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Black powder in a 22lr?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by tweakkkk, Dec 28, 2008.

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  1. tweakkkk

    tweakkkk Member

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    *****DISCLAIMER*****

    I like to tinker and experiment so understand that I'm not striving for anything practical here - I know threads pop up about reloading rimfires and the answer is always "no" or "why would you want to do that since 22lr is cheap?"... I'm trying for something specific.

    =======================================

    I have a basement 60 feet across, good enough for a little target practice with a 22lr. And even though I do live in the country, neighbors are close enough that it really is not polite to sit outside and fire off rounds on a regular basis, so the basement really is convenient, especially when its cold.

    When everybody else is out of the house, I can shoot cheap bulk 22lr and bother absolutely nobody. But that happens rarely, and I've been trying to find a way to shoot when others are here that won't get on anybody's nerves. Most subsonic ammo is still rather loud indoors, and tears the hell out of newspaper backstops, making a mess.

    =================================

    Specialty ammo like CB is expensive (comparatively) so here is what I came up with:

    (1) I pull the bullets from standard-velocity Federal .22 that I can get $15/brick

    (2) Dump out the powder

    (3) Scavenge a bottle of brush-on glue that comes with fake nails

    (4) Brush the glue onto the skirt rim of a .22 air rifle pellet

    (5) Place the pellet atop one of the .22lr cases


    The pellets are light enough that the primer alone can fire them, being 14gr compared to the 30-40gr of a bullet.

    ========================================

    Yes, this does work. I got the idea after shooting some Aguila Super Colibri, which fires a wee 20gr lead bullet @ 500 fps using only primer compound, being nearly silent. It is somewhat expensive however, and the 20gr lead bullet is about as long as it is wide, being more like a disk with horrible accuracy. I figured a 14gr match pellet would be faster, flatter, and stabilize better since it has a skirt that keeps it pointed forward in flight. And if I could use cases from cheap bulk ammo, it would be very inexpensive to do.

    - The good news is that it is cheap and the pellets DO stabilize, keeping a good line.

    - The bad news is that they are VERY slow and vary wildly in velocity. Drop at 10 yards goes anywhere between 4-8 inches! They are so slow they tear the target rather than leave a clean hole.


    After examining different types of 22lr cases, I found that the Super Colibri, even though it only has primer, has a LOT of it. Normal 22lr has just enough to ignite the powder, and the amount is not very consistent. I fired a pellet using the primed case from the Super Colibri and it shot flat and straight and was still nearly silent.

    =========================================

    Here is where I need the expert advice of the forum members --

    (1) Can I use a small amount of black powder to up the velocity, safely? I don't need consistent numbers out of a chrono, it just needs to be fast enough that drop isn't a big factor over 15 yards. I figure black powder can be loaded in low pressure levels that are safe.

    (2) Is there a way to increase the strength of the primer? I've read about using ground up match heads, but a bulk chemical primer would be great if anybody knows of one.

    (3) Are there any gunpowders that might work? My problem with this has been that the glued-on pellets don't build up the same kind of pressure in the case that heeled .22 bullets do, so the powder isn't ignited by the primer and just spits out the barrel with the pellet. I also worry that experimenting with light loads of powder meant for a centerfire will cause the ignition to go high-order rather than deflagrate, which would definitely not be good in a dinky little .22


    Thanks for any help here. It's been kinda fun messing with this idea. I just want to be sure that its conceivable to ignite a few grains of black powder with a lowly rimfire primer before I go buy a bottle of the stuff.

    That failing, any other ideas on how to get this to work are more than welcome.
     
  2. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    A short answer to your inquiry about black powder is that you will get smoke, even from a small amount of it. The smoke stinks like rotten eggs, and unless you have a really good exhaust system in your basement, the rest of the family is going to be very, very unhappy with you.

    My suggestion would be to scrap the ideas you've enumerated and just buy a good quality pellet gun and shoot to your heart's content.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
     
  3. WNTFW

    WNTFW Member

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    Air Rifle - Reloader Fred said it.
     
  4. 2RCO

    2RCO Member

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    RWS or GAMO is what I would buy. Black powder=a smelly and bit unhealthy basement environment.
     
  5. moosehunt

    moosehunt Member

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    But the lad wants to shoot his .22, not buy something else. I agree that the black powder will yield smoke that some of the housemates don't appreciate. It's probably not a good plan. How about tinkering with replacing the original powder in reduced quantities, quite possibly coming up with what is desired, or close to such. What you would be doing is creating a .22 short or maybeso a CB in a LR case. Might work pretty good.
     
  6. fireman 9731

    fireman 9731 Member

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    I think moosehunt has a good idea, just put a tad of the powder from the bullets you pulled back in the case...
     
  7. Afy

    Afy Member

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    Or you could try and double layer of sand bags. At your own risk through.
     
  8. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Member

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    What are you doing for ventilation? When I shot .22 pistol in my basement, I used two fans sucking the air out of two windows. As far as a backstop, I used a bag/bags of cheap cat litter. Stops them right now, and really was pretty tidy. Just package tape over the group of holes in the paper, and shoot again.
     
