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Old October 25, 2008, 05:16 AM   #1
BML
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Amount of Black Powder to use?

I live in England where there are so many restrictions on firearms it’s practically impossible to own a handgun and as a result I use Black Powder weapons. I currently own a .36 revolver and a .44 revolver.
I visited a new club recently who only allow Triple 7 propellant and they say that the .36 revolver should only be loaded with 10 grains and the .44 revolver with 12 grains because Triple 7 is more powerful than Black Powder or Piradex.
In my previous club we could use what we liked and as I only had one powder flask with a 15 grain nozzle I used that for both weapons.
Now to my questions which all relate to a 25 yard range:
1. How many grains of Black Powder one should use on a .36 revolver?
2. How many grains of Black Powder one should use on a .44 revolver?
3. Is it possible to say how many grains of Piradex one should use on a .36 revolver?
4. How many grains of Piradex one should use on a .44 revolver?
5. How many grains of Triple 7 one should use on a .36 revolver?
6. How many grains of Triple 7 one should use on a .44 revolver?
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Old October 25, 2008, 06:02 AM   #2
mykeal
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777 is in fact more 'powerful' than real black powder or Pyrodex, in that is produces a higher pressure pulse. To obtain the same performance as when using Pyrodex or real black powder you need to reduce the 777 load by between 10 and 15 percent by volume. Thus 25 gr of black powder = 0.85*25 = 21 gr 777, which would be rounded down to 20 gr as most measures are only graduated in 5 gr increments.

1. Anywhere from 15 to 30 gr by volume
2. Anywhere from 20 to 35 gr by volume
3. Pyrodex and bp loads are equivalent, so see No. 1.
4. See No. 2.
5. Reduce No. 1 by 10 to 15 percent.
6. Reduce No. 2 by 10 to 15 percent.

The reason there is a range of values is because every gun is different as to what load it likes the best. One must test several loads to see which is best for the type and distance of shooting you do.
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Old October 25, 2008, 08:53 AM   #3
Oquirrh
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I use Triple 7

I followed mykeal's information in working up Triple 7 loads.

In my .44s I get good results with 20 grains of Triple 7 (for some reason I get best accuracy with a stouter load).

In my .36 steel-framed Navy, I use 15 grains of triple 7. (But I don't get the accuracy that I do with 20 grains of black powder.)

IMHO The problem with Triple7 in C/B revolvers is that you need to seat the ball in contact with the load, but you don't want to compress the load. And you want to be consistent with how you load each chamber--otherwise you get wide groups. Ergo, I've found that it's harder to seat consistently on small loads because the loading lever is a the end of its swing.

Good luck.
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Old October 25, 2008, 09:40 AM   #4
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If your going to be required to use triple 7 you may want to invest in a high end loading stand. One that you can control the bullet seating depth. I know it's a pain to remove the cylinder to reload, particularly on the open top Colts, but it's going to be the best way to get the best accuracy.
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Old October 26, 2008, 06:58 AM   #5
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Many thanks for the information which has raised another question.
1. What is a high end loading stand?

At the moment I hold the pistol in my left hand at about chest level, tip the powder into a chamber, place a wad on top of the powder, lower the but of the pistol onto a table and force the wad down the chamber with the hinged ramrod if thats the correct term to use. I then place a ball on top of the wad and force the ball down the chamber.
I repeat the process six times, cap up and fire away.
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Old October 26, 2008, 07:02 AM   #6
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Sorry, I have another question. At the moment I have two nozels for my powder flasks. A ten grain and a 15 grain. I've cut what looks about 15% of both of them but I have no idea if thats right.
Any sugestions?
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Old October 26, 2008, 08:22 AM   #7
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BML buy an adjustable powder measure, they makemany different types and styles but this will give you the same amount each time and then you can adjust the loads up or down to suit the gun. good luck.
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Old October 26, 2008, 10:00 AM   #8
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Your hand loading process is just fine; it's not necessary to put the butt on a hard stand - you can simply hold it in your left hand and operate the lever just fine.

Here's a "high end loading stand", also known as a cylinder loading stand:

I got it from Powder, Inc. several years ago. They are often out of stock, however. Another similar design may be available from a gentleman who uses the name 6gun4fun on this forum.
Avoid this design:

It is marginally useful on a very limited number of guns.
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Old October 27, 2008, 10:09 PM   #9
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I use the cheap loading stand and have had no problems with mine. You have to finagle a bit in using it but for the $14.00 I payed for it, it works ok for me. It is a good idea to have an adjustable powder measure, they only cost around $10.00. In my 1858 Remington repro I shoot 25 gr of Triple 7. It works good for me.
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Old April 3, 2009, 06:23 AM   #10
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this is an old thread, but it's a good question and I'm compelled to revive it, and post my opinion

I used to carefully measure my cap/ball powder loads- I cut the spout on my flask so that 2 full spouts = maximum listed book load for the 1858 Remington

after a while, I stopped measuring it. If I'm walking around the woods and walk into a bear, bobcat, coyote, etc. I'd rather have a full-house powder load in the gun- so I top all the cylinders with powder, and pack the ball in.

