Quantcast

Revolver Load Compression

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Gator Weiss, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. Gator Weiss

    Gator Weiss Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Texas and other places
    I've been shooting black powder revolvers for many years; not an expert; not in competition; but experienced, definitely. I am seeing many posts on the net about loads and brass frames. I have learned the following through study, trial and error.

    Load compression and powder performance are linked. In a brass Navy .44, I find that 13 grains of 3F BP with cornmeal on top, thoroughly compressed, throws a soft ball bullet with a very decent amount of power. Lightly compressed or barely compressed loads give a lesser performance. I was able to strike targets (large targets) at 100 yards off the bench with 13 grains well compressed. I could go to 25 grains, but really don't need to, if the powder is well compressed under a filler like cornmeal. The pistol keeps well in brass at 13 grains. It doesn't need big loads. Everybody seems to want to dump big loads in these guns and you don't need to. Powder compression is related to performance. Powder loads don't need to be very large loads to obtain performance.
     
    Steel Hayes and Armored farmer like this.
  2. AZAndy
    • Contributing Member

    AZAndy Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,404
    Location:
    Prescott, AZ, USA
    This is an interesting topic to me, as I'm about to make some black powder .38 S&W loads. I look forward to the replies!
     
    Armored farmer likes this.
  3. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Messages:
    4,637
    Location:
    South Eastern Illinois
    I will try your method.
    I typically load 29gr 3f under a felt lube wad and .454 rb. Even then i dont get that much compression. Sometimes i can feel my rammer bottom out.
    If i am shooting for score, i use c.o.w filler, instead of the wad, to get the ball seated near the top of the cylinder.
     
  4. Mizar

    Mizar Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,295
    Location:
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    It's you who does not find use for big loads, not everybody else. I enjoy shooting my guns like they were intended to - loaded to full potential. And this is one of the reasons why I chose steel framed revolvers. My lightest plinking load is 30 Grains behind a .456 conical - anything lighter than that does not interest me. But if I was an active SASS shooter then it will be much more different - I would look for different performance aspects and power would not be my top priority. Target shooters want the most accurate load, but that is not necessary the lightest one. Cost-savvy people want the minimum amount of powder that can propel that ball out and hit the target, because gunpowder is relatively expensive. Hunters want that revolver to punch as hard as it can...
     
  5. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2018
    Messages:
    100
    I've seen the same thing with my Ruger old army. I have been shooting 20 grains of 3f in pyrodex and getting good results. Compression definitely affects accuracy. Been loading a cardboard wad over the powder with a 200 grain bullet. So far its been good out to 70 yards.
     
  6. 99whip

    99whip Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    Messages:
    29
    Have to agree, I don't shoot loads that light, but ones that are compressed definitely outperform.
     
  7. rodwha

    rodwha Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    Messages:
    3,171
    Location:
    Texas
    I’m in the same boat here. I’m a hunter and have a baseline (.44 Spl performance or ~300 ft/lbs with a bullet) I feel is ethical and effective. I use an adjustable rifle measure with 10 grn graduations so I’ve only tried 5 grn increments. Starting at 25 grns as this seems to achieve this baseline when using an energetic powder I found that my NMA is more accurate with 30 grns giving me roughly standard .45 ACP performance according to what little chronographed results are available. Light loads are useless for me and wouldn’t be as fun, and I believe one should practice with their hunting loads. When using 3F Olde Eynsford this charge weighs ~33 grns. My ROA prefers 35 grns from that measure and is also the more accurate load. I’d guess a more accurate load could be found in both with a light load, but the absolute most accurate load isn’t my goal.
     
