Pyrodex pellets safe in flintlock ?


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Jim, West PA
July 14, 2012, 09:18 PM
I have read that Hodgden says NO .
Can anyone explain the dangers involved in this use ?
NO, i am not going to use them in anything.
My Hawken suffered a detonation with these under a Powerbelt and i'm just trying to understand what exactly went awry.

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bubba15301
July 14, 2012, 09:34 PM
what do you mean by detonation? do you have pics? they say not to use them in a flintlock because the pellets are to hard to ignite in a flintlock

72coupe
July 14, 2012, 10:26 PM
I would say they are real safe in a flintlock.

I can't even light them in my T/C Hawken with musket caps.

Jim, West PA
July 15, 2012, 03:01 PM
what do you mean by detonation?
A detonation is what occurs in a black powder firearm when there is any void between the powder and the projectile.
I had a detonation in the breech and not an igintion.
The frizzen hold down got blown off the lock.
The main hammer spring got broken.
The touch hole blew out.
The lock plate got bent.
The stock got cracked.
My right eye lash and eye brow got burnt off.
And now there's a 'tight' spot in the breech that makes it difficult
to push a patched jag all the way home.

And nope, no pics.
I still have a cracked stock and the damaged lock plate tho.

Jim, West PA
July 15, 2012, 03:18 PM
I would say they are real safe in a flintlock.

That's not what Hodgdon, the maker of them says.

INTENDED USE
" Triple Seven and Pyrodex Pellets are designed for use only in newly manufactured muzzleloading, in-line rifles of 50 caliber, 54 caliber, and 45 caliber. Use Triple Seven only in a 209 primer ignition system. Pyrodex may be used with standard cap, musket cap or 209 primer ignition systems. Use only the correct caliber Pellet designated for the given caliber rifle. They are designed to be used with saboted bullets or conicals together with a fiber wad. Any other use of the Pellets is not recommended. Triple Seven Pellets are not for use in cartridges, or with patched round ball. Pyrodex Pellets may be used in cartridges."

Hodgdon also has this to say.....

MISUSE WARNING " Use of Triple Seven Pellets and Pyrodex Pellets in sidelock muzzleloading rifles, in flintlock muzzleloading rifles, using a patched round ball, or the use of conical lead bullets without a fiber wad is NOT recommended. Due to variations in the size and type of flash channels of such rifles, as well as different rifle bore diameters, and conical bullet sizes, hangfires (a delayed ignition of the Pellet) or an improper gas seal of the projectile may occur. These conditions could cause the projectile or a burning Pellet to exit the barrel in a hazardous manner, which could cause personal injury or death to the user or bystander, as well as damage to the firearm."

Allthough this warning does not address the use of Powerbelt bullets


I should have included in my OP that they were used under a Powerbelt bullet.
Which is neither a saboted bullet or a conical over wad bullet.
So, according to Hodgdon, the person that loaded my Hawken did all the things they were not supposed to do with the pellets.
I am trying to learn and understand exactly what it was that caused the detonation and looking for someone here that understands this and can explain to me.

bubba15301
July 15, 2012, 03:51 PM
why would you shoot a muzzleloader that someone else loaded ? the pellets and powerbelt acted like a blockage and all the pressure went thru the touchhole and breech

72coupe
July 15, 2012, 04:21 PM
Jim it was my attempt at humor as pellets are very hard to ignite in any thing but an inline type rifle.

bubba15301
July 15, 2012, 05:50 PM
was there a charge of blackpowder under the pellets? if so the blackpowder ignited but the pellets didnt -therefore bore obstruction not detonation

Jim, West PA
July 15, 2012, 07:38 PM
why would you shoot a muzzleloader that someone else loaded ?
It was my brother bubba. And this is a moot point at this time.

the pellets and powerbelt acted like a blockage and all the pressure went thru the touchhole and breech
Technicaly, it all left the breech, via the touch hole and Bbl.
These things i allready know.

Jim, West PA
July 15, 2012, 07:40 PM
Jim it was my attempt at humor as pellets are very hard to ignite in any thing but an inline type rifle.

