How much is too much?


May 21, 2006, 01:35 AM
and whats the maximum grains you've shot in yours?

Reason that I ask this is that today, I got sidetracked whilst loading my Remmie 58 and double charged. Yup, I managed to pour two lots of 30gr measures into one chamber. I was using 777 and this filled the chamber to the rim.
Well, madness (insanity:evil: ) caught me by surprise and I wondered what it would be like to shoot. I plopped a ball on top and seated just enough that the ball wouldnt interfere. Capped all the chambers (the other 5 had 30gr 777) and went out to let it rip.
I shot the 3 normal loads, then the 60gr, then the other 2 chambers, just to see what the difference was.
Well, I had 5 shots in a nice group 2" above point of aim (normal for this gun) and one shot bang on point of aim. I also had a ringing in my ears after the 60gr load, and yes, I had ear protection on. The recoil on the 60gr load wasnt that much more but WOW the flame out of the front end was amazing!!! I am guessing that a good amount of the powder went out of the front end still burning.
Nothing seems to have happened to the gun, except that the double loaded chamber had less fouling in it than the rest!

I shot another 60gr load through the chrono and got a speed of 1385 fps. I shoot CAS rules and this is well over the 1000fps rule. And no, I am not likely to be shooting this load with any regularity.


JJ Ferrett

Edit Note.. these measurements are WRONG.. check my later post. for the 30gr read 23, for the 60 read 46.

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May 21, 2006, 01:53 AM
I'm may be wrong, but I've always heard that you really can't overload with BP. The important part is to make sure that the bullet is seated on the powder charge. Like you deduced, most of the overload burns outside the barrel. The secret is to find the load that gives the best combination of accuracy and power.
Somebody, please set me straight if I'm wrong.:o


May 21, 2006, 02:08 AM
I'm no expert, but what I've read is that 777 is about 15% more powerful than regular black powder on a volume basis, and it doesn't like to be compressed as much as black powder. You may have a powerful load, but I'd think it isn't very good for the gun. You're putting much more than a recommeded load, and then strongly compressing it. If you want to try it again, it may be prudent to count your fingers now, just to keep track.:eek:

May 21, 2006, 02:37 AM
Best combination... oh yes, been trying to work that one out for a while now.
First was loading this revolver with .451 balls and a variety of powders and loads. Went through all different combinations and I have settled on 30gr 777 and .457 balls give 2 inches above POA and 1" groups at 30ft.

I have heard that you cant 'overload' BP, but with subs, I am not looking at shooting the 60gr load again, I dont want to risk it.

I also do agree that there is a point where the powder just starts to exit from the muzzle still burning, yup X amount of the powder would have provided the impulse to get the ball out of the barrel, but, there would be a goodly amount of the powder that isnt providing any pressure coz its just going straight out the front end. Nice fireworks though.

Edit note - 23gr of 777, not 30

May 21, 2006, 03:54 AM
Well, here's a handy little chart...comparing Goex FFg to subs. Note that it say that Goex FFg 60gr by volume/weight, "adjusted" rate 15% 37.4gr, that would be weight by the way the chart reads, I believe. 60gr of BP minus 15% s/b 51gr of 777 FFg. Still 60gr is alot of powder, what Revolver are you shooting 60gr out of? Must be a Walker...
I only use Black powder myself so I can fill and compress or measure and compress the lever all the way down everytime. Concistency usually yields accuracy for me.
Anyway here's the chart it lists several powder variations.

May 21, 2006, 07:57 AM
Dont ever think for a minute that you cant overload black powder guns:scrutiny: There is an optimum load for every gun, and after that all you get is more recoil, more smoke and a hell of alot more pressure. I have been building and shooting black powder guns for over 30 years now, and I have seen the results first hand of what happens when you overload. I took a 30" section of Green Mountain barrel that was properly breeched and made a test gun to find out for myself. I started with normal 50 cal round ball loads, slowly working my way up...When I reached 190 gr. of ffg, the barrel burst into several long shards. Several pcs. are still missing(anyone see a new satellite lately). The breech plug remained in the barrel, and it burst several inches from that area. Care was taken on every shot to insure that the ball was seated properly. I dont know what went wrong, but alot of things could in that short period of time. I just recently began shooting cap and ball, and the only revolver I would trust to heavy charges is my Ruger Old Army, because it is built on a Blackhawk frame.

