FFFg powder compare: Goex, Swiss, Kik and Schuetzen


April 23, 2013, 08:33 PM
Sadly I was unable to get my hands on more brands of powder. So this may grow over time to include those when/if I can get different ones.

First the lineup. Yes I threw in a metal swiss FFFFg can, it's old and mostly to show the packaging can/will change, in this case it was because Swiss dropped their importer.

G = Goex. Sch = Schuetzen. K = Kik. S = Swiss.

Goes FFFg
This is made in Louisiana, US
Here we have a heavy graphite coated which yields a very very dark color. Edges appears to be slightly on the rough side so changes in shot quality can / will change depending on how much it is moved over its lifetime. The more movement the more those edges will chip away. Grain size seems to be all over the board.



Schuetzen FFFg
This is made in Germany by Wano Schwarzpulver GmbH.
From the photo above we can tell it has graphite coating but not as heavy as Goex, there fore it should be less fouling. Grain size seems very consistent and edge roughness shows much better polishing than Goex and KIK. Grain size alone and the lower volume of graphite should yield this to be superior to Goex in fouling and accuracy.


This is made in Slovenia by KIK.
This is some very odd powder. I saw many contaminants in the container, i.e. hair, dirt, lint, etc. All which will yield inconsistent, dirty and uneven burning. Grain size seems to be all over the board like Goex above. Edge smoothness is rough, so it will change over time depending on handling of the powder.


Swiss FFFg
This is made by Poudrerie D'Aubonne in Switzerland.
Grain size is fairly consistent. Edge smoothness is very good also we do not see heavy graphite coatings like the other 2 powders above. This should yield a more smooth burn over various handling of the powder over time, since less will be chipped off and eroded.


While this is not 3f powder it is 1.5F Swiss. I included it to show the edge processing.

Grain size: the more even the grain size the more consistent the burn. Schuetzen, Swiss, Goex then Kik from good to bad.

Edge smoothness: This is how much the powder will degrade over time with more adverse shipping/handling/transportation/'crunching' and the like. Swiss, Schuetzen, Goex then Kik.

Purity: Other crap in the container that should not be there, hair, lint, dirt, dust, etc.. Swiss, Goex, Schuetzen then Kik. When you also throw in how clean the grains are that would be Swiss in a class all by itself followed by Schuetzen, Goex and Kik.

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Don McDowell
April 23, 2013, 09:20 PM
I can tell you from shooting KIK (and a lot of it) that your conclusions about it not burning well are unfounded, and when you get a good load going over the chronograph the spread will be 5 fps or less.

April 23, 2013, 09:34 PM
I suggest you screen the samples (that is, pass the samples through different screen sizes) to get actual statistics on grain sizes. That would be more useful than simple observations.

Also, it would be useful to know the weights of given volumes of each brand and grain size sample.

Your characterization if KIK isn't borne out by others recently posting on this board; it's gotten good reviews in comparisons with Goex and Swiss. Are you planning a set of velocity tests with variations of caliber and projectiles?

April 23, 2013, 09:55 PM
I can tell you from shooting KIK (and a lot of it) that your conclusions about it not burning well are unfounded, and when you get a good load going over the chronograph the spread will be 5 fps or less.

Well lets put it this way.





I suggest you screen the samples (that is, pass the samples through different screen sizes) to get actual statistics on grain sizes. That would be more useful than simple observations.

Also, it would be useful to know the weights of given volumes of each brand and grain size sample.

Your characterization if KIK isn't borne out by others recently posting on this board; it's gotten good reviews in comparisons with Goex and Swiss. Are you planning a set of velocity tests with variations of caliber and projectiles?

This just arrived today actually, so far I only had time to take some quick photo's, I would like to do some velocity charts of my own and a few other things.

As for screening goes I really do not expect to see non-black powder items in there. Hair, lint and the like does yield lower quality.


