Dear Friends, (And especially Ominivore!)
I feel that Omnivore has put his finger on the Central Theme behind this continueing controversy! Each of you has their own pet theory about the, "Beastliness," of this particular powder! I question why, if you hate cleaning a gun THAT MUCH, why you all don't take up Needlepoint instead??? I have been shooting Black Powder revolvers for MANY YEARS and NO MATTER WHAT propellant you utilize to push the ball down the barrel, you are still going to have to clean the gun, as Sure As God Made Little Green Apples! There is no getting away from this, "Simple Basic Fact!"
In England I used to use Curtis & Harvet's Black Powder. None of the many substitute propellants had been invented then, and pure black Powder I soon discovered, leaves behind it a fowling that is HARD! When using Holy Black in England, after a few shots, say abut two cylinders, it WAS necessary to pass a brush down the barrel of the revolver in order to maintain any semblance of accuracy! Using my (So Called?) Duplex load of a ten grain of Holy Black, followed by a heftier charge of Pyrodex P, I CAN SHOOT ALL BLOODY AFTERNOON, AND NEVER HAVE TO PASS A BRUSH DOWN THE BARREL TO MAINTAIN AS MUCH ACCURACY, AS MY ALMOST 79 YEAR OLD HANDS CAN ACCOMPLISH!
Now a month or so ago, I mentioned Curtis and Harvey's Powder on the Forum, and another member, (I beleive it may have been G-Dog?) had used the stuff some years previously, and he said it was dirty stuff to use! So powders DO vary.
Now when Omnivore made his very telling comment, suggesting that instead of Bitching about the powder, you all should focus on ways to clean, oil, and otherwise care for the welfare of your guns, I slapped my knee, and said YES! So LOUDLY, I frightened my cats!
Now when I go for a shooting session, I do not ever intend to reload any cylinders out there! I DO have 16 of them, after all! I always take at least a dozen with me, and three extra one for the Girls to have inserted in them for the Drive Home! After all, as the Scriptures tell us, "In the Midst of Life We are in Death." and as I have often remarked here in the past, I have great admiration for the Boy Scout Motto! "BE PREPARED!" So in my case, the only thing that I SOMETIMES have to do a little cleanup & Lube job on, is the base pin! I NEVER load my cylinders ON the gun. My hand would not stand
the punishment of forcing .457 balls into the chambers with the loading lever on the gun. I'd need at the very least, a Catcher's Mitt to get it done, and anyway, it is far more comfortable for me to sit at the table, with however many cylinders I fired that afternoon, having boiled them all clean, (SURGICALLY CLEAN!!!) and having allowed them to air dry, so that every atom of moisture has evaporated from them!
The fowling that Pyrodex P leaves in the wake of it's burning, is SOFT Fowling! so it has always been very much easier for me to brush a barrel clean, than the ardurous scrubbing I used to be faced with, when I cleaned that Thrice Accursed 1860 Army Monstrosity in Merrie England!!! I can shoot all three of my Triplest out in the desert, and I NEVER have
to pass a brush down any of their barrels, because the fowling left behind by Pyrodex IS SOFT, and is wiped out by the passage of the next ball. Cleaning my barrels is by far the easiest chore I have when I return home! I remove the cylinder, then poise the revolver at an angle under the fawcett, and run hot water down the barrel. After a couple of seconds, the water comes out clean, and a cleaning rod with a jag and some old T-Shirt, restores a mirror like finish to the bores! I suspect that some members are just repeating what they have read other members say about Pyrodex, and have not bothered to really try and experiment with it themselves! Sort of, "Monkey read, then Monkey Write!" I have been USING
Pyrodex P, for a great many years, and have NO COMPLAINTS WHATSOEVER! I find it to be a very satisfactory propellant,
and have found it no more difficult to clean up, EXCEPT for Black Powder! Which I have explained PAINSTAKINGLY, MANY TIMES, leaves behind it a fowling that is HARD!
My barrels often come, "Squeaky Clean," with just hot water from the fawcett being poured down them! The patches often come out from the first pass, with no powder smudges on them at all. The only reason I use a Priming Charge of Holy Black at all, is that I have found in the past, that SOME GUNS, are inclined to give slight Hang-Fires when loaded with ONLY Pyrodex. Now some people are fortunate in having guns that never exhibit this trait. However BOTH my old Eight Inch Remingtons DID Hang Fire from time to time, so I developed the system of putting ten grains of Holy Black at the bottom of each chamber! Never had a Hang Fire Since!!!
So I respectfully suggest, that instead of spouting forth like a flock of Polly Parrots about the Evils of Pyrodex, you learn to keep your revolvers spotlessly clean, and to lube them properly as well, and you will find that if you just use a pinch of Holy Black at the bottom of each chamber,(In case your revolver is one of those that will occasionally give inexplicable hang fires!) you will find that PyrodexP will give you performance very near to Swiss Powder, and you'll not have to ever bother about finding a store within reach of you that sells Holy Black, and having to spend a small fortune on Hazmat fees if you order from a supplier miles from your home! For a pound of Holy Black is 7,000 grains! and if you just use ten grans as a primer in each chamber, one pound will last you 700 shots!
Pyrodex is reasonably priced, gives very good results if you do your part, is readily available in most locations, and at the present time is not unduly fettered with Government Red Tape! Be thankful that this excellent product is readily available, and try and find the REAL reasons you are unhappy with it! To once more quote the Scriptures, First cast the Mote from thine own eye!"