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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So, these days it's hard to find real black powder. There are also a lot of regulations, especially in Europe. I have an antique original Colt 1860 army Revolver which is in shooting condition. I want to shoot with it again using 777 or Pyrodex FFFg with moderate loads, what's your opinion on this?

I've also found this IMG-20210727-171941821

I also own a reproduction Cylinder for the original ( this one: 1860 Army Colt Cylinder (Reproduction for Original)-#33 ) So the cylinder is new and better steel, but the barrel and frame are still antiques.
 

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I stopped using black powder years ago in my antiques and only use the substitutes. Have accuracy tested and chronographed 777, Pyrodex RS and pyrodex P in many old guns and, in general, think that for the same volumes, pressures seem mildest with RS, then P, then with 777 being highest. Of course step number 1 is to make sure your gun can safely be fired after examination by a competent person, either you if able, or a gunsmith. If so I recommend starting off by loading only 1 chamber at a time to make sure all is well, then load every other chamber to test. I once had all 6 chambers go off on an 1849 Pocket when the cylinder slammed back in recoil and set off all the percussion caps! It was an important lesson! Had the cylinder wear corrected and had no issues after that.
Remember the substitutes are loaded BY VOLUME and not by weight. This is very important. The substitutes are not engineered to be weighed out on a scale. So if the load was 20 gn of black (weight or volume), you would set the VOLUME measure for 20 gns and measure out the 777 or Pyrodex that way, even if the actual charge comes out only weighing (by weight) 14 gns. You probably know this but it is important so I hope you don't mind the explanation just in case you are new to this. Pyrodex comes in RS or P so you calling it fffg tells me it is probably Pyrodex P. Also I believe Pyrodex is designed for just a little compression when loaded, compared to black powder which gets compressed a bit more. As far as ignition I've noticed no difference between black, Pyrodex, or 777, so standard caps are fine. I have also used cornmeal as a filler (instead of a full powder charge) after pouring the powder in so that the loading rod can seat the ball properly. In an 1856 vintage 1851 Navy I shoot, I set the measure for 15 GN, fill it with Pyrodex P, pour that into my cylinder chamber, then set the measure for 5 GN and fill it with fine cornmeal, then pour this on top of the powder before seating the ball. Some people don't like doing this. Also I generally use felt wads instead of over the ball grease, but on antiques I always put grease over the ball. So to answer your question, my opinion is that if the gun is given a clean bill of health, I would shoot it, but remember its heritage and go gently. Of course it is your decision in the end, there is always a risk.
Thanks for the link....didnt know repro cylinder were made like that. Certainly adds a measure of safety but still I would not hot rod an antique.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So, these days it's hard to find real black powder. There are also a lot of regulations, especially in Europe. I have an antique original Colt 1860 army Revolver which is in shooting condition. I want to shoot with it again using 777 or Pyrodex FFFg with moderate loads, what's your opinion on this?

I've also found this (look at the pictures) I also own a reproduction Cylinder for the original ( this one: 1860 Army Colt Cylinder (Reproduction for Original)-#33 ) So the cylinder is new and better steel, but the barrel and frame are still antiques.
I stopped using black powder years ago in my antiques and only use the substitutes. Have accuracy tested and chronographed 777, Pyrodex RS and pyrodex P in many old guns and, in general, think that for the same volumes, pressures seem mildest with RS, then P, then with 777 being highest. Of course step number 1 is to make sure your gun can safely be fired after examination by a competent person, either you if able, or a gunsmith. If so I recommend starting off by loading only 1 chamber at a time to make sure all is well, then load every other chamber to test. I once had all 6 chambers go off on an 1849 Pocket when the cylinder slammed back in recoil and set off all the percussion caps! It was an important lesson! Had the cylinder wear corrected and had no issues after that.
Remember the substitutes are loaded BY VOLUME and not by weight. This is very important. The substitutes are not engineered to be weighed out on a scale. So if the load was 20 gn of black (weight or volume), you would set the VOLUME measure for 20 gns and measure out the 777 or Pyrodex that way, even if the actual charge comes out only weighing (by weight) 14 gns. You probably know this but it is important so I hope you don't mind the explanation just in case you are new to this. Pyrodex comes in RS or P so you calling it fffg tells me it is probably Pyrodex P. Also I believe Pyrodex is designed for just a little compression when loaded, compared to black powder which gets compressed a bit more. As far as ignition I've noticed no difference between black, Pyrodex, or 777, so standard caps are fine. I have also used cornmeal as a filler (instead of a full powder charge) after pouring the powder in so that the loading rod can seat the ball properly. In an 1856 vintage 1851 Navy I shoot, I set the measure for 15 GN, fill it with Pyrodex P, pour that into my cylinder chamber, then set the measure for 5 GN and fill it with fine cornmeal, then pour this on top of the powder before seating the ball. Some people don't like doing this. Also I generally use felt wads instead of over the ball grease, but on antiques I always put grease over the ball. So to answer your question, my opinion is that if the gun is given a clean bill of health, I would shoot it, but remember its heritage and go gently. Of course it is your decision in the end, there is always a risk.
Thanks for the link....didnt know repro cylinder were made like that. Certainly adds a measure of safety but still I would not hot rod an antique.
Hello Dandak

Thank you for your detailed reply.

Did you get hurt by the chain fire from your colt pocket? I hope not!

Thats is great. I'm planning to make paper cartridges. I will do dip lubing the ball just like in this video:

But did you saw the pictures? I've added them now. Even they say their product is just for modern steel.

Thanks a lot for the explanation, I'm new to this. Which volume measure did you use?
 

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For everyone that likes one thing, another doesn't. I would never fire a substitute in an antique gun made for blackpowder. Just a few times with a substitute in a lifetime of shooting black powder were enough to convince me it's not ideal. And that was in a modern steel, strong Sharps. Antique Colts should only use black powder. Search the forum and outside the forum, you'll get a consensus (which is use black powder only).
This guy may be able to get you black powder Black Powder or Pyrodex and Other Smokeless Propellants (note he says only use black in antique guns).

Spoiler: Practically no one in the gun industry, or serious collectors, will recommend using anything other than black powder in an antique gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
For everyone that likes one thing, another doesn't. I would never fire a substitute in an antique gun made for blackpowder. Just a few times with a substitute in a lifetime of shooting black powder were enough to convince me it's not ideal. And that was in a modern steel, strong Sharps. Antique Colts should only use black powder. Search the forum and outside the forum, you'll get a consensus (which is use black powder only).
This guy may be able to get you black powder Black Powder or Pyrodex and Other Smokeless Propellants (note he says only use black in antique guns).
Thank you, I will text him, maybe he knows somebody in Sweden. I'm sure he will not able to ship it to my Swedish address. As far as I know, Blackpowder is almost impossible to get here because it's under license and not allowed by the government to have more than 15g here at home and each g. has to be in a special box which was designed for it.
 

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Thank you for your detailed reply.
Did you get hurt by the chain fire from your colt pocket? I hope not!
Thats is great. I'm planning to make paper cartridges. I will do dip lubing the ball just like in this