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Captain Bill Burt

Black Powder and substitutes

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9 minutes ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

I also anneal.  I anneal ALL of my .45 cases.  Whether 45 Colt, 45 Schofield or Cowboy 45 Special.  Annealing eliminates all the hokum about heavy loads and heavy bullets (doesn't work real well anyway).  Annealed cases will seal the chamber for 45s and the rifle will run just as clean if not cleaner than a 44-40.

 

Did I say earlier that shooting BP (or a sub) requires a bit more dedication than shooting Smokeless.?

 

You pays your money, you takes your choice.

 

Anneal your brass, or shoot heavy loads with heavy bullets to obturate the brass in the chamber.

 

It's your choice, but it is not as simple as loading Smokeless.

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I whole heartedly agree with Driftwood.  Shooting smokeless is fairly easy and simple.  Shooting with BP or the Subs DOES take a bit more effort and education.  There are often different methods of getting from point A to point B.  There are also a bunch of "Old Wives Tales" out there in the ether that have been Parrot'd so often as to be taken as fact.

 

BP and Subs are actually easier to clean up than smokeless.  Shooting BP and Subs are a whole gob more fun than smokeless.

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30 minutes ago, Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283 said:

 

Did I say earlier that shooting BP (or a sub) requires a bit more dedication than shooting Smokeless.?

 

You pays your money, you takes your choice.

 

Anneal your brass, or shoot heavy loads with heavy bullets to obturate the brass in the chamber.

 

It's your choice, but it is not as simple as loading Smokeless.

My thoughts were along the lines of buying the extra toolhead and dies and getting it set up to load .45 Colt properly with smokeless.  I'll want to use the same bullets for both, so probably 250 grains.  Once it's running well and I'm happy with the ammo I'm getting, buy something like the RCBS BP setup and when I'm loading .45 BP,  just swap that component out.  Use stations 1 and 2 to get the BP in there, then pull if from station three and add filler.  Once I have a quantity of rounds with filler start feeding the bullets back into the press on station three and finish seating and crimping. 

 

If bigger bullets help minimize blowback, and annealing the brass helps minimize blowback, would doing both make for an even cleaner outcome?  You only have to anneal once correct?

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Palewolf reminded us...

 

Any combination of smokeless and blackpowder (so called duplex loads) is specifically prohibited in ANY category.
(e.g., Blackhorn 209). 

 

Just out of curiosity, why is 209 not allowed?   I guess it's considered to be a combination of smokeless and blackpowder, but is it?   I always thought of a duplex load as putting some smokeless in the bottom of the case, and then topping off the charge with back.

 

209 is a single powder as is.   I am just trying to understand the reasoning behind the rule. 

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11 hours ago, J Bar Binks, #47015 said:

"Any combination of smokeless and blackpowder (so called duplex loads) is specifically prohibited in ANY category. (e.g., Blackhorn 209)."

Why is his statement applicable? In other words, why is Blackhorn, a factory manufactured powder designed as a black powder substitute, singled out. Especially if it is used in a category other than "blackpowder specific"?

 

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Although not explicitly stated as such, mentioning his intent to use the rifle in Wild Bunch, one would also assume the OP was intending to shoot black powder/sub in Cowboy Action, and Blackhorn 209 is a prohibited powder for the game.

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1 hour ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

Good to know.  So once you've loaded a round with appropriate compression the filler and powder aren't going to mix even if it is jostled, rattled around in an ammo can?

If you use APP 3F the grains are small enough it won't settle and mix. 2F or MZ grains are a lot larger and it can.

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1 hour ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

My thoughts were along the lines of buying the extra toolhead and dies and getting it set up to load .45 Colt properly with smokeless.  I'll want to use the same bullets for both, so probably 250 grains.  Once it's running well and I'm happy with the ammo I'm getting, buy something like the RCBS BP setup and when I'm loading .45 BP,  just swap that component out.  Use stations 1 and 2 to get the BP in there, then pull if from station three and add filler.  Once I have a quantity of rounds with filler start feeding the bullets back into the press on station three and finish seating and crimping. 

 

Back Up The Bus!!

 

You don't load 45 Colt yet?

 

I assumed (obviously my mistake) that you already load 45 Colt with Smokeless.

 

OK, let's start all over again. The first cartridge I learned to load was 45 Colt with Smokeless powder. I learned to load it for CAS because that was the cartridge I was shooting in my pistols. I learned to load 44-40 with Smokeless next, because that's what I was shooting in my rifles. But that's another story. Then after shooting these two cartridges with Smokeless for a couple of years I started shooting them with Black Powder.

