Author Topic: Powder Experiment  (Read 38466 times)

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Offline ssb73q

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Powder Experiment
« on: July 28, 2013, 01:53:43 PM »
Hi, I am setting up to do an experiment to evaluate different cap and ball powders.

I have my different C&B powders contained in the Traditions brass powder flask where each has a 30gr (by volume) spout. The weights thrown for different powders using the 30gr spout of the flask:

Black MZ - 23.3gr
Graf Black Powder 3F - 28.2gr
Swiss Black Powder 3F - 24.4gr
Triple 7 3F - 19.2gr
Pyrodex P - 18.2gr

Tomorrow I am receiving two additional Tradition powder flasks and will use one to hold the new Goex Olde Eynsford. I will post the weight thrown for the 30gr spout flask after the flask is charged.

After degreasing 6 Pietta 1858 cylinders and blowing out the nipples with compressed air, I loaded 5 of the cylinders with 30gr by volume of each of the 5 powders currently held in flasks, a 0.030" fiber wad was added to cover the powder, a 1/8" thick lubed wad was added, and then a 0.454 Hornady swaged ball was loaded using the Tower of Power loading stand. The Olde Eynsford cylinder will be loaded tomorrow. The fiber wad is to protect the powder from being wetted by the lube. Caps were placed on the nipples to prevent moisture infiltration. Each of the loaded cylinders are now safely held in my cylinder range box.

The cylinder numbers are:

1, Black MZ
2, Graf Black Powder 3F
3, Swiss Black Powder 3F
4, Triple 7 3F
5, Pyrodex P
6, Olde Eynsford

I intend on using a Pietta 8" barrel 1858 Remington for testing. The six shots from each cylinder will be measured with a chronograph, and then the six shots averaged. I expect the firing to be done at least 10ft from the chronograph as to not hit it will firing debris.

Well, that's my plan. Does anyone have any thoughts or concerns about this experiment?   Anything to add or subtract?  (^h (^h (^h

Regards,
Richard
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Offline delmar

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Re: Powder Experiment
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2013, 03:04:45 PM »
Theoretically how much each powder weighs should make little difference since all as designed to measure by volume. So if each of the products preform as designed you should get a little more velocity out of the 777 and all the rest should be about the same.

Offline ssb73q

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Re: Powder Experiment
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2013, 04:48:22 PM »
Hi, the new Traditions flask arrived today and I loaded it up with Olde Eynsford black powder. The 30gr by volume nozzle threw:

Goex Olde Eynsford - 23.8gr

This is very close to the weight thrown with Swiss. An observation is that the Olde Eynsford doesn't have as nice a black shine as Swiss. It's a little duller in appearance.

Today I moved some of my steel targets around so that a steel target will protect the chronograph from being hit while firing. Assuming the weather is good tomorrow, I expect to run my velocity experiments with the six different powders all loaded to the same volume.

Regards,
Richard

 
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Offline rodwha

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Re: Powder Experiment
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2013, 07:26:34 PM »
From the little testing through rifles I've seen OE performs very much like Swiss.

Maybe for another day it would be cool to test 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 grn charges. I'd like to see the velocity differences.
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Offline ssb73q

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Re: Powder Experiment
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2013, 10:43:01 AM »
Hi, I completed the powder test this morning. Let me warn you, you may not like the results. Some closely held beliefs are going down.

Six Pietta cylinders that have a chamber diameter of 0.446-0.447 were loaded by 30gr black powder equivalent volume using the following different powders:

Black MZ - 23.3gr
Graf Black Powder 3F - 28.2gr
Swiss Black Powder 3F - 24.4gr
Triple 7 3F - 19.2gr
Pyrodex P - 18.2gr
Goex Olde Eynsford - 23.8gr

The number next to the powder is the actual weight. A 0.030" fiber wad was placed over each chamber followed with a 1/8" lubed felt wad. That was compressed in my Tower of Powder loader and then a 0.454 Hornady ball (from the same new box) was added and compressed. CCI #10 caps were used.

