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If I can buy real BP, is there any point in using 777?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by MacTech, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. MacTech

    MacTech Well-Known Member

    My local toy store sells both BP and the substitutes, 777 and Pyrodex, I understand that some states/towns/etc may not like BP and that's one of the reasons for the existence of the subs

    From what I've read, Pyrodex tends to be a tad harder to ignite and potentially more corrosive than BP, but 777 is less corrosive than either pyro or BP

    is there any advantage to using 777 instead of the real stuff? Any drawbacks? Does it produce that wonderful plume of white smoke like BP?

    I'm a newb to BP and I have no bias towards any of the subs or BP, which would be the best product for paper Punchin' loads of 90 grains or less?
  2. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Well-Known Member

    Consider yourself lucky, MacTech, and go buy some genuine black powder. I had to send away and spend over 100 bucks (for 5 pounds) to get the "real deal," as nobody within 200 miles of me sells black powder. Come to think of it, I can't even get .44 caliber round balls in my neck of the woods. (Helloooo, Cabelas!) I know it's dirty, but if one is to have the real black powder experience, I'd accept no substitutes if you have the choice.
  3. arcticap

    arcticap Well-Known Member

    Every powder has some advantages and disadvantages.

    777 is probably the most powerful sub, it burns clean but the fouling is different. In larger amounts it can form a crud ring in the breech but not always. That can depend on the amount of heat that's produced.
    It produces noticeably sharper felt recoil, and can be erratic if it's compressed too much during loading. However it can also be very consistent in some guns if loaded properly. Sometimes swabbing is aided by using TC's T-17 special solvent for it.
    777 does not produce nearly as much smoke and it does not contain sulfur. Since the residue can absorb moisture, it still needs to be cleaned after each range session. Load 15% less volume for an equivalent load to any other powder.

    It's always good to try more than one powder and learn about each one for yourself as you go along.
    The funny thing about any powder is that in some guns a powder can shoot great while in another gun it won't perform well at all.

    Pyrodex seems to like heavier but consistent compression when rammed. The smaller pistol [P] granulation burns cleaner and leaves less residue than the RS or rifle/shotgun powder, and Pistol produces some additional velocity than RS as well. Adjust loads of P by about 10% volume. The smaller granulation flows into the flash channel better which can aid ignition. I personally haven't experienced many ignition problems using it in a clean gun with #11 caps.
    The fouling is generally somewhat softer and slightly less than some black powders. It shares the same ingredients as black powder but with an additional component that can promote corrosion if not cleaned timely after use.
    It produces more smoke than 777 but not as much as black powder does.

    As with any powder, the more powder that's loaded the more residue that will be produced.

    I can't tell you which will work better in your gun for target shooting purposes. I personally prefer using Pyrodex in more caplock rifles than 777. But the folks who do like 777 usually prefer it highly. I use 777 in smaller calibers only where fouling is an issue, but only in small enough amounts to not cause a crusty, hard crud ring.
    Pyrodex P is what I would recommend to try first.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
  4. ClemBert

    ClemBert Well-Known Member

    777 is harder to ignite than BP. Some people report not having to use lube with 777 because of the "greasy" residue created from burning 777. 777 is a great powder to use but less forgiving if you are too enthusiastic about compressing the ball in on top of the powder. More time and consideration must be given when determining the amount of contact the ball makes with the powder. If given a choice I recommend always using black powder with 777 being a good backup.
  5. MacTech

    MacTech Well-Known Member

    I already have a can of Goex FFg, I was just wondering if I was missing anything by not trying a sub powder

    Looks like I'll stay with the real stuff

    As far as ease of ignition goes, BP still keeps impressing me, so far I have lit off demonstration charges with a Swedish firesteel and a flat plastic fresnel lens (one of those book magnifiers sold in bookstores) and a focused beam of sunlight, took less than 3 seconds under full sun
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
  6. ElvinWarrior

    ElvinWarrior Well-Known Member


    WOW, clever test that !!! I had no idea BP was so sensitive to sunlight, makes me think I better not take a clear jar of BP with me to the range, keep it in tins, or in dark brown bottles instead !!!

    Thanks for the heads up on that one !!!



    ElvinWarrior... aka... David, "EW"
  7. Yarddog

    Yarddog Well-Known Member

    My BP rifle shoots good with pyrodex RS with round balls ; )
  8. Fingers McGee

    Fingers McGee Well-Known Member

    Not really. It costs more than BP; it cleans up with water, same as BP; It isn't corrosive, same as BP (BP is hygroscopic, not corrosive, T7 is also hygroscopic); It is compression sensitive and can be hard to ignite, which BP is not. It does give higher velocities using the same volume as BP.

    Anyone else care to chime in??

    Pyrodex is corrosive, stinks, compression sensitive, and can be hard to ignite.
  9. MacTech

    MacTech Well-Known Member

    Just tried another unusual test, took a thimble sized amount of BP out on the driveway, and held my MagCharger rechargable MagLite with the stock 170 Lumen bulb in it, focused the beam as tight as it would go with the lens held right over the BP at around a 45 degree angle....

