So basically what we can deduce from this experiment is that 4f is NOT a pan powder because in retrospect it is not necessary!Recently I did a bit of testing to see if there was any difference when using 4F or 3F in the pan. I used my (more accurate that I am) 36 caliber SMR with the L&R Manton lock. I set my measure for 35 grains of 3fg powder to send my 0.350 Ball wrapped in my 0.017 drill cloth lubricated with the 1 part water soluble oil to 7 parts water to the target 25 yards downrange.
It was a bit windy with the wind coming from my left. That is my excuse for the relatively large groups.
I started by shooting 5 shots using 4FG in the pan to set a base line observation. That's 3 balls in the one large whole.
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Then I shot one shot with 3Fg in the pan and alternated with a shot using 4F in the pan.
First the 3Fg pan primed target after 5 shots.
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Now the target with five shots using 4F in the pan.
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Groups are relatively the same size. I find it interesting that the group using 3Fg in the pan is about an inch to the right. Since I shot alternating between the two pan powders, I don't have an explanation. Both used about the same number of grains in the half filled pan. I don't think that the 3Fg powder pushed the stock to the left. I did not feel any difference in lock time. Perhaps those few milliseconds of delay do mean something. I wiped the barrel with a patch dampened with rubbing alcohol. I fired from a rest using the same hold. I alternated the shots to minimize the any differences in range conditions. I used the same flint and I knapped the edge after four shots to ensure that I had a sharp flint.
First take away: 3Fg in the pan is fine to use.
Second: Group size didn't change enough to be a concern.
Third: Why did the group move to the right?
What I was trying to deduce is that 4F is not necessarily the only pan powder. but what is the effect of using different grades of pan powder. Other granulations of powder can work in the pan. In my King's Musket, I regularly use the same powder as in my paper cartridge which is 2F.So basically what we can deduce from this experiment is that 4f is NOT a pan powder because in retrospect it is not necessary!
If you want to really improve that wee rifles shooting and make folk sit up and notice, tip 4f down the barrel and use what ever in the pan!
A quick reference chart. Vertical scale is ignition time in seconds.The 4F vs ?F for priming question seems to come up every so often - with similar replies. I seem to recall one of Zonie's posts pointing to a F test that was done... Priming Powder Timing
The test results show a slight difference in ignition speeds from GOEX 4F to 2F, about 20 ms (that's 1/50th of a second). Not much to be worried about.