When was black powder replaced by Smokeless


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WALKERs210
January 16, 2013, 09:37 PM
Today I picked up a very nice 1892 Winchester lever in 45 Colt. This is a reproduction made in Italy, I have no doubt about it's ability to handle modern ammo, what I was wondering is about loading a few rounds using BP. After looking at the price per round for 45Colt I think I could buy a mold for 45cal and load my own much cheaper. Thoughts or ideas welcomed

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rcmodel
January 16, 2013, 09:43 PM
Late 1800's, early 1900's in American sporting arms.

The thing is, loading with black powder is going to require a lot of cleaning with hot water and stuff.

A 92 is not the most friendly firearm ever designed to take apart in little pieces and get the hot water and BP fouling out of it.

That was the great thing about the invention of smokeless powder & non-corrosive primers.

But, yes, you can cast bullets and reload .45 Colt Much much cheaper then buying factory ammo.

I just would not recommend doing it with black powder.
Unless of course, you have a thing for black powder.

rc

WALKERs210
January 16, 2013, 10:32 PM
Thanks RC, I do like BP but like you said it gets into places that you would never imagine. Tearing down to clean is not something I would be looking forward to, since my son grew up I have to do it myself. Should be ashamed of what I got that boy to do when he was young, always used the saying that "He has to learn some time". When we went camping he was always up around 4:00 -4:30, I would tell him to get a fire going and coffee on and I would be right there, most times after coffee was done and I got 15-20 min extra sleep. Thanks again most likely I will just grunt and pay the price for shells unless I can find someone close that will reload for me.

Driftwood Johnson
January 16, 2013, 10:35 PM
Howdy

The 30-40 Krag was the first US military cartridge designed specifically for Smokeless powder in 1892. The 30-30 was the first commercial Smokeless round developed for the Model 1894 Winchester. However the complete change over to Smokeless was gradual, ammunition companies continued loading cartridges with Black Powder well into the 1930s.

I have two 1892 Winchesters, one made in 1894, the other made in 1919. I shoot them with Black Powder all the time, in fact I don't put Smokeless through them anymore. Cartridge rifles are different than revolvers regarding shooting with Black Powder. With a revolver, because of the barrel/cylinder gap, fouling gets everywhere. A rifle is basically a pipe. It is a closed system once the bolt is closed. With properly loaded Black Powder ammunition, the fouling should all stay in the bore, very little of it should get into the mechanism. Now granted, 45 Colt is not the best cartridge for Black Powder in a rifle because the thick case does not obdurate well to seal the chamber and some blow back is typical, with some fouling getting into the action. All my lever guns are chambered for 44-40, which owing to its thinner brass seals the chamber beautifully and no fouling blows back into the action. And granted, the Model 1892 is more difficult to take apart and get back together again than the Model 1873. Still, it is not necessary to totally dismantle a rifle after shooting it with Black Powder. All the fouling that has blown back into the action will be easily noticed and can be removed with patches and q-tips along with your favorite water based BP solvent, followed by a good oiling, preferably with Ballistol.

4v50 Gary
January 16, 2013, 11:22 PM
Last time black powder cartridge rifles were used was by the German Askaris in Tanganika. After they defeat the British led Indian Army amphibious landing they reequipped themselves with the smokeless SMLE.

zimmerstutzen
January 17, 2013, 12:22 AM
The Winchester 32 Special was designed to be sold from the factory loaded with bulk smokeless and then reloaded with black powder by the consumers.
IIRC the 1888 Gewehr Commission Mauser was the first smokeless powder Military arm. Everybody was looking to jump on the bandwagon then. within 12 years almost every major military in the world had switched. The Brits to 303, the Spanish and it's colonies to 7mm Mauser. The US to the 30-40. It was a rapid expensive change for the industrialized countries to revamp their munitions.

Jim K
January 17, 2013, 12:49 AM
The first smokeless powder military rifle was the French Lebel. Both rifle and cartridge left a lot to be desired.

The French had a thing for originating a really great invention and then messing up and letting other countries improve on it to reap the credit and the money.

Jim

DeepSouth
January 17, 2013, 12:53 AM
I was once told in WW1 our snipers had a huge advantage because we were among the few countries that used smokeless. Most were still useing black powder.

Don't know if it's true, but it sounds good.




Posted via iPhone

rcmodel
January 17, 2013, 01:13 AM
No, it isn't true.

