So, whats the difference between blackpower and pyrodex?


The Deer Hunter
November 8, 2006, 11:49 PM
So, whats the difference between blackpower and pyrodex?

Which one burns cleaner?

I keep getting mixed answers and am tired of this complete and utter Bovine Feces (BS) i get from eveyone

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November 9, 2006, 12:21 AM
Get a pound of each and figure it out for yourself.

Myself, I've done the Pyrodex thing and have gone completely back to real black powder. I find the Holy Black softer fouling, easier to clean up, more consistent in velocity spread shot-to-shot, and more accurate in my black powder cartridge firearms. With a good organic bullet lube, black powder smells better in my opinion, too.

Pyrodex is great for the black powder shooter if your local stores cannot stock the real stuff because of insurance or fire department rules. It was developed to circumvent onerous HazMat shipping regulations with respect to low-order explosives like black powder, and is treated like smokeless powder for shipping, insurance, and zoning purposes. Otherwise, there's no great benefit.

November 9, 2006, 08:49 AM
Man it takes me long enough to drop a pellet in each of the 6 chambers, then a pad....... then a ball, take care to remove the lead ring.... then flip up, gun pointed at the deck downrange and press on some caps. Now get your wooden dowel and step through each cylinder pressing the cap nice and tight..... Whew now I'm ready to try and place 6 shots on a target downrange.

I cannot imagine spilling BP out of the measuring flask, being careful not to over load each cylinder 6 times versus dropping a pellet in the chamber. Last weekend the guy at the table next to me was firing off some cannon that shook me from the explosion so much that I was counting 1,2,5,3, duhhhh was that 4 or 6 I missed.... tip her down and see what chamber is missing a pellet....

I suppose I should try it once just for the experience, but from the experiences of loading at a table at our local range, Pyrodex is the only way to go for me, but try both and see what suits you personally....


November 9, 2006, 09:15 AM
Pyrodex has come a long way from what it was back in the 70`s when it first came out couldn`t give me a can of it back then took a fire to light it off ..from what i`ve used of it now , it lights off quick and very consistant .
It`s uasually cheap and easy to find ... But when the wind blows the smoke in yer face and you get good wiff of that chemical fire smell ...i just don`t like it . Goex just smells like coal burning , no chemical smell at all . And i will add as said real black powder cleans up easyer than Pyrodex too .

The Deer Hunter
November 9, 2006, 03:21 PM
O so there is no real advantage:(

I understand making of the title family friendly but bull a bad word?:confused:

November 9, 2006, 03:46 PM
Pyrodex is purposely formulated to be harder to ignite than real black powder (600 degrees F, with gas temps up towards 4,000 degrees F - which is why you don't see it being used in flintlock priming pans), so it's become the flammable solid propellant of choice for those retailers who don't want to spend the insurance or can't get the licensing for low-order explosive Holy Black. In other words, it's better than nothing. ;)

Little-known fact: To get Pyrodex pellets to light consistently, they actually have a small amount of real black powder in the center burn channel to facilitate ignition.

November 9, 2006, 04:03 PM
and am tired of this
Apart from Gary making things more family friendly - and no ''bull'' is not in itself bad - you posted aggressively and testily, which hardly warms folks to post and try to help.

This whole question is one where they are many experiences and opinions but like so many things - not necessarily easily definitive.

November 9, 2006, 04:21 PM
I can only post my own experiences. I started shooting muzzleloaders just about when Pyrodex came onto the market. Being young (12-13) and ignorant at the time, I assumed it had to be "new and improved" so after a few cans of the black powder, I switched to Pyrodex.

I never could get it to shoot nearly as well in any gun I used it in. I thought it was just me until I switched back to black powder. Once I switched back to black powder, I noticed that not only did my groups improve, but the guns were easier to clean, the misfires went away, and my guns weren't as prone to rust.

I still shoot Pyrodex occasionally, when I run out of black powder and have to wait to put in a bulk order, because it's all that's available locally.

My impressions with it, after shooting maybe a hundred pounds over several decades is that it's harder to ignite, not as consistent, dirtier with harder to remove fouling, and more corrosive than black powder.

Make mine Swiss or Goex, thank you.

