Let’s talk about the F’s

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RIDE-RED350R

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Well, if going lower in charge gave you worse grouping, then I would move up 5gr at a time and see what the results are.

The load I hunted with for years was 90gr FF under a 385gr Maxi Hunter. Admittedly I didn't do a great deal of experimentation in those days. I went with the book advice of about the middle of the charge range they recommended. It was a good number of years later when I got into reloading metallic cartridges that finds me a bit more informed on the subject and now that my fires for shooting the MLs has recently been rekindled after not using them for a few years, I intend to do some experimentation to find the most accurate load for them.
 
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Well quick range report, I tried two loads of FF first I tried 5 rounds with 60 grains behind a Pritchett bullet. See pic below for results. Not terrible but definitely room for improvement. Second charge was 55 grains and the results were so bad I didn’t even shoot the last two cartridges. I think I may need to bump up a little from 60 grains to improve accuracy. What say you? This was using my 1862 Richmond Carbine that is currently for sale in the marketplace 😉
The original load for the Pritchett bullet was 68 grains. I’m going to try that next time at the range.
 
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I am going to go to 65 first and then to 68 grains If necessary.
I was so used to loading cartridges for Burton balls with 60 grains that I loaded a bunch of the Pritchetts with 60. So, I dumped some and reloaded them with 68 and marked them to test them out. The pictures are of my first try, with 60 grains, at 50 yards. Just shaking my head at the weird fliers.
 

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I was so used to loading cartridges for Burton balls with 60 grains that I loaded a bunch of the Pritchetts with 60. So, I dumped some and reloaded them with 68 and marked them to test them out. The pictures are of my first try, with 60 grains, at 50 yards. Just shaking my head at the weird fliers.
I had similar results with 60 grains of FFG I feel this is the minimum charge you can use. I also tried 55 grains but the results were awful.
 

hapEcat

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I just picked up a bunch of the Graf label powder. I haven’t shot it yet.
I bought 8# of 3F ($16.49/lb), last fall. In their description, it said it was manufactured by Goex for Graf & Sons (Goex rebranded).
Shot some in my .54cal Renegade with PRB, couldn't tell the difference between the two. The POA/POI for Graf, was the same as for Goex.
 
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I tried some Pyrodex RS but the results were horrible. Like shotgun pattern at 50 yards bad. I think I will start with FF first and move on from there.
They were made to load quick and give man harming accuracy. They wernt made for squirrel hunting.
So the shot wasn’t always the best.
Get a sizer, you want your shot very close to size.
best accuracy, and they can shoot a dime, might come with very light charges
They were made for 2f but the Zouaves I’ve owned were all shot with 3f.
At fifty yards they shot a little better then my smoothies, at a hundred not as good as my RB rifles but much better then my smoothie and had no trouble hitting a man silloett at two hundred eight out of ten, two close by. Couldn’t get a hit with a smoothie
 

dave951

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Smaller grains burn faster and so have a higher pressure spike. This is true for black powder and also for nitrocellulose powder. I first heard it at the Field Artillery school decades ago. So the nitrocelluose grains in 8-inch howitzer bags are as big as my thumb, to burn in a really long (but not infinitely thick) barrel and push a really big projectile. The grains in 105mm bags (yes there are bags inside those big metal cartridge cases, that's how you can cut charges) are about the size of a little finger joint as I recall, fit for the shorter barrel. 155mm is intermediate.

Naturally nitrocellulose as a class produces more energy faster than black powder does as a class. The grain size principle applies within chemical formulations.

I would be surprised if that rule didn't hold for any gunpowder no matter how it is formulated.
I am not sure how the one-piece cylinders of black powder substitute sold for in-line muzzle loaders are formulated
(they must be for folks who consider it burdensome to measure charges) but I suspect that compared to Pyrodex the formula is adjusted to speed up the burning rate to compensate for the large single 'grain".

Yes, us rifled musket shooters often use an un-historical load of 3F. That pressure spike will spread the skirt of the Minie better than with 2F or 1.5F, which compensates for loose fits between true barrel caliber and actual Minie diameter, also compensates for thick Minie skirts.

