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I'm new to BP...

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by kir_kenix, Sep 24, 2006.

  1. kir_kenix

    kir_kenix Well-Known Member

    i just bought my first BP a few weeks ago, but have put a few rounds thru it and i have alot of questions. i bought a .50 cal CVA Wolf (as near as i can figure it is exactly the same rifle as the optima, it just has a 2" shorter barrel) from walmart and i must say i love the thing. it has fiberoptic sights and is pretty darn accurate (i think anyway). w/ 2 triple 7 pellets and w/ 240 gr TC sabots i am grouping about 5 rounds in a 5.5" pie-plate at about 80-90 yards from the nealing. i feel i can bring this in quite a bit with more shooting, but is this pretty decent? am i wrong to think that this thing cant be more accurate? what sort of accuracy should i expect to accomplish out of this thing?
    also, how many grains of powder should i use? today at walmart i bout 100 preformed triple 7 pelets, a 16 oz botle of pyrodex, measurer, and several different brands of bullets to experiment with. can i use triple 7 pelets and loose? is loose as reliable/consistant as pellets. what brand of loose powder is the cleanest, and should i even be concerned with this? what is the difference in how fine the powder is (ie FFG)?
    I also want to know what the difference between saboted bullets and to bore width bullets are. are sabbots better/easier? is it all an opinion?
    also, i have been roding with wet and then dry patches after every shot, is this necessary? i have been using number 13 bore cleaner and bore butter for final clean up at night...is this a good combo/practice?
    i apologize for the gob of questions, but i really dont know that many ppl that enjoy this side of the sport. i really enjoy shooting this, and i am considering getting a more "traditional" rifle or pistol. for some reason all the work i have to put into each shot just makes the final result seem more satisfying.
    thanks for any help/advice you can give me, even if i forgot/was to ignorant to ask!..lol.
  2. Plink

    Plink Well-Known Member

    The problem with accuracy using pellets is that you can't fine tune your load. Muzzleloaders have a sweet spot for best accuracy and you need to adjust the powder weight to find it. For a .50 that might be 80 or 90 grains for hunting and even less for target accuracy. With pellets you can't tune the load properly. I'd suggest going to loose powder. It's a lot cheaper anyway.

    Oddly enough, the whole pellet/sabot thing is really marketing driven more than anything else. The best accuracy still comes from real black powder and a patched round ball. A lot of hunters have found that it's still the best combo for hunting too. I never went the sabot route, but it took me a long time to realize that for most game, the round ball works better than even a lead conical.

    Real black powder is more powerful than Pyrodex, generates less fouling, and is less corrosive. That came as a shock to me. I remember when Pyrodex first hit the market. I switched to it exclusively for several years thinking it just had to be an improvement. Now 777 is pretty amazing. It's relatively clean, and quite powerful.
  3. The Deer Hunter

    The Deer Hunter Well-Known Member

    accually pyrodex burns cleaner.

    But you dont need to be worried about accuaracy now, it sounds really accurate.

    What you need to be consirened about it cleaning the thing. If you havent already its currently rusting to a peice of corroded junk.

    What you need (what i use):
    -TC no. 13 bore cleaner
    -TC Bore butter (yumm)
    -cleaning jag
    -patchpuller worm
    -bore brush (bronze phosphate)
    -cleaning patches, i recommend pre-saturated ones with no. 13 bore cleaner, although, you still need regular ones
    -Your ramrod should be threaded (10-32 thread) so it doubles as a cleaning rod
    -time (about 1 hour)
  4. kir_kenix