    Mizar likes this.
  8. paul harm

    paul harm Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2018
    Messages:
    160
    I shot pistol at Friendship, the NMLRA range, for over 10 years. Even got lucky and made the master class. In my Lyman and W. Tole 44 NMA's I always shot 20grs at 25yds and 25 at 50 yds. I used corn meal for filler because I thought it compressed easier in case I put too much in. I never tried to compress the loads, just use up the space so the ball was against the charge. I think someone would have to do a study with a bench rest to find out if compressing the load makes a difference. At lighter charges there isn't much energy for shooting rodents or deer size animals. I kind a like 20 to 30 gr charges myself. I know 25 with a lub pill under the ball doesn't leave much mess to clean up. It seems to be better than grease over the ball - the way I use to load em.
     
  9. cowboydave

    cowboydave Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Paul, pardon my ignorance, but what is a lub pill? I am getting back into black powder after several years of being away and am unfamiliar with the term. Thanks
     
  10. Mizar

    Mizar Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,295
    Location:
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    I'm at loss here - I thought that we always have to compress loads with black powder for good and consistent results, right? I have not used a filler so I cannot correlate on the procedure, but with my loads I always push the rammer until it can no longer advance any further. The couple of times I "dissected" my loads I found an almost homogeneous mass of tightly compressed gunpowder - it had to be literally scraped off the chambers.

    Ready made lube pills for the lazies among us: http://www.taylorsfirearms.com/wonder-seals-for-black-powder-cylinders.html
     
  11. paul harm

    paul harm Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2018
    Messages:
    160
    I've never compressed loads be it shotgun, rifle, or pistol. At one time I made a " chunk gun " with a Bill Large barrel [ he was famous for winning chunk gun matches and was a barrel maker and one of the original members of the NMLRA - gone now ]. It was a 54 half stock flinter with a 48 " barrel, 1 1/4" across the flats. It had open sights and you'd lay on the ground resting the gun on a log, or chunk. It was only shot at a X at 60 yds. Who ever put one exactly centered in the X won a side of beef. Now days just a prize. Anyways, that gun would put on RB on top another - the hole would just get bigger. Because I was mainly a pistol shooter I sold it to a guy who I met years later and he said that gun shoots better than he can hold it. I never compressed a load, but did try and put the same pressure on the powder for each load. For revolver loading I also push the rammer down till it doesn't go any farther, but I don't try and put a lot of pressure on it. Maybe I should, but I get real nice groups without pushing real hard. Pills, or cookies, are made from bees wax, and other ingredients. I just learned about them lately. Go over to www.1858remington.com forums. There's a lot of very useful information, and it's not just 1858 Remingtons, but other BP pistols also. Under " wads, lubes, and cleaning" is where they have the info for pills. I used the formula 50/50 bees wax and paraffin, with a couple of table spoons of olive oil. Heat it up and pour on a 8x11 baking sheet with water in it. The mixture will float on top fairly thin. When it hardens it's put on some wax paper and a empty deprimed 45 case is used to cut out the pills. A 16D nail inside is used to push the pill out. That's the short of it, go over there and get some good discussions on it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
  12. paul harm

    paul harm Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2018
    Messages:
    160
    Cowboydave, I too got out of BP for about 18 years. I use to go to rendezvous with my teepee, wife, and kids. Also shot on the " modern " side at Friendship. We'd shoot pistol all day, and trap at night. Once in a while I'd shoot the silhouette match or chunk gun. I must of made 15 rifles, a couple of smoothbores and pistols. Kept the guns I made, but a couple of years back I sold my revolvers and target single shot pistols. Now I got the itch to shoot the 1858 Remingtons again. Just bought two with the 7 1/2" barrel, one with a 12" barrel, and the carbine. I forgot how much fun it was. And I'm learning some new loading techniques. Don't say you can't teach a old dog new tricks.
     
  13. 99whip

    99whip Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    Messages:
    29
    I have tested this from a bench quite a bit and there is an accuracy difference when compressing the powder. I also use a cylinder press and load off the gun, which makes compressing the powder easier and more consistent. I don't shoot this way every time I go but have done quite a lot of this way to try and maximize accuracy.
     