By WWI, all combatants were using smokeless powder and other good stuff like machineguns and airplanes.

The last war we were involved in that employed any black power small arms was the Spanish American war in 1898.

rc

DeepSouth
January 17, 2013, 01:20 AM
That's kind of what I figured.
On a side note I saw an interview with the last living ww1 pilot once a few years ago. I believe it was filmed in the 90's (just guessing) he has just died in the last few years. Anyway he was talking about flying around shooting their six shooters at each other. He said many times they were the only guns they had on the planes.
It was very interesting to hear.

Off to you tube now to see if I can find it.

WALKERs210
January 17, 2013, 03:44 AM
Boy do I love the history. Wife said I should have been a history teacher, but there is way too much I don't know and I eat all information I can get.

PRM
January 17, 2013, 07:43 AM
Rule of thumb on firearms - manufactured prior to 1910 go with BP cartridges. After that everything should be good to go with smokeless.

Modern firearms with black powder are a hoot. I shoot 45LC with black powder lot. It really tames the recoil in my American Derringer Model 1. Better than the 4th of July. My Colt SAA 2nd Gen. and Colt Bisley, both shoot great with them, just do a good clean-up.

StrawHat
January 17, 2013, 07:47 AM
Smokeless was common in the middle 1890s. Mauser had the M94, M96 and M98s, Winchester had the M1895 and 1894 (althought the first two cartridges used black). By this time, all the new cartridges coming out were based on smokeless.

MCgunner
January 17, 2013, 08:08 AM
Yeah, you can load .45 Colt right cheap using BP OR Unique. I prefer smokeless in my lever carbine, a Rossi 92, but I could shoot BP in it should I want to. The Lee 255 grain flat point mold is VERY accurate in this caliber.

The first military rifle to use smokeless was the 1886 French Lebel. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebel_Model_1886_rifle The Winchester M1894 in .30-30 Winchester (aka .30 WCF) was the first sporting rifle in America chambered for the very first smokeless sporting round. Bolt action military rifles really caught on in America after the dough boys got back from Europe from serving in the great war and decided they liked the Springfields and their .30-06 chambering.

I have a German 1888 commission rifle. It was originally chambered for a round nose 8x57J round, bullet of .318" diameter. Mine had been rebarreled to the 8x57S modern round (.323" bullet) used in the K98 by the Germans to be used by Hitler youth and old farts defending Berlin at the end of the war. The .318" 8x57J was a a smokeless round and Germany's first adopted military smokeless round.

As mentioned earlier, the .30-40 Krag Jorgensen was America's first smokeless military cartridge.

targetshooter22
January 17, 2013, 08:54 AM
I shoot BP in my 92 as well. Difficult cleanup is a myth. Using ballistol diluted in water abou 8:1 water to solvent and a bore snake, my rifle takes about 15 minutes to clean thoroughly. I recommend a spray bottle to make it easier to get in all those places in the action.

BP, or holy black, as the other shooters call it is frequently more accurate at least under 100 yards. You are on the right path if you start to cast your own bullets, just be sure they carry a lot of soft lube so the rifle doesn't foul out on you.

Welcome to the ranks of the Soot Lords.

kBob
January 17, 2013, 10:14 AM
I think it would actually be cheaper to load .45 Long Colt ( I just love getting folks rilled that get rilled over nothing and at one point Remington did mark boxes that way so Neener) with Unique than BP.

Yes magazine fed bolt guns be came very popular after WWI so much so that folks were concerned about these high powered, high capacity (five is high compared to one) rapidly reloadable rifles to the point where here in FLorida a law commonly referred to as the Winchester/Springfield law was passed requiring those obtaining such rifles to report the ownership of such to their police cheif or sherif.....no joke. RIfles "of the type" that were magazine fed and repeating were supposed to be reported to local law enforcement.

Perhaps it had something to do with that Carnagy library thing and the black vets, where ever that was.

As a youth while researching gun laws I found the darned thing in the then single statute book (the index was seperate) and decided to conform to the law. I was sure I did not need to report my M-1 Carbine to the cheif as it was in fat on loan from his department to me (short story, did favor for PD regaurding 15 M-1 Carbines at 14 and they let me keep one about ten years)
WHen I told the cheif I was complying with the statute his response was "What?"

Now there was an assault weapons law that really worked well.

Seems in twenty five years no one had ever so reported to him in a rural county where at least half the pick ups had a "deer rifle" in a visable rear window rack.

