Fun with Pyrodex


lee n. field
December 29, 2005, 03:59 PM
Christmas day when the family had all gotten together my brother and I tried an experiment he'd had in mind for a while.

I brought my Lee hand press, die set, Lee dippers, powder funnel, 50 or so .45 ACP cases and a box of 200 grain LRN .45 bullets, and my Ruger P90.

He brought a bottle of Pyrodex and a Springfield .45 ("Loaded" model).

The object was to see 1) if .45 loaded with (wannabe) black powder would even work, and 2) if we could shoot an auto loader with enough of the stuff to gunk it up to the point of not functioning.

Yes on one. Works spendidly. Fed and fired every time. Big smoke, big fire. Big guy type fun.

No on two. 50 rounds, most of it through his 1911, was not near enough to foul the gun to the point of not cycling or functioning. Dirty it certainly was, but it still worked.

No pics, alas, my digital camera was too slow to reliably catch the fireball.

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December 29, 2005, 04:03 PM
Sounds like fun! Have you ever made blanks from Pyrodex?

lee n. field
December 29, 2005, 04:36 PM
No, this is the first I've ever tried loading anything with black(ish) powder. I do want to try something in .303 British.

December 30, 2005, 12:26 AM
OK. I want load data.......:evil:

lee n. field
December 30, 2005, 07:57 AM
OK. I want load data

Fill the case till just shy of the top. :)

December 30, 2005, 08:17 AM
"P" Pyrodex? FFFG equivalent?

That sounds like a compressed load..?

December 30, 2005, 01:44 PM
"P" Pyrodex? FFFG equivalent?

That sounds like a compressed load..?

Yeah, what granulation? Also "compressed load", so what? You should always compress pyro, even in muzzleloaders it should be "tamped".

I sure hope you cleaned every nook and cranny of both pistols, pyro is if anything MORE corrosive than black powder! Also cleaning with normal smokeless cleaning solvent WON'T remove the corrosive salts. You HAVE to use a water-based solvent. The best thing to have done after shooting those loads, is to have dunked every part of both pistols in the hottest soapy water you could stand, then brush every part vigourusly. Then rinse in boiling plain water and oil well while still hot!

December 30, 2005, 02:44 PM
I'd run my Kimber through the dishwasher just for experimental purposes.

Carl N. Brown
December 30, 2005, 04:04 PM
I and another competitor in black powder cartridge matches
at my local gub club shoot Pyrodex loads in Autoloaders.

I shoot 1.0cc PyroP under a .312" 90 grain JHP in a
Mauser C96 broomhandle; Dennis shoots a .45 1911.
I don't know his loads.

Pyrodex loads in cartridges should be compressed, but
no more than 1/16"--more compression may prevent
the Pyrodex charge from burning consistently.

NO smokeless powder compressed loads: BOOMER .

NO loose Pyrodex loads: Pyrodex to base of bullet
or compressed (consistently but no more than 1/16").
Light Pyrodex loads require use of wads under the bullet
so there is no airspace. Functioning an autoloader with
pyrodex required a full case in the Mauser, slightly
compressed in the .45.

I fired about 50 rounds through my .45 1911 style pistol
(load with Pyrodex P and 230 gr LSWC); toward the end of the
run, it was failing to go to battery: Lotsa fouling in the
locking rings of the slide when I took it apart for cleaning.
Of course, the semi-wad cutter bullet shape was not helping
(the gun likes round noses only).

Cleanup after Pyrodex requires black powder drill: clean
with water thoroughly, lube; three days later, reclean;
seven days later reclean. But it is fun while I'm shooting.

(The Mauser is one of those "shot out" barrels that won't
stabilize a 7.63mm (.308") bullet but still has a suggestion
of rifling in an approx 7.92mm (.312") bore.)

December 30, 2005, 08:16 PM
reminds me of my younger days.
We were enjoying a few beers, spied wax bullets for 45acp and a 45/70 rifle.
started with just primers and the bullets. moved up to black powder!
This was in my 12 X 20 "reloading" building.
There was far too much smoke when I spied my red dot shotgun powder.
Fortunately the story does not have an unhappy ending

December 30, 2005, 08:37 PM
Try .45 ACP primed cases (no powder) and the foam will never scratch there again.......

January 1, 2006, 12:04 PM
years ago i shot 357 with black. about 20 grs ffg and a standard primer under a soft cast lead.

wax over a primer in the basement can be fun, but don't use your wife's new towels for a backstop.

black in brass 12 ga shells is a good match for older hammer doubles that are not considered safe for standard smokeless.

Tom Bri
January 2, 2006, 06:43 AM
OK, here is the load. I measured volumetrically 20 grains of the pyrodex a few times to get a visual on how much would fit the case. 20 grains just about fills a .45 case, not quite. After the first few I continued filling the cases by eye. Don't have the can handy, and I don't remember if it was FF or FFF. FF, I think.

The Springfield is pretty new, maybe a few hundred rounds through it total, and has never to my memory had any failures to fire. As Lee Enfield said, the blackpowder rounds went through it without a problem. It looked like it could have gone on a lot more rounds before it got too filthy to fire reliably. Might be fun to test that, but I need more mags.

It was pretty dark when we fired them, and the blast effects were great, a long red cone of fire. Good after-Christmas-dinner male fun.

Next time I want to try real black powder to get clouds of smoke as well.

Clean-up was a mess, of course. I used my regular BP cleaners, then followed up with a solvent that took out a lot more that the BP cleaners didn't touch. I took it all apart down to the firing pin, extracter and grips. Glad I did, there was fine black gunk everywhere. I don't see any signs of corrosion now a week later, so I guess I got it pretty clean.

Dave Markowitz
January 8, 2006, 04:23 PM
I'd be curious to see what kind of MV you got with those BP and Pyrodex .45 ACP loads.

January 9, 2006, 03:21 AM
Try .45 ACP primed cases (no powder) and the foam will never scratch there again.......

Did it fly straight?

Which earplugs did you use?

Gonna have to try this one.......:evil: I have access to oodles of earplugs.


January 9, 2006, 07:43 AM
The brand that you need to use is the brand that is FREE from where you work
The free ones will fly better than any others

January 9, 2006, 10:53 AM
I just used the foam (not rubber) earplugs that are kind of bullet shaped. They throw pretty hard and teh back half gets singed, even with just primer.

January 11, 2006, 01:19 PM
and here I was all set to buy rubber bullets from MidWay. That load of yours should come with a warning. Its going to cost me; a dog, therapy, a divorce or all 3. Next time I catch my corgi crapping in the house that load will solve the problem one way or the other:evil: .
Still LMAO

January 11, 2006, 03:12 PM
... the back half gets singed, even with just primer.

Who's back half? The cat's, the plug's, or your's when your wife catches you?:)

January 11, 2006, 04:03 PM




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