November 9, 2006, 06:08 PM
there are advantages and disadvantages to each, you'll have to decide which you like best based on yer own testing. my observations are

1. pyrodex fouling does not build up like blackpowder fouling. it still gets all over everything, but it doesnt accumulate and cake like blackpowder fouling does. i have shot guns side-by-side with the two propellants, and the difference is very noticeable to me.

2. blackpowder produces less hangfires and misfires than pyrodex in sidelock muzzleloaders (doesnt seem to make a difference w/ inlines). i can make pyrodex work very reliably in my sidelocks, but it requires some tapping on the breech of the rifle to make sure powder has entered the bolster. blackpowder is pretty much a sure thing for ignition. just pour it in the barrel and blast away

3. corrosiveness: in my experience, pyrodex is actually MORE corrosive than blackpowder, even though it produces a little less fouling. i once had some light speckling on a stainless steel bolt :eek: after just one day of sitting w/ pyrodex fouling

4. accuracy. my results have been inconclusive on whether one is more accurate than the other. pyrodex claims to produce better shot-to-shot consistency because of the lower residue build-up, and that makes sense. but in my actual experience, i have shot some truly outstanding groups w/ blackpowder, while i can't say that i've ever really shot a remarkable group when using pyrodex (have done really well w/ triple 7, though).

5. shelf life . . . ?????? ive read plenty about this, and some folks indicate that pyrodex has a shorter shelf life than blackpowder. mebbe so and mebbe not. i will say that i shot some pyrodex RS last year that has a date of 1994 :eek: , and it shot just fine (the seal on the bottle was broken back in 94, too). blackpowder doesnt ever seem to go bad

anyway, i shoot both of 'em. they both work, just have different characteristics. my decision is oftentimes based on which i can get the cheapest . . . .

November 9, 2006, 10:17 PM
If you shoot BP with natural lubes and avoid oil in the barrel your gun will shoot better, foul less and never rust with some attention to details like cleaning with hot water ect.
Pyrodex will not do that.
If only someone could come up with BP substitute that is not corrosive and does the same job.
Oh yeah they did.
Smokeless powder.



November 10, 2006, 06:11 AM
Pyrodex P gives velocities similar to Swiss 3f - higher than goex. 80 grains/volume equivalent of Pyrodex RS does the same as 100 grains of goex 2f in my Lyman 50 caliber rifle. Pyrodex tends to foul the barrel slower than black powder and I find no difference in clean -up using the same method. The plains rifle shoots very well with both types but will group shots close together a bit longer between bore swabbings when the propellent is pyrodex
we have a partial can of pyrodex from the first year or two of production. The owner bought it and didnt' like it as well as the black powder that was more readily available at the time. He left it in his garage where it went through temperature cycles from -5 to + 100 degrees for several decades. We shot some of it from revolvers last year. Velocities were slower than new pyrodex p but the extreme spreads were the same. No idea whether the lower velocity was a result of deterioration or changes in manufacture.

We generally find that decades old black powder shoots slower than new goex but again, don't know the exact cause.

November 10, 2006, 08:14 AM
You guys are just a wealth of information... I have been using the word Pyrodex, but in actual fact, I think the product I use is Goex.. its a small grey cylinder with a hole down the center... Burns great, and cleans easy enough..and wasn't all that expensive.

In the vein of this discussion, however, I have a question... Can I load up a cylinder with ball/pad/goex pellet and leave off the percussion cap for safety, and then just leave it in the presentation case till the next time I go shooting? I have an extra cylinder, so it would not be in the frame of the Remington...

I average gettin out every other week lately... but might not get out over Christmas holidays...

Thanks in advance..

November 10, 2006, 08:47 AM
Most sport shooting groups would say yes thats a safe cylinder with the powder and ball in it ..and no caps . To me its still a danger , if i were to do that i would feel better if the cylinder were in some sort of leather case or pouch with a cover over it . There`s always the danger of smokeing materials setting it off , real black powder is real easy to set off with just a spark of most any kind ..Pyrodex a little harder , it takes a hotter spark . I`ll give ya en example there was a man smokeing a cigar with a powder horn around his neck ...the powder horn didn`t have a cap or any way of produceing a spark ...but his smokeing materials set it off with just a fallen ember . Just be careful handleing cylinders with powder and ball in them ..there`s still a potiental for daster .