    kir_kenix Well-Known Member

    today i went out and fired about 20 or 25 shots...and i must say i am really pulling my shots in closer. ive kept up the procedure i stated earlier in this post about rodding between shots, and im getting pretty profecient at reloading. i started out w/ using loose pyrodex at about 130 grains, and worked it down to about 85 where i think is more accurate. after shooting i broke her down, took out the breech plug and did a very thurough cleaning. next time i make it to a gun store i am going to pick up some real black powder, just to see the difference between it and pyrodex.
    can i use a patch and ball in my gun? my owners manual (yes i finally opened the thing up and read thru it) suggests that they will not be as accurate and not reccomended for my rifle. why is this, doesnt seem to make much sense to me, but then again im really new to this sport.
    also, i have been leaving quite a bit of bore butter in my barrel when i have been storing and cleaning and rodding it clean before taking it shooting...should i be doing this? from what i understand that is what its for, but then again...what do i know...lol. thanks again deer hunter and plink for the advice. im looking into a black powder revolver as my next gun purchase, but i still have plenty to experiment/learn from the one ive got.
  5. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Well-Known Member

    5" groups at 100 yards or less sucks! (imho). The problem IS the fiber optic sights, which show up well under low light, BUT can you see the target (or the deer) in the same light? They are also gross, meaning lots of room for a sloppy sight picture. To get an inline to approach the accuracy of a round ball fired from fine, iron sights, you must use a scope, OR retrofit you rifle with proper iron or peep sights. My roundball flintlock shoots 2-3" groups at 100 yards, and only uses 70 grains of powder.

    As for Pyrodex vs BP and cleaning, it's very much a function of what one uses as a lube, and the humidity, as well as the granulation. I have seen BP foul less, and foul more than Pyrodex.

    As for the pellets and the sabots..., well the pellets are touted for fast reloads..., which is silly as the deer generally doesn't wait around for you to reload and shoot at him again. At lest not out East.

    The ONLY advantages to in-lines are: You have the most weather resistant ignition system, when properly handled. The stainless is most forgiving of hunters who don't clean guns well. Because they can handle the heaviest powder charges, they can deliver a higher muzzle velocity when using MAXcharges.

    So you can launch a 230 grain .452 projectile with a 150 gr load to a speed of say 2300 fps, while my .530 225 grain round ball only comes out at 1700 fps with a 70 gr load. (IF you lessen your load to 70 grains, you'd get the same velocity, give or take a few fps, for mass is mass) The deer I shoot don't seem to care, as they are dead and literally fall over when I shoot them. Do you really need that 2300 fps? OK, YES I WOULD use an inline if I was going after antelope in Wyoming, for I'd need that 300 yard shot. BUT I wouldn't feel undergunned used a 3-band .58 Enfield, or a .54 Sharps Caplock either.
    (PS hydrostatic shock has been proved to be bunk!)

  6. kir_kenix

    kir_kenix Well-Known Member

    when i went out shooting the other day and fine tuned my powder load ill bet i was bringing my groups into the 3" group area (didn't measure). your right tho, i do need to get some nice peep sights. it has been a ton of fun experimenting w/ this thing, and i cant wait to get back out, hopefully today or thursday, and do some more shooting.
  7. eastwood44mag

    eastwood44mag Well-Known Member

    My experience/suggestions shooting a CVA (yours may vary):

    -Bore Butter! Lube your barrel and your projectiles--it helps a LOT.
    -295 gr HP powerbelt + 100 grains of Pyrodex (2 pellets) + a winchester 209 = 3 touching at 50 yards from benchrest (223 gr aerotips are all over the darn paper)
    -Clean your barrel OUTSIDE, away from the house with peroxide. Dry barrel, grease with bore butter.

    This is an addicting habit. Practice often:D
  8. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Well-Known Member


    That's news to me, and probably many other experienced BP shooters. :scrutiny:
  9. taralon

    taralon Active Member

    Pyrodex IMHO does burn cleaner.

    Why do I say this? I've shot both current major varieties of 'real black' and pyrodex both with cartridge guns and with my .45 caliber muzzleloader.