    Sadly, the BP did not detonate, but it *did* smoulder a bit, took about 30 seconds to get wispy smoke tendrils out of the pile... I'd imagine if I put the more powerful Welch Allyn "hotrod" bulb in the MC it *would* have lit the BP....

    yep, sensitive stuff, that BP...

    I poured some water on the pile to kill it and then scattered the pile to prevent any "hang-lights", safety first...
  10. arcticap

    arcticap Well-Known Member

    That's true.
    Being classified as a low grade explosive compared to any of the subs is a good reason to be extra careful since it has some added risk.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    I shoot real BP because
    1. Black powder is historical, the other stuff is modern.
    2. NRA doesn't allow fake powder in the BPCR I shoot. (Except Pyrodex, ick.)
  12. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Well-Known Member

    in direct sunlight BP won't ignite, but with a convex lens concentrating the light and heat on it it will. i used to dry my BP in the sun, and i never have had ignition after doing it many times. A convex lens works by concentrating the heat, you can do all sorts of things with said heat. you can melt toy army men, spark matches, make dry leaves smolder, light a cigar, light fireworks, it is plenty hot really, it is just concentrating the heat energy. kids have been doing that stuff (with the exception of the cigar) for years. they are good for survival kits because you can spark a fire with one. when i was younger and did not (or shall i say was not allowed to have matches or a lighter) i used to burn stuff with a magnifying lens. it works extraordinarily well in a pinch. so i think that BP will have trouble igniting from the direct sunlight, however unless you have your BP in a jar with a magnifying glass as the lid it is safe.
  13. whosyrdaddy

    whosyrdaddy Well-Known Member

    For me, 777 has 2 distinct advantages over real BP.
    First is price. Real BP is available locally for $25 per pound.
    Up until this past hunting season, 777 could be had for $9-$15 per pound after season clearance price at my local Wal-Mart, and because 777 is ~25% lighter by volume than BP and is further reduced by 15% for equivalent velocities, 777 just gives more bang for my buck.

    Second, and most importantly, no fouling shot is required for hunting with 777. Most of the deer I've taken have been with a load that has been in my gun since the previous years season.
    Generally speaking, the first shot out of a clean barrel with BP will not be in the group of the consecutive shots even when wiping between shots.
  14. 45-70 Ranger

    45-70 Ranger Well-Known Member

    45+ years in BP shooting, I've come to like T7

    Been at this a while. Used BP for years. Pyrodex came along and I tried it out. Found it to have a short shelf life and will over time loose it's punch. BP does not share this problem. Now a year ago I tried T7. Took a while to learn the amount of compression to get it consistant, but have the bugs worked out of it now. It is super clean in my C&B wheelguns, and does a good job in my 45-70. Took more time to work out the use in cartridges, but once I found which wad or card to use with each different bullet, it was just fine.

    I started out with black powder and used iron moulds all the time for years. Now I use aluminumn moulds and T7 powder. Now who says you can't reach an old dog new tricks?:D A plus using T7 is that your conicals and cast bullets for cartridges can be lubed with LLA and it will leave your weapon far cleaner than expected. Further, I believe that if you have to clean your weapon while at the range using this powder, you're doing something wrong.

    Note: I cannot stand Pyrodex new or old. It's just nasty and will not perform well in most anything I have. The last of what I had, I put it in a pile in the dirt and burned it up to get rid of it. I was not going to shoot that stuff in my weapons ever again. :cuss:

  15. Pops

    Pops Well-Known Member

    If I can buy real BP, is there any point in using 777 ?

    Nope !! Can't think of a one....
  16. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Well-Known Member

    I'm with Wade on this one, [our experience with the .45-70 seems to have been just about paralell] with the exception of I finally DID find a use for Pyrodreck. Fertilizer.
  17. txapacheguy

    txapacheguy Active Member

    I use 777 pellets for my .50 cal rifle. The reason for this is the lack of residue, and ease of cleaning, since my rifle does not have a removable breech plug nor an easily cleaned ignition passage. Next time I buy a rifle, it will be easier to clean so that I do not have to buy commercially produced powder...

    I use my own home made BP for all of my pistols and it works great...
  18. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Well-Known Member

    Even though I do believe black powder to best for consistency, I still use Pyrodex powder in my cap guns. It is just easier to get and the accuracy loss is minimal. IMO it is just as dirty as real BP.
  19. Pete D.

    Pete D. Well-Known Member


    Most of my muzzleloading is done with flintlocks. Neither of the subs will work in a flintlock (unless I duplex them with BP) and so I buy BP in bulk and use only that at this point.
  20. mr16ga

    mr16ga Well-Known Member

    I don't see any reason to shoot a substitute if you can get the real stuff. One advantage for shooting real stuff it has a shelf life of over a 100 years from what I understand, it is very stable if you keep the lid on.

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