April 23, 2013, 09:58 PM
Sorry, where is my manners. I forgot this.

http://www.laflinandrand.com/page3.htm <- source book of the above images

Don McDowell
April 23, 2013, 10:19 PM
Ok let's put it this way:D
There are a bunch of folks that discovered they could simply fill their powder measures with KIK instead of Swiss and nothing changed except for sometimes the groups actually shrank, the fouling is a bunch easier to deal with, and you can almost get 2 cases of KIK for the cost of 1 of Swiss.
I have Bill Knights CD, and you might want to take into consideration most of what he has on that Laughlin and rand site is closing in on 10 years old.
He hisself mentioned the other day on the Shiloh forum that he hasn't even fired any of his rifles in several years and has not kept up with what is going on with the blackpowders. So while his writings are of interest (altho slanted hard against anything goex) they are dated...
A number of people reporting the last shipment/lot of Swiss not quite as dense and a bit slower than previous lots.

April 23, 2013, 10:34 PM
Correct Don, Also worth note is the KIK grains he posted and what I posted is not the same manufacturing quality. There has been some changes made since his lot and my lot were made. That part is very clear. I do expect many of the 'conclusions' that I came up with to change.

Don McDowell
April 23, 2013, 10:41 PM
Dicky the only interest I have is a decent shooting powder and a good price, that will deliver the goods to shoot 2moa or there abouts from powderburn close to the 1000 yd line.
Can't speak for others tho...

April 23, 2013, 10:50 PM
I am mostly doing this to be an educational experiment and experience. I did one recently of just Swiss and wanted to do one of different brands.

Besides buying this stuff is NOT cheap by no means. Personally I have heard a great number of reports about how certain powders did for others and wanted to see the difference for myself.

Don McDowell
April 23, 2013, 11:28 PM
I buy all my powder at retail just like everyone else, and I post what I find.
Oft times what I find with powder doesn't line up with what the pretty people think, but that's to bad so sad....
If I sound like I promote KIK, well might be because it has shown the capability to hold a string of rounds from a 44-77 in or on a 26 inch bullseye at 1000 yds.
As for the bit about Hogdons, not sure how you would come up with that , as I have not said whether I like the Olde Eynsford stuff or not. I do find it interesting and it has shown some possibilities in my rifles. Other folks have gone bonkers over the stuff, but I'm in the jury is still out category.
I was a huge fan of Goex Cartridge and Express, and was/still in the dediding po'ld column when Hogdons dumped both right at the start of the shooting season. And that is what lead to the trials with KIK. Altho I do know folks that shot KIK for many years and they claim totally opposite findings from the writings of Bill Knight.

Don McDowell
April 24, 2013, 12:06 AM
Blacknet, you might find when you get to testing these powders that Schuetzen 2f and Goex 3f shoot almost identicle. I burned thru several pounds of the Schuetzen looking for a good load in my 45-70 before I stumbled on to that little trick. Once I cut the powder charge accordingly the rifle woke up and really went to shooting well. But the hard grey/red claylike fouling typical of the Swiss/Schuetzen family can really get to be a bear to deal with in our hot dry shooting conditions.

April 24, 2013, 07:19 AM
As for screening goes I really do not expect to see non-black powder items in there. Hair, lint and the like does yield lower quality.

My comment about screening was not to filter impurities but rather to put some data on the record regarding your observations as to inconsistent grain sizes in the samples:
Grain size seems to be all over the board...Grain size seems very consistent...
It would perhaps be useful to see something like:
Goex ffg: 70% by weight ffg, 20% by weight fffg, 7% by weight ffffg
Swiss ffg: 90% by weight ffg, 6% by weight fffg
KIK ffg: ....etc.

I also repeat my earlier suggestion regarding density; weight, or mass, is a much better parameter than volume as a basis for comparing and evaluating black powder. Black powder shooters use volume as a matter of convenience, while mass is really what makes it work.

Hard data will help solidify your conclusions, which frankly, to me, are at the level of speculation at this point. I'm not necessarily disagreeing with them, just suggesting a way to lend credibility to what at the moment seems like a commercial for Swiss. I apologize if this criticism is worded poorly and seems overly harsh; it's intended to be constructive. You've spent a good deal of time on this and it would be a shame to see it dismissed because the conclusions appeared to be too subjective.

April 24, 2013, 09:02 AM
it's not negativity nor is it bad. It is good observations you are making and like I said this is just the start. I do plan on doing several test including range time with a chrono.

the Black Spot
April 25, 2013, 07:44 AM
It would be interesting to see the differences between switching powders with same granulation. Ex. My 44 mag shoots 255 gr cast over 25 gr schuetzen 3F real well, but what if i switched to goex 3f would it shoot the same ?

