The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The North Corral > Black Powder and Cowboy Action Shooting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old August 31, 2011, 12:58 AM   #1
DG45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 5, 2009
Posts: 904
Question Re: Suggested BP loads for .44 cal and 36 cal brass -framed replicas

I get it that brass is a more strechable gunmetal than steel, and that heavy loads will strech a .44 frame, but what I don't get is why SUGGESTED and therefore supposedly safe BP loads for brass framed .44's are in the 22-25 grain range but suggested BP loads are only in the 15-18 grain range for brass framed .36 cal. guns.

If exactly the same type of brass is used in both guns (and assuming for the moment that you can actually put 22-25 grains of BP in a 36 cal. and I'm not sure that you can due to smaller cylinder chambers) why would a 22-25 grain BP load be more likely to strech a 36 cal. frame than a .44 cal. frame?

That doesn't make sense to me, does it to you?
DG45 is offline  
Old August 31, 2011, 01:29 AM   #2
4V50 Gary
Staff
 
Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 17,045
Anyone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong but

I believe that bigger, heavier ball results in higher pressure.
__________________
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!
4V50 Gary is offline  
Old August 31, 2011, 01:45 AM   #3
DG45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 5, 2009
Posts: 904
My point exactly, although I really don't know whether its a bigger,heavyier ball or a lighter, smaller ball that creates higher pressure using the same powder load.

But I make the same assumption you do, that the heaver, larger ball would create more pressure.

So why would it be dangerous or more damaging to the gun to fire a lighter smaller .36 cal. ball with the same 22-25 grains of powder?
DG45 is offline  
Old August 31, 2011, 06:56 AM   #4
mykeal
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 8, 2006
Location: Northern Michigan
Posts: 2,764
First I'd like to retire the word 'dangerous' from discussion of heavy loads in brass frame revolvers. A better word would be 'abusive'. There's no danger to the shooter from the practice (unless the gun is already badly damaged and probably shouldn't be used with any amount of powder), and we don't need any more people shying away from black powder sports because they saw the word in a forum discussion.

A heavier ball does mean a higher pressure peak will be generated from any given powder load, simply because it takes more force from the expanding gas to get the heavier ball moving. The heavier ball in combination with the larger powder load will clearly result in more force transmitted to the frame.

I believe the reason larger 'max' loads are recommended for the .44 brass frames is the generalization that .44 cal revolvers have heavier frames than .36 cal revolvers. The recommendation is based on a reduction from the max load for the steel frame version, which is always higher in a .44 than a .36.

However, like all generalizations, that's very often not true. A better practice would be to base the reduced brass frame load on the force imparted to the frame, which, of course, is something very few of us know.

When in doubt, use the lower load. It's probably more accurate anyway.
mykeal is offline  
Old August 31, 2011, 03:37 PM   #5
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,856
Quote:
assuming for the moment that you can actually put 22-25 grains of BP in a 36 cal. and I'm not sure that you can due to smaller cylinder chambers)
You can and still have room for a conical bullet. The first sign is the cylinder ratchet being imprinted in the recoil shield.
Hawg is offline  
Old September 2, 2011, 07:17 PM   #6
Hardy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 6, 2009
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 659
I loaded a 36 uberti navy yesterday with goex. I used spent 38 special cartridge (which I think holds 25 g of bp) as my measurer.

I used to measure pyrodex for that as the power load since most were 19g spouts. +/-.

I remember back in the late 70''s a mag called Black Powder and they said that you cannot overload a bp pistol as long as the ball is seated enough in the chamber .

