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Powder charge recommendation

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Norton Commando, Mar 28, 2011.

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  1. Norton Commando

    Norton Commando Member

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    Hey all,

    What is the recommended charge of Pyrodex P powder for accurately shooting an 1860 Colt Army? I tried 25 grains this past weekend and I was all over the target at 15 yards. So I'm wondering if it was the quantity of powder, or other?

    Perhaps the ball size? I was shooting a 0.454 diameter ball but it didn't cut much lead when I seated it in the cylinder. Perhaps I should try a 0.457" ball?

    Jason
     
  2. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    The correct answers to your questions are: "We don't know".

    Fortunately, it's not quite that bad.

    Black powder guns, including cap and ball revolvers, are finicky machines. They care very much about technique and details that vary from brand to brand and even from gun to gun. That means what works for me may or may not work for you. The good news is that the only way to really find out is to try different things and see how they work in your gun. That means shooting it, which is the fun part.

    I have 4 1860 Colt Armies. 25 gr of fffg real black under a dry lubed felt wad and a .457 ball works best in two of them (FAUL's), 20 grains and a .454 ball with the rest of the load train unchanged works best in the Pietta and 28 grains under a .457 with the same wad works best in the ASP. But, the difference between 25 and 28 grains is not much - sometimes I can't shoot well enough to really tell. I suspect the reason the lower charge works better in the Pietta is that the chambers are oversize to the groove diameter, meaning there's a significant gas leak that has less effect on the ball at lower charges. The ASP has very good chamber/groove numbers and it seems to handle heavier charges well.

    Slug the bore and chambers and size the ball based on that. Then go shoot 5 shot groups from a rest using various charges from 15 to 30 grains and see what you get.
     
  3. Norton Commando

    Norton Commando Member

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    Thanks mykeal, I'll give different powder loads a try.
     
  4. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Member

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    General rule of thumb for cap and ball revolver loads is to start with one half the caliber for the powder charge. A .44 would start at 22grs BP, a .36 at 18grs BP.

    You need bigger balls, try .457's.
     
  5. Norton Commando

    Norton Commando Member

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    Thanks madcratebuilder - I assume the 1/2-the-caliber-rule would apply to Pyrodex as well as black powder?
     
  6. avan47

    avan47 Member

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    I havn't used pyrodex in a while but the rule I learned was to load the same volume, not weight, as the equivalent BP. You will be loading a lighter charge to give the same performance as BP. In other words, use your BP volume powder measure.
     
  7. rdstrain49

    rdstrain49 Member

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