May 21, 2006, 10:03 AM
I use 35 grains of tripple 7 and it works well. A little more power and still acurate. It would be a really bad idea to overload a brass frame or half frame revolver.

I think you could use a heavier conical bullet to get more impact out of your revolver safely instead of overloading.

Low Key
May 21, 2006, 04:45 PM
Dont ever think for a minute that you cant overload black powder guns

I've heard the statement that you can't overload bp guns applied to revolvers and maybe it should be phrased that way. I don't disagree with you frosty, though I've never pushed the limit with by 58 Remington. My max charge is 40 grains of pyrodex p. I've seen it posted on The firing line that with revolvers you can load up to the caliber of the gun with powder and after that you're just burning powder out the end of the barrel...meaning that a 44 cal would only be pushing the bullet with the first 44 grains of powder loaded and the rest is out the end of the barrel with a lot of flame, (a 36 cal would push with the first 36 grains and the rest is just fire out the muzzle), etc. Whether this is actually true, I don't know. Rifles I'm sure are a completely different story and no doubt can be overloaded since you can stuff powder all the way to the muzzle if you're crazy enough to try it.

May 21, 2006, 05:19 PM
I've heard the statement that you can't overload bp guns applied to revolvers and maybe it should be phrased that way.

Might be true for a revolver because you can't fit as much powder in it because of the cylinder limit and the gap between the barrel and the cylinder will bleed off some pressure too. A rifle on the otherhand does not have that gap to help bleed off the pressures and there is not limit to the amount of powder that can be crammed in (unless you fill it to the brim, but then you would have a pipe bomb!).

May 21, 2006, 06:18 PM
I've heard that one cannot overload a BP cartridge firearm, you'll run out of case capacity long before you hit a pressure limit from the propellant of choice. Knowing what I have to do to make loads for my .44 Special and .45-70 Sharps, that seems like an accurate statement. ;)

May 21, 2006, 06:47 PM
Gewehr98: Yes it is true, it is impossible to overload ctg cases with black powder. My shoulder is still sore from two dozen or so postells out of my 45-70:evil:

May 21, 2006, 08:03 PM
I got a batch of 550gr swaged spitzers I've been running from my 32" Sharps, and I use a compression die to get the full 70gr of Goex Cartridge Grade in that old REM-UMC case. Solid thump to the shoulder, that is. :D

May 21, 2006, 09:05 PM
I stand corrected. I must have been thinking cartridge guns and revolvers.;)


May 22, 2006, 01:03 AM

It isn't really true that after you hit the calibre/weight, of powder it all comes out the barrel with no effect. 1 grain per calibre is the efficiency limit.

F'rinstance, a max charge is 40 grs. 30 grs will make 8oo fps. 35 grs will make 900 fps. 40 grs will make 975 fps. 45 grs will make 1025 fps.Say 50 grs will 1050 fps.

This is the rule of diminishing returns. You cram in more powder, you get less velocity gain, you get more kick, you waste more powder.

Once again I will post that the Rebs, in the 1860's, test fired their Colt 36 copies with 165 grs powder and double balls, wadded. That is within 3/4 inch of the muzzle. They held. And they were brass framed.

I don't advise 60 grs of powder. I will put a demurrer here that I strongly advise against it. However, I DO think the steel is better, today, than they had then. Pietta, Uberti or Euroarms. Today's tin can metal is better than their "twisted iron", I assume wrought iron, as they could not wait to get contraband English steel.

I retired from a steel mill, none of what we made was what you could call garbage. Different grades, yes, but most is better than what they had 100+ years ago.



Low Key
May 22, 2006, 05:11 AM
It isn't really true that after you hit the calibre/weight, of powder it all comes out the barrel with no effect. 1 grain per calibre is the efficiency limit.

F'rinstance, a max charge is 40 grs. 30 grs will make 8oo fps. 35 grs will make 900 fps. 40 grs will make 975 fps. 45 grs will make 1025 fps.Say 50 grs will 1050 fps.

This is the rule of diminishing returns. You cram in more powder, you get less velocity gain, you get more kick, you waste more powder.