Uhmmmmm. NO. Smaller grains do NOT burn faster. Black powder has ONE burn rate, all other variables held constant. What DOES happen, 3f has more surface area than 2f or 1f meaning more powder is ignited upon firing and again, this is based on the actual surface area which is a function of the size of the individual powder granule. Black Powder is NOTHING like nitrocellulose or any of the rest of the "white" powders in that regard. You can vary the burn rates of the "white" powders, meaning nitrocellulose based. The only way pressure can be increased with real black powder is to change from large granules to smaller ones and that's strictly again a function of surface area being exposed to initial ignition.
 

dave951

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I was so used to loading cartridges for Burton balls with 60 grains that I loaded a bunch of the Pritchetts with 60. So, I dumped some and reloaded them with 68 and marked them to test them out. The pictures are of my first try, with 60 grains, at 50 yards. Just shaking my head at the weird fliers.

Alrighty, you say you have a Whitacre barrel. You should be getting one hole groups with his barrel. That means you have something else amiss.

First off, are you casting or purchasing minies? There's only ONE source I trust for commercial minies and that's Lodgewood. Most of the others may be great at round ball, but we're off their map here matie. If you're casting, which mold, what size, and are you using pure lead?

As for lube. What are you using and how are you using it? Minies are very sensitive critters to a range of variables and this is one. In my experimentation, a combination of beeswax/lard about 60/40 with the base dip lubed only works best. Do NOT fill the base unless you just want to kill part of your powder charge and upset the weight and balance of the bullet.

Powder- what did you use? Type and brand?
Caps- ditto. CCI reenactor caps can cause weird flyers as can a number of other things.

Let's drill down into this load cuz a Whitacre barrel should shoot like this-

IMAG0020.jpg
 

Nobade

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I may not be in the proper thread but here is what I have anyway... I just recently aquired a PH Whitworth Birmingham no less, s/n 322. The tumbler is equipped with a fly, did all Whitworth come with one? My 'Volunteer' and 'Muskatoon' did not. Also have a Dyson mould, any tips on how to cast with it before I screw something up. 70 gr of 2f ok?
Can't wait to get to the range with this beautiful piece.
My Volunteer has a fly in it as well. Maybe they stopped that after a certain point?
 

Nobade

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Well quick range report, I tried two loads of FF first I tried 5 rounds with 60 grains behind a Pritchett bullet. See pic below for results. Not terrible but definitely room for improvement. Second charge was 55 grains and the results were so bad I didn’t even shoot the last two cartridges. I think I may need to bump up a little from 60 grains to improve accuracy. What say you? This was using my 1862 Richmond Carbine that is currently for sale in the marketplace 😉
I found 65 gr 2F shot better with those bullets in my '61 than lighter charges did. That skirt is pretty thick and even with the plug in the rear end it still needs a pretty good hit to get it to bump up and seal.
 
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Alrighty, you say you have a Whitacre barrel. You should be getting one hole groups with his barrel. That means you have something else amiss.

First off, are you casting or purchasing minies? There's only ONE source I trust for commercial minies and that's Lodgewood. Most of the others may be great at round ball, but we're off their map here matie. If you're casting, which mold, what size, and are you using pure lead?

As for lube. What are you using and how are you using it? Minies are very sensitive critters to a range of variables and this is one. In my experimentation, a combination of beeswax/lard about 60/40 with the base dip lubed only works best. Do NOT fill the base unless you just want to kill part of your powder charge and upset the weight and balance of the bullet.

Powder- what did you use? Type and brand?
Caps- ditto. CCI reenactor caps can cause weird flyers as can a number of other things.

Let's drill down into this load cuz a Whitacre barrel should shoot like this-

View attachment 138348
No, I don’t have a Whitaker barrel. What?
 