 

My point is I first got real familiar and real comfortable loading these cartridges with Smokeless for a couple of years. I'm not saying that you have to wait a couple of years, but be sure you have the kinks out with Smokeless before you transition to BP (or a sub).

 

If you want to use the same bullet in your Smokeless and BP sub loads you are pretty much limited to APP. That is the only sub I am aware of that does not require a bullet lubed with soft, BP compatible bullet lube. Yes, there are other work arounds, but they only increase the level of work.

 

Now look how much extra work you are adding by removing your rounds and dumping in the filler. That may work for 100 rounds or so, but what is going to happen when you want to load up a big batch of ammo? You're gonna get real tired of all that extra work. I'm basically a very lazy guy, just ask my wife. When I sit down to load ammo I usually only have the attention span to load 200 rounds at a time. I'm not one of those guys who can sit and load a bazillion rounds at one sitting. My Hornady Lock & Load AP is not all that different from your Dillon. If I was pulling 200 rounds at a time and setting them aside to add filler I would go nuts. Not to mention how many I would probably spill. Do you have a bunch of loading blocks to put all those half filled rounds in so you don't knock them over while you are building your stash of partially filled cases? Do you have space on your loading bench? I sure don't.

 

One other thing.

 

The guns I shoot with Black Powder, my Colts, my antique S&W Top Breaks, my Merwin Hulbert, my CAS shotgun and my 44-40 rifles, all five of them, (oops, I forgot my antique Marlin) ONLY get shot with Black Powder. ONLY. They never see any Smokeless ammo. I prepare these guns for Black Powder by removing all the petroleum based oils and lubricants, and completely lubing them inside with Ballistol. I only clean them with Black Powder compatible solvents.

 

Smokeless is a whole 'nother thing. I never shoot BP in any of my guns that I shoot with BP. I suspect my Ballistol treatment of my BP guns would be good enough for occasionally shooting Smokeless through them,  but as I think has already been said, cleaning up after Black Powder (or a sub) is much easier than cleaning up after Smokeless. If I were to fire a bunch of rounds of Smokeless out of my Henry for instance, I seriously doubt my BP solvent would remove any residual Smokeless fouling. Maybe it would, but I really don't know. So I would be swabbing my bores and chambers with Hoppes #9 and hoping none got down into the action because I don't think it would play nice with the Ballistol. Then I would be reswabbing the bores and chambers with Ballistol again after having used a strong solvent to remove all the Hoppes. Sheesh, what a lot of work.

 

Everybody I know in CAS who shoots BP does it with dedicated guns. I don't think anybody I know in CAS who shoots BP shoots Smokeless out of the same guns.

 

I could be wrong.

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Thanks for the feedback Driftwood.  Please give me your thoughts on the following.  Just as an FYI we have four shooters in the family now, so I have three dedicated sets of guns in .38 sp/32 H&R magnum for smokeless, and one set of .22.  For me that's a significant investment.  I'm getting an 1873 in .45 Colt slicked and ready to go for $700, which seems like a great deal to me. 

 

I can combine that .45 Colt 1873 with my 1911 and my 1897 and I'm ready to go for WB.  At most I'll probably shoot 4-5 matches of that a year.  I already have a somewhat beat up SKB that we don't use.  I can clean that up a bit and make it a dedicated BP shotgun, buy two Vaqueros in .45 and I have a BP set up. The shotgun and pistols will be BP only, the 1873 will get used for WB 4-5 matches a year.  I anticipate my wife and I will both shoot about 5 BP matches a year, so 10 BP matches total. 

 

What you're telling me is that every time I shoot smokeless I will have to do a complete tear down on the rifle to get all my smokeless stuff out of there, or I'll have to buy another 1873 so I can shoot those 4-5 WB matches a year?

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Better idea... sell the '73 to your pal, Rainmaker and give up on all that sooty mess. More guns, more equipment, more money; it just goes on and on.

The Rainmaker will make good use a that '73 (you said it's faster than my '92) and I already shoot .45s so...

 

Sound good?  ;)

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Just now, The Rainmaker, SASS #11631 said:

Better idea... sell the '73 to your pal, Rainmaker and give up on all that sooty mess. More guns, more equipment, more money; it just goes on and on.

The Rainmaker will make good use a that '73 (you said it's faster than my '92) and I already shoot .45s so...