Anyway, I might be afraid to shoot what I put in that 36--but I know that 20gs of J Shockey bounced off wood at 30 ft. Is the 38 special a 25 g load. And is it safe in a 36 steel revolver w/ goex?
Hardy is offline  
Old September 2, 2011, 07:32 PM   #7
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,856
You cant overload a steel frame revolver with real black or Pyrodex. Not too sure about Triple7 tho. You can very easily overload a brass frame.
Hawg is offline  
Old September 2, 2011, 07:40 PM   #8
Hardy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 6, 2009
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 659
Didn't think so Hawg but wanted to make sure. Was I correct on the measure in a 38 special spent cartridge as being 25 grains of BP?
Hardy is offline  
Old September 3, 2011, 04:33 AM   #9
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,856
Don't start me to lying Hardy. I never filled a .38 case with bp let alone measured it after I did it.
Hawg is offline  
Old September 3, 2011, 06:02 AM   #10
mykeal
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 8, 2006
Location: Northern Michigan
Posts: 2,764
Close. I think it's 23 or 24 grains of fffg real black.
mykeal is offline  
Old September 3, 2011, 09:14 AM   #11
madcratebuilder
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 2, 2007
Location: Northern Orygun
Posts: 4,871
For a brass frame you should consider half the caliber size to be a max load. .44 cal would be 22gr and .36 would be 18grs.

You can load as much as you want but it's going to have a very short life span.
madcratebuilder is offline  
Old September 4, 2011, 12:33 AM   #12
DG45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 5, 2009
Posts: 904
I have a brass -framed Pietta replica of a Confederate knock-off of an 1851 Colt Navy. Pretty, pretty gun, but everyone says I better not load it with more than about 15 grains of BP or its equivalent. I really would like to load at least 20 grains.... 22 would be ideal, but I also really don't want to damage this gun.

I still don't get why I can shoot 22 grains of powder in a 44 brasser without damaging or streching the brass, and without imprinting the cylinder rachet in the recoil shield, but I can't use that same powder load in a brass .36 cal. because it may damage or strech the brass or may imprint the recoild shield.

Puzzling.

I know there must be a reason....because everyone says so....or maybe just orthodoxy???....

I know 22 grains won't damage a steel .36 cal cylinder, that's a typical Colt Navy load, and my gun has a steel cylinder. Everyone says 22 grains won't damage a brass frame in a .44 revolver, so why would 22 grains be expected to strech a brass .36 frame worse than a brass .44 frame? Or imprint the cylinder rachet on the recoil shield of a .36 cal. brass frame worse than it imprints the recoil shield on a .44 cal with a brass frame?

Somebody said it's because the brass frame is heaver in the .44 and maybe that's it, but my guess is it isn't, because the brass frame is stationary, and is simply absorbing the lick from the recoiling steel cylinder.

Puzzling. And very tempting to try it, because I can't see any reason why there should be any difference in how the same powder load affects the brass frames of the two different guns. But I know that as sure as I do try it, I will ruin the gun and then somebody will say, oh yeah, you can't do that. Then they'll give me a simple logical reason that any simpleton should have known about, of why I shouldn't have.
DG45 is offline  
Old September 4, 2011, 01:53 AM   #13
Bill Akins
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 28, 2007
Location: Hudson, Florida
Posts: 1,031
DG45, You raise a good question and one that has me wondering too.
So let's try to analyze and figure it out.

Perhaps Newton's law..."For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction".

Or Occam's razor which generally means...."When you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better."

Your question has to be related to those two somehow. Let's try to analyze it.

The .44 chamber has a larger space than a .36 chamber. So if you put the same exact say 22 grain charge in both of them and then seat the ball and then fire them, the pressure generated in the two chambers would seem to be different because one has a larger space capacity than the other. But in really analyzing that, actually there isn't a difference in space because the 22 grain charge of powder will take up exactly the same amount of space whether in a .36 chamber or a .44 chamber. Once either a .36 or a .44 ball is seated upon the 22 grain charge, the charge takes up exactly the same amount of space behind the ball. It's just that the .44 chamber would have more air space on top of the seated ball, but that doesn't count because that is over the ball and not behind the ball in the pressure area. So that idea is out. Hmmm.

Okay, let's explore some other angles to figure this out.
If using the exact same powder grain charge, the only difference is the different sizes of the balls and perhaps the .44 and .36 cylinders are a different weight from each other. Not sure if that would matter though, but it might. The question about that is....is the .36 cylinder heavier because it has less metal removed from its chamber diameters than the .44 cylinder does, or is the .44 cylinder heavier because it has a slightly larger circumference to accommodate the larger .44 balls, or does the more metal in the smaller chambers of the .36 cancel out the weight difference of the .44 cylinder being slightly larger in circumference????

