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Have a pound of FFFFg Goex, safe loads for 1860 Army and/or 45 Colt?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Hammerdown77, Apr 4, 2012.

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  1. Hammerdown77

    Hammerdown77 Member

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    Howdy fellers,

    I've decided to throw myself into this black powder madness and ordered an 1860 Army from Cabela's today. Also, I picked up a pound of FFFg and another pound of FFFFg, both Goex. I have the rest of the necessary accessories coming from Dixie Gun Works.

    I was hesitant to get the FFFFg powder, but the store owner thought that the one pound can of FFFg was "not completely full" so he gave me both cans for roughly the price of one. He also told me that yes, I could load revolvers with the FFFFg.

    I have seen some loads for the 44 cal cap and ball guns using a .451" 138 grain ball with FFFFg in the Lyman book. Have any of you tried these loads? Do these loads require a felt wad between the ball and the powder? I did not purchase wads, I was just going to seat the ball on the powder and fill the space above the cylinder with lube.

    I am also planning to load 45 Colt cartridges to shoot in a Ruger Vaquero and maybe my Cimarron. Can you use FFFFg in these, with a felt wad and filler (like Cream of Wheat) perhaps?
     
  2. FreddyKruger

    FreddyKruger Member

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    FFFFg is usually only used for the pan in flintlocks or even those little .22 pocket pistols. itd be a good excuse to get one ;)

    not saying you cant, its just not the norm. you get increased pressure and velocity, but i wouldnt use it since its FFg and FFFg is what everyone uses and its the easiest to get round here too.

    are you reading the Lyman BP Handbook? i had a quick squizz thru mine and didnt see any FFFFg load data at all, even for the .32 cals...?
     
  3. Pete D.

    Pete D. Member

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    FFFFg powder is most often used to prime flintlocks. Despite the Lyman data, 4Fg is not normally used as a main charge in any firearm.
    I just checked through another BP load book and there was not a single load using 4Fg.
    The good news is that if you use it with a flintlock, you will have enough priming powder for a looong time.
     
  4. Hammerdown77

    Hammerdown77 Member

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    This is from the 10th printing, 1994.


    =================================================
    44 Cal. Pistol with 8" bbl.
    -------------------------------------------------
    .451 Round Ball, 138 grains, no patch, G-O powder
    FFFg FFFFg​
    19 gr. 706 fps 772 fps
    22 gr. 752 797
    25 gr. 805 868
    28 gr. 885 881
    31 gr. 933 859
    33 gr. 979 940
     
  5. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Member

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    I think if you wanted to use it you should start with small loads. For .45 Colt I think you'll be fine, especially in a Ruger. From what I've heard Ruger revolvers are built to be very strong. You shouldn't be hurting anything with blackpowder, probably the worst that can happen is you could get it dirty.

    Levi
     
  6. Pulp

    Pulp Member

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    Interesting that the velocities reversed as the loads increased.
     
  7. Skinny 1950

    Skinny 1950 Member

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    I was loading .45 Colt with Goex FFFG and tried filling the case enough that the bullet just compressed the powder a bit when seated. This load produced a lot of smoke and flame but used a lot of powder so I trimmed it back to 25 grains and filled the rest of the case with nitro cards from Track of the Wolf.. so the the bullet compressed the cards and powder. This load was almost the same power as the full case.
    You could mix the 3F and the 4F to use it up then stick to 3F after all the 4F is gone.
     
  8. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    You don't really NEED any felt or CoW or anything. But it does help fill the back with smaller loads. I know that with my own .44's I settled in on 30 grains of FFFg and nothing but powder ball and some lube. On the Remington 1858 Uberti clones this makes for a pretty deeply seated bullet. But then so far I've only used them for some cowboy action days. When I actually get around to doing a day for accuracy shooting I'll likely try some felt wads and filler to seat the ball out further and closer to the end face.

    To both lube and seal the ball since they do seat so deep I use a drop of Canola cooking oil. It wicks around the outer edge and stays in place long enough to seal the chamber and lube the bore and avoid any chainfire leaks. And it keeps the fouling very soft and goopy when I look in the bore with the cylinder out.

    As the others suggest I think I'd save all or most of the FFFFg until you go completely mad and buy a flintlock.... which if my own experience is anything to go by won't be all that long.... :D Having the big POOFBANG! send up a fireball and cloud of smoke in your face is just way over the top and totally unique. HUGE fun.

    A note about the ball sizing. The ".44" size balls come in three sizes. The .451 you already found, .454 and .457. Which you go with depends on how big your chamber mouths are. I find that my Ubertis like the .457's which take a firm but not overly heavy press with the loading lever and shave off a nice ring of lead as they seat. If I tried to do this with .451's I doubt I'd get a consistent ring shaved off. I likely could get away with .454 which my 1860 and 1851 would prefer but so far I haven't found any in that size.
     
  9. 1858remington

    1858remington Member

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    you could always invest in a 32cal rifle or pistol. 4f workes as a main charge for them due to their small caliber size. Besides, it give you another good reason to buy another gun.
     