    50 shots of either Goex 3F or Swiss 2.5 F or whatever they are calling it this week with TC borebutter lubed patches gets to the point where I can't even get a ball down the barrel with a solid brass bench rod. Accuracy went south at around shot 25... with the group opening up from 2 odd inches to around 8 inch group at 100 yards.

    Shooting the same volume load of pyrodex rifle (which gets 50fps more velocity as well) at round 175 I was still easily pushing the same ball/patch combination down the barrel. 175 rounds at 100 yards were all in a playing card sized patch of missing target.

    In my .38-55 one could *really* see the difference between the "true" black and pyrodex. True black left an absolute crud amount of fouling in the barrel. Looking down the barrel you could not see the difference between grooves / lands in the last 8 inches of barrel. And that was after a single shot. Pyrodex left much, much less fouling with only the last foot or so showing evident fouling and that was with a spot here and there that grew more dense towards the muzzle but which left lands/grooves clearly discernable.
  10. Plink

    Plink Well-Known Member

    It's news to me too. I've shot them both side by side for decades. I still buy Pyrodex when I can't get the real stuff locally. BP always leaves less fouling in any of my guns than Pyro. I can shoot all day without swabbing using BP.
  11. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Well-Known Member

    That's why I found it an unusual statement, too.

    I've been running up to 70gr of Goex Cartridge BP in my .45-70 Sharps 1874 Business rifle. With either SPG bullet lube or my own lard/beeswax concoction, I have no problems with fouling, either just a few rounds or an entire BPCR silhouette match. Of course, I have a wonderful lube star on the muzzle of my 32" barrel, so I know I'm packing enough lube on my 500-550gr bullets to make the entire trip without leading. The BP fouling remains soft and considerably easier to clean up than when I was running Pyrodex in my .54 Hawken front-stuffer.

    I'm convinced Pyrodex has a place, but since it's more corrosive than real BP and not as easy to clean up, I'd relegate it to the BP shooter who can't get the real stuff due to insurance or local ordinances. Consistency, accuracy, and ease of use are still the domain of the Holy Black. ;)
  12. The Deer Hunter

    The Deer Hunter Well-Known Member

    IDk, that is what i have been told about pyrodex from many people.

    If it doesnt burn cleaner than whats so good about it?
  13. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Well-Known Member

    That's easy.

    1. Pyrodex is classified as a flammable substance, compared to real BP, which is a low-order explosive (categorized as a Class A explosive for shipment).

    2. Since Pyrodex is a flammable substance, vs. explosive, it fits into the category of smokeless propellant for the purposes of storage and shipping.

    3. Black powder is ticklish stuff to manufacture. I have an article clipped from the 1895 Harper's Weekly that illustrates black powder manufacture at the Wilmington duPont factory, and basically everything is wooden and/or non-sparking. The same duPont factory suffered an explosion and fire in 1915, 1917, and again in the early 1970's. The late Dan Pawlak and Michael Levinson worked to make a safer BP substitute, less sensitive, harder to ignite, and capable of being stored and shipped under the same rules as smokeless powder. Their work culminated in the patenting of Pyrodex on July 25, 1975, with marketing shortly afterwards.

    4. Prior to Dan's untimely death in the Pyrodex facility explosion of January 27, 1977, he went on record himself to describe the corrosive effects and ignition properties of his creation.

    5. Corrosive isn't a problem for shippers and storekeepers, nor is higher ignition temperatures. What is a problem is transportation and storage of explosives, particularly with respect to DOT regulations, zoning ordinances, and local fire department hazardous materials rules. I've seen gun stores quit stocking BP and default to Pyrodex because their insurance premiums were simply too expensive to keep the former on the shelves. Pyrodex is less of a risk, and easier to ship, stock, and sell larger amounts without the huge insurance overhead.

