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 Post subject: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 3:28 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2003 12:45 am
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I'm interested in reloading black powder shotgun shells. Does anyone have any info. or tips or know where I should look?




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 Post subject: re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2006 11:07 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2005 4:51 pm
Posts: 10894
Location: Phoenixville PA
Do a web search on Circle Fly wads... there is LOTS of info on black powder loading of shotgun shells. Also do a web search of black powder cartridge shotgun reloading. There is additional info there.

About the only "fly in the ointment" is you can't use your powder drop tube on your reloader. You have to scoop out the black powder with a (volumetric) powder dipper, and you have to use old-fashioned "cushion" wads with an overpowder wad between the powder and the cushion wad.

BobK

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 Post subject: Re: re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 5:32 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:03 am
Posts: 327
Location: Michigan
BobK wrote:
About the only "fly in the ointment" is you can't use your powder drop tube on your reloader. You have to scoop out the black powder with a (volumetric) powder dipper, and you have to use old-fashioned "cushion" wads with an overpowder wad between the powder and the cushion wad.
BobK


Not completely true. If you use Pyrodex or 777, you can load powder through your MEC loader. You have to use the largest bushings available, or plug the inspection hole and use no bushing. You can also use a WAA12R wad. Depending on how much powder and shot you use. I load 12 gauge Pyrodex loads with my MEC laoder.


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 Post subject: re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 7:23 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2005 4:51 pm
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Location: Phoenixville PA
Well, I thought the question referred to Black Powder Loads, NOT "substitutes". Besides, using plastic wads just sort of misses the whole idea of loading "traditional" loads. In fact, using (Federal) paper shells, roll crimps and overshot wads makes for a nice load, and really is "traditional".

BobK

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 Post subject: Re: re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 7:55 am 
Limited Edition

Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:03 am
Posts: 327
Location: Michigan
BobK wrote:
Well, I thought the question referred to Black Powder Loads, NOT "substitutes". Besides, using plastic wads just sort of misses the whole idea of loading "traditional" loads. In fact, using (Federal) paper shells, roll crimps and overshot wads makes for a nice load, and really is "traditional".

BobK


Bob, I also load the "Traditional" Laods for hunting purposes.
But when I want to shoot skeet or sporting clays, I go for production loading, with plastics. :wink:


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 Post subject: re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:08 am 
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With all due respect to others who reply to this topic, this is not the place to learn the basics of black powder reloading.

And you obviously don't know them or you wouldn't be asking for "tips" on loading black powder shotshells.

You need much more than tips.

Smokeless powder is a propellant; black powder and its variants are explosives.

Do yourself a HUGE favor and spend 15 bucks on this book:

Lyman Black Powder Handbook and Loading Manual: All New 2nd Edition, published 2001

You're contemplating messing around with something much more dangerous than smokeless powder and which involves basic precautions much different than those for smokeless powder.

Just one example of such: It would be virtually impossible to ignite smokeless powder with static electricity. Black powder and its substitutes can be ignited by static electricity.

Therefore, with the alleged exception of several substitutes, you cannot load black powder using a reloading press with plastic hoppers.

Whether it's for muzzleloading firearms, metallic cartridges or shotshells, black powder is a whole different and more dangerous creature than smokeless powder and it behooves a prudent person to know the basic differences in measurements and safety precautions.

Just a word to the wise...

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 Post subject: re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:40 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 05, 2004 12:23 pm
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Whoooooooooooooooo-boy!
Just where'n'ell would someone post to learn about loading black powder????????????????????????????
Black powder might be set off my static but it's very, very, unlikely.
Still one should not use equipment made for loading smokeless for black powder.
One big reason is that black will 'bridge' due to the larger size of the grain kernels.
By the ay.
Black powder conducts electricity ergo no resistance to build the heat necessary to reach the ignition point.
The thought that black can be set off by static is another old wives tail.
Still one should handle black as any other potentially volitile substance like smokeless power.
Or gasloine for your lawnmower.
By the way. Magtech makes brass 12 ga. shotshells that are very historically correct, available and not expensive.

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 Post subject: Re: re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 9:01 am 
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jeager106 wrote:
Whoooooooooooooooo-boy!
Just where'n'ell would someone post to learn about loading black powder????????????????????????????

Nowhere.

Message boards are rife with unfactual nonsense.