Don McDowell
April 25, 2013, 09:31 AM
No switching straight from Schuetzen/Swiss to regular Goex will not yield the same velocity. What most people tend to gloss over when they speak so highly of the Swiss/schuetzen is that those powders are screened to smaller sizes than the regular Goex and even the discontinued Goex express.
But when you start lining up the same screen sized powder (never mind the label on the can) then things start evening up a good bit. That's the big thing with Goex's new Olde Eynsford it is screened the same size as Swiss.

April 25, 2013, 09:38 AM
If you bothered to read the thread I did on Swiss powder you will clearly see from the second photo how and why the grain sizes are different.
I am going to call it out and ask for proof positive on the screen size for Olde Eynsford here. Show me the chart and show me the granulation sizes listed.

Don McDowell
April 25, 2013, 09:44 AM
Blacknet, go take a look at what Goex has to say about their screen sizes of the new powder. Then get some ordered, then you can see things for your own self.

April 25, 2013, 09:46 AM
you mean this tiny bit?


I will say it again, show me the image file from Goex that states the granulation sizes for each grade.

April 25, 2013, 09:55 AM
Wrong? Wrong about what? All I am asking for is some basic trivial information. There is no right or wrong on this subject.

April 25, 2013, 10:26 AM
Just got off the phone with Goex. They refuse to release any and all information regarding granulation size due to 'legal liability' reasons, they also list it as a trade secret along with the sulfur/nitrate purity levels.

On sieve sizes the only thing they could say was Mil-P-223 yet also said that with Olde Eynsford they used similar sizes to that of Swiss. Even still there is a metric SAE difference at play.

Don McDowell
April 25, 2013, 11:02 AM
I have noticed that you have copy and pasted a quite large amount of Bill Knights work in your threads, but I do not see where you have credited him for the stuff you are copying. I would need to check my copy of his works he sent me, but I do believe that it's all copyrighted , and even if not I'm sure he would prefer to be acknowledged as the author of a great many of your posts.

Let's see some targets and chronograph readings now. Stuff that tells more usable info than several weeks of pictures and speculations...

April 25, 2013, 11:39 AM
BlackNet attributed the data in his Post #5 in this thread.

Don McDowell
April 25, 2013, 11:45 AM
The thread is titled compare. There are some statements by in here about some of the powders , that just quite simply don't line up with what actual shooting has shown. So a discussion ensues.
Sorry if questioning and pointing out differences and asking for real world examples is being considered rude, it's not the intention.
And I'll make the case that the response from Blacknet is post 4 and the personal attack and out right lies told by Boomer following that (not uncommon practice for him on other boards) are not exactly what you'll find in Ms Paddycakes book of ettiquete.

April 25, 2013, 02:58 PM
Come on guys do we really need this? I find Blacknet’s post extremely interesting in the comparing the different processes in the making of the various black powders and his posting of information from other sources is good information to have. How your individual rifle reacts (And all rifles are individuals) to those differing processes is up to YOU to find out NOT Blacknet.

April 25, 2013, 03:54 PM
I shoot old BS powder myself. (Ballistic Stable):rolleyes:

April 25, 2013, 04:35 PM
I don't think Don is being rude at all. I agree with him that the conclusions Blacknet has come up with don't seem correct to me either.

Like which powder has more graphite on it. he seems to be judging that in the color of the finished powder. ?? Graphite is a gray silvery substance. Not Black. By looks alone it would be the Swiss that has the most graphite on it. I do know that none of will know for sure unless someone from the powder companys posts and says for sure what they all use.
I am pretty sure all powders have some on them to help stop them from drawing moisture and clumping together.

I think a powder gets it's color from the charcoal it was made with. Not so much the type of wood but the process in which it was made. Complete charred being very black and lighter or even reddish colored using under charred wood.
The later would make a powder more likely to absorb moisture and for sure wood need the graphite coating.

The next thing is which powder is most likely to foul the barrel.
Most people that use black powder would have no real way to judge that since they use a bunch of lube, wax or grease when they shoot.

I shoot all lead ball guns free of lube. Rifle or revolvers. I use water or spit on the patch to load the rifle. Have since the late 60's. No lube, wax's wads or such in the chamber or over the ball.

