Cleanest BP for .45 Colt?


J Miller
December 25, 2002, 08:04 PM
I have a project I'm working on. I was wanting to know what brand and F size black powder would be cleanest for the .45 Colt cartrige?

I have loaded little b.p. in the past so any information would be appreciated.

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Mike Weber
December 25, 2002, 09:26 PM
I haven't tried it yet but I've been hearing a lot of good about the Swiss Brand as being the cleanest. Its also the most expensive. I load a lot of .45 Colt with FFF GOEX. Not exactly the cleanest but it works well for me. I've found that when loading this caliber with BP it is important to choose a bullet with good lube grooves on it and to use plenty of a fairly soft lube. I use a 50/50 mix of beeswax and Crisco for lube. I shoot 1875 Remington Replicas and 1858 Remington New Model Armys with conversion cylinders. The Remingtons seem to be pretty finicky about built up powder fouling. So its important to keep the fouling softened up. I also apply a few drops of Ballistol to the cylinder pins between shooting stages to keep things from locking up from fouling.

December 25, 2002, 10:23 PM
Black powder and the word "cleanest" don't really go together. One thing some people do is use one Pyrodex pistol pellet as a load. If you do, remember it's corrosive like BP.

3F usually burns cleaner than 2F.

December 26, 2002, 03:44 AM
:) I have used Swiss 3f in .45 Colt, and it does seem a fair bit cleaner than Goex. Also seems to pack more OOOMPH! I have also used 3grs. IMR 4227, then about 27grs. (by approx. weight) of 3f Swiss with a 1/16" card wad, and a 250gr. hardcast bullet with hard lube. This has worked well in my Rossi Carbine, with no leading whatever, and is clean burning. This hard bullet/hard lube combo isn't supposed to work, but in my Rossi, it does.

Same load in a Vaquero leads badly, :( due to undersized cylinder throats, I suspect. Bought the reamer, but I haven't opened up the throats yet.

A freind of mine recently experimented with annealing the case mouths on his .44 Magnum Cases for black powder loads in his Marlin Model 94. He reports that the annealed case mouths allow the case to seal the chamber much better, and he gets almost zero blowback to foul his chamber. I'm going to try this with my .45 Colt loads in the Rossi. ;)

I can recommend the Swiss. It's worth the extra money as far as I'm concerned. Safe Shootin! Joe Beary :D

December 26, 2002, 08:25 AM
I can't say that Swiss always burns "cleaner". It does almost always burn "moister", which does make for easier prolonged shooting sessions, and slightly easier cleanup. FWIW, all types of BP & all of the substitutes that I'm aware of require about the same cleanup drill.


J Miller
December 26, 2002, 09:00 AM
:D :D :D
Black powder and the word "cleanest" don't really go together.
I should have worded that different. Black powder and clean is a mutually exclusive term. Perhaps I should have said which black powder burns with the least residue or fowling. Yah, that's what I should have said.

Any way, I thank you for your suggestions.
Deep lube groves with a soft lube in it.
And Swiss Black Powder.

I need to check around central IL and see what I can find now.

Thanks J

4v50 Gary
December 26, 2002, 11:55 AM
Can one of you rich guys who can afford the imported Swiss schwarzpulver chronograph it against Goex? For fun, I'd like to see some comparison.

This kind of reminds me of the big change the British had in the Napoleonic times. They improved their powder quality which increased the power 15%. They decided to reproof a lot of their guns and found that quite a number of them were defective and the gunsmiths hid the defect (hammer downed the bulges or soldered the cracks) and stamped them as being proofed. The quality of the Brown Bess accordingly improved.

Mike Weber
December 26, 2002, 04:24 PM
I'd love to try that experiment unfortunatly I don't have a crono at the moment. Been spending too much on casting equiptment lately.

Good to see you around. Did you ever get into the CAS shooting over in your area? I picked up one of those Stainless Rossi 92s from Navy Arms a while back, Really happy with it. I use it for my smokeless loads though. I'm running my BP loads through my Henry and trying to figure a way to budget for an Uberti 1873 Sporting rifle. If you ever get over to this side of the mountains, look me up and we'll go burn some of the "Holy Black''.:D

J Miller
December 26, 2002, 04:54 PM
I'm not really looking for a shooting load, just trying to find out which powder would be better for an experiment I'm trying to get set up for.

