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Old May 31, 2013, 11:55 AM   #26
mykeal
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Quote:
Don't believe it. Those spouts are notoriously inaccurate. Weigh a charge of real black from it to see what it really throws.
mykeal,

I don't "weigh" any powder for my BP guns as it's my understanding charges are measured by volume. I would bet most any BP substitute measured by volume would not weigh the same as real BP...or am I missing something?

Anyway, I can certainly check what the spout measures against my adjustable BP measure.
Yes, BP powder charges are commonly stated in 'grains/volume'. Which leads to a problem. BP volume powder measures are inaccurate; there is no 'grains/volume' standard by which they are calibrated. (There is a 'grains/weight' vs 'grains/volume' standard, that being water under standard laboratory conditions, but that's beyond the scope of this thread.) I have 4 adjustable volume measures, two fixed volume measures and several interchangeable spouts. I haven't compared them all, but the 4 adjustable measures vary by as much as 15% depending on the charge.

So, we see people saying they use XX grains and get great accuracy. How accurate is that XX grains? My experience tells me it could easily be off by 15% - so is it 90 grains or 77, or maybe 103. Your '24' grain/volume spout could be 20 grains/volume or 28 grains/volume.

In the end, however, the actual number isn't important to you (with one exception I'll mention later); what's really important is consistency. Use the '24' grain spout if the amount it throws gives good performance, and forget about whether or not it's accurate.

However, if you're trying to work up an accurate load, based on someone else's experience, assuming that spout is really throwing 24 grains could lead to confusion. In this case you really need to know what the charge you're trying to match really WEIGHS, and what the actual WEIGHT of powder your measure throws is regardless of what it says.

Finally, you are correct that the bp substitutes are less dense than real black powder and any weights you obtain must be adjusted if you need to know what their black powder equivalents are. There are conversion data published in several internet archives to help achieve that. When dealing with charges by weight it's important to know what the powder is so you can make the conversion if you're using a different powder. If you attempt to get around having to use that conversion by using grains/volume you must then deal with the inaccuracy of the various volume measures.

Last edited by mykeal; May 31, 2013 at 12:01 PM.
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Old May 31, 2013, 02:09 PM   #27
Striker1
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That's somewhat interesting, but if I use my adjustable measure and bump it up in 5 gr increments, it would seem that even if it wasn't the actual volume indicated, I would still be increasing / decreasing by a consistent amount. When I find the best one, that'll be "it" regardless of how accurate the number on the side of the measure. In relation, yesterday, while shooting my BP rifle, I compared the spout on my rifle flask against my adjustable measure...30 grains on one matched the other.

This is very similar to how I reload smokeless rounds using my Lee Disk powder measure. It works by volume using different sized cavities. Even using different LOT numbers of the same powder within the same cavity will give differing grain weights.
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Old May 31, 2013, 04:19 PM   #28
Rigmarol
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I bought a set of different sized spouts that screw into my Flasks.

I dropped powder from each spout and weighed each one to see what actually came out.

None of them came out to what they were marked for by the package.

I put a label on each one to tell me what to expect from any given spout.
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Old June 1, 2013, 05:35 AM   #29
Dr Killdeer
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I have a steel frame '58 Pietta' and the owner's states:
The starting load for a .454 round ball (44 Caliber) using FFFg is 12-15 grains.

The maximum load using FFFg is 35 grains and the max load using Pyrodex is 28 grains.

