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Discussion Starter #1
Pards

Back in 1888, the first .22 Long Rifle cartridges were loaded with 5 grains of a “special black powder” and a 40 grain bullet. I’ve often wondered how the accuracy would have held up shooting a magazine full in a lever action rifle back in those days (?). Also, what would the velocity have been? A circa 1897 U.M.C. catalog shows the mid range trajectory at 100 yards to be 4.44”. Based on that, it must have been in the 1,000 f.p.s. range.

The fact that the description, “special black powder” was used, would seem to indicate that it may have been especially formulated to produce less fouling in the small .22 caliber bore, thus assuring repeatable accuracy for a number of rounds. In addition, the “special black powder” would give the necessary ballistics required.

Would'nt it be great if we could purchase factory loaded .22 black powder rounds today? What a hoot that would be.

Anyway, I've had a hankering for some time to shoot some black powder .22 long rifle cartridges to find out, but haven't been able to locate any originals except from cartridge collectors who have old boxes @ $50+ for 50 rounds(!).

Having some SWISS 3F powder on hand, which is similar to the sporting black powders of the 1800’s, giving somewhat more velocity with softer fouling, I decided to pull some loaded .22 Long Rifle ammunition apart and reload the cases with 5 grains and reseat the bullet. It turned out it wasn’t all that easy. After pulling the bullets, the heel of the bullet was reduced while being pulled through the crimp. I had to make a special expander to iron out the crimp part way, then bump the base of the bullet back up to fit snugly inside the slightly expanded case.

The settled charge of 5 grains of SWISS 3F powder filled the .22 case to within about 1/16” of the top of the case. To seat the bullet, I pushed it in part way, then ran the bullet and case nose first into a .225” die in my lubrisizer. This brought the case back to its original outside diameter so that it would chamber ok and it also crimped the bullet slightly. The powder was compressed 1/32”. Needless to say, this took some time to assemble 10 rounds for testing.

I used 2 different rifles for testing, a Marlin 39A Centennial rifle (20” barrel) and a .22 Bolt Action target rifle (23” barrel). I wanted to fire 5 rounds in each rifle to compare the accuracy and the velocity from each barrel length. Unfortunately, it started raining after I set up my chronograph and was unable to get any velocity readings from the 23“ barrel (which I think might be less than the 20“ ).

Here are the results:
Distance: 25 yards
Temp: 40 degrees and about a 10 m.p.h. wind
Rounds: 5 each with no cleaning in between
Accuracy: Marlin -.98” / Anschutz -.37”
Velocity: Marlin - 962 f.p.s. average

I was impressed with the miniature “boom” that each round made when fired and with the accuracy, which was about what each rifle would do with smokeless cartridges. NEAT!

Next, I will try 10 rounds in the Marlin, without cleaning, to see if the accuracy stays constant. If it does, I’ll keep shooting until 15 rounds have been fired to see how it goes. It should be interesting. Now all I need is a couple of hours to dissect, rework, and load 15 rounds!

For the future, I am going to try some SWISS 4F after I obtain some, to see if 1,000 f.p.s. is attainable with sustainable accuracy.

If anyone has worked with black powder in the .22 Long Rifle, please let me know. Maybe there is a better way to get to the end result.

Best wishes to you pards and your families for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2003! Let's make a new years resolution to get more trigger time in next year!

w30wcf
 

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Old West Black Powder .22 Long Rifle Cartr

:) Now that was an interesting post. I'll have to ask my local expert buddy,but he might know of .22 blackpowder new loads. I'll post again if I find something.
 

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Old West Black Powder .22 Long Rifle Cartr

josegrande, Thank you for your interest.

Yesterday, I had a chance to fire 15 rounds in succession without cleaning, using REM cases and 5grs. of SWISS 3F with the 40 gr. bullet wiped with SPG lube. I was pleased that the accuracy hung right in there, and this is in a micro groove Marlin to boot!

At 25 yards, the first 10 rounds went into a 1.39" group with 7 shots in .78" which included #10. Shots 1,5&7 were slightly away from the cluster of 7 shots.

Five more black powder rounds were fired and the group opened slightly to 1.77".

The best 10 out of the 15 shots fired went into .89" and were #'s 2,3,4,6,8,9,10,11,12,14

Conditions weren't exactly ideal with the temp @20F and a slight wind blowing and my trigger finger was getting cold. Brrrrrr!

I will try the SWISS 4F when it arrives later this month and let you know what happens. So far, I am encouraged by the results.

I think I will put together some for use at one of our upcoming .22 NRA Cowboy Silhouette matches. That miniature "boom" ought to turn some heads!

w30wcf

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