The smart and sensible source for learning at least the basics is from a book written by an experienced person who knows what the hell he's talking about.

Message boards are not the place to get a piecemeal education on the basics of any kind of reloading.

Quote:
Black powder might be set off my static but it's very, very, unlikely.

Might be is a far cry from definitely won't.

Unlikely maybe, but how about you volunteering to join whatever statistics may exist.

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 Post subject: re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 4:35 pm 
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Case:
If these talk boards aren't here to assist others, to share experiences and ask questions then why not just post a list of books for beginners and be done with it?
I've gotten a ton of great information and help from a ton of really good guys.
Now about static.
Black powder is a conducter, the electicity travels on the outside of the kernels of powder and there is NO resistance to build heat.
This has been lab tested and posted in many journals and places on the internet.
What is more dangerous is the odd chance of an accidental spark from metal to metal contact, ergo the need for brass or copper drop tubes and such.
Sorry you have such a dim view of this board and it's members.
Maybe every question here should have a rubber stamp answer that says.."hey dummy. Go buy a loading manual."
That would increase membership and participation wouldn't it?

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 Post subject: re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 4:58 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2005 4:51 pm
Posts: 10894
Location: Phoenixville PA
Case has the right idea, and safety is paramount. But - remember, unsophisticated people did this for hundreds of years!

Basically, reloading black powder is relatively simple. There are a few simple rules you MUST follow, however.

Safety rules are the same as for smokeless, but in addition, the following apply -

You always use non-sparking (e.g. brass or copper) conductive measures for the powder. DON'T use the powder measure on your reloader!

- Even if someone got away with it once, bad stuff can happen! And I can explain it in scientific terms if you want! I am a chemist, with several degrees AND a lot of practical, hands-on experience!!

You must remember that 1 dram = 27 1/3 grains.

You use well established loads - just read the "dram equivalent" for your gauge, and use THAT number of drams. Multiplied by grains per dram, that will give you the correct load for your gun.

Use the oz. of shot for the same gauge that is listed for the powder charge that you selected.

Wads - use 1 overpowder wad, followed by the right thickness of felt or "cushion" wad to give you a nicely finished load.

Use an overshot wad only if you "roll crimp" the shell.

And remember, plastic hulls only last through 1 or two loadings, otherwise they get pinholes burned through. By the way, cheap shells that evberyone tosses (Estate, Victory, Fiocchi, etc.) are ideal to load because the basic case is not tapered.

Primers - you can use ANY good 209 primer - black powder ignites easily.

By the way, old (antique?) powder and shot dippers are available in most antique stores. They are adjustable, and have drams of powder on one side, and oz. of shot on the other. I use one all the time. (They are brass, usually plated in a silvery colored finish, and are a breeze to use.)

And finally, unlike smokeless, black powder isn't really sensitive or critical to small loading errors for shotguns - you can go a couple of grains over or under your charge, and never tell the difference.

By the way, brass shotgun shells may require a few more extra steps which I can elaborate on, if you wish to try that.

Anyway, any questions, JUST ASK! The only DUMB question is one that isn't asked!!

BobK


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 Post subject: re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 5:04 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2005 4:07 pm
Posts: 262
Static....

http://www.ctmuzzleloaders.com/mlexperi ... parks.html

Black powder shells, fun, easy effective. It is a one at a time scoop loading procedure. Do not befoul your progressive with BP! Even if nothing spectacular happens you will have it take it apart to clean it. I use a PW 375. I drop the powder with a Lyman brass measure. I take the hull out to charge it. I drop the shot with the loader.

Select a spacious hull, Federal GM perhaps, Cheddite?
Primer does not matter.
Dump in the correct charge of 2F or 1F BP.
Seat a card was then fiber filler as needed to make your shot come up to the correct level.
Crimp the shell.

My last loads were 12 ga 2 3/4" in a active hull. 3-drams 2F, 1 1/8 oz shot. One 1/8" card and a 1/4" fiber wad that was dunked in melted crisco then dried and cooled on paper towel.

With my Winchester '97 I killed a couple of bandtailed pigeons for a few shots, last season, using BP ammo.

You may have to back off on the shot to make space. 1 1/6 oz and 2 3/4 dram is a fine 12 ga load.

I have used AA red wads with the cushon section filled with crisco. No clean necessary during the day.