I have found the powders that leave the driest residue are the least likely to foul the barrels. The drier the better. I have tried Goex, Graf and sons and swiss. I found the Swiss to foul the barrels well before the other two. Then Graf and Sons and the least being Goex. The last two being close.
I shot 278 rounds without cleaning or disassembly through my 1851 colt using Goex powder and still the barrel had not fouled.

When it comes right down to it, anything posted about how a brand of powder is made or what it is made from would be hearsay or a guess not fact, unless the manufacture themselves posted it.

If you really want to learn about gunpowder then you should read something directly fron the manufacture. Such as this one. I posted this quite awhile ago but here it is again. It was the handbook that all their workers were given. (I think It is now availible on Google Books for download.)

Manufacture and Proof of Gunpowder by Captian smith, Royal Aryillery

April 25, 2013, 07:43 PM
Buy Hercules powder

April 25, 2013, 10:04 PM
For what it's worth, I've found that in my BP revolvers and a handful of .45 colt cartridge loads, Swiss, Schuetzen, and Goex are all pretty much equal. Same amount of fouling, fairly consistent groups. Never tried Kik. I tend to order from Graf's, and the one thing I can say is that I've found Schuetzen to generally be the most available and the cheapest per pound when I can find stuff on sale.

I find Blacknet's conclusions to be interesting, but not definitive. I suspect that the differences in black powder, at least for pistol shooting, probably do not matter a great deal provided that the shooter does his/her homework in developing their own load. In terms of long range rifle shooting out to 1,000 yards, I have absolutely no idea. Might be interesting to see a long range report done with one of those Gibbs rifles!

April 25, 2013, 11:47 PM

as for the conclusion thing I did already comment on that on page 1, also provided some proof as well

Don McDowell
April 26, 2013, 12:00 AM
Well I do hope you do an honest shooting evaluation, you may end up moving KIK from the bottom of the pile..

April 26, 2013, 12:05 AM
I will do an honest eval, like I said from the start this is just one small part of the project. As for 'shooting' I am designing a rig to yield me consistency between shots from reloading and what not, sand bag it very good and that will take much/most of the human error. I was thinking more like 50 shots per powder with that setup should yield a good spread graph.

Don McDowell
April 26, 2013, 12:23 AM
The problem with the leadsleds and such contraptions, is you can not be sure if any inaccuracy is coming from the shooting aid, or the load combination. A good set of benchrest crossticks in combination with bench bags, is usually what folks use to test for loads. After all there are precious few shooting competitions that let you use and mechanically aids.
Looking forward to your shooting report.

April 26, 2013, 12:28 AM
I was thinking sandbags, 4x4's and bondo to be honest. Maybe some pvp pipe as well. Bondo to mold the rifle form and ensure it is always a perfect fit every time.

Don McDowell
April 26, 2013, 12:40 AM
How on earth in a contraption like that would you even be sure where the sights were pointing, if and when the thing come to rest in the same spot.
And all that of course may go to pot when the wrist of the buttstock cracks. Never mind the trigger squezze.
Anyway here's a thread you might find interesting, I hope it opens for you , the board it's from has implemented a subscription policy, and I'm not sure if your not registered if you can access all the threads, but here goes anyway.

April 26, 2013, 12:54 AM
I am registered there. I recently had a HUGE post deleted because we dived into the manufacturing aspect, had some very good work put into that to.

Kik is not made in the same plant as swiss or schuetzen. Kik is made by KIK Kamnik d.d. - also in bankruptcy proceedings as of 2009/2010.

April 26, 2013, 01:09 AM
Here check this out,

See the way my rifle sits on the sandbag?


The bonbo would mold to the contour of the rifle on the stock, that would ensure a perfect fit match up. the 4x4 framing would go around the sandbag to retard movement. sandbag under the rear and just need to brace behind the butplate and fire. recoil would still go into the shoulder like normal but alignment would be spot on.

This range test was to work on a few areas, one being the sights. As for accuracy with the way she is sitting right now this is the results. I had 4 different aim points on this target, 30-40 yards.

April 26, 2013, 01:12 AM
As for fouling goes I should be able to get shots of the pan, cleaning patches and inside the barrel, after firing.

This is 3 dozen shots, not one cleaning the entire time other than what the patch provided.

April 26, 2013, 07:45 AM
You should be shooting that target at 100 yds and getting the results that you
show on your 35-40 yd targets.

