Swiss Powder compare


April 8, 2013, 11:15 PM
I did some photo compare on Swiss powder tonight. I have 2F, 3F, 4F and Null B.

Would like to open by showing the sizing chart
from the companies website.

Swiss Factory tour (
Swiss Booklet (

First up is a group shot.

Ok 2F!
Here we can clearly see the polishing that makes Swiss powder very top quality.

Next is 3F! (This is what most shoot if I am not mistaken.)
I have to admit that 3F is way more uniform than 2F is.

Here is what most use in flintlocks for priming the pan, 4F.

Now if we compare 3F with 4F we get more of the same but finer.
In fact at first glance 3F and 4F appeared to be the same.
I have to admit, I have used 3F in the pan of flintlocks to prime with, it does work.

Ok last up we have Null B, which is also priming powder :what:
After looking at this item very closely I think I will switch over to using that instead of 4F. :neener:

If we compare 4F with Null B.

:D Yea I am definitely going to switch. :D


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April 8, 2013, 11:57 PM
Neva heard of null B before.... then again... gettin any black in this place is a gift.. :D

April 9, 2013, 12:00 AM
Excellent photos, and thank you for showing us the comparison.

Jim Watson
April 9, 2013, 12:24 AM
A lot of us BPCR shooters use Swiss 1 1/2 Fg.

And get a look at the new Swiss Black Ball powder.
The granules are round, although not as uniform as smokeless ball process powder.

April 9, 2013, 12:30 AM
Coolness. Will have to add that to my next order. 1F and 1 1/2F. I have been considering doing a Goex vs Swiss.

Jim Watson
April 9, 2013, 12:38 AM
Also take a look at Olde Eynsford from Goex.
It is their latest effort at a premium powder, replacing Express which was dropped when Hodgdon bought the mill.

April 9, 2013, 08:31 AM
Great information!!!:) I can see why you are considering changing over to the Null B powder for your priming pan. Have you changed from GOEX to Swiss powders for your main charge? How did that affect your ballistics? Better or worse?

April 9, 2013, 08:36 AM
Swiss powder typically runs 10% more efficient than Goex. Certainly with 3F, you can take your Goex load, cut 10% from it, and load with Swiss - and be very, very close.

April 9, 2013, 09:02 AM
I would like to point to TWO documents.

First being KIK. on page 13 note the velocity test results.

Second being Swiss, note the overall openness and the 'cut the BS' approach.

Regardless of the smoke/mirror and 'trade secrets' that I kept running into with Goex I did find the following. There also has been rumors, claims and so forth of using a 'blend' as well. I have to question if they really do know themselves.
Gearhart-Owen (GOEX) was then forced to purchase charcoal from another
source. The new source of charcoal was the Roseville Charcoal Company of Zanesville,
Ohio. The actual wood charring operation was located in West Virginia. This plant used
kilns, rather than cylinder retorts, and charred mainly hard maple wood.

While Swiss we have the following.
This ingredient is produced "in house" using Alder Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula) wood
imported from Slovenia. The wood being prepared and charred “in house”.
Also worth note. the PDF and site I posted at the start of the thread clearly shows the process detail of the charcoal, clearly identifying what type of wood it is, where it is grown and that it is all processed 'in house' therefore making it as uniform and consistent as possible. We even have

The Acetone test results in Swiss powder using creosote oil and Goex using very little if any. Creosote usage is the key to 'moist burning', i.e. damp, high humidity locations.

Just for the very disclosure and forthcoming from Swiss vs Goes alone makes one want to use Swiss exclusively.

April 9, 2013, 12:20 PM
Actually, I want to use the least expensive powder that gives me the performance I want.

Disclosure? Forthcoming? Gobbledegook.

How about that phrase in the banner just under the brand name on the front of the container? How do you ignore that in favor of 'disclosure'.

April 9, 2013, 01:33 PM
I feel lucky to find BP period. Being able to chose between brands is beyond my wildest dreams.

