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 Black Powder Substitute - What's a good choice?

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FrontierGander
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PostSubject: Black Powder Substitute - What's a good choice?   Wed 25 Oct - 17:35

This topic is ALWAYS popping up by the new shooters.

What black powder sub is a good choice for my rifle?

The experienced shooters always reply with the typical response of, NONE! Real black powder only for me!

Well, that's just to darn easy of an answer! Is it the wrong answer? No! It's probably the best advice you can get if you are shooting a traditional muzzleloader.

Real black powder ( Goex, Olde Eynsford, Swiss, Graf & Sons, etc ) will give you the best results when it comes close to 100% ignition in a cap lock.

Now, some folks like myself, simply can not justify spending the upfront money on ordering real black powder online for a 5lb minimum order.

I am not going to go through the history of when such and such powder was made or who made it or the pressures it makes. All that stuff means jack squat to the normal every day shooter and personally, I could care less as it is very boring to read about.

As always - Never shoot Smokeless Powder in a muzzleloader!


Pyrodex, Triple 7, American Pioneer, Jim Shockey's Gold, Alliant Black MZ, Alliant Blue MZ are accepted powders for muzzleloaders. Always refer to your owners manual or contact the maker of your muzzleloader.

Now back to the original question.... What is the best black powder sub to use in a cap lock muzzleloader?

Let's take a look at your rifle...

I mostly shoot Traditions brand muzzleloaders, but have a long history with CVA sidelocks, as well as Lyman sidelocks.

Over the 18 years of muzzleloading, my #1 Black powder sub has always been Pyrodex RS.

Pyrodex has been around since the 70's and is an extremely good, consistent and powerful powder. One downside, is that its bulky and can get stopped up in some breech plugs and either hang fire or misfire all together. Lyman/Investarms are the worst for this happening do to their tiny powder channels and lack of funneling to help shift the powder under the nipple.

Investarms/Lyman breech, we can see a slight hole where the powder channel is cross drilled. There is zero funneling to help the powder move under the nipple. Coarse powders often will just hit the bottom of this breech plug and stay there rather than flowing out and under the nipple as it should. In this rifle, I prefer to use Pyrodex P which is a much finer grade of powder and flows very easily. Pyrodex P is 3fg equivalent and again, is a powerful, clean burning powder that sets off easier than Pyrodex RS - Select.


Now changing over to the Traditions/CVA rifles, we have a much better designed breech system that actually is funneled, larger in diameter, and catches the powder and puts it under the nipple. Pyrodex RS does fantastic in my rifles and so, I buy a lot of it.


Now, we hear of the hang fire issues with the black powder subs. Yes, they do require more heat to set off than real black powder, but that's the trade off.

This IMO, is not a powder issue, but a Nipple issue. Not all nipples are designed the same, some funnel the flash channel to flash hole poorly, some use flash holes smaller than .028", some even have undersized shafts that allow the percussion cap to fit loose. If your spark plug in your cars engine fit loose and allowed the compression to escape before detonation, your engine would not run smooth, it would hiccup, or in this case, Hang fire.


The #1 Best nipple to use with the black powder subs is hands down, the Knight Red Hot nipple. Your percussion caps fit snug to where you may have to use the hammer of your rifle to push  the cap on all the way so it is fully seated. A nice tight sealed fit. The flash hole diameter ( around .030" - .031" ) is large enough the handle the volume of gasses and put it directly into the powder rather than hit you in the face with those painful showers of spark and gas. The Flash Channel to Flash hole transition is beautiful and not rounded off at the bottom so the gasses bounce back. Everything about this nipple flows smoothly and efficiently.


Just recently I bought some Treso nipples to try out. Amazing accuracy! However, the flash hole is super tiny and this nipple does nothing but hang fire with Pyrodex RS due to that tiny, restricted flash hole. It however is a fantastic nipple when using real black powder.

So what it boils down to for me... When I use a black powder sub, I use a lot of Pyrodex RS and top it off with a Knight Red Hot nipple. This gives me great accuracy and reliable ignition that I can depend on.

If you are shooting a Lyman/Investarms muzzleloader, My suggestion is to go with Pyrodex P for easier flow under the nipple, and of course, the Knight Red Hot Nipple.

While we are on the subject of the nipple..

What Anti-Seize do I use on my nipple?

Silver high temp anti-seize for automotive works great but can be messy, CVA nipple grease, TC Gorilla grease, work well. My favorite by far however, is your typical White Plumbers tape. Just wrap the threads once and the nipple threads are actually sealed from both fouling AND weather. Super easy to clean up and the greatest thing of all, it will not melt and run into your powder charge like some of the listed anti-seizes above.