I personally think the starting load for FFFg is way too low, but that's what the manual says!
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Old June 1, 2013, 08:09 AM   #30
Hawg
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The best thing to do with those pamphlets that come with the guns is throw them away unopened.
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Old June 1, 2013, 09:00 AM   #31
Striker1
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The best thing to do with those pamphlets that come with the guns is throw them away unopened.
Okay...so what would you suggest instead? Especially for a new shooter.
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Old June 1, 2013, 09:08 AM   #32
Hawg
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With a steel frame start around 20-25 grains and go up to 30-35. See what load you like best and don't worry about overloading a steel frame with real bp or Pyrodex because the chambers don't hold enough to do any damage.
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Old June 1, 2013, 09:15 AM   #33
Striker1
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With a steel frame start around 20-25 grains and go up to 30-35. See what load you like best and don't worry about overloading a steel frame with real bp or Pyrodex because the chambers don't hold enough to do any damage.
So what do you think about mykeal's post on weighing charges?
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Old June 1, 2013, 04:06 PM   #34
Hawg
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Mykeals post is right on the money. Weighing charges is a PITA tho. Measuring by volume is easiest and works well for all intents and purposes. The main thing with bp is consistency. Unlike smokeless you most likely won't even notice any difference in a 2-3 grain discrepancy.
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Old June 1, 2013, 04:17 PM   #35
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
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I've been weighing my charges for over 50 yrs. That's the only way I have ever done. Of course I want to know what I'm shooting, not just guessing at it. But if I just wanted to make noise, then it wouldn't matter.
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Old June 1, 2013, 04:49 PM   #36
Striker1
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I've been weighing my charges for over 50 yrs. That's the only way I have ever done. Of course I want to know what I'm shooting, not just guessing at it. But if I just wanted to make noise, then it wouldn't matter.
Have you compared your way to the traditional method and found any advantages?
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Old June 1, 2013, 04:52 PM   #37
Gatofeo
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Years ago, I placed each of my measuring spouts on a flask filled with Goex FFFG black powder, then weighed each of 10 charges on a scale known to be accurate.
The true weight of each of the 10 charges was added up, then divided by 10. This gave me the average. This average was written on a piece of masking tape that was rolled around each spout's exterior.
With the smaller spouts for pistol, the advertised grain weight wasn't far from the measured weight.
But with larger spouts for rifles, the difference was slightly significant. For example, I learned that my 80 gr. spout -- when measured with Goex FFG black powder (my granulation of choice for my .50-cal Hawken) actually threw a charge of about 74 grs. -- a reduction of 7.5%.
Now, will 6 grains variation make a big difference shot-to-shot? It's probably on the edge of effect, but knowing it existed bothered me. So, I bought a 90 gr. spout and measured and filed it down until I reached the length where it consistently threw about 80 grs.
I needn't have bothered. I should have weighed each charge going into the rifle, found the most accurate load, then created a powder measure based on that.
The most disparity I've found on pistol measures is 2 grains, and that's on a 40 gr. measure. With FFFG powder, it throws about 38 grains.
Considering the rudimentary sights on most of these revolvers, the relatively short barrels (compared to a rifle) and the plinking nature of their use, 2 grains variance would be difficult to spot on target.
Factor in my 58-year-old eyes, the "shakes" because I decided to skip breakfast that morning, the momentary lurch of the planet at the exact moment the lead ball travels down the bore (my favorite alibi) and a host of other impediments, and the issue becomes moot.

As for a "standard" load for the .44s, while U.S. and Confederate regulations may have called for X-amount of powder and bullet weight to be standard, dissection of original paper cartridges shows a great disparity in both weights.
Contractors and government arsenals constructed cartridges based on the recommendations of quality control officer Good E. Nuff.
The Nuff family continues to oversee manufacturing tolerances in government and commercial production facilities to this very day. In fact, the Nuff family of inspectors is worldwide and probably intergalactic.

For your steel-framed Remington .44, I'd suggest you consider 35 grs. of FFFG black powder -- or its equivalent -- as maximum when used with a .454 ball and lubricated felt wad.
Beware of Hodgdon 777! It is NOT designed to be used volume-for-volume against black powder, like Pyrodex P is. I strongly suggest you visit the Hodgdon site and read up on 777 (and Pyrodex P, for that matter) before using them.
You CAN overload a revolver with 777 propellant and create pressures beyond those recommended for the cap and ball revolver. I don't like 777 myself because it's tricky stuff to use. Too much seating pressure on a ball can -- apparently -- raise pressures significantly.
I don't have access to a modern ballistics lab so I can't positively state that pressures are increased when you seat a ball hard on 777, but the recoil is felt to be much greater and I've had more incidents of caps fragmenting.
Lacking a cartridge case to measure, it's difficult or impossible to determine when you reach maximum or greater pressures in a cap and ball revolver. Consequently, I use FFFG black powder or Pyrodex P and know that I can't possibly use more than a well made, modern revolver can handle.

