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Blackpowder - volume -vs- weight


Sixgun Symphony #62632

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I shoot muzzle loading firearms for two decades and we always measured blackpowder by volume. When I started loading metallic cartridge with blackpowder, I used volume to get a full case. Yesterday I had some experienced reloaders tell me that I was doing it wrong, that blackpowder must be measured by weight. I am not sold on that idea. I think of the 19th century "nutcracker" type reloading tools used by the bufallo hunters, cowboys, and other frontiersmen to reload their metallic cartridge ammunition. I can't see them carrying scales in their saddle bags with that tool, a volume powder measure takes up much less room and it simplifies reloading.

 

So who is right?

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Volume not weight. At least that's what I was taught 40 years ago and I've been doing it that way ever since.

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Howdy:

 

NMLRA use volume for BP meaurement. I have never seen anyone use Weight. 'Course I ain't never seen a lot of things - like unicorns, elves, Santa Claus flying in his sleigh.....

 

STL Suomi

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Volume! I've never seen BP or subs by weight, other than American Pioneer Powder Co., who still lists charge weights on their Web site for loose powder by weight.

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Volume. Every BP measure is graduated that way.

It's merely a chemical coincidence that 100 grains of BP by volume is roughly 100 grains by weight.

 

When you get into the subs however, things change ... http://www.curtrich.com/BPConversionSheet.htm

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So who is right?

Both, alota folks that shoot BPCR will say weight. That's because they work up a load of brand A powder that weighs XY grains. The volume of brand A powder may change in weight from batch to batch. For what we do volume is the easiest way to go because the different brands of BP vary in weight for the same volume. I load my cases with Schuetzen so the BP is compressed 1/16"-1/8" when seating the bullet. The same weight of Goex would fill that case almost to the rim because Goex has more volume for the same weight as Schuetzen. The same thing applies to my shot shell load. I use XZ grains of Schuetzen with a Pink wad and 7/8oz shot. This give me a perfect factory looking crimp. If I use the same weight of Goex the crimp will not stay closed because of the excess volume. So for all my CAS loading I use only volume to determine my load, I will write down the weight and CCs for future reference. Good Luck :)

 

 

Jefro :ph34r: Relax-Enjoy

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Volume. Every BP measure is graduated that way.

It's merely a chemical coincidence that 100 grains of BP by volume is roughly 100 grains by weight.

 

When you get into the subs however, things change ... http://www.curtrich.com/BPConversionSheet.htm

So are smokeless measures ;)

"Chemical coincidence" is true only if that measure is set for that granulation of BP powder.

100 grns of 1F and 100 grns 3F is a VERY different in volume.

For long range BP accuracy, the exact amount of powder(+/- .2 tenths grn)in each case is a must.

That's pretty hard to do/controll when you measure only buy bulk(volume).

Respectfully,

LG

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Both, alota folks that shoot BPCR will say weight. That's because they work up a load of brand A powder that weighs XY grains. The volume of brand A powder may change in weight from batch to batch. For what we do volume is the easiest way to go because the different brands of BP vary in weight for the same volume. I load my cases with Schuetzen so the BP is compressed 1/16"-1/8" when seating the bullet. The same weight of Goex would fill that case almost to the rim because Goex has more volume for the same weight as Schuetzen. The same thing applies to my shot shell load. I use XZ grains of Schuetzen with a Pink wad and 7/8oz shot. This give me a perfect factory looking crimp. If I use the same weight of Goex the crimp will not stay closed because of the excess volume. So for all my CAS loading I use only volume to determine my load, I will write down the weight and CCs for future reference. Good Luck :)

 

 

Jefro :ph34r: Relax-Enjoy

Jefro, will the exact same weight of Goex and Schuezen shoot the exact same even though compression is different because of volume differences?

 

To me, and I always have to caveat what I say with the "I'm new at this" statement, to me the method of measurement is not as important as the repeatability of the measurement which is why I think BPCR shooters tend to measure by weight. Since each powder is different it really doesn't matter what you used for Goex when your working up a load for KIK....what does matter is that every bullet in the batch your shooting has as close as possible to the same trajectory.....at least that's my understanding.

