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When was black powder replaced by Smokeless

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by WALKERs210, Jan 16, 2013.

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  1. WALKERs210

    WALKERs210 Member

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    Today I picked up a very nice 1892 Winchester lever in 45 Colt. This is a reproduction made in Italy, I have no doubt about it's ability to handle modern ammo, what I was wondering is about loading a few rounds using BP. After looking at the price per round for 45Colt I think I could buy a mold for 45cal and load my own much cheaper. Thoughts or ideas welcomed
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Late 1800's, early 1900's in American sporting arms.

    The thing is, loading with black powder is going to require a lot of cleaning with hot water and stuff.

    A 92 is not the most friendly firearm ever designed to take apart in little pieces and get the hot water and BP fouling out of it.

    That was the great thing about the invention of smokeless powder & non-corrosive primers.

    But, yes, you can cast bullets and reload .45 Colt Much much cheaper then buying factory ammo.

    I just would not recommend doing it with black powder.
    Unless of course, you have a thing for black powder.

    rc
     
  3. WALKERs210

    WALKERs210 Member

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    Thanks RC, I do like BP but like you said it gets into places that you would never imagine. Tearing down to clean is not something I would be looking forward to, since my son grew up I have to do it myself. Should be ashamed of what I got that boy to do when he was young, always used the saying that "He has to learn some time". When we went camping he was always up around 4:00 -4:30, I would tell him to get a fire going and coffee on and I would be right there, most times after coffee was done and I got 15-20 min extra sleep. Thanks again most likely I will just grunt and pay the price for shells unless I can find someone close that will reload for me.
     
  4. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy

    The 30-40 Krag was the first US military cartridge designed specifically for Smokeless powder in 1892. The 30-30 was the first commercial Smokeless round developed for the Model 1894 Winchester. However the complete change over to Smokeless was gradual, ammunition companies continued loading cartridges with Black Powder well into the 1930s.

    I have two 1892 Winchesters, one made in 1894, the other made in 1919. I shoot them with Black Powder all the time, in fact I don't put Smokeless through them anymore. Cartridge rifles are different than revolvers regarding shooting with Black Powder. With a revolver, because of the barrel/cylinder gap, fouling gets everywhere. A rifle is basically a pipe. It is a closed system once the bolt is closed. With properly loaded Black Powder ammunition, the fouling should all stay in the bore, very little of it should get into the mechanism. Now granted, 45 Colt is not the best cartridge for Black Powder in a rifle because the thick case does not obdurate well to seal the chamber and some blow back is typical, with some fouling getting into the action. All my lever guns are chambered for 44-40, which owing to its thinner brass seals the chamber beautifully and no fouling blows back into the action. And granted, the Model 1892 is more difficult to take apart and get back together again than the Model 1873. Still, it is not necessary to totally dismantle a rifle after shooting it with Black Powder. All the fouling that has blown back into the action will be easily noticed and can be removed with patches and q-tips along with your favorite water based BP solvent, followed by a good oiling, preferably with Ballistol.
     
  5. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Last time black powder cartridge rifles were used was by the German Askaris in Tanganika. After they defeat the British led Indian Army amphibious landing they reequipped themselves with the smokeless SMLE.
     
  6. zimmerstutzen

    zimmerstutzen Member

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    The Winchester 32 Special was designed to be sold from the factory loaded with bulk smokeless and then reloaded with black powder by the consumers.
    IIRC the 1888 Gewehr Commission Mauser was the first smokeless powder Military arm. Everybody was looking to jump on the bandwagon then. within 12 years almost every major military in the world had switched. The Brits to 303, the Spanish and it's colonies to 7mm Mauser. The US to the 30-40. It was a rapid expensive change for the industrialized countries to revamp their munitions.
     
  7. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    The first smokeless powder military rifle was the French Lebel. Both rifle and cartridge left a lot to be desired.

    The French had a thing for originating a really great invention and then messing up and letting other countries improve on it to reap the credit and the money.

    Jim
     
  8. DeepSouth

    DeepSouth Member

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    I was once told in WW1 our snipers had a huge advantage because we were among the few countries that used smokeless. Most were still useing black powder.

    Don't know if it's true, but it sounds good.




    Posted via iPhone
     
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    No, it isn't true.

    By WWI, all combatants were using smokeless powder and other good stuff like machineguns and airplanes.

    The last war we were involved in that employed any black power small arms was the Spanish American war in 1898.

    rc
     
  10. DeepSouth

    DeepSouth Member

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    That's kind of what I figured.
    On a side note I saw an interview with the last living ww1 pilot once a few years ago. I believe it was filmed in the 90's (just guessing) he has just died in the last few years. Anyway he was talking about flying around shooting their six shooters at each other. He said many times they were the only guns they had on the planes.
    It was very interesting to hear.