-kBob

4v50 Gary
January 17, 2013, 10:56 AM
BTW, I read somewhere that by 1945 Germany was handing out old 1871/84 Mausers to their Volksturm. Never checked up on it or looked into whether they still had any black powder cartridges laying around for it.

MCgunner
January 17, 2013, 11:15 AM
BTW, I read somewhere that by 1945 Germany was handing out old 1871/84 Mausers to their Volksturm. Never checked up on it or looked into whether they still had any black powder cartridges laying around for it.

Haven't heard that, but they were desperate by that point and I wouldn't be surprised. As mentioned, they converted a lot of 88 commission rifles to 8x57S. Mine was bought mail order (considered an antique, could buy without FFL involvement) in 1977 for $27.50. About all I've ever done with it other than admire the craftsmanship is shoot turtles off a tank with it. 50 rounds was bruising in one afternoon of plinking with it. I feel sorry for all those old farts than had to fight with it.

I had an old 1916 Spanish 7x57 for a while, built on the 93 Mauser action, cocks on closing. That was a nifty length gun, heavy, of course. It only liked 175 grain bullets due to the rapid rifling rate. It was 7x57s in the hands of the Spanish that gave Americans fits in the Spanish-American war. The .30-40 Krag with it's round nose projectile and funky magazine was pretty pathetic when pitted against superior range and firepower of the stripper clip loaded Mausers and their spitzer bullets. After THAT war, the war department went on a development campaign to come up with a better rifle/caliber and the rifle basically copied the 1898 Mauser, the round became the caliber .30 of 1906 or .30-06. The original design was a round nose of slightly different case design known as the .30-03, but the final project sported a spitzer bullet.

So much for American innovation. In fact, we copied the Germans. We didn't get a vastly superior weapon of war to the rest of the world until the Garand in the 30s. American GIs in WW2 had a HUGE advantage in small arms.

Too, Springfields weren't the only rifles in .30-06 used by the military. The 1917 Enfield bolstered rifle inventories. I passed a while back on a 200 dollar 1917 find, GREAT bore. I'm still kinda kicking myself for not picking it up. I really prefer the rear sight on the Enfield to the Springfields.

Patocazador
January 17, 2013, 12:28 PM
Some people don't realize that Maxim was an American who couldn't get his country (the USA) to adopt his automatic weapon so he sold it to Germany. Lots of soldiers got slaughtered with it.

WALKERs210
January 17, 2013, 11:27 PM
Great information here, so I am going to throw this out. I knew this rifle I have is Italian made, Armi San Marco, it was my belief that it was imported by Cimaron but tonight I saw some super small lettering on left side of barrel just forward of rear sights. Had to get out a 10X loop to read, it said Traditions Old Saybrook, Ct.. Also while having the wife with better eyes read for me, her comment was that what I thought was nickle plating on receiver, end cap and but plate is in her opinion Silver plating. So what my research has found is nothing, the ones imported by Cimaron and even Traditions has case colored instead of the nickle/silver plating. Every other aspect of the rifle is exactly as described but just wondering just who, what and when.

.22-5-40
January 18, 2013, 10:45 PM
My dad who was in his very early teens in the early 1920's told me he used
.22 short black powder ctgs. on his rat hunting excursions in downtown city alleys..imagine a kid walking around with a .22 rifle in a city today!..used to collect bounty on the tails..He must not have had proper cleaning tools..as he said he had to visit local blacksmith to have stuck bullet removed from bore once in awhile. He probably bought the black powder .22's because they were possibly cheaper? At any rate, they were still to be found thru the 20's.

Pulp
January 19, 2013, 08:02 AM
It hasn't been replaced by smokeless at my house!:D

Supplemented yes, replaced, no!

Foto Joe
January 19, 2013, 09:41 AM
I'm a little late to this but I'll jump in with a stern warning:

I'd advise WALKERs210 to be VERY careful about shooting Black Powder cartridges out of that gun. If you do decide to do it I'd venture to guess that it will only take one or two rounds before you are terminally HOOKED on 'em. After that you'll likely start looking at that 1911 (assuming you have one) and wondering how that would perform with 45ACP Black Powder cartridges. I've personally been advised by my wife that some sort of re-hab or intervention might be necessary sometime in the future for my own affliction.