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Guest Cinch, SASS#29433

Find the volume that works for your application, weigh it, set your measure, throw charges... Hmmm... maybe that wasn't worded elusively enuff?

 

Or find the volume for your case, mark a line on case, cut case at line, solder on handle, Ta-dah! Scoop! Now what if volume changes/settles during scooping :huh:

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Jefro, will the exact same weight of Goex and Schuezen shoot the exact same even though compression is different because of volume differences?

 

To me, and I always have to caveat what I say with the "I'm new at this" statement, to me the method of measurement is not as important as the repeatability of the measurement which is why I think BPCR shooters tend to measure by weight. Since each powder is different it really doesn't matter what you used for Goex when your working up a load for KIK....what does matter is that every bullet in the batch your shooting has as close as possible to the same trajectory.....at least that's my understanding.

Doesn't matter to me for SASS. the same volume (Goex or Schuetzen) in each case is gonna hit the target in about the same place. My powder dispenser is set to throw the same volume each time, I don't care what it weighs or what brand, I still use volume. For my TC Hawkins muzzle loader I weigh the charges and carry five vials with the same weight. It all depends on what yer shooting. For SASS I use only volume. Good Luck :)

 

 

Jefro :ph34r: Relax-Enjoy

 

ps; it's a discussion that's been beat to death, don't over think it for CAS. Like anything else, find a load you like and try to make it as repeatability as possible. For me volume does that :D

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Doesn't matter to me for SASS. the same volume (Goex or Schuetzen) in each case is gonna hit the target in about the same place. My powder dispenser is set to throw the same volume each time, I don't care what it weighs or what brand, I still use volume. For my TC Hawkins muzzle loader I weigh the charges and carry five vials with the same weight. It all depends on what yer shooting. For SASS I use only volume. Good Luck :)

 

 

Jefro :ph34r: Relax-Enjoy

 

ps; it's a discussion that's been beat to death, don't over think it for CAS. Like anything else, find a load you like and try to make it as repeatability as possible. For me volume does that :D

Jefro, I agree completely for CAS shooting. My comment was intended to be most relevant to precision reloading as in BPCR and not CAS.

 

Willy

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I shoot muzzle loading firearms for two decades and we always measured blackpowder by volume. When I started loading metallic cartridge with blackpowder, I used volume to get a full case. Yesterday I had some experienced reloaders tell me that I was doing it wrong, that blackpowder must be measured by weight. I am not sold on that idea. I think of the 19th century "nutcracker" type reloading tools used by the bufallo hunters, cowboys, and other frontiersmen to reload their metallic cartridge ammunition. I can't see them carrying scales in their saddle bags with that tool, a volume powder measure takes up much less room and it simplifies reloading.

 

So who is right?

 

I am referring to Black powder, not substitutes.

 

Basic loading by volume. Technical loading by weight!

 

Black powder varies in weights from manufacture to even batches. If 40gr by volume does not equal 40gr by weight, is less than 40gr by weight, then you get less power but not necessarily less accuracy. Swiss for example In my current batch, I get 40gr volume equals 40gr weight. Goex I get 40gr by volume equals 36gr by weight. Black powder can be compressed but you have variations there as well. I compress 40gr Swiss (=40gr weight) in a balloon head case to .21 compression. Same as factory originals of the day. Modern brass I like 35gr by volume (=35gr by weight in my batch of powder) compressed to .17. I can compress 38gr to .21 in a solid head case.

 

So basically. load by volume, not weight to obtain the desired compression.

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Either way works for real BP. As some have noted, you may get a more consistent load with weight as volume can vary by handling method (such as using a drop tube or shaking the case, which can act to settle the powder). For cowboy stuff, I do it by volume, for my sharps, I weigh it and drop it through a drop tube before running it through a compression die.

 

I don't use any of the BP substitutes, though its a bit hard to get BP up here in AK. I can't just order it up in 25lb lots like I used to.

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Howdy:

 

NMLRA use volume for BP meaurement. I have never seen anyone use Weight. 'Course I ain't never seen a lot of things - like unicorns, elves, Santa Claus flying in his sleigh.....