  9. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    If you are looking for quiet target practice, CCI and Aguilla both market CB caps that are noisless when fired. CCI puts them up in the Long case so they are easier to use.

    If you want to tinker, I use air rifle pellets in a 22 Hornet case with just a primer. Great for starlings and fairly quiet. The pellets can be used in any 22 CF casing. Just primer, no powder.

    Never tried it in the rimfire case.
     
  10. fastbike

    fastbike Member

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    Why don't you just get a permit for a silencer?
     
  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Sounds like a wild scheme to me, but in the interest of safety...

    1. Black powder will be safe. I don't know if it will be effective, one of the old time writers said that the "gallery loads" with a round ball and a light load of black were dirty even by BP standards and not very consistent. The original .22 BP loads were 4 to 5 grains, your application would call for less. You do have a powder scale, don't you? You do know how to clean up after black powder, don't you?

    2. Match heads and other improvisations are not a good idea. Do not put crap other than gunpowder in your ammunition.

    3. As moosehunt says, you can replace part of the factory smokeless powder. It will not present a risk of going "high order." The amount will be half a grain or less. You do have a powder scale, don't you?
    I don't know what they use in .22 lr, something faster, if available, might be better with your pellets. There are very few powders faster and easier to ignite than Bullseye. Col. Charles Askins loaded one grain of Bullseye in the .221 Askins Centerfire. You would use less. You do have a powder scale, don't you?

    I emphasize the use of a powder scale because you will be operating at very low charge weights and an improvised dipper will not be very precise.
     
  12. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    Aguila Colibri uses primer compound only but they use enough primer compound to give a consistent velocity.

    Regular .22s have enough primer compund to ignite the powder charge: that is not necessarily enough to drive a bullet or pellet nor consistent in strength to be accurate if it does.

    And given the number of duds and squib loads in "bulk pack" you'd be better off "biting the bullet" and paying for Aguila Colibri or CCI CB Longs for infoor practice.

    And I would not shoot black powder indoors unless I had a good exhaust fan setup.

    Centerfire primers are more powerful than rimfire, so that .22 hornet with primer and pellet is an interesting idea.
     
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I would not want the black powder mess in any of my .22 rifles.
    Or in the basement either for that matter.

    Unless completely taken apart and scrubbed with hot water every time you shoot, your gun will rather quickly turn bright red with rust!

    Along with any tools or other stuff in the basement.

    rcmodel
     
  14. tweakkkk

    tweakkkk Member

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    "How about tinkering with replacing the original powder in reduced quantities, quite possibly coming up with what is desired, or close to such. What you would be doing is creating a .22 short or maybeso a CB in a LR case. Might work pretty good."

    "Just put a tad of the powder from the bullets you pulled back in the case..."


    I tried that. The problem is that the pellets are on top of the case, and not seated in the case. Without a way to put heeled bullets back in the case, the powder doesn't reach enough pressure to ignite. I could try a stronger glue I guess.

    "If you are looking for quiet target practice, CCI and Aguilla both market CB caps that are noisless when fired. CCI puts them up in the Long case so they are easier to use."

    I have a few boxes of both. They're just not economical to shoot in large quantities. Plus I like the challenge of getting this idea of mine to work. I can double my fun with the tinkering AND the shooting.

    If you want to tinker, I use air rifle pellets in a 22 Hornet case with just a primer. Great for starlings and fairly quiet. The pellets can be used in any 22 CF casing. Just primer, no powder.

    Yep that's a good idea. I've been looking into getting a target rifle. I was debating between a .223 or a .308 (or something based on the .308 case) and just thought that there's no incentive for a .223 here because I hardly get to the range even once a month, so the cheaper ammo wouldn't help me out that much. But I guess I could take these .22 pellets and put them in the .223 case with a primer and have a blast. Well not a blast. More like a "pop".

    Or alternatively, buy .25 pellets and put them in a .243 case... hmmm

    Great idea!

    "What are you doing for ventilation?"

    Nothing. 5 feet from where I shoot is the central air unit, which is Geothermal. It pulls the air in, and sends it outside the house to circulate in underground air ducts, which stay at a constant temperature since they are buried. This really cuts down heating and cooling costs. It also means the air gets very diluted before being brought back into the house, where it passes through an additional filter, so no worries about the fumes.

    "Why don't you just get a permit for a silencer?"

    My state just legalized suppressors this May. AFAIK state officials have a mountain of permits and paperwork to process and if I applied now I could probably have one some time by 2011.

    There are very few powders faster and easier to ignite than Bullseye. Col. Charles Askins loaded one grain of Bullseye in the .221 Askins Centerfire. You would use less. You do have a powder scale, don't you?

    Well I make my own sports supplements, and have a scale I use for weighing out doses... I guess I could wash it really well. Probably don't want Creatine in my .22lr shells or gunpowder in my capsules that I take when I hit the gym.

    My neighbor has a full reloading setup, I'm sure he'd let me use his scale if I had to.