Each cylinder was loaded into a 8" barrel Pietta 1858 Remington and fired 10ft from a Chrony chronograph. Velocity measurement for each shot was taken. After each cylinder was fired, the bore was cleaned with patches of a Ballistol/water mix to evaluate fouling and to clean the bore for the next cylinder powder tested.

The results:

Black MZ
678.3
728.8
774.3
705.1
677.6
Average - 712.82
Standard Deviation - 40.39

Graf BP 3F
665.3
670.4
678.1
678.1
669.8

Average 672.34
Standard Deviation - 5.62

Swiss BP 3F
911
915.3
908.3
933.8
933.8
915.3

Average - 919.58
Standard Deviation - 11.33

Triple 7 3F
816.4
835.3
785.3
875.9
888.6
878.6

Average - 846.68
Standard Deviation - 41.09

Pyrodex P
297.9
543.4
729.2
636.6
535.5
521.2

Average - 543.97
Standard Deviation - 144.24

Olde Eynsford BP 3F
891.3
910.2
890.9
928
901.7
914.6

Average - 906.12
Standard Deviation - 14.41

The following is a print screen of the Excel spreadsheet:



The fouling is my subjective judgement of the crud on the cleaning patch:

Black MZ - Very light
Graf Black Powder 3F - Very heavy
Swiss Black Powder 3F - Moderate
Triple 7 3F - Light
Pyrodex P - Heavy
Goex Olde Eynsford - Moderate

Some things to note:

I was only able to get chronograph readings from five shots from both the Black MZ and Graf BP. These were the first two cylinders tested where I was shooting too close over the chronograph and got an error message instead of a velocity for one of the shots. The next thing to note is that the Pyrodex used was from a sealed bottle that may be 20yrs old. Besides the squib Pyrodex shot velocity, notice the variability in velocity for Pyrodex. My closely held belief that Black MZ was the best powder since sliced bread goes down in flames. The velocity variability is terrible. I think this come from the variability of the Black MZ very coarse powder grains not metering properly in a small 30gr measure. While the fouling is minimal with Black MZ the velocity variability is terrible. I will put both my Black MZ and Pyrodex stash on the turnip truck that's going to the dumps.

My testing with my 1858 suggests that Swiss and the new Olde Eynsford will be my goto powders.

I will be happy to answer any questions or entertain any comments. I hope this testing will be as useful to you as it was to me.

Regards,
Richard
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!

Offline rodwha

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Re: Powder Experiment
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2013, 11:37:25 AM »
I've heard that Triple 7 degrades quickly once opened. How old was it?

On the Yahoo Percussion Pistol group the idea to put desiccants in the powder was tossed out. I have been keeping many of the ones I've found in packages, and now drop one into an opened bottle. Maybe it'll help.

Nice to see the testing you did! And nice to see that Olde E performed very well. Closer to Swiss in your testing vs the ones I've seen in rifles (usually about 50 fps slower).

I've enjoyed using Olde E so far, but it is messier than T7. Not a big deal though. I would have thought T7 would have been slightly higher though.
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Offline ssb73q

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Re: Powder Experiment
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2013, 11:53:38 AM »
I've heard that Triple 7 degrades quickly once opened. How old was it?

On the Yahoo Percussion Pistol group the idea to put desiccants in the powder was tossed out. I have been keeping many of the ones I've found in packages, and now drop one into an opened bottle. Maybe it'll help.

Nice to see the testing you did! And nice to see that Olde E performed very well. Closer to Swiss in your testing vs the ones I've seen in rifles (usually about 50 fps slower).

I've enjoyed using Olde E so far, but it is messier than T7. Not a big deal though. I would have thought T7 would have been slightly higher though.