    Who knows, maybe someday with our post-9/11 paranoia, true BP may be considered too evil for the average muzzleloader, re-enactment cannoneer, and black powder cartridge shooter to own. If that happens, then Pyrodex, 777, Black Mag, Black Canyon, Clear Shot, and APP will be the choices remaining to replace Black Powder. Let's hope that doesn't happen any time soon, I'm having a hard enough time finding the real stuff and enjoying the benefits without paying serious HazMat fees for shipment. ;)
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2006
  14. dwave

    dwave Well-Known Member

    I hate pyrodex myself, I have found it to be more dirty than BP and more corrosive. I don't use it, I will choose APP or 777 way before buying it.
  15. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Well-Known Member


    Try out some TC 250gr Shockwaves. I don't honestly believe that these are any better than any other saboted bullet out there, but they sure do shoot well when you find their sweet-spot. My little Encore Katahdin shoots them great with GOEX FFg. With about 90gr it will shoot 1" at 50-yards. I'm sure it would shoot tighter, but those fiber-optic peep sights are a limitation.

    As for BP and Pyrodex: I find that BP fouling tends to be somewhat softer than Pyro in my Encore. Goex is a mighty dirtier IMO, but it doesn't leave a hard residue down at the breechplug. After one round of Pyrodex, there is a ring burnt into the breech so bad I can't get a second sabot loaded without patching. Goex doesn't do this to me.

    And I'll state that my experience with 777 pellets is exactly the same: Hard ring of fouling. Pyro pellets didn't do it as badly. Of course, neither one shot worth a hoot anyway! :barf:
  16. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Well-Known Member

    Pryodex further allows stores who do not have the budget to invest in a BP storage container, or who don't want to spend the money for the insurance for the storage of a "low explosive". This varies from state to state. I have found that the small stores can't afford the cost of the storage container and the insurance. The large chains are more interested in avoiding the liability if the stuff goes up and injures folks in adjoining departments, i.e. Wally World, Dick's, etc. Hence the medium sized, gun-only stores are the places near me that have BP.

    Again folks, it depends on the lube, the temp, and the humidity. Heck when I spit patch, I have much less of a fouling problem than when I use something like bore butter, and I have to use BP as pyrodex or any other substitute doesn't work in my flinter. I use 3Fg for both the main charge and the priming powder, and the sparks from the flint just don't set off Pyrodex, and even if it did it's a bit too slow for the already "slow" ignition of the flintlock.

  17. arcticap

    arcticap Well-Known Member

    I definitely do not think that your 5.5 inch groups at 80 or 90 yards with fiber optic sights stink. As a matter of fact, I think that's very good shooting. Using 777 has its advantages and disadvantages, it's a little more erratic in some guns, but it sure cleans up easier. If you give Hoppe's Number 9 Black Powder Solvent & Patch Lube a try, I found that it helps to dissolve the residue easier. At least it worked great for me. :)
    While I didn't try the TC #13 on 777, it seems to lack some strength when used with Pyrodex.
    Why not give American Pioneer Powder (fffg) a try if you really want to try out another non-corrosive substitute?
    I think that the only way that you will notice any real difference in group size with any powders is if you put a scope on your rifle. Then you will be able to better compare the accuracy differences between the different powders and projectiles you want to try.
    And if you want to shoot round balls, go ahead and give it a try. But the fast twist in your gun probably won't produce acceptable accuracy for you beyond short range (25 yards?), and you'll probably want to lighten the powder load for your experiment.
    You'd probably want to buy a more traditional, slower twist round ball gun if you really want to plink with patched round balls. ;)
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2006
  18. dwave

    dwave Well-Known Member

    The APP has less power than all the others, but I think that the accuracy with it was pretty good, I know my 1851 likes it. If you are target shooting and don't mind the loss in power it is worth trying. Very easy to clean up too.
  19. Plink

    Plink Well-Known Member

    For those having fouling issues with BP, it might be the brand. Try Swiss. It's more powerful and a lot cleaner than most others. I've heard that KIK is cleaner and more powerful too, but I haven't tried it yet. I'm about to order some though.

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