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Old May 13, 2019, 12:51 PM   #1
Sevens
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100% new to muzzle loaders, looking for help

Hello folks. I'm a long time TFL guy and quite active in the handloading and reloading area, rolling my own for three decades.

There are many places on the 'net where I can read & learn, but TFL is where I've called home for like 10+ years. I'd like to list all my questions in enumerated form and invite anyone and everyone to throw out their answers, opinions, snarky remarks and insults , well wishes or funny experiences that are even mildly related to the subject.

The preamble!
I cannot tell you guys a lie, I won't start with one and I won't be "guilty by omission." The absolute truth is that I continue to have no interest in muzzle loaders or black powder shooting. However, I grabbed a low-buck, in-line muzzle loader at the gun show yesterday... I bought it because it seemed irrationally low in price and my plan is to learn how to operate it safely and effectively so that I can give it to my Fiance's son who will be 17 in October. His experience with muzzle loaders is equal with mine, basically none. So I'm here to lay down specific questions, hope for specific answers and also a myriad of other opinions and tips and answers and such.

The purpose!
Bought the rifle so that the young man and I can test it, sight it in, and then he can go hunt deer with it. He's taken three deer so far, one each by shotgun, crossbow and compound bow, and we've eaten them for multiple dinners! I myself have never hunted deer and unlikely to do so until my retirement years if at all. As to this rifle, I am NOT afraid to buy the right bits and stuffs to make it work, but I have less than no interest whatsoever in upgrading, buying another, branching out, adding more muzzle loaders, etc etc etc. I am way more than knee deep in my handguns and handloading and have no time nor interest in this side hobby -- except to do this properly, safely, and get the step son (to be) out there and hunting with it.

The hardware!
Here's where you folks can make fun of me and I won't take offense unless you get personal and obnoxious. It is a CVA Eclipse Magnum .50cal, 1-28" twist. It also says BPI, Made in Spain. It makes use of a 209 shotshell primer and apparently, the "bolt" simply slam-fires the primer as a trigger squeeze drops the whole spring loaded bolt on to the seated primer and there is no extractor, you need to fingernail pluck the used primer out of it. Condition of this rig seems very nearly new, if it was used at all, it was kept in fine condition and the bore is sparkling clean/new looking. It has fiber optic iron sights (errr, maybe plastic sights) and it has a Tasco scope mounted to it the at least seems solid and gives a good view, and the rings allow use of the irons, so that's cool for short range. It came with it's rod, the forward end of which looks like a cleaning jag to me, the end you stuff in to the rifle has an inside threaded end, but no little attachments are available.

It also came with...
A blister pack of Speer "Sabots", these are green sabots with what appear to be pistol bullets in them, marked .50 to .44 cal, 270gr GDSP. No powder came with it, I believe that the pellets are the best way for a young man to run this rig, but after looking at prices at the gun store yesterday, I could definitely buy those for him, but if it were me shooting this for any reason, I couldn't stomach the price difference between one can of Triple-7 and the price on the pellets, WOW.