100 yds, open sights, Flintlock sand bag rest

April 26, 2013, 08:27 AM
kwhi43@kc.rr.com, was your target a new rifle and the 3rd time you have fired it?

Don McDowell
April 26, 2013, 08:44 AM
From the looks of all the fuzz around your pan you are using about 6 times to much priming powder. Also hard to tell from you picture, but it looks like your touch hole is shot out. That will make a huge difference in accuracy.
In all sincerity that target you posted is sort of meaningless to the rest of the world, there's no way of knowing which shot was first and which was last.
I would also suggest that with groups that large at that close of range besides the priming powder and the enlarged touch hole, you have a problem with either the ball being to small or the patch to thin or both. Also the lube on the patch can make a huge difference just like with cartridge guns. You also may not be using a powder charge that the rifle likes.
Yes as to the traditional muzzleloading forum, I haven't posted much there for several years, since one of the original "owners" of the sight got all over a bunch of us old buckskinners about how immoral we were posting about shooting round balls past 50 yds...
But you need to get away from the Bill Knight teachings/preachings on KIK. I don't think he ever shot any, or he would of known it is and always has been one of the cleaner burning powders, and he either does not know or has not provided the full story on Goex importing the stuff, and his statement about nobody else can bring it in, has pretty much proved wrong over the 10 years since he penned those lines.
Just so you know, there is another container of KIK coming inbound,expected arrival shortly.

April 26, 2013, 08:55 AM
Did you miss where I said that is about 40 shots and no wiping at all? I bet not. But whatever.

April 26, 2013, 10:06 AM
Oh also may have missed where I said FOUR, 4, aim points on that target.

Don McDowell
April 26, 2013, 10:51 AM
Blacknet, best of luck to you. I'm sure you'll get things figured out.
But in that you say 4 aiming points on the target is all well and good, but those really need to be marked and groups from each indicated so that others can see what you think you see?
Fired many hundreds of rounds in competition with my ol flintgun Klatch, but never ever after a days shooting saw that much filth on the gun. The carbon build up in your pan indicates way to much powder in open burn. The amount of white residue over your frizzen is another indicator of entirely to much priming powder.
Your backlash against the other target about only the 3rd time you've fired the gun is telling. There are many folks here and elsewhere that would/could be of good help to you in getting that rifle to working like it should, but you're going to have to get rid of that chip on your shoulder.

April 26, 2013, 11:22 AM
I am positive others could shoot and do better but that is not the topic of this thread.

Don McDowell
April 26, 2013, 11:59 AM
Whether or not others could shoot better is a mute point in your comparison test.
You need a baseline for accuracy,velocity, fouling etc to start from. Otherwise any results you might come to at the end of your tests may be tilted to far one way or the other.

April 26, 2013, 01:12 PM
My rifle was over 30 yrs old and been shot thousands of times when I shot that
Target in 2006. I have shot several "50"'s in competition through the years.
Once hit 10 penny's in a row at 50 yds. But my ability to shoot has nothing to
Do with test. And in all my 50 yrs of shooting, I have never, never seen a lock
And pan as dirty as yours. I have shot in many 3-day shoots. Something is
Wrong with the way you are loading. Real wrong. Good luck to you.

April 26, 2013, 08:02 PM
So, apparently my post was deleted? All I think I asked was who the two other posters(who dominated the whole thread) were working for. I think that is a legitimate question.

April 26, 2013, 09:14 PM

Can we stop the pissing war, please? This could be an interesting discussion.

April 26, 2013, 10:12 PM
One of them works for one of the Powder companies but I'm sworn not to reveal which one.

Steel Horse Rider
April 26, 2013, 10:45 PM
I am no fan of locking threads but I am in favor of the mod's locking this one.

April 26, 2013, 11:47 PM
I've used Kick and Goex. Both are good. Use what you like and gives good results in your rifle. I've found the kik to be a tad bit cleaner.

April 27, 2013, 12:07 AM
For what its worth, Swiss is about 15% hotter than Schuetzen/Goex. Goex (latest batches) seem to be about 2-5% hotter than Schetzen. Seems to depend on the weapon and the bullet.

Compression: Generally speaking, Swiss and Schuetzen doesn\'t like compression where Goex seems to need it.