Gotchya, ;)
Sorry coupe, i can be a bit slow sometimes.:D

Jim, West PA
July 15, 2012, 07:53 PM
was there a charge of blackpowder under the pellets? if so the blackpowder ignited but the pellets didnt -therefore bore obstruction not detonation
Yes, bubba. He said he had 5gr o' fff under there.
If there were a true obstruction, i would think it would still be in the Bbl
and the results would have been more catastrophic ?

Are you thinkin that the fff went off but the touch hole was the path of least resistance ? Allthough, the projectile and or pellets left the Bbl, i hit the target.
A detonation can/will still launch the projectile.

I am tryin to learn and understand the principles of all this.

bubba15301
July 15, 2012, 08:26 PM
how many pellets did he load in the flintlock - starting to sound like an overload to me not a detonation

bubba15301
July 15, 2012, 08:30 PM
must have had an airspace between the 3 fff and the pellets. might not of had enough 3 fff to fill the space between the loose blackpowder and the pellets. the breechplug isnt flat , it has a small powder trough . 5grains might not of filled this space causing the detonation

arcticap
July 15, 2012, 09:35 PM
Maybe the FFFG absorbed some moisture and didn't ignite rapidly enough.
That can happen if the touch hole isn't plugged while it's stored.
Some folks will use the pointed quill of a feather or whatever else fits into the touchhole to plug it up until it's fired.
If there was a delay with the booster powder, maybe it caused the pellet and/or the Powerbelt to move forward which created the obstruction or detonation as you called it.
And the pellet or pellets could have absorbed enough moisture to delay their ignition too.
Even pellets are known to go bad if they're not properly stored in an airtight container prior to being loaded.
There's also one end of Pyrodex Pellets that are suppose to have a black powder igniter on one end. It's hard to detect which end has it, and which end is inserted may not matter if using 209 primers. But some folks do complain about their inconsistent ignition.
How long was the gun stored semi-loaded before it was fired?

mustanger
July 17, 2012, 12:24 AM
Wouldn't pellet loaded in a sidelock get stopped by the patent breech, or powder chamber, where as the bp kicker would fall inside the chamber? Causing an air space.

ArchAngelCD
July 17, 2012, 04:26 AM
You do know there are 2 sides to Pyrodex pellets, right? The dark side is supposed to be closest to the ignition source for them to light reliably. I use 2X50 pellets all the time in my Hawken Caplock...

However, in a FlintlockIi would use a small charge of FFF powder under the pellets to insure proper ignition.

arcticap
July 17, 2012, 07:14 AM
And now there's a 'tight' spot in the breech that makes it difficult
to push a patched jag all the way home.

Usually when a barrels gets "ringed" from being short loaded, a part of the barrel gets bulged which results in a loose spot being created down near the breech.
Could the tight spot mark the beginning of the powder chamber?
In some guns the powder chamber is slightly over .30 in diameter.
If not, then maybe the tight spot is an accumulation of powder residue that formed a crud ring.
I can't imagine how a part of the bore could become narrower after the detonation event instead of either getting bulged or being okay which is what typically happens.

KeithL
July 17, 2012, 07:56 AM
Was any 777 shot before the detonation? It is my understanding that 777 leaves a crud ring when fired. So, is it possible that this was not the first charge, even if 777 was used on another occasion, and the pellets or projectile were improperly seated? As you know an airspace between the powder and projectile can lead to a detonation.

Jim, West PA
July 17, 2012, 09:25 AM
how many pellets did he load in the flintlock - starting to sound like an overload to me not a detonation
If i recolect right bubbs, he had 3 30gr'rs in there on top o' 5 gr fff.
I will see him this saturday and find out for sure.

must have had an airspace between the 3 fff and the pellets. might not of had enough 3 fff to fill the space between the loose blackpowder and the pellets. the breechplug isnt flat , it has a small powder trough . 5grains might not of filled this space causing the detonation

That right there bubba is helping me in my understanding of this.I've never taken one apart and therefore didn't know the actual dimensions inside that area.I'll hafta do some research and see if i can't find a drawing of exactly what it looks like in there.Or, maybe just take mine apart. I do believe i have the wrench blocks here somewhere.
Also, i have no doubts that there was indeed an airspace involved here.