Hi rodwha, my Triple 7 is ~five months old. The Triple 7 Traditions flask (as all the other powder flasks) are kept in sealed polyethylene bag. My powders are stored at a fairly constant temperature of 65-degrees with an outside the bag humidity of 70%. Sounds like ideal cigar storage conditions?  )L$

Something I forgot to mention is the amount of observed smoke from the different powders. Triple 7 produced the least smoke, Black MZ the most. Walking into the Pryodex smoke had me choking.

I'm glad I did the velocity testing using the chronograph because, other than the Pyrodex squip load, felt recoil seemed about the same for all the powders. This shows me that subjective evaluation of a load's power may be very misleading.

BTW, while my Pryodex is still on the turnip dump truck, I may still use the Black MZ. It's at least as good as the Graf BP, but fouling is almost nonexistent. I need to do more work understanding the Black MZ grain size issue. I have seen where shooters of Black MZ in rifles require very heavy compression for consistent velocities.

Regards,
Richard
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Offline rodwha

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Re: Powder Experiment
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2013, 12:39:27 PM »
I really dislike Pyrodex, but I still use it for breaking in my rifle. Could also be useful for introducing others to shooting too. I'd use it...

I'm curious as to whether you used a scale or powder measure for your loads.

I'm also curious how you have a temp of 65* with humidity at 70%! Maybe I ought to buy a box of cigars and have you hang onto them for me! I sure like an Avo Uvezian! Been a few years...

On the Yahoo Percussion Revolver group a fellow had done some testing (40 grns IIRC) using several powders and a RB. I think all were 3F granulation, but he got an avg of 1115 fps with T7, 1105 fps with Swiss, and 1092 fps with Olde E.
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Offline ssb73q

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Re: Powder Experiment
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2013, 01:27:39 PM »
I really dislike Pyrodex, but I still use it for breaking in my rifle. Could also be useful for introducing others to shooting too. I'd use it...

I'm curious as to whether you used a scale or powder measure for your loads.

I'm also curious how you have a temp of 65* with humidity at 70%! Maybe I ought to buy a box of cigars and have you hang onto them for me! I sure like an Avo Uvezian! Been a few years...

On the Yahoo Percussion Revolver group a fellow had done some testing (40 grns IIRC) using several powders and a RB. I think all were 3F granulation, but he got an avg of 1115 fps with T7, 1105 fps with Swiss, and 1092 fps with Olde E.

Hi rodwha, all the velocity testing was done volumetric, the 30gr volume equivalent of black powder. The weights I listed next to each of the powders were the actual weights produced by the 30gr volume measure as measured by my electronic reloading scale. Those weights were an average of five 30gr volume measurements. I store my powders in my basement where a dehumidifier maintains humidity at 70% as measured by a humidity meter. As a scientist in a past life, I was very careful to control variables in my velocity testing. What's the variability in powder from lot to lot, only God knows. When I buy powder, I always buy at least five pounds of each powder in an attempt to maintain consistency for each shot from bottle to bottle. I found the excellent velocity consistency (standard deviation) of the Graf BP interesting. Too bad it is so dirty with fouling. The cylinder of Graf BP was causing the cylinder to drag on the base pin after only one cylinder. Past shooting of Black MZ has had me go 42rds and I could have kept going without any cleaning whatsoever. IMO the Swiss is the best performance powder, but it is the "old" Swiss. I would love to test the "new" Swiss.

Bottom line is that if I was looking for a powder with the most energy for self protection or hunting, it would be Swiss. The Olde Eynsford comes close to Swiss, but it is a little more fouling than Swiss. The $17/lb price of Olde Eynsford is an advantage compared to the $25/lb price for Swiss.

Regards,
Richard
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Offline ssb73q

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Re: Powder Experiment
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2013, 03:05:19 PM »
I really dislike Pyrodex, but I still use it for breaking in my rifle. Could also be useful for introducing others to shooting too. I'd use it...

I'm curious as to whether you used a scale or powder measure for your loads.

I'm also curious how you have a temp of 65* with humidity at 70%! Maybe I ought to buy a box of cigars and have you hang onto them for me! I sure like an Avo Uvezian! Been a few years...