    Off to you tube now to see if I can find it.
     
  11. WALKERs210

    WALKERs210 Member

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    Boy do I love the history. Wife said I should have been a history teacher, but there is way too much I don't know and I eat all information I can get.
     
  12. PRM

    PRM Member

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    Rule of thumb on firearms - manufactured prior to 1910 go with BP cartridges. After that everything should be good to go with smokeless.

    Modern firearms with black powder are a hoot. I shoot 45LC with black powder lot. It really tames the recoil in my American Derringer Model 1. Better than the 4th of July. My Colt SAA 2nd Gen. and Colt Bisley, both shoot great with them, just do a good clean-up.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013
  13. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Smokeless was common in the middle 1890s. Mauser had the M94, M96 and M98s, Winchester had the M1895 and 1894 (althought the first two cartridges used black). By this time, all the new cartridges coming out were based on smokeless.
     
  14. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Yeah, you can load .45 Colt right cheap using BP OR Unique. I prefer smokeless in my lever carbine, a Rossi 92, but I could shoot BP in it should I want to. The Lee 255 grain flat point mold is VERY accurate in this caliber.

    The first military rifle to use smokeless was the 1886 French Lebel. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebel_Model_1886_rifle The Winchester M1894 in .30-30 Winchester (aka .30 WCF) was the first sporting rifle in America chambered for the very first smokeless sporting round. Bolt action military rifles really caught on in America after the dough boys got back from Europe from serving in the great war and decided they liked the Springfields and their .30-06 chambering.

    I have a German 1888 commission rifle. It was originally chambered for a round nose 8x57J round, bullet of .318" diameter. Mine had been rebarreled to the 8x57S modern round (.323" bullet) used in the K98 by the Germans to be used by Hitler youth and old farts defending Berlin at the end of the war. The .318" 8x57J was a a smokeless round and Germany's first adopted military smokeless round.

    As mentioned earlier, the .30-40 Krag Jorgensen was America's first smokeless military cartridge.
     
  15. targetshooter22

    targetshooter22 Member

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    I shoot BP in my 92 as well. Difficult cleanup is a myth. Using ballistol diluted in water abou 8:1 water to solvent and a bore snake, my rifle takes about 15 minutes to clean thoroughly. I recommend a spray bottle to make it easier to get in all those places in the action.

    BP, or holy black, as the other shooters call it is frequently more accurate at least under 100 yards. You are on the right path if you start to cast your own bullets, just be sure they carry a lot of soft lube so the rifle doesn't foul out on you.

    Welcome to the ranks of the Soot Lords.
     
  16. kBob

    kBob Member

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    I think it would actually be cheaper to load .45 Long Colt ( I just love getting folks rilled that get rilled over nothing and at one point Remington did mark boxes that way so Neener) with Unique than BP.

    Yes magazine fed bolt guns be came very popular after WWI so much so that folks were concerned about these high powered, high capacity (five is high compared to one) rapidly reloadable rifles to the point where here in FLorida a law commonly referred to as the Winchester/Springfield law was passed requiring those obtaining such rifles to report the ownership of such to their police cheif or sherif.....no joke. RIfles "of the type" that were magazine fed and repeating were supposed to be reported to local law enforcement.

    Perhaps it had something to do with that Carnagy library thing and the black vets, where ever that was.

    As a youth while researching gun laws I found the darned thing in the then single statute book (the index was seperate) and decided to conform to the law. I was sure I did not need to report my M-1 Carbine to the cheif as it was in fat on loan from his department to me (short story, did favor for PD regaurding 15 M-1 Carbines at 14 and they let me keep one about ten years)
    WHen I told the cheif I was complying with the statute his response was "What?"

    Now there was an assault weapons law that really worked well.

    Seems in twenty five years no one had ever so reported to him in a rural county where at least half the pick ups had a "deer rifle" in a visable rear window rack.

    -kBob
     
  17. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    BTW, I read somewhere that by 1945 Germany was handing out old 1871/84 Mausers to their Volksturm. Never checked up on it or looked into whether they still had any black powder cartridges laying around for it.
     
  18. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Haven't heard that, but they were desperate by that point and I wouldn't be surprised. As mentioned, they converted a lot of 88 commission rifles to 8x57S. Mine was bought mail order (considered an antique, could buy without FFL involvement) in 1977 for $27.50. About all I've ever done with it other than admire the craftsmanship is shoot turtles off a tank with it. 50 rounds was bruising in one afternoon of plinking with it. I feel sorry for all those old farts than had to fight with it.

