Author Topic: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army  (Read 7047 times)

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Offline RebelCause

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Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« on: May 29, 2009, 04:47:13 pm »
Howdy,

I am so new the Black Powder Revolver shooting, that I don't know what to say. I haven't even fired my brand new Pietta .44 Cal New Army, that I bought at Cabela's last weekend.

Question 1:
Well there seems to be some discrepancie on Max Powder charges, and I was hoping someone could clear it up for me, since I don't want to get blown to pieces when I take it to the range tomorrow.

The Pietta Manual says Min/Max Grains of "Blackpowder", .454 ball is 12 to 15 Grains, and .8 to 1 gram, (probably FFFG)

My Cabela's Manual says "Blackpowder" Min/Max is 35 grains with .451 ball, (G-0 FFFG).

Cabela's then says Pyrodex P with .451 ball is 28 grains.

There is a huge discrepancie between Cabela and Pietta. Or at least it seems so.

The Pietta manual says if I exceed the maximum charge then all sorts of bad things are going to happen to me. It talks about injury, death, disfigurement, loss of limb and it seems like they suggest that Armaggedon will start.

I bought .454 balls, and everyone at Cabela's reviews are loading it up with 25 to 30 grains of Pyrodex. Likewise this forum seems to suggest the same range. This seems way to high according the Pietta manual.

Question 2:
Also, how hard is it to accidentally set off the Caps, when I put them on. Is it likely that I will ignite them by pushing them on with my fingers??

Can anyone clarify what in the heck is going on?
"All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void." Marbury Vs.Madison.

"Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them." Miranda vs. Arizona.

"An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed." Norton Vs. Shelby County.


Offline blhof

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2009, 05:08:38 pm »
Is your gun a brass frame or steel?  The brass frames will stretch with hot loads.  Pieta used to proof their r44 revolvers with 45grains and usual operating shots with steel frame are from 25 to 35 grains of FFF B/p or equal.  The caps require an impact like paper caps to ignite, depending on the cap/nipple combination you have, good pressure might be needed to insure complete fit.  If the cap isn't seated on the nipple; the first strike won't ignite it, but it will be seated for the 2nd try. Good luck and welcome to the B/p revolvers, I've had a great time with mine and with casting the 44 shooting is cheaper than 22's and a lot more bang.

Offline RebelCause

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2009, 05:55:16 pm »
Is your gun a brass frame or steel?  The brass frames will stretch with hot loads.  Pieta used to proof their r44 revolvers with 45grains and usual operating shots with steel frame are from 25 to 35 grains of FFF B/p or equal.  The caps require an impact like paper caps to ignite, depending on the cap/nipple combination you have, good pressure might be needed to insure complete fit.  If the cap isn't seated on the nipple; the first strike won't ignite it, but it will be seated for the 2nd try. Good luck and welcome to the B/p revolvers, I've had a great time with mine and with casting the 44 shooting is cheaper than 22's and a lot more bang.

It is a steel frame.

Any idea why the Pietta manual says max at 15 grain?

"All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void." Marbury Vs.Madison.

"Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them." Miranda vs. Arizona.

"An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed." Norton Vs. Shelby County.

Offline Flint

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2009, 08:00:05 pm »
The 15 gr load for a 44 in the Pietta manual could be a misprint, that is more like the starting load for a 36.  You will not blow up a cylinder with a chamber full of real black powder, there's not enough pressure there.  The original Remington would hold 30-35 grains of powder, and didn't blow up, and compared to the steel in the repro you have, it was barely more than cold rolled steel.

Walkers were known to blow up with 60 gr of black, due to the poor grade of steel.  Perhaps even the shortened to 50 gr Dragoon cylinders were not strong enough, but the 1860 Colt and New Model Army Remington steel was far superior to the Walker and early Dragoon's metal, and the repros made today are substantially better yet.

I would worry more about the large air space left in the chamber with a 15 gr charge, as the loading lever ram cannot push a ball deep enough to reach a powder charge that small.  In this case, the ball is classified as a bore obstruction, and that could damage the cylinder.

