Black vs smokless .38specials?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by ZVP, Feb 7, 2015.

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  1. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Even worse than that. Black powder fouling is obviously dirty and must be cleaned off. And the best thing to clean it is water, which just coincidentally dissolves the chloride residue from corrosive primers.
    But when smokeless powder came in, you could shoot a gun and it was not obviously fouled. Kind of like all the modern shooters still looking for clean ammo. But the chloride from the primer was still there with no potassium carbonate, etc, to dilute and mask it. People soon found out that their guns rusted worse than ever before as the potassium chloride picked up atmospheric moisture and left little puddles of salt water everywhere there was a crystal. But it hadn't taken them long to get out of the habit of wet cleaning their guns, so they used all sorts of potions. Some contained water and worked, some did not. Sometimes those worked and sometimes they failed. There were wild theories about "acid gases in the steel" which required cleaning a gun every day for three days after firing. Riight. The Bureau of Mines sent a report to the Army, "Corrosion Under Oil Films" and GI bore cleaners with emulsifiable oil and some water were developed. The civilian market was eventually rescued by noncorrosive primers.
     
  2. MIOkie

    MIOkie Member

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    Quote:

    "Hammering a bullet into a case loaded with Smokeless powder with plenty of airspace between the powder and the bullet is one thing. But hammering a bullet on top of a column of Black Powder just sounds like a really bad idea to me. Really bad. There is no airspace in a Black Powder round. You are seating the bullet directly against the powder and compressing the powder while you seat it. Black Powder CAN be ignited by concussion. I load a great deal of Black Powder rounds every year and I would never dream of using the Lee hand tool. Steady pressure from a loading press will not ignite Black Powder."

    Driftwood Johnson is absolutely right.

    Safety should always be at the top of the list...!

    I believe that loading BP cartridges with the Lee Loader hand tool strays from the manufacturer's intended use.

    That being said, when I use that tool to load BP cartridges, I don't fill the case with powder. I leave ample space for an over-powder card and lubricated felt wad.

    I put the card over the powder and compress with a dowel rod. Place the felt wad in next, then gently seat the round ball with a couple taps from a rubber mallet. Roll crimp the end with a few more taps and done.

    The felt wad cushions the round ball. I would never consider beating on a full case of BP, especially when that case is already PRIMED.
     
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  3. Panzerschwein

    Panzerschwein member

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    I've left my Colt's revolving belt pistol of naval caliber (Colt 1851 Navy) with powder residue in the action for some months. I take it apart about every 4th time to the range, and it usually has some gunk in there for sure. I exclusively shoot REAL black powder, typically GOEX. I have never once experienced any rust spots anywhere inside the gun's action. I use hot soapy water and a 10/1 mix of water and Ballistol to clean the gun after each range session.

    Ballistol is a beautiful thing!
     
  4. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    True. My reference was based on Uncle Sam's Army going to smokeless in .45 cartridges about that time (1910), combined with the knowledge that while Colt started to proof some revolvers for smokeless in 1900 it was for smokeless loads being offered at that time.

    While I do not encourage or recommend the practice, any Colt SAA in good mechanical condition can be safely fired with current day standard ammunition if the original cylinder is replaced with a new cylinder. In this case the cylinder is fitted to the gun, and the gun itself is not altered. The original cylinder is kept exclusively for display or to return the revolver to what it was.

    Back following World War Two the Colt SAA was no longer in production until 1956. Many individuals wanted to shoot pre-1900 six-shooters, but the wiser ones refrained from doing so unless a second cylinder was fitted to it. To my knowledge no problems with this solution occurred.
     
  5. Fingers McGee

    Fingers McGee Member

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    +1 Unfortunately, there are still a bunch of folks out there that have bought into the lie and keep it alive.
     
  6. damoc

    damoc Member

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    +2 Im a little embarassed to admit how little cleaning mine get with no sign or rust
    the brass cases do seem to need cleaning pretty quick however especially with moisture present.
     
  7. EljaySL

    EljaySL Member

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    A couple of thoughts on the above...

    1. Using substitutes in cartridges has its own adventures. If you look on the 777 site as an example they are insistent that you use 2F not 3F and have both no airspace AND no compression which means that you totally need to nail the quantity exactly. It's actually a lot easier to load real BP.
    2. In terms of the hand loader and hammering a lot of real BP, as I recall my loads had very slight compression. I really didn't load that many before I moved onto a real press and it was some time ago so I'd have to check my notes to verify that. I would definitely recommend at least a single stage press though, as I said it was 2 minutes per round to load using the hand loader. A Lee Classic Turret is pretty ideal.
    3. I clean my brass with dawn and water when I get home, and keep it apart from my smokeless 45 Colt brass. I recently started wet tumbling the BP brass using a spare barrel for my rock tumbler and it comes out looking like new which is a pretty good trick. I deprime them first so it gets the primer pockets clean too.
     
  8. rondog

    rondog Member

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    I keep meaning to try some .45 Colt bp loads someday, just never got around to it. Didn't know you could do .38 Specials too.
     