November 10, 2006, 08:54 AM
franco, i think youre talking about pyrodex pellets. goex doesnt make blackpowder pellets, to my knowledge

November 10, 2006, 09:25 AM

If I do put ball&pellet in a chamber I like the idea of having in in a pouch, even if it is a ziplock bag for starters til I find something more elegant...

I have the gun, an empty flask, and the R&D conversion cylinder (Loaded, but with the firing pin assembly removed) all in a presentation case that has a small lock on it. All is stored in a locked wardrobe beside the bed, so it is technically double locked. The locks are child proof, but not professional burglar proof, if you get my drift..

At night, I unlock everything and leave the wardrobe door open. I toss my company badges, wallet and watch on a shelf. Any strange noises from downstairs, and I have my choice of the 1911, the Remington, or the 12Ga. Beretta shotgun (shells in a box in the wardrobe). To be honest, I don't know which one I would reach for first.. I tell the wife to grab the shotgun, turn on all the lights, sit in bed and see who comes through the door.


The Deer Hunter
November 10, 2006, 11:30 PM
Man, this is like jumping in a pool after sitting in a hottub for 15 minutes

November 12, 2006, 07:08 PM
My 44 calls for 12-15 grain of fffg which I've already fired off and seems to work good. But can this gun handle more grains? Can I get pellets for it? Wow that butter sure gets everywhere. They tell me that the ball is suppose to stop about .o40 from the top of the cylinder then fill the rest with butter.not so in mine, its like .200 - any help app. Don-

November 12, 2006, 07:58 PM
butter or bore butter is poison placed over the powder. works ok if placed over the ball though. Those recommended charges of 15 grains or so are extral light and a lot of seating stems won't set the ball down on them. 25-28 is a good minimum charge and 35 would be a good place to stop with the colt and remington replicas. You can safely stuff in 40 of black or pyrodex but it overstrains the seating mechanism.

November 12, 2006, 08:58 PM
Not on the powder, on the top of the ball. piettas book tells me after the 12-15 gr of 3f the ball will be .040 down from the top of the cylinder. I find this not true, even if I put 28gr in. Do I need to smear that butter in the cylinder on the ball, or is a lubed wad on the powder good enough. Don-

November 12, 2006, 09:28 PM
either but not necessarily both. A wonder wad between the ball and powder (It'll fit even with 35 grains of powder) will prevent chainfires from lopsided or undersized balls it also reduces fouling a bit better than over ball grease. the BigIron stiff felt wads treated with Gatofeo lube will keep the barrel substantially free of fouling without frequent field cleaning.

November 12, 2006, 09:42 PM
Thanks Mec for your info. You seem to be a (Mecca of info) on this forum, and I appriciate all of it. Later! Don-:rolleyes:

November 12, 2006, 10:25 PM
Black Powder is the "real" thing and makes wonderful smoke and the authentic smell and gives you the complete experience of firing historic arms, even though reproductions. But... I've shot both pyrodex and BP and will continue.

Plastic Cowboy
November 13, 2006, 02:49 AM
One of the main reasons that I enjoy shooting BP revolvers is the smoke and fire. How does REAL Black Powder compare to Pyrodex/777 for the smoke and fire effect???

By the way MORE smoke and fire is better.....YEA!!!!:evil:

1911 guy
November 14, 2006, 08:24 AM
There is no real performance advantage to Pyrodex. You're still pushing a roundball or sabot with pistol bullet at nearly the same velocities. Black cleans up easier with soap and water, my flintlock gets cleaned with nothing more than wet patches. I pull the barrel and "dunk" it twice a year. Very thin full length stock I really don't want to crack by fooling with it all the time.

Ignition is iffy with Pyrodex in a flinter. My most accurate load in my .50 is 80gr FFFg, pellets are in 50gr increments.

As fa as the hassle of loading, it gets quick and hassle free with practice. I can spit patch, dry patch, charge, load and prime my .36 in about 90 seconds. That's working from a bag, not stuff laid out on a bench. That's also relaxing at the range, not using my cigarrette paper cartridges I carry when hunting. Those are quicker. Patch (small bore, fouls quicker), tear and dump the powder, run a ball down and prime.

