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Login Name Post: 3F or 2F?        (Topic#252707)
Josh Smith 
45 Cal.
Posts: 906
12-14-10 02:47 AM - Post#928194    


Hello,

I was under the impression that, generally speaking, 3F is for .45 and under while 2F is for .45 and over, the .45 performing about equally with both.

However, I see a lot of folks using 3F all the way into old musket calibers.

What is the main deciding factor for a faster burn rate? Is it mainly a short barrel length, or is accuracy enhanced in some way, perhaps due to the slightly more sudden shock to the ball and patch maybe sealing the bore a bit tighter, faster?

Or is it one of those black magic things that makes a particular combo perform best from a given rifle?

What's the deal, gents?

Thanks,

Josh

 
Celt5494 
45 Cal.
Posts: 523
Celt5494
12-14-10 02:58 AM - Post#928195    

    In response to Josh Smith

Some guns seem to prefer 2f some 3f the way I hear it. I shoot 3f out of all of mine mainly to keep it simple and easy for me to figure and I don't have to carry around seperate priming powder for the flintlocks. I have calibers all the way from .44 cap-n-ball to .62 smoothbores and have had no problems with the 3f. I personally believe it comes down to personal preference over anything really.

 
Spence10 
Cannon
Posts: 6433
12-14-10 03:03 AM - Post#928196    

    In response to Josh Smith

In their original Black Powder Handbook, 1975, Lyman ran extensive tests using equal weights of the two and found that 3F gave significantly increased velocity with only moderately increased pressures and burned a lot cleaner. They decided to use 3F for all their testing up through .54. I've always found them to be a reliable resource, so I decided to do the same, have done so ever since, with good results. I extended the range to my 20 ga. and liked that, too.

Spence

 
bangfxr 
45 Cal.
Posts: 800
bangfxr
12-14-10 05:28 AM - Post#928203    

    In response to Josh Smith

It will depend on the rifle / pistol as which powder works. All of mine work well with 2F as main charge with 3F for priming. You will have to do some shooting with varius charges till your happy with the end result.

 
paulvallandigham 
Passed On
Posts: 17538
paulvallandigham
12-14-10 08:03 AM - Post#928242    

    In response to Josh Smith

If Velocity were the only factor, you would use 3Fg powder in everything. But, rifled barrels--- and even smoothbores-- are individual entities, and each has its likes and dislikes in powders when it comes to ACCURACY.

A good friend bought a finely made .62 caliber rifle, and, following the orthodoxy, went to the range with his 2Fg powder, and a variety of thicknesses of patch material, and lubes. HE COULD NOT get that rifle to shoot accurately with 2Fg. So, someone who showed up at the range while he was testing, loaned him some 3Fg powder, and it worked Beautifully.

Who Knew? ( The Barrel knew!)

I have known other shooters who have found 2Fg powder works better in their medium and small bore rifles, giving them much better groups than when using 3Fg. Even the Chronograph indicates that the 2Fg is giving a lower SDV than the 3Fg, which totally runs contrary to the LYMAN tests, IN THAT GUN BARREL.

So, try them both, and forget the "rules". The Barrels have never read "the rules".

 
Stumpkiller 
Moderator
Posts: 17317
Stumpkiller
12-14-10 08:07 AM - Post#928245    

    In response to paulvallandigham

Main deciding factor for me was I can shoot and prime with a single powder in my .54 - FFFg. Makes it easy. I don't have to carry a seperate priming horn.
"Don't take life too serious - it ain't nohow permanent."


 
paulvallandigham 
Passed On
Posts: 17538
paulvallandigham
12-14-10 10:14 AM - Post#928294    

    In response to Stumpkiller

I have primed my rifle with 2Fg. Works fine. Same with my 20 ga. fowler.

 
Stumpkiller 
Moderator
Posts: 17317
Stumpkiller
12-14-10 11:03 AM - Post#928308    

    In response to paulvallandigham

My Bess thrived on 2F for prime and main charge; and had a teaspoon sized pan. Cherry Girl has more refined tastes, it seems.
"Don't take life too serious - it ain't nohow permanent."


 
Spence10 
Cannon
Posts: 6433
12-14-10 12:32 PM - Post#928341    

    In response to paulvallandigham

  • paulvallandigham Said:
But, rifled barrels--- and even smoothbores-- are individual entities, and each has its likes and dislikes in powders when it comes to ACCURACY........ Who Knew? ( The Barrel knew!)........ The Barrels have never read "the rules".


