Zephaniah W. Nash

Black Powder vs. Black Powder Substitute

15 posts in this topic

I seriously doubt this will come as a surprise to anyone here, but actual black powder is just so much better than BP substitute!

I have, for some time, been limited to the substitute -- there's just no one nearby dealing in real BP. Recently, though, I've gotten in touch with some Cowboy Action shooters who load their own cartridges, so we can all share in ordering BP. Makes it much more economical to share that hazardous material shipping fee.

At any rate, it had been so long since I had real BP, I had forgotten how much better it is in flintlocks. The substitute is fine for percussion firearms, but...

My misfire rate has fallen to maybe a fifth what it had been, and the hangfires are simply no more. It happened quite a bit with the substitute.

So, if all you've got is BP substitute, you can still shoot -- but it's just not the same!

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You will also find that real black powder is considerably cheaper that the substitute stuff !!

>>>>> Cascabel

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It is, at that -- if you can buy in enough bulk to take advantage of it!

If I was buying just for myself, it would be awfully expensive. Granted, it's not like it will spoil, so it's something you can keep, but I don't have enough free cash at the moment to buy 20+ pounds -- particularly after Baltimore Knife and Sword went and ran a Labor Day sale...

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That substitute stuff is horrible and has trouble igniting - black powder is so much better.

Assuming your profile reads right - I would think gaining access to black powder shouldn't be the problem where you live.

In California, black powder can be really hard to come by at times. The best solution was to get together with friends, pool our monies and order in bulk - I can't remember what it broke down to, but it was considerably cheaper than buying the same 1, 2 or more cans individually at one of the few stores that still carried it.

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To myself the difference is noticable simply in the classification for mailing, solid propellent vs. explosive

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Finding it for me, locally, just doesn't happen -- no one keeps it in stock. Most people shooting reproduction firearms are using percussion, which works fine with the substitute.

Not that I've found a few other real black powder shooters, though, we can easily combine an order for the lot of us. Even they are mostly CAS folks, but like to load their own rounds with BP.

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Finding it for me, locally, just doesn't happen -- no one keeps it in stock. Most people shooting reproduction firearms are using percussion, which works fine with the substitute. . .

Wow, I'm surprised - I would expect you could easily find it locally. . . I mean Texas.

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I bet if you asked some of those cowboy action shooters, they would know locally, who has it, but then again its going to be a retail prices and not bulk.

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Never use Black powder substitute in your early reproduction flintlocks/percussions-only use Goex,Swiss,Skirmish, KIK, Re enactor powders,i buy my Black powder though Powder Inc.com . They sell in lots of 5 lbs, 10lbs, 25lbs and can be mixed , maximum of 50 lbs per order.the more you buy the better the prices become at powder inc. Substitute black powder is made for enline modern high volocity black powder guns, if you shoot substitue out of a flintlock you may burst the barrel, which will cause plenty of shrapnel. If you want to know how much powder to load for a live load its usaully 1/2 the caliber number , so say its a 50 caliber pistol use 25 grains for the main charge. if you are shooting a musket than more powder will be ok, and a rifled long gun with a live load same powder measure as the caliber, or more if needed. i recommend if you have a 50 caliber or higher bore size use 2F for the main charge, and if you are shooting 45 caliber or a smaller bore size use 3F for the main charge. always use 4F to prime the pan. make sure to clean your weapon after each days use, black powder is very corrosive and will damage your barrel over time, including rust and pitting.a great source for information on cleaning supplies is KingsForge, Track of the Wolf, or Dixie Gun Works. Happy Long Gong Shooting!

Edited by PLUNDERING PYLOS PARKER

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I will also reiterate much of what is being said.

My first introduction came from use during a WIld West reenactment. Here, pyrodex was NOT allowed because it was proven to not fully break up and sometimes become a firey little spitball. Again, like I said... Pyrodex did not fully ignite and dissipate.

SO the Only choice that was acceptable was Goex or the "new" Elephant powder at the time.

AFter that one of my shooting pards in Cowboy Action Shooting, tried using the preformed and premeasured loads... I'm not even going to get started there!

OK so needless to say, we ended up plundering every gunshop and hardware store(yes some places still carry powder) in the area! You can also occasionally buy or barter some at Civil war events!

The last and in some cases the most practical is to get together with a buddy or two and buy a box or crate or how ever the sell it, then drive where you need to. You could also work somethig out with another reenactor who's not from the area but is planning to attend the same event.

Just a suggestion

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If you're looking to order, you might also try joining up with a local high powered rocketry group. They often need 4f for their parachute deployment.

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Pyrodex, the main BP substitute over here, is quite corrosive and you really need to up the charge levels to equal BP performance and that ups the internal pressures, evil stuff , just don't.

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. . .try joining up with a local high powered rocketry group. They often need 4f for their parachute deployment.

Clever ploy. . .

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Im luck in AZ. I can get it locally. The only issue that I have had with pyrodex is it may not ignite with flint and steel. Anyone else have this issue.

yep. Im new. I will post my CV shortly.

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Im luck in AZ. I can get it locally. The only issue that I have had with pyrodex is it may not ignite with flint and steel. Anyone else have this issue.

yep. Im new. I will post my CV shortly.

It's well known among flintlock shooters that Pyrodex and other substitutes perform poorly in flintlocks. Just not worth the trouble.

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