4F in the barrel

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Stone

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It's not the click bait you might have thought. I found the powder I need and so I have a few questions.

I've read everything I can here and I conclude that it's safe if you do it correctly ...... like anything else!

What I am curious about is how you go about finding the sweetspot?
  1. I assume you start with a minimal amount and work up?
  2. Are you looking for a certain muzzle velocity to stay under or is it simply pressure that has a threshold for safety?
  3. How do you measure pressure to make sure you are where you want to be?
  4. Is there any advantage to it over 3F or 2F
 

Brokennock

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It's not the click bait you might have thought. I found the powder I need and so I have a few questions.

I've read everything I can here and I conclude that it's safe if you do it correctly ...... like anything else!

What I am curious about is how you go about finding the sweetspot?
  1. I assume you start with a minimal amount and work up?
  2. Are you looking for a certain muzzle velocity to stay under or is it simply pressure that has a threshold for safety?
  3. How do you measure pressure to make sure you are where you want to be?
  4. Is there any advantage to it over 3F or 2F
1. Correct
2. Not sure. I'd just look for the lowest possible load volume that gives me the accuracy I want.
3. Scientifically? Need fancy equipment.
I've heard that with caplocks the hammer will blow back before barrel damaging pressure is reached,,,, but, I have strong doubts about this.
4. Only advantage I could see is availability. And, that possibly, like when switching from 2f to 3f, you can probably get the same results as the next larger powder with less powder. Also I've noticed less fouling with 3f compared to 2f, so maybe 4f would be even less?

One potential downside (other than the "O.M.G. you'll blow yourself up crowd) is that 4f isn't coated and could potential be fouled by humidity easier.
 

Grenadier1758

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@Stone, its best to work up. At least it is for me. Do plan to take notes. Make only one change at a time.

I start by measuring the bore, both land to land and groove to groove. I then look at the number of grooves and how wide they are. For wide grooves and narrow lands, I use a ball that is 0.005" under the land to land measurement. If the lands and grooves are equal, I use a ball that is 0.010" under the land to land measurement. I use 100% cotton patches that I lubricate before loading. The patch thickness is the depth of the grooves plus 0.005" to try to give good grip to the ball and to fill the groove so gas cutting is minimized. Its better to go a few thousandths thicker but starting the ball and patch will become more difficult.

Prepare yourself to expect the firing. Shoot from a rest. Use targets that you can have a great sight picture so you can hold the rifle on target. Keep your sights shaded so light can't adversely affect the sight picture. Watch the wind.

The starting load will depend on the caliber. For 45 or larger, I start at the bore diameter and increase charges by 5 grains. For 40 caliber and smaller, I start with a charge that is half the bore diameter, 20 grains for the 40 and 15 for a 32 or 36. Shoot five shot groups. Record the results. Clean the barrel, chambered breech and touch hole. Increase the charge by 5 grains and shoot the next group. Do not exceed the maximum charge recommended for your rifle. Check your flint and if beginning to get dull, knap the edge to keep performance at its best. Adjust the flint for best striking position.

Velocity is not as important at this time as group size. Pressure can't be measured, so keep your loadings below maximum recommended loads.

As to the advantage of 3f versus 2f. One may have a smaller group at the sweet spot than the other. One may create less fouling. One may require less powder for best accuracy than the other. 3f will be a little faster when used as pan powder than 2f. 4F is faster in the pan than 3f or 2f but it is hard to actually difficult to feel the difference. I swear that I can sense a delay as I shoot my flint locks. When I watch the firing on video, the delay is not observable.
 

mmb617

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I find the recent discussions of using 4f as the charge powder interesting. In my powder making endeavor I'm starting to accumulate more 4f size powder then I'll need if I use it strictly for priming. My original thought was to repress that powder when I had too much, but now I think I'll try using it as charge powder. I'm not hunting, only shooting paper and using pretty light loads so I don't see how it could hurt.
 

bldtrailer

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If you have to much 4f try corning the powder and resiving to the size you need (corning powder is wetting it and forming a cone shape letting it dry then as needed regrinding/siving to useable size)
Corning is the process by which meal powder, or finely divided black powder, is compressed into cakes, crushed, and then screened by particle size into different size categories. This process alters the burn rate of black powder, giving it more flexibility for different applications.
 

William Lincoln

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Go back and look at powder manuals from the 1950's. You will see 4f charted and reviewd
like other powders. We have hashed this out in the past. I limit 4f to pistols and
flintlock pans. As a prime charge, I would follow the maker's recommendations for
long guns. HOWEVER, availability is a huge problem in these times and so the advice
to start light and work-up loads is key if deciding to try 4f as a prime charge.
 

mmb617

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We had a warmer day yesterday so I went to the range. I just had to satisfy my curiosity about using 4f as the main charge. I had two flintlocks with me, my Deerhunter with a 24" barrel and my Kentucky rifle with 33 1/2" barrel. I tried a few shots in each with 50 gr of 4f as the charge.

No problems were encountered, and I couldn't really tell any difference from the 3f I normally use at that same charge. With that in mind I won't bother reprocessing my excess 4f, I'll just shoot it.
 

Stone

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We had a warmer day yesterday so I went to the range. I just had to satisfy my curiosity about using 4f as the main charge. I had two flintlocks with me, my Deerhunter with a 24" barrel and my Kentucky rifle with 33 1/2" barrel. I tried a few shots in each with 50 gr of 4f as the charge.

No problems were encountered, and I couldn't really tell any difference from the 3f I normally use at that same charge. With that in mind I won't bother reprocessing my excess 4f, I'll just shoot it.
Good!

I'm glad I asked the question.
 

bldtrailer

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Ok if those were traditions/cva rifles BE carefull ⛑they have a patton breach(smaller than barrel diamiter) you need to fill it to the main barrel to avoid an air space between powder and ball💣
 

bldtrailer

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I'm not talking about bridging, what I ment is filling the patent breach beyond it's top (into the main part of the barrel) to avoid a dangerous air space .
1642199696204.png
 

bldtrailer

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the 2 to the left are like the traditions muzzleloaders , it is possable to not fill the smaller part with powder (not reaching it's top) and seating the ball on the patent breach with an air space.
 

Stone

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On this "abortion of a gun" I bought, that Traditions Pa. Pellet, this is how it is drilled so I don't think the little powder that can fill the breech plug makes a difference. The hole is about 1/8" diameter.
Flintlock Breechplug.png
 

mmb617

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the 2 to the left are like the traditions muzzleloaders , it is possable to not fill the smaller part with powder (not reaching it's top) and seating the ball on the patent breach with an air space.
While I understand what you are saying it seems to me that a finer powder would be less likely to have that problem rather than more likely. I have my range rod marked so if after I tamped the ball and the mark was above the end of the barrel I'd know there was an air gap or some other problem.
 
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