the gun is more fun to shoot with maximum powder charge- and do you really think the soldiers in the Civil War took the time to measure loads during battle ? Heck no, they poured it in and filled 'er up- and packed the ball in ASAP.

just one disclaimer- don't do it with a brass frame gun. The Remingtons shrug it off like nothing, though. One of these days I have to chronograph the Remington just to see what velocity it's pushing.
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Old April 3, 2009, 06:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
do you really think the soldiers in the Civil War took the time to measure loads during battle
They used paper cartridges and the main ones to actually use a revolver in battle were cavalry who didn't reload during battle. They carried anywhere from four to eight revolvers.
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Old April 3, 2009, 09:11 AM   #12
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The OP was about using triple 7 and converting from black powder loads, reduce by 15%. The OP is in England and I assume restricted to a range, so he's a paper puncher, like me, so you try to make your revolver as accurate as possible. That means measure your loads and do not compress triple 7. I use a loading stand for it.

Several members here make their own paper cartridges. Something i want to do more of this summer.
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Old April 3, 2009, 09:17 AM   #13
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Fillin' up them cylinders

I see statements like quite often

Quote:
do you really think the soldiers in the Civil War took the time to measure loads during battle ? Heck no, they poured it in and filled 'er up- and packed the ball in ASAP.
Yep -that is probably true. However, consider this folks: Revolvers used by the men and boys in the blue and grey were used in a much different manner and for a much different purpose than what we do with our revolvers.

A recreational shooter will run thousands of balls through their guns. The average soldier or a frontiersman back in the day probably shot less balls in a year than you or I would shoot in a day.

It is the constant hammering day after day and year after year that will wear out a revolver.

Think about the proof test the guns are all subjected too. The only purpose is to see if they will explode - not wear out.

Anyone that packs-in as much powder as possible is essentially performing a proof test over and over and over again. The gun won't exlplode, but it certainly won't last as long.

The only thing that lasts longer when you shoot proof house loads is the center of the bullseye.


Carl

PS: I fill-'em up now and then myself. :-)
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Old April 3, 2009, 03:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
I'd rather have a full-house powder load in the gun- so I top all the cylinders with powder, and pack the ball in.
Does this bother anybody else?? Don't we worry about the cylinders being able to take the pressure without splitting?? I'm betting if I measured I could fit 45 - 50 gr in my 58, but I'm sure not gonna do that to my gun.
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Old April 3, 2009, 07:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
CaptainCrossman posted;
so I top all the cylinders with powder, and pack the ball in.
And you are able to seat the ball to where it doesn't interfere with cylinder rotation?
I have had to trim lead to get clearance at times and I do not fill without my measure. I had added a card wad and didn't reduce my powder accordingly
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Old April 3, 2009, 08:26 PM   #16
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I do have one concern not addressed in the thread. I would suggest caution when we throw out load ranges to individuals. My concern is more with the .44 caliber revolvers. I know mykeal's range covers the '58, '60s etc, the ROA. It even reached the the range for the Dragoons and Walkers.

But it didn't differentiate between the larger revolvers and the standard .44s. When we provide info, sometimes we assume the OP knows what we know. This may not be the case.

I was about to temper mykeal's recommendation for the .44 caliber. But that would be wrong of me to put my thought into his. So I will leave him to recommend what he feels is appropriate.

I load my .44s ('51, '58, '60, etc) with 22 to 27 grains whereas my Dragoon settles in at 34 grains. I have read on this site some of the Walker users packing in 45 to 50 grains.

Basically I am saying that it would be nice to know what model we are talking about when we offer recommendations for loads
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Old April 3, 2009, 10:03 PM   #17
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Quote:
Basically I am saying that it would be nice to know what model we are talking about when we offer recommendations for loads
Yes, it would. Unfortunately, the OP chose not to specify model, so I had the choice of providing some help based on the median population, or of ignoring his request and being no help whatsoever.

I think my closing is the answer you're looking for.
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Old April 4, 2009, 02:02 PM   #18
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I have no issue with your response. And I agree with what you provided. My concern stems from all the posts that come in asking basically that question without informing the reader what revolver we are discussing. And part of that may be due to the OP not knowing of the difference between the various revolvers. And as such generically assume all .44s are created equal.

Most of us agree there are little issues with the .36 cal and lower. But when we venture into the .44s there is the concern about brass frame versus steel frame. The capacity of the Walker versus the 1860. And with all those who offer the advice of "fill the cylinder until the ball barely clears," I sometimes worry about how the OP takes the advice.

But I admit, you did include the caution in your last paragraph. And your answer was great given the response time. But as the thread went on, we had time to ask the question and to further the depth of his understanding.

That was all I meant by the comment. I by no means wish to take from the info provided. I read these posts because I learn from you.
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Old April 6, 2009, 01:15 AM   #19
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The Walker was, by design, engineered to fire 60 grains of powder under a conical bullet. NOT a 140 grain round ball.