That makes sense. After thinking about that, I also realize that there is a time limitation operating here also...very small one but it's still there. The time it takes the ball to exit the muzzle is a limiting factor. After the ball exits the barrel, any gasses still expanding will not push the ball any faster and you've wasted extra powder. The powder only has that amount of time to burn, expand and push the ball faster.

I don't advise pushing these guns to the limit either. I prefer to have a margin if safety in anything I do, so I keep my max charge to a limit I know isn't dangerous.

May 22, 2006, 08:13 AM
:eek: Once again I will post that the Rebs, in the 1860's, test fired their Colt 36 copies with 165 grs powder and double balls, wadded. That is within 3/4 inch of the muzzle. They held. And they were brass framed.

LoL! What is that???:what:
How do you get 165gr of BP and two balls into a .36 cal cylinder Reb Brass frame Colt copy?
They did that with rifled muskets but not with .36 cal revolvers. Impossible...
Me thinks we covered this ground elsewhere.
That must a been read or typed very late at nite ... HeHe! Take er easy George.

May 22, 2006, 03:10 PM
as to the 165Gr of Black Powder in a revolver. erm. wouldnt it start spilling out of the gap between front of chamber and back of barrel??

Plus, adding to the 'rule of diminishing returns', yup, completely agree but, yes, there will be a point when the ball/bullet has left the barrel and some powder is still burning. This has no chance of providing any more pressure to propel the ball and will just flame out of the muzzle. As I said in me post earler, the fireworks were fantastic. The 60gr (edit note... 46gr not 60) 777 load shot about a foot of flame out of the end of the barrel, PLUS flames (not just smoke) out of the cylinder gap.

From my thinking, when the powder goes bang, the whole cylinder is pushed back against the rear of the frame and opens up the gap between cylinder and barrel. As soon as the ball has left the chamber and into the forcing cone, you are gonna get pressure/gas spillage out of the gap, so bleeding off pressure from behind the ball. The higher the load, the more pressure, the more bleeding through the cylinder gap. Almost a regulator. Any excess powder that is still burning when the ball leaves the barrel will be exitting the muzzle or the cylinder gap.

I still hold that I aint gonna be trying a full chamber of 777 again, its far too hot, but, I am interested in trying this with standard 'holy black' if/when I manage to get myself some. I want to try this at dusk too... with a camera running... :) :) :) :)

May 22, 2006, 03:14 PM

I didnt say earlier, and this may be of interest.

When I fired the 60gr 777 loads (tight 457 ball) in the 58 Remmie, I didnt get any hammer blowback! Plus, checked the cap afterwards and it was split, but still tight on the nipple.

Edit note.. 46gr not 60

May 22, 2006, 03:27 PM
I would love to know how anyone including the starter of this thread could get 60 grains of power (by volume) plus a ball into the chamber of a Remington C&B. Did you use a hydrolic press? B.S.

May 22, 2006, 05:45 PM
My OLd Army will hold around 47gr of Pyrodex p, and that is it. As far as I know, the cylider is unmodified. I have to compress the ball around 5/16", but it digests the load with no problems. No ill feelings here, but I find it hard to figure out how to fit 60 gr in a 58 Rem.:scrutiny: Thats more like a Walker or dragoon load:evil:

May 22, 2006, 06:19 PM
Must be talking about 60 gr in weight not volume.

May 22, 2006, 06:26 PM
I believe that 777 compresses more than pyrodex when I used it. So it could be possible to put in 60 if it compresses more than pyrodex.

Even if it does compress more, 60 by volume would be hard to fit, unless the ball doesn't get seated in all the way, I have done that with my 51 .36 Navy. Had to cock the gun, then put the barrel on it!

May 22, 2006, 06:43 PM
I stand corrected. I have just gone out and measured the volume capacity of the chambers and of my powder flask spout.
I have been trusting that the CVA flask's spout dispensed 30gr (as it said on the label) but, it appears to dispense 23 grains (volume). I also measured the capacity of the Remmies chambers up to the rim, and it came out at 46 grains volume (a double charge).
I apologise for the assumption that my powder measure threw what it said on the packaging and should have checked this a long while ago.
I now know that I have been shooting a lot less powder than I originally was thinking, ie, standard load of 23gr and the double charge being 46.

