4fg in small bore

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Johnm1, Apr 25, 2021.

  1. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    Not a bad idea! You know, Arcticap posted that one guy's results of such a test, where 4fg didn't always produce the top velocities, but I got to thinking. That was just one guy, one test. Results could be completely reversed on a different day, different guy, different lots of powder, different loading procedure, different temperature, different guns, wads, humidity, phase of the moon, and so on.

    Once upon a time, I chronographed my Ruger Security Six .357. Stubby 3.5" barrel. Then, same day, within the same hour, did the same with a S&W revolver with a six inch barrel. Same load, same cartridges out of the same box. The S&W was only 25fps, on average, faster than the Ruger. So, really can't come to any solid conclusions with limited testing, or one man's test. One couldn't say that a six inch revolver barrel is only 25fps faster than a three inch, based on that. So any real testing would have to be fairly extensive.
     
  2. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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  3. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    I believe it was an old Model P Colt. He pulverized some powder and loaded it under a 300 grain bullet for the 45-70. When he pulled the trigger, the head of the case separated from the body. The escaping gas blew off the loading gate and sliced his finger. He also blew up S&W revolvers.


    Kevin
     
  4. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

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    IDK where the rumor about using 4F powder for anything other than priming pans was unsafe and would blow guns up came from. I mean, maybe it was true in the 19th Century, but with modern replicas I see no reason why .31 and .36 caliber percussion guns cannot use 4F as the powder. I wouldn't use it for anything .45 and up, we know 3F and 2F works better for larger bores, so no reason to find out what the fine 4F powder does in a larger bore, but small ones I think it's worth trying and see how much more velocity can be achieved and if group sizes improve and POI is closer to POA.

    For anyone reloading .22 and .32 rimfire and .32 centerfire with black powder, I see no reason not to use 4F.
     
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  5. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    With Olde Eynsford, Swiss, and Triple 7 providing plenty of oomph with 3F I don’t see a need for the most part, but if I had a .36 Colt Pocket Police or .31 Remington Pocket I’d try 4F Swiss I think. I’d try what I have first of course, and only if I wasn’t truly happy with the results would I feel a need. That is unless the three former powders in 3F weren’t available, then I would.

    Can you define fully compressed? Hodgdon’s stated firmly compressed and I emailed them asking for a definition since many feel it needs extremely minor compression or bad things happen. I feel like I always loaded firmly whatever I’m using, but that means something different to each of us I’d guess. But I have read of people who fill chambers and then compress the powder and then seat the projectile, getting additional powder in there.

    Which book by E Keith is this mentioned in? I’d certainly be curious which powder (assuming it’s American) and the time frame as our powders seemed to be on the low end of the spectrum I believe depending on when. I’ve certainly read of a few these days preferring 2F, often in a horse pistol, but usually for small loads. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s more consistent?

    With as energetic as Olde E and T7 (and Swiss) are I’ll try it in my revolvers if I can’t get the powders I have to do well in my rifle. I feel .44 Spl (300 ft/lbs with a bullet) performance level is minimal to be humane and capable, and I’m over that and not maxed out on powder. I’m sure I could get my shorty (.400”) 170 grn bullet screaming with a max load of what I’m using, especially from the ROA, but accuracy is what takes the front seat once that minimum has been achieved. I have a better powder measure where I can work in 2.5 grn increments easily so I want to work with them again, but my NMA’s favored charge was 30 grns that weighed 33 using Olde E, and 5 more for the ROA.

    Some of the paper cartridges used much less powder:

    7746-E596-2-AAC-4023-B479-A54-E0-DEDE9-E1.png
     
  6. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Member

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    Don't. Null-B is about 7F. That stuff is fantastic priming powder, but even I would not use it as propellant. 4F? It's actually my preference for flint pistol. I'd use it in revolver, but it dribbles out the nipples.
     
  7. TheOutlawKid

    TheOutlawKid Member

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  8. gtrgy888

    gtrgy888 Member

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    I define fully compressed as a .36 chamber filled completely (~30 grains by volume), then compressed down until the ball is seated far enough for the cylinder to rotate. It puts immense wear on the loading lever and arbor. Before I knew better, I’d compress until the loading lever literally bent under the pressure. But the BOOM with Triple 777 is phenomenal. It kicks harder than my semiauto and both penetrates and busts 5 pine boards boards to pieces. Basically it makes a .36 hit like a .44 (250+ foot pounds) at .357 magnum velocity (1,200+ feet per second).

