ben

To be sure, dump some cornmeal in it.

The Dragoon should be okay without it but the Walker is questionable.

Using a wad may also help.
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Old April 19, 2012, 08:23 AM   #3
Rifleman1776
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"pellets"?
Use only real black powder. Your gun will be safe with whatever amount you can put in and still seat the ball.
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Old April 19, 2012, 08:55 AM   #4
Andy Griffith
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The pellets will work fine, but with pellets I probably wouldn't use cornmeal-it might fill up the channel in the center and might not get good ignition- some kind of wad would be advised, either the wool, or something else like vegetable fiber from circle fly or even several cardboard wads.
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Old April 19, 2012, 10:27 AM   #5
Doc Hoy
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In a Walker.....

....the plunger enters the chamber by about 3/8 inch. A dragoon plunger goes in by about 7/16. The Dragoon chamber is about 1/4 inch shorter than the Walker.

I have never used pellets but I thought the standard process was to load the pellet, mash it down a bit to get the pellet to conform to the shape of the chamber, and then load the ball (or cornmeal or wad). Now that I have said that I don't know how the initial mashing would be done with the loading lever.
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Old April 19, 2012, 12:57 PM   #6
arcticap
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It's not really necessary to mash or smash the pellets at all.
Hodgdon does mention to not modify them at all, and smashing them could be considered to be a form of modification.
I don't think that it really matters if the pellets break, but it's not really necessary to break them or mash then into the chamber either.
And Hodgdon actually warns against doing that.

Quote:
Do not subject Pellets to impact or friction....

Do not break, cut or modify Pellet by any means....

IMPORTANT:

Each Pyrodex Pellet contains a black ignitor on one end. When loading the Pellet, for best ignition, place the black ignitor end of the Pellet into the barrel first. No orientation is necessary for Triple Seven Pellets....

WARNING: Do not pound on ramrod or seat projectile with excessive force so as to crush Pellet. However, be certain that no air space exists between the projectile and Pellet. If an air space exists, the projectile becomes an obstruction in the barrel, which upon firing the gun, may cause personal injury or death to the user or bystander as well as damage to the firearm....

PISTOL LOADING INSTRUCTIONS

...With five chambers now loaded with Pellets, rotate cylinder and place a .44 or .45 caliber Ox-Yoke Wonder Wad® (or equivalent felt wad) in each chamber, seating each wad with revolver loading lever on top of Pellet.

Next, rotate cylinder and place correct size 44 or 45 caliber pure lead round ball in each chamber, seating each ball with loading lever on top of felt wad.

WARNING: Be certain that no air space exists between the projectile (ball) and Pellet. If an air space exists, the projectile becomes an obstruction in the chamber, which upon firing the revolver, may cause personal injury or death to the user or bystander, as well as damage to the firearm....

http://www.hodgdon.com/ml-warning.html
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Old April 19, 2012, 05:10 PM   #7
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Hold the phone

I have never examined these pellets. So I have to ask a dumb questions.

It is important the avoid space between the powder and the ball in BP firearms as we all know.

So do I assume that the 30 grain pellet is the same diameter as the chamber so as not to permit space along side of the pellet? Between the pellet and the wall of the chamber? So are there .44 caliber pellets and 36 caliber pellets?

I was almost certain that I read a post here to the effect that you compress a pellet more or less the same as you compress powder. Maybe I need to pay closer attention.
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Old April 19, 2012, 05:40 PM   #8
arcticap
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The amount of vacant space in between the chamber wall and the formed pellet are considered to be insignificant by the manufacturer.
The warnings and loading advice cited are very explicit.
Some folks have taken issue with the similar concept regarding not filling the powder chamber of a gun having a patent breech. However the strength of the steel and the amount of space is too small to be of any concern, especially with powder chambers usually having such a small capacity and a thick wall.
No one usually ever thinks that vacant space in a percussion drum would be dangerous. There aren't any manufacturer's warnings about leaving a very tiny vacant space inside a drum or powder chamber because a warning is not really necessary if there isn't any hazard.
But in the case of pellets, the manufacturer indicates that there could be more of a hazard if the pellet is crushed inside of the bore or chamber than if it isn't crushed. I don't know how much of a hazard but it's enough to lead them to declare the precautionary warning.

Last edited by arcticap; April 19, 2012 at 05:58 PM.
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Old April 19, 2012, 06:00 PM   #9
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Articap, There is a hole bunch of stuff I don't know.

But thanks to you that bunch is getting smaller.
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Old April 19, 2012, 06:25 PM   #10
arcticap
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I wonder if the warning against crushing the pellet has to do with the thin coating of black powder "ignitor" that's on one end of the pellet?
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Old April 19, 2012, 06:33 PM   #11
Strafer Gott
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Probable airspace

If you look at the back of your chamber and see a radius, you will need to compress it enough to make the pellet push back into the radius. This crumbles the pellet around the edge. If done properly, you hear a difference in the ignition, more like a cartridge.
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Old April 19, 2012, 09:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
I have never examined these pellets. So I have to ask a dumb questions.

It is important the avoid space between the powder and the ball in BP firearms as we all know.

So do I assume that the 30 grain pellet is the same diameter as the chamber so as not to permit space along side of the pellet? Between the pellet and the wall of the chamber? So are there .44 caliber pellets and 36 caliber pellets?
I have a few of them, they are .412" diameter, .633" long, and they have a 1/8 inch diameter hole through the center going through the whole length of the pellet. Also, their true weight is 24.4 grains. My Pyrodex pellets have no evidence of a black powder igniter end, maybe that is a recent modification. Someone gave them to me a long time ago and I still have most of them.

