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 Muzzleloader Max Loads.....maybe not what you think!

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Butcher45

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PostSubject: Muzzleloader Max Loads.....maybe not what you think!   January 20th 2016, 5:49 pm

I made the following post on a local/regional hunting forum I belong to, that was motivated by another thread on there about a muzzleloader that was said to have blown-up. I am continually amazed at the lack of understanding I see from all sorts of muzzleloader shooters (from "old-school", to "newbie") as to just what "maximum load of 150 grains" REALLY means.

I wanted to share this with you all, and hear some feedback on this issue. The first response I got was "Thank you.....would have never put that together!".



"I see a whole lot of confusion in the muzzleloading industry as to what constitutes a "maximum load of 150grains". 

All powder measurements referred to in this post are measured by VOLUME, not weight. If you measure grains by weight, you must realize that it doesn't measure the same as measuring by volume at all with MOST substitutes. From my understanding, most substitutes weigh much LESS than BP given the same volume. 

From my understanding, the term "150grain maximum load" is not being communicated well at all by the muzzleloading industry. It is to the point I see long-time muzzleloader regulars on online forums misinterpreting it ALL THE TIME when making recommendations to newbies. It makes for a lot of confusion to the new guy like me that just bought his first, and is looking online to see what others are doing with theirs, and/or recommending. 

When in doubt, CALL THE COMPANY.

To my understanding, the muzzleloader industry as a whole is not making it clear enough that when they say the max load in their magnum-rated guns is 150 grains, that means a charge that is equivalent to 150 grains of Black Powder.

TO MY UNDERSTANDING (which is not a strong one in this scene), that means (in terms of max loads/pressure).

1) 110grains of FFF 777 is the equivalent of 150grains of Black Powder. (Note: for some reason, CVA says no FFF in their guns......?).

2) From Hodgdon's 777 load notes page "To duplicate a blackpowder load velocity using Triple Seven, you must decrease the powder charge by 15%. ". They say "velocity", but does this correlate to pressure the same way? My understanding is that this would make the max load of 777 2f used in a CVA muzzleloader to be ?120grains?

3. Haven't seen an official conversion chart as to the equivalency of BH209, to Black Powder, so I would have to operate under the assumption that Western Powders recommended max of 120 grains is most likely equivalent to 150grains of Black Powder. Would CVA intentionally recommend a maximum load for their magnum rated muzzleloaders, that exceeds the powder manufacturers recommendation by 30 grains?

DISCLAIMER: The following is to the best of my recollection.........don't take my word for this. I do not know what I am doing. Call CVA if you want to know for yourself. 

I called CVA to clarify their "no sabot loads over 300grains no conicals over 400grains" rule, as I insist on using at least 440grains for conicals used on our Roosevelt Elk we have out here. After some back and forth, I was told that 440grainers would be OK in a CVA OptimaV2 or AccuraV2, so long as the charge did not exceed 100 grains EQUIVALENT to Black Powder. So I should be able to make a plenty reasonable elk load out of that.

So that would make the maximum charge by volume in a CVA muzzleloader with a 400+grain conical about 70(?)grains of FFF 777 (CVA says NO fff in their guns), 85grains of BH209/FF 777, or 100grains of Pyrodex (I didn't do all the math, so all those numbers could be wrong).

Just wanted people to look further into what "Magnum rated for 150grains" muzzleloaders actually means, and bring awareness to the confusion before someone messes up royally hurting themselves by loading 150grains of 777 or BH209 behind a heavy conical because they thought they knew it was OK from their research online, or are basing what they are doing on their past experience using lower-powered propellents/powders.

Again.........I could be wrong about everything in this post. You won't ever catch me sharing load data on a muzzleloader online, that is for sure.

So using that data (if it is correct), unless the shooter is shooting real black powder, or Pyrodex (which we don't know at this point), a 110grain charge is pretty close to maximum no matter what sub you use (other than Pyrodex) assuming a bullet weight of UNDER 400grains in a CVA (otherwise it is over max by at least %10!). 

Almost every muzzleloader enthusiast I have ever seen online developing loads for bore-sized conicals in a .50cal, settled on between 70 and 90 grains of 777 (lower end for FFF, upper end for FF) due to heavy conicals not benefiting nearly as much from additional powder charges as the lighter bullets do, and the pressures/recoil going way, way up with the heavier conicals with little-to-any additional benefits.

Just some stuff to think about."
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GoexBlackhorn

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PostSubject: Re: Muzzleloader Max Loads.....maybe not what you think!   January 20th 2016, 6:30 pm

In adding more confusion, three 50-grain pellets of 777 is supposed to equal 150 grains. Well it doesn't.

Years ago, in an effort to equalize the strength of both Pyrodex pellets and 777 pellets - mainly for for safety concerns, the 50-grain pellet of 777 was reduced to 43 grains.

So in retrospect, essence..... whatever / however you want to say it or call it, those three 50-grain pellets of 777 equals 129 grains of their loose powder.
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Butcher45

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PostSubject: Re: Muzzleloader Max Loads.....maybe not what you think!   January 20th 2016, 6:36 pm

@GoexBlackhorn wrote:

So in retrospect, essence..... whatever / however you want to say it or call it, those three 50-grain pellets of 777 equals 129 grains of their loose powder.


But does it, now?

Aren't the burn characteristics of the pellets different than the loose powder somehow?  Especially if compressed.......?
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PostSubject: Re: Muzzleloader Max Loads.....maybe not what you think!   January 20th 2016, 8:40 pm

To throw in more confusion. What black powder you're using matters too. 150gr of Swiss or OE is much different compared to 150gr of Goex.

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Butcher45

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PostSubject: Re: Muzzleloader Max Loads.....maybe not what you think!   January 20th 2016, 9:04 pm

Muley wrote:
To throw in more confusion. What black powder you're using matters too. 150gr of Swiss or OE is much different compared to 150gr of Goex.


Yep......it's one big hot mess.

Standardization is called for.  Self-regulate, before others decide to do it for you, Muzzleloader Industry!
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PostSubject: Re: Muzzleloader Max Loads.....maybe not what you think!   January 20th 2016, 10:13 pm

Measure by volume is what I always recommend unless the Manf. provides a conversion chart.
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PostSubject: Re: Muzzleloader Max Loads.....maybe not what you think!   January 21st 2016, 12:40 pm

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