Reloading blackpowder - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 04:01 AM Thread Starter
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Reloading blackpowder

OK so after buying a repro Remington 1875 .45 colt I have been reading up on reloading blackpowder. Every place I am reading everyone is stressing that the bullet should be seated on the powder and touching it (or wadding or filler). On the other hand if I were to load up my cap and ball revolver with say 10 or 15 grains I would suspect that the loading lever cannot push the roundball down far enough to be seated on the powder. Muzzleloading rifles I have read can tolerate at least a 1/4 inch or so gap between the bullet and powder (not that I would try on purpose). So, the question is why? Is there a difference in how the pressures work in a crimped case?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 09:17 AM
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Re: Reloading blackpowder

While I can not specifically explain the importance of not having a gap between the powder charge and the projectile, and as a ML shooter from way back I admit that my memory is not as sharp as it used to be. However, I believe I recall that the need to have the projectile sit right on top of the black powder charge has something to do with the very fast and dramatic pressure built up by black powder as opposed to a more gradual pressure increase with modern propellents. I recall that when I was learning to shoot my ML the guy who was teaching me frequently mentioned the dangers of a "short started" load in which a projectile was not rammed home and fully seated on the powder charge. The resulting pressure when the charge was ignited under a projectile that was not properly seated could cause a "walnut" or bulge in the barrel at te gap or even burst the tube. Certainally the bulge itself weakened the metal. Sorry, I can't fully explain this but it's the best I can remember.

Good night Chesty, wherever you are......
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 09:34 AM
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Re: Reloading blackpowder

Blackpowder is an explosive, any gap will result in a huge pressure spike and the projectile will become an obstruction resulting in a potentially catastrophic failure of the barrel metal resutlting in at the least a bulge, at most exploding metal and a chance of bodily injury.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 10:01 AM
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Re: Reloading blackpowder

Roger that: BP explodes; modern powders burn (at different rates).

Good night Chesty, wherever you are......
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 11:00 AM
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Re: Reloading blackpowder

I can't tell you why.....but what I can add is that BP is classified as an explosive, while modern powders are classified as propulsive's

Since I live in the Pittsburgh Pa. area....where essentially you can't get from one side of the City to the other (conveniently) without going thru a tunnel.....if you go to any local gun show, you can't buy BP at a gun show....but you can buy modern powders by the ton.

That's because for a dealer to bring BP thru a tunnel...he needs a special permit (because it's an explosive). These permits are issued in advance, only for a specific day and time, and once that day\time is over, they expire.

So...no gun dealer is crazy enough to buy these permits....to costly.

FWIW

SW
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Reloading blackpowder

Does this mean then there there is a minimum safe load in a cap and ball revolver other then the minimum amount needed to safely push the ball out of the barrel?
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 02:41 PM
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Re: Reloading blackpowder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orvis
Does this mean then there there is a minimum safe load in a cap and ball revolver other then the minimum amount needed to safely push the ball out of the barrel?
Yes, in some old guns there is a powder chamber that the bullet/ball will not fit in. The powder must fill that chamber, and then some. Enough powder to propel the bullet out of the barrel, and enough so the bullet will seat completely on the powder.

The bullet helps control the explosion of black powder, with the air gap the powder explosion will accelerate it to much higher pressures than the steel can withstand, then it'll hit a proverbial roadblock causing everything to move - ball down the barrel and steel expanding from it's original shape. The term is often called "ringing the chamber/barrel".

Moderately compressed blackpowder loads are safer than "loose loads." With blackpowder cartridge pistols, you can fill the case up completely flush to the rim then seat a bullet on it compressing the powder - which is how it is supposed to be done.

With long rifle cases like the .45-70 and the longer buffalo cartridges, you need a 18" to 36" brass drop tube to drop the powder through to make sure there is little air in it. Then you seat a bullet, which often compresses the powder too.

If you use a drop tube on a smaller case like a pistol case you don't need to fill it to the rim, you can fill it to about 1/8" below the rim, sometimes less - but enough to have the bullet on the powder once seated.

Because of the need to have a full case of powder, and black powder's costs - it is way cheaper to shoot smokeless in the same cartridges(if the gun can handle smokeless). Smokeless can have some airspace.

Example: 45Colt

40grs of Black Powder for a 250gr slug
versus
16grs of BlueDot for a 250gr slug

Note, black powder is by volume and smokeless by weight - but the BP weight is still way more than the smokeless.

If you have to track your game, then you aren't using a big enuff gun.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 05:59 PM
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Re: Reloading blackpowder

In a cap and ball revolver with light loads you should use a filler corn meal,wads or whatever to avoid having an air space.If you have been loading light loads and not seating the ball on the powder you have been lucky
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-2012, 07:30 PM
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Re: Reloading blackpowder

Interesting. I have never understood how a drop-tube works for loading BP metalic cartredges or the "why" behind them. When I had my 45/70 Trapdoor I loaded ny cases with an approved load for modern smokless powder.

Good night Chesty, wherever you are......
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