Comments on different powder
I have been out of muzzleloading for the last nine years but now that I am getting back into it there is all these different bp subs.I am using pyodex pellets and am pretty pleased with the results. It still has that nasty smell that the wife hates but it cleans up nicely but I never had a problem cleaning good old bp. After reading the last thread lets here what you all have to say about the different powders out there. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
Watch out for the pellets in our wet climate. Three months after I opened the box, mine got so hard to ignite they were next to useless. Hang fires at best, no fires at worst. I've given up on the pellets entirely. I'm real happy with Pyro, especially the P. My pard uses nothing but T7 in everything from 32 to 54 cal. He's smiling as well.
I just got done testing, Pioneer powder, Pyrodex and Goex.
I used the same rifle, same ball, same patch, same powder charge (by volume) the only variable changed was the powder.
Here is a quick summary.
American Pioneer 3f
Dispensing- Bridges up in my little Brass powder flask. Hard to pour out.
Measuring- requires alot of tapping to settle it out.
Burning and residue- Burns real clean, No smell, not much smoke.
Accuracy- Despite the fact its a little hard to be consistent in measuring it it actually was a real accurate powder out of the test rifle. I even shot my Ruger pistol with this stuff too and it was very accurate. Im confident you really could shoot this stuff all day without cleaning it. I didnt swab for 3 shots and when I swabbed on the last shot the patch was still just a grey color.
Dispensing-pours smooth and fast.
Measuring- Nice small round grains settle out fast and consistent
Burning and residue- Makes a good amount of smoke, smells, leaves some residue but not bad. You still want to swab between the shots though.
Accuracy- I got great accuracy from this as well.
Goex 3f- The real deal
Dipsensing and measuring were great.
Burning and residue were not bad I thought, although I swab between shots. You get some gunk on the patch and I suspect you could only get a few shots in without cleaning. And Im sure accuracy would be affected greatly if you didnt swab between shots using the goex.
Accuracy was the worst of the bunch. But still not bad.
Im pretty neutral on the above choices really. None of the powders had any glaring flaws. My only nitpick with the pioneer was the bridging in the pour spout.
I had a couple targets, that I was gonna post up, but some problems with my guns sights and load developments kinda of strayed me from keeping my targets not all shot up and clear to see. Maybe today Ill do some further testing.
That's a real interesting comparison, Matt. Admittedly I've got CRS syndrome and should recall what you shoot, but refresh me. What gun were you shooting? The upshot of my testing and informal shooting seems to fly in the face of lots of traditionalists, but I find that in small bores (32 and 36) Pyrodex P shoots cleaner and is more accurate than Goex 3f. My bud shoots T7 3f in his 32 and 36, but gets some really nasty crud if he doesn't swab between shots- to the point that he gets misfires after only 3 or 4 shots. I have gone as many as 20 shots with Pyro P in my Crockett 32 without swabbing, and no misfires and no real noticeable increase in loading effort.
I was using my T/C cherokee in .32 for testing yesterday.
I just brought my CVA .32 to the range today. I only shot the pyrodex today. I left my Cleaning jag at home and kind of had to make a makeshift one out of a .30 cal centerfire jag. Because of the sharp point on the jag I know I was not cleaning all the way to the breach face today. I probably shot about 20-30 times with no trouble.
I'll reinterate a key note in my comaparison from yesterday. I did swab between all shots except the three with the pioneer powder. I will see what happens without swabbing but its very hard for me to shoot without swabbing the bore. Its seems un-natural to me.
So bottom line from a swabbing standpoint, if you do it between every shot, there is no big difference between any of these powders that I could tell.
Ill probably stick with the pyrodex. Or maybe the goex. Pioneer, because of the dispensing issue and from what I have heard, and I believe it, that powder probably does absorb water like you wouldnt believe.
Some things I hear about black powder that are positive is the fact that it has an infinate shelf life, you can get it wet, dry it out and it will be fine and supposedly not as corrosive as pyrodex. Also Black powder has a velocity advantage over pyrodex. And last but not least, Goex is actually cheaper or about the same price anyway as the substitutes.
