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 Post subject: Black, Bulk & Dense Smokeless Powder, and Dram Equivalent
PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 4:17 pm 
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Questions regard Dram Equivalent designations are frequently asked. This historical perspective might clarify things. Hope it helps.

Black, Bulk & Smokeless Powder, and Dram Equivalent

Black Powder was measured by volume (Drams/Drachms).
Bulk Smokeless Powder for shotguns (“E.C.”, “Schultze”, DuPont Bulk) was in general use by the mid-1890s and could also be measured by volume (Drams) or weight (grains), but measuring by weight became the standard.
Dense Smokeless Powder (initially “Ballistite”) could ONLY be measured by weight (grains).

Henry Sharp, The Gun: Afield & Afloat, 1904
http://books.google.com/books?id=BFRDAA ... g=PA66&lpg
“Sportsmen are now in possession of two definite types of smokeless powder, the so-called bulk powder and the newer concentrated or condensed powder. The first is designed to occupy the same space as black powder in the cartridge-case, although only weighing about half as much.”

Turn-of-the-century catalog listings for 12g 1 1/8 oz. 3 Dram Equivalent ‘Trap’ loads:
“Schultze” & “E.C.” No. 1 Bulk Smokeless - 42 grains
DuPont Bulk Smokeless - 36 1/2 grains
Hazard “Blue Ribbon” Bulk Smokeless - 37 grains
New “Schultze” & New “E.C.” No. 2 Bulk Smokeless - 36 grains
L&R “Infallible” Dense Smokeless - 22 grains
“Ballistite” Dense Smokeless - 24 grains
New Green Walsrode Dense Smokeless - 30 grains
Note:
The original “Schultze” & “E.C.” No. 1 Bulk Smokeless were 14 grains/dram.
New Schultze, New “E.C. (Improved)”, and DuPont Bulk Smokeless were 12 grains/dram.
“E.C.” No. 3 was 11 grains/dram.
Some advertisements listed “Ballistite” and “Infallible” as equivalent

A 3 Dr. Eq. (Dram Equivalent) load of “E.C.” No. 1 or “Schultze” was 42 grains by weight. 3 Dr. Eq. of Dense Smokeless “Ballistite” was 24 grains; “Infallible” 22 grains. The pressure of a 3 Dram (82 grains by volume) load of Black Powder propelling 1 1/8 oz. of shot at 1200 fps is about 5000 psi. The pressure of 1 1/8 oz. 3 Dr. Eq. of BULK Smokeless was 6500 - 7500 psi; 3 Dr. Eq. of DENSE Smokeless was 9000 - 10,000 psi.
Substituting a Dense Smokeless powder for Black or Bulk Smokeless powder would double the charge. It has been estimated that 50 grains of “Infallible” (later Unique) could reach 30,000 psi. Combine this error with a 2 3/4” shell in a 2 1/2” chamber, and a barrel rupture might occur in any barrel, fluid steel or Pattern Welded.

1902 Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalog No. 112
“Gun and rifle barrels can only burst by having some obstruction in the barrel or by overloading with Nitro powder.”

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Sept. 10, 1904 Sporting Life “Burst Gun Barrels”
http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrary/S ... 326021.pdf
The number of burst gun-barrels which, comes to the attention of the shooting public is remarkably small, considering the thousands of guns in use throughout the country. The main reason for the comparatively small number of guns burst is the great use of factory-loaded shells, or the hand-loaded of reliable dealers. The day of loading one’s own shells is pretty well passed, therefore, the over-loaded or double-charged cartridge is very seldom found. Very often a burst barrel is blamed on the gunmaker or the shell-maker, but more often on the manufacturer of the powder. Cases are known where a party blowing out a gun-barrel, using an extra heavy charge of dense powder, blamed it on a bulk powder. A suit for damages was quickly withdrawn after an examination of the gun had been made.

1907 Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalogue No. 116
“Do not accidentally put two charges of smokeless powder in the shell…”
“When a gun barrel bursts at the breech or chamber it is caused by an overload of nitro powder, and when it bursts forward of the chamber it is caused by some obstruction...”
“Nitro powder should only be used by people familiar with it; and dense nitro powder should be weighed by an apothecary’s scale and not measured.”

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Shotshells loaded with either Bulk or Dense Smokeless Powder were expressed as “Dram Equivalent” to indicate the speed of the load that would be obtained with the same volumetric load (Drams) of Black Powder. The Dr. Eq. designation does not indicate the pressure generated by that load of Bulk or Dense Smokeless Powder.
See p. 10 of the SAAMI FAQs
http://www.saami.org/PDF/FAQ.pdf

Winchester Leader with 3 1/4 Drams “Mullerite”

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Other Leader boxes specify 3 1/2 Dram “Dead Shot” and 28 gr DuPont “Ballistite”. 20g Leader 7/8 oz. shotshells were loaded with 24 gr Walsrode.

The c. 1910 U.M.C. catalog offered the Arrow and Nitro Club 2 1/2” 20g loads with 3/4 oz. shot and 2 Dr. Eq. Bulk Smokeless or 16 grains of Dense “Infallible” or “Ballistite”; and 7/8 oz. shot with 2 1/4 Dr. Eq. Bulk or 18 grains Dense Smokeless.

c. 1914 U.M.C. advertisements listed Remington Arrow 12g with 1 1/8 oz. shot and 26 gr. “Infallible” and 32 gr. Walsrode Dense Smokeless powder. Nitro Club had 3 Dram DuPont Bulk Smokeless with 1 1/8 oz. shot.
Post-WWI ads did not list the specific powder.

