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2F vs 3F accuracy

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by davepool, Feb 12, 2014.

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  1. davepool

    davepool Member

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    I have a traditions Pennsylvannia rifle .50 cal. and the manual lists both 2f and 3f powder charges. All other things being equal, patch , lube, ball,cap, loading pressure, would the size of the powder granulation play a significant role in accuracy? I've been shooting 60-70 grains of 3f and just recently acquired some Swiss 2f

    Thanks
     
  2. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    I'm interested in this as well.

    In the meantime did you work up your 3F load to find which weight charge gave the best accuracy or did you arrive at the 60-70gns just to get the amount of power you want/need?
     
  3. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    Indeed it would. But it's hard to say to what extent, and which would work better.

    3F usually leaves less fouling, but if you compare 3F standard Goex to 2F Swiss it might not be that different as Swiss generally burns cleaner than the other typical black powders other than Goex Olde Eynsford, which is similar.

    I'd think you'd get similar results with the same charge using 2F Swiss. I'm curious myself!
     
  4. BowerR64

    BowerR64 Member

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    I cant decide what powder i like and i cant decide what speed i like. I started with 3F then tried 2F and it shot good then i got into a rut and went back to 3F and then i shot good with it. I keep going back and forth.

    I want to try swiss 2F though.
     
  5. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    The only way to be sure for yourself is to actually shoot both and keep accurate notes. If you find the 2F is better you could buy a pistol so that you would have a use for the leftover 3F. I have only shot 2F in my rifles and 3F in my pistols without any thought of changing them around.
     
  6. davepool

    davepool Member

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    That is my plan this weekend, now that i have the 2f. I have plenty of pistols to use up the 3f if it turns out to be more accurate :)

    I started with 55 grains and went up in 5 grain increments. I found that 65 grains shot the best 3 shot groups, ( a little under 3'' at 50 yards ) not great but okay for my old eyes.

    i need to get this rifle dialed in by the end of the month, i pre-registered for the NMLRA shoot at Ben Avery in March and hope to amuse several people with my newby BP marksmanship skills :)
     
  7. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    That sounds like it should be a good time!!! Hopefully some day my business won't own me and I will be able to slip down to New Mexico for some of the BP and frontier activities. I think they would be more fun than a human being should be allowed to have.
     
  8. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Yes, one will be slightly (or maybe a lot) more accurate than the other. Which it is depends entirely on your particular rifle.

    The general rule of thumb is a minimum load of 1 grain per caliber with a max load being double that. This applies to patched round balls only, NOT CONICALS.

    I'd shoot 5 or 10 round groups at 5 grain intervals, take careful notes about group size and charge, then look it all over when you get home.

    Due to smaller granulation, the FFFg will generate higher initial pressures, but the FFg will use slower burn rate as an advantage with barrel length. Your barrel will show a preference, but since black powder is pretty consistent and overall low pressure, it may take a bit of shooting to show the winner. Both of my .50s prefer FFFg, but the difference is far more dramatic in one than the other.
     
  9. BowerR64

    BowerR64 Member

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    One thing that was pointed out in another thread that i didnt notice in the begining is that 2F has a sort of push to its recoil and 3F has a snap or jerk to it. Same with the powders, Goex has more of a push then say swiss or T7

    I found pyrodex had more of a feel to Goex
     
  10. fdf

    fdf Member

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    "I've been shooting 60-70 grains of 3f",

    Rule of thumb is when going from 2F to 3F, cut the powder charge by 10 to 15 percent, so reversing the formula, going from 3F to 2F you can achieve same energy and velocity by increasing the powder 10 to 15 percent.

    As far as which is more accurate, just have to sit down at the bench and let the gun decide.

    The WNS is a nice shoot, this will be my 6th year going.
     
  11. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    "Rule of thumb is when going from 2F to 3F, cut the powder charge by 10 to 15 percent, so reversing the formula, going from 3F to 2F you can achieve same energy and velocity by increasing the powder 10 to 15 percent."

    But would that still hold true by using a more energetic powder? I believe that holds true when using similar powders, but not so much in this case of moving from 3F standard Goex to 2F Swiss.
     
  12. fdf

    fdf Member

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    "But would that still hold true by using a more energetic powder? I believe that holds true when using similar powders, but not so much in this case of moving from 3F standard Goex to 2F Swiss."



    The OP asked his question about changing powders, 3F to 2F, he did not ask about moving from 3F standard Goex to 2F Swiss."

    Most folks purchase one brand of powder and them purchase granulations they need.

    No reason to make BP shooting complicated.
     
  13. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    Hmmmm… You are right.

    I suppose I jumped to that conclusion as 3F wasn't specified, but the 2F was.
     
  14. Hanshi

    Hanshi Member

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    I've used both 2F and 3F of various brands but never Swiss. 3F is what I use in everything and I see no advantage with 2F.
     
  15. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    There may be an advantage to 2F, but for myself, I've decided that I prefer the idea of stocking and carrying afield just one powder for my arms, and since the pistols are more in need of certain power levels, since I intend to hunt with them, I'll use 3F, and an energetic ("sporting grade") type. Goex Olde Eynsford has shown itself roughly equal to Swiss performance and is much cheaper and American. I do like Triple 7 as well, which was the first powder I tried, but for the cost I think I'll be using Olde E, though I've yet to work on accurate hunting loads with my .50 cal rifle and PRB's or REALs.
     