45 Colt although not a rifle round will work quite well with Black Powder. One tip that I might pass along should you decide to start properly loading 45 Colt is to NOT resize the brass once fired. After several re-loadings (depending on charge) the brass will be fire-formed to that gun and any blow-back should be minimized. Also you can consider using a El Paso Pete's Ultra Gamer bullet (140 LRNFP) and a 20-25gr powder charge. Still lots of smoke and my experience with them is that they are tack drivers out of a SAA with a 12" barrel.

Your options for various custom loads are pretty much unlimited, just keep in mind that just like our front stuffers you want zero air space in that cartridge so if you're using a light charge simply use cornmeal or cream of wheat as a filler.

303tom
January 19, 2013, 10:27 AM
Today I picked up a very nice 1892 Winchester lever in 45 Colt. This is a reproduction made in Italy, I have no doubt about it's ability to handle modern ammo, what I was wondering is about loading a few rounds using BP. After looking at the price per round for 45Colt I think I could buy a mold for 45cal and load my own much cheaper. Thoughts or ideas welcomed
Nitrocellulose-based propellants were derived in 1846, but is was not until 1866 to where it was suitable as a cartridge propellent...................

Driftwood Johnson
January 19, 2013, 04:34 PM
After looking at the price per round for 45Colt I think I could buy a mold for 45cal and load my own much cheaper.

Howdy Again

You will not save any money loading with Black Powder over loading with Smokeless. When I load 45 Colt with Black Powder about 35 grains or so of powder goes into each case. When I load with Unique about 7.5 grains or so goes into each case.

Last time I bought Black Powder I paid about $16 per pound.

Last time I bought Unique I paid about $18 per pound.

Do the math. Using much more powder per load with BP winds up being much more expensive.

Crossfire
January 19, 2013, 05:26 PM
"When was black powder replaced by Smokeless?"

Smokeless has never replaced black powder. Black Powder is stiill being manufactured and sold and I still buy it and shoot it.

Crossfire

Jim K
January 19, 2013, 07:12 PM
"The last war we were involved in that employed any black power small arms was the Spanish American war in 1898."

Yep, and those were ours, old trapdoors issued to the militia! The Spanish were using state-of-the-art Model 1893 7mm Mausers. Had the war been decided by small arms, we would have lost, big time.

Jim

WALKERs210
January 19, 2013, 07:18 PM
Foto Joe Already have the smoke making bug. Bit me a long time back, was able to get treatment for it but in the last two - three yrs I have had a relapse and in my work room is more BP, lead, and molds for casting RB and conical . Wife was worried about me having too many BP guns so I had to switch back to cartridge guns for a while, but never told her that I could not load BP in the cartridges either. Yes I have a serious addiction to all things that go BOOM and no I don't want to even look for the cure.

robhof
January 19, 2013, 07:30 PM
As to German desparation toward the end of the war; my cousin was in WW2 and toured a Walther factory and they had a table of 10" sections of railroad tracks that were being milled into slides for the P38's. He brought a P 38 and a PPK back from the war.

Rattus58
January 19, 2013, 08:18 PM
"The last war we were involved in that employed any black power small arms was the Spanish American war in 1898."

Yep, and those were ours, old trapdoors issued to the militia! The Spanish were using state-of-the-art Model 1893 7mm Mausers. Had the war been decided by small arms, we would have lost, big time.

Jim
:) yeah... but that were fer them stragglers weren't it? My pappy used to love to tell me the 94's were already smokeless... maybe technically and all... :)

Aloha... :cool:

.22-5-40
January 19, 2013, 11:40 PM
"the 94's were already smokeless"...not quite. Winchester was having some trouble with the new smokeless .30 WCF..and so the very first chamberings for the 94' were the old black powder loaded .32-40 & .38-55. The .30WCF finally made it's debut in 95'.

Rattus58
January 19, 2013, 11:53 PM
"the 94's were already smokeless"...not quite. Winchester was having some trouble with the new smokeless .30 WCF..and so the very first chamberings for the 94' were the old black powder loaded .32-40 & .38-55. The .30WCF finally made it's debut in 95'.
yeah.... I learned that diggin around... they made the cartrige in 95 for the 94... :) :cool:

Driftwood Johnson
January 20, 2013, 09:37 AM
Howdy Again

You may be interested to know that Black Powder is still used as an initiator to help ignite the Smokeless powder bags in large naval guns.

