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Old August 2, 2011, 05:12 PM   #1
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Reloader 7/IMR 3031 as volumetric "substitutes" in black powder cartridges?

I am a high volume reloader of .45 Long Colt for as long as I can think of, but I only have dealt with black powder or substitutes like Pyrodex and Hodgdon's Triple Se7en.

But I want to ask about certain types of smokeless powders which could be loaded volume for volume in a black powder cartridge and produce identical velocities and lower pressures than actual black powder.

Reloader 7 and IMR 3031 are similar in that they are very slow burning rifle powders, is that true? I have heard that they were produced as substitutes for black powder in large caliber straight-walled cases and they deliver even more velocity than black powder by the same volume, while producing even less pressures?

For example, a .45 LC case would be normally loaded with 33-35 grains of BP with a 250 grain LFN seated on top. If I used Reloader 7 or IMR 3031, can I fill the case up to the same volume that I would have used with BP, and attain similar velocity and lower chamber pressures?

Just wanted to verify the facts here. I like the idea of having a powder which delivers equal performance in my BP cartridges, while producing less pressure and reducing the wear and tear over time on my firearms.
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Old August 2, 2011, 06:46 PM   #2
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The short answer is NO. I doubt that your firearm will take the pressures of smokeless powder. And most deffentatly not the same volume of powder. There maybe some powders that could be subsituted most likely the faster burning powders that develop less pressure. But the two that you have listed are defenately high pressure powders.

I am sure one of our reloaders will be by to help you out.

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Last edited by Jim243; August 2, 2011 at 06:51 PM.
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Old August 2, 2011, 07:03 PM   #3
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NO !

There are no volume-for-volume smokeless powders (with the possible exception of TrailBoss) for black powder cartridges. If you are going to load smokeless in such cases/guns, get Lyman (#48 or #49) manual and follow the directions carefully -- particularly as to whether you are dealing with strong actions before choosing your starting loads.

post script: Were you to fill up a 45 Colt case w/ 3031, you'd dump 75% of it out of the muzzle unburned. Ditto to a slightly lesser degree w/ RL-7. And these are in fact FAST powders, not slow.
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Old August 2, 2011, 07:06 PM   #4
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The last of the bulk smokeless powders were phased out sometime after World War II.

Not even Trail Boss is a true volumetric substitute, although it is a lot closer than anything we've had in the past 50 years.

Trying to use RL 7, IMR 3031, or any other powder currently on the market could very likely result in a disaster.
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Old August 2, 2011, 09:01 PM   #5
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Trail Boss was designed specifically to do almost what you want. You fill up a 45 LC case to the point where the bullet would just touch it, no compressing, and seat a bullet. Fairly close to BP pressures, fairly close to velocity, but a lot cleaner than BP.
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Old August 2, 2011, 09:40 PM   #6
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No. If you want BP velocities with smokeless powder I like 7-8 grains of Universal Clays under a 255gr cast lead boolit. If you like filling 45 Colt cases and making wonderful clouds of delightful blue smoke do it with FFFg black powder under the same boolit. When you want to give a 44 Mag shooter a history lesson about 21 grs of WW296 under a 300gr XTP should do the trick-but only in a Blackhawk or other stout action.
If you want to blow up a gun, injure yourself and quite possibly others then by all means fill a 45 Colt case with rifle powder. I've learned to treat BP and smokeless loads for the same cartridge as completely separate loads with completely different processes. They have little in common, sometimes I even use different brass.
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Old August 2, 2011, 10:38 PM   #7
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Absolutely not---hell no---nada---nicht----nein !!!!!!!

Here are some safe loads to use for your .45 lc revolver:

250 grain hard cast lead swc----7.5 to 8.5 grains unique, 6.2 to 6.7 grains red dot, or 6.6 to 7.1 grains of bulls-eye. Ignite with either a winchester / cci large standard pistol primer.

Please note: I took these recipes directly from the #11 speer reloading manual.

Thank god you contacted the forum members for a safe answer to your question----a catastrophe has been averted !!!!!!!


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Old August 3, 2011, 01:11 PM   #8
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Wow Thank you guys for the answers. I was even about to order some Reloader 7 or IMR from Cabelas, but thanks for the reloading data you referred me to.

I am going to get the manuals and go from there.
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Old August 3, 2011, 02:19 PM   #9
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The modern powder that was made to replace black powder in cartridge arms is not Rx7 or IMR-3031. It is SR-4759. However, it is not a volume for volume replacement for black powder. It is a bulky powder that fills a larger volume of the case than most other powders.
However, if you are shooting cast lead bullets, I have found the all my rifle cast lead bullet shooting, is is Rx7 that proves to be the most accurate powder. However, there was one cartridge that showed a preference for SR-4759...I do not remember if it was .444 Marlin (in a Win 94), or one of the .45-70's.
In any case, I know of no published data the uses Rx7, IMR-3031, or even SR-4759 in .45 Colt cases.
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