And finally... the questions...at long last.
  1. Don't I need a short rod with a wooden ball on it to get the projectile started down the first few inches of the muzzle? I can't do that with the long rod... I think I need to go buy at least that part. What else is a must? I don't need grease or patches if I am not using round lead balls, correct? Do I need some kind of a threaded screw end to pull an unfired but seated bullet out of here it it doesn't shoot because someone forgot a powder charge, or is it simply easier to remove the breech plug and push it through?
  2. What shall we shoot out of this rig? Obviously, I have ten free of the 50 to 44 Gold Dots in green sabots, so if those are appropriate for deer (package says absolutely) then I am fine to start with these ten for function and sight in, and I am more likely to buy a component box of 270gr .429" GDSP and some loose green 50 to 44 cal sabots. That is... unless you good folks believe that these are a royally over-expensive way to go and would suggest something completely different, which I would welcome.
  3. What shall power these projectile, or the alternate projectiles that you suggest? I will say that genuine black powder is not in the running, as I don't know where to get it and I don't want the hassles associated with it. Triple-7 seems to be the quick and easy answer, and if it's something that cleans up easy and doesn't promote rust (or bonus, resists rust!) then I'm liking that. Where does Pyrodex and Goex fit in to this? Are there are brands or types worth discussing or is Triple-7 what everyone uses except the folks that wish to be period-correct?
  4. And of course... the pellets versus the granules. I might have to bite the bullet and simply go pellets, just to keep it all simple and safe for a younger man out in the field by himself. If that means I need to pay the far higher cost of pellets, so be it. And now here is the MOST basic question yet... how many pellets for this 50-to-44 270gr slug load? I thought I had seen on some packaging somewhere that a 100gr charge is appropriate... I have absolutely no idea whatsoever.
  5. Related to the question above... is the gun being marked "magnum" mean that it is designed and/or capable of a higher charge than earlier established .50cal muzzle loaders?
  6. I have a supply of simple CCI 209 primers that I used way way back in the late 1980's for 20-guage skeet, I've stored them properly even though I haven't loaded shotshell since 1990. I have shot a bunch of my old 20ga from 1990 and haven't had one problem, and I've tried one primer in this new to me rifle and it went off with no hitch. Obviously, I'd love it if these primers are appropriate for what we are doing here. What say ye?
  7. What kind of accuracy might I expect using the projectiles and powder you suggest, with this low-buck rig I have? Sight in at 50 yards? 3-inches at 50 yards asking too much? This young man is an ethical hunter and he won't be taking pot shots at silly distances.
  8. Finally (until I think of more...), how do I clean this? Is it really true that my favorite Hoppe's#9 isn't what I need, you guys really want me to use hot water or glass cleaner or, yikes... I'm so very much a smokeless cartridge guy. Hahaha... I don't want it to rust or corrode.

In closing...
I appreciate anyone who has read this far, even the guys who merely skimmed it. I consider this my attempt to make a withdrawal on the TFL account that I feel I've made a decent share of deposits in to. I figure that I can run in to at least a couple smokepole guys that are as passionate about making sure a new guy gets off on the right foot as I have tried to be with new metallic handloaders over many years.

For what it's worth... I paid $70 for this CVA rig with the scope on it and a pack of ten of the 50-to-44 270 Gold Dots. $70 isn't even real money. If the step son (to be) has even one good outing with this and brings home a deer, I think I would call that money extremely well spent. Maybe a single good hunt with this makes a future hunter that really gets in to muzzle loaders down the road!

Thanks again and I hope I get buried in replies!
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Old May 13, 2019, 02:32 PM   #2
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You came to the right place; I think !!!

Quote:
Don't I need a short rod with a wooden ball on it to get the projectile started down the first few inches of the muzzle?
Yes and your will need to get the tip/tips for Sabots . ….

What shall we shoot out of this rig?
With your twist, stick with the Sabots

What shall power these projectile, or the alternate projectiles that you suggest?
This is a matter of opinion but personally, I would go to loose BP replacement propellant, like the 777 or non-Sulphur based.

Where does Pyrodex and Goex fit in to this? Are there are brands or types worth discussing or is Triple-7 what everyone uses except the folks that wish to be period-correct?
[COLOR="Blue"]Optional ??!!!
On charge, read the your manual and suggest starting at 50-70 of 3F.

Related to the question above... is the gun being marked "magnum" mean that it is designed and/or capable of a higher charge than earlier established .50cal muzzle loaders?
Possibly but again, read your manual. Probably rated for 150 but no need to go there.

Obviously, I'd love it if these primers are appropriate for what we are doing here. What say ye?
They are and you should be fine. …..

