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This may but off topic or a FAQ but I figured you folks would know if anyone did.

I'm about to get into reloading smokeless powder and I also shoot muzzleloaders. I sometimes like to make up measured charges for the muzzleloader ahead of time. I was wondering if it was safe to use the smokeless powder measure, that is a powder drop with a reservoir, to measure black powder charges. I understand I have to use volume not weight. Is this safe or is there such a thing as a black powder drop measure?

Thanks.
 

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There is a couple of company's that make BP drops but they cost!
I use my RCBS for both, just make sure you clean it out real good as soon as you finish so you do not get mixed powders.
This is what I do, but it is up to you to do what you think is the safest for you
 

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WARNING DO NOT USE SMOKELESS POWDER MEASURES

There are similar measures for blackpowder that are designed so as not to create a spark and ignite the black powder.
 

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There are a few made, that aren't all that bad. The Lyman BP measure "without the drop tube" is reasonable. I prefer to slow pour my powder anyway.

When I first started, I used a RCBS uniflow for about 6 months without incident. I then went to the standard Lyman55 with a brass hopper. At that time Buff Arm's Dave Gullo was using the same measure with a brass hopper on it.

I really didn't like the Lyman as the repeatability of settings was hit and miss. It’s just not the easiest measure to adjust, but it is pretty accurate.

About two years ago I bought a Harrell’s Classic measure, and I’ll never look back. It’s offered with an aluminum hopper if your squeamish and it has a brass drum inside a polished nickel housing. Beware, if you’re concerned about the price of the Lyman, don’t even look at the Harrell’s.

You can also take a look at the relatively new Hornady BP Measure.

Chuck
 

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You might check some of the sites, such as e-bay for reloading equipment. If you see an old Belding and Mull powder measure with the brass hopper, you might consider it. Just make sure it comes with the adjustable powder tube. You don't adjust the measure with the Belding and Mull, but the tube, witch catches the powder. It is an old design that works very well with blackpowder.
 

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Another option for BP charge thrower…

I’m not sure if they are still available but at a gun show several years ago I found a powder dispenser called a Tru-Charger (Mountain State Muzzleloading used to have them). It’s basically an inverted taper-top metal can (bottom of can is cut out for easy topping off with powder). It has an adjustable brass spout with two cut-off valves. There is also a removable internal baffle.

Push (open) the top valve and powder flows into the adjustable spout/tube… then push (open) the bottom one and out flows the powder. Push both valves in and hold and the can will empty.

It’s fairly accurate and consistent…. plus/minus a grain or so but I like my charge to be right on so I set the dispenser to the left of my RCBS beam scale. I have a powder trickler set up to the right with its tube end just over the scale’s pan. Dump charge from dispenser into pan, a few grains less than what I want, put pan on scale, then trickle a few grains into pan. It really goes quite smoothly and I know for sure I am getting a consistent charge confirmed by the scale. It does take longer than just dumping with one pull of a handle from a more expensive rig like the Lyman. I can leisurely but very accurately dispense two to three charges per minute. I’d guess one could charge 3 times that many cases per min with the Lyman/Hornady etc. but the extra time spent getting a charge I know is right on is worth it to me.

I paid about $30 for the Tru-Charger but this was in 1997. I think the retail was $45 or so. The guy at the gun show wanted to move it bad…. probably needed gas money to get home.

Hoppy
 

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Jack, I've been using a standard RCBS Uniflow powder measure for some time to measure out black powder. These have a plastic hopper. I did some detailed testing on the shock and static-electric. sensitivity of black powder some time ago and I firmly believe the warnings on black powder are over stated. See further comments one the subject below. But if you are concerned, one can't be too safe when handling powder, you can static-proofed any measure by simply lining the plastic hopper with a sheet of very thin brass, the stuff you can buy at hobby shops or is also known as shim stock to mechanics and machinist. An even simpler method is to line the hopper with aluminum foil.
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I'm not trying to get into a major discussion on BP safety but following is some additional comments on the subject, and is the basis for my opinion.

A fella by the name of Barry Bush published two excellent and lengthy articles on black powder safety in the 1999 spring and summer editions of The Black Powder Cartridge News. Mr. Bush is obviously a very knowledgeable guy and did a good amount of experimenting to determine the sensitivity of black powder to heat, pressure and static elect. ignition.

To summarize, he found BP much more sensitive to heat than smokeless. He also found that BP is not very sensitive to shock, and is much less sensitive to high voltage sparks. He passed sparks of up to 20,000 volts directly through powder with absolutely no ignition. Goex Fg, 2Fg, and 4FA (unglazed powder) was used. The 4FA powder was used to see if the lack of graphite would allow the powder to ignite. A sample of Red Dot ignited and burned easily and every time. He said that it is conceivable that a 100,000-volt spark from a fingertip could ignite BP, but the chances are very remote. He further stated that smokeless has been known to spontaneously combust in very large quantities due to heat created in the decomposition process. He explains why BP will never spontaneously combust.

In summary he said, "Many common perception of black powder come from those who lack practical experience, and they often reflect confusion with other explosive materials." He further stated "Modern smokeless powder has an excellent safety record, but in some respects smokeless can be more dangerous than black: it is more likely to give extreme pressures from an overload, more susceptible to decomposition, and under some conditions, more sensitive to electrical discharges. In closing he said: "Black powder has managed to outlive most of its detractors, and hopefully will continue to do so. Meanwhile, shooters can ill afford to repeat folklore, speculation and hearsay which may come back to haunt them."

The last sentence refers to past and possible additional government regulation on BP due to incorrect and misleading information. I'm certainly not posting this to imply one can be careless when using BP, but these articles are definitely worth reading. Just may make you rethink the warnings we in the shooting community have been passing around about BP.
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I ran my own similar experiments with BP (Goex 2Fg and 3Fg) a few years ago, with similar results. I pounded it to dust with a hammer with no reaction. I subjected it to high voltage discharge (to over 100K volts) with a hand tester used to test static discharge damage thresholds in integrated circuits. None of the samples ignited.
 

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:D Hi All.
I use my rcbs powder drop for caharging my cases,it dropes the volume very close.
There are steps you can take to discharge the static,one very simple one you can take is use the static guards like you use in the cloth dryer,Just rub it on the plastic and that will do it.I used it on my shotgun loader and other and the brass tumbler to get out the meadia it likes to stick on the side walls.I have a static discharge matt on the floor were I load that is verry efective,or you can just walk up to it and thuch it to discharge it before you pour in the powder :roll: Lp.
 

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LP, great idea. That's one trick I had not thought of. I've used the anti-static aerosol cloths sprays. They do work to eliminate static charge but some leave a slight residue that attracts powder. At least the couple I've tried, and one slightly etched the plastic, so using a static guard dryer towel should really do the trick.
Wayne
 
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