Jim, West PA
July 17, 2012, 09:26 AM
Maybe the FFFG absorbed some moisture and didn't ignite rapidly enough.
That can happen if the touch hole isn't plugged while it's stored.
Some folks will use the pointed quill of a feather or whatever else fits into the touchhole to plug it up until it's fired.
If there was a delay with the booster powder, maybe it caused the pellet and/or the Powerbelt to move forward which created the obstruction or detonation as you called it.
And the pellet or pellets could have absorbed enough moisture to delay their ignition too.
Even pellets are known to go bad if they're not properly stored in an airtight container prior to being loaded.
There's also one end of Pyrodex Pellets that are suppose to have a black powder igniter on one end. It's hard to detect which end has it, and which end is inserted may not matter if using 209 primers. But some folks do complain about their inconsistent ignition.
How long was the gun stored semi-loaded before it was fired?
I spose that could be a possibilty also Steve. I'm thinkin it was at least 5-6 months twixt loading and firing.

Jim, West PA
July 17, 2012, 09:28 AM
Wouldn't pellet loaded in a sidelock get stopped by the patent breech, or powder chamber, where as the bp kicker would fall inside the chamber? Causing an air space.

This point has been brot up twice now mustanger.
I need to see what exactly the inside of the breech area looks like and get some pellets in my hand and go from there.

Jim, West PA
July 17, 2012, 09:32 AM
You do know there are 2 sides to Pyrodex pellets, right? The dark side is supposed to be closest to the ignition source for them to light reliably. I use 2X50 pellets all the time in my Hawken Caplock...

However, in a FlintlockIi would use a small charge of FFF powder under the pellets to insure proper ignition.

I've never even seen one of these pellets Arch. But thru reading about them i did know this. Did he know this when he loaded the gun? I have no clue.

From what Hodgdon says about their pellets. They are to be used in modern inline muzzel loading firearms only.
You could be flirtin with disaster.

Jim, West PA
July 17, 2012, 09:38 AM
Usually when a barrels gets "ringed" from being short loaded, a part of the barrel gets bulged which results in a loose spot being created down near the breech.
Could the tight spot mark the beginning of the powder chamber?
In some guns the powder chamber is slightly over .30 in diameter.
If not, then maybe the tight spot is an accumulation of powder residue that formed a crud ring.
I can't imagine how a part of the bore could become narrower after the detonation event instead of either getting bulged or being okay which is what typically happens

Exactly what i would expect Steve.
This tight spot was not there before this misshap.
When i ran my patched jag in there the other night , i felt the tight spot and then i could feel when the jag got past it.
As for it bein a crud ring. I don't see that bein possible from just one shot.
I haven't been able to see what is on that patch yet tho because the seating end of my ram rod pulled off and the jag is stuck below that tight spot untill i get another ram rod to screw into the jag and pull it back out.:banghead:
A freind is bringin a ram rod by this wekend and i'll be able to pull the jag back out then and see what evidence is on the patch.

Jim, West PA
July 17, 2012, 09:41 AM
Was any 777 shot before the detonation? It is my understanding that 777 leaves a crud ring when fired. So, is it possible that this was not the first charge, even if 777 was used on another occasion, and the pellets or projectile were improperly seated? As you know an airspace between the powder and projectile can lead to a detonation.
No Kieth, 777 was never used by me in this gun. I've only ever used 90gr o' fff.
Did he use any 777 prior to loading these pyrodex pellets ? I'll ask him this saturday.
And yes, i am fully aware of air space causing a detonation in a bp firearm.

arcticap
July 17, 2012, 09:48 AM
There's at least 2 flintlocks that accept the use of pellets. Not that they're reliable when only loaded with them but folks do use loose powder as a booster charge. One is the TC Firestorm and the other is the Traditions PA Pellet flintlock. It's name even contains the word "pellet".
Maybe you'd consider one of these as a replacement for your damaged rifle.