  14. Jimster

    Jimster Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2015
    Messages:
    570
    Location:
    IL
    My first cap n ball back in the 1970’s was a farby brass framed .44 Navy. You’ve all seen them, right? Half octagon half round barrel. It started wiggling between the barrel assembly and frame by about 1990 or so. I’ve bought all steel frame authentic-ish Uberti since.
    I do have fond memories of shooting that first pistol. I’ve had a great black powder journey over the past 40+ years.
     
    north east redneck and rodwha like this.
  15. Curator

    Curator Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,275
    Location:
    Bonita Springs, Florida
    One of the "advantages" of using Cream of Wheat" (COW) over simple corn meal is that COW is not particularly compressible. Compressing the COW filler will also compress the underlying black powder charge. Also, the COW will allow one to shoot under groove size round balls with good accuracy since the plug of COW will prevent any powder-gas blow-by. In a .44 Army chamber, a 27 grain load of FFFg black powder loaded with a 10 grain COW filler will have more velocity than a full load of 37 grains of FFFg powder, (950 fps vs. 850 fps) This is due to the sealing properties of the COW, plus the additional weight of the fillered load, plus the compression of the load. Most of the unfillered load burned outside the barrel and contributed to the smoke and report of the gun.
     
  16. Mizar

    Mizar Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,295
    Location:
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Thank you for the interesting information, Curator - I have a couple of friends with Piettas with unreamed cylinders that will find this useful, although a little bit complicated as a loading procedure.
    Edit: I imagine a cork wad of appropriate thickness would serve the same purpose - did anyone tried?
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
  17. paul harm

    paul harm Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2018
    Messages:
    160
    And here I've been doing it wrong all those years. Maybe I would have kept all 10 shots off hand at 25yds in the 3 1/2" 10 ring instead of 8 or 9 of them. I believe it's much more important to have the same pressure each time instead of worrying about a lot of compression. The 10 or so years I shot competition I don't remember anyone talking about compressing the load for better accuracy. Everyone did think a light load was better, but that was about it. 20grs of 3F and some filler be it COW or CM, it didn't matter.
    Whip, did you use a Ransom Rest or just rest your hands on the bench ?
    Mizar, most the guys on the other forum use some type of lube under the bullet or ball. Some use the pill, wad, or a cookie. The cookie is a pill put between two thin cards. There are a number of ways to do it, but just about everyone puts whatever under the slug. I just started doing it and found far less fowling on the outside of the gun that when I put grease over the ball. Others may find different results.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
  18. whughett

    whughett Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,184
    Location:
    Rhode Island/Florida
    [QUOTE=". I used the formula 50/50 bees wax and paraffin, with a couple of table spoons of olive oil. Heat it up and pour on a 8x11 baking sheet with water in it. The mixture will float on top fairly thin. When it hardens it's put on some wax paper and a empty deprimed 45 case is used to cut out the pills. A 16D nail inside is used to push the pill out. That's the short of it, go over there and get some good discussions on it.[/QUOTE]

    Same here only I use a higher wall cake pan with two depths marked on side walls inside. One for the water and the top for a layer of wax/Crisco I/8" deep. The cutter is a 45acp case with the rim cut off then soldered to a brass tube attached to a hollow wooden handle with a dowel insert that pushes out the discs. removed the sheet is dusted with corn starch then then the "pills" cut from it.

    I use the pills over a cardboard wad over a 28 grain 3f powder charge in 45C, a small amount of filler over the pill prevents it from sticking to the 230 grain bullet base. I also keep a supply in the kit for occasional use over the round ball as an addition chamber seal/lube. The you tuber "Cap and Ball" suggested a pill can be forced down over a chambered black powder cartridge with an unlubed bullet loaded. This has worked well for me with 250 grain unlubed bullets loaded with 35 grain 3f charges in 45C. This load will be somewhat compressed.