"What kind of accuracy might I expect using the projectiles and powder you suggest, with this low-buck rig I have? Sight in at 50 yards? 3-inches at 50 yards asking too much? This young man is an ethical hunter and he won't be taking pot shots at silly distances."
You are on the right track and range-time, is in order

Finally (until I think of more...), how do I clean this? Is it really true that my favorite Hoppe's#9 isn't what I need, you guys really want me to use hot water or glass cleaner or, yikes...
Again, many opinions here as well as options. You can use the Hoppes #9 but I use Ballistol and Bore-shine. I drink water and try not to spill on my barrels.

I figure that I can run in to at least a couple smokepole guys that are as passionate about making sure a new guy gets off on the right foot as I have tried to be with new metallic handloaders over many years.
You came to the right place and would be more that happy to introduce you to SideLocks. ….

For what it's worth... I paid $70 for this CVA rig with the scope on it and a pack of ten of the 50-to-44 270 Gold Dots. $70 isn't even real money. If the step son (to be) has even one good outing with this and brings home a deer, I think I would call that money extremely well spent.
Goes without saying !!! ..




Be Safe !!!
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Last edited by Pahoo; May 13, 2019 at 03:26 PM.
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Old May 13, 2019, 03:18 PM   #3
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I had a much higher end ml and had no trouble starting sabots with just my thumb. I suspect patched round ball might be another story.

For me, the ramrod that came with the rifle was suitable for loading a couple rounds in a hunting day but utterly frustrating at the the range. I got a stiff steel range rod and recommend it. Also good for cleaning shotguns.

What to shoot: I like Hornady xtp as “good but cheap”... whatever weight the factory sent seems a decent start. Sabots mattered a lot to me- I ended up loyal to mmp sabots but they may not be best for you.

If you can’t get real black powder.. just get whatever and know it’s gonna go “Fwam!” and be a bit of a clean up.

Load- read the cva manual with your rifle or read the cva website. I used old 30-06 cartridges to hold pre-measured loose powder and capped them with masking tape. Works fine. Pellets go “fwam!” too if you are satisfied with a good enough bang stick.

Being marked “Magnum” means they put a marketing word on the barrel. Read the manual for load recommendations.

209 primers are fine. I kept mine in an old CCI .22 Lr plastic box lined with some cloth. Or a film can, remember film?

Accuracy: with good load development I expect you can shoot 2 inch groups at 50 yards. If you just throw random components and have rotten luck I bet you can hold 8” groups (sabots and xtp s) but thats wild guesses.

Cleaning:
HOT water! Seriously. You don’t want any petroleum products within a country mile of your gun as they combine with powder reside to make horrible goo.

Clean and scrub with hot water, then dry with towels, many patches, spray little crevasses with compressed air (never blow crud in to machinery, blow crud away !) then put out in the sun or by a fireplace (not even close, just warm and dry) then..

bore butter. Lube and coat everything in bore butter. No petroleum products... use animal fats. There are other black powder lubes too. Or make your own from lard or that spare tub of bear fat in the shed..

If the only thing you take away from this is “animal fat only, never ever petroleum based anywhere near gun” you will avoid a big mess.
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Old May 13, 2019, 04:18 PM   #4
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All good advise so far. When I shot a ML, I found that mine liked 250gr Hornady SSTs with the low-drag sabot. 100gr of loose 777 and a 777 primer got me almost 1MOA accuracy.

As to loose vs pellets, you'll always get better accuracy out of loose. MLs are very particular about consistency. Consistency in the powder charge itself. Consistency in the amount of tamping pressure, etc. Pellets are convenient but lack in consistency.

Also, you'll find that a clean bore shoots to a different point of aim than a dirty bore. When hunting, you'll always be shooting from a clean bore. Therefore, when sighing in do a wet-then-dry swab between EVERY shot so that you'll be closer to a true hunting condition.
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Old May 13, 2019, 05:26 PM   #5
Sevens
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Oooh, I'm loving these posts so far!
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Old May 13, 2019, 06:07 PM   #6
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Gotta love that Magnum muzzle loader stuff I’ve had a cva stag horn magnum for 18 yrs. picked it up new when they first came out . Always used 2x 50-50 pellets and a power belt bullet . First I run a bore butter patch down the bore then load. First shot to the last keeps it consistent and easy to clean .
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Old May 13, 2019, 07:10 PM   #7
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Enjoy !!!