Fouling: From my tests and from the words of others, Schuetzen seems to foul the less of all three followed by Swiss.

Found this one interesting.

Don McDowell
April 27, 2013, 12:16 AM
If all I had to choose from was Schuetzen, Goex, and Swiss, I'ld go with the Schuetzen first. They did change the formula on Schuetzen a couple of years ago and they claim to have boosted it's performance by 8-10%. But by that time I had found that KIK was a perfect replacement for Goex Express and Cartridge, and decided to stick with it as it's way cleaner than any other black I had ever shot until the Eynsford came out. If I can squeeze the across the board accuracy from Eynsford that I get from KIK I may go with it, but at this time KIK is my main match powder.
But everybody has to try stuff on their own and see what they like the best.

April 27, 2013, 12:23 AM
You have any info on the bankruptcy that KIK powder company was going through recently?

Don McDowell
April 27, 2013, 12:34 AM
No nothing other than it must be like most bankruptcy's the company tries to keep on going without shutting down if possible.
Folks that have been on the anti KIK mode for what ever reason keep bringing that up, and in the meantime a couple more containers of 10Klbs of powder come in.... Another one is on its way. So even if the company did shut down, there's enough of that powder available to last a long time.What Western Powders and Powder Inc have going with that deal I have no clue, and as long as it keeps coming I'm happy , when it quits I'll find something else.
Heck I found out today that there's at least one place that still has cases of Goex Cartridge in stock, and it was discontinued 3 years ago, and I don't believe they ran any of that since 05 from the plant...

April 27, 2013, 12:58 AM
Well I have been looking into those areas past few days. I can find loads of good stuff from Swiss and Schuetzen easily. also Schuetzen has a forum and that is the quote I posted above, from the administrator himself.

What I found so far on KIK was they went in 2008, the courts threw it out and then in 2009 they courts put them back in, dragged on to 2012 and that was the last I could find.

KIK 2005-2009 financial report (http://content.ebscohost.com/ContentServer.asp?T=P&P=AN&K=74262747&S=R&D=bth&EbscoContent=dGJyMNHX8kSeqLU4v%2BbwOLCmr0uepq5Ssqu4TbGWxWXS&ContentCustomer=dGJyMOXX6oHq2%2B1T69fnhrnb5ofx6gAA)

Now I am no accountant by no means and don't claim to be. It does look like they hit a very nasty slump pre-2007 and seem to be picking up in some areas. Less in equipment, assets, employee expenses, material expenses. Higher in profit margins and sales revenue, so appears to have undergone a serious shake up, some restructuring and new sales. Seems there may be some potential and if handled good they may recover.

April 27, 2013, 01:29 AM
More info on the powders.

Swiss and Schuetzen is very DENSE while Kik and Goex are less dense. This is apparent from the photo's, this would also yield a good indicator as to which TYPE of powder would be 'better' depending on application and loading style.

I have looked at this issue for many years trying to figure out why Swiss (and to some degree Schuetzen) doesn\'t like compression where Goex and KIK seem to like some degree of compression. The one characteristic that stood out the most is that Schuetzen and Swiss both are very dense powders where Goex is less dense and KIK is almost soft. It seems that the denser the powder (Swiss being the most dense and KIK being the lest dense) the less compression is needed. I then looked at how the granules fractured when compressed. The Swiss was more resistant to breaking apart and gave inconsistent fracturing. Once compression became extreme and the compression force was able to over power the structural integrity of the grains, then the Swiss fractured uniformly. I found that once this compression point was reached, the Swiss shot very nice groups.

So, if I\'m making any sense, as the Swiss powder is compressed, the powder fights back and granular fracturing is not uniform resulting in your group opening up down range and standard deviations enlarging. But once the compression overpowers the granular structural integrity, the groups and standard deviations tighten back up.

source: https://www.schuetzenpowder.com/forum/index.php?topic=89.5%3bwap2

- the Schuetzen black powder was designed for the US market by a joint team of Germans and the Swiss.

the Kik container I have was made in 2010 (lot #3910)
the Schuetzen container I have was made in Jan 2012
the Swiss containers I have they are so detailed on the date/lot number they actually list the day of the year so 2005/2011 and 2012.

