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Old October 10, 2012, 05:31 PM   #1
flashhole
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Highest Energy Gun Powder

Does anyone know for certain - what is the highest energy gun power? Not the fastest or slowest but the highest energy per weight or volume.
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Old October 10, 2012, 05:34 PM   #2
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"Hi-Shock" 700-X,IMR co. ; ) PS Did'nt read last line
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Old October 10, 2012, 05:35 PM   #3
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Bullseye is pretty close.
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Old October 10, 2012, 06:38 PM   #4
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Or titegroup. Its very dense.
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Old October 10, 2012, 11:08 PM   #5
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Whatever powder has the highest nitroglycerin content.
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Old October 11, 2012, 08:05 AM   #6
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Bullseye and Power Pistol have the highest energy per unit charge weight for any of the powders listed in QuicikLOAD's database. Due to flake size, Power Pistol has the higher energy per unit volume.

However, because many of the ball powders settle more compactly than flake or extruded powers, there are many ball powders that have higher energy per unit volume than Bullseye or Power Pistol. For example, Win-296 exceeds both.

I did not do the math to compare all of the ball powders, but I expect that Win-296 should be near the max on the basis of energy per unit volume.

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Old October 11, 2012, 08:26 AM   #7
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Totally unscientific comment: Power Pistol rocks my world...
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Old October 11, 2012, 08:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Due to flake size, Power Pistol has the higher energy per unit volume.


....and all this time I thought PP was a very small grained extruded powder ....
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Old October 11, 2012, 10:36 AM   #9
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Jim,

I think that "flake" powder is simply sliced extrusions.

In the "old days" there was Alcan powders, which appeared to be square flakes that I think were sliced from sheets instead of extruded rods.

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Old October 11, 2012, 11:36 AM   #10
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Power Pistol is definitely a flake powder.

Hodgdon Lil'Gun has built itself quite a reputation for erosion in big bore revolvers, would that make it a contender here?
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Old October 11, 2012, 06:23 PM   #11
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"Bullseye and Power Pistol have the highest energy per unit charge weight for any of the powders listed in QuicikLOAD's database. Due to flake size, Power Pistol has the higher energy per unit volume."

Thanks, that's the kind of info I was looking for.
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Old October 12, 2012, 09:17 AM   #12
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Sevens,

According to the QuickLOAD data, H-110 and Lil'Gun have nearly the same enegy content per unit weight, but H-110 packs more weight per unit volume. So, you can get more energy in a given case volume with H-110. Of course, with the difference in burning rates, the pressures will be different with cases full of each powder.

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Old October 12, 2012, 09:17 PM   #13
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From something I read a long, long time ago...

The energy per unit of single based gunpowder is remarkably uniform between all the different powders. The only difference is in how fast the energy is released.

Yes, I think double based powders would have a higher energy per unit content, but all the double based powders should be about the same as well.

Just out of curiosity, what is the next step and the point of obtaining this information?
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Old October 12, 2012, 09:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
I think that "flake" powder is simply sliced extrusions.
Yeah, I contacted Alliant, and thay said as much- flake and extruded are made the same way....

Quote:
Stick and flake powders are made the same way. They are forced through a press, coming out like
spagetti. There is a set of blades at the bottom of the press that cuts the
proper length. The feed rate is coordinated with the blade speed to determine how long or thin the flakes are.
Flakes are extruded..... just cut really short. PP is really long (relative to other flake powders, such as Red Dot or 700X), narrow (again, relatively) flakes.... same cat, just longer and skinnier.
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Old October 12, 2012, 10:18 PM   #15
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While single-based powders have pretty similar energy per unit weight (because they are all made from pretty much fully-nitrated nitrocellulous), double-based powders can have substantially different energies per unit weight due to varying percentages of nitroglycerin.

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Old October 14, 2012, 01:27 AM   #16
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Quote:
Just out of curiosity, what is the next step and the point of obtaining this information?
Yea. That's what I was wondering....
Where is this going....?
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Old October 14, 2012, 06:30 AM   #17
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Just a curiosity. Hanging around the bench and perusing the manuals is good opportunity for the mind to wander and ponder inconsequential stuff. Some of the comments related to burn rate control for same yeild chemistry make sense to me but there has to be a pecking order for yeild vs weight.
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Old October 14, 2012, 10:29 AM   #18
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Smokeless powder comes in three forms.