Sevens
I think I am taking too much for granted. I keep referring you to your manual and you may not even have one. Your rifle is a first generation, open breech type Inline MML and even though it is no longer made, CVA will back you on what you may need, including the manual. Also, while you still have the advantage, pull the plug to make sure it's clean and reinstall with some anti-seize. Do you have the plug/nipple tool? If not, you may be able to order one from CVA or go on line like Ebay. By the way, on sabots; there are so darn many choices to pick from and just to save some money I usually shoot a hard-cast .45 pistol bullet with the proper .45X50 sabot. ….

Enjoy and;
Be Safe !!!
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Old May 13, 2019, 08:04 PM   #8
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Let me make one "pile on" onto what Pahoo says about anti-seize lube on your nipple. Good advise. I used to go so far as to store my nipple off the barrel. But, back on the subject of the lube. Instead of paying for the expensive stuff in the gun store, go to your nearest auto supply store and get spark plug anti-seize lube. A tiny tube will last you for years and it will be half the price of essentially the same stuff from the gun store.
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Old May 14, 2019, 07:16 AM   #9
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Sevens, I got my first deer with my Dads muzzle loader at ?15? years old.To this day I recall just seeing fur in the scope and pulling the trigger. To my credit it was running broadside about 50 yards away at full stride. In reality it was pure luck - full disclosure, I gut shot it. BUT! I was hooked and have been deer hunting nearly every season since then. Taught me to make every shot count until Dad gave me a Remington 1100. Too much too soon as I figured I could just throw lead in the air and fill my tag.

All that to say this, I still have that treasured muzzle loader in my safe 35 years later and have bagged many a deer since then. I never went back to black powder after getting that 1100, but at 50 I've had renewed interest in it. Guess some things go full circle.

The only thing I can offer from your questions is cleaning. I recall cleaning it in a 5 gallon bucket with the hottest water available from the tap and a squirt of Dawn. It was always a mess. Lots of scrubbing and an oil down afterwards.

Best of luck. Hope this snags your future step son as it did me!
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Old May 14, 2019, 07:17 AM   #10
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Lots of good recommendations up there! The only deviation I would recommend, since you aren't really into black powder much, is to use fresh Tripple7 pellets instead of loose powder. Just plop in two 50gr equivalent pellets under your sabot or powerbelt bullet, and see what that does for you.
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Old May 14, 2019, 09:55 AM   #11
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Good option.

Quote:
Go to your nearest auto supply store and get spark plug anti-seize lube. A tiny tube will last you for years and it will be half the price of essentially the same stuff from the gun store.
Great option I think it's better than most as it's handy and easy to use. It's like a big crayon and mine came in a pack of two. I'm still working with the first one. ..

Be Safe !!!
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Old May 14, 2019, 11:26 AM   #12
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I learned very early with my Pietta 1858 cap and ball to keep the nipple threads antisiezed, especially where I only shoot the awesome but nasty "holy black" .
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Old May 14, 2019, 01:06 PM   #13
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Addressing the Praticals and the Particulars

The "Rractical's" are things that we all do and pretty much follow the same line, like observing the four basic safety rules and loading sequence. For M/L's the last loading step, in applying the Cap/Primer. Not to be insulting but you woud be surprised how many folks have gotten hurt and killed by this. …..

The "Particulars" are options that vary from one loader to another, like what works the best. Eventually they all come together to create one's techniques. I only mention this because you will get varying opinions. In time, you will develop your own technique.