  16. davepool

    davepool Member

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    If all goes well, i'm taking a week off from work to attend this shoot. Maybe we can meet up, i'll be the old guy with gray hair :), but just in case my screen name IS my real name.

    With temperatures we've been having so far this "winter", there is a good chance we will see near 100 degree temps in March
     
  17. EljaySL

    EljaySL Member

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    To get the best accuracy you definitely have to play with the loads, ball size, patch size, lube, if/how you clean between shots, and who knows what else. It's a process.

    I tend to use 3F only in real black powder since I mostly use that in flintlocks and they'll run with 3F as both the main and pan charge. Easy.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014
  18. jgh4445

    jgh4445 Member

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    The original question was 2F vs 3F accuracy. That can only be determined in the rifle you shoot it in. What happens in mine, or theirs, won't necessarily happen in yours, even if they are the same make and model rifles. Pick one powder, one charge of it, one ball size, one distance to target, one lube, one patch type and thickness, one amount of pressure seating the ball, one method i.e., wiping, not wiping etc. Then, staying with the same powder, change each of those other variables one at a time making careful records. When you have run thru all the combinations you care to THEN switch granulations (3F to 2F) of powders and go thru the whole thing again. You can also do that with 2F and 3F Swiss, Goex, Schuetzen Old Eynsford etc. That should answer the original question for YOUR rifle.
     
  19. fdf

    fdf Member

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    "If all goes well, i'm taking a week off from work to attend this shoot. Maybe we can meet up, i'll be the old guy with gray hair , but just in case my screen name IS my real name.

    With temperatures we've been having so far this "winter", there is a good chance we will see near 100 degree temps in March "

    You will be like every other make there, old guy with grey hair, some do not have hair.

    After this winter I could use some warmth.

    See you there.
     
  20. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    It's more than just powder size or brands of powder folks.


    Part of the accuracy question is the consistency of the amount of powder that you use. Sure..., you are using a measure set or made to throw X amount of powder... but how consistent is that particular powder measure when using either granulation? What is the powder charge, and how much is the variation effecting the velocity?

    So say you are shooting 90 grains of 2Fg. Your powder measure sometimes varies +/- 4 grains, so that's slightly more than +/- a 4% variation in powder, and the MV is probably very close to your optimal 90 grain load, so you may not notice.

    OK you switch to 3Fg and reduce the load by 10%, which is 81 grains, but your measure settings are in tens, so you set it at 80 grains, but with the 3Fg your measure is only variable by +/- 2 grains. So that's a variation of +/- 2.5%... and again you probably won't notice.

    NOW say you're shooting some light target loads, of say 50 grains of 2Fg. With the same measure variation as above, that's +/- 8%, a total range of 16% variation. While with the 3Fg..., the variation is only 4% for a total variation range of 8%... that's the same amount of variation you had with the 2Fg 90 grain load, and only half of the variation you currently getting with 2Fg in the lighter load. You probably will see the difference. Not to mention the fact that the slower burning of the 2Fg added to a powder charge that is off by say 4 grains may be considerably slower when using a light target load compared to the 3Fg.

    The smaller the powder load the more the variations in what the powder measure throws is amplified, for the variations are a larger part of the whole.

    LD
     
  21. BigG

    BigG Member

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    Dave, I like your formula for BP loading but my shooting as I do it seems to be finding a load that shoots to point of aim with the sights and then trying to duplicate it endlessly. I don't use aftermarket sights, scopes, or other than patched round ball and shoot sidelock arms. All the experimentation consists in finding that accurate load. Of course if I get another can of powder, I guess I have to see if it varies but a can lasts me a long time. I use 3F in rifles and revolvers as it seems to work better than 2F and also works in the flash pan of flintlocks.
     
  22. davepool

    davepool Member

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    Would weighing a measured charge and then duplicating that weight in the rest of the charges be helpful in getting consistent results with black powder?
     
  23. BowerR64

    BowerR64 Member

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    I think it would, all the little things add up IMO.

    I use to use an empty shell to measure mine then i got a powder scale and i started to weigh my loads using the empty shells. They were off and i even used a flat blade to push any powder that heaped up so that every scoop was the same but they didnt weigh the same.

    I weigh my balls and my powder now

    The thing i found with the different powders is i tend to shoot high with some using the same load its like they jerk my shot and cause me to shoot high. Either my grip is to loose or something causing the muzzle to jump and cause a high shot. Then ill go back to a different powder like 2F T7 and my shots will be point of aim again.

    One thing i do wonder about is if 2F can cause damage? Since its a slower burn could it be burning the barrel? Like say 3F would tend to ignite in the chamber reaching its max pressure or heat before it gets to the barrel but would 2F? or would it be slower to reach its max pressure or heat further down after the forcing cone?
     
  24. BowerR64

    BowerR64 Member

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    First time shooting this Brass Remington i got at last weekends gun show.

    T7 3F on the left 16g and then 2F pyrodex on the right 20g

    [​IMG]
     

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