...The PA Pellet is the designed to fire both loose powder and easy to use pellets. New for 2011, Traditions has added Accelerator Breech Plug to the PA Pellet Flintlock line. This breech plug enables a more consistent ignition and easier cleaning or removing a load. It is removable by hand in just three easy turns....

http://www.traditionsfirearms.com/muzzleloader-press-details.php?Traditions-Modernizes-the-New-.50-cal-PA-Pellet-Flintlock-with-Addition-of-Accelerator-Breech-Plug-23

Here's a 30 second video of a Traditions PA Pellet rifle being fired with a 20 grain booster charge of 2F BP, 2X50 grain 777 pellets and primed with 4F in the pan. The ignition is very fast.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2Re12NouFE

Jim, West PA
July 17, 2012, 11:15 AM
Interesting article Steve. It re-enforces the fact that pellets are not to be used in my allmost 30 year old T/C Hawken with it's breech designe.
As or a replacement for my damaged Hawken ? Never happen.lol
I love my old Hawken and she is indeed fixable.Her lock has allready been replaced and the stock damage is nothing that i can't 'heal' with some time and Acra-Glas.I do however think i'm gonna hafta unscrew her Bbl and se just what is goin on inside 'er breech.
Which brings me to a point that SERIOUSLY irritates me.
T/C made me ship my entire rifle to them so they could replace my lock, ( which they didn't)they did a seriously poor attempt at repairing it.After they returned it to me i called them and gave them a serious what for about how incompetent thier so called 'gunsmiths are. They then shipped me a new lock right out. ( Now why on earth didn't they do that to begin with ?)
Anywho, my point being. They knew exactly what had occured and why my rifle needed repaired and while they had it why wasn't the breech inspected ?!?!?!?!?
Side note: The person i spoke with on the phone says that the majority of the emplyees there literaly hate the fact that S&W now owns them.
They re not "allowed" to be a customer freindly company anymore.

bubba15301
July 17, 2012, 07:15 PM
jim west - i have a t/c hawken stock and .50 cal barrel if you are interested send me a pm

Curator
July 17, 2012, 07:30 PM
Having been given several boxes of both Pyrodex and 777--50 grain pellets, I did an experiment with two of my side lock M/L rifles. I was aware of the the "Powder Chamber" volume of both. My .52 caliber Hawken was loaded with 15 grains of Goex fffG and two 50 Grain Pyrodex pellets under a .125 Felt wad and a Lee 320 grain REAL bullet. Ignition was nearly instantanious and except for the recoil, was an effective if slightly inaccurate load. The same was found using the one and two 50 grain "tripple 7" pellets. One pellet (plus the 15 grain starter) load of both propellents provided the best accuracy.

I ran the same experiment with my Pedersoli .54 caliber Mortimer Flintlock rilfe. Here there were some issues. The 15 grains of Goex fffG filled the "powder chamber" nicely. I added both one then later two Pyrodex and in a separate experiment, 777 pellets. All loads started with the 15 grains of "real" black powder. One or two 50 grain pellets followed by a felt wad then a 350 grain REAL bullet. The pan was primed with Goex FFFFg. Ignition was not significantly different frm a "all black powder" load.

On several of the two pellet 777 loads there was a distinctive "fire-trail" behind the bullet. (observers to the side of the shooter) No such fire trail was obvious with the single pellet loads. The fire trail was more obvious using the Pyrodex pellets. Since I did not attempt to chronograph these loads I can make no guess to the velocity attained. 2 pellet loads did kick significantly more than single pellet loads, but single pellet loads were significantly more accurate on the targets (both 100 and 50 yards)

The presence of the fire trail indicates to me that the pellet combustion was not complete where two pellets were used. Single pellets (50 grains + 15 grains of real black powder) were not only more accurate but not shooting flaming pellets down range. They also kicked significantly less too. This could be due to the flash hole of the flintlock venting chamber pressure, and preventing sufficient chamber pressure to get complete burning of the pelletized propellent. More experimenting is required along with chronograph results.

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