 

Sound good?  ;)

Nope!  The need for more guns and equipment is a feature of this decision, not a bug.  This gives me the excuse to buy another rifle, two more pistols, more brass, BP, another Dillon tool head setup, large pistol primers, a WB rig.  What's not to like?  As a bonus I could pick up an 1887 shotgun and I would be good for Classic Cowboy too.

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1 hour ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

 

What you're telling me is that every time I shoot smokeless I will have to do a complete tear down on the rifle to get all my smokeless stuff out of there, or I'll have to buy another 1873 so I can shoot those 4-5 WB matches a year?

With BP or subs, you will need to clean your guns each time you use them.  Use Ballistol, BreakFree, or a synthetic lube (no petroleum based lubes), then go straight into shooting smokeless to keep things simple.  

 

When you shoot smokeless, clean with the appropriate powder solvent then lube with the above mentioned products before shooting BP.  No need to do a full teardown at all.  I use Super Tec Breaklean to spray the lifter down.

 

I like to lube generously and use bore butter inside the bore when shooting BP.  Doing this, I've never had an issue switching between powders.

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28 minutes ago, Jailhouse Jim, SASS #13104 said:

With BP or subs, you will need to clean your guns each time you use them.  Use Ballistol, BreakFree, or a synthetic lube (no petroleum based lubes), then go straight into shooting smokeless to keep things simple.  

 

When you shoot smokeless, clean with the appropriate powder solvent then lube with the above mentioned products before shooting BP.  No need to do a full teardown at all.  I use Super Tec Breaklean to spray the lifter down.

 

I like to lube generously and use bore butter inside the bore when shooting BP.  Doing this, I've never had an issue switching between powders.

Thank you Jim.  This is helpful!  Currently I clean and lube exclusively with CLP BreakFree other than a few drops of RemOil here and there.  Are you saying that is a good product for BP or subs as well?  If so that makes things a lot easier.

 

I always have a few things of Ballistol around just in case, though I typically just spray that on my boots.

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2 hours ago, Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283 said:

Everybody I know in CAS who shoots BP does it with dedicated guns. I don't think anybody I know in CAS who shoots BP shoots Smokeless out of the same guns.

 

 

I could be wrong.

... I've never heard of such a thing. Not saying that it's good or bad either way, but I've never heard of anybody doing that. :mellow:

Twenty nine main match rifles, and I shoot smokeless or black interchangeably, but usually reserve black for the dash calibers.

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3 hours ago, Ace_of_Hearts said:

Why is his statement applicable? In other words, why is Blackhorn, a factory manufactured powder designed as a black powder substitute, singled out. Especially if it is used in a category other than "blackpowder specific"?

 

I think the wording banning duplex loads was written before Blackhorn 209 was around. Originally, the rule was a safety precaution to prevent a black powder shooter from using a small amount of smokeless powder in the bottom of the case to light off the black powder load. Blackhorn 209 is a duplex powder, as per Western Powders Inc. literature, hence it's banned. The wording might change someday to specifically exempt Blackhorn 209, but for now, it's not a legal propellant for Cowboy Action Shooting in ANY category, black powder or otherwise.

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I have a buddy that just told me last weekend he shot his Uberti Schofield using black MZ. He got through 4 stages just fine without any cleaning and had a little trouble getting through the 5th, but got there. That gives me some hope.

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5 hours ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

With this set up you set it to drop the right volume of powder, then top it off by hand with filler?

Well I do not use filler but yes that is what you can do.

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3 hours ago, Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283 said:

Everybody I know in CAS who shoots BP does it with dedicated guns. I don't think anybody I know in CAS who shoots BP shoots Smokeless out of the same guns.

 

I could be wrong.

 

You are-very much so......:lol:

I switch back and forth in powder type from one match to another.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Also, I don't use filler-I load my .44 mag cases till I compress the powder 1/8", when I seat the 240gn moly-coated Bear Creek RNFP bullet.

When using BP(I only use the real stuff;))I sloppy lube the guns with bore-butter, and carry a small can of WD-40 in the gun cart.

OLG

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10 hours ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

First THANK YOU for all the informative posts. APP sounds like it is the best fit for me and should be readily available. I’ll look for Winchester brass.

 

Any information on bullets and loads would be great!

 

I’m going to be loading on a 650 and an SL900. If any of you have experience loading BP on one of these I would love to hear it.

 

Holler do you think your approach would work on a 650?

 

Probably.  I have never worked with a 650 but the concept should still work.  Just replace the powder measure station with the powder-thru expander.  I found the funnel at Dollar General, if that helps.