It has been my great good fortune never to have run across a barrel which is smarter than I am. I shoot barrels from .30 caliber to 9 gauge, and they pretty much do as I tell them. If I decide 3F is what I want to shoot, they go along, never had one sass me, yet. You'd be amazed how often my problems with accuracy turn out to be operator error, not a rebellious barrel.

 
paulvallandigham 
Passed On
Posts: 17538
paulvallandigham
12-14-10 01:54 PM - Post#928378    

    In response to Spence10

Well, everyone's experiences differ. My late friend, Don, who bought that .62 rifle, had been shooting and "fixin'" flintlocks all his life. He was a fine shot, off-hand or off a rest. He was one of the most dogmatic supporters of the "rule" about choice of powder vs. caliber, that I Knew then, or now. He almost went into shock when he fired his targets with 3Fg and got a much better group off a rest. He showed everyone-- and I Do mean Everyone - both his targets, and asked everyone if they had ever experienced anything like it.

It was months later when the first chronograph showed up at the club, and he had a chance to revisit his powder choices, trying groups off the bench with both 2Fg and 3Fg. He even had other good shooters in the club shoot his gun, with the different powders, and the group size, and the SDV all pointed to 3Fg giving better accuracy for him. His patches told him the same thing. We all looked- to be sure.

Since that happened, I have run into several people with guns that don't fit the rule, one way or another. I was personally surprised that 2Fg would give better groups in a .40 caliber rifle, when it happened to another friend. I had been WILLING to accept the idea that 3Fg might just work well in calibers larger than .45-.50. I just didn't want to believe that the reverse was true- that 2Fg would work better in some smaller caliber guns. Before I met Don, I had a friend who used 3Fg in his .54 caliber rifle, with great accuracy. He was the man to beat at the club matches, before Don joined the club.

I also knew older friends who were shooting 3Fg powder in their .58 cal. rifles, but that was before I got into the sport, and even heard about "The Rule". I didn't know that what they were using was "wrong".

This was all before chronographs became portable, and less expensive, so that ordinary shooters could afford to own them. We read spent patches, and compared group sizes to decide questions about components, not much different that what Dutch Schoultz teaches. Because of my experiences, I used to caution Don about his Dogma, and that would cause strong arguments in favor of the " rule". Since I didn't own any such gun- I was shooting a .45 at the time--- There was no way I could demonstrate that the Rule might not work all the time. Don had to prove it to himself, He did feel a bit sheepish about his having questioned my ancestry in some of his arguments with me about keeping an open mind. I am only glad I am NOT the man who suggested he try 3Fg powder in the gun. He might never have gotten that gun to shoot right!

[ Oh, and you can be sure he confronted me, and asked me if I was going to say, " I told you so!" I told him absolutely No way would I say that. I didn't know anything about the rifle he was shooting, nor anything about other .62 cal. rifles shooting PRB. I had never seen such a gun in that caliber shot, anywhere. ]

So, Spence, let me keep my open mind about barrels. I may be wrong, too, but I am comfortable that I won't be caught by surprise when I suggest someone try both powders and see which the barrel likes.

 
Spence10 
Cannon
Posts: 6433
12-14-10 02:41 PM - Post#928387    

    In response to paulvallandigham

I'm not a believer in such characteristics of barrels. My experience has always been the opposite. I'm familiar with the party line about each barrel working well only when a special set of conditions are met, but that has always seemed like magical thinking, to me.

We have different views of how the world works, Paul. That's OK, otherwise what would we find to talk about?

Spence

 
Capper 
69 Cal.
Posts: 3545
12-14-10 04:04 PM - Post#928410    

    In response to Spence10

Wrong.
Pete


 
paulvallandigham 
Passed On
Posts: 17538
paulvallandigham
12-14-10 06:29 PM - Post#928488    

    In response to Spence10

I agree. I happen to agree with you most of the time, and have referred people to your website many times, to get your wisdom about loads. Its the little differences that give us something to think about.

My late friend Don, and I argued a lot, but never were rude, or mean, or insulting to each other. We had way too much in common, as trackers, to waste any anger on the few difference we had over MLers. He was so relieved to finally meet another Tracker, and I was just as happy to have a new friend who was a tracker. We both were particularly good at some skills, and we found that we complimented each other, and were good students of each other to get up to speed on doing what each other did best.

