Black powder vrs smokeless


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tblue
December 30, 2011, 01:51 AM
I am new to the forum and in search of some expert advice on reloading for an old 1873 Springfield trapdoor. I would Like to shoot smokeless in it but am worried about the pressure spike with smokeless powder.. Black Powder is recommended I understand but would like to stay away from the cleaning, drop tube, compressing powder, wad and etc. the gun I will be shooting had a slight bulge in the barrel from what I am guessing and the gun smith that checked it out was from an obstruction in the barrel then a second shot behind it. I am erring in the side of caution but would like to get some more info before I proceed. I am looking at using 3031 or 4895 powders... thanks

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Striker Fired
December 30, 2011, 02:18 AM
If that barrel already had an "incident" I would suggest making a hanger bracket for the wall above the fireplace and put the gun up there. Some of the structural integrity is already comprimised (how much?) and I wouldn't feel like shooting it. Plus the accuracy would more than likely be subpar do to the bullet bouncing around in that messed up bore.

x_wrench
December 30, 2011, 09:14 AM
wow, i also think you are walking on thin ice with that gun. personally, i would take it to a different gunsmith and ask him to evaluate how safe it is to fire. if, and that is a BIG IF, he says it is ok to shoot, i would start out with below the starting loads of trail boss. work up slowly and cautiously. but if the smith says it is a wall hanger, believe him, and do not end your eyesight or life early. no gun is worth that.

JohnM
December 30, 2011, 09:21 AM
You have a genuine vintage '73 Trapdoor with a bulged barrel and you want to shoot it?
Don't be nuts, it did it's duty, clean it up and hang it on the wall.

Lost Sheep
December 30, 2011, 05:51 PM
Is this an original Springfield or a replica?

If the barrel is bulged, I wonder if the action's strength was compromised at the same time?

Trail Boss is used as a substitute for Black Powder, but I don't think I would use it. Rather, the Pyrodex Black Powder substitute, which was designed from the ground up to substitute for BP. Pyrodex burns much like B.P. and is much cleaner. T.B. is actually (despite its adherents, of which I am one, by the way) a smokeless powder. While it may run at pressures lower than most other smokeless powders, I would not put it in a gun originally designed for B.P. Not while Pyrodex (or the other B.P. substitutes) are available, for sure.

If you do insist on shooting it, I suggest this:

Tie a string to the trigger with the other end of the string a long way away and behind a barrier. Tie the gun well to a dismounted tire. Load a cartridge. Lay a white sheet, then a heavy blanket over the gun with the muzzle clear of obstruction and pointed downrange and a piece of plywood over that.

Go to the other end of the string, get behing the barrier and pull the string.

Examine the underside of the sheet for powder burns and perhaps shreds of brass or gun parts.

Only then would I even CONSIDER putting the stock against my shoulder and pulling the trigger.

And probably not even then. Your rifle (carbine?) was compromised once. Sad to say, it would not be prudent to stress it again without THOROUGH examination, testing, and maybe rebarreling if it checks out.

Good luck,

Lost Sheep

tblue
December 31, 2011, 10:30 AM
Thanks for the Info. when I used the word bulge I should of explained it a little more. It has a small swelling about 8" from the breach that is barley visible with the eye. it goes for about 1.5" them goes back to the regular size of bore. not to say that it makes it any safer but the word " BULGE" some times gets a little exciting when you are talking about guns. I have had it looked at by a couple of other guys and they say the same thing it is ok to shoot but should use a reduced load to begin with. it is a rifle made in 1881 and was my great grandfathers the trapdoor has been worked over and even replaced. I am not planning on shooting it a lot but would like to cast and reload some for it. I am looking for any ideas on what I should be using as a starting load I see several for unique. I think that is to fast of burning powder to use in the trapdoor. I was looking at using 3031 or 4895 any idea's what the starting load might be.

RandyP
December 31, 2011, 01:25 PM
There are any numbers of gun folks who get a little excited when the term "small swelling' is used too - lol

It is your gun and your extremities and eyes. Unless those couple other 'guys' are well trained and competent gunsmiths? Their opinions (and frankly mine) are relatively worthless as regards the firing condition of your rifle.

If you simply will not survive without shooting the thing you would be well served hiring the services of a good gunsmith to help determine if it is safe to shoot with any load.

fguffey
December 31, 2011, 01:43 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAES5SXUwVU

F. Guffey

Lost Sheep
December 31, 2011, 03:20 PM
Thanks for the Info. when I used the word bulge I should of explained it a little more. It has a small swelling about 8" from the breach that is barley visible with the eye. it goes for about 1.5" them goes back to the regular size of bore. not to say that it makes it any safer but the word " BULGE" some times gets a little exciting when you are talking about guns. I have had it looked at by a couple of other guys and they say the same thing it is ok to shoot but should use a reduced load to begin with. it is a rifle made in 1881 and was my great grandfathers the trapdoor has been worked over and even replaced. I am not planning on shooting it a lot but would like to cast and reload some for it. I am looking for any ideas on what I should be using as a starting load I see several for unique. I think that is to fast of burning powder to use in the trapdoor. I was looking at using 3031 or 4895 any idea's what the starting load might be.
A bulge is a bulge. One that is invisible to the naked eye is bad enough. One that IS visible is a large bulge. (This is my un-gunsmithy opinion) As I suggested in my earlier post, but which I will put a finer point on now: I am not so concerned over the barrel as I am about what happened when the back pressure from whatever caused the bulge hit that trapdoor action.

