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Old January 23, 2013, 03:24 PM   #1
pnolans
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Blackpowder by volume?

In an earlier thread, it was mentioned that blackpowder was measured by volume. I am really confused, as a grain is a measure of weight. At least, what I've read.

What is the correct way to measure it , then?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Pat
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Old January 23, 2013, 03:32 PM   #2
Pahoo
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You are correct. However ...

Quote:
as a grain is a measure of weight. At least, what I've read.
You are absolutely correct and yes, it can be confusing. What "they" have done, is make a close proximity "Field" conversion so it's handier to load. That will allow us to load without the use of a scale. .....

BP and replacement propellants, are very forgiving and not much is lost by being a few grains off either way. Where in smokless, being off a littls, can be dangerous. ......


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Old January 23, 2013, 03:34 PM   #3
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Most black powder is measured in the field volumetrically. The volume measures are marked, based on an average grain weight per that volume.
There are problems in using a scale to measure black powder at home. Not the least of which is the possibility of a static electric spark setting it off. Black powder is FAR more easily ignited than smokless powder
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Old January 23, 2013, 03:46 PM   #4
Jim Watson
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Quote:
There are problems in using a scale to measure black powder at home.
There ARE?
I don't think I have ever loaded a .38-55 or .40-65 for BPCR target shooting with a powder charge not prepared in the manner recommended by the Sharps Rifle Co, prior to 1881: "For fine shooting, powder should be weighed on a scale."
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Old January 23, 2013, 03:57 PM   #5
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Yes, blackpowder is always measured by volume instead of by weight. pahoo is correct in saying the bp and the subs are very forgiving and volume measurments are really convenient in the field. If you want to get into the density of the subs versus real bp, and the real technical reasons for measuring by volume, there are guys on here that can explain in detail. If you really want to dig into it, google "ffg to fffg conversion" and you'll find some really detailed threads about volume to weight conversions.
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Old January 23, 2013, 04:00 PM   #6
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Actual blackpowder is pretty much volume =weight.
However there are substitutes & so on that both have a different density, & some even need a slightly reduced charge to run safely.

Now if this was just a couple of percent, it'd be no big deal, but if you measure, for example 50 Gr by volume of real FFg, & then the same volume of Pyrodex, or Jim Shockey's the difference when weighed will be about 60%. Thats a significant change, even with the more forgiving black powder as opposed to modern propellants. Now add the suggested 15% reduction for triple-7 & combine them & you have the potential for a 56% overload!

Some kind of standard was needed & volume was what was chosen. I guess you could remove confusion by saying its the volume equivalent of a weighed FFg charge.
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Old January 23, 2013, 04:08 PM   #7
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Thanks for the clear and concise, yet still confusing information!

So, what tool , in the field, would I use to measure? At home, I've got a powder scale.

What I've noticed is that it seems like a LOT of powder for say, 80 grains.

I am NEW at this so please bear with me.

I am using a Lyman Deerstalker Percussion cap gun.. 295 grain Powerbelt bullets, Pyrodex RS powder and #11 caps.

I thought I would start with 80 grains, looking at the charts in Lymans blackpowder manual. I weighed that on my trusty Lyman digital scale.
I took that amount and put it into a brass powder measure from TC... that 80 grains on the sliding scale on the powder measure reads 115 "somethings".

It just seems to me that that's a LOT of darn powder.

So, again, thanks for all the help. Please don't stop!

Pat
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Old January 23, 2013, 04:15 PM   #8
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Just take care !!!

Quote:
There are problems in using a scale to measure black powder at home. Not the least of which is the possibility of a static electric spark setting it off. Black powder is FAR more easily ignited than smokless powder
Well, There is always the potential of getting into trouble on open powder but frankly, I have never had any or have first hand experience. I don't mean to speak for Mr. DFrame but what is being communicated here is that BP is not only more volital than smokeless but any BP replacent. Even at that, I have done some testing and it really does take a pretty good "dirty" spark to set BP off. You still have to keep in mind that of all powders BP is considered a Class-A explosive. I hope I'm 100% correct, on that one ??

I know a guy that routinely smokes when he reloads and I try to schedule my visits around those times. ...

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Old January 23, 2013, 04:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
So, what tool , in the field, would I use to measure? At home, I've got a powder scale.
1st. Don't try to use the scale to measure your powder. Like was said earlier, always measure black powder (and substitutes) by volumn. Get yourself one of those little clear measuring devices made just for black powder shooting. They kind of look like a fat medical syringe. Some are brass, some are clear plastic.

2nd. For field use (I assume you are talking about hunting), don't try and do any measuring in the field. Get a few plastic speed load containers (like this http://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/...roductId/18296 ). They hold one charge of powder, one bullet/sabot, and one primer. When I'm hunting, I carry the load that is in my gun plus 3 of the pre-made speed loads.
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Old January 23, 2013, 04:49 PM   #10
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I am measuring with a brass powder measure....Always have done it by volume...
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Old January 23, 2013, 04:53 PM   #11
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thanks very much. I appreciate all the help.