 

STL Suomi

 

 

+1

 

...of course, a person can determine the correct volume for a given powder, caliber, cartridge, and bullet and then weigh the powder...

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So are smokeless measures ;)

Respectfully,

LG

 

I'll agree with ya there Lumpy.

The holes in the disks on my Lee Autodisk are all in cubic centimeters.

And Lee does provide the volumetric density (VMD) tables so one can pick a disk hole and be 99% sure of getting an accurate weighted charge.

I think the variations from batch to batch of smokeless powders are controlled well enough so this is possible.

 

For the precision long range shooters who are trying to put 5 shots into a 50 cent piece at 500 yards finding the precise weight / volume charge is vital for shot to shot consistency.

For cowboy shooting at a target the size of a phone book at 20 feet ... not so much. Jefro has the best advice.

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The grain is a unit of weight NOT volume. Powder measures marked with grain equivalent graduations are based upon a guestimate of black powder VMD in general as each brand or lot of given brand will be different. But in practice, most of us do load by volume. I work up my charges by weight, then determine the volume in ml or cc that most closely approximates that load and off I go with a progressive press. When muzzel loading, I do the same, but make a volume measure that fits the weighed charge. So if I tell you I am shooting 35g or Swiss, you know my charge will tip a scale set to 35g. Grains eqivalent is like Drams equivalent; both are a travisty.

 

Now, I need to go find a 5 pound bucket so I can fetch a half gallon of tap water. I wonder how many pounds of gasoline my tank holds?

 

prs

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Not sure this was stated above but the #1 rule is use enough BP of any given granulation or brand to eliminate any air voids in the loaded round. Compression, if any, must be factored in. This, of course, relies primarily on using volume to determine a proper load. Once you arrive there you can weigh it down to wherever & set your powder measure (volume again), or continue using the graduated charger method if thats satisfactory for your style of shooting.

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I wonder how many pounds of gasoline my tank holds?

 

prs

 

Assuming a 20 gallon tank, 121.4 pounds.

And leaded gas does not weigh more than unleaded.

 

I used to work in a chemical plant, and we did all our fluid measurements in pounds.

 

We also had a chart worked out so if we measured how many inches of any product was in a drum we knew how many pounds we had.

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Assuming a 20 gallon tank, 121.4 pounds.

And leaded gas does not weigh more than unleaded.

I used to work in a chemical plant, and we did all our fluid measurements in pounds.

We also had a chart worked out so if we measured how many inches of any product was in a drum we knew how many pounds we had.

Was that adjusted for a specific, or an arbritary ambient temperature? Weight will vary based on temperature.

 

Volume. Even when you adjust your loading based on differences between brands or lots of powder, you're seeking the same volumetric fill for shot to shot consistency. The fact that you then convert that volume to a weight for repeatibility is immaterial. Techniques vary from individual to individual, but for consistent BP loads, your powder density based on the volume will give the best results... load density has less to do with weight than it does volume. How you get there isn't the important part. Compression/drop tubes etc., all help to improve your load density consistency.

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Blackpowder - volume -vs- weight

Let's make the answer very simple and easy to understand ... look at the Lee Dipper Capacity Chart. The top row is the Dipper Number. Going down the columns are what? Would offer that the answer starts with a 'W' for each one of the powders, black and smokeless powders

http://www.leeprecision.com/cgi-data/instruct/Dippers.pdf

So, for the Dipper Numbers representing cubic centimeters ... the answer is by WEIGHT! As in grains equivalent to the size of dipper

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Let's make the answer very simple and easy to understand ... look at the Lee Dipper Capacity Chart. The top row is the Dipper Number. Going down the columns are what? Would offer that the answer starts with a 'W' for each one of the powders, black and smokeless powders

http://www.leeprecision.com/cgi-data/instruct/Dippers.pdf

So, for the Dipper Numbers representing cubic centimeters ... the answer is by WEIGHT! As in grains equivalent to the size of dipper

