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Old February 6, 2013, 03:10 PM   #32
Jim Watson
Senior Member
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 14,220
Cordite is a nitrocellulose-based propellant, just a very early formulation of it. It used a a pretty high proportion of nitroglycerine mixed with the nitrocellulose.
Original Cordite was more nitroglycerine than nitrocellulose:
58% NG, 37% NC, 5% mineral jelly (think Vaseline, mean to cool the flame.)
Cordite MD reversed the ratio,
30% NG, 65% NC, 5% mineral jelly. Still pretty erosive but that and Enfield rifling got the British through two World Wars and a lot of small nasty stuff. Although they did use a lot of Zed ammuntion with straight nitrocellulose from the US and other allies.

Elmer Keith described a 500 Nitro express whose right barrel showed erosion from shooting many critters with Cordite ammunition. The left barrel hardly any because it seldom took a second shot.

Bullseye is the highest nitroglycerine American powder, I think 40%, but is only used in small doses for pistol ammo. One of the Good Old Boys said he and Bubba got one of the old cubical cans to go high order with a blasting cap and eradicated a stump. But I haven't seen it.

The famous (or infamous) Hi-Vel No 2 was 15% NG. A typical ball process powder is around 10% NG.
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