Placing caps on the nipples with your fingers is safe enough, but if you need to push them on more firmly, as in the case of a CCI cap, which runs a bit smaller than the Remington cap, size for size, I would use a wooden or to be fancy, antler bone push stick, not metal and certainly never the hammer itself, and not your thumb.
Flint, SASS 976, NRA Life

Offline RebelCause

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2009, 05:25:42 am »
The 15 gr load for a 44 in the Pietta manual could be a misprint, that is more like the starting load for a 36.  You will not blow up a cylinder with a chamber full of real black powder, there's not enough pressure there.  The original Remington would hold 30-35 grains of powder, and didn't blow up, and compared to the steel in the repro you have, it was barely more than cold rolled steel.

Walkers were known to blow up with 60 gr of black, due to the poor grade of steel.  Perhaps even the shortened to 50 gr Dragoon cylinders were not strong enough, but the 1860 Colt and New Model Army Remington steel was far superior to the Walker and early Dragoon's metal, and the repros made today are substantially better yet.

I would worry more about the large air space left in the chamber with a 15 gr charge, as the loading lever ram cannot push a ball deep enough to reach a powder charge that small.  In this case, the ball is classified as a bore obstruction, and that could damage the cylinder.

Placing caps on the nipples with your fingers is safe enough, but if you need to push them on more firmly, as in the case of a CCI cap, which runs a bit smaller than the Remington cap, size for size, I would use a wooden or to be fancy, antler bone push stick, not metal and certainly never the hammer itself, and not your thumb.

OKay thanks. I have emailed Pietta and asked them about this Powder Measure problem. I was reading the Cabelas website and found someone else who actually tried to load their gun with 15 grains, and the ball got stuck in the darn thing. Probably an air space problem like you said.

I think Pietta has problems translating from Italian to English. I have tried emailing other Italian OEM's about other things and never get a response from them. I don't think they like to talk to us Americans for some reason or another.

I say this because we went there for two weeks last year, and they were extremely rude to us, when approaching them on business matters. They were friendly on friendly matters though.

As a result I don't really expect a response. It seems to me that they are setting up people for a dangerous situation, by suggesting that their max load is 15 grains, that is, without further information about adding filler on top of it.

"All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void." Marbury Vs.Madison.

"Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them." Miranda vs. Arizona.

"An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed." Norton Vs. Shelby County.

Offline bedbugbilly

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2009, 05:09:46 pm »
Sorry - error made on this post - please see my next post for this subject
If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single one on my right hip is good enough for me.  Besides, I'm probably only half as good as he was anyway . . . . now . . . how do I load this confounded contraption?

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Offline bedbugbilly

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2009, 05:31:58 pm »
SORRY - MY FINGER HIT THE WRONG BUTTON AND POSTED BEFORE I WAS FINISHED TYPING

I just purchased a new Pietta brand 1858 Remington "Navy" .36 cal. from Cabela's - my revolver came with the manual from Pietta as well as a copy of Cabela's "Instruction Manual for Muzzleloading Rifles, Pistols and Shotguns".  You are correct in what you say about the Pietta manual.  My Pietta manual states the following for black powder loads (for revolvers):

31 cal.   7 - 9 Grains FFFG
36 cal.   9 - 12 Grains FFFG
44 cal.   12 - 15 Grains FFFG
(These are for Revolver Loads)

The Cabela's Manual gives the following:

31 cal.   12 Grains FFFG
36 cal.    22 Grains FFFG
44 cal.    35 Grains FFFG
(These are for Standard Cylinder Capacity)

I also have to wonder if Pietta is either translating incorrectly or if, in this day of "liability wariness" they are just covering their hineys so if there ever is a problem, they can use the excuse that the cylinder was overloaded (based on their manual suggested loads).  I would think that they would be more concerned with their suggested loads and the ball not being seated on top of the powder due to rammer length.  We all have heard stories of what happens when the ball isn't seated against the powder charge - either in pistols, rifles, etc.  This is a subject for debate (and of course each circumstance would be different depending upon powder charge, type of steel cylinder is constructed from (in the case of revolvers) or type of steel, barrel size and wall thickness, powder charge, etc. in the case of muzzleloading rifles) and I have personal experience with a full size 10 pound Parott cannon that had a projectile stuck part way down the barrel and the method we used for getting it out based on British Naval studies done in the 1800s on cannon projectiles not being seated all the way against the powder charge.  Irregardless of those studies or any individual's personal experiences, it is an accepted safety factor that the ball should ALWAYS be seated firmly on top of the powder charge.  As one reply pointed out, the steel used in today's repro revolvers is superior to that used in the original weapons.  We all know that each individual pistol has their own "magic" load or charge at which they shoot the most accurately.  In looking over the two manuals I have that came with the Pietta Remington Navy that I just purchased, the suggestions given by the Cabela's mannual for black powder loads are a good place to start and then adjustments can be made either up or down (not large adjustments all at once) until the ideal powder charge is determined for the projectile that is being used (round ball or conical).  The second factor for revolver powder charges is whether or not the revolver has a steel or a brass frame - as has been stated many times in the various posts on this board - you want to use a lighter powder charge if your revolver has a brass frame as over time, the cylinder pin can become loose in a brass frame revolver due to using too heavy of a load.
If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single one on my right hip is good enough for me.  Besides, I'm probably only half as good as he was anyway . . . . now . . . how do I load this confounded contraption?