.38 Special
November 15, 2006, 12:49 PM
I've toyed around with Pyrodex. Didn't see that it was any improvement. Doesn't want to go off in my flinters. Isn't any cheaper, at least in my neck of the woods. Smells funny. May offend the gods.

Thought the pellets were a good idea when they came out, bad karma notwithstanding. Ultimately decided that it was a bit more difficult to manipulate the rabbit pellets than the flask.

Don't really get the point.

It seems to me, after years of patient rumination (ha!), that Pyrodex has been marketed to new shooters as the "superior" or "modern" improvement over black, and that a lot of those new fellows take it as gospel, even to the point of looking down their noses at "inferior" black powder. Am I off base here?

November 15, 2006, 03:01 PM
Come on guys ya just don`t use Pyrodex in a flinter just won`t work there unless you back the charge with a little real black powder ..then it might be ok ... but too much extra trouble for my likeing .
Don`t get me wrong i really don`t like Pyrodex but there`s times when i just can`t find any Goex no where except by mail order over the net , ... I have to say though compaired to the Pyrodex i used when it first showed its face on the planet , the stuff now days is very consistant and a little more powerful than real black ..but Pyrodex smells like an out house full of chemicals burning .
BTW i order Real black by the case these days , shoot only Goex 3 f in everything i own and breath deep with the wind in my face ...:D

November 15, 2006, 07:08 PM
They do market it as some sort of improvement, which it is not. I was shooting BP when Pyrodex first hit the market. Being young and impressionable, I bought into the hype and shot it for a few years. Disheartened, I went back to the real stuff and prefer it to this day. I still shoot Pyrodex occasionally when I run out of BP and don't have the money to make a bulk order. It seems to have gotten better, but I still prefer the real stuff, especially during cleanup.

November 21, 2006, 12:05 PM
I live up here in western Washington, Durring muzzle seasons it rains a lot, If it's not raining it's fixing to. Just high humidity causes bp substitutes to go inert and not ignite, If you use the stuff around here you need a fresh load every day, not so with real BP, a well sealed load will ignite when needed no matter how many days you run around in the rain. the old timers used to load old Betsy with good grease seal when they needed er she'd go off, sometimes after being loaded for years.

November 21, 2006, 03:50 PM
There's nothing better and more consistant, and better for your revolver than Black Powder...fffg for Revs.
In my opinion Pyrodex Pistol powder just plain sucks. And Pellets should never be used in a revolver. Waytoo light and even more inaccurtate. Pyrodex 777 ffg works ok, but reduce the load 15% by weighs less. I don't like using 777 in especially Colts as I sheared the locating pins off the frame with a 32gr equivlent to BP.(1860 Army Pietta)
Get the Holy Black and don't go back no more no more...

November 21, 2006, 04:46 PM
My personal experience:
I can force about 4 or 5 patched round balls down my TC Grey Hawk using FF Goex before needing to wet swab the barrel.
Using Pyrodex in the TC, I have shot at least 30 rounds without any swabbing,and could likely do many more as the loading resistance doesn't increase. I use all natural lubes for all of my shooting,but Goex BP still stubbornly cakes.
BP always ignites quickly. Pyrodex only ignites reliably in my percussion sidelocks if I use musket caps. #11s are good for a few shots only. I haven't even tried it in my flintlock,though I may try duplexing it with regular BP to see if I can get more shots.
Both have their place,IMO.

November 21, 2006, 04:54 PM
Always come back to BP but - way back did test out some ''CleanShot'' and found it quite effective in my .50 cal Traditions.

Meant to evaluate that more because it did make fouling a very minor hassle - but the call of BP got the better of me!

November 22, 2006, 07:59 PM
FWIW....don't know how much this applies here, but I bought some Shockey's Gold for my Knight (yeah, I know. Not real BP firearm) over 20 rounds before swabbing the bore. One wet patch, one more, a dry patch and you're clean. I can tell you that it's really coarse and doesn't flow well.

And it's (supposedly) no more corrosive than smokeless

Mine is the 1st year production of the Knight and uses regular #11 caps.

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