    I left a box of these 45C, with the lube pill, sitting on the bench in the garage over the Florida summer, returning in the winter the rounds fired with out any apparent ill affect from the elevated temps.
     
  19. paul harm

    paul harm Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2018
    Messages:
    160
    I didn't go into a lot of detail about the 45 case. The 16D nail was cut off, a coil spring put over it, and a wooden dowel attached to the end to push on. There was a little messing around - like counter sinking the spring in the dowel and epoxying the dowel to the nail. Still didn't get it quite right - it's a slight stretch to hold the 45 case between my perch finger and thumb and still push on the dowel with my fore finger. Maybe someday I'll get around to making a new one. I shoot just RB's, so I don't think the pill will stick to the ball, at least from the groups I got . Sounds like you've been doing it longer than me. Sounds like a good idea with two marks on the pan.
     
  20. drobs

    drobs Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2017
    Messages:
    523
    Location:
    Missouri & Africa
    I'm still playing with loads. I have 2 flasks and bunch of nozzles I need to pull out and try.
    One flask throws 30gr - which I like. The other throws 20 something grains. Cream of Wheat, Malt-o-meal, and Cream-of-Mushroom seems like it would another tedious step to the process. I'd rather do - powder and wad in all chambers + ball, and cap.

    I'll be home in July and will try both filling the chambers up with as much powder as possible and compressing a ball on top + I'll dig around the kitchen to see what dry cereal grains I have.
    Anyone try Flour? Seems like it would be cheap...

    I seem to recall powdered dairy creamer is quite flammable. That could be fun!
     
    rodwha likes this.
  21. whughett

    whughett Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,184
    Location:
    Rhode Island/Florida
    Drobs, really,Cream of Mushroom.?

    Are you referring to filling the cap and ball cylinder chambers full and seating a ball on top with the loading lever, unless your Magilla Gorilla that aint going to work, I know I've shaved any number of high balls with a pocked knife to get the cylinder to rotate under the barrel. A reloading press, with its mechanical advantage, will fully seat a 250grain RNFP into a 45C case topped off with 3F powder. I unseated one then removed the powder with a scratch awl. The powder was a solid compressed cake, that came out in small chunks. Said loads were a hoot to shoot, but I don't do that with any regularity, its unnecessary for paper punching and not necessarily the most accurate.
     
  22. Ephraim Kibbey

    Ephraim Kibbey Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2014
    Messages:
    812
    Location:
    Ohio
    Campbell's Cream of Mushroom - Ummm, very tasty for lunch on a cold day or as a starter for stroganoff but I would think it would be very, very messy when loading as filler.
    Sorry drobs, I couldn't resist!
     
  23. paul harm

    paul harm Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2018
    Messages:
    160
    Drobs - tedious step ? Just loading a C&B revolver some would consider tedious. I keep the corn meal in a plastic mustard bottle. The cap is attached - undo it, tip it upside down, insert the nozzle in the cylinder, and give it a squeeze. Really quite simple - if you can do two things at once. Ephraim, I had no trouble resisting.
     
  24. ClemBert

    ClemBert Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    Messages:
    1,432
    Location:
    Orlando
    True, but in the same light...just because the speed limit is 70 MPH on the interstate doesn't mean I need to go that fast. I recall it's legal to go 45 MPH down the same stretch and I'd get better gas mileage too. But, that's not fun.

    We all aren't shooting paper and besides the more smoke-n-boom the better! :evil:
     
  25. Mizar

    Mizar Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,295
    Location:
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    When one is at some "civilized" shooting range he can put as much goodies as he wants on the shooting table and it would not bother him at all, but imagine yourself in the field, at some improvised shooting range - one quickly finds out that only two hands are not enough. I try to keep my gear as handy as possible so I can load that revolver without the help of tables, stances and etc. That's when the extra step of COW filler (semolina actually) becomes tedious.
     
    Jackrabbit1957 and drobs like this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice