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Old November 7, 2010, 12:12 AM   #1
roy reali
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Black Powder Curiosity

Could black powder be used in any metallic cartridge? Not if its sensible, but is it safe? Can someone use it in their .30-06 and fire it out of their favorite bolt action rifle? What about shotshells, can black powder be used to propel birdshot?

Has anyone tried this? Used black powder for a cartridge that isn't traditionaly black owder?
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Old November 7, 2010, 12:30 AM   #2
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Hello, roy reali. Concerning the use of black powder to propell bird shot..On every modern box of shot-shells their is a "dram equilavent". This is a comparison of the smokeless charge in those shells to a black powder loading. In other words, they equal the velocity..though at a higher pressure,
of a black powder loading. As far as jacketed rifle use...The British, Swiss, and others had black powder, jacketed bullet loadings in the late 19th century. They were all happy to see the coming of smokeless for obvious reasons. The smoke and fouling from a .577/.450 chambered Maxim was bad enough, could you imagine the fouling problems of a .303 black-powder jacketed load, with no lubrication in one of these guns?
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Old November 7, 2010, 12:35 AM   #3
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re:idealtool

Yes, I realize that a mess would b created. But I guess you could safely load a 7mm Remington Magnum case with black powder and fire a bullet?
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Old November 7, 2010, 12:40 AM   #4
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Hello, roy reali. Sure you could, just be sure to clean everything up with hot-water, or black powder solvent after the smoke clears.
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Old November 7, 2010, 12:45 AM   #5
roy reali
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re; IdealTool

I wouldn't do it. Like I said, curiosity. I suppose in a worse case scenario, we could all manufacture their own blcak powder to keep our gun going. I wonder how Glocks would fair shooting black powder ammo?
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Old November 7, 2010, 02:08 AM   #6
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Just no reduced loads.Full case.
Tech of the times was mostly paper patch with a grease cookie or a grease groove bullet.
There is a fine magazine"Black Powder Cartridge News"
I might be a bit concerned about the more drastic bottlenecks,such as the 7 rem mag.Straightwall cases were more typical,or gently bottlenecked.
BP is an explosive rather than a progressive burning powder.It may happen that destructive pressures could result with big case,sharp shoulder,tiny bore.
They did burst cannonballs with the stuff.
I have a friend who uses brass 12ga BP loads at cowboy shoots.
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Old November 7, 2010, 02:11 AM   #7
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yes you can.

Although I dont know how nice the clean up would be if you tried it on a gas operated semi.
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Old November 7, 2010, 08:08 AM   #8
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I've shot it out of a 30-30, an m1 carbine and a .45 1911. Now you want a funny sight it's a 1911 with smoke coming out of every nook and cranny.
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Old November 7, 2010, 08:33 AM   #9
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Dunno how far your curiousity goes with BP but it's a fascinating subject for me. BP is best suited for muzzleloaders and cartridges with long straight cases but I guess it can be made to work for some others as well. It's important to realize that the bullet must at least touch and better yet compress the powder charge. As mentioned above I'd avoid using it in gas operated autos unless you really enjoy detail stripping.
Cleaning isn't really that big a deal, I've been using Windex with vinegar followed by Bore Butter for years in my smokepoles. With my Sharps it's a 10 minute cleanup, with a c&b revolver it takes a little longer because I like to remove the nipples. The cleaners used for smokeless will just make a mess with BP, the so-called BP solvents are just as bad, IMHO.
I wouldn't use it in a modern bottleneck rifle cartridge unless I wanted a reduced load but even then there are better ways to go about it.
If you're curious about how well BP really works try it in a cartridge designed for it. Muzzleloaders and c&b revolvers are loads of fun as well.
Forgot to warn you, BP shooting can be addictive and no 12-step program has been shown to be effective. Try it at your own risk!
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Last edited by TXGunNut; November 7, 2010 at 08:52 AM.
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Old November 7, 2010, 08:39 AM   #10
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It will go bang. Pressures are not a concern. Clean up will be a mess but is important.
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Old November 7, 2010, 10:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
Windex with vinegar followed by Bore Butter
A tablespoon of PineSol in a quart of hot water -- and my usual BreakFree to store.

Unlike some smokeless/copper solvents,`not a whole lotta science needed here.
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Old November 7, 2010, 10:31 AM   #12
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When it comes to “modern” calibers, forget black powder. You want light loads in big cases? Trail Boss. Won't cycle a self shucker, but it works great in revolvers and rifles for those light loads. I shoot black powder pistols. I wouldn't use that stuff in a “modern” gun.
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Old November 7, 2010, 01:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
What about shotshells, can black powder be used to propel birdshot
I just recently started loading BP shotgun shells and theyre alot of fun to shoot and easy to load.I fired a few through my Winchester 97 clone last week and they produce one heck of a boom and alot of smoke.Basically you load the same amount of powder and shot (Ive been using 80gr loads) and use paper shells with fiber wads instead of plastic since BP and plastic dont mix well.If youre interested in load data or info on how to load let me know.
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Old November 7, 2010, 07:22 PM   #14
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As I understand, the 38 Special started out as Black Powder. I, too, have wondered about loading it with BP

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Old November 7, 2010, 11:08 PM   #15
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38 special is indeed derived from a case that originally used black powder. The smokeless powder 38 Special was a bit more powerful than the BP cases it replaced. They made it longer to prevent damage to BP guns. I'm afraid that filling a 38 Special case with BP may be a bit much for the cartridge. Haven't seen any published loads so I'll avoid it for now.
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Old November 7, 2010, 11:14 PM   #16
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There was indeed a black powder .38 Special circa 1899. I recall it was 21.5 grains of black and a 158 grain bullet. That was obviously a lot better than .38 Long Colt with 18 grains of powder and a 150 grain bullet. Wasn't it?

The original .303 British was loaded with highly compressed black powder. They soon went to Cordite.
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Old November 7, 2010, 11:26 PM   #17
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News to me, was hoping someone more knowlegeable would drop by.
Cordite is an interesting topic, deserves a thread of it's own.
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Old November 8, 2010, 06:55 AM   #18
roy reali
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Older Round

I was looking at one of my older reloading manuals. It states that the .303 British started out as a black powder round. It is a bottle-necked cartridge.
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Old November 8, 2010, 09:11 AM   #19
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Black powder would not be entirely suitable for use with jacketed bullets (no grease grooves to keep the fouling soft), but it would work in any cartridge.

What a lot of people don't realize is that not only was the .38 Spl. introduced with black powder, but the .44 Special was also introduced with black powder in 1907.

Both cartridges were offered in both black and smokeless powder loadings up to World War I.
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Old November 8, 2010, 10:41 AM   #20
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I loaded some 9mm with Pyrodex "P" once, full case of powder. I shot them out of a Ruger P89, they were very accurate, but I had to manually cycle the slide. I got some funny looks at the range that day and had one very dirty pistol.
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Old November 8, 2010, 10:48 AM   #21
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I have two S&W .32-20 revolvers. One of them is something of a junker.

I'm considering loading up some black powder rounds for it just to see what they would be like.

I'd consider doing it with my Model 24 or my Model 25, but I don't want to run even a remote risk that I might miss some black powder fouling and end up ruining the finish one of my prized N frames.
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Old November 8, 2010, 01:30 PM   #22
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I thought about playing with black powder loads in my stainless .45 colt Redhawk just for fun. Never did get around to it though.
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Old November 8, 2010, 01:35 PM   #23
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Mike, I have used black powder in my Ruger New Model Vaquero, Stainless, with great fun! The .45 Colt was originally a black powder round.

Smoke and flames, gotta love it.
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