But I need some ballon head cases. Know anybody that has some they'd like to part with?


December 26, 2002, 05:06 PM
:) Hello Mike! Good to hear from you again, too! I've been to a CAS shoot in Poulsbo, Wa. one time. My son shot the course with cap n' ball guns, and the .45 Colt Rossi Lever with BP Loads. I was just a spectator, helping my 16 year old load the C&B's. A very freindly bunch at that club; we had a great time.

There is some talk of getting a CAS Club going at the Port Townsend Gun Club. If it flies, I'll join.

The Navy Arms Rossi's seem to be much better finished than the plain Rossi's like I have. The one Stainless Navy Arms gun in 44/40 that I've handled and shot was very well finished and quite smooth to operate, something I can't say about the pre- Navy Arm's Rossi's that I've seen, and own. I'm glad to see such nicely finished guns.

I have shot a freinds '73 Uberti, and a '66 Uberti. They are really nice. Both are 44/40's, and very pleasant to shoot. I'm trying to convert him to using the Holy Black Stuff, but he's not into cleaning his guns!

I've seen several of the Henry's, but haven't shot one yet. The Uberti's are really authentic looking, and very well machined from what I could tell.

4v50 Gary- I have access to my freinds chronograph. He and his wife use it to chrono their Civil War Cannon loads! I'm going to borrow it and chrono the Swiss vs. Goex vs. Duplex loads in my .45 Colt one of these days. Should be an interesting experiment. Have a Great New Year to all. Joe:D

December 26, 2002, 05:07 PM
If I ever get a BP pistol or muzzleloader, I think I will use Hodgdon Triple 7 instead.

Hodgdon Triple 7 cleaning tips (

Another side benefit is that Triple7 is higher energy than BP, so you should use less, or get a flatter trajectory, take your pick.

December 26, 2002, 05:23 PM
:mad: Substitute for Black Powder? Is there such a thing? Heaven Forbid! :D

December 26, 2002, 06:56 PM
gunsmither wrote:
Substitute for Black Powder? Is there such a thing? Heaven Forbid!

Well, if you want the smell and smoke, you could always puff away at a cigar, and fart at the same time. :p

December 26, 2002, 10:47 PM

I'll gently suggest that should you ever purchase a black powder arm it is to your benefit to evaluate black powder soley on its merits as a propellent.

As for 777, in the real world there has been a lot of variation in the amount of effort required to get an arm adequately clean.

In any event, it is a rare arm that requires more than 10 minutes cleaning regardless of the propellent that has been used. Here's one method:

Clean bore and action (lock) with cold water.

Clean bore and acton with hot water.

Rinse with a second batch of clean hot water.

When the hot water has evaporated, and when the arm is still too hot to hold comfortably, preserve all metal parts with the product of your choice.

Some prefer to use a bit of detergent with the water, some prefer to use a commercial product. All similar methods will work well.


July 24, 2007, 08:11 PM
frohickey, maybe you should just stick to modern guns. why would you buy a muzzleloader and then use a substitute powder to give a flatter tragectory? don't get me wrong, I like modern guns, but I allso love my flintlocks. I just have a hard time with people who buy a muzzleloader and start stuffing substitute powder down the barrel to give it more power, easier cleaning, and so on. actually, I find it easier to clean my muzzleloader after a day's shooting than a modern gun, a lot quicker too. go ahead, flame away. chuck

July 24, 2007, 08:23 PM
J Miller, sorry, got a little carried away there, as far as a clean black powder, really don't think there is a clean black powder, you might find 3f doesn't foul as bad as 2f, but you still need to clean at the end of the day. chuck-ia

July 24, 2007, 09:59 PM
chuck-ia wrote:
I just have a hard time with people who buy a muzzleloader and start stuffing substitute powder down the barrel to give it more power, easier cleaning, and so on.
and: far as a clean black powder, really don't think there is a clean black powder, you might find 3f doesn't foul as bad as 2f, but you still need to clean at the end of the day.


I don't see the point of having "...a hard time with...". Do you have the same problem with people who use percussion caps to get a more reliable spark and powder ignition? Perhaps we should have just skipped that technology altogether?

Or perhaps it's not the use of substitute powders but the motive that's the problem - trying to improve their experience with muzzle loaders.

