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Black Powder

2649 Views 18 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  NativeTexan
Has anyone here loaded blackpowder cartridges? I think I know how, but would like to hear from someone with hands on experience.
Specifically .45colt, single action.
I shoot a .44 cap and ball pistol that is a hoot to shoot and I know that prior to 1895, cartridges were loaded with black powder.
Love that smoke and smell. :fart:
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The soft lube is to keep the the residue soft. You can virtually fill the case as much as it'll hold. A drop tube would dump a little more in the same space. I'd just use a Lee powder scoop, myself. That's what I use with my Ruger Old Army cap and ball when I don't wanna mess with the powder flask.

Having played with cap and ball revolvers for 35 years, I'll use smokeless in my .45 Colt, thanks. :D BP is fun, fun, though, make no mistake! There are plenty of reasons to do it with a .45 colt beyond even SASS competition. Still, I get my thrills with the ROA and a .31 Remington CVA I have. I'd like to get another Remington, but no cap and ball can come as close as a Ruger Old Army for perfecton. It'll shoot better than a LOT of smokeless cartridge guns and it won't crud up even in 100 firings without cleaning. Accuracy remains at about 1.5" at 25 yards with a 220 grain Lee cast conical. The cylinder has a flange at the front designed to keep fouling out of the cylinder pin area. I had a Colt Navy clone that would crud up around the cylinder pin in about 50 rounds and slowly freeze up requiring cleaning. No matter, easy to pull the barrel off, and it ain't like you can reload it in any semblance of speed. LOL! My old stainless old army, before it got ripped off, was neat. I had a rubber pachmayr on it. I'd come home, pull the cylinder out, stick it in the dish washer, and it got spotless! :D I mean, how easy can clean up be????
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I'm sayin' you CAN fill the case and not have an overcharge. The SAA is a stronger design than a Walker and the Walker could hold more powder than the .45 case. What I'd do is measure with a Lee scoop an appropriate amount of powder to fill the case to the bottom of the seated bullet. Use FFFG or Pyrodex P. I don't know for sure what sort of performance you'll get out of it, but it should push a 255 grain bullet 800 fps or so I'd think, maybe close to 900. You can't put enough FFFG in a .45 case to overpressure anything, though. Danger like that really didn't get to cartridge guns until the advent of smokeless powder.

I haven't measured, but I'll bet my Old Army holds as much powder as the Colt case or close and it pushes a 220 grain bullet to near 900 fps with Pyrodex P and something under 30 grain by volume IIRC, like around 26 grains.
Just took a 2.8 Lee scoop that I know holds about 40 grains BP and filled a case with it, so total capacity of the case to the rim is about 40 grains. Figure load 25-30 grains by volume and seat a 250 grain slug over it. If you reduce loads, use filler. That should perform pretty well. I'd start out with 25 grains by volume and check accuracy and velocity and work from there.

Not sure what you're talkin' about a "drop tube". Usually I'd think of a tube meant to pack more powder into a case by dropping it a distance, read about that once. Or, could be the measuring tube on a powder flask. That would be a FAST way to measure BP into your cases, just as you would with a cap and ball. I have one that holds about 26 grains, too. ;D
The drop tube really isn't necessary. The wider lube grooves would be helpful. You wouldn't wanna use a tumble lube bullet from Lee.

BTW, I've heard that it is really bad news to put too much pressure on smokeless with the bullet. Is black powder that touchy?
You can't get enough BP in a case to over-pressure it. And, volume metering is the way it's done. Old buffalo hunters would sit in camp and reload their cases in their spare time with hand tools, measure with the scoop. Things got more complicated when smokeless came along, needed to WEIGH the powder charge. A slight overcharge can be bad news.

Thread sorta reminds me of the movie "Quigley Down Under". :D
You're worried about blowing up a RUGER with BLACK POWDER????? BWAAAAAAA, HA, Ha, ha, ha!
LOL Addicting, ain't it? Reloading .45 with BP would be a little easier at the range than shooting the old cap and ball, but I sorta like that Old Army. :D Been thinking a lot about getting a Remington replica to add to the meager cap and ball collection.
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