Swiss is changing the structure of the granulates and this summer we will see the new setup. They are rounded and look like shot also highly more uniform

Pete D.
April 27, 2013, 06:40 AM
Lots of nit picking going on here.
As to the testing/comparison.....a similar test was done some years ago by Sherman Bell in his "Finding Out for Myself" series in the Double Gun and Single Shot Journal.
The one detail that I remember was that Swiss powder was the densest of the selected powders, consistently yielding 10%+ heavier charges than the other powders for the same volume.
If I can find that old volume of the DGJ, I will post the relevant info.

April 27, 2013, 08:29 AM
Swiss and Schuetzen is very DENSE while Kik and Goex are less dense. This is apparent from the photo's,

No, it's not.

Density is a physical property, mass per unit volume, which is only PARTIALLY a function of the size and shape of the individual particles; the density of the particles themselves and settling of the particles into their optimum packing ratio both matter as well.

Please. Measure some charges, weigh them and calculate the density. I'd do it myself but I don't have the powder samples - you do. You may well be right about the relative densities of the various brands, but credibility comes from hard data, not opinions about photographs.

If I can find that old volume of the DGJ, I will post the relevant info.
Thank you. That would be very much appreciated.

Don McDowell
April 27, 2013, 09:11 AM
Wandering off in the weeds looking for the dirty little secrets about this or that companies finances is a waste of time when it comes to a real powder comparison, but if that's what flips your skirts up have at it. Keep in mind no matter what the muck rakers say about KIK, so far none of it seems to amount to a hill of beans when it comes to the availability of the powder, nor does it have any affect on just how well the stuff shoots. And it sure doesn't change the fact you can get almost 2 cases of it for the price of 1 Swiss. So think about that for a half second, twice as much shooting for the same money.....
Density of a powder doesn't much matter either, it's how the powder burns that counts. While some lots of Swiss are much denser in that a given volume of powder will weigh x amount, it matters little if it won't shoot any better than a different powder, or fouls out in a matter of a few shots. Density can be misleading the Olde Eynsford weighs less than all the other brands of powder per volume, yet it so far has equaled or exceeded the velocity of the other powders when loaded on a volume basis....
Be more interested in seeing the targets you shoot with each powder at the end of the day.

Steel Horse Rider
April 27, 2013, 10:22 AM
Wouldn't excessive density cause less complete combustion in the time frame of black powder shooting? I am thinking in terms of the burning rate of hardwoods vs softwoods as an example. I know that the physics change in an enclosed space but I would think that the combustion rate would still be impacted.

April 27, 2013, 12:54 PM
By controlling the density of the powder (pressing), which all commercial manufactures does, it yields some control over performance consistency.

Less dense powders burns faster so there is the possibility of over pressing :)

Moisture retention is reduced in the more dense powders, however some moisture does indeed make black power burn FASTER.

The denser powders is less likely to crumble in shipment, storage, handling and what not. Crumbling adversely affects performance.

Harder powders require a dry and hard granulation process and is more dangerous than wet.

In terms of performance in high vs low density for silver maple vs aspen:

muzzle velocity shows 5-9%.
flight time shows 8-7%.
peak pressure variation 30-44%.

Sasse's research shows flame spread depends on density, surface area and free volume.
White and Horst research shows grain position and movement was important.

*) sources

Ian von Maltitz, Black Powder Manufacturing, Testing & Optimizing, 2003.

R.A. Sasse, Characterization of Maple Charcoal Used to Make Black Powder, US Army Research and Development Center, Ballistic Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, (1983).

K. J. White and A.W. Horst, Black Powder Flamespreading Characteristics, 7th International Pyrotechnics Seminar.


No, it's not.

Density is a physical property, mass per unit volume, which is only PARTIALLY a function of the size and shape of the individual particles; the density of the particles themselves and settling of the particles into their optimum packing ratio both matter as well.

Please. Measure some charges, weigh them and calculate the density. I'd do it myself but I don't have the powder samples - you do. You may well be right about the relative densities of the various brands, but credibility comes from hard data, not opinions about photographs.

You are indeed correct. However, Goex and KIK uses imperial granulation sizes (I know goex does and it is strong speculation on KIK since Goex has helped them revamp their setup and process), Swiss and Schuetzen uses METRIC granulation sizes. Metric granulation tends to run slightly on the LARGER size thus more dense. As for all this coming from photo's, no it all did not come from photo's much of what I posted is coming from various sources including the powder company itself and various books that I posted earlier.

