Graybeard Outdoors banner

Blackpowder vs. Smokless - Controversy?

5253 Views 23 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  kevin
Savage has a muzzleloader that can use smokless powder (which has been out for at least a year or so.)

It appears that some muzzleloading hunters are vehemently opposed to the concept of using smokless powders in muzzleloaders for hunting. Why?

The concept of muzzleloading hunting is still the same: you have to load from the muzzle, and you get one shot. Who cares what kind of powder you use? Plus, from what I understand, blackpowder is corrosive while smokeless is not (and I hear that blackpowder has more of foul smell to it.)

What is all of the controversy about? What's wrong with using smokless powders in muzzleloaders for hunting?

Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
smokeless powder in a muzzle loader

:D Well sir to answer your question as to why NO smokless powder in muzzleloading firearms, it is very simply put EXTREMLY DANGEROUS resons:
1 muzzlloaders are not designed to operate at smkoeless powder pressures.
2 if smokeless powder is used in any other black powder gun exept the savage 9 times out of ten you'll have commited suicde and killed or imjured others around you.

I hope zackery i answered your question if some one is doing this pratise have them stop, you could be saving someones life and others as well. if you need more infomation you can go and ask questions to or the they also will be happy to help.
To my way of thinking, there should be no problem using smokeless powders in muzzle loaders.............. As long as it's used in a properly designed gun that will handle the pressures that modern powders produce. I believe Savage has moved the peg up a notch in producing a strong weapon and will force the rest to do the same, eventually. I say look back to dimascus barrels and black we outlaw smokeless powder because there are black powder shotguns today?

The real muzzle loader generation is a very conservative lot and believe in hanging on to primative practices for the sake of preserving the past. That includes use of round ball and patch, REAL black powder, (not that phony imatation stuff), and side hammer flint-locks or perhaps a percussion lock, maybe!!? If you want to join in and play by their rules you have to wear the buckskins and ****-skin cap.

Now as we know, there are a few exceptions, but most states created an early muzzle-loader season for the primative weapon hunter and it's just sort of spiraled into the modern, stainless steel, in-line, 300 yd. tack-driving, high velocity, sabot shootin', scoped shoulder weapons. Not exactly what our original conservation authorities had in mind for muzzle loader hunting. Such is progress. :roll:

See less See more
I understand that 99% of today's muzzleloaders canNOT use smokeless powders and that, as such, it would be VERY dangerous. My question was based upon the implied premise that a particular muzzleloader would be safetly able to shoot smokeless powers. I guess I could better clarify the question as follows: If a muzzleloader is designed to safetly shoot smokeless power, like the Savage, then why shouldn't hunters use such guns?

Hey Zackery,

I'll just add this concern and back off for someone elses opinion. Unlike blackpowder, smokeless must be measured out using precision scales
(by weight not volume). As you know, if you are a reloader, you don't measure out loose smokeless powder witha funnel and flask! I think that for safety reasons, you have to be allot more careful if you decide to go smokeless in your muzzle loader. Powder charges must be measured out and delivered down the muzzle exactly........and that isn't easily done with the volume of smokeless we're talking abot here.

I see no problem with it if the gun is designed for it such as the Savage. It is still a muzzleloader, just uses a different kind of powder.