Modern Dram Equivalent Speed

12g 2 3/4”
1 oz.
…..2 3/4 Dram Eq. - 1235 fps (measured 3 feet from muzzle)
…..3 Dr. Eq. - 1290 fps
....3 1/4 Dr. Eq. - 1315 fps
1 1/8 oz.
…..3 Dram Eq. - 1200 fps
…..3 1/4 Dr. Eq. - 1255 fps
…..3 1/2 Dr. Eq. - 1300 fps
…..3 3/4 Dr. Eq. - 1365 fps
1 1/4 oz.
…..3 Dram Eq. - 1165 fps
…..3 1/4 Dr. Eq. - 1220 fps
…..3 1/2 Dr. Eq. - 1275 fps
…..3 3/4 Dr. Eq. - 1330 fps

16 gauge
…..7/8 oz. 2 1/4 Dr. Eq. - 1145 fps
…..1 oz. 2 1/4 Dr. Eq. - 1110 fps
…..1 oz. 2 1/2 Dr. Eq. - 1165 fps
…..1 oz. 2 3/4 Dr. Eq. - 1220 fps
…..1 1/8 oz. 2 3/4 Dr. Eq. - 1185 fps
…..1 1/8 oz. 3 Dr. Eq. - 1240 fps

20 gauge 2 3/4"
…..3/4 oz. 2 Dr. Eq. - 1145 fps
…..3/4 oz. 2 1/4 Dr. Eq. - 1200 fps
…..7/8 oz. 2 1/4 Dr. Eq. - 1155 fps
…..7/8 oz. 2 1/2 Dr. Eq. - 1210 fps
…..1 oz. 2 1/2 Dr. Eq. - 1165 fps
…..1 oz. 2 3/4 Dr. Eq. - 1220 fps


For more information
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1F2s ... FU/preview



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Last edited by Drew Hause on Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Black, Bulk & Dense Smokeless Powder, and Dram Equivalen
PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:34 pm 
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1898 Laflin & Rand catalog courtesy of David Noreen.
“It is, of course, dangerous to use excessive charges, as it is with any other Powder, and it must be remembered that a full charge occupies only about one-half the space required for Black or bulk-loading Powders. Under no circumstances should a heavier charge than 45 grains, by weight, be used in a 12 gauge gun.”

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Laflin & Rand introduced “Infallible” Dense Smokeless powder in 1900.
37 grains L&R Bulk = 22 grains Infallible = 3 Dram Eq.
40 grains L&R Bulk = 24 grains Infallible = 3 1/4 Dr. Eq.
42 grains L&R Bulk = 26 grains Infallible = 3 1/2 Dr. Eq.
45 grains L&R Bulk = 28 grains Infallible = 3 3/4 Dr. Eq.

DuPont purchased Laflin & Rand in 1902.

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 Post subject: Re: Black, Bulk & Dense Smokeless Powder, and Dram Equivalen
PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:40 pm 
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c. 1920s

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33 Grain = 3 Dram Equivalent Bulk Powders
“New E.C. (Improved) No. 3” (introduced in U.S. in 1904)
Curtis & Harvey “Diamond Smokeless” (1903)
Walsrode Smokeless & Waterproof Gun Powder Co. “Walsrode Gray”
Louis Muller & Cie S.A. “Mullerite No. 2”
Nobel’s Explosive Co. “Empire”

1907

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"Be more careful to use what you have, than to get more."

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 Post subject: Re: Black, Bulk & Dense Smokeless Powder, and Dram Equivalen
PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:36 pm 
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Great read, thx!


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 Post subject: Re: Black, Bulk & Dense Smokeless Powder, and Dram Equivalen
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:26 pm 
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Location: AZ but dreaming of KS
Relevant discussion
http://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubb ... Post483171

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Richard Baxter (1615-1691), Directions Against Covetousness
"Be more careful to use what you have, than to get more."

Kingsley Brown "Shoot more, shop less."


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 Post subject: Re: Black, Bulk & Dense Smokeless Powder, and Dram Equivalen
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:41 pm 
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I've often wondered how close Pyrodex and some of the other black powder substitutes might be to early smokeless powders; or if any of the recipes for the old powders are still around in a file somewhere. I bet they would be great for 'cowboy' loads in metallic cartridges.

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 Post subject: Re: Black, Bulk & Dense Smokeless Powder, and Dram Equivalen
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:55 pm 
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12g Black Powder pressures
1 1/8 oz. 3 Drams (1200 fps) of DuPont FFFg (82 grains) is about 5000 psi.
1 1/8 oz. 3 Drams Curtis & Harvey’s No. 4, T.S. (82 grains; somewhat similar but not equivalent to medium grain FFg) was about 6500 psi.
1 1/4 oz. 3 1/4 Drams Curtis & Harvey’s No. 4, T.S. was about 8500 psi.

Black Powder substitute pressures from the 2001 “Lyman Black Powder Handbook & Loading Manual”
1 1/8 oz. with 100 gr. GOEX FFg at 1200 fps = 4,800 psi
1 1/8 oz. with 100 gr. Pyrodex RS at 1200 fps = 5,600 psi

There are more comparisons here courtesy of Sam Fadala via Pete Mikalajunas
http://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubb ... ber=158025

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Richard Baxter (1615-1691), Directions Against Covetousness
"Be more careful to use what you have, than to get more."

Kingsley Brown "Shoot more, shop less."


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 Post subject: Re: Black, Bulk & Dense Smokeless Powder, and Dram Equivalen
PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:31 am 
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c. 1913 Hunter Arms load recommendations.
After about 1920 L.C. Smith hang tags specified 3 dram 1 1/8 oz. loads for 12g.

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Image

1914 A.H. Fox catalog courtesy of David Noreen

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Richard Baxter (1615-1691), Directions Against Covetousness
"Be more careful to use what you have, than to get more."

Kingsley Brown "Shoot more, shop less."


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