 

Holler

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2 hours ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

Thank you Jim.  This is helpful!  Currently I clean and lube exclusively with CLP BreakFree other than a few drops of RemOil here and there.  Are you saying that is a good product for BP or subs as well?  If so that makes things a lot easier.

 

I always have a few things of Ballistol around just in case, though I typically just spray that on my boots.

Yes, CLP works well for both.  I use a combination of both.  No Rem oil needed.

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APP clumps up bad. Not real PM friendly at all.

I have never had any issue loading 2F or 3F real BP on my D/550.

PLZ-I don't want to hear the BS about static and BP-It really is not an issue.

BTW-My press is hardwired grounded to a dedicated GND rod.

I did this to stop the static cling of smokeless powers in the powder hopper(I live in the Mojave and the wind does move around some:D), and as such. It greatly increased the consistency of the PM's 'throw'.

OLG

 

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OLG,

thanks for dispelling the myth, but why doesn't Dillion allow the BP? How do you charge the cases?

do you use a standard Dillion powder measure on a progress station?

im very new to reloading, and would like to learn how with BP.

im going to track down Capt Bill on Saturday and see if I can get a BP reloading lesson.

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Aw Contrare.  APP 3f runs thru my Dillon PM just fine.  An Occasional bridge but no big deal.  APP will clump.  Simple, break up the clump BEFORE you dump it inna PM.  Kinda Simple.  Perhaps in the Mojave there are other problems not experienced elsewhere.  I have not heard of Dillon not allowing PB.  Silly.

 

Since there is some bridging with APP 3f I do recommend the Dillon Powder Checker.

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1 hour ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

 

Aw Contrare.  APP 3f runs thru my Dillon PM just fine.  An Occasional bridge but no big deal.  APP will clump.  Simple, break up the clump BEFORE you dump it inna PM.  Kinda Simple.  Perhaps in the Mojave there are other problems not experienced elsewhere.  I have not heard of Dillon not allowing PB.  Silly.

 

Since there is some bridging with APP 3f I do recommend the Dillon Powder Checker.

Agreed

I have very few issues with 3f APP in my SDB.

 I use a coarse screen in my funnel to catch the desiccant packs and any clumps as I fill the hopper.

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i"Black Powder is no where near as corrosive as many shooters think. Back when corrosive primers were being used, the combination of corrosive primers and BP fouling was pretty bad and corrosion could be bad.

 

But we no longer use corrosive primers and BP fouling without corrosive primers is not as corrosive as many think.

 

I am lazy. I seldom clean my guns the same day I shoot them. Just plain lazy. I try to clean them within a week. No, I do not spritz them with anything, they go into the safe dry and crusty. If I clean them within a week, there is no corrosion . I am loathe to admit how long I have sometimes gone before cleaning my guns, suffice it to say it is much longer than a week. Once cleaned, they do not show any corrosion."

 

My thoughts and experience exactly! 

 

I shoot muzzle loaders with the North-South Skirmish Association. A few years back, I got home from a shoot and put my musket and carbine on the back porch to be cleaned the next day. Well, something came up the next day and the day after that, so on and so forth. When I finally got around to it, it had been a month since the shoot. I got out my cleaning rods, Ballistol, Bore Butter, etc. Other than the crud being a mite drier than normal, both cleaned up nicely. I have a tiny flashlight that will drop down the barrels of my .577 muzzle loaders. Not a pit of pitting was present.

 

I coat the bores and the exterior of my front stuffers with Bore Butter before they go into the safe.

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12 hours ago, Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283 said:

I could be wrong.

 

Yup, I could be wrong. Never said I knew everything. All my fellow BP shooters in these parts shoot guns they have dedicated to BP. That doesn't mean others have not found ways around shooting both types of powders in the same guns.

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4 minutes ago, Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283 said:

 

Yup, I could be wrong. Never said I knew everything. All my fellow BP shooters in these parts shoot guns they have dedicated to BP. That doesn't mean others have not found ways around shooting both types of powders in the same guns.

I’m with you. All of my guns are dedicated to BP only. In fact, I didn’t even know you could shoot guns with anything but BP. I guess I learned something new today. 

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I have a dedicated rifle, but use pistols and shotguns for both with no problems. Just clean thoroughly between matches.

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It seems like the more I learn, the more questions come up.

 

So I still have a few that remain unanswered.