Many of them burst in combat, some think because the Troopers thought that the conical ball was supposed to go curve down.
Rems WILL take 40 and some say 45 grains.

Colt 44s will hold maybe 35 grs. All these, volumes that will allow a ball to be seated.
These are not Webleys. Stout arms. Designed to shoot the spec'd load.

If you are looking for a weight for weight comparison, which you do not need, as almost the subs are designed to occupy the same volume as real BP, here it is:

http://www.curtrich.com/BPConversionSheet.htm

Set you volumetric measure for say 30 grains REAL BP and the same volume of sub will give you approximately the same effect.

Read that chart and I do believe that they suggest you reduce 777 to get a closer equivalent. It IS hotter, but I don't like it. I think it stinks.

Cheers,

George
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Old April 6, 2009, 06:16 AM   #20
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Quote:
The Walker was, by design, engineered to fire 60 grains of powder under a conical bullet. NOT a 140 grain round ball.
I don't believe that's correct. Please cite your reference.
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Old April 6, 2009, 08:17 AM   #21
AdmiralB
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Quote:
The Walker was, by design, engineered to fire 60 grains of powder under a conical bullet. NOT a 140 grain round ball.
Assuming that the replica cylinders are accurately sized, there's no way you'd get 60 grains under one of the pickets that were supplied with the Walkers. I can't even quite get 60 under a .457 ball, about 58 is the best I can do.
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Old April 6, 2009, 09:09 AM   #22
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I may re-evaluate my maximum loading practices.
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Old April 6, 2009, 11:31 AM   #23
kirpi97
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Quote:
The Walker was, by design, engineered to fire 60 grains of powder under a conical bullet. NOT a 140 grain round ball.
Everything I read holds the modern day Walkers at 50 grains as a maximum safe load. I have never read 60. I would like to see that reference as well.

madcratebuilder, remind me to stand back when you are at the firing line.
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Last edited by kirpi97; April 6, 2009 at 11:41 AM.
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Old April 6, 2009, 11:58 AM   #24
Fingers McGee
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Quote Gmatov:
Quote:
The Walker was, by design, engineered to fire 60 grains of powder under a conical bullet. NOT a 140 grain round ball.
Not having any loading instructions for current production Uberti or older ASM Walkers to compare to; my Colt reference - The History of the Colt Revolver - says in part:

"The recess in the lower part of the barrel lug to allow the bullet to come under the rammer is large, as the arms were designed to carry a half ounce conical bullet."

and:

"The chamber capacity is approximately fifty grains of black powder, which with a conical bullet of two hundred and twenty grains makes a load that would be superior to most of the present day revolver cartridges."

Also, instructions for the 2nd Generation Colt Walkers listed the following loading data:

Grains: 35 - 55
Ball Dia: .451 - .457
Cap size: 11
Recommended grains: 50
Recommended Ball dia: .457

Now, with a round ball, chamber capacity would be more than the 50 grains; and I have loaded 60 grains and a round ball in a Uberti Walker before; but wouldnt recommend it to anyone. Was way too much to handle.

BTW - on a side note. The recommended ball dia for all 2nd Gen 36 cal pistols was .378 - .380 with recommended size of .378.

That explains why .375s never shaved a very good ring in my 2nd Gen '51 Navies and had a tendency to back out.
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Old April 6, 2009, 09:35 PM   #25
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Sorry,

I should have reread. The "traditional" load is 60 grs. of BP under a 140 gr. round ball. Load is 50 grs. BP under the 220 gr. conical bullet.

Pps. 80-81 of Bates/Cumpston's book, "Percussion Pistols and Revolvers", co-authored by Mike Cumpston who frequents these Forums.

For those of you who think these things are on the brink, as to metallurgy, near a 150 years ago, in the South, copied brass framed pistols were proofed by filling to the muzzle with powder and fired. Many of them passed. Cylinders were loaded full, a 2 pound weight placed over the cylinder mouths, and all six touched off. Enough of these passed to be placed in service.

These were made of what was called "twisted iron", which I have not read the explanation of. I am assuming wrought iron, but not sure. This is 15 or so years AFTER the Walker, so assume that metal was better than in 1847.

Assuming again, and I worked in a steel mill for my last 15 years before retirement, that our lowest grade steel today is better than the best grade, then, direct copy, would pass any proof that they used. (Imported OR domestic rebar material excluded. That IS crap!)

Mad,

That looks like an old '60 cylinder. What are the circumstances of the accident, or is it a file photo from some where? It looks like one from an original. Possibly a museum or collector's gallery or one that someone tried to shoot with modern day fake powder. You know. Subs.

Has anyone here ever burst a cylinder, on a BP pistol? I can show you pics, or point you to them, in Keith's books. HOT .45 LC and .44 Mags.

Lots of supersteel thousand buck modern rifles, too. Sakos and the like.

Cheers,

George
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