May 22, 2006, 07:41 PM
I am kind of suprized, because I thought those Remies would only hold around 38gr of powder...I just looked at a spare cylinder for one at Cabelas the other day, and it seemed smaller than my Old Army.

May 23, 2006, 12:47 AM
I am sorry, but fact is there is no 1858 New Army Remington replica or original sold that will hold more than 40gr of BP max.... 37gr in an ASP, Euroarms,or Pietta and 40gr with only a ball in the Uberti...volumes may very between dates mfg'd but they won't hold more that 40gr of FFFG Holy Black. Of this I am certain.
Hell a Walker will only hold 60gr and my Dragoon holds 50gs.
Ok nuff said...had to put my $.02 in.

May 23, 2006, 01:59 AM
I went and checked it again. Empty chamber, filled to the rim and wiped off, 46gr volume of '777'. I weighed it out and it weighs 37.9gr on the scale.
I even video'd myself weighing it. You can check it out here (, bad video, but you can see.
Seating a ball will compress the '777' just enough to allow the cylinder to rotate.

May 23, 2006, 02:09 AM
:what: But you have to put a ball in the chamber. Ball must be below the cylinder surface to turn. I bet you a box a balls it'll be 37- 40gr max by volume with a ball in it.;)
One thing that Hogdon tell ya is not to compress don't like to be compressed. Your findings may vary.

May 23, 2006, 02:15 AM
Well slap me sideways and call me Sally, I do believe that you are correct.
I just went out again and filled the chamber full, and then put a ball on and seated it just under the rim of the cylinder surface. There was powder spillage not only from the mouth of the chamber, but, also from out the back of the nipple (neither of which i noticed earlier in my madness of shooting this load).
This time though I unloaded the chamber by removing the nipple and pouring the powder out and then knocking the ball back out the mouth. There aint a hope in hell that I will fire another one of these loads using 777.

May 23, 2006, 02:25 AM
Tried something else.
I seated a ball so it was just in enough to be able to turn the cylinder freely, and then filled the chamber from the back (nipple removed) so I could work out the correct max capacity for this.
38gr volume (no compression obviously).

May 23, 2006, 02:59 AM

Once again I will post that the Rebs, in the 1860's, test fired their Colt 36 copies with 165 grs powder and double balls, wadded.

That is within 3/4 inch of the muzzle. They held. And they were brass framed.

That's what you misread, Smoke. Easy to overlook.

Actually, they test fired their muskets or rifles with 465 grs powder, when 232 was the standard English proof load. AND THEY held, too. I think these were 1858 Enfields. Have to read the book again, don't want to.


I have been preaching this, and getting grief for it, but just because a maker scribes some marks on a measure does not mean it is what is actually being thrown. BP is the standard for a measure, you weigh a charge thrown from your measure, and if it is on, great, if it is off, you have to scratcha new mark, and know that is the actual 20, 30, 40 grs weight of BP, and volume of any other, by equivalent. Weight/volume of BP is the same, weight/volume of any sub is different.

I have too many that are not accurate, now have 3 that I can trust, but only because I measured then weighed, and the charge was within a grain or so of the marks on the barrel of the measure. That can be the settlement of the powder, or lot to lot variation.

As to the cylinder gap opening up, well, yes it does that, it will do that with 10 grains of powder. You will get blowby then, too. If you have a 6 thou gap, at 10 grs, you will have 6 thou at "60" grs, too. More pressure, so more fire at the gap. More from the muzzle, too. Unburnt powder, more so called "ejecta", which is another word for weight of load, which has to be both the ball and the powder.

Smokeless does that, too. You have to add the powder weight to the weight of the ball to calculate recoil. Consider, a potent blank has recoil. Not just noise.


777 is lighter than BP and most others subs. 60 grains weight would spill all over the place, no chance you could fit it in the chamber TO compress it. You'd have to dump powder, compress, somehow, dump more, compress more, finally dump the rest and seat a ball, IF it were possible.

The whole thing is academic, as Ferret says he checked his measure and found that measures are less reliable than teaspoons for accuracy.

Anybody checked HIS measure against a scale, who HAS BP to use as a standard? If you don't you could use Ferret's weight of the 30 gr charge, from his measure, that is actually 23 grs. And that is BP.