Hiram's Rangers - Badge #63

Offline NickSS

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2009, 03:22:40 am »
I have been shooting C&B revolvers for over 40 years and in a 44 target loads are generally around 20 to 25 gr with filler to fill the chamber.  I generally shoot a RB and 30 gr in my 44 revolvers(eliminates the filler as I found that the gun was accurate with 30 gr).  I use 25 gr for my 36 cal revolvers.  I should point out that the original Colt and Remington 44 revolvers were loaded with a consumable paper cartridge that held 28 gr of powder and a 216 gr conical bullet.  Hundreds of thousands of these cartridges were fired during the Civil War and some 10 years following by the Army (both sides in the War) with out any problems except misfires now and then.

Offline blhof

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2009, 03:38:30 pm »
The consumable paper was made by soaking the paper in a solution of water and potassium nitrate(salt peter).  My brother and I made 100 and 150 gr. powder charges this way for our 75 cal. cannon that we built a carriage for as a scout project and carried on camping trips and fired.  They sure can't do that today.  We had a B/p powder measure amd molded the paper over the top of an empty 20 ga. shell with crimp turned back down.  This was back in the 1960's.  My son now has that same cannon and fires at his range with 69cal balls in 12ga shot wads.

Offline FourBee

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2009, 12:48:30 pm »
With GOEX black powder or its substitutes such as APP or Pyrodex using anywhere from 25 to 30 grains gives normal bullet grouping for target shooting.    However, cutting it down to 22 grains is as close to perfection as you can get.    But if you're interested in the big bang, you can go ahead and max out the chambers of that STEEL PIETTA and have lots of fun.

  Now if you want to use 777 (Triple 7) or GOEX Express,and some of the others like KIX and SWISS, they are hotter powders, so you can cut back on powder amounts.
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Offline RebelCause

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2009, 04:06:43 pm »
With GOEX black powder or its substitutes such as APP or Pyrodex using anywhere from 25 to 30 grains gives normal bullet grouping for target shooting.    However, cutting it down to 22 grains is as close to perfection as you can get.    But if you're interested in the big bang, you can go ahead and max out the chambers of that STEEL PIETTA and have lots of fun.

  Now if you want to use 777 (Triple 7) or GOEX Express,and some of the others like KIX and SWISS, they are hotter powders, so you can cut back on powder amounts.

Interesting.

I got an e-mail response from Pietta, themselves. This is what they said to my question.


Sir
for your gun, you could use 20/22 grains of black powder.
This quantity is perfect for it
thank you


HHmmm. Almost exactly what you said. Also I suspect they mean real Black Powder.

 ??? ??? :o
"All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void." Marbury Vs.Madison.

"Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them." Miranda vs. Arizona.

"An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed." Norton Vs. Shelby County.

Offline FourBee

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2009, 06:41:17 pm »
Quote
HHmmm. Almost exactly what you said. Also I suspect they mean real Black Powder.

That is interesting.   Just proves those guys who've helped me knew what they were talking about.   And yes they use the real stuff (GOEX FFFg) for their revolvers.   It just seems to do the job with a little more control than the other.   But then that's just our personal opinions.
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Offline mechanic

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2009, 06:53:42 pm »
I have a brass frame 36.  I routinely shoot 20gr. powder, and have shot many many loads with no frame stretch.  In my old 44, (sold it), I would max. it out with powder, which amt. to about 35 gr.  This just left room to seat the ball.  As someone stated earlier, you run a greater risk if the ball does not seat on the powder.