When Don found out I completely tuned a Spanish made percussion lock that would not fire when it was brand new, he offered to show me how to tune flintlocks, if I showed him how to tune percussion locks.

Talk about a lot of laughing by both of us, when we Learned how little difference there was in the work. We both got a kick out of repeating, "OH, that's How you do that!" as we took turns instructing each other. Those kinds of friends are hard to fine, and too soon lost, I am afraid.

 
Slake 
45 Cal.
Posts: 651
12-14-10 07:04 PM - Post#928507    

    In response to Josh Smith

I regularly use both. I use a wee bit less powder when I'm shooting with 3F. It seems to be a bit hotter. I find that is the only difference for me.
My choosing factor is what is for sale at the shoots that I go to when I stock up. If I had to be forced to pick, I think I'd go with 3.

 
410-er 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1116
12-14-10 07:28 PM - Post#928522    

    In response to Slake

I have 45's that like FFg and 50's that like FFFg. Use what gives the tightest groups.

 
ord sgt 
40 Cal.
Posts: 289
12-16-10 09:55 AM - Post#929196    

    In response to 410-er

FFFg works very much good in my .58 calibre Enfield but I do use FFg in my .69 calibre Charleville smoothbore, in the barrel and in the pan.

 
BrownBear 
Cannon
Posts: 13875
BrownBear
12-16-10 02:52 PM - Post#929304    

    In response to Josh Smith

I'm starting to think I missed something in all this 2f 3f stuff. I just tried 1f with my Bess and a 62 smoothie. Can't tell the difference accuracy-wise from 3f, but neither gun really cares for 2f with ball.

Things change when I move on to shot though. Holy cow! I'm anxious to try 1f in my 12 gauge now, because with shot it's definitely better than 3f or 2f in both guns.

Interesting enough, I can't tell it from 2f, 3f or 4f in the pan. Dandy.

Anyone else moved "up" to 1f?

 
Capper 
69 Cal.
Posts: 3545
12-16-10 06:12 PM - Post#929401    

    In response to BrownBear

Maybe if I buy a cannon.
Pete


 
Jon D 
40 Cal.
Posts: 367
Jon D
12-16-10 08:47 PM - Post#929465    

    In response to Capper

My .50 GRP shoots well with 55 grains of either 2F or 3F. With 2f I have to clean sooner.
My 28 ga. light fowler does not do 3f well, most of the fire goes out the touch hole. With 2f she shoots proper.
Jon D

 
Danbo 
36 Cal.
Posts: 60
12-17-10 09:43 AM - Post#929606    

    In response to Jon D

Well, I have a Reinhard .38 cal that prefers Swiss 1.5 to Goex 3F..go figure...

 
Deadeye 
54 Cal.
Posts: 1944
Deadeye
12-17-10 10:02 PM - Post#929916    

    In response to Spence10

Exactly, Spence, I have 32 muzzleloaders at present and mine are same as yours, they love whatever I shoot and they shoot as well with 120 grs. as they do with 60 grs. makes no difference.
I'd have to shoots hundreds of shots with each load to prove that one shot a few thousandts inch better than another.
I use 3F in most, even my .75 hawken but they shoot as well with 2F but it fouls more and takes more for the same velocity. The Old wives tales of the past are alive and well today and still being passed along as the gospel. IMHO
Deadeye

 
Capper 
69 Cal.
Posts: 3545
12-17-10 10:16 PM - Post#929918    

    In response to Deadeye

We can't all be a Deadeye.




I'm a different kind of deadeye. (blind in one eye)
Pete


 
Josh Smith 
45 Cal.
Posts: 906
12-17-10 10:39 PM - Post#929923    

    In response to Capper

Hello Gents,


So do you think it would be worth it to try 3F after I run out of 2F?


Thanks,


Josh

 
Capper 
69 Cal.
Posts: 3545
12-17-10 10:47 PM - Post#929929    

    In response to Josh Smith

Are you unhappy with the 2F? It seems you got pretty good results.
Pete


 
Josh Smith 
45 Cal.
Posts: 906
12-17-10 11:48 PM - Post#929940    

    In response to Capper

Hi Cap',

I just figure worth experimenting since I'm still new to the game. Since Goex is what is available to me here, and it is said that 3Fg burns a bit cleaner than 2Fg, I don't figure it'll hurt anything. Might not help, but don't see how it would hurt. Do I reduce might charge by 10 grains or so?

Thanks,

Josh

 
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