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Weighed Charges

Good question! The answer is strangely understandable. Black powder is inconsistently consistent! A 5 grain increase or decrease has little or no effect on groups at given ranges and one can easily throw consistent charges from measures or scoops that stay within those tolerances. When you hear someone say their favorite load is 65.5 grains, they are fooling themselves. Their gun cannot tell the difference with .5 grains and neither can their targets! For that matter, when one spends a lot of time at the bench, the difference between 65 grains and 60 grains is often very difficult to tell. It is when one reaches the threshold that their bullet/patch/rifling/powder combination makes groups go all to heck that a 5 grain increase can throw things in a tizzy.

Even with the inconsistency of black powder, it can be veeerrrrrryyyyy consistent at the range...with simple scooped powder charges! Enjoy.

Dan c
 

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Oh 5 gr is enough of a differance alright. But I must agree the pressures givin by BP vs. a more complete burning smokless powder are vastly different.That is why I truley enjoy the BP sports,and why they say every BP gun has a different load.Every individual packs it different,patches it different,knocks and loads it different etc.....
Using a volumetric charge of the same powder,given the oppertunity for each person to develop the best load for each of his own weapons,is a reliable way to maintain accuracy.
Most experianced BP shooters don't just flippantly toss a powder charge down the bore,it is a practiced routine,done the same way each time.
I saw this ? once before and being dumb enough to just do what I was taught I first thought it silly(no dissrespect). So I dug out my powder scale and measured 20 charges to find an average of +/- .3gr(close enough for me)
Another answer may be that BP powder is measuerd by an oldye method of dry measure refered to as Avoirdupios Weight. Where 1 pound is divided to 7000 grains.Check the back of a dictoinary for conversions.
 

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I don't shoot alot of blackpowder, just enough to get my TC Thunderhawk sighted in for hunting season. I use FFG black in it and a volume measure charge of 90 gr. seemed to shoot best, so I measured up several and weighed them on my powder scale. Averaged 88 gr. So I took to pre-weighing charges on my scale at home and putting the charge into plastic film canisters. Then at the range I have the powder ready to load. Saves time and I know the powder load is consistent.
Greg
 

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Ebjonnes said:
Why is it that muzzle loaders are the only shooters that dont weigh their loads?
You're obviously not talking to the right muzzle loaders! :)

I weigh my charges and many people I know do. Depends what your shooting at I suppose. Most people frequenting these forums seem to be hunters. I am not, but shoot target.... anything from 50m with my offhand rifle to 1,000yds (and occassionally beyond) with my match rifle, and some in between with an Enfield.

Get out very far and you'll find to get good accuracy you will need to weigh your charges.

That great rifle designer and experimenter William Ellis Metford wrote about this in the 19th century. He worked out that for a 1 grain charge variation there was about 9" change in elevation at 1000 yds and 2.25" per grain at 500yds.

Dan c said:
A 5 grain increase or decrease has little or no effect on groups at given ranges and one can easily throw consistent charges from measures or scoops that stay within those tolerances
Metford established that for a 5 grain variation (using 90 and 95 grains charge) there was a 4.5 minute change in elevation at 1,000yds (that's 45 inches!) and at 500yds about 2.25 minute elevation change (11.25inches).

Now I appreciate these are long ranges, but saying there is "little or no effect on groups" is somewhat over simplifying. Might not make a huge difference shooting patched ball at short range, but try some long range target shooting it'll make a difference.

... and after all that, I prefer to weigh my charges then I know I have eliminated one more variable. It also save's time on the range and is safer than loading from a flask (indeed it is a requirement on some ranges and under international shooting rules).

David
 

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Weighed Charges

I said "little or no" effect on groups for 5 grain incremental changes. I stand by that. I am not a 1000 yard muzzleloader, nor do I shoot 500 yards. I'd bet not one in 10,000 muzzleloaders do! If you fire a heavy conical at 100 yards, using a 95 grain load - assuming that load shoots an acceptable group in your rifle, it is seriously doubtful that increasing the load by 5 grains will drastically alter your group, either in size or point of impact. Actually, roundballs might be more susceptible to 5 grain incremental increases because there will be a point where a group is acceptable, and with an increase you might be stripping your patches. If you are one who likes to sit at a table and weigh your powder charges, by all means continue. If you are someone who likes to sit at the bench and make smoke, get a measure, a scoop or whatever you want that will throw approximately the volume load you and your rifle like and go to shooting! If 5 grains causes your group to shift 2 inches at 100 yards, that is - in my book - "little or no difference!" Regards;

Dan C
 

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Re: Weighed Charges

Dan Chamberlain said:
I am not a 1000 yard muzzleloader, nor do I shoot 500 yards. I'd bet not one in 10,000 muzzleloaders do!
I am and do along with many muzzle loaders world wide. You might like to know the the USA is hosting this years World Long Range Muzzle Loading Championships in September. Matches at 300, 500, 600, 900 and 1,000yds. Here in the UK the Long Range Rifles Branch of the MLAGB holds an annual aggregate match shot at 1000, 1100 and 1200yds.

I don't see the relevance of how many shoot the discipline. It does not change facts.

Dan Chamberlain said:
If you fire a heavy conical at 100 yards, using a 95 grain load it is seriously doubtful that increasing the load by 5 grains will drastically alter your group, either in size or point of impact.
Probably so, but as no mention had been made of ranges in earlier posts I was merely explaining the impact on elevation in long range shooting.

Dan Chamberlain said:
If 5 grains causes your group to shift 2 inches at 100 yards, that is - in my book - "little or no difference!"
That is a significant difference if you are a target shooter, as I am, and totally unnacceptable. The 10 ring on a standard 100m international target only measures 2".

The original posting made no distinction between disciplines, eg. hunting, and short or long range target shooting. I merely offer some facts as they relate to long range target shooting.

David
 

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Dan is right on EB. For ML grouping at the ranges reasonable for hunting 100yd plus or minus 5gr is nothing. I have chronoed ML to the extreem and found the soot in the bore after just one shot increased speed more than 10 plus grains of powder did with some projectiles. This observation came from hundreds of test rounds, and I love to test. I once took my fixed "custom" 100gr measure (actually 97gr) ok it's a 458 winmag case. I poured straight from a flask and weighed charge after charge and got less than 2gr difference. If I thump the measure with my thumb nail I can get 105gr in it. This is ffg. Going back to the average of 2gr weighed that is only 2% of a 100 aprox. What is 2% of a 2 inch group? , about an 1/4 or less, of the diameter of the slug! Now IF, and the IF ain't so iffy (cuz I may well do it) if I get into BPC (black powder cart) competition I will then weigh my charges.
 
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