So far, using pellets has worked for me. But I want to use Pyrodex RS, and want to not use too much!
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Old January 23, 2013, 05:13 PM   #12
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Been shooting Black Powder for over 50 years. Always weigh on a scale.
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Old January 23, 2013, 05:17 PM   #13
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Real black can be weighed. Subs must be measured by volume. Static electricity won't set bp off.
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Old January 23, 2013, 05:52 PM   #14
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and ifn you make yur own b.p. unless you compress it and grind it down, it is fluffier than storebought, so you have to go by weight.
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Old January 23, 2013, 06:58 PM   #15
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WOW

WOW what a newbie can learn from these posts. Absolutely amazing. I'm not sure I understand all of it but its starting to become clearer to me. Thanks for the great info.
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Old January 23, 2013, 07:47 PM   #16
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jspapapp: it's great , isn't it? You get to learn by my confusion, and "crises", and then later on, we can help others as well.
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Old January 23, 2013, 08:12 PM   #17
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Real black powder can be weighed or measured volumetrically with a powder measure calibrated in grains.

It's the substitutes that must be measured volumetrically, because when they say "max load is xx grains", they don't mean it literally. They mean the amount of black powder substitute measured by a black powder measure set to xx grains. The weight amount will be considerably lower.

All the black powder substitutes are less dense than black powder so 100 grains by volume might only be 70 grains by weight more or less depending on exactly which sub you are using.

There's nothing wrong with using a scale to measure out precise amounts of subs as long as you remember they don't mean xx grains literally, in fact, BH 209 loads for cartidges are given by weight while the loads for muzzleloaders are listed by volume.
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Old January 23, 2013, 08:55 PM   #18
pnolans
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So, if I've got this right, it's an EQUIVALENT volume compared to what real black powder would weigh. Not the same mass, but the same volume.

It takes some thinking, but I think I have it. By George, I've got it.
I think.
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Old January 23, 2013, 09:20 PM   #19
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Quote:
So, if I've got this right, it's an EQUIVALENT volume compared to what real black powder would weigh. Not the same mass, but the same volume.
That's it!!!

And just to add to the confusion, the shotgun shooters often specify their powder charges by "ounces", again not literally. When they say "I shoot 1 1/4 ounce shot and 1 1/4 ounce of powder", what they mean is that they use a shot dipper set to measure 1 1/4 ounces of lead shot to measure their powder charge. A lot of them don't even know their powder charge in grains.
But then, the ml shotgun crowd has always been a little touched in the head
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Old January 23, 2013, 09:39 PM   #20
pnolans
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Quote:
But then, the ml shotgun crowd has always been a little touched in the head

Cool! Sounds like I belong over there!
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Old January 23, 2013, 09:42 PM   #21
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I'm new to this Muzzle Loading also.

I went to Cabalas and got a bunch of those little plastic tubes with scales for "grains of BP". On my TC Omega I use right at 100 grs. but by volume.

I took one of those plastic tubes and filled it with BP to the 100 gr mark. Then I filled one with Pyrdex, the with Triple 7, all to the 100 grn mark.

Then I weighed them. It took different weights to make up the same volume.

BUT when I ran them through the crony, they all had about the same velocity and impacted about the same place on target.

Then when I tried loading by weight instead of volume, I got all kinds of variations.

(That wont work with smokeless powder).

Anyway I decided to stick with volume. I just pre-measure a bunch of load in those plastic tubes (mentioned above) and I'm all set.

But like I said, I'm new to ML, so take what I say with a grain of salt. Go see what your own experiments come up with.
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Old January 23, 2013, 09:50 PM   #22
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The learning curve !!

Quote:
Anyway I decided to stick with volume. I just pre-measure a bunch of load in those plastic tubes (mentioned above) and I'm all set.
You may be new to M/L's but already have proved to yourself, what most of us took a long time to learn. I started out as a BuckSkinner and none ever carried a scale in their possible's bag. .....

I'm excluding, loading of BP cartidges but everything else, I load by volume. .

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Old January 23, 2013, 11:01 PM   #23
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I think some folk work up a load by increasing the charge in 5 grain increments until shooting the gun sets off car alarms in the parking lot and then back off 5 grains.
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Old January 23, 2013, 11:09 PM   #24
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Quote:
Then I filled one with Pyrdex, the with Triple 7, all to the 100 grn mark.
Triple7 should be reduced by 15% because its hotter than real bp and the rest of the subs.
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Old January 24, 2013, 08:59 AM   #25
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Quote:
I think some folk work up a load by increasing the charge in 5 grain increments until shooting the gun sets off car alarms in the parking lot and then back off 5 grains
Hey thats my strategy! I see you heard my next to last shot...
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