    The book is Six Guns by Elmer Keith, where he talks at length about the surplus 1851 Navy he carried as a boy.
    “Maj. Stratton said that for a man stopper he preferred the round ball with a chamber full of F.F.G. to the pointed conical bullet. Sam Fletcher also preferred a pure lead round ball in his Navy Colts with chamber full of black powder to the issued conical ball loads... He claimed the round ball dropped enemy cavalrymen much better and took all the fight out of them, whereas the pointed bullet at times would only wound and leave them fighting” (pg. 15).

    “At close range, with men for targets, the old .36 Navy Colt and Remington cap and ball revolvers with their chambers nearly full of F.F.G. black and a soft lead round ball were much better stoppers, as they are really nearly .40 caliber, and with higher velocity and an almost flat ended round ball, they carry considerably more knock down shock than the pointed bullet of the .38 Long Colt and S. & W. or the .38 Special” (pg. 32).

    I’ve also read, but couldn’t find the page: “For its size and weight nothing is so deadly as the round ball of pure lead when driven at fairly good velocity.”

    These recommendations by Keith to load with full chambers of ffg indicate that loading fully with fffg or finer may not be necessary for terminal effectiveness and may not have historical precedent.
     
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  9. Lyle

    Lyle Member

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    The fact that we can safely load 2f, 3f or 4f is what is important to me. With the difficulty finding BP it increases the likelihood of obtaining powder. I shoot a .36 1851 made by Pietta.
     
  10. Johnm1

    Johnm1 Member

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    Lyle captured my thoughts to almost to a tee. I'm really looking for the 'right' load, not the fastest. I'll bring my H&A XL8 in 44-40 with me elk hunting but that will be loaded with either 2 or 3F depending on what I learn this summer. The elk would have to be inside bad breath range for me to use the XL8 though. The little 22 doesn't have to do anything specific other than go bang without doing damage. It may chase a rabbit or not. I have 32 and 38 S&W black powder top breaks that just need to go bang properly without doing damage. They too might chase a rabbit or not.

    FYI - in 40 years of chasing rabbits with pistols I have never connected on one. They have to be running at full tilt for me to shoot. If they stop I make them run again before shooting. 0% success rate but it gets me shooting. A lot, and that's the fun of it. Over the years I've chased rabbits with a 1911 in .45, a .41 magnum, 38/357, 32 S&W Long and 22 both LR and short. There's a place in East Texas where I used to chase them where the rabbits all had oversized back legs ;). Just kidding.
     
  11. gtrgy888

    gtrgy888 Member

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    It can be safe to load full chambers with any grade of Goex, since it’s so weak. I would caution against full chamber loading of Triple 7, Old Eynsford, or Swiss in 3fg or finer, since the open top Colt is not a good design for pushing limits. At best, you’ll get constant cap jams and dropping loading levers. At worst, you’ll wear out the hand prematurely due to the hammer blowback, have screws go loose and get thrown off under recoil, or your loading lever latch will spring off all of a sudden, never to be seen again, leaving you with a 4 week wait for shipping, then an additional 4 week wait when they send you the wrong replacement part. I speak from experience on those problems. That’s a lot of hassle to make a .36 punch above its weight, when one could just cut the powder charge when loading premium, save powder, keep the parts on the gun, and still have adequate ballistics. A rule of thumb I now go by is to load round ball to .380 acp velocity (No more than 1,050 feet per second) and load 140 grain conicals to .38 special velocity (no more than 900 feet per second). When I stick to those limits, no more cap jams, no more dropping loading levers, no more lost parts. The powder charge necessary to achieve this will vary depending on type and needs to be dialed in.
     
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  12. woodnbow
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    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    He blew up an saa with a load of 3f under a 300 grain bullet if I recall correctly. I believe he was using balloon head brass.
     