Most of today's BP will not produce a load that is "in regulation" for BP cartridge double rifles. Swiss has the reputation of being the only one that will.

April 9, 2013, 06:54 PM
There are several powder companies that you can order from and have shipped to your door via Fedex or UPS. Currently Fedex requires a signature delivery while UPS does not (for hazmat). Some places you can order as little as 5 pounds but the max you can order is 50 pounds.

The shipment that I just received was from

April 9, 2013, 07:53 PM
Goex has softer fouling than Swiss.Swiss has more energy per grain,but Goex likes more compression than Swiss, so more grains per load to gain your energy on Swiss, But Swiss will still end up top for velocity and harder to control fouling, so more blow tubing,grease cookie or one more grease grove on your bullet on custom mold from Brooks or such..I'm a Swiss guy but dont rule out Goex. KIK powder is a good powder but I'll go to Goex first because softer fouling and not as much energy gain.

April 12, 2013, 08:29 AM
Has anyone chronographed and compared the different powders side by side? I would guess the proof would be which powder provides the more consistent accuracy in a rifle or revolver.

April 12, 2013, 08:32 AM
Yes, if you goto the 'swiss booklet' link I provided on page 32

April 12, 2013, 08:56 AM
According to this data it would appear that the Swiss powder company is using the proper procedures for manufacturing a more consistent powder. I would like to see some more testing comparing these powders in individual rifled bores though before switching over from GOEX. Is it just the purity of the water and the way they make their charcoal that GOEX needs to improve upon in order to attain this type of consistency in a rifled bore?

And are there any long range black powder cartridge shooters who still use GOEX and haven’t switched over to the more consistent Swiss powders?

April 12, 2013, 09:00 AM
polishing, charcoal quality (swiss makes it in house with one type of wood, goex contracts out for that and some reports of using a blend but not 100% sure on that), creosote addition in the swiss, formula weight, also it really makes a difference in the machinery they use.

Another look is here. and esp note the KIK listing they have some detailed info in this as well.

Steel Horse Rider
April 12, 2013, 10:03 AM
Why would creosote be a good ingredient to add to black powder? When I was researching the loads for my Podewils-Lindner (circa 1860~) the official Bavarian gunpowder recipe was alderwood charcoal, saltpeter, and sulfer, and the references concerning the other powders tested were relating to variations of the ratio and tests with willow charcoal. This thread sounds like a German beer purity argument.

April 12, 2013, 10:14 AM
Creosote is a product that is in wood already.

During the charring of the wood, lignin in the wood is converted to various phenolic structured hydrocarbons. One of these being creosote. The creosote produced during the destructive distillation of wood is different from that produced by the destructive distillation of coal or by the "cracking' of petroleum crude oils.

When the Swiss limit there wood charring temperature to 300 to 320 degrees Centigrade they insure that the creosote produced during the destructive distillation process is retained within the charcoal. Allowing the charring temperature to rise above 320 degrees Centigrade will cause the creosote to flash off and leave the cylinder in the cylinder exhaust gases. By 350 degrees Centigrade, all of the creosote will have been flashed off and lost through the cylinder stack vent.

The Swiss charcoal will show about 8% by weight of creosote while other brands will show none to only a slight trace.

Ahh yes the 'willow charcoal' context. FYI most gunpowder is not made with 'willow'. Also 'willow' charcoal is often not made from willow tree's.
For centuries many have regarded willow charcoal to be superior to other types when making Black Powder. Older Black Powder literature abounds with references to willow charcoal, making few references to charcoal from other trees or plants. While some advocate using vine charcoal, even these references tend to lump vine charcoal together with willow. Thus willow charcoal appears to be a clear winner. But is it the best?

Comparison tests made on willow charcoals, together with charcoals from other woods, have indicated that although willow charcoals perform well in Black Powder, certain other charcoals perform better. So to claim that willow is the best is to subscribe to a centuries-old myth.