Considering both the less than chamber diameter and that hole in the middle, it's obvious that there is a built in airspace put there on purpose.
I don't think that airspace is a concern so much as space between the powder charge and the ball. The powder charge itself can become a projectile with the bullet being a bore obstruction. It is a projectile that collides with a bore obstruction that does the damage, not the pressure of the explosion. In fact, you can demonstrate this by shooting a bullet through a water pipe that's about 25 yards away and placing a bore obstruction in the center of that water pipe. You will bulge or even blow open that water pipe where the bore obstruction is, with only the impact of the bullet colliding with the bore obstruction.

People who have done the experiments and have instruments to measure pressure in barrels report that airspace actually lowers peak pressure. Maybe that's one factor in why Fg and FFg produce lower pressures than FFFg or FFFFg black powder. The coarse grains of FFg means there's more built in airspace in the charge because there is more space between the powder grains.
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Old April 19, 2012, 10:59 PM   #13
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"The coarse grains of FFg means there's more built in airspace in the charge because there is more space between the powder grains."



That's actually not true... it's counterintuitive, but follow this:

Ask someone the following:

"If you want to fill a barrel with lead balls. and want the heaviest weight, what size balls would you use?"

The intuitive answer is smaller balls...

The actual answer is that it makes no difference, as long as the size is small enough to allow them to settle evenly and be shaken. There is a fixed ratio between the balls and the surrounding air space between them that is the same no matter what. That ratio gives an approximate packing density of randomly packed spheres of about 64%, and if they are manually packed in face-centered cubic packing (good luck) they pack to 74% density, no matter the size of the balls.

This also works for pellets, or any other shaped solid granule. There are caveats... the sizes of the particles need to be more or less uniform, etc.. for this to be true.

Since BP is more or less a pellet, and since the pellets are all more or less the same size (screen size), there is actually very little difference between the solid/void ratio of any of the granulation sizes.


A little light reading on the subject is here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphere_packing

And likely better for gunpowder:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_close_pack



Don't ask how I know this stuff...


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Last edited by Willie Sutton; April 19, 2012 at 11:11 PM.
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Old April 20, 2012, 01:41 AM   #14
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So tell me again....

What is the advantage to pellets?
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Old April 20, 2012, 05:08 AM   #15
radom
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I dont tend to agree with that idea that there is no diff from FF to FFF or FFFF at all Wiki can say what ever they want but the US and Brit navy ordance labs have tended to disagee with that for that past 200 years and also the laws of physics and most of the leading test labs. You run a ram on the stuff at like 5 billion PSI then that would be correct but till they change the law of physics ahh no.
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Old April 20, 2012, 06:54 AM   #16
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I thought I would test the smaller ball theory since I have a scale and some 6, 8, and 9 shot. Using a Lee shot dipper set to 7/8 ounce I got.

Size 6 shot.

340
366.7
341.5
343.2
345.3

Size 8 shot.

368.9
362.7
362.7
367.1
352.0

Size 9

365.7
368.1
357.9
351.3
363.0

Gee, I guess you're right with a caveat. This is true as long as the measuring container is large in comparison to the balls being contained, or maybe that 6 shot had a lot of antimony in it.
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Old April 20, 2012, 08:40 AM   #17
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What is the advantage to pellets?
You can buy them at Wal-Mart. Who would shoot anything that can't be bought at Wal-Mart?
You must be old fashioned or something.
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Old April 20, 2012, 08:48 AM   #18
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Old Fashioned?!

When you look up "old fashioned" in Websters, my photo is the total entry.
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Old April 20, 2012, 09:22 AM   #19
Willie Sutton
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"I thought I would test the smaller ball theory since I have a scale and some 6, 8, and 9 shot."


Not bad results... duplicate it in a larger container and you can see if the #6 is a different alloy, or if it was just a jammed sphere error due to the ratio between the diameter of the spheres and the diameter of the container.

(1): If the error follows, it's a different alloy.

(2): If the error dissapears, you had jammed-balls...


This is a fun experiment... the results are not really in question, as it's been a solved thing for, oh... about 800 years.


Willie

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Old April 20, 2012, 09:27 AM   #20
Willie Sutton
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"I dont tend to agree with that idea that there is no diff from FF to FFF or FFFF at all Wiki can say what ever they want but the US and Brit navy ordance labs have tended to disagee with that for that past 200 years"


Nobody is saying that they do not burn differently... but don't attribute it to "more air between them due to larger granules" as the reason. That's just physics.

Now here's a teaser: Which has more surface area? All of the surface areas of all of the grains of a pound of F or a pound of FFF?


Hmmm....


"Check your premises", said Francesco. (Who is Francesco?)

Simple answers sometimes end up not being so simple.




Willie


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Old April 20, 2012, 09:31 AM   #21
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You can buy them at Wal-Mart. Who would shoot anything that can't be bought at Wal-Mart?
Me!! Nothing I have was bought at Wal Mart.
My Wal Mart doesn't even have a gun section, and there isn't a Cabelas in the entire state.
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Old April 20, 2012, 10:23 AM   #22
bob roller
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Powder pellets in Walker or dragoon

Get some real black powder and forget about these pellets. These substitutes are for the most part VERY corrosive and according to some people with good knowledge of chemistry,the fumes (smoke) from them can be harmful as well. Real black powder loaded into a long cylinder like these pre 1851 revolvers have is safe in the amounts you mentioned. My personal experience with this type of gun and muzzle loaders in general go back to 1951. Felt recoil will be about zero in either the Dragoon or the Walker. I had a new 3rd Model Dragoon and shot it a lot. It was one of the Colt marked models from the early 1970's.

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Old April 20, 2012, 03:08 PM   #23
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If the error dissapears, you had jammed-balls...
Reminds me of a girl I knew in high school...
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