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Black powder is pretty forgiving as far as larger amounts of powder are concerned. One thing that has ruined barrels is firing a load with the projectile not fully seated atop the powder. Never saw one burst, but have examined several with bulges when looking at used guns. When you run your fingers along the barrel, you can feel 'em. Sometimes you can see them from the inside with a good light.

Tight-fitting projectile seated all the way is good. A loose-fitting one (perhaps a minie) that won't stay in place is bad juju.
 
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I just got my rifle back from Whitacre and I cant wait to shoot it. I bought my Pritchetts .568 from papercartridges.com. I just recently bought a LEE Minie mold and a NOE Pritchett mold .550. First I am going to shoot the Pritchetts I already on hand before i start casting. I am going to start with a load of 65 grains of FFg. Hopefully that should produce good results. I have read that the pritchett bullets do not group well at close ranges 100 yards an under. Does anyone else have range experience with the pritchetts at short ranges.
 
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One thing that has ruined barrels is firing a load with the projectile not fully seated atop the powder. Never saw one burst, but have examined several with bulges when looking at used guns. When you run your fingers along the barrel, you can feel 'em. Sometimes you can see them from the inside with a good light.
A bulged barrel is described as having a "nut" in the barrel . I suppose this came from the idea that if you cut the bulged end off you were left with what looked like a nut
 
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Good evening everyone. I am slightly confused about what powder to use in my Armi Sport 1853 3 band Enfield. It just had a progressive depth barely installed and I recently ordered a nice size batch of FFG and FFFg powder. Now here’s the skinny, I am going to be shooting .568 paper patched Pritchett bullets out of this rifle musket and I don’t know where to start as far as grain size. I have read extensively that the NSSA dudes usually shoot FFFg. Also the manual and manufacturer recommend FFg. Just the other day Brett Gibbons did a fireside chat and he discussed that he uses Fg powder in his muskets! Someone help me please.
General rule of thumb is that FFFg is reserved for .50 cal and below and FFg is for .50 cal and above. This isn't a rule set in stone, you can use both interchangeably but you might have to fiddle with your loads. Now Fg is reserved for large bore guns and cannons, and FFFFg is not used for the main charge at all, but it's a priming powder used in flintlock guns.
 

mark_fare

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At this point I need to sight in the new barrel I just had put on by Dan Whitacre, and work my load development for the Pritchett bullet. I am trying to achieve close historical accuracy for a Confederate service load. My range goes out to 200 yards, other than that I would like to take my Enfield out for the upcoming Whitetail Deer season. I purchased some .568 paper patched Pritchetts from papercartridges.com until I can mold my own this is what I am shooting. I haven’t tried any sized Burton Balls yet.
I have two Birmingham Parker Hales, a P53 and a P58. I found that the .568 paper cartridges fit too tight in my guns which have .577" bores. I tried the Boxer .550" catridges and they shot awesome out of the P58 with 90 grns of 2F Goex. One big ragged hole at 50 yards.
 

ord sgt

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I have two Birmingham Parker Hales, a P53 and a P58. I found that the .568 paper cartridges fit too tight in my guns which have .577" bores. I tried the Boxer .550" catridges and they shot awesome out of the P58 with 90 grns of 2F Goex. One big ragged hole at 50 yards.
90 grains 2Fg? Wow. I had the same rifles. I used a .575 500 grain minie and 44 grains FFFg and had the same results as you did.
The standard load was 60 grains of powder during the ACW.
 

mark_fare

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90 grains 2Fg? Wow. I had the same rifles. I used a .575 500 grain minie and 44 grains FFFg and had the same results as you did.
The standard load was 60 grains of powder during the ACW.
Now with my P53, I shoot a Burton ball will 55 grns of 3F and get good accuracy.
 
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I have two Birmingham Parker Hales, a P53 and a P58. I found that the .568 paper cartridges fit too tight in my guns which have .577" bores. I tried the Boxer .550" catridges and they shot awesome out of the P58 with 90 grns of 2F Goex. One big ragged hole at 50 yards.
I noticed the the .568 were a tight fit. do you prefer the .550 with the plug?
 

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