As I have often said, though I should quit it, you load a normal load, per your way off measure and say, "Wow, it is a mild shooter.", you load a MAX load and say "Well, hot as hell, but no recoil to speak of." That extra 10 grains to get to max will make you wince. My Rems shoot harder than my Colts with the same measure. Think it is the difference in groove diameter. More resistance to travel up the spout. Kicks just a bit more, sounds a LOT louder, shoots flatter.



May 23, 2006, 03:39 AM
George please send me the Hallmark make me laugh card that you read this misinformation from...Or tell me the joker's name that wrote it. Better yet do this test to one of your brassers and take pictures. Go pour 165gr of BP down your barrel and into your cylinder and put two wadded balls on top of it all. Cock it hammer back before you start cause you won't be able after.:barf: I can't believe a man with your knowledge is buying and exageration that the South was well known to spread like honey butter on cornbread served with fresh lemonade.:rolleyes:
Makes for good conversation anyway George Old Bud.HeHe!
Well you gonna pull then pistols or whistle Dixie???

May 23, 2006, 04:32 AM

You keep ignoring what I wrote.

You keep thinking I wrote that they crammed 165 grains of powder into a chamber that can hold 25 to 30 grains. You keep ignoring the part where I say they filled the chamber AND the barrel, all the way up to within 3/4 inch of the muzzle, and 2 balls AND wads.

AND, they held, AND they were brassies. You want, I will scan the pages, hell, you want, I will send you the whole damned book. Cost me 11 bucks online, 28.50 at the show, 30 bucks for a plastic wrapped version, asked what was the best they could do, 28.50 was it, as I said, got it for 11 bucks.

It's interesting. There were very few pistols made by any of those "contractors". Some made ZERO pistols, so the gvmnt contractors were at least as dishonest then as they are now.



Low Key
May 23, 2006, 05:09 AM
I use 40gr (volume) as my max load in my 1858 Remington replicas made by pietta. With that charge, I have JUST enough room for a vegetable fiber wad and lube pill and can seat the ball just below the chamber mouth with moderate compression. I can do this load with Goex or Pyrodex P...I would have to compress 777 too much so I wouldn't try this load with 777 just for that reason. I don't use this one everyday and 25-30gr (volume) is my normal target load.

May 23, 2006, 11:47 AM
OK.. i am learning a lot from this thread and so I will ask another question.

Why is it bad to compress 777?

According to Hodgden loading tips....

........'Do not heavily compress powder charges'.......

Percussion firearms:
Select the proper charge from the loads listed in this brochure. Set powder measure as indicated. While holding the firearm vertically, slowly pour the measure charge of Triple Seven into the barrel. Seat the projectile firmly against the powder. Make certain that there is no airspace between the power and the projectile.

It doesnt say DONT compress, but dont heavily compress, and although this is in the cartridge loading tips, I take it that it is true for cap n ball too.

Also, I read somewhere that 777 is sugar based and non corrosive? Anyone have any info on this?

May 23, 2006, 12:17 PM
Compressing 777 makes it inconsistant and inaccurate. Using light compression it is more consistant and more accurate. I have first hand exp. with it. When I would use 15 gr. in my .36 it would hardly compress and it was a pretty accurate load, but when I bumped up the amount and compressed it more, it would be very inaccurate. It looked like I had a shot gun pattern on a 12x12 paper target at 15 yards.

May 23, 2006, 01:21 PM
Ferret, Seat the projectile firmly against the powder. That statement does not say compress or why would one compress it...I do believe on the Hogden site it tell you not to compress. And so to all the BP sites I visit.
I won't use it...just Holy Black. I can accurately seat the ball all the way down hard as I want each time.
Some claim it is non corrosive...everything has a corrosive factor. Leave that rev with 777 shot in it for a couple weeks. Then see how hard and crusty it get, difficult to get out. I use my lube pills whichkeep my Pretty clean using BP even after a 100 rounds...without even having to clean the arbors. Then with scaldin' hot dishsoap water and scaldin' hot rinse water in buckets. I can clean four Revs in two hours lube um and tuck um in.
Comes down to findin' what you like best I you can see i don't like substitutes.HeHe! Guess cause I don't need to change a formula for accuracy that I have been usin' for 26 years.
Nuff outta me...(jus' my opinion)

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