April 12, 2013, 10:21 AM
There have been other discussions on other boards, mostly double rifle boards, being that a double rifle needs consistency in their ‘regulation’ that have gone on for pages arguing over the type of wood used in charcoal and the process used. A real eye opener in that I never realized how important charcoal was in this process of making black powder.

I wish he would have delved more into the making of the potassium nitrate and the effects that would have on consistency back in the past. All that is shown is a big bag of potassium nitrate I mean how did they do it back then? Any good web-sites for this process?

Steel Horse Rider
April 12, 2013, 11:33 AM
Thanks for the clarification of creosote. Growing up on a farm my recollections of creosote was the sticky stuff that would run out of railroad ties and fence posts on hot summer days. That image certainly doesn't match well with easy cleanup.

When I was doing my research there were references to using manure piles and urine to leach out potassium nitrate during civil war times. I also know that bat guano (dung) is very high in potassium nitrate and great quantities of it were removed from caves where bats resided. Knowing that, you probably don't want to make a habit of licking your fingers when handling black powder! :eek:

April 12, 2013, 12:17 PM
Yes there are a few long range top shooters in BPCR that still use Goex.
I did do a comparison over the crony few years ago and with Goex,Swiss,kik,and diamond back powders and all those notes are lost.

The rifle used was Shiloh Sharps 40-65 R L chambered 32" barrel 400 gr bullet.
ALL the powders were in 2FF. The one thing that I found out is the denser the powder more energy. Goex 50 grains volume 48.5 buy weight and Swiss 50 gr buy Volume, 53.5 weight, KIK 50 vol 50 weight, diamondback 50gr vol 52gr weight, Schuetzen 50 vol 51 weight. The other thing I found out is the less dense the powder the more compression it likes as a rule. Goex heavy .500? were as Swiss likes .150 ,.200.

Swiss will give you 50 to 75 fps more than Goex in a 45-70 tuned load deviation FPS is in the single digits.

April 12, 2013, 12:58 PM
Thanks steel horse and that’s what I have seen, also. Farmers providing the ‘Raw’ material for the potassium nitrate to take it to centralized mills for further processing but I still haven’t come upon a good source for this information however. I’ve also seen that black powder was supplied by the French and English companies in bulk to be used by the fur trading companies. But how did they make the stuff?

And Boommer isn't that what a long range rifle shooter wants? More velocity equates to a flatter trajectory equating to more accuracy.

Jim Watson
April 12, 2013, 01:16 PM
Saltpeter (potassium nitrate) can be leached out of manure. There were purpose built leaching beds to recover saltpeter. If you have an old dungheap, you can rake it over and find raw nitre naturally separated out. It can also be seen on old stable walls.

One major source of saltpeter was seabird guano mined on tropic islands. There are a number off the South American coast. You can get it out of a bat cave but the islands were more important. Googling around, I found that there was a Guano Island Act empowering the government to claim such islands from 1856. And we still assert control over some of them.

Chile Saltpeter (sodium nitrate) is a natural mineral that can be used in gunpowder but since it is more hygroscopic than potassium nitrate, it was mostly used in blasting powder where it could be kept in a sealed barrel or waxed paper cartridge (usually taken for dynamite in Westerns). It can be converted to potassium nitrate by reaction with potassium compounds and recrystallization.

And the most infamous source during the War Between the States was the Saltpeter Commision chaired by John Haralson in Selma, Alabama. He managed the usual sources from caves, stables, and the like, but also had the idea of getting it fresh, as "chamber lye."
Read a thumbnail biography of Mr Haralson and the poems written on the subject at:

April 12, 2013, 01:54 PM
TREBLIG NOT always your trajectory is a rainbow 500gr at 1300 fps if your zeroed at 100 yd at 500 there is about 290" bullet drop then there's windage so at that point 50 fps wont make you or break you.

Controlling your fouling is a big ticket item. shooting long range with BPRC fouling is the problem and some guys stick with a powder or lube and don't change it up because that combo works and so you don't fix what you compete well with.

BPCR long range loading, What ever you know about smokeless just throw it to the side, this a total different animal.

