powder charge for musket?

Discussion in 'Smoothbore' started by pepperbelly, Jan 28, 2008.

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  1. Jan 28, 2008 #1

    pepperbelly

    pepperbelly

    pepperbelly

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    I was thinking. I have fired my .69 Charleville musket 3 times- 3 rounds total, so I have no idea how it will really do yet.
    I used FFFg since that's all I have- 5 pounds worth. I used it to prime with too, and that worked.
    I used the same charge I was using in my .50 and .54 TC Hawkens- 70gr.
    Keeping in mind that the charge should be 15% less than if I was using FFg, what would be the max charge for the .69? I don't want to use a max charge but I do need to be aware of it. What would be a good charge for targets? For hunting?

    Jim
     
  2. Jan 28, 2008 #2

    paulvallandigham

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    Jim: Read the V. M. Starr article on Bob Spenser's Black Powder Notebook website.[url] http://members.aye.net/~bspen/starr.html[/url]

    you will get good advice on loads. Stop thinking in terms of Maximum LOADS! MOre is not better shooting MLers. You have to get over the magnumitis you obviously suffer. Since your barrel is close to a 16 gauge shotgun diameter, look for 16 gauge loads. If not available, look at loads for the 12 gauge, and then the 14 gauge and split the difference. You barrel has NO CHOKE in it, and therefore cannot perform well with maximum loads, as you are used to using in modern shotguns. You are restricted to shooting game at 30 yards and under with that barrel. NOT 45 -60 yards with that full choke 12 ga. MAGNUM shotgun!

    The secret to getting good patterns is to use reasonable powder charges( lighter than what you see on Smokeless powder boxes) and slightly larger diameter shot. If #6 kill your game well using a smokeless powder gun, change to #5 shot for a similar gauge BP shotgun load. The larger shot carry their energy further, and inside 30 yards only a couple of pellets need hit the game to bring it down. I would suggest that a 2 1/2 dram load of FFg or FFFg powder be your limit, and use no more than 1 1/8 oz, with 1 oz. being better for patterns. You can safely load 12 gauge loads in that gun, but you won't get the same pattern performance from the smaller diameter barrel, and recoil will be greater than if the same load is fired from a true 12 gauge gun. You can load down, and shoot either 28, 24, 20, or 14 gauge loads in your 16 gauge barrel. Performance of patterns will be much better using these lighter loads, and there will be little or no recoil.
     
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  3. Jan 29, 2008 #3

    pepperbelly

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    Magnumitis? You're kidding, right?
    I handload for rifle and pistol for target competition. I have to be aware of what the safe maximum charge is to avoid accidentally throwing an overcharge when developing a load. It would be unwise and unsafe to not know what the safe max charge is. It has been my experience that the most accurate load, for rifle and pistol, is under max- usually about 10% under but it varies.
    I also did not ask anything about loading shot. I may try shooting shot in the future but for now I am happy using my Mossberg if I am dove hunting.

    Perhaps before you jump to show off your wisdom you should read the post more carefully.

    Jim
     
  4. Jan 29, 2008 #4

    torn moc

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  5. Jan 29, 2008 #5

    B. Miller

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    This weekend was the first trip to the range with my new smoothbore. I set up a target at 25 yards. Now on load reduction I follow a 10 grain reduction dropping from 2f to 3f. On my .66 cal I shot using eighty grains of 3f. I used both 3f and 4f as a primer. I used both .65 cal and .648 round balls. the best results were the .648 round balls with a 0.015 patch. Second was a paper cartridge using 20 pound cotton paper and a 0.65 ball with the ball end dipped in lube. Coming in third was the news paper rolled cartridge with the ball end lubed. On eace of these usinf 4f priming powder improved ignition time and accurracy. I only got about 30 shots down range before I got cold and decided to wrap it up. I can see tis is going to be a work in progress.
     
  6. Jan 29, 2008 #6

    paulvallandigham

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    Since there is no Proofing required in this country, you will have to rely on whatever company made the barrel and its country's proofing standards. Italy and Spain both require proofing. If you tell me the length of the barrel, I do have data for the maximum powder charge that can burn in the barrel.


    Excuse me for misunderstanding the purpose of your question. When people ask about Maximum loads, they usually actually want to shoot them in their guns! For that reason, even when I know what the maximum load ( proof load) is for a particular gun, I generally will not give it out. I have to know the shooter personally so I can make a judgment about how he is really going to use such information before I even consider releasing it.