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 Post subject: Re: re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 2:22 am 
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jeager106 wrote:
Case:
If these talk boards aren't here to assist others, to share experiences and ask questions then why not just post a list of books for beginners and be done with it?

And anytime I find someone who obviously is a rank beginner that's exactly what I do -- no matter what the powder.

Reloading ammunition isn't rocket science, but it involves certain basic procedures which are best studied and learned in an all-inclusive, logical sequence set forth in an authoritative book. Such will rarely be found in piecemeal replies on a message board.

Quote:
Sorry you have such a dim view of this board and it's members.
Maybe every question here should have a rubber stamp answer that says.."hey dummy. Go buy a loading manual."
That would increase membership and participation wouldn't it?

That's a ridiculous leap into the absurd.

Anyone who's been around this board any time at all knows damned well I'm anything but some nervous Nellie fear-mongerer.

Personally, I think some of the precautions in Lyman's Shotshell Handbook are silly, but I'd hesitate to tell a novice reloader to ignore them.

I'm a firm believer in knowing the rules before you start breaking them.

In fact, I've argued at length that there's no way a vacuum cleaner can touch off smokeless powder -- and there isn't.

So far as I know, smokeless powders, and probably modern black powder and its variants, are coated with graphite to improve flow and packing density as well as increase conductivity and therefore reduce sensitivity to static electricity.

So it's probably unlikely that static electricity would set off a quantity of modern black powder and its variants.

Also, so far as I know black powder has a lower flash point than smokeless. Mebbe, mebbe not.

I still suspect there's a good chance that a batch of rudimentary, unadorned black powder simply mixed up in someone's kitchen by combining potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulfur can be touched off by static electricity.

And I suspect black powder has at some time been touched off by static electricity. I seriously doubt that the caution that it can be was nothing more than a figment of someone's imagination.

But none of that was my main point anyway.

My main point then and still is that black powder is different in many ways than smokeless powder, including the corrosive damage it can do to the chamber and bore of a gun, and that it wouldn't hurt someone to spend 15 bucks on a book and read up on it.

I happen to believe that the best way to learn a new discipline is to buy and study a good book on it, and that was the crux of my reply.

I stand by what I wrote and exactly how I wrote it.

And frankly, I don't give a damn if someone disagrees with it or for what reason.

BobK wrote:
Case has the right idea, and safety is paramount. But - remember, unsophisticated people did this for hundreds of years!

That's very true, Bob, but it fails to mention how many Chinamen blew themselves up 1,000 years or so ago while they were learning about it.

I wasn't there, obviously, so I don't know, but I'm betting it was more than one.

Ever heard of "blasting powder?" That was black powder before dynamite was invented.

Black powder may be a "low" explosive the same as smokeless powder but it's more an explosive than smokeless and ignites much easier than smokeless.

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 Post subject: re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 6:08 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2005 4:51 pm
Posts: 10894
Location: Phoenixville PA
Case, you are right. By the way, it's not "flash point" (that would be lower, too, if it were a liquid) but "autoignition" temperature because it is a flammable solid.

Yeah, it's lower. I don't remember the actual temperatures, but trust me - it is significantly lower.

And not only is it temperature sensitive, but it is SHOCK sensitive, and FRICTION sensitive too. These are key points to remember.

But it doesn't require a Ph. D. to load safely. Just use common sense, and abide by the rules.

BobK

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 Post subject: re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2006 7:43 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2003 2:15 pm
Posts: 38
You have gotten some good advice: Know what you are doing, read the Lyman manual; do NOT use your reloaders powder measure, use one designed for blackpowder ( I use my blackpowder flask with a 75 grain spout); be EXTRA careful with black powder, it is more sensitive than smokeless powder. Then, all that said, here are some tips:
I use an old single stage reloader JUST for BP.
75 gr. of 2F and 1-1/8 oz shot are a good trap load. I use the winchester "Red Wad" for trap and a nitro card and felt wad for cowboy action. (The shot cup is nice to hold patterns)
I use Win AA's for cowboy action, since they eject fast and easy. They take a .125 Nitro card and a 1/2' felt wad, OR a Win red wad.
Don't try to save your hull after firing BP. As pointed out, BP will burn little pin holes through the plastic. BP fouling also attracts moisture and I learned the hard way that the moisture attracted was enough to fizzle the next reload. :oops:
If you use the MagTech Brass hulls, you need to make some special tools to deprime and to prime. Go to CircleFly for more information, but for 12 ga., you use 11 ga. wads. The brass hull is much thinner! There is an overshot wad required, since there is no crimp. I seal mine with RTV sealant but I have use Elmer's glue, Silicone Caulk, and Duco Cement . Otherwise, they load like a plastic hull, but can be reloaded for a whole lot of times more than a plastic hull.
You can load with pyrodex or 777, volume for volume. I have a friend who swears by a load of 60 grains of pyrodex P and 1-1/8 oz. shot, iffen you are into substitutes.
If you use BP substitute, I would still NOT use a smokeless powder measure. Maybe I am just superstitious. :D
Don't expect to see what you just shot at. You won't. Hope other people do! :D
Good luck and have fun! The Dark side is a BLAST! :twisted:

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 Post subject: re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 10:49 am 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2005 4:07 pm
Posts: 262
"Yeah, it's lower. I don't remember the actual temperatures, but trust me - it is significantly lower. "

Sorry, not so. Black ignites at a much higher temperature than smokeless. I used to shoot a matchlock. If I used non nitrated match chord the ember would not ignite black powder reliably. If I put a couple of grains of smokeless on top of the pan charge it would light every time.

I looked up the actual data on this point:

http://avogadro.chem.iastate.edu/MSDS/s ... powder.htm

http://www.ocsresponds.com/ref/msds/msd ... %20MSDS%22


If you must prove it to yourself, try this experiment. Place a pinch of smokeless and a pinch of black on an electric stove burner or hotplate heating element. Turn on the stove. Wait for it to heat up, the smokeless should light first.

Black powder is the but of myth and superstition. A lot of what folks know is handed down from great grandfather. The stories got changed around int he last hundred years. Few of us have much first hand experience.


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 Post subject: Re: re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 11:48 am 
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Scota4570 wrote:
Black ignites at a much higher temperature than smokeless.

I tried half-heartedly to find some MSDS on those and didn't have much luck.

Interesting... And hard to believe.

Smokeless powder: Ignition temperature: 160-170°C (338-356°F)

Black powder: Autoignition temperature: Approx. 464°C (867°F)

Bottom line of the black powder MSDS:

"Black powder is a deflagrating explosive. It is very sensitive to flame and spark and can
also be ignited by friction and impact
. When ignited nconfined, it burns with explosive
violence and will explode if ignited under even slight confinement."


I still say that in general it's a more dangerous powder than smokeless. For one thing, there are four grades of black powder from course to fine, with fine being the hottest.

That MSDS doesn't say which grade it applies to.

I just happen to have a can of Goex FFFg and I think I'll try your little kitchen range experiment.

We'll see what transpires...

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 Post subject: re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:05 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2004 10:09 pm
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Location: IL, CA, AZ
Following is a link to Hodgdon's wedsite where they provide some of the basics on black powder (Pyrodex and Tripple 7 black powder subs.) and reloading it to get you started. You can also purchase many good books on BP reloading to get you started also.

I've used their data from the Hodgdon site as well as their little free black powder reloading manual that you can pick up where ever you buy your reloading supplies. I use Federal hulls, regular soft shot, the Win12RR wad, a Win 209 primer, and the amount of BP substitute they call for. I shot them in an old H&R Model 58 12g Topper. They are fun to shoot...fun to watch everyone's reaction to the smoke cloud...and smell. :lol:

Basic "Black Powder" Info
http://www.hodgdon.com/data/muzzleloading/

Shotgun Black Powder Reloading Info
http://www.hodgdon.com/data/muzzleloading/

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 Post subject: re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2006 10:24 pm 
Shooting Instructor
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Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2004 9:35 am
Posts: 884
Location: Alabama
This link proved very helpful to me.

http://www.tbullock.com/bpsg.html


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 Post subject: Re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2020 11:23 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:39 am
Posts: 3
Has anyone heard from Case? I know it was fourteen years ago, but he mentioned a kitchen experiment with FFF powder and never came back!


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 Post subject: Re: black powder shotgun shells
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 5:08 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2005 4:51 pm
Posts: 10894
Location: Phoenixville PA
Case left us YEARS ago for another interest of his. I'm not sure if he is even around any more.



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