April 13, 2013, 11:14 PM
Just took this. Here we have 2 powder brands.
Left we have Goes FFFg.
Right is Swiss FFFg.

Note the color difference. Goex is graphite black, Swiss is not. Also note the softer edges on the Swiss which is from the polishing process and no graphite.

April 13, 2013, 11:47 PM

Left is Swiss FFFg, Right is Swiss Null B powder.

April 14, 2013, 12:13 AM
Here we have Swiss FFFg, Null B and FFFFg.

Steel Horse Rider
April 14, 2013, 09:01 AM
Are you on commission from Swiss Powders or are you just on a crusade to convert the world to your preferred powder?

April 14, 2013, 09:16 AM
convert? If someone wants to move from A to B then that is their choice, personally I do not care what others shoot, that is their right and their choice. What I have seen countless times is several people ask "what is this swiss powder and what makes it special, what is the difference between other brands" etc.. My goal was/is to present that.

Commission? hardly as much. I did recently find some good resources that details many of these aspects and wanted to show what I found.

I also want to get other brands and compare them as well. Also want to hear about negative aspects to, so far the biggest one is cost.

April 14, 2013, 09:30 AM
I use Swiss or T7. I just picked up some 4F for my ROA. You point out that Goex uses graphite...using graphite isn't necessarily a bad thing, is it? I always thought graphite was added to as a lubricant to make the powder flow a little bit better. It also acts as a burn rate modifier by slowing down the burn rate slightly.

I suppose they also use it to blacken up the black powder. Kind of an aesthetic touch.

My experience is that Swiss is better than the other brands of true black powder that I used.

April 14, 2013, 12:39 PM
I can't believe how much finer that Null B is even over 4FG!! I'll start using that in my pan see if my flinter likes it.

April 14, 2013, 09:49 PM
Hey everybody is going to sell you a line of %$#*! you think you need a faster burn rate in your pan then just grind your 4F little bit it's pan powder!

April 14, 2013, 10:31 PM
STEEL HORSE RIGHT NOW there is a kik promoter on a few other sites and black net seems to be promoting Swiss this is not new on the NET as far as trying to sell there product. There are others doing this in all products sneeking around on forms! THINK ABOUT THIS UN-SURE AND SWAY !!!

April 14, 2013, 10:33 PM
In the soonish future I will also be doing similar things with other brands.

April 14, 2013, 10:47 PM
Bingo !!!

April 15, 2013, 05:31 AM
And no boommer I am not promoting any brands, I am simply just a person with a good macro setup on my camera. Most people are not aware of may things in the background process when it comes to powder and I just wanted to share some of that. It is also quite interesting to note on this forum there has been a much lower than expected curiosity on the detail side of things, i.e. creosote, polishing, etc.

Fred West
April 15, 2013, 10:55 AM
Hi BlackNet, very interesting pics. I've never bought Swiss due to the considerable difference in cost. Is it worth the extra, bearing in mind I'm only a mediocre marksman at best?
April 15, 2013, 02:07 PM
If your trying to educate the arm chair experts on this forum, forget it. Their
Not insterested in learning anything new. Been there, done that. Our family are serious competition shooters and spend quite a bit of money in our guns, and
The 1500 mile trip to the Nationals each year, sometimes two times a year. When your talking over a thousand dollars just for the trip, what is another
5.00 more for powder? We use whatever gives us the best accuracy. Cost has
Nothing to do with it. Swiss would not be the best for everybody. You have to
Have a gun and be able to shoot well enough to realize its potential . Most on
Here would be better off just shooting Goex Reenactor powder. It's great
For making noise. To each it's own. Different strokes for different folks.

Steel Horse Rider
April 15, 2013, 04:02 PM
I only shoot targets, water filled plastic bottles, and metal gongs with my muzzle loaders, do you really think I am concerned about MOA and percentages of velocity difference? My concerns are more related to ease of cleaning, availability, and cost than in purity and accuracy but some seem to think all the rest of us HAVE to embrace the same standards you do, so maybe a little visit to another's perspective could be in order. I work because I HAVE to, I shoot because I enjoy it.