Be Safe !!!
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Old May 14, 2019, 02:08 PM   #14
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Good advice about the practicals and particulars. As I was thinking, there are some extra safety steps when it comes to loading...

I would add
“Mark your ramrod so you know exactly where your load is, in case you are hungry, tired, wet, brain addled and put a second load down the barrel on top of a first (forgotten) load.”

I have never made that mistake, but I wouldn’t judge a fella for needing to pull a bullet back out.

“Make darned sure your ramrod is not in the barrel when you shoot.”

I have made this mistake. I don’t know how I could possibly make that mistake, but dang does it kick hard! It turned my plastic ramrod in to a curly-cue spiral stick stuck in a tree trunk. I didn’t hurt my rifle, but bruised my shoulder. I gave thanks to whoever looks over fools and drunkards that no serious damage was done. (Put me in the “fool” category, I never ever drink a drop until guns are cased.)

Later, I was told that in battle it was fairly common for soldiers to fire their ramrods in the stress of battle. I was just cold and hungry.
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Old May 14, 2019, 03:31 PM   #15
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Well, the anti-sieze sounds like a good plan, but on the breech plug, there is no nipple on this inline I believe.

Bore butter, is this a name brand? But no petroleum products, got it.

It sounds like a one-pound can of Triple-7 is the ticket, and maybe make a handful of 100gr charges in some unused brass.

I'd like to buy a bulk pack of the loose sabots... and a box of pistol bullets. I have some jacketed .429" on hand (Nosler 240 JHP) but maybe I should chase down the more expensive and heavier Gold Dot 270's.

Finally found the manual on the CVA site, wasn't as simple as it should have been, haha.

I've got more homework ahead, I did see that there was a recall but I checked and I am clear of that.

Thanks so far, guys! More is better and I'll update when I get somewhere.
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Old May 14, 2019, 03:54 PM   #16
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Your eclipse looks a lot like my stag horn . Your ML is probably set up for 209 primers those work really well with pellets but not so much with loose. I highly recommend power belts . Borebutter is a brand it’s some pretty good stuff for lube and protecting. HTH
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Old May 14, 2019, 05:13 PM   #17
4V50 Gary
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Sometimes you have to put just a tad of 4F down the barrel first to get the propellant (if you're not using Holy Black) in that muzzle loader.
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Old May 14, 2019, 06:35 PM   #18
Pahoo
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Looking good !!!

Quote:
Well, the anti-sieze sounds like a good plan, but on the breech plug, there is no nipple on this inline I believe.
That is correct as the 209 is held by the inlet recess of the breech-plug. …

Quote:
Bore butter, is this a name brand? But no petroleum products, got it.
This one of those options and by my measure, not really needed on your In-Line, at this time. Bore butter is actually a Tallow mix, in a squeeze tube..

Quote:
It sounds like a one-pound can of Triple-7 is the ticket, and maybe make a handful of 100gr charges in some unused brass.
Eventually, you may want to do this but perhaps for now, just start out with measured charges, in the 50-70grn range and work up from there. ..

Quote:
I'd like to buy a bulk pack of the loose sabots... and a box of pistol bullets. I have some jacketed .429" on hand (Nosler 240 JHP) but maybe I should chase down the more expensive and heavier Gold Dot 270's
.
This is basically what I do and recommend. My "killers" ate Hornady XLP 240gr, that I had left over.

Quote:
I've got more homework ahead, I did see that there was a recall but I checked and I am clear of that.
I believe you might be talking about the Revolution recall. …..

Again, while you still have the advantage, Get the tool and pull the breech-plug. If not, you may be adding to a potential problem... …

Be Safe !!!
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Old May 15, 2019, 12:04 AM   #19
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Here's a copy of the owner's manual for the Eclipse Magnum that answers a lot of your questions including loading, firing, cleaning, accessories, loads and more:--->>> https://cva.com/wp-content/uploads/2...nty-Manual.pdf

There are also many instructional youtube videos about "plunger action" or "plunger bolt" inlines.
Here's one that shows how to assemble and disassemble the Eclipse:--->>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTFIFvUbel8

There's more about either your rifle or other CVA models that are similar that can found by looking up its name on youtube.
Sometimes looking up "how to clean a muzzle loader", "how to load a muzzle loader" will bring up many different videos which will provide different ways of doing things.

