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Old November 16, 2010, 02:51 PM   #1
Joey V.
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Smokeless in a BP ???

I have a savage ML that I am considering buying used from a friend. In reading a bunch of stuff online about the powders that are safe to us and the SAMM pressures involved I got to thinking about something. I understand that you are never to use smokeless powder in a black powder only rifle but why not? If you knew how to make all things equal between the two powders then why couldn't you do it? If a BP only rifle could handle 100G of FF why then could it not handle say (whatever 20 grains) of smokeless powder? I am only saying 20g smokeless as an example, I never tested anything and NEVER will. :barf: I am just sayin it is absolutely incorrect to think that any BP pistol / rifle could not safely shoot smokeless powder you just need to know how little to use right? I reload everything from 222 to 375 weatherby. and it all simply takes less powder the smaller you go in caliber. I guess what I am asking if has anyone ever tested say different smokeless powders in muzzle loaders that it was not designed for? I was thinking maybe no one put out info on do this little cowboy trick because someone would surely blow themselves up. With tha said I could do the same thing by simple massively exceeding a recommended BP charge right? Again I WILL NEVER be the tester on this but do you know anyone who has?
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Old November 16, 2010, 03:01 PM   #2
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Why not shoot what your gun is made to shoot. I'm not trying to be a wise guy but I sure don't whant to see you get hert. Get a 45-70 sharps.
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Old November 16, 2010, 03:25 PM   #3
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Joey

Between black powder and smokeless powder I am not sure it is possible to make "all things equal."

I think it has to do with the difference in the way the pressure rises over time.

I would be happy for an expert to endorse or correct this thought.

It is an interesting question from a scientific standpoint, but like you, I would not be the one to test it. when I was a kid, one of my friends had an old 45-70. The ammunition was so scarce and expensive that he used to shoot .410 shotshells in it. Sometimes the fact that we made it past the teen years is amazing to me.

Tnx,
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Old November 16, 2010, 03:40 PM   #4
Jim Watson
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The Savage 10ML is the only muzzleloader I know of that the manufacturer recommends smokeless powder for.

There are some British conversion cylinders for LIGHT loads of smokeless in cap and ball revolvers because modern handguns are no longer legal there and the pistol shooters had to come up with something to stay active.
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Old November 16, 2010, 03:45 PM   #5
Joey V.
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scientific standpoint ONLY

Just to clarify I am not an idiot and I WILL not try this at home folks!!! I just would like to have a powder knowledgeable person comment on pressure spikes, burn rate differences, and what not. I LOVE the rotten egg smell of BP I don’t even shoot Trp777 because it doesn’t smell good to me I just believe that ANYTHING in moderation can be substituted for anything under the right constraints. They used an explosive called gun cotton in cannon instead of BP a looooong time ago but switch to BP because gun cotton had a very nasty habit of bursting the cannon because of LOADER ERROR. Again it was able to be used. I would bet that Dynamite could be used in a 30-06 if you only had a dot of it in the case but again I AINT TRYING IT. Keep the opinions coming guys...
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Old November 16, 2010, 04:16 PM   #6
Joey V.
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Doc Hoy Maybe All things can be equall?

Do you have any load data for say a 44 conversion cylinders for LIGHT loads of smokeless in cap and ball revolvers? I see guys shoot light smokeless loads in these revolvers with conversion cylinders at my gun club. I bet the powder they use and the grain weight they load up is very equal. Never thought of the whole conversion cylinder thing.... Oh wait are they still using BP but in a cartridge instead of just loading the cylinders????
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Old November 16, 2010, 04:27 PM   #7
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I am talking out of school here.

Someone who has messed with conversions needs to wade in. I am not familiar enough with the pressure chart comparisons between BP and SP.

Certainly you could load it light enough to keep from blowing up the firearm but I don't know what kind of overall performance you would get.

I think everyone understands that you do not intend to try to make this a functional load, but merely to approach it from the "what if" perspective as a sort of academic discussion. I would posit that it is not the first time it has come up.
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Old November 16, 2010, 04:38 PM   #8
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BP and smokeless

It is not just a matter of finding the right smaller amount of smokeless propellant.
The two systems are quite different.
Smokeless powders are ignited in and burn in a sealed system...first the cartridge itself and then, once pressure has sealed the cartridge to the chamber, in the barrel.

BP is burned in open systems - so to speak; you have a vent hole of some sort, whether it be the flash hole on a flint gun or the nipple under a cap.
Using smokeless powder in a system that can flash back is not a good idea.
Plus, the characteristics of smokeless powders are much influenced by chamber pressure - something which would be compromised in the open systems of MLers.
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Old November 16, 2010, 04:56 PM   #9
Joey V.
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The light bulb is going off now!!!