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  13. woodnbow
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    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    I never shoot less than full loads of 3f Swiss or lately some T7 under bullets ranging from 195-245 grains. I no longer own a Remington pattern. My favorite 2 or 3 Colts are shot daily in warm months, weekly in cold weather, and these guns will most likely outlast me by a good margin. Of course I may not have more than 20 years to go... my father in law is 97. I’m plagued with aches and pains at 75, not sure I want to know what 95 feels like.
     
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  14. woodnbow
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    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    When I get more 4f I’ll run it over the chronograph for you. I only have one 36 but it will tell us something. Just not sure what.
     
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  15. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    Was that where he used a .458" bullet? I kinda sorta remember a story about that.
     
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  16. woodnbow
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    woodnbow Contributing Member

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    I believe so... it’s been a few mornings since I read that. Not sure which of his books it was in.
     
  17. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    Well I know from a fellow’s research that the Hazard’s paper cartridges used 4F and the strength of Swiss. It was called Pistol Powder. I’d imagine 2F powder similar to Swiss would still pack some pep. I know powders back then varied just as they do today.

    The conicals back then were pointy. We know that a pointy slow moving projectile allows the flesh to stretch creating a smaller than caliber permanent wound track whereas a ball will create a caliber sized hole. A wide meplat creates a much wider permanent wound track even at extremely low velocities.

    I’ve never filled my chambers with powder. With an energetic powder that compresses easily like T7 I could see how things might rattle, especially with that 195 grn bullet as it’s .460” long so you might lose a grain or two of powder capacity. Imagine stuffing another 3-5 grns and using the 170 grn version that’s only .400” long!
     
  18. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    Round balls are also more likely to expand, which can hurt.
     
  19. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    There’s a fellow I sent my bullets to, including my 285 grn version that I made and ordered instead of the 245 grn version, as I thought we’d be moving to VA putting bears on the list of things to hunt as I hear they are quite tasty. It was designed specifically for my ROA as I know it can handle excessive pressures. Knowing the powder capacity would be reduced to ~25 grns I made the driving bands long. Coupled with the massive weight it increases pressures and velocity. It was loaded with a double charge of his 26 grn measure using Pyrodex P. It blew a chamber wall out of his ASM Walker. He was the third owner and ASM is well known for having quality issues, but it could also be that 56 grns compressed under 285 grns generates way too much pressure even for reproductions. This is the bullet:

    http://accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=45-285C
     
  20. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    Don't see anything that indicates how "extensive" it was. ? Perhaps I should say, "one books resuts"? Results from one source? How many guns were used, and how many shots were fired?
     
  21. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    From what I’ve read it takes a velocity of somewhere around 1100-1200 FPS for soft lead to readily expand if it doesn’t hit bone or something very hard. It’s specifically why I chose wide meplats for my projectiles. They don’t need to expand, but if they do the hole is just that much bigger. It already has plenty of penetration.

    There’s a guy on another forum who has created HPs and bought an additional ram and epoxied the end to form fit so it doesn’t distort the cavity or nose profile upon loading. Interesting for sure. Sometimes we don’t want 2 feet or more of penetration, not to mention one could load a few chambers for hunting and a few for protection. Interesting concept I think, but only if a modified ram for a wide meplat could work with the same projectile with a HP cavity.
     
  22. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    Yep one of the reasons I've switched to slugs. For small game I use a round-nose bullet, figuring it won't do much, if any more damage to a bird or wabbit than a ball. I've shot grouse with a .36" ball, and damage was very minimal. For them wolves who are out to get me, I use the Kid's KREAL and the modified Colt bullet with the wide metplat. The KREAL is almost a full wadcutter, which must cut an almost full diameter hole, I would guess.

    I think it would be cool if someone manufactured rams to fit different bullet profiles. They could probably be machined out of brass, if that was/is an easier way to do it. ?
     
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  23. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    According to manufacturer of wide meplat bullets for hunting:


    04-AAC986-40-A4-4-F24-A416-FF74-F4-A55-F8-E.png

    A wide meplat will cut a larger than caliber hole even at very low velocities. Note the caliber changes nothing, it’s all in the width of the meplat. We use a wide meplat on torpedoes because they cruise through the water with less resistance as the water is pushed aside for it.
     
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