Whatever the answer of which cylinder is heavier, I'm not sure what significance the different weights of the cylinders (if they are different weights) might play in the equation, but again....it might, I just don't know.
So if there is a difference in weight between the cylinders we would need to find out. And what the significance of any difference in weight between the two cylinders might signify needs to be found out. So those are as yet unknown variables in the equation. Moving on to other theories.....

Then there's this idea....
The powder charge again being an equal 22 grains in both calibers.....the .44 ball being heavier than the .36 ball will travel at a lower velocity than the .36 ball because the .44 ball is larger and heavier and would take more powder to travel at the same velocity as the smaller lighter .36. Perhaps the .36 traveling at a higher velocity due to its lighter weight, causes less pressure in the chamber because the ball moves out faster not building up more pressure behind it as the heavier larger .44 ball would. Nope, that idea doesn't work because if that were true you could fire heavier loads safely in the .36 than you could the .44.
Hmmm again.

Really got me rubbing my chin now. I see what you mean about this. Since both 22 grain powder charges take up the same amount of space in a chamber (22 grains in a .36 or 22 grains in a .44), in cylinders that are perhaps close to the same weight, one would think it would be more stressful to load 22 grains behind a .44 ball than behind a faster moving .36 ball because the heavier ball will develop a higher pressure behind it before it moves because of its weight. But we have all been told for years that a .36 should take a lower powder charge than a .44, so there has to be a reasonable explanation.

Okay, I think the correct explanation just occurred to me and took me back to Occam's razor. We both were over complicating it when the explanation is actually the simplest one.

The brass frame .36's and brass frame .44's are equal in this respect, you can't overload either of them and cause any danger using standard black powder. All you might do is over time cause the brass frame to stretch out or dent up your recoil shield ring if you use a heavy charge in either of the two brass frame revolvers. So in that respect both the .36 and .44 are equal which cancels out any possibility of Newton's equal and opposite reaction in this case.

But the .36 chambers being smaller cannot physically hold as large a charge as the larger .44 chambers can. So naturally you reach a point where the charge for a .36 has to be smaller than the charge for a .44. I'm thinking if a .36 cylinder were LONGER than a .44 cylinder, so that the smaller but longer .36 chambers COULD hold as large a powder charge as shorter but larger diameter chambers of the .44, then you COULD load the same powder charge in both cylinders. But since the .36 isn't longer and does have less room for powder than a .44.....then you HAVE to use less powder in it. Even for full power loads in EITHER revolver, the .36 will still be limited to less powder than the .44.

So (just like Occam's razor said), the simplest explanation would be that since both brass frames will stretch or ding the recoil shield ring if they are either one loaded too hot, since the .36 holds less powder than the .44....that you have to load less in the .36 than in the .44 to preclude stretching or dinging the frame, simply because the .36 cannot hold as much powder as the .44. Actually they are different in C.U.P.'s of pressure but equal in relationship of pressure to ball weight because one takes a smaller powder charge to push a smaller ball while the other takes a larger powder charge to push a larger ball. Sure the charge weights are different, but so are the weight of the balls they are pushing. So they are equal in that relationship.

Which boils down to me to mean you have to load the .36 with less powder than a .44 because the .36 chamber will hold less powder than a .44.
Sure you could load the .36 hotter, but then again you could load the .44 hotter too and in both cases you would over time damage the brass frame on both revolvers. So even if you loaded both revolvers to maximum capacity, the .36 would still physically take less powder than the .44. So if you load them down to safe loads where they won't damage the brass frame, the .36 will naturally take a smaller grain load than the .44.

For our purposes, let's say the .44 would take a max powder charge of 35 grains. And let's say the .36 would take a maximum charge of 25 grains because of its smaller chambers. Now let's say you wanted to load both revolvers with smaller charges to preclude damaging the brass frames.
If you lowered the .44 from 35 grains to 20 grains (a reduction of 15 grains) and you lowered the .36 from 25 grains to 15 grains (a reduction of 10 grains) they would be equal in their relationship of loading down. Sure the .36 holds less than the .44.....because its chambers cannot hold as much as a .44 chamber. So I believe it all boils down to the fact that a .36 chamber will not hold as much powder as a .44 chamber when both are loaded to maximum capacity, and if you load them both down to avoid damaging the brass frame on either of them, naturally you have to decrease the load in both of them which of course means the .36 will be loaded with less powder grains than the .44 will be.