I'm sure your instructions told you to either use a wad over the powder, or some form of grease over the end to seal the cylinders from chain fire.  I use a felt wad that I cut myself with a hole punch.
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Offline Sir Charles deMoutonBlack

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2009, 08:20:35 pm »
I thought it might be a gram to grain confusion, but apparently not;

15 grams == 231 gr.

http://www.metric-conversions.org/weight/grams-to-grains.htm

Offline coyotejoe

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2009, 08:19:08 am »
I thought it might be a gram to grain confusion, but apparently not;

15 grams == 231 gr.

http://www.metric-conversions.org/weight/grams-to-grains.htm

I think you may be onto it Sir Charles but with a floating decimal point, 1.5 grams= 23 grains.  Any cap&ball revolver should safely handle all the black powder you can possibly cram into it, maybe not the most accurate, maybe not good for the long term health of a brass frame, but not dangerous to fire.
The story of David & Goliath only demonstrates the superiority of ballistic projectiles over hand weapons, poor old Goliath never had a chance.

Offline Flint

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2009, 11:11:21 am »
As stated by others, if you can get the ball seated onto the (black) powder without protruding past the front of the cylinder, it is safe.  If it is a brass framed revolver, it's wisest to back off to a more reasonable load.

The Walker will hold 60 gr of powder, and that has been known to crush the wedge with a steady diet, as well as using up a lot of powder.  Back off to maybe 40 gr.  It will still make a very impressive boom and cloud of smoke.  50 gr is also overkill in a Dragoon.

An Army 1860 or "58" will hold close to 35 gr without a wad behind the ball, and that is also excessive for practical use, try 22-28 gr or so, saves powder and still does the job.

A steady diet of maximum loads is hard on the arbor threads of the Colt, but as long as it is real black powder, or an equivalent sub, it won't blow up a cylinder.  The steel framed Remington will take the beating, but the recoil is getting up there with heavy loads, as the revolver is fairly light weight, and makes it harder to shoot as fast as you might want to in a CAS match.  The Ruger Old Army is much heavier, and the recoil is less, but with its maximum load begins to feel more like a cartridge gun.
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Offline ZVP

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2009, 08:49:13 pm »
 In both my 8" and 5 1/2" Remington replicas (Piettias) 30 gr. of Pyrodex is a nice stout, accurate load when topprd off by a little filler or wad. If I use wads I don't use Crisco over the mouth and ball.
 In a"pet" Brass framed .44 Navy,20 grains with a Creaqm of Wheat filler is used and the same anti-flashover prevention is used.
 If I use 777 I reduce these loadings by 15%.
 The Remingtons are GREAT shooters and the 5 1/2" Sheriff Model is a wonderfully balanced and quick Aming piece.I really like it and it fits all my short Rugers leather! It even fits my low slung .22 steel lined quick draw holster, which really feels good! Nice gun.
 Good luck with yours!
 ZVP

Offline Bomber Boy

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2009, 01:48:00 pm »
Hi there.

I have been shooting my New Army for over a year now.
And I found out that my revolver does not like the very high load like 30 to 35 grains.
But 24 and 27 grains work just fine.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards.

Bomber Boy

Offline FourBee

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2009, 02:52:59 pm »
Hi there.

I have been shooting my New Army for over a year now.
And I found out that my revolver does not like the very high load like 30 to 35 grains.
But 24 and 27 grains work just fine.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards.

Bomber Boy
Yup! and some of us like to use a little less.
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Offline Rex in OTZ

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2009, 02:21:17 pm »
Funkey stampings on my powder flask spout