You may have though I was going overboard with my suggestion of testing your gun with the string, tire, sheet and blanket, but I am not. I did forget to specify that you should put a white sheet under the gun as well. Gasses escaping in any direction can cause the shooter a degree of discomfort. or pain. or injury.

I also caution against shooting any smokeless powder in this gun or any other gun originally designed for BP. Use Pyrodex or some other genuine black powder substitute. Even the excellent Trail Boss, vaunted as a low pressure alternative is not designed to be used in genuine black powder firearms, but in the Cowboy Action Shooting Sports that use a lot of new firearms that are stronger than the originals they replicate.

As far as we know, that bulge could have been there for years and hundreds or thousands of rounds gone down that barrel safely since. But on the other hand, that bulge could have happened the very last time the gun was fired and the next time will be the very last it fires (and the very last the shooter fires as well). We just don't know.

What we do know is that your historic firearm is compromised. Using an inappropriate powder (Unique, 3031, 4895 or Trail Boss) in a completely intact original Black Powder arm is unwise. Using a compromised firearm is unwise. Doubling up on unwise practices is..... you supply your own adjective. I don't want to get myself banned for using foul language.

I know you want to honor the memory of your Great Grandfather. Don't dishonor him by destroying his rifle.

I know you have had this looked at, and we here on the forum have not seen it, so the gunsmiths' advice that said it was OK to shoot with reduced loads might be right. We are cautious. On account of our not having examined the gun and on account of our collective experience. I wonder that the 'smith you consulted did not have a suggested load and powder choice? I wonder if he would be willing to do the first test fire on it?

If you MUST shoot it. Drill out the primer pocket to accept a shotgun primer. Cast a bullet out of hard wax. With NO POWDER, shoot that load. It's a hoot, I'll tell you. Do a search on "Wax Bullets" for more information.

Good luck

Lost Sheep

gamestalker
December 31, 2011, 04:36 PM
Are you seriously asking if a 30-06 with a buldged barrel is safe to shoot? Black powder or smokless, it is not safe to shoot. Even if it didn't come apart, accuracy would be in the toilet.

Fguffey, my Wife and I are still laughing about that video clip. It didn't appear that fellow had both oar's in the water, which just added to the humor. I saw one a while back that was good. A guy had reloaded for the first time for his .50 BMG. First of all, none of the bullets were seated to the same length, and most had OAL's too long to fit the chamber, so he was using a hammer to close the bolt thus forcing the round into the chamber/lands. This all came to an end when he was smacking the bolt handle with the hammer again when the firing pin dropped on a round before the lugs were engaged, kaboom! That one wasn't funny, do to the fact that he was seriously injured and leaking large quanities of bood, I think he was missing a finger or two as well.

Is it just me, or does the average person just not see the big red flags waving in the wind?

Lost Sheep
December 31, 2011, 06:02 PM
Are you seriously asking if a 30-06 with a buldged barrel is safe to shoot? Black powder or smokless, it is not safe to shoot. Even if it didn't come apart, accuracy would be in the toilet.

(edited for brevity)

Is it just me, or does the average person just not see the big red flags waving in the wind?
Not just you. Everybody, with the exception of only the OP and his gunsmith(s) have warned against shooting this iron. Well, I did suggest precautions to take if he DID, but still, I warned against it.

By the way, it isn't a 30-06. Read the original post and don't get distracted by the "Springfield". This is not the 1906 Bolt action. It even predates the Krag. This is a genuine (not reproduction) 1873 Trapdoor Springfield (most probably 45-70).

Lost Sheep

gamestalker
January 1, 2012, 05:47 PM
Gotcha, an 1873 original TD. It would deffinitely make a better conversation piece hanging on the wall, than in pieces stained with blood.

SlamFire1
January 2, 2012, 12:13 AM
I would be leary of any firearm with a bulged anything. That is a weak spot, the metal has exceeded its yeild and deformed.

Smokeless powders were causing M1873's to blow up in the Spanish American war.

It was being reported that as many as 10% of the rifles were blowing up, but the author of this 1898 report says he can only find 3 out of 14,000.

Safety standards have changed of the last 110 years, one rifle out of every 4666 blowing up would not be considered acceptable today!

http://books.google.com/books?id=YgFHAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA539#v=onepage&q&f=false

AK_Maine_iac
January 2, 2012, 05:40 AM
To heck with the BULGE... is your life insurance paid up? NO DO NOT SHOOT IT.

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