    Nothing personal meant here, but I don't know you, and I have been around too many dangerous idiots when it comes to what they put into their guns. Perhaps its the lawyer in me, but I long ago tired of people overloading their guns, and then standing next to nice people who are friends of mine on a firing line blasting away with loads that should have blown their guns apart. Only because the manufacturers anticipate this kind of behavior have my friends and I avoided being injured severely by these guys.
     
  7. Jan 29, 2008 #7

    pepperbelly

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    Paul that is understandable. When I asked about the max charge I meant the recommended max charge, not the proof charge.
    For instance, TC has data for my .50 Hawken using a roundball showing uo to a 110gr charge, and up to a 120gr charge for my .54 Hawken using a roundball.
    I have found that a charge of 70gr is good, but when I start to work up loads for accuracy I will not go above their listed max load. In fact I won't approach it since accuracy will fall away before I get there. Also those loads are for using FFg. Since I am using FFFg I will reduce the max and recommended loads by 10-15%.

    This musket is a Pedersoli copy of the French model 1777 Corrige An IX. It is .69 caliber and has a 44 3/4" barrel, smoothbore. I will be using FFFg, mainly since I have 5 pounds of it and no FFg.
    I need to know what the recommended load using a roundball and FFFg woul;d be and what the safe max load would be so I don't exceed it.
    I understand the proof loads are usually around twice the recommended max loads, but I have absolutely zero desire to check their test results.

    Paul, we may have gotten off on the wrong foot in some of the posts and replies we have made. For what it's worth I have been shooting and loading rifle and pistol since the '60s. I am a competition shooter in several disciplines and place safety first. Accuracy is second and I have found very little use for "hot" loads. If I need power and long range hunting I use a .270.
    I agree that it is dangerous to list load data for people that are unknown. I very rarely give load data unless I know it is a safe load well under max, like the load I use in my .45acp for bullseye and falling plate matches. It is a very accurate load that is also a safe load well under max. Someone asking for loads approaching max are treading into dangerous ground and I won't help them get there either.

    So, no harm no foul?

    Jim
     
  8. Jan 29, 2008 #8

    paulvallandigham

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    Jiom: I don't have any loading data on the 69 cal. rifles. If I do, I don't know how to put my hand on it quickly( I find all kinds of things months after I needed them!) But your comment did remind me that the Dixie GW catalogue has Proof loads for various gauges, and a 14 gauge Proof Load is shown as 262 Grains of powder behind a 432 Gr. Lead Ball. Using your suggestion that a Proof Load is twice the maximum charge, I would set my maximum charge at no more than 130 grains of powder. Those are Belgium proof loads.

    On a subsequent page, they show 1887 Proof Loads for a .693 Bore, of 306 Grains of powder, and a 457 grain "bullet".( I am assuming that these are from the Birmingham Proof House, only because they follow the " Service Load below, in the Dixie Catalogue.)

    The Service Loads from 1896 for the Birmingham Proof House, for a 14 gauge gun was: 3 drams(82 grs.) of powder, 492 Grain Ball, or 1 1/8 oz. of shot. Note the substantial difference in the reported weight of the ball for the two Proof figures, ie. 432 vs. 492. I think the heavier ball is the correct size, as 7000 divided by 14 = 500 grains.

    About the only thing I am comfortable about this data is the recommended " Service Load " of 3 drams, or 82 grains of powder. I would start at 60 grains and work my way up to 80 or 85 grains, tops, to see what gives the gun the best accuracy. Your 44 inch barrel can burn 190 grains of powder efficiently, but the recoil of all that powder would be too much even for a large man to hold, and would not deliver any truly usable accuracy.

    A friend of mine, who built his own slug guns, made a .69 caliber slug gun, that weighed 100 lbs, 8 inches across the flats, barrel about 4 feet long, underhammer action with his own make of scope on it. It fired a 1760 grain bullet, made in 2 pieces and paper patched together in the false muzzle as it was loaded, on top of 350 grains of FFFg powder. His velocity at 20 feet was 1020 fps. The recoil would dislocate your shoulder if you didn't really grab hold of that stock, even with the huge weight of the gun helping. He had a 10-shot group fired at 500 yds. that measured 5.26" center to center. That is half a pound of powder, and 2 1/2 pounds of lead fired.The group contained 7 shots in one ragged hole, about 3.5 inches across, and the remaining 3 shots hitting about an inch and a half off to 10:30 O'clock. He said that the bullet did not seem affected by cross winds, until the winds exceeded 25 MPH, so I am assuming that the reason for the 3 shots that hit wide was because his eye focused on the target, and not the crosshairs for some of the shots. Its a common mistake of habit for target shooters using large magnification scopes on rifles.