April 15, 2013, 05:08 PM
Haven't seen anyone saying (or even implying) that anyone else HAS to conform to any particular standards one way or the other. I have seen someone providing information that some might care about, and others might not. But if anyone said, "You HAVE to use this powder," well, I guess I just missed that.

To give a clue as to where I stand, well, the only 100 yard X I ever shot on the offhand line was on someone else's target. But I keep trying....

Steel Horse Rider
April 15, 2013, 06:06 PM
My apologies as I did not intend any offense to anyone. My comment was in response to post #39.

April 15, 2013, 07:06 PM
to post #39. Wow.:(

April 15, 2013, 07:21 PM
I'm new to BP shooting and appreciate the knowledge all of you have to offer.

A special thanks to Blacknet for the time and effort he put into this thread.

April 15, 2013, 07:52 PM
old #39 dose have a point there you do need the rifle and be able to shoot that well to tell the difference. But other then that he is being a jerk ABOUT IT AND MAD AND THAT HE FELT NOBODY WAS LISTENING TO HIM!! I guess I'll be in trouble for this one! OH WELL'

April 15, 2013, 09:14 PM
As I said in my original post I started off using FFFg in the pan and yes it does indeed work quite good but as pointed out it also greatly depends on what you are doing, others also pointed out they look for the cheapest they can find and I did see several reference points to powder being made for $4 a pound. Since it is being sold for around $25-35 a pound then that's one helluva markup. I know that multiple hazmat shipping charges are in there and that likely eats it up greatly.

April 16, 2013, 08:50 AM
Blacknet, you site references that talk about the quality and methods of producing charcoal for the various powders and their effects on the characteristics of those powders, how about the quality of the potassium nitrate or the sulfur used in the various brands? Or is the industry pretty much using the same source for these ingredients.

April 16, 2013, 09:03 AM
There are many grades out there:

This is from Black Powder Manufacturing, Testing & Optimizing.

April 17, 2013, 10:30 AM
Interesting to read about the water recommendations also where impurities can attach themselves to the mix and cause some problems. I use my muzzleloader for everything and a change to the Swiss powder, just to see how my rifle likes it and takes to it, is worth consideration. Do all the differing manufacturers use a different grade of potassium nitrates and sulfurs for their individual mixes? Is that information anywhere?

April 17, 2013, 06:15 PM

This is for Swiss powder, I cant find much on other powders.

April 17, 2013, 06:26 PM
In addition to more Swiss 3 F I just ordered some Olde Eynsford from Powder Inc to try.

April 17, 2013, 06:28 PM
I have some kik and Schuetzen on order to compare. look for a similar thread with goex, swiss, kik, schuetzen and whatever else I can get my hands on.

April 18, 2013, 11:21 AM
I'm new to BP shooting and appreciate the knowledge all of you have to offer.

A special thanks to Blacknet for the time and effort he put into this thread.

Thanks BlackNet!!

Don McDowell
April 25, 2013, 10:16 AM
Has anyone chronographed and compared the different powders side by side? I would guess the proof would be which powder provides the more consistent accuracy in a rifle or revolver.

Yes it's been done many times. The discontinued Goex Express and Swiss had very similar velocity. KIK and Express when loaded to the same grains weight will shoot within 2fps or less of each other. Schuetzen also can gain good velocity. Sp far in the tests that individuals have posted the new Olde Eynsford is winning out in the velocity dept over all the other powders.
All the powders are capable of match winning accuracy, it's just a matter of developing a load.

Don McDowell
April 25, 2013, 10:21 AM
I feel lucky to find BP period. Being able to chose between brands is beyond my wildest dreams.

Grafs and Powder Inc (the largest selection) both sell most brands of available blackpowder in less than case lots, and will mix and match brands in the same box, so either of those places are great for getting a good sampling of powder to find out what really will or won't shoot to your expectations.

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