Cosmoline
January 20, 2013, 02:45 PM
I've been doing a lot of real black loads for the .45 Colt this winter. It does cost a bit more than smokeless, but it's also a lot of fun to shoot. A compression die is helpful to get the powder down far enough to permit the bullet to seat. With my Ruger new vaq I found I have to remove the cylinder and wipe it down ever 24 rounds or so or it will no longer spin freely. The barrel also heats up surprisingly fast. It's a fun one for winter.

Driftwood Johnson
January 20, 2013, 04:35 PM
Howdy Again

If you need a compression die, you are really using more powder than you need to. As I said earlier, all that is necessary is to put in enough powder so that when the bullet is seated, it compresses the powder by about 1/16" to 1/8". Forget trying to stuff 40 grains into modern cases. Modern cases have less case capacity than the old Balloon Head cases and will not hold 40 grains without more compression than is really necessary.

Depending on the bullet you use, and the brand of powder you use, 1/16" - 1/8" of compression will mean somewhere between 33 and 37 grains of powder.

Yes, Black Powder burns hotter than Smokeless, so the gun will get hot faster. If you have to wipe down the gun every 24 rounds or so to keep the cylinder spinning your bullets are not carrying enough soft, BP compatible lube.

I can shoot 45 Colt out of my Colts, clones, or Rugers all day long and never have to wipe anything down to keep them from binding.

Cosmoline
January 20, 2013, 05:48 PM
You need the compression die precisely to fit 40 grains in a modern case. It's not a requirement but it is nice to have the option when working up a load for a particular revolver. Trying to compress real black with a bullet led to deformed cases in my experience, so I got the compression die which works like a dream.

I'm sure you're right about the lube. I'm working through a batch of smokeless lubed ones which no doubt adds to the mess. Otherwise they shoot fine though.

Driftwood Johnson
January 20, 2013, 08:19 PM
Howdy Again

As I said earlier, modern solid head cases will not hold 40 grains of powder and a bullet too without compressing the powder quite a lot. You are really overdoing it, trust me on this. The original Folded Rim Benet primed cases could hold 40 grains of power and the later Balloon Head cases could hold about 38 grains without needing to over compress the powder so much. Compressing the powder with the bullet was adequate.

Use that much powder if you like wasting powder, but I find 1/16" - 1/8" of compression under the bullet to be plenty. Nobody can tell when I fire them that there is not 40 grains of FFg inside.

Big Al Mass
January 20, 2013, 09:48 PM
Mis-post

Big Al Mass
January 20, 2013, 09:49 PM
Some people don't realize that Maxim was an American who couldn't get his country (the USA) to adopt his automatic weapon so he sold it to Germany. Lots of soldiers got slaughtered with it.
That is a big misconception. The Maxim gun was in fact adopted by the United States in 1904 and then in 1915 the improved Vickers model was adopted.

The slaughter of WWI was simply because armies had never used automatic machine guns in a proper war on that large of a scale. They had been used in previous smaller conflicts but their contribution was largely overlooked because they were so new and few in number.

Automatic machine guns were also used successfully in various colonial conflicts but that was discounted because those wars were not considered "normal wars" where armies moved in brilliant maneuvers and attacked in formation. The tactics we use now were simply not in conscious thought at that time.

T.R.
January 21, 2013, 09:19 AM
It was Pierre DuPont who perfected smokless powder. He became fantastically wealthy in a very short time. One of his country estates is open to the public: Longwood Gardens at Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

DuPont is still in business as one of the largest chemical industries in the world.

TR

MCgunner
January 21, 2013, 09:31 AM
Meh, I'll keep shootiin' Unique in my Blackhawk. Hate to stain all that engraving, wasn't cheap. I really like shooting my '58 Remmy or my ROA with the black stuff, tis why I bought 'em. Conversely, I really have little interest in conversion cylinders for cap and ball guns. Everything has it's place. :D

Cosmoline
January 22, 2013, 03:32 PM
Use that much powder if you like wasting powder

It has a surprising effect on accuracy I've found, so it's not simply wasting powder. In the .50-70 for example I found my rolling block dialed in with 500 grain rounds only when I compressed the full load of 70 grains in there. With a smaller load lightly compressed it was not as good a group.

They had been used in previous smaller conflicts but their contribution was largely overlooked because they were so new and few in number.

They also seemed to be viewed as a species of light artillery primarily for long range fire.

Big Al Mass
January 22, 2013, 05:24 PM
Also true.

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