hey, guys i don't have a problem with the savage useing smokless powder, . and yes i do wear buckskins and go to rendevous and reectments , and civil war skirmihs, and shoot my muzzleloaders in competions and i hunt with them along with modern weapons and yes i even have a t/c encore with a.50 cal mounted on it .
to answer your question , useing smokless powder in the savage(in a lot of states it is banned) might be ok in that rifle, but some people out there will think its ok to use smokeless powder in thier guns , ie: thopson center tradition, cva can you see a problem comming , lots and lots of law suits.
the law suits would steep because people would claim you sould have told use that only black powder or black powder subsitute well its already on those gun, you would be amazed how my people disregared that warning and go ahead and don't read the lable, and thats were all if noy most accidents happen.
thats when the government fathers step in and say we got to protect the people from themselves , and our worst nightmare comes true.
this is fact and in my opinion,
just be safe and please be careful'
See less See more
:D In keepng with KEVINS CONCEPT. I agree with him because,the original season was for primative type weapons(black powder,rb,the whole idea) of going back in time a little. It would take the flavor out of that hunting season fer me,and for that matter,in-lines do the same thing to me also. I dont own one,but I have shot them quite a bit. They take the whole idea out of the game. As fer the smokeless being used in a gun not made for those kinda pressures, Yup,it will happen a lot. I see enough guys doing stupid things in reguards to reloading,much less getting girearms confused. Most will not read,but,willlisten to some idiot telling him that it will work. I know of two guys that have loaded smokeless in a bp only gun..1 lost three fingers off of his right hand,and the other lost a good piece of his scalp,along with most of his hearing. As far as im concerned...they can keep this knew gun with smokeless in the normal rifle season,where I am sure it will do an outstanding job with the right person behind it. king :twisted: :twisted:
See less See more
The last time this subject was debated, there were guys posting that they were using smokeless in "Smokepoles" which were not designed for it and praising it up about it was fine and the manufacturers were all wet and it worked well. Those are the boys I get nervous over. They were advocating on here to try it. I can see it a a range no here try this it is fine boom look ma no head. My only other concern is a guy who has no clue about smokeless and reloading and the closest he came to reloading is dumping 90 grains down the barrel. It does not take too much of being off with smokeless to make a bg difference. A couple grains is a lot of difference. I am surprised some of the I use it in my hawken guys have not posted. Maybe there is a reason hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
Keep in mind that I do not currently use muzzleloaders (although I plan to start next year :grin: ). As such, I am not biased one way or the other.

Many of you make VERY valid points. SavageT pointed out that measuring blackpowder is different from measuring smokeless powder. Unfortunately, I since I am not a reloader or blackpowder user, I didn't know that. However, let me offer this suggestion: in order to resolve this potential problem, couldn't manufacturer's use "pellets" for their "smokeless" muzzleloaders just like Pyrodex (I think that's the name of the company) uses their pellets in blackpowder guns?

Another valid point was that some people negligently use smokeless powder in blackpowder-only guns. This is just plain foolish on their part. Unfortunately, I agree with some of you that this could invite litigation.

There was one point made which I believe hinders more on personal preference rather than validity - this being that our forefather used blackpowder and that the whole concept of blackpowder hunting is to stick with the legacy. I don't really mind one way or the other. I think that the main concept is loading a bullet from the front and getting only one shot. Then again, I also see other side's view that if we start changing things too much, then what else will change? On the other hand, if we didn't evolve in this sport, then we would still be using flintlocks - not necessarily that it would be a bad idea, but just something to think about.

See less See more
Excellent Points made Zachery!
The suggestion about using smokeless powder pellets would be worth the try. Hodgdon, do you hear us????? Second issue about loading from the muzzle with a single projectile........I'm playing the Devil's Advocate here.........How is this basically any different than the modern Single-shot, breech loaded cartridge rifle?

You have now reached the point where the only difference is, which end do you load the charge from? An issue our state officials will have to consider in the direct future. Is there room for a muzzle loader season given this seemingly mute point???Are we shooting ourselves in the foot just to improve our likelyhood of making a "clean kill"?

Perhaps Savages Smokeless Powder ML isn't just a slick marketing ploy to
get a bigger market share of the millions of inline "to get an extra Deer tag market, but I doubt and I think they're idiots as sooner rather than later some mouthbreating cretin is going to stoke his Savage up with
Bullseye or WW 231 when it was meant to use a slow smokeless and a jury is going to award the idiots family zillions as a reward for his idiocy
I've seen several 98 Mauser actions where some moron loaded one of the aforementioned pistol powders and destroyed the action, a vented ML action is never going to even approach the strength of a Mauser 98.
part of the beauty of real BP is that you can literaly fill the barrel up 3/4
full seat a ball or bullet and it may knock you on your butt but it's not going to blow up as long as the projectile is seated firmly on the charge
Real BP is infinitely chemically stable unlike smokeless which can under certain circumstances even cook off in the can (rare) but it has happened
BP will also produce SD's (standard deviations) that smokeless can only
dream about. Pyrodex and all the other BP substitutes have serious half life issues and corrosivity problems due to the Perchlorate thats added to
suppress the flash point so they can be shipped, stored and sold as flammable solids. Your Pyrodex, clean shot, clear shot, black mag, black canyon, golden powder etc etc is going to go south on you as soon as it's been exposed to atmospheric humidity (some of this garbage is going to go south even if it's never been opened given sufficient time)
of 30% or greater and had sufficient time to degrade, BP breathes and
a can thats gotten somewhat damp will give up it's moisture if you take the cap off for a few hours when it's hot and dry, or cold and dry and it'll be good as new. Also the perchlorate is hygroscopic it's only partially water soluable, so unless you use a solvent like the mil. surplus corrosive primer type cleaning solvent you're going to end up damaging your bore
the damage is microscopic so it isn't necessarilly going to be visable to the naked eye with a borescope a rifle thats been used with Pyrodex
and not properly cleaned and or used in a "seasoned bore" eith bore butter or wonder lube is going to be completely trashed eventually
See less See more
Smokeless VS BP