Dark A I think I am getting it now. Basically yes I could ignite it and yes it could be done but it simply would not work correctly.... Kind of like using lighter fluid for gasoline. I bet you might get the engine to turn over once but it sure couldn't run at all... Good point!!! The powders characteristics are just two different animals and they “go off” differently under different confinements... Oh wait now I am right back at the Savage ML again. I load it from the front and us a 209 primer in the bolt action to ignite it. Again it is indeed a much more "closed" system (no Nipple or touch hole) but a front stuffer non the less. I think I am going to call a powder manufacturer and see what they say just for fun. I might even tell the guy I am planning on using like 100 grains of IMR 4350 in and old flintlock just to see how excited I can get him lol.
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Old November 16, 2010, 06:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Just to clarify I am not an idiot
Perhaps but know that it's a fool's game and please don't do it anymore ...



Be Safe !!!
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Old November 16, 2010, 06:19 PM   #11
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The concept is so dangerous it shouldn't have been mentioned.
If I could, I would lock and delete the thread.
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Old November 16, 2010, 06:59 PM   #12
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I think Forrest Gump had a famous saying . . . but I won't repeat it. I agree with Rifleman - it shouldn't even be mentioned. Whether the OP would or would not ever use it - doesn't matter - there are those out there who don't have enough sense to pound sand into a rat hole that might read it and think . . "well, why not?". In over 45 years of shooting, I have seen weapons in which the improper powder was used - with disasterous results - lost fingers, a lost hand and in one case, death. Sorry to those who think my reaction is overboard and that I'm a p _ _ _ k - but it irritates the heckk out of me when a subjectlike this is even brought up.
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Old November 16, 2010, 07:00 PM   #13
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There's actually no reason why modern smokeless powder could not be used in ANY black powder weapon.

The "concept" is not dangerous.

The problem comes in load development. Unless you have a way of directly measuring pressure then there is no really, truly safe way of doing it.

Now, if you'd like to have a safe way, you could buy RSI's Pressure Trace equipment.

A typical modern black powder long gun is limited to the upper 20k, very low 30k, psi range.

With Pressure Trace, it would be easy. Start low, watch the pressure, and stop when appropriate.

It would be pricey and somewhat pointless, but the "concept" is perfectly safe.


Anyway, the real answer, as you already know, is to buy a Savage ML-10 and never look back.
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Old November 16, 2010, 07:30 PM   #14
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more

Quote:
Kind of like using lighter fluid for gasoline.
More like using gasoline in a kerosene stove or heater.

That the concept is perfectly safe is arguable. Savage may have marketed the 10ML but there are problems associated with its use - mostly very narrow ranges of powders and charge weights. The Savage system is also sealed in a much more definite way than most other MLers. BP and smokeless powders have very, very much different burn characteristics, especially in confinement. Remember - one is an incorporated mixture of sulfur, saltpeter and charcoal....the other is plasticized nitroglycerin.
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Old November 16, 2010, 07:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
The concept is so dangerous it shouldn't have been mentioned.
If I could, I would lock and delete the thread.
and
Quote:
there are those out there who don't have enough sense to pound sand into a rat hole that might read it and think . . "well, why not?".
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." - George Bernard Shaw

Looking at this from firearms perspective, the unreasonable man has been responsible for all firearms advancements throughout time. There were a lot of stupid people around when smokeless powder hit the scene too. I'm sure there were lots of know it alls back then that were sure people of a stupid nature would stuff that powder down a muzzleloader and blow themselves up. Maybe some did despite warnings not to! I'm convinced though, that if it weren't for the unreasonable man, we'd still be throwing rocks and sticks. I'm not saying let's all go out and do stupid things with the wrong powders, and neither is the op, so wanting to censor a valid thread (that is educational) for the safety of stupid people is egotistical, condescending, and ridiculous.
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Old November 16, 2010, 08:25 PM   #16
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Best post I've found explaining the differences in pressure characteristics. The maximum pressure is not the issue, and making an equivalent pressure smokeless load (which in itself is very difficult to do) will NOT make it "safe":

http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...2&postcount=17
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Old November 16, 2010, 08:50 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by model-P
The maximum pressure is not the issue, and making an equivalent pressure smokeless load (which in itself is very difficult to do) will NOT make it "safe":
That is correct. It will be nearly impossible to replicate BP performance in a BP gun when using smokeless powder and keep the pressures safe.

That doesn't make using smokeless powder "unsafe", it makes it impractical.

Still, smokeless could be used but performance would suffer.
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Old November 16, 2010, 09:09 PM   #18
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I can't find the "whistling in the wind" smilie.
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Old November 16, 2010, 09:48 PM   #19
Joey V.
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Wow thank you all!