  10. Hammerdown77

    Hammerdown77 Member

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    According to what I've read, the Pietta guns like a .454 round ball. That size gives you a nice shaved lead ring after seating the ball, without being excessively hard to seat. Hornady makes .454 pure lead balls, which I ordered.
     
  11. Hammerdown77

    Hammerdown77 Member

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    Now why'd you have to go and do that? :p

    I was actually thinking about getting a Navy (.36 cal), maybe one of the "London" models. Cabela's also has their Confederate brassy model for $179 right now.
     
  12. towboat_er

    towboat_er Member

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    36's are great fun. I highly recommend them. Cheaper to shoot too.
     
  13. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Member

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    A bunch of points....

    First, you can use 4Fg in a revolver. I'd try to keep the loads below 20 grains, but I do that with 3F as well. Using it in a smaller bore gun is better - my .36 Baumkircher-Billinghurst loves Swiss 4F.

    Second, use a filler. Cream of Wheat is the standard. I've been using it for over thirty years, with excellent competitive results. Most other competitors at the international level do, as well.

    Third, while 4F is usually touted as priming powder, I would not buy it for that purpose. Swiss Null B is about 7F, and far superior. That stuff you do not use as anything but priming powder.
     
  14. Hammerdown77

    Hammerdown77 Member

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    Thanks Mike.

    Question on the filler. Do you put a wad or something over the compressed powder, THEN ad the filler? Or do you compress the powder, then just pour in the CoW straight on the powder and compress that with the ball/bullet?
     
  15. fdf

    fdf Member

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    Powder (3F), filler (COW) and ball and compress, then top off the cylinder with lube.

    fdf
     
  16. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Member

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    Yup. Powder, filler, bullet, and ram home. Put a dab of lube on top.
     
  17. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    how much filler? do you just fill until the chamber is full?

    sorry noob cap/ball guy here.
     
  18. Mike OTDP

    Mike OTDP Member

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    Leave about 3/8ths of an inch, maybe a full 1/2 inch. You want the ball as far forward in the chamber as possible.
     
  19. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    thanks
     
  20. andrewstorm

    andrewstorm member

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    load info

    a good thing to do is use a shell casing from a 38 short or long colt for a measure for 36 cal, 44 colt for a 44 cal,works great with b p or pyrodex.
     
  21. faustopph

    faustopph Member

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    I know of someone that uses 4f in his .31 Remmington Pocket pistol and a 85gr Big Lube bullet . Packs it full of powder and has at it .
    I would use 4f about the same as 777 , maybe a little more depending on the firearm . That should be safe in MOST firearms .
     
  22. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy

    Your 1860 Army from Cabelas is made by Pietta. I have two of them. I have used both .451 and .454 balls in mine. I prefer .454 because it shaves a bit more lead off the ball to give a better seal in the chamber.

    When I first started shooting Cap & Ball in 1968 it was clearly understood that FFFFg was for the pans of flintlocks only. I wouldn't dream of using it in the chamber of a 44. How much is a pound of powder worth vs the investment in your new gun? I suppose with a light enough charge it would be OK, but what fun is that? Buy a pound of FFFg and be done with it.

    You don't need both filler and a wad. I used to cover the ball with Crisco when I first started out, but that was before Wonder Wads were available. These days, I put about 30 grains of FFFg into the chamber, followed by a felt wad. Use the bullet ram to seat the wad. Then seat the ball down on top of the wad. Just ram it in until the ball stops moving, that's all there is to it. Recoil will be very mild. Thirty grains is a relatively hefty charge, but felt recoil is dependent on the size of the powder charge and the weight of the projectile. A 44 caliber ball is so light that the recoil is about the same as a 38 Special, and the 1860 Colt is heavy enough to absorb that just fine.
     
  23. chute2thrill

    chute2thrill Member

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    Sorry to thread hijack. I may not be the strongest person out there, but I have a Pietta 1858 and it does take quite a bit of pressure to seat the balls. I'm thinking about trying the .451 caliber balls because I'm honestly a little worried about the charge going off while i'm seating the bullet. Is this problem even possible? I'm also pretty much a newbie to C&B.
     
  24. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    No.
     
  25. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy

    No, you are encountering resistance to the ball shaving as it goes into the chamber. This does not mean the ball is slamming down onto the powder. In any event, you are not going to set off the powder that way.

    However it is possible to damage the loading lever mechanism if you apply too much force to it. It is not unheard of for the pivot screw or one of the pins to shear. First, make sure you are using pure lead balls. No tin, no antimony, just pure lead. Adding tin or antimony to the alloy will harden the alloy and make it more difficult to seat a ball. You want to be sure the ball is dead soft, pure lead. That way there will be the least resistance to it seating. As for diameter, you want the diameter that shaves off a thin ring of lead as the ball clears the chamber mouth. It is supposed to be an interference fit, the ball is not supposed to slide in without shaving off a ring. Use whatever size pure lead ball you need to shave a thin ring of lead. If a .451 ball slides in without shaving any lead, it is too small. The ring you shave off should be continuous. In case there are any dents or dings on the surface of the ball, you want the ring shaved to be thick enough so that there is 100% contact for the entire circumference of the ball with the chamber.
     
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