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Old August 18, 2012, 10:55 PM   #1
Chowmif16
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BP Cartridge-Over Powder card or No?

Since I began loading BP cartridge (both .45 Colt and .45-70) I have included a cardboard over-powder card between powder and bullet. Note, that this is not referring to an Ox-yoke or Wonder Wad felt wad, instead, a much more solid cardboard or fiberboard card, ostensibly to protect the heel of the bullet.

There have been several posts mentioning that this card will scrape away any precious lube that your bullet has just deposited in the bore.

So, is the over powder card needed to protect the heel of the bullet?
Or should I just get rid of it?
If not an over powder card, then would a thin slice of wax paper serve the same purpose?

I have read several references to disassembling old cartridges from the 1800's that include an over-powder card.

Cheers,
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Old August 19, 2012, 02:34 AM   #2
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Rather than wiping away the lube deposited by the bullet that was just fired, perhaps the OP card wipes away the fouling that was deposited in the bore from the previous shot?
If it can do one, then it can also do the other.
I don't know what purpose the old ammunition manufacturers intended for the OP card in their ammo.
There's a chance that the OP card increases velocity, and it could also affect accuracy.
Some experimentation and assessment may be required to determine whether or not the OP card actually serves a useful purpose in your loads.
If both types of loads could be chronographed with and without OP cards then that would be even better.
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Old August 19, 2012, 07:50 AM   #3
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FWIW I never used one.
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Old August 19, 2012, 04:09 PM   #4
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Hawg,

That is a good post.

Thanks.
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Old August 19, 2012, 04:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Hawg,
That is a good post.
And my other 9,081 weren't?
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Old August 19, 2012, 04:44 PM   #6
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Hawg,

In order to avoid conflicts, let me confirm that this post was good.

The other 9081 were Great!

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Old August 19, 2012, 04:48 PM   #7
Chowmif16
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In an effort to see the results myself, I loaded 20 rounds with and 20 without over powder cards last night.
Probably won't get to shoot them till next weekend, and will post anything I find.

Cheers,
Chowmi
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Old August 19, 2012, 05:05 PM   #8
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Chowmi

Tubular!

As you know I am in the process of building my knowledge on handloading .45 LC with BP.

You guys who already do it are a library of knowledge.
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Old August 20, 2012, 08:38 AM   #9
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I do when I load 45-70 but I haven't loaded any BP handgun ammo yet.
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Old August 20, 2012, 09:33 AM   #10
Jim Watson
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I don't know anybody in BPCR competition who does NOT use an over powder wad of some sort. I just use the Walters "vegetable fiber" wad, whose markings indicate that they are punched out of gasket material. Some use HDPE wads. Some use two wads, a card wad over the powder, a wax paper or newsprint disk over the card to keep it from sticking to the base of the bullet in case you did not get all the lube off the bottom.

I wouldn't bother with sixgun shells but it is pretty much a standard for black powder rifle ammunition, especially if it is to be shot at any great range.

The purpose is usually said to be to protect the base of the bullet from impact of powder granules and flame. The base of the bullet being the "steering end" and a clean exit from the muzzle important to accuracy.
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Old August 22, 2012, 06:28 AM   #11
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One of my acquaintances captured a bullet that had been shot without a wad. Needless to say, the base was very cratered. This is the bullet that "Kurt" captured and posted the picture of.

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Old August 22, 2012, 07:33 AM   #12
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That photo makes me now want to use two wads !
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Old August 23, 2012, 04:33 PM   #13
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Base protection

Does not lyman sell copper base caps (Gas Checks) for lead bullets ?
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Last edited by Whetstone70; August 23, 2012 at 04:35 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old August 23, 2012, 04:54 PM   #14
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When I'm loading BPCR cartridges, I'll first dump the powder into the case through a long drop tube. Then, the overpowder wad is pressed into the mouth of the case, and seated by the compression die. Next, the grease cookie (for paper patched bullets) is placed, followed by a lube sealer wad (same as the overpowder wad, just that it's next to the grease cookie).

To prevent it from sticking to the bullet, I'll have an alcohol cloth. The bullet base is wiped across it, then onto a dry cloth, then it's seated into the case.
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Old August 23, 2012, 07:50 PM   #15
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Always have used a wad due to what was pictured above.
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Old August 23, 2012, 09:36 PM   #16
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I actually use a cigarette paper wad over the flash hole. This just keeps powder out for shot to shot consistency. Some folks use a thick wad and a LP primer, with the wad making up the dimensional difference under the primer and softening the flame.

I mostly use .060 LDPE wads or .060 fiber wads, then a wad punched from notebook/printer paper in between it and the bullet base. You can see the paper wads floating down in front of you so you know you are getting separation.

Fred Cornell makes really nice press mounted wad punches, available from him or from Buffalo Arms. I use mine for punching paper only so it is easier to keep them sharp.
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Old August 23, 2012, 10:17 PM   #17
Jim Watson
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Quote:
Does not lyman sell copper base caps (Gas Checks) for lead bullets ?
Yes, but you can't use them in organized BPCR shooting.
Don't need them anyhow, a hard card or tough plastic wad is fine.
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Old August 24, 2012, 12:05 AM   #18
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I use a punch and cut mine out of the waxed milk cartons that the milk comes in my wife buys at the store. You can get around 350 to 400 out of a 1/2 gal. milk carton.
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Old August 24, 2012, 12:13 AM   #19
Chowmif16
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Seems to be a consensus

Seems that most folks do indeed use an over powder card.
Most replies imply that they are using them for BPCR (by implication, rifle cartridges such as 45-70) , which I have also always used.
I expect that I will get the chance to try out my recent reloads with and without over powder cards this weekend. So I will see if there is a significant difference for pistol cartridges at shorter ranges.
I am now leaning towards home-making over powder lubricated felt wads, which may kill two birds with one stone, unless the lube migrates into the powder. I supposed we will have to see.
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Old August 24, 2012, 05:38 AM   #20
drcook
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Quote:
unless the lube migrates into the powder
put a wax paper disk/wad in between your lubricated felt wad and the powder.
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Old August 25, 2012, 06:12 PM   #21
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Quote:
unless the lube migrates into the powder
Unless its really runny it wont migrate past the particles it comes into contact with, which won't be enough to notice. It won't soak through.
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Old August 28, 2012, 06:31 PM   #22
Chowmif16
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PRS Big Lube and Over powder cards

I shot my 1872 Open Top .45 Colt this weekend.
40 shots total, all with 200gr Big Lube bullets. Half with over powder cards, half without.
This was my first time with the Big Lube bullets, and they showed a lot of promise. I did not use a grease cookie or any other lube. The bullets had whatever lube that Mark Whyte puts on them, it seemed quite soft, but worked well. 40 shots with no binding, and minimal fouling buildup.
All were shot at about 16yds from a rest. I don't have the group dimensions right now, but it would seem that the over-powder cards did not make a significant difference. Not surprising, I expect, since the range was fairly close. It is likely that if the heel of the bullet was being distorted, the effect would show up at longer ranges than 16 yds.
Overall, I was happy with the groups.
Load was: 30.3 gr Goex 3F, Big Lube 200gr bullet. 20 with an over powder card, 20 without.
I think I will settle on using a thin over powder card on all my loads, but will still do some more testing.

Cheers,
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