FFFG as Rifle Powder??


November 6, 2006, 09:25 PM
I have been given a few pounds of fffG black powder made by DuPont and Goex. The manufacture date is in the 70's but its been properly stored and a small line of it flashes off impressively when lit with a match.

I wanted to load some 45/70 brass using the black powder and a 405 grain cast bullet.

But I see that most of the rifle cartridges use fG or ffG powder.

Would it be unsafe to use the fffG? My concern is that as fine as it is that it may create an unsafe pressure level.

I have a flask and I know to measure by volume. I plan on shooting these rounds from an Encore and a barrel made for smokeless powder cartridges. If there is room in the cartridge I was going to put some wad material in there to fill the gaps.

Any experience would be appreciated.

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November 6, 2006, 09:46 PM
3f will be fine, there is no way it could blow up an Encore. I use 3f in my all my muzzleloaders. You probably will have a little more velocity than with a courser powder.
A work of caution, load your cases FULL with black powder, all the way to the top and then compress it a little bit with the bullet. You don't want any air space with black powder, that would be dangerous.

November 6, 2006, 09:56 PM
Thanks for the quick reply. I suspected as much but given the potential for harming myself I thought I would ask around.

I also discovered a great black powder cartridge reloader primer here: http://www.ssbpcrc.co.uk/Resources/Introduction%20to%20BPCR%20Loading.pdf

There is a lot more to it than for your average smokeless reload which was surprising to me.

I wanted to reproduce the original 45 - 70 - 405 load using black powder just to see what kind of recoil and shooting performance my ancestors had to put up with!

November 6, 2006, 10:45 PM
But at the time all I had was a Ruger #1 in .45-70. I knew I would eventually have a Sharps and Rolling Block in that chambering, so I started my .45-70 BP load education using that FFFg, WonderWads, and a 405gr cast bullet in the Ruger. It works very well, but I believe pressures using the finer granulation are just a smidgen higher, as are velocities, compared to FFg or the Goex Cartridge I'm currently using in my Sharps. Your Contender should digest the stuff just fine. Just make sure you compress the load slightly, using a wad between the bullet and BP.

November 11, 2006, 09:36 PM
So tonight I loaded up 20 45/70 rounds with some vintage DuPont black powder in fffG.

I got some Precision 2000 wads and lube.

I had a flask with a set of volume measuring tubes from back when I used to shoot a Walker. I changed out the 50 grain tube for the 70 grain tube.

At the hobby shop there were some one foot long sections of brass tube. Using three sizes that telescoped one inside the other the tubes were taped together with some black duct tape. With the largest tube at the bottom the brass drop tube fit just inside the 45/70 case. With a funnel at the top and going very slowly the drop tube definitely lets you snug the powder in a bit.

After putting a wad over the powder a 357 shell with a dowel in it was used to snug the powder a bit more.

The 405 grain cast bullets came with the heavier wax type of lube in the lube rings. They were boiled to melt the lube out. The system 2000 lube was put in to the corner of a plastic baggie, then the lube rings were filled and the bottom of the bullet was wiped off to minimize what gets into the case.

I measured the length of the bullets from the crimp ring to the base and they would further compress the powder just a little bit. I guess I should not be surprised as this was the original loading but it did work out perfectly between powder volume in the case and the wad/bullet combo on top.

This was really a lot of fun to do. It is quite different from smokeless powder loading. I will put up some target pictures after I shoot these off.

November 11, 2006, 10:59 PM
New, non-balloon head brass is thicker and somewhat smaller in powder capacity than the original .45-70 cartridges, so you did quite well. You may run into trouble with powder compression and bullet seating depth if you go much heavier than the 405gr bullets, so be careful. (The 500-550gr bullets I use seat a bit deeper with more lube grooves)

Watch your muzzle after firing a few rounds, you want to see a "lube star" on the crown. That lets you know you have enough lube on the bullets to make the entire trip down the bore without running out. Otherwise, you could be prone to leading in those last few inches, and that's not a lot of fun to clean out. ;)

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