Back in 1989  I'd seen cased sets of cap & ball revolves advertise in the Shot Gun News (EMF) I sent in money for two sets one steel framed 1860 and a Walker, the walker was so back orderd they refunded my money, the 1860 came in a stained hard wood case with a powder flask and smallish brass double bullet mold (for looks?)
I was useing Hornaday swaged round lead ball in .457" diameter as I used them in a 45-70 as well.
the revolver shot about 14" low at 15 yards so instead of messing with the sights I figured where I had to hold over and shot that way for 15 years, the flask spout had a heavy stamp 32gr stamped it it and a very light 13gr stamped by the tip upside down(mistake?) I found that the spout would throw a decent charge that felt right and ther was ample room between the seated ball and the mouth of the cylinder, a double charge the ball would just seat farenough to get the ball to clear the barrel, the difference was noticeable the revolver would buck smartly and the ball impact was considerbly more (like a std .38 special)
due to my geographic location I naturally chose to lean back on the excessive powder use (over 248 miles to a resupply here in Bush Alaska) sometimes Idid shoot the stout loads and noticed the wedge was starting to not fit as tightly= base pin working loose, looked and noticed the spot weld at the back the frame had fractured some and the barrel was moving forawrd in the frame, I figured the base pin was screwd into the frame and so I had it pressed back and have shot the single throw loads ever since figureing the extra deep chambers are for the use of conical hollow base bullets needing the extra room to fit so dont assume just because thers extra room for that powder use what the spout throws and not any more, I did get a fella to tig weld that base pin and left it at that if you want to go fast get a .38 and go that rought a cap & ball revolver are ment to handle only so much pressure and not more than whats recomended.
There may be a metric to nonmetric thing going on?? I would have thought they would use cc's instead of grains.
That double stamped powder spout was confuseing till years latter I was able to get another powder measure and threw a powder load from the flask into the other measure and found it was indeed throwing 13 grains, for the longest time I thought I was throwing 32 grain loads which would have made it 64grains of powder in a revolver? which dosent really make any sense at all?
considering the 45-70 rifle was supposed to use 70 grains of FF powder.
Is there a industry confusion of measurements in useing FFF, FF and pyrodex powder measurements?

Offline FourBee

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2009, 07:34:48 pm »
Quote
shoot the stout loads and noticed the wedge was starting to not fit as tightly= base pin working loose

Hey Rex:   A Steel 1860 Army .44 w/ 26gr. of what brand powder.   Some BP's like SWISS are hot as are some substitutes such as 777.  In such case a steady diet of a 26gr. or higher load could cause some damage.   fffg revolver and small rifle powder has a faster burning rate than ffg large rifle powder.  Pyrodex measurements are similar to GOEX black powder.
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Offline Rex in OTZ

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Arctic EMF1860
« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2009, 02:02:01 pm »
I do have some Black powder that Ive never used 3F as I remember it was GOEX, What Ive always used in that EMF was Pyrodex P and thats what I use in my down loaded 45-70 loads I throw a double load from the pistol flask in a 45-70 case useing a large rifle primer and thumb in a .457 lead round ball, there plain evil on rabbits, it no fun lugging round a 12# rolling block through.

Offline FourBee

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2009, 03:15:16 pm »
12 pounds would be a lot of weight to tote around.   About Pyrodex P pistol powder; I've heard tell that it was made to be safer than real black, thus  ~
QUOTE:"The Pyrodex P (pistol) powder only ignites with about 600 degrees; higher than the ignition flash point of most caps."UNQOUTE
Personally; I've not had any problems relating to that quote.   But it does get sticky and gums up the works after several shots.   Any worse than real black?   Not enough to write home about.  GOEX 3fg is a good black powder, my favorite.
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Offline Rex in OTZ

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setting off Pyrodex in the cold
« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2009, 01:56:31 pm »
Ive never had any problems with cold affecting Pyrodex combustion, the first 100 shots outta that revolver used DIY home made percussion caps, I had made a kind of tap-o-cap type arrangement (what one does on long winter nights in Barrow Alaska) they performed very well but also very labor intensive.
All Ive ever used was Pyrodex P.
The gunshop here does carry 777 but not even certin what its labe was .ie (FF,FFF,??) all I know it was over $40 a Jar.

I have some Federal 45-70Govt 350gr hollow points that shoot one hell of a pattern at 50 yards I'd be hard put to endanger a 5 gallon bucket at that distance, when loaded with Pyrodex & lead bullets or round ball its a tack driver???

Offline Gaucho Gringo

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Re: Powder Measure, 1858 .44 Cal, Pietta New Army
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2009, 07:03:05 pm »
You don't even want to not have the bullet firmly seated on the powder. I made that mistake when I was starting out BP shooting in my Remington .44 cal. I had started shooting 25 gr loads and decided to go down. When I tried the 15 gr load unknown to me there was an air space in the loading which I confirmed by later measurements. Fortunately nothing catastrophic happened but the gun kicked so hard it knocked me on my ass all the time trying to keep the gun pointed in safe manner in front of other people. Not something I want to do again.