I never thought this would have such a great debate! After reading everyones responses I am NOT going to buy the savage ML. I just don't feel it to be as safe as I want it to be and besides I love the smell on BP. Thanks again everyone for the debate and thanks to the forum police for not locking this thread. I belive it is extreamly important to hAve free speech no matter how potentially stupid the subject! Next someone will ask to take away your right to own guns.... Oh wait the do that EVERY day! Be kind to each other and to what people would like to talk about. As long as it is not illegal leave it be. Again thanks to all who replied and changing my mind on the savage. I just don't feel comfortable with it anymore....

Joey v.
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Old November 16, 2010, 10:00 PM   #20
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OK, a few comments.

Yes, of course it is possible to load smokeless powder at a level that will be OK in a black powder gun, and the ammunition companies have turned out millions of rounds of .32 S&W, .38 S&W, .45-70, .45 Colt, etc., all loaded with smokeless powder since around WWI. Many millions have been fired in guns made before smokeless powder existed. Since the smokeless powder loadings were kept to the same pressure levels as the black powder loads, the only guns damaged were ones that should not have been fired at all, with any ammunition.

Smokeless powder is capable of generating greater pressure than black powder, but the peak pressure itself is not always the problem. One major problem is with old shotguns, especially those with Damascus barrels. A characteristic of black powder is that it burns very rapidly, and creates an immediate pressure spike. That means the pressure is mostly generated, and contained, in the thick part of the barrel around the chamber. But progressive burning smokeless powder keeps the pressure on longer. If you look at an old time shotgun barrel, you will see that it thins down in front of the chamber, right about where the shooter of a double or single barrel holds the gun with his off hand. And that is where the old guns let go with smokeless powder loads, often taking a few fingers along for the ride.

All of this has nothing to do with whether the gun is muzzle loading or breech loading, or whether it has a "vent" or not, but a couple of points do need to be considered. Firing a modern, well made muzzle loader with the appropriate smokeless powder would not be dangerous, but standard percussion caps are not hot enough to fire smokeless powder, so experimenting can leave you with a loaded gun you can't fire. Another point is that most muzzle loader barrels are made from soft steel and not hardened for use with the hot burning smokeless powder, so the barrel will burn out quickly if you can get the smokeless to light off.

Jim
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Old November 16, 2010, 10:33 PM   #21
Jim Watson
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Quote:
I am NOT going to buy the savage ML.
Why not? It is the only muzzleloader factory approved for smokeless powder. True, there are only three suitable powders in the manual, but that is not too limiting.

I think it is wrongheaded but it is a safe enough product for those who want to just barely squeak in under the rules for muzzleloading hunts.
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Old November 16, 2010, 10:52 PM   #22
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Quote:
A characteristic of black powder is that it burns very rapidly, and creates an immediate pressure spike. That means the pressure is mostly generated, and contained, in the thick part of the barrel around the chamber. But progressive burning smokeless powder keeps the pressure on longer.
I was going to say that I have heard the exact opposite, but I did a bit of research first and found we would both be correct since it entirely depends on which smokeless powder is being compared.

I'm learning......

http://www.levergunscommunity.com/vi...hp?f=1&t=27410
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Old November 17, 2010, 07:06 AM   #23
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Most muzzleloaders have an ignition system that is totally unsuitable for smokeless powder. Black powder only wants to be set on fire and that's what percussion caps and nipples with their tiny vent holes were designed to do.
The modern cartridge and primers of modern guns don't just set the powder charge on fire, the primer establishes the initial high pressure in the case that the smokeless powder needs to burn efficiently. That's one reason that a good crimp is so important in modern guns.
The primer alone in a .22Hornet will propell a .22 caliber air rifle pellet set in the case neck with enough velocity to shoot it through a beer can.

I have successfully made smokeless work in a Ruger Old Army but only after using a small charge of FFFFg to act as a kicker to get the smokeless to burn like it's supposed to. Without the black powder kicker charge, I only got failure to fires and squibs.
To really make this revolver smokeless powder friendly, you would need a special cylinder that uses sealed shotgun primers instead of percussion caps.
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Old November 17, 2010, 07:50 AM   #24
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more, please

Quote:
All of this has nothing to do with whether the gun is muzzle loading or breech loading, or whether it has a "vent" or not,
Jim: I am open to different ideas and to changing my point of view if new and better info happens along.
The quoted comment above....could you, would you, explain that more? How could the presence of a vent not have something to do with the safety of what we are discussing? I understand the problem related to ignition with percussion caps but, as noted, duplexing can solve that.
I am not arguing.....open to new ideas.
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Old November 17, 2010, 08:30 AM   #25
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I am asking this because I do not know

Do BP Cartridges have vents or a way to vent?
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