Yer right, but what does it say on the dipper, "CCs". Just fer grins I went to my research and development center(garage)and weighed a couple of popular dippers with both Schuetzen and Goex 3f. A 1.3 dipper holds 18.3gr of Goex, and 19.6gr of Schuetzen, the Lee chart says 20.7gr for 3f BP. A 2.2 dipper holds 31gr of Goex, and 33.5gr of Schuetzen, the Lee chart says 35gr for 3f BP. I did five dips each carded off with a business card to come up with an average. The Lee chart doesn't know what name brand BP I'm using, that's why we use the dipper for volume. The point is for SASS it easier to understand and explain to new shooters the volume needed for a particular case or shot shell. Now I know yer a big BPCR and bullseye shooter and use weight for specific loads, just like I do in my TC for dear hunting, but this is SASS CAS. IMHO both (weight-volume)are correct, it just depends on what you are shooting. The best explination I can give a new shooter is DJ photo illustration of how to determine powder compression for CAS. Good Luck :)

DJ's Photo Illustration

 

Who cares.....Pore it in- cram a bullet on it ...shoot and smile :)

Yep :D

 

 

Jefro :ph34r: Relax-Enjoy

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Who cares.....Pore it in- cram a bullet on it ...shoot and smile :)

 

Hear hear

 

Fingers (Show Me MO smoke) McGee

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Set ML rifles out of mind as whatever charge you use a ball is seated firmly on the powder thus eliminating any air gap. The easiest way to throw a charge is with the volumetric measure. With cartridge the bullet has a pre-determined seating depth and you have to fill that void. Thats with greasers I might add. If ya shoot PPB then all ya gotta do is get the bullet seated against whatever amount of powder is in the hull.

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I see you brought this over to the SASS forum and have received most all answers that pertain to SASS shooting.

A young beginner can pour powder in a case till it's full and then seat a bullet that will hit a target that is 5-10 yards away. Go into the history books and see how all powder was loaded. It was loaded by weight and said so on the boxes.

Both the 45 Colt and 44-40 were loaded with 40 grains of powder when introduced.

I know that John Boy has studied the history of Black Powder as I have. I met my mentor Bill Knight through him. Another man who has done a lot of study with the 44-40 is W30Wcf or 4440WCF or John Kort. He has dismantled many original 44-40's and found them to contain 40 grains of powder.

For the last time and no reflection on anyone who has answered your posting. Many of the BP shooters of today who don't even shoot the real powder but still call themselves BP shooters only know what is written on the cans of the sub powder being used.

That is where the problem started many years ago.

I'm like Elmer Keith in that Hell I was there.

I worked in a large gun store that sold BP guns and powder. We sold DuPont at the time along with a English powder that I can't recall it's name.

We had a salesman from Hodgdon come into the store and show us this new powder that could take the place of BP and it was named PYRODEX. He gave us the normal sales pitch about how much better it was and so on. He then said something that I had never heard in my life. He said that you have to tell all your customers that this powder loads by volume and not like the weight of BP. He went on to say that because PYRODEX was not of the same make up as BP it was much more powerful. He then stated that the scientist had found that if you normally load 70 grains of BP that the same measure at that setting would deliver about 56 or so grains of Pyrodex. He went on to say that amount would deliver the same or better velocity over BP. They gave us pamphlets to hand out that said to load By VOLUME and not weight.If you loaded by equal weight you would or could destroy your gun.

During the development stage they even blew up the factory and killed one of the inventors of this new powder.

It was not long before the gun writers of the time who did not shoot the real BP started saying that all BP was to be loaded by volume. Some of them were very well known; just as we have the same writers that continue to pass along this false information.

John Boy if you have your boxes showing the grain weight of the powder please print them.

I will ask everyone if they have ever heard of a 44-40loaded by volume or a 45-70 loaded by volume ammo. That last set of numerals tells how many grains in the load.

As has been posted GRAINS IS A FORM OF MESUREMENT AND NOT VOLUME!!

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Within a given lot of powder, I fill the case to the point I need for wad and/or compression, then weigh the charge. If I want to repeat the load with that lot of powder, I set the weight as previously noted and can repeat it with confidence. Seems every lot I've ever weighed is slightly different.

 

 

CR

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