Here's a myth for you: load a full barrel with BP?


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1KPerDay
November 7, 2006, 06:50 PM
Howdy. This just popped into my head and I thought I'd bore you with it. I was into the BP/Rendezvous scene for a while as a young teenager, and assembled a couple CVA muzzleloaders. One rumor I heard was that BP burns so slow and the guns are so overbuilt that you could fill the entire barrel of a rifle up with powder, seat a patched ball on it, and it wouldn't blow up the gun.:scrutiny: :uhoh:

My brain says it would probably go off like a pipe bomb. I don't really want to try it and find out, but I can say that I loaded as much as 200 grains of FFG in a .50 cal with seemingly no ill effects. No, I won't do that again. :eek:

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Cosmoline
November 7, 2006, 07:12 PM
Good one! I've always wondered about that myself. What I've heard is you can only blow it up if you have a secondary explosion after the first.

Third_Rail
November 7, 2006, 07:47 PM
Well, over on the BigIron Forums (http://www.bigironbarrels.com/forum/index.php), in this (http://www.bigironbarrels.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=241) and this (http://www.bigironbarrels.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=236) thread, we're taking suggestions on what to do this spring to test myths with blackpowder weapons.

Sounds like an interesting thing to do near the end of the testing, just for fun.

stevenb
November 7, 2006, 08:41 PM
Sounds like this is a job for the Myth Busters!:)

.38 Special
November 7, 2006, 08:47 PM
Sam Fadala wrote up an experiment where he blew up steel tubes with large loads of black powder. The tubes functioned to fire projectiles up to a certain point but then blew when enough powder was added. These were seamed mild steel tubes, however, so it's hard to draw any certain conclusions.

Chawbaccer
November 8, 2006, 06:10 AM
Dixie did, or maybe still does, they had a barrel full of powder with breech plugs on both ends, lit it with a fuse thru a touch hole drilled into the barrel, it held together just fine.

riddleofsteel
November 8, 2006, 03:54 PM
It's not because BP burns so slow. It's because it burns so fast. It is one of the most progressive of powders. The faster it burns the more pressure, the more pressure the faster it burns. In a open end barrel the pressure would flash out of the end. I could not saw what would happen with the barrel blocked.

1KPerDay
November 8, 2006, 03:57 PM
Dixie did, or maybe still does, they had a barrel full of powder with breech plugs on both ends, lit it with a fuse thru a touch hole drilled into the barrel, it held together just fine.

:uhoh: So where did the pressure go? Out the touch hole?:scrutiny:

old ironside
November 8, 2006, 04:27 PM
I had a friend double the load on a mississippi rifle .58 calibre. It misfired(dirty nipple probably as the gun was filthy) and then finally went off, with the hammer taking a hunk of his arm when it recoiled as he had taken it off his shoulder to see why it did not go off. I put a light down there and did not see any cracks, but do wonder if it is safe to shoot?

1KPerDay
November 8, 2006, 04:37 PM
I seriously doubt a double charge would hurt it if it is a quality BP rifle.

My $.02, disclaimers, YMMV, etc.

Tequila jake
November 8, 2006, 05:19 PM
I read somewhere that a manufacturer (don't remember which one) once loaded the barrel of a rolling block rifle full of black powder, seated a bullet and touched it off with no ill effects.

Tequila Jake

Chawbaccer
November 8, 2006, 08:51 PM
So where did the pressure go? Out the touch hole?

As I recall, that is where it went. I don't have a current catalog, but that was in there maybe ten, twelve years ago.

.38 Special
November 8, 2006, 10:07 PM
Sam Fadala also wrote up some old experiments by some branch or other of the U.S. armed forces wherein black powder was shown to produce in excess of 100,000 psi in a closed chamber.

I'd bet that a barrel full of powder would not blow up a good gun, but I'd insist it be someone else's gun. And someone else behind the trigger, at that.

RyanM
November 8, 2006, 11:03 PM
It's not because BP burns so slow. It's because it burns so fast. It is one of the most progressive of powders. The faster it burns the more pressure, the more pressure the faster it burns. In a open end barrel the pressure would flash out of the end. I could not saw what would happen with the barrel blocked.

Uh, no. It's the opposite. Black powder burns at a nearly constant (slow) speed with different levels of confinement, whereas smokeless burns much faster and with greater pressure with greater confinement. This is why smokeless cartridges have a minimum loaded overall length. Below that minimum, the powder may be too confined. This is also why very very few muzzleloaders are made to handle smokeless, it'd just be too easy to over-ram the bullet.

Pressure itself has very little to do with burning rate.

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