Ive shot alot of pyrodex out of my old army, and one time let it sit for a week without cleaning it and I didnt have any corrosion show up. But alot of people on the traditional BP forum will tell you that Pyrodex is very corrosive and makes BP look benign in comparison.
triple 7 looks like a good one to try. Seems Hodgon likes it better than their own Pyrodex.
Ok, I'm jumping in.
My Father, now gone to better places, and Uncle grew up with all manner of firearms.
These guys screwed around with everything, but were methodical and somewhat scientific about it. Both very accomplished rifleman.
I have my Fathers Navy Arms .58 Hawken, as I recall he was shooting 400 yards at paper plates over at the VFW in Kodiak, and doing well.
Now they messed about with everything. Dad made a slug in the barrel and they built a rifling cutter, so this rifle now has six grooves rather than three.
My point is, these guys were in the thick of it.
Now on to our subject. Dad wasn't shooting recommended loads. I saw him play around with everything, miniballs, paper cartridges round balls, miscellaneous patching, rifle primers rather than caps...he worked diligently on this rifle project.
So, anyway, his selected powder was a duplex load of FFG BP mixed with I wish I knew what, smokeless rifle powder. He claimed the concern of the strength of the muzzleloader was superior to those of days gone by. Hard to argue, this is built from modern steel. Plus he said it burned cleaner and he was able to attain higher velocities and better groups. The FFG was required in order to raise pressures to initiate a good burn on the smokeless. SACRILEGE!!! No, it's true. I am sniffing around for possibly anyone who has gone this route. I am hesitant to follow his footsteps without some guidance. I would think the slower the powder, the better, but I do not have his notes. Currently, I shoot 100 grains Goex FFG, that's where the rifle started to flatten out and become consistent. Very tight patch, and requiring a good swabbing between every shot. Not sure how tight a patch really needs to be, but I assume the tighter the better. Also using standard percussion caps. Bore Butter, not sure what Dad used. Currently using heavy pillow ticking, as opposed to the lighter variety.
Any input would be well received, and I have been yelled at by the best, so don't worry about my feelings.
Just to add to the conversation, I'll throw in my observations from the past several years of trying various powders (all loose granules, have not tried pellets).
The first powder I ever tried out of my muzzleloaders (a .50 Hawkin flintlock and a .50 T/C Omega Z5) was Triple 7. I hear lots of folks say you shouldn't shoot the bp substitutes out of a flintlock due to the higher ignition temps required. But to be honest, I never had much problem at all with Triple 7 in my flintlock. I did use Goex 4Fg in the pan. T7 is the cleanest powder I've tried. That being said, even with my barrels now well-conditioned, I still need to swab them out every 7-10 shots or so. Especially with the Omega and tight fitting sabots. When I'm at the range, I usually swab after every shot anyways (just force of habit I guess).
The next powder I tried was Hodgdon Select Pyrodex RS (FFg equivalent). As far as accuracy, this has been the worst powder I've tried. And it is much more messy than T7 (in my experience anyways). Where T7 wasn't a problem in the flintlock, Pyrodex was. In fact, it was downright horrible. I'd drop the hammer and it would literally feel like I had time to align my sights if I was off before the boom. OK, not really, but you get the point. I'm not saying Pyrodex is a bad powder, it just doesn't shoot well in my guns. Anyone wanting to trade 1/2 lb of Pyrodex for 1/2 lb of T7.....?
Lastly, I tried Goex 2Fg. Been meaning to try it for awhile, just finally got around to it. Even though I said there next was much of a problem with T7 in my flintlock, there is definitely a noticeable difference in using Goex in my flintlock (faster ignition). Accuracy is just as good as the T7 in the flinter. It is certainly more messy, but I expected that before buying it. I have not tried Goex in my Omega because quite frankly I don't think there's anyway I'm going to improve the accuracy I'm getting with T7 out of that gun.
So that's my somewhat limited experience. Although I liked the fact of using the same powder flask for the flintlock or Omega because I was shooting T7 out of both, I will switch the flintlock over to Goex.
I keep my pellets in a zip lock back with one of those moisture absorbers in it. I have been using the same box for about three months with no noticeable problems.
Watch it close. I did the same thing, but of course the bag was open every time I went to the range. Don't get me wrong. I like em, but I don't trust them as they age.