  9. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Driftwood Johnson,

    I've been using black powder for nearly 50 years and I have never been able to ignite it with impact. How did you do it? Not trying to start an argument, just trying to learn.

    I do agree, using a press is a lot better method, but the whack-a-mole loaders seem to show quite well at the matches.

    Kevin
     
  10. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    StrawHat:

    Well, you caught me. I am pretty sure that I have read that Black Powder can be ignited by concussion or by shearing the grains, but I have not been able to find where I read it. I'll keep looking.
     
  11. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    The first versions of the 38 Special were loaded with Black Powder. That's why the case is so long and most Smokeless charges take up so little space in the case.

    I have a reprint of a Smith and Wesson catalog from around 1900. The load listed for 38 Special ammunition is 21 1/2 grains powder under a 158 grain bullet.
     
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    True, but that was in balloon head cases that had more powder capacity. You can't duplicate it in today's cases that have solid heads, unless you seat the bullet out further. This may or may not work.
     
  13. Caliper_Mi

    Caliper_Mi Member

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    BP sure lights quick and easy with heat, but I've had a hard time proving the other ways BP is supposed to be able to go off...

    Heck, I *tried* to light some with an electric arc from a grill igniter and couldn't get it to go (wearing eye protection of course) so at the very least it isn't as sensitive to electric spark as I've read. This was with homemade BP, so not graphite coated as the commercial stuff is.
     
  14. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    DJ, the reason I asked was that in my youth, when powder was cheap, I would put a full can on the berm and shoot into it with various cartridges. The only bullet that ever caused it to blow was the 30-06 tracer stuff.

    Again, not trying for an argument, just trying to learn.

    Kevin
     
  15. 44 Dave

    44 Dave Member

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    I like the .44 WCF because even light loads expand the mouth of the case enough to seal powder fouling from getting all over. With my .45, even smokeless powder, light loads dirty up the outside of the brass.
    StrawHat, did you ever try a great big weather balloon filled with an oxy/acetylene and tracer shot?
     
  16. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Member

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    Instead of the Trip 7 and all the problems of compression couldn't you just use Olde Eynsford or Swiss black powder? Wouldn't those two give you the same velocities as Trip 7and subsequent muzzle energy people are looking for?
     
  17. EljaySL

    EljaySL Member

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    I'm going to guess that people would be using 777 because they don't have access to real BP for legal or logistical reasons, not because of the minor strength difference.

    I started to type out a paragraph about my logistical issues, but even I was bored. Suffice to say it's convenient for me to use Goex for cartridges.
     
  18. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    I never got into weather balloons and such. Not my cup of tea.

    Kevin
     
  19. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    The MSDS for black powder from Goex, under Hazardous Reactivity - Instability, contains the following statement: "Keep away from heat, sparks and open flames. Avoid impact, friction and static electricity". Perhaps that's the source.

    Having said that, I personally believe the admonition regarding impact, friction and static electricity to be utter nonsense, regardless of the 'official' status of an MSDS statement. Of course, if any of those actions can produce heat on the order of 800 degrees F, then ignition can occur. For example, static electricity by itself will not ignite black powder, but if it passes through a resistive material causing it to heat up to the bp ignition temperature, then you will get ignition.
     
  20. ku4hx

    ku4hx Member

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    Keep in mind, the same type people who write these disclaimers and "warnings" have also put warnings on capes and large towels that wearing one does not enable you to fly.

    Still, it may be nonsense but I'm going to let someone else test that.
     
  21. EljaySL

    EljaySL Member

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    The MSDS definitely errs on the side of caution. And who knows, maybe they're right under some circumstances that might occur on an industrial level. But the stuff's definitely more stable than you might guess.
     
  22. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    They don't make that up, there is a reason they HAVE to put that on the label. And those reasons are allowed to breed and vote.

    Kevin
     
  23. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    Yes, they do.

    The fact is that black powder is not 'unstable' with respect to impact, friction and static electricity. The physics just don't support such nonsense.

    An MSDS is not a scientific document; it's a legal document, intended to cover someone's butt from attack by ambulance chasers who have no interest in truth. An MSDS has no requirement to be technically accurate.
     
  24. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Whoa!!!

    Let's stop dumping on MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets). In the US, OSHA requires MSDS sheets "be available to employees for potentially harmful substances handled in the workplace under the Hazard Communication regulation. The MSDS is also required to be made available to local fire departments and local and state emergency planning officials under Section 311 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act."

    Ever hear of the Radium Girls? Women who worked at the United States Radium factory in New Jersey who were encouraged by their managers to moisten the tips of their brushes with their lips or tongue while applying radium paint to watch faces. Nothing against the managers, but the scientists employed by the factory carefully avoided contact with radium. But many of those women developed terrible diseases as a result of prolonged exposure to radium.

    That is the sort of thing the MSDS sheet is designed for. To inform employees of the potential health hazards of certain substances commonly used in the work place, and to recommend procedures used to minimize the health hazards.
     
  25. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    Deleted.

    Apologies for hijacking the thread. I'll shut up now.
     
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