    Thanks for the ideas. I'm thinking blackpowder is looking less and less viable.

    I don't know, I have some old bottlerockets around here somewhere. I'll rip a few open and try them in the .22 cases. If I don't respond here its probably because I am sans fingers.

    Peace
     
  15. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Wait a minute!

    Buying perfectly good .22LR ammo to pull the bullets and reload with newly purchased air rifle pellets & Crazy Glue is saving you money over Aguila CB caps?

    And you don't think sucking your whole underground geothermal duct system full of Lead dust and Cyanoacrylate adhesive fumes is a problem?

    Bottle-Rocket powder?

    This whole thread just sounds like a very bad idea to me!

    Get a spring-piston air rifle and get on with your life.

    rcmodel
     
  16. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Bottle rocket powder is not gunpowder. File that one under match heads and leave it alone.
     
  17. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    I think he's going to put his eye out.........

    Fred
     
  18. tweakkkk

    tweakkkk Member

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    Bottle rocket powder is not gunpowder. File that one under match heads and leave it alone.

    Too late. I knew it wasn't black powder, much less gunpoweder, but I figured it would at least clue me in as to whether black powder would be ignited by the .22 primer.

    The thing I didn't notice when I was loading the powder into the case was that they were the night time bottle rockets. Ya know, I may be the first person to have a rifle that shoots comets. The trail of sparks behind the pellet was really pretty!

    Buying perfectly good .22LR ammo to pull the bullets and reload with newly purchased air rifle pellets & Crazy Glue is saving you money over Aguila CB caps?

    Yep. 500 rd brick of Federal 22lr for $15 and 500 pellets for $3 beats buying a 500 rd brick of Aguila Super Colibri for $32. And with the Federal I can use it two different ways. I dump the powder and use it for silent indoor plinking or leave it as-is for every other use.


    And you don't think sucking your whole underground geothermal duct system full of Lead dust and Cyanoacrylate adhesive fumes is a problem?

    No not really. Lead dust isn't a major concern since the bullets are light and low-velocity. Nothing left in the barrel and they're hardly even deformed by my backstop. And the amount of glue being used is a tiny drop, plus its being filtered and the ppm is very low.

    Get a spring-piston air rifle and get on with your life.

    I have one, albeit .177 and not .22 --- the point is not that I need to shoot a whole bunch. The point is when I have time to waste, I'd rather "waste" it by coming up with something new rather than sitting around blowing through brick after brick of Aguila and not learning anything from it.
     
  19. fireflyfather

    fireflyfather Member

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    Um, you ARE aware that primer compound has this wonderful stuff called lead strypnate? It's not so much the lead bullets you need to worry about: It's the primer residue. That's why the "lead free ammo" uses special primers with larger flash holes in the case.

    That's why indoor ranges have big fans that push the air from behind you downrange: To push the lead strypnate from the primers downrange instead of letting it sit in a haze around the firing line.

    If you are still considering shooting indoors without adequate ventilation, I hope to hell you don't have any kids in the house, and that you get your lead levels monitored regularly.
     
  20. 20nickels

    20nickels Member

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    tweakkkk,
    I have been through this. I know that you want to shoot this particular gun in .22, but my suggestion is just to get a quality airgun. Ammo indoors is extremely dirty and a health hazard to you, housemates, and anyone that moves in after you.
     
  21. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    You have some research or data to support your theory? I have read of the lead levels in the air of indoor shooting ranges. Some have massive air systems to keep the lead content in the air at a safe level. Plenty of lead is blown out a barrel due to friction.
     
  22. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    Why not just use a 38 and some hot glue bullets, or even wax bullets? They are great fun indoors and cheap too.
     
  23. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I call BS on that right there!

    Either the powder burned, or it didn't.

    But it most certainly didn't go down range with the pellet leaving a trail of sparks!

    I get the feeling more & more we are being Punk'd by this thread.

    rcmodel
     
  24. moosehunt

    moosehunt Member

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    I'm wondering too. I find it hard to believe that putting the bullets back in after reducing the powder would cause the powder not to ignite--not that I'd waste time monkeying with it, but I question that it simply didn't work.
     
  25. tweakkkk

    tweakkkk Member

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    The reason the pellet had sparks behind it was because I filled the case with powder from a Silverfox bottlerocket... it's a nightwork, with slow burning flashers mixed in with the charge that goes "bang"... the pellet fired off from the primer, maybe some of the "bang" powder, but the rifle also shot a 10 foot fountain of sparks!



    I don't know why the powder from the 22lr cases won't ignite once I pull the bullet. I've tried leaving ALL the powder in as well but it just spits out the end with the pellet. I don't know what powder they're using for the Federal 22 high velocity but its not working for me when I try to glue a pellet on top. I assumed the pellet was too easy for the primer to dislodge and so the powder got pushed out before it had a chance to ignite.

    I could try more glue or a glob of hot glue I guess, but I'm cautious about what I try because I don't want to get glue stuck to the rifling of the barrel. That could be bad juju down the line...
     
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