CLEANING PYRODEX:
Some may cringe and say " Ahhh, that stuff will rot yer bore " Well... After all the years and hundreds of pounds of Pyrodex, I would have stopped using it had that been the case. You clean Pyrodex just as you do Real black powder.... A little warm soapy water, scrub it clean, change the water once more, swab the bore clean, dry it, a shot of alcohol to remove moisture, follow up with an alcohol patch and dry patches. The alcohol is a must with any black powder or subs. To much moisture sits on top of the breech plug or in it and that alone causes rust issues. Follow up with your favorite and most trusted gun oil


Last edited by FrontierGander on Thu 2 Nov - 18:00; edited 13 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Black Powder Substitute - What's a good choice?   Wed 25 Oct - 19:44

I wish Pete was here to see this one. Not only do we have someone whos pushing phoney targets on us now we have make believe blackpowder. Common Jon really get some real black powder at least I can let the targets slide but not phoney powder. ExclamationExclamationExclamation cheers

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PostSubject: Re: Black Powder Substitute - What's a good choice?   Wed 25 Oct - 20:23

lol!
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PostSubject: Re: Black Powder Substitute - What's a good choice?   Thu 26 Oct - 6:53

Of the fake black powders I use ONLY Triple 7 and RARELY use that.
I've experimented with all the fake black powders just for grins and T-7 is best by far in my
opinion. 
I have two unopened cans of T-7 but use Holy Black.
Swiss mostly but have some Goex and Shuezten (sp?).
With T-7 CUT charge by volume by 20% !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have more Holy Black that I will use in my lifetime.
A black powder club wanted to order a case of mixed black back in the day and split the
cost. I ordered 40 pounds and EVERYONE of the bums backed out!
Cost me $7 bucks a pound back then.
bawwwwwwww-hawwwwwwwwwwwww I win, they loose.  cheers

I think I have 6 or 7 black powder handguns and at least that many rifles.
I'd have to look and see for sure.
 
I have two more coming, a T/C Seneca in .36 and a Navy Arms mule ear in
.50 both percussion cap guns.

Small game for the .36 and perhaps deer with thee Navy mule ear .50.

I have a custom Bucks County .40 rock lock that is a dandy.



Check out Powderinc.com
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PostSubject: Re: Black Powder Substitute - What's a good choice?   Fri 27 Oct - 14:10

Now, some folks like myself, simply can not justify spending the upfront money on ordering real black powder online for a 5lb minimum order.

Five pounds wouldn't last me very long! Order it by the case and forget about it!
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PostSubject: Re: Black Powder Substitute - What's a good choice?   Fri 27 Oct - 15:40

@Sharpsman wrote:
Now, some folks like myself, simply can not justify spending the upfront money on ordering real black powder online for a 5lb minimum order.

Five pounds wouldn't last me very long! Order it by the case and forget about it!



I agree.  I save up just to order by the case.  In fact, my last order was with a hunting partner and we split the cost.  2c
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PostSubject: Re: Black Powder Substitute - What's a good choice?   Sat 28 Oct - 5:38

Good information Jon, Thanks .
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PostSubject: Re: Black Powder Substitute - What's a good choice?   Sat 28 Oct - 8:21

"Now, some folks like myself, simply can not justify spending the upfront money on ordering real black powder online for a 5lb minimum order."

Yes, and SOME FOLKS eat hot dogs because they are too cheap to buy a steak. Tease

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PostSubject: Re: Black Powder Substitute - What's a good choice?   Sat 28 Oct - 9:13

And I really don't give a hoot who says what......NOTHING BEATS BLACKPOWDER!!
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PostSubject: Re: Black Powder Substitute - What's a good choice?   Sat 28 Oct - 9:24

@BigAl52 wrote:
I wish Pete was here to see this one. Not only do we have someone whos pushing phoney targets on us now we have make believe blackpowder. Common Jon really get some real black powder at least I can let the targets slide but not phoney powder. ExclamationExclamationExclamation cheers
I saw it.

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PostSubject: Re: Black Powder Substitute - What's a good choice?   Sat 28 Oct - 13:00

Being a confirmed flintlock shooter I use and have always used real black powder.  But I do not begrudge subs or other paths to anybody.
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PostSubject: Re: Black Powder Substitute - What's a good choice?   Sat 28 Oct - 17:47

Have never ever shot any of the powers shown, when still at Cabela's and could buy these types of powder (when they still took ammo back) we would buy everything they had in these brands and make them into "big bang" targets. None of black powder shooters that worked there wanted anything to do with it, even when we got free samples from different manufacturers.

Hey Pete how you been .....  cowyboy hatoff

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PostSubject: Re: Black Powder Substitute - What's a good choice?   Sat 28 Oct - 18:26

@Sharpsman wrote:
And I really don't give a hoot who says what......NOTHING BEATS BLACKPOWDER!!

Ditto. Gotta love the Holy Black.

And, I dislike synthetics. A lot. And for multiple reasons.

Hi, Pete.

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PostSubject: Re: Black Powder Substitute - What's a good choice?   Sat 28 Oct - 20:34

@Hanshi wrote:
Being a confirmed flintlock shooter I use and have always used real black powder.  But I do not begrudge subs or other paths to anybody.
No....but I do begrudge the fact that THEY haven't learned what works best; not only from a traditional standpoint but also from consistent accuracy and dependability rather than 'pushing' someone's product! affraid
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PostSubject: Re: Black Powder Substitute - What's a good choice?   Sun 29 Oct - 9:02

Hey Pete I'm with you friend and agree too, real black powder. Your shooting a traditional firearm give it some respect of its history by using what it was designed to shoot. :tup2

Jon shoot that other crap in your in-lines, you want to play mountain man do it with honor to those that have passed before you. Traditional firearms shooting real black powder. headslap    Tease

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