At any rate, I don't get it. Sounds like a personal problem to me.

By the way, with 777 it is in fact not necessary to clean the weapon at the end of the day. I have used Holy Black (Goex, Swiss and some homemade), Pyrodex and 777, and while I routinely clean my guns the same day as shooting them, I have had to leave that task to a few days later a number of times in the past 30 years, and I can tell you that 777 residue can be safely left in the gun for at least 3 full days with minimal, if any, rust or corrosion. I emphasize that is not my normal practice, and I would not let it go any longer, but it can be done in a pinch. Not so with Pyrodex or real black.

July 24, 2007, 10:28 PM
On the order of chronographing Swiss the following is from a year ago.

38 grains of Swiss 3F in a once fired unsized Black Hills headstamp .45 LC case under a 250 grain Lasercast RNFP bullet with a Federal Large rifle primer:

Shot at 12% relative humidity, 107 Degrees F, 3850 ft elevation.

5 shot string. Low: 914 High: 937 Mean: 929

40 grains Swiss 3 F in once fired, unsized Winchester headstamp brass under a 250 grain lasercast bullet, and a federal large rifle primer.
Fired same day, same conditions, gun was cleaned before string.
5 shot string Low: 957 High 988 Mean 962

38 grains of Pyrodex P loaded in once fired unsized Black Hills headstamp .45 LC cases under a 250 grain Lasercast RNFP bullet and with a federal large rifle primer:
Shot same day as above, same conditions. Gun was cleaned before string.

5 Shot string low 943 high 965 mean 949

40 grains of pyrodex P in once fired, unsized Winchester headstamp brass under a 250 grain Lasercast RNFP bullet with a federal large rifle primer.
Same day etc...
Low: 983 High 1018 Mean 1004

All loads were compressed ~1/16". Powder was settled into cases on a shaker table. Winchester once fired brass seems to measure 2-3 grains larger than BH headstamped brass on average.

July 24, 2007, 10:29 PM
I have no problem with percussion guns. I guess I am old fashioned, I use a muzzleloader for what it is, an old fashioned weapon, using old fashioned powder, just the way they did 300 years ago, instead of using a super substitute powder, I just aim a little high at 100 yards. I allso clean my guns ( modern or muzzleloader) after each range session, same day, just part of shooting for me, no excuses for laziness. chuck

J Miller
July 25, 2007, 12:05 AM
Boy howdy, I started this thread over 4 1/2 years ago. And tonight I get a notice somebody responded to it.

I have decided several things about black powder.
A: Ain't none of it clean.
B: I despise Pyrodex with a passion.
C: I always full size my cases, I have multiple guns in the same caliber and all of my ammo must fit all of my guns.
D: Unless I pick up a genuine black powder firearm, cartridge or muzzle loader, I'm sticking with smokeless.


July 25, 2007, 07:37 AM
I can imagine, cleaning a modern gun after using black powder would be a tough job. They aren't made to take apart real easy to clean all the nooks and crannies. chuck

July 25, 2007, 08:26 AM
Swiss has the reputation of being the only BP that will produce an in regulation load for a BP cartridge double rifle. Other wise one is forced to use smokeless for BP loads.

But, regardless of the merit or lack thereof of any brand of BP, the rub is getting it. BP is no longer avialable any where in my county of residence. Next county south probably has one brand available. I've never seen a can of Swiss in the flesh.

Bad Flynch
July 25, 2007, 12:31 PM

I own and shoot many revolvers chambered for .45 Colt and I have experimented with BP quite a bit. You may use either 2F or 3F powder with some compression. With the soft bullets that I use, I typically use a compression die rather than distort the soft bullet on a heavily compressed load. If the compression is only marginal, it seems not to be a problem.

Early on, I found that 2Fg gave less fouling than 3F and that my revolvers would go longer before I had to stop and clean them. However, 2F will give less velocity than 3Fg. At that point, I remembered that the old military loading and most original commercial loadings used what can best be described as 2.5Fg.

I have converted to using 2.5F almost exclusively and it is a good compromise between velocity and fouling. One can either use the special Goex powder for pistols (Goex Cartridge?), as this is essentially 2.5Fg, or do as I do and mix equal parts of 2Fg and 3Fg. Mixing saves on inventory, because one must have 2Fg and 3Fg on hand anyway.

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