    I had an old 1916 Spanish 7x57 for a while, built on the 93 Mauser action, cocks on closing. That was a nifty length gun, heavy, of course. It only liked 175 grain bullets due to the rapid rifling rate. It was 7x57s in the hands of the Spanish that gave Americans fits in the Spanish-American war. The .30-40 Krag with it's round nose projectile and funky magazine was pretty pathetic when pitted against superior range and firepower of the stripper clip loaded Mausers and their spitzer bullets. After THAT war, the war department went on a development campaign to come up with a better rifle/caliber and the rifle basically copied the 1898 Mauser, the round became the caliber .30 of 1906 or .30-06. The original design was a round nose of slightly different case design known as the .30-03, but the final project sported a spitzer bullet.

    So much for American innovation. In fact, we copied the Germans. We didn't get a vastly superior weapon of war to the rest of the world until the Garand in the 30s. American GIs in WW2 had a HUGE advantage in small arms.

    Too, Springfields weren't the only rifles in .30-06 used by the military. The 1917 Enfield bolstered rifle inventories. I passed a while back on a 200 dollar 1917 find, GREAT bore. I'm still kinda kicking myself for not picking it up. I really prefer the rear sight on the Enfield to the Springfields.
     
  19. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    Some people don't realize that Maxim was an American who couldn't get his country (the USA) to adopt his automatic weapon so he sold it to Germany. Lots of soldiers got slaughtered with it.
     
  20. WALKERs210

    WALKERs210 Member

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    Great information here, so I am going to throw this out. I knew this rifle I have is Italian made, Armi San Marco, it was my belief that it was imported by Cimaron but tonight I saw some super small lettering on left side of barrel just forward of rear sights. Had to get out a 10X loop to read, it said Traditions Old Saybrook, Ct.. Also while having the wife with better eyes read for me, her comment was that what I thought was nickle plating on receiver, end cap and but plate is in her opinion Silver plating. So what my research has found is nothing, the ones imported by Cimaron and even Traditions has case colored instead of the nickle/silver plating. Every other aspect of the rifle is exactly as described but just wondering just who, what and when.
     
  21. .22-5-40

    .22-5-40 Member

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    My dad who was in his very early teens in the early 1920's told me he used
    .22 short black powder ctgs. on his rat hunting excursions in downtown city alleys..imagine a kid walking around with a .22 rifle in a city today!..used to collect bounty on the tails..He must not have had proper cleaning tools..as he said he had to visit local blacksmith to have stuck bullet removed from bore once in awhile. He probably bought the black powder .22's because they were possibly cheaper? At any rate, they were still to be found thru the 20's.
     
  22. Pulp

    Pulp Member

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    It hasn't been replaced by smokeless at my house!:D

    Supplemented yes, replaced, no!
     
  23. Foto Joe

    Foto Joe Member

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    I'm a little late to this but I'll jump in with a stern warning:

    I'd advise WALKERs210 to be VERY careful about shooting Black Powder cartridges out of that gun. If you do decide to do it I'd venture to guess that it will only take one or two rounds before you are terminally HOOKED on 'em. After that you'll likely start looking at that 1911 (assuming you have one) and wondering how that would perform with 45ACP Black Powder cartridges. I've personally been advised by my wife that some sort of re-hab or intervention might be necessary sometime in the future for my own affliction.

    45 Colt although not a rifle round will work quite well with Black Powder. One tip that I might pass along should you decide to start properly loading 45 Colt is to NOT resize the brass once fired. After several re-loadings (depending on charge) the brass will be fire-formed to that gun and any blow-back should be minimized. Also you can consider using a El Paso Pete's Ultra Gamer bullet (140 LRNFP) and a 20-25gr powder charge. Still lots of smoke and my experience with them is that they are tack drivers out of a SAA with a 12" barrel.

    Your options for various custom loads are pretty much unlimited, just keep in mind that just like our front stuffers you want zero air space in that cartridge so if you're using a light charge simply use cornmeal or cream of wheat as a filler.
     
  24. 303tom

    303tom member

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    Nitrocellulose-based propellants were derived in 1846, but is was not until 1866 to where it was suitable as a cartridge propellent...................
     
  25. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy Again

    You will not save any money loading with Black Powder over loading with Smokeless. When I load 45 Colt with Black Powder about 35 grains or so of powder goes into each case. When I load with Unique about 7.5 grains or so goes into each case.

    Last time I bought Black Powder I paid about $16 per pound.

    Last time I bought Unique I paid about $18 per pound.

    Do the math. Using much more powder per load with BP winds up being much more expensive.
     
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