Now for this test I did exactly as mykeal ask which is a very good idea and I came up with the following setup:

I set the grain size to 20 on the gauge and I measured each using the spout cap (this is another beef I have with different powders Swiss and Goex has the same thread pattern and size while KIK and Schuetzen are different, so you would need THREE powder can caps instead of the ONE that I have) I chose this volumetric because the plunger locks into place and it is clear and it never changed during the test.

I then removed excess by the swing action of the top over the container to reclaim the excess powder. On the Schuetzen and KIK there was much much extra than with Swiss and Goex (due to spout cap thread size/pattern)

I then set the scales to zero and used my powder funnel on top of the scales to pour the sample in then removed the funnel.

In the interest of fairness I did all samples TWO times.

Swiss: 20 grains
Schuetzen:20 grains
Goex: 18 grains
KIK 16, 18 and 18 grains (I may have botched the first run this is why I did it THREE times)

So there we have it. Same volumetric meter, same scales all 4 powders of FFFg as pictured above and a 10% spread of density with Swiss and Schuetzen being higher. Oh and +/- 0.1 gain accuracy, sorry this is the most accurate scale that I have.


One more thing, when I was on the phone with Goex this week I was told on grain size of Olde Eynsford that yes indeed they were LARGER grains because that is what shooters wanted and so they made it somewhat comparable to that of Swiss but did refuse to say what is the upper and lower limit of the grain sizes. This does make me wonder if they changed Olde Eynsford to be more dense as that of Swiss and Schuetzen.

April 27, 2013, 02:57 PM
Oh and for the record kwhi43@kc.rr.com and Don McDowell, my '1 grain' spout actually is throwing 6 grains. I cut it down and now it is 2 grains so yes I was using to much powder in the pan.

Don McDowell
April 27, 2013, 05:17 PM
2 grs is probably going to be to much, but that you'll have to experiment with.

April 27, 2013, 09:35 PM
Yes, I use about 1 grain.


This is what 50 yd targets should look like.

April 27, 2013, 10:16 PM
Once dialed in and broken in sure. Testing at the range today yielded less than 1 1/2 grains provided many pan only ignitions due to the breech plug layout. so 1 1/2 grains is ideal. Even with .75 grain I was able to see residue in those areas.

So tell me how many grains of powder is in this photo?


I also measured the '3 grain' spout and the '1 grain' spout. the '3 grain' measured 8 grains, the '1 grain' measured 6 grains. So humor me, put in the pan how much you use then put it on a scale and tell me the weight.

Don McDowell
April 27, 2013, 10:37 PM
Couldn't tell you how many grains but the top photo looks to be about twice what a a good flint gun would need for good ignition.
When you bring the gun up to fire tip it to the right so the powder is on the outside of the pan and will "flash" into the touch hole.

Steel Horse Rider
April 28, 2013, 01:12 AM
I don't know how many grains it is in the picture but it appears to be more than I use in my Pedersoli Hawken flinter. I dribble a bit over the flash hole and then try not to fill the remaining groove level.

April 28, 2013, 03:55 AM
Both photo's is the same amount of powder. The photo is showing about 1 1/2 grains of powder. Also the second photo is a 1:1 macro shot, the ruler is in 1/32" increments.

This is also Null-B Swiss powder, which is 0.25mm to 0.19mm and the weight measured was with this powder, using 4F yielded less weight, about 1 grain less. I am not sure how many here has used it before either.

This is FFFg on the left, Null-B in the middle and FFFFg on the right. HUGE difference going on there.

April 28, 2013, 05:18 AM
Here is what one grain of powder in the pan looks like. Anymore to me would
Be a waste of powder and be over kill.



Don McDowell
April 28, 2013, 10:17 AM
also Schuetzen has a forum and that is the quote I posted above, from the administrator himself.
Yes Jim Kirkland is the owner/importer of Swiss and Schuetzen. It's speaks quite highly of the sort of person he is that he allows the discussion of other powders on his site.I have been somewhat mystified why in 5 years that site hasn't really taken off, as when Goex had their forum it was a busy place...
Did you happen to read the 3 KIK threads John Boy posted there on the KIK comparisons?

4v50 Gary
April 28, 2013, 10:54 AM
Geez folks. Too much angst

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