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I was watching a re-run from Dixon’s from 2009, there was a gentleman on there saying he shot quite a bit of competition and shot mostly 1F powder. He said that 3 and 4F pack too much and less air between the granules of powder causing slower ignition.

It makes sense to me, but I have read all the information on here and some of the books, what’s your opinion on the whole deal?
 

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Sorry, just don't buy it. Under that theory, 4f-7f would burn even slower and that is just not the case. It has just as much, if not more, to do with the size of the grain. 1F is heavier and denser than 3F. Thus it will burn slower by design than 3F. That slower burn allows the pressures to build behind the charge. That is why 1F is used to push heavier loads like artillery. Put the same amount of 3F in a canon and you will blow the breech off the gun due to quick build-up of the high pressures associated with the quicker burn of the lighter 3F powder.

GBJ
 

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First off, nothing smaller than 3F is ever used for the main charge, 4F/7F is for flintlock priming ONLY! 2F & 3F are the most common main charge granulations. Black powder, no matter what the granulation size, burns at the same exact rate, it's the same exact powder. The difference comes in how the granulation size produces the pressure curve based upon the length of burn time per each granule. For example, an 80gr charge of 3F will have a given length of time to be completely consumed in a given diameter bore and proportional to the mass of the projectile. The larger the granulation of the powder, the more times it takes for the same size charge to be completely consumed - although the burn rate is the same, it takes longer to burn consume 80gr of 1F as opposed to 80gr of 3F and thus the 3F produces a much faster rate of rise on the pressure. Thus, as Grey Bear points out, while a given charge of 1F or Cannon size granulation may be perfectly safe in a cannon application, the same charge volume of 2F or 3F will result in catastrophic failure because the rate at which the pressure rises is considerably faster.

The common rule of thumb for granulation application is:
.40 and smaller bores 3F
.45 - .54 bores 2F or 3F
.54 - .66 bores 2F
.69 and bigger 1F

There are plenty of exceptions to the above since 2F will often produce the cleanest burn and best accuracy in small bores and a lesser charge of 3F will sometimes perform great in the medium diameter bores. Just the same as 2F will sometimes be the best choice in a small bore, more often than not, 1F will often out perform 2F or 3F in the medium bores, especially in a longer barrel where the burn time is proportional to barrel length.
 

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My flintlocks range from .36 cal. to .58 cal. My remaining Goex supply consists of a partial can of 2F, 12 cans of 3F, and a quarter can of 4F. My "scientific" mind tells me that all these calibers really appreciate 3F in some degree of volume, or else!


I don't argue with these persnickety firearms, but then again, they don't pay the bills!


If the neighbors beagles don't stop howling at 5:30 A.M. each and every morning, I will make a trip to Dixon's for some 1F and a piece of pipe!
 

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Mark,

Believe you and I are in violant agreement, was just trying not to make it too scientific.

I was not stating that 4f-7f should ever be used down the bore of any blackpowder weapon, was just comparing burn rates and the types of powder. Priming powders SHOULD NEVER be used down the bore. I'm not a fan of "mixes" either (a little bit of priming mixed with 2F or 3F).

GBJ
 

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Grey Bear,

Just to clarify, it was the OP that made comment on "4F" (which may have been a typo) and that's what my comment was in reference to, not your statements - never hurts to reinforce the safety warnings though.

We are in agreement, the only thing mixing powder granulations will get one is a ride to the hospital ... if they're lucky ... which sure beats a ride to the morgue.
 
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