 

1. If bigger bullets help BP guns run cleaner and annealing the case mouths help BP guns run cleaner does it make sense to do both to minimize fouling?

2. APP 3F doesn't need to be compressed or need fillers, so if you're going for a load that meets smoke factor but minimizes recoil, how many grams by volume for a 250 grain bullet?

3. When measuring by volume do you use some type of calibrated measuring container, just run a round through the press stations 1 and 2, then pour out the powder into the container to check the volume?

4. Am I mistaken in understanding that I can run APP 3F through my press and the only difference will be at the powder drop station (BP instead of smokeless and a different hopper etc.)?  Same bullets, same lube, same crimp?

5. When loading 12 gauge, do I need to worry about compression of APP, or just get the right volume and make sure the stack is the right size?  What about wads, I believe some have said plastic will work and others say use something different.

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4 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

It seems like the more I learn, the more questions come up.

 

So I still have a few that remain unanswered.

 

1. If bigger bullets help BP guns run cleaner and annealing the case mouths help BP guns run cleaner does it make sense to do both to minimize fouling? Yes, but it makes even more sense to switch to 44-40 :P  Seriously though, if your running APP it won't be that big of a deal, keep some Ballistol or Murphys handy and spray the action occasionally to keep it running. Annealing is a pain in the butt and time consuming unless you buy a machine to do it. As others have said the blowback isn't going to get to the toggle links mainly just the carrier and bolt will be a little dirtier than smokeless(unless you're using Trail Boss).

2. APP 3F doesn't need to be compressed or need fillers, so if you're going for a load that meets smoke factor but minimizes recoil, how many grams by volume for a 250 grain bullet? 15gr of real BP will get you to the smoke factor, APP is smokier so at least 15 gr. It'll take more than that to get to the base of the bullet.

3. When measuring by volume do you use some type of calibrated measuring container, just run a round through the press stations 1 and 2, then pour out the powder into the container to check the volume? Yes, I use something similar to this that I got at Wally World years ago:

k2-_2262dc1e-180a-468a-86a4-85a4b5afb748

4. Am I mistaken in understanding that I can run APP 3F through my press and the only difference will be at the powder drop station (BP instead of smokeless and a different hopper etc.)?  Same bullets, same lube, same crimp? Yes, exactly. I use real BP with an aluminum hopper and brass fittings, but it's the same as smokeless.

5. When loading 12 gauge, do I need to worry about compression of APP, or just get the right volume and make sure the stack is the right size?  What about wads, I believe some have said plastic will work and others say use something different. I use gray or white Claybuster wads 7/8oz or 1oz of shot on my MEC sizemaster; Remington STS or Nitro hulls. I have a Lyman BP Measure set up next to it and drop powder off the press; everything else is done as usual. I typically use 45gr of Goex FFg, not sure of the APP equivalent.

 

Comments inline, hope that helps.

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The golden rule of loading black powder and substitutes:

 

Do not allow an air space between powder and projectile, including constructing shotshells.  

 

Compression is important when shooting at long ranges, but not in our game.  Eliminate air space and you will be safe.  My loading procedures and equipment will differ from yours;  I don’t care how you eliminate air spaces in your cartridges and shotshells: do it however you want, just do it.

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13 hours ago, T-Square said:

OLG,

thanks for dispelling the myth, but why doesn't Dillion allow the BP? How do you charge the cases?

do you use a standard Dillion powder measure on a progress station?

im very new to reloading, and would like to learn how with BP.

im going to track down Capt Bill on Saturday and see if I can get a BP reloading lesson.

I use the Dillon PM and run the press the D/550 same as with smokeless.

But-What do I know. Only been using a D/550 since 1987....Been reloading for 55+ yrs.

Dillon's lawyers told Mike Dillon to not allow BP....

OLG

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Thanks again for the help everyone.  I'm still a bit confused about the charge weight.  I noticed at least one cowboy say no fillers with APP, but I've also seen statements that we can't have airspace between the projectile and the powder.  How do you play with lighter charges if you don't fill the resulting gap with some type of filler?

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3 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

Thanks again for the help everyone.  I'm still a bit confused about the charge weight.  I noticed at least one cowboy say no fillers with APP, but I've also seen statements that we can't have airspace between the projectile and the powder.  How do you play with lighter charges if you don't fill the resulting gap with some type of filler?

 

Do you have any real BP on hand?

Just load the case so when the bullet is seated-The powder is compressed 1/8".

Do not try loading 'fly-fart' loads with BP. You'll wear out your squib rod........^_^

OLG

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