The hunting regs here in Virginia say you must use at least 50 grains of black powder or black powder equivilient. While it can be argued that Pyrodex or CleanShot is the equivilient of black powder, smokeless is not.

Another problem smokeless raises is the use of muzzleloaders in the areas we currently can use them. In my area we can't hunt with rifles, a decision driven by population density. Shotguns and muzzleloaders are ok, but you can imagine the reaction if hunters start using smokepoles with the "ballistics of a .30-06!" (Exaggeration intentional.)

Finally, the last problem with the smokeless powder in a speciality gun like the Savage is getting good accuracy out of it. From magazine reviews, it takes a VERY tight fitting sabot round to properly seal the bore for efficient burning of the powder. The effort to load is much harder than with BP or BP substitutes and appropriate bullets.
8) 8) I completely understand what fredj and Bob_K are stating in ref. to this question about smokeless powder,and black powder. Someone is going to attempt to HOTROD his gun,and blow himself up as the end result. The info on the blackpowder vs. the wannabes is outstanding. My opinion fer sure,but it is highly interesting,and informative. :money: King
I'm not very knowledged in reloading , burn rates ,pressure rates and such . but Iam familar with the dangers of smokeless over blackpowder so this topic reminded me of the first time i saw the savage adv. it gave me chills thinking about it scared me . My first thought was THIS IS GONNA KILL SOMEBODY QUICK. In the hands of a competent reloader its still dangerous . seems to me smokeless is just to touchy

:roll: just a thought from a greenhorn

I've owned and shot one for almost 2 years now and it is one fine gun. Savage 10ML II has two safety valves that will relieve the pressure if it goes to high. The 209 primer will blow and so will the plastic sabot if pressure gets to high. There is no way of blowing them up, even in the hands of a novice muzzleloader. The Savage can be loaded with BP or BP sub just like any other premium muzzleloader but when loaded with smokeless powder it is a different animal. Sub inch groups at 100yds are the norm for this gun. As to those who say "someone is going to put smokeless in a BP gun and blow them selfs up" , I say it has all ready happened before the Savage came onto the market. All BP guns are clearly marked "BP or BP sub only". It's not Savages or any one elses fault if people can't read and follow directions. How many people smoke cigarettes and all cigarette packages clearly have warnings " Cigarette smoking causes cancer and lung and heart disease", but they still smoke. Savage was the first and others will follow but its only a small share of the muzzleloader market. Traditional muzzleloading has nothing to fear from the Savage smokeless, its just another gun. I own and shoot both kinds of muzzlelaoders and like each one for what it is. Peace, Mike
See less See more
Hey guys,

I had to restain myself from posting on this subject till now. I kow that Savage incorporated alot of safety devices on their rifle, but the major problem comes from the consumer end. With lawsuits flying around, more then birds in migration, a good company like Savage could be put out of business by someone's stupidity. Suppose some idiot overloads with modern powder and runs a patched round ball, nothing may not happen the first time, but eventually something could let loose. Then every anti and every news reporter will be screaming their BS. You can't stop stupid people from killing themselves, I'll be the first to admit that. Savage makes a great rifle, **** their whole line is real nice. I guess when you look at how this thread started, I don't believe that it had anything to do with the Savage rifle, but whether to BP or modern powder.