    I onoly share that with you because your rifle weighs so much less than his slug gun, and there is no way I am going to volunteer to shoot many rounds out of that caliber gun with anything exceeding 120 grains. I fired a .50-140 Sharps rifle with black powder and 550 grain bullets. Twice. I know how to control recoil but that rifle was just not very pleasant to shoot. Other than the owner of the rifle, I was the only member of my BP club who was willing to shoot it more than once.

    80 grains should be totally adequate for any round ball load, IMHO.
     
  9. Jan 29, 2008 #9

    Rebel

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    Paul, Jims rifle is a Smoothbore Musket.
     
  10. Jan 29, 2008 #10

    Russ T Frizzen

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    Paul--a 1760 grain bullet weighs just over a quarter pound and a 350 grain powder charge is only one twentieth of a pound.
     
  11. Jan 29, 2008 #11

    Tumblernotch

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    The service charge for a .69 cal. flint smoothbore was 110 grs. of musket powder, allowing 10 grs or so for priming. Now, that sounds kind of high, but I've read in old reports &c that sometimes the powder quality could be indifferent and in battle some was spilled before getting into the bore. How true that is, you have to figure out yourself. For rifled .69's (altered muskets using Minies), the charge was reduced to 70 grs. An interesting item here is the fact that in the 1862 Army Ordnance Manual, 110 grs. of powder is listed as the charge for the M1842 percussion musket. The only reason I can come up with for this load is the fact that millions of cartridges made up for use in the flint muskets were still in store.

    In my Charleville, I find that 75 grs. of ffg under a patched .662 ball does very well and if using paper cartridges 80 grs. under a paper wrapped ball does well. I generally use ffffg as priming. If using fffg as the charge you may want to reduce a few grains to get the same results.
     
  12. Jan 29, 2008 #12

    arquebus

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    Russ T Frizzen said:
    Paul was referring to the total weight of powder & lead to shoot that 10-shot group. I had to read the post a couple of times to doublecheck those figures too!
     
  13. Jan 29, 2008 #13

    paulvallandigham

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    Yep. I was totally up all the powder and all the lead used to shoot that group. Any wonder the slug gun boys take their time when shooting and consider it a great day if they fire 20 rounds?

    If you are at all interested in technology and black powder guns, that is the firing line to visit. The guns are virtually all hand made, and you will see all different kinds of stock designs, along with different calibers, barrel lengths, widths, and action types. Hold your ears when they fire one of them under that high metal roof. Its gets really noisy.
     
  14. Jan 29, 2008 #14

    fallaloosa

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    I tend to shoot 60-65 grains either 2 or 3 F in my Brown Bess Musket. It's a good all around charge. interesting side note here. During the Civil War the standard charge for the enfield and springfield rifled muskets was 60 grains behind a minnie ball. Those guns could reach out and touch a person at around 2-300 yards very nicely and very deadly.
     
  15. Jan 30, 2008 #15

    pepperbelly

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    Is there a Minie ball for a .69 caliber smoothbore musket?

    Jim
     
  16. Jan 30, 2008 #16

    Rebel

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    Conicals don't do well out of smoothbores. Without rifling they tumble.
     
  17. Jan 30, 2008 #17

    pepperbelly

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    Thanks rebel. I thought all the muskets I had heard that shot a minie had rifling but I wasn't sure.
    No loss. That roundball is big enough to thump the heck out of anything it hits.

    Jim
     
  18. Jan 30, 2008 #18

    Rebel

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    Yep, if you are hunting something a ball that size don't stop then you need a centerfire. LOL
     
  19. Jan 31, 2008 #19

    ayetter2003

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    pepper. i use 60 grs. 3f in my .69 smoothbore with a .662 patched ball. shot load is 80 grs. 2f a felt wad split in three 1 1/4 of shot with another felt wad.
     
  20. Jan 31, 2008 #20

    pepperbelly

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    Thanks for all the help. At least I know the load I was using, 70gr FFFg, is a safe load.
    The only roundballs I can get locally are from cabela's and measure .678". I did buy some muslin that measures about .010" so I will try that at the range next.

    Jim
     

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