For a starting load, I'd go with 25 grains.

Buy a Lee Powder Measure Kit. It has a good variety of dippers and a slide-rule selector that shows how much powder is thrown with each dipper. The various granulations of black powder and Pyrodex P are included.
Pour the powder into a clean powder can at the range from which to dip the measures. When shooting, snap the plastic top on top of the can and move it behind the shooting area so no sparks may reach it.

But to satisfy curiosity, measure 10 loads on an accurate reloading scale and obtain the average. Then place that average on masking tape rolled around each spout's exterior.
I use the tape and notation because there is much higher variance in my memory than in any spout ever made -- and I don't trust the Good E. Nuff family's scrutiny.
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Old June 1, 2013, 04:59 PM   #38
Striker1
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Gatofeo,

Thanks for the info on 777, I think I'll stick to Pyrodex P or FFFg if I can ever find it locally. I'm pretty sure those two options will more than meet my needs.
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Old June 17, 2013, 02:36 PM   #39
prm
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Just spent some range time this morning with my Uberti SS New Army. Not going to argue the accuracy of the flask/spout measurement. My flask has a 25 grain spout and I figure its close enough for my needs. Using FFFG Goex and a .454 ball with Wonder Wads, I was chewing out one big hole on the target at 15 yards.

I have always favored the 2nd Generation Colts and always adjusted my aim for the slight rise in the bullet. My Remington is spot on POA/POI like a modern cartridge revolver.

Happy Shooting :-)
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Old June 17, 2013, 02:51 PM   #40
spitpatch
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23 gr goex fff 8 gr cream of wheat, felt wad .454 ball from rcbs mold. works great.
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Old June 18, 2013, 11:42 AM   #41
maillemaker
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I agree with others who have said that regardless of how you measure, by weight or by volume, the key is consistency.

Once you find the accurate load for your arm (which will probably be significantly less than the maximum load), the key to consistent accuracy is consistent measurement.

I like measuring by weight because the scale does not care whether the powder settles or gets packed in tighter as can happen with a volumetric measurement.

However, it is a pain in the butt to measure every charge when I'm making up 300 cartridges for all my guns for a competition.

I'm going to get a Lyman 55 powder measure and use that for making up my cartridges. It dispenses based on volume. But as it is a machine, if you operate it consistently you should get consistent drops out of it.

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Old June 18, 2013, 02:51 PM   #42
Hawg
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But as it is a machine, if you operate it consistently you should get consistent drops out of it.
Some powders do not meter well. Black should but I dunno about all of the subs. Pyrodex doesn't.
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Old June 18, 2013, 04:49 PM   #43
maillemaker
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There are subs?

Steve
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Old June 18, 2013, 05:02 PM   #44
Bill Akins
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The manual stating a load for the .44 Remy of 15 to 20 grains is what is usually recommended for a .36 caliber. So that's a VERY minimum load for the solid frame .44 Remy. As another poster previously stated, the rammer won't even seat the ball on a 15 grain charge of bp in the .44 Remy. But if you DID want to try a 15 grain charge just to see how it did for you on the minimum end of the loading scale, you could seat the ball on the 15 grain bp charge if you put cream of wheat or cornmeal on top of the powder charge to take up more space so the rammer would seat the ball fully. I use 22 grains of bp and fill it the rest of the way with cornmeal in my 1860's .44's. The theory being the closer the ball is to the forcing cone the more accurate it will be. That theory is debatable, but it doesn't hurt to put the ball as close to the top of the cylinder as you can so it will not have to jump as much before entering the forcing cone. Also that would allow you to dispense with felt wads because the cream of wheat or cornmeal then becomes your fire break/chain fire break, (at least from the front of the cylinder). If you want to explore maximum bp load in your .44 Remy, you can go as high as 40 grains and still have enough room for a felt wonder wad and still seat the ball, but that's about max and to still be able to seat the ball. 40 grains of bp is safe to use for the .44 Remy handgun, but probably more than you need. 40 grains works very well however and is very accurate in the 1866 Remington carbine with 18 inch barrel as evidenced by the below video link.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yroLHtjFowI



.
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Last edited by Bill Akins; June 18, 2013 at 05:30 PM.
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