I think that there are two main types of folks that shoot muzzleloaders: those that are looking for a longer hunting season and those that like the historical aspect(I'll probably catch all %$$# for that). I fall in the latter group, but I don't look down on those that like inlines. I just find it laughable, that they want to burn modern powder in a muzzleloader. There is no line of reason to explain it. Pb smells, well shoot a PB substitute. PB is harder to clean, that is BS, I can clean my flintlock faster then anyone cleaning a modern bolt action(semiauto-takes even longer). PB isn't as accurate, well I've gotten deer and know many others who have also, If your out to shoot over 200yards, either stalk a little closer or find a different rifle to hunt then. ****, I've got a 45cal Parker Hale Whitworth that can shoot a 3+" group at 200 yards. What bothers me is that some people want to make PB rifles into something they are not, why not just except them for what they are? BP seasons, on a whole, was meant for those that want to get closer to nature, like bow hunting. PB is not for everyone.

I'm not out to start a flame war over this subject. I just don't want my interest in PB to be ruined be some idiot blowing his face off. I've seen a lot of stupid things done at shooting ranges due to misinformation, thankfully I've never seen anyone get killed....hope it stays that way.

Keep your powder dry
See less See more
:-D You can put althe safety devices on a firearm,and someone will always get past em. I think that they are interesting in the fact that they can use smokeless,but I kinda look at it kinda putting the cart infront of the horse sort of thing. I hink what the guys are worried about mainly is some guy is gunna tell how he shoots smokeless in his rifle,without giving all of the details. Some wingnut is gunna heare the conversation and try it in his. The problem with todays society is that no one wants to be responsible for thier own actions,hence the lawsuits. Look at all the Dunk Drivers that we get all of the time. I have yet to grab one that told me thanks fer taking em to the lockuop and getting em off the road. Life choices and such. My first thought when I saw the adds on it was the same thing as SMOKESTACK thought. I just think the whole critter is made to put some evalution into an original sport that is not needed nor wanted by those that have hunted that way since it originally came out. King
See less See more
savageT said:
Excellent Points made Zachery!
The suggestion about using smokeless powder pellets would be worth the try. Hodgdon, do you hear us????? Second issue about loading from the muzzle with a single projectile........I'm playing the Devil's Advocate here.........How is this basically any different than the modern Single-shot, breech loaded cartridge rifle?
1. Not to say it's impossible, but it would be a real trick to make
pellets from a powder such as cylindrical types where each
"cylinder" is coated.

2. To ask how it's different using smokeless powder from any
breech loaded single-shot could be compared to asking how
using any muzzle loader is different from using a breech loaded
single-shot black powder cartridge rifle.

Even though I have nothing against the Savage, I feel it will
have a limited life, due to ignoramusses not educating themselves
on the correct powder, or using a black powder measure for
smokeless powder, etc., and trial liawers (misspelling intended)
getting into the act.
See less See more

The Savage will never be as efficient as a single shot cartridge rifle. The powder must be poured in th bore and a tight fitting sabot must be used. If the projectile is not very tight, it will not even go "boom". Or, you can load a nice tight sabot in the afternoon, leave the gun in the truck overnight, and if it cool enough and you used the wrong sabot, the sabot will shrink in the cool and it still won't fire. For a test a guy loaded it with a double charge of powder and fired it, no problem. The sabot is the safety valve and over pressure will blow by the plastic. Now, a good point was made, if a num nuts overloads it and is using a round ball he wouldnt' have much of a safety valve. That guy might be able to blow himself up. Otherwise, yeah it has a little more muzzle velocity than other muzzle loaders but it still is not a 30-06. It is shooting a fat .45 pistol bullet and it is not more than a 200 yard rifle. The two advantages are, you have a muzzle loading powder that is non corrosive, and this powder has a shelf life that is unlimited. As to the problem of measuring powder, most guys using the Lee dippers can measure the smokeless powder pretty accurately. Not accurately enough, if you were loading a 300 Win mag for a 400 yard shot on a mtn goat. But accurate enough to get 2 inch groups at 100 yards.
See less See more
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Not open for further replies.