Single base: nitrocellulose
Double base: nitrocellulose plus nitroglycerin or nitroguanidine
Triple base: nitrocellulose, nitroglycerin, nitroguanidine.

The remainder of ingredients are stabilizers/preservatives (aryls/phenols), flash retardents (calcium carbonate), plasticizers/binders (such as polyester), burn rate modifiers, coatings (graphite).

So whatever powder is the most pure triple base powder would have the most energy per unit of mass. How that stacks up mass to volume has a lot to do with the shape of the final product (flake, stick, ball, squished stick, short cut stick).

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Old October 15, 2012, 04:21 PM   #19
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Just to add the last sentence that Jimro discretely forbore to add: How that adds to accuracy downrange or improvement of penetration or expansion of the projectile at termination is also not definitely determined, due to many, many variables.
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Old October 15, 2012, 08:32 PM   #20
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Heh, I agree, to further expound....

Many cartridges have historically been developed to take advantage of an advance in powder technology. When we look back at the classic Holland and Holland cartridges we see lots of case volume to deal with the fast burning propellants of the day. The 308 Win was developed to take away the 1 centimeter gap between the top of the powder column and the base of the bullet in the 30-06 and make a cartridge of the same performance easier to use in machine guns...

The trend towards "short and fat" has been going on as internal ballistics evolve ever towards the ideal sphere of gas pressure generation.

So picking a powder based solely on energy density is a poor way to pick a powder (and the powder itself could be cut in such a manner that you couldn't make good use of all that energy in the first place). External ballistics don't care about powder chemistry, only final position of the muzzle according to barrel harmonics and velocity. Accuracy comes from precision, which is generally found in old fashioned single base extruded powders (for rifle).

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Old October 16, 2012, 08:23 AM   #21
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Actually, the OP asked about the highest energy per unit weight OR VOLUME.

In terms of producing compact but high power cartridges, the energy of SETTLED propellant granules per unit volume has a lot to do with how much performance can be attained. The proper term for that powder parameter is "bulk density."

A powder with very small rounded grains tends to pack the tightest (highest bulk density), but that also produces a lot of surface area per unit weight, so such powders tend to be "fast burning." So, tight-packing ball powders tend to require a lot of surface deterent coatings to produce slow-burning characteristics.

The various powder parameters are not physically independent of each other. The feasible manufacturing processes affect many parmeters with each tweek. So, what we get is (at best) the practical maximum with the technology available at the time of manufacture.

If the various theoretical powder properties could be made independently variable in some future manufacturing process, then there could be huge gains in cartridge performance, because only about 30% of the energy in the propellant charge ends-up as kenetic energy in the bullet at the muzzle with the high-pressure cartridges in use today.

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Old October 17, 2012, 01:28 AM   #22
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When I first started loading, I took a look at energy per unit weight as a measure of economy. That is, how many shots per pound would I get?

It is a false economy, of course. Powder is fairly cheap when considered among the other components and unless you are interested only in maximizing the number of bangs per pound (that is, accuracy or maximizing power for pressure or safety) one should choose powders based on overall performance instead of one single factor like economy.

It is a legitimate question, "What is the most energy dense powder?" But it is also legitimate to ask what the O.P. intends to do with the information. Is it for economy only?

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Old October 18, 2012, 09:35 AM   #23
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Yes, I clearly read "weight or volume." Based on granule configuration "volume" is a pretty poor measurement of smokeless propellent, although ball powders generally have pretty uniform volumetric configurations. Stick and flake powders...not so much.

And even then, the energy contained in the powder comes out by the transition of solid to gas, so the powder that has the most potential gasses in the solid is the most "energetic." Which tells us nothing about burn rates or energy transfer to the projectile.

In ballistics we can often show that the "most energetic" powder might not give the best ballistics in a particular cartridge in terms of energy at the projectile. If the burn rate is wrong (something completely seperate from energy) then the ballistics will be affected.

So unless the OP is really asking how to make the most energetic pipe bomb, I thought a more in depth answer was appropriate.

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