Another resource is CVA has an official youtube channel with instructional videos about how not to load a muzzle loader [look it up on the channel] and also how to load a CVA Buckhorn which is a similar model:

CVA Channel:--->>> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp2...RUlwg5zYIA6iqg

Loading the Buckhorn:--->>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SH9OOwc87_8

Traditions Firearms also has a youtube instructional channel:--->>> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjF...ZuO--096fnTorw

How to load a Traditions Tracker [another similar model]:--->>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeByfxNKZh4

How to clean a Break action muzzle loader:--->>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gp5-0yf-7ZM

I think you understand that even though muzzle loaders are different, they also have many things in common which can be looked up and viewed first hand instead of by simply reading.
The more information that you can absorb by watching videos of different guns, the more familiar that you will become with how to work with your own.
You will then begin to develop your own way of doing things.
Good luck and please let us know how it works out.

Last edited by arcticap; May 15, 2019 at 10:48 AM.
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Old May 15, 2019, 08:09 AM   #20
thallub
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Stuff you will need to get started:

1. A short starter.

2. Golf ball with a hole for the ramrod. Makes it easier to ram the sabot/bullet.

3. A breech plug wrench or ratchet with extension and screwdriver tip.

4. Anti seize or Teflon tape. Makes removal of breech plug easier.

Other things:

The residue from firing black powder and Pyrodex are very corrosive. Clean the rifle ASAP after firing. The residue of Triple Seven is less corrosive but the rifle should be cleaned soon after firing.
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Old May 15, 2019, 12:36 PM   #21
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Buy a copy of the Lyman BP Handbook and Reloading Guide. $21.98 from Amazon for direct from Lyman. Answers a lot of questions. Particularly about loading for one. Starting with BP is loaded in grains by volume not mass like smokeless.
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Old May 15, 2019, 02:57 PM   #22
Pahoo
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Calibrated Precision measured by "volume", is prefered

Quote:
Starting with BP is loaded in grains by volume not mass like smokeless.
This is traditional and really, just good common sense. Now then, reloaders like to weigh everything and that's fine. If you want to make some premeasured charges by weight, It will work but takes more effort. A Calibrated Precision measured by "volume" is preferred. In practice, you will likely get one anyway.

BP and it's replacement, is very forgiving and a few gains difference either way, won't make much difference. The important point is to be totally consistent.

Be Safe !!!
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Old May 15, 2019, 03:14 PM   #23
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Quote:
Starting with BP is loaded in grains by volume not mass like smokeless.
Well, kind of. All of my reading and research shows that the volumetric "grains" (Kind of a misnomer since the empirical "grain" is not a volume measurement, but a mass measurement) is based solely and only on the amount of volume that a similarly weighed charge of 2F black powder would fill up. Hence, 60 grains of 2F measured in a volumetric powder measure should weigh 60 grains.

As always, all bets are off for any substitutes. They are designed and created to exhibit very close to the pressure and energy of a similar volume of black powder. Measuring Black Powder by weight or volume is fine (2F and 3F are pretty close, I suspect 1F and 4F might be further off). Measuring a substitute by volume is fine, but by weight is dangerous.
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Old May 15, 2019, 03:44 PM   #24
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This chart gives the weight of measured volumes of some black powder substitutes:

http://www.curtrich.com/BPConversionSheet.htm

100 measured grains of Black MZ powder weigh 86.8 grains.
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Old May 15, 2019, 05:27 PM   #25
Doc Hoy
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Sevens......

Can you tell that you came to the right place?
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My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson
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