On the Yahoo Percussion Revolver group a fellow had done some testing (40 grns IIRC) using several powders and a RB. I think all were 3F granulation, but he got an avg of 1115 fps with T7, 1105 fps with Swiss, and 1092 fps with Olde E.

Hi rodwha, Pyrodex - I hope I didn't give Johnnie a stroke.  )L$ )L$ (?^ (?^ ->i ->i

Regards,
Richard
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Offline rodwha

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Re: Powder Experiment
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2013, 03:51:28 PM »
Richard,

He or Hawg may come knocking on your door for it! Hell, I'd take it too... But I wouldn't travel far for it...

I still can't get over the high humidity in your basement! At 65* I suppose it's tolerable to be down there for awhile.
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Offline ssb73q

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Re: Powder Experiment
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2013, 06:33:04 AM »
Hi, good data should never be left idle. I calculated the bullet (.454 ball) energy from my tests and then normalized the bullet energy for different powder weights to the weight of basic black powder, the Graf BP.

The result:

Bullet energy:
Black Mz - 159.05ft-lb
Graf BP - 141.5ft-lb
Swiss BP - 264.7ft-lb
Triple 7 - 224.4ft-lb
Pyrodex - 92.62ft-lb
Olde Eyn - 257ft-lb

Powder weight:
Black MZ - 23.3gr
Graf Black Powder 3F - 28.2gr
Swiss Black Powder 3F - 24.4gr
Triple 7 3F - 19.2gr
Pyrodex P - 18.2gr
Goex Olde Eynsford - 23.8gr

Bullet energy per unit powder weight, normalized to Graf BP:
Black MZ - 136.04%
Graf Black Powder 3F - 100%
Swiss Black Powder 3F - 216.2%
Triple 7 3F - 232.92%
Pyrodex P - 101.42%
Goex Olde Eynsford - 215.2%

Notice that the most energetic powder by weight is Triple 7 and that Swiss is over twice the power of the pedestrian run-of-the-mill Graf BP. Also, notice how close Swiss is to Olde Eynsford in energy by weight.

Note that the very poor performance of Pyrodex was due to the one squip cylinder chamber during testing. I considered throwing out that squib, but decided not to. If you needed that cylinder chamber to work, Pyrodex would have failed you. Also, the other velocity variability of Pyrodex leaves no interest for me.

Regards,
Richard







« Last Edit: July 31, 2013, 06:40:05 AM by ssb73q »
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Offline kituwa

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Re: Powder Experiment
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2013, 01:06:53 PM »
I expect that your pyrodex results are from a bad batch of it.I have heard more than one person that has had problems like that.In my opinion pyrodex and Graf and Goex are ok for just popping off at cans or the like, but if you really want a powder that does not have a shelf life and comes the closest to what powder was like in the 1800's, then swiss and Old Eynsford is the way to go. I like T7 and have always had good luck with it and pyrodex too for that matter, but i have heard too many stories about the both of them getting weak if they are old. When i have the money i will order 20 pounds and pay the hazmat. Its not just all about having a hot load to me, if a powder is effeciant it will be cleaner too.

Offline ssb73q

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Re: Powder Experiment
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2013, 02:20:35 PM »
if a powder is effeciant it will be cleaner too.

Hi kituwa, I'm not sure I completely agree with you on this. Black MZ has almost no fouling, but seems to have low efficiency. Black MZ seems to turn all its fouling into smoke. Having said that, I went through 42 shots with Swiss and like Black MZ didn't have to clean a fouled revolver.

Regards,
Richard
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Offline kituwa

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Re: Powder Experiment
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2013, 03:34:30 PM »
Yes, i was really talking about true black, like the difference between goex and swiss. The substitutes are another story. Like T7, it shoots pretty clean, but the chrono results from 4 or 5 different people i have seen are all over the place in velocity and some people are saying that its because it has a low shelf life,same with pyrodex. Now those 30 grain pyrodex pellets, them things are HOT, way more so than 30 grains of loose powder.