That makes sense to me, does it to you? Or did I miss something and go way off the beam here?



.
__________________
"This is my Remy and this is my Colt. Remy loads easy and topstrap strong, Colt balances better and never feels wrong. A repro black powder revolver gun, they smoke and shoot lead and give me much fun. I can't figure out which one I like better, they're both fine revolvers that fit in my leather".
"To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target".

Last edited by Bill Akins; September 4, 2011 at 03:12 AM.
Bill Akins is offline  
Old September 4, 2011, 06:21 AM   #14
mykeal
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 8, 2006
Location: Northern Michigan
Posts: 2,764
Huh?


It takes less powder to damage a brass framed .36 than a brass framed .44 because the .36 holds less in the first place?
Quote:
did I miss something and go way off the beam here?
I'm not sure, but I think so.

Reread post #4.
mykeal is offline  
Old September 4, 2011, 10:30 AM   #15
DG45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 5, 2009
Posts: 904
It's probably like my parents used to say, and like I used to say to my kids. "BECAUSE I SAID SO!" Sometimes my parents couldn't articulate the why of it any better than that, and I couldn't articulate the why of it to my kids any better than that, but I knew when my parents said that to me, and my kids knew when I said that to them, that there was a d#@% good reason, often learned from sad experience.
DG45 is offline  
Old September 4, 2011, 10:57 AM   #16
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,856
Yeah, I used to be in the crowd of you can't overload a brass .36. Experience can be a harsh teacher.



Thankfully I caught it before it got any worse.
Hawg is offline  
Old September 4, 2011, 03:57 PM   #17
DG45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 5, 2009
Posts: 904
How heavy were the loads you were using that caused the damage Hawg?
DG45 is offline  
Old September 4, 2011, 05:25 PM   #18
ZVP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 20, 2009
Posts: 911
Like was said, load at 1/2 the caliber and don't fret it.
I load my .44 Brasser at 20gr of pyrodex or powder or a 15% reduced 777 load.
This load is very accurate and dosen't mark the backstrap.
Noone would buy a Brasser to hunt with or for a self-defense gun, but even a 20gr .44 load would be deadly!
The steel framed guns would be a far better choice for defense or hunting., it's just common sense touse the strongest gun.
I think the reason for the difference between a .36 Brasser and a .44 one is pressure intensity. The .44 allows for gas expansion sooner and thus has lower pressures on the cylinder walls and it releases the reward push on the cylinder more and sooner.
JMHO,
ZVP
ZVP is offline  
Old September 4, 2011, 05:54 PM   #19
steelbird
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 19, 2010
Posts: 140
Back to BP in a case -
I can get about 20 grains of fffg in a .357 case - this also allows some room for a small pompom to plug them.
steelbird is offline  
Old September 4, 2011, 07:27 PM   #20
Hardy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 6, 2009
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 659
Whoa--the cylinder pin will loosen in brass. Thats why they are dangerous. Um did I say that?
Hardy is offline  
Old September 4, 2011, 07:41 PM   #21
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,856
18 rounds 25 grains.
Hawg is offline  
Old September 4, 2011, 11:38 PM   #22
bigminnow
Member
 
Join Date: August 12, 2011
Posts: 98
Whew!...am I seeing the picture correctly? It looks like the cylinder made impression marks on the brass frame. Is that what I need to keep an eye on?
bigminnow is offline  
Old September 5, 2011, 12:02 AM   #23
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,856
Quote:
It looks like the cylinder made impression marks on the brass frame. Is that what I need to keep an eye on?
Yeah, that's the first sign.
Hawg is offline  
Old September 5, 2011, 07:35 AM   #24
Lee McNelly
Junior member
 
Join Date: June 9, 2011
Posts: 325
maybe

thats why some have chain fires over loading
Lee McNelly is offline  
Old September 5, 2011, 08:08 AM   #25
zullo74
Junior member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2009
Posts: 374
Lee,

I don't get the point you are trying to make. A chain fire would be an overload and could cause damage to a brass frame gun, but I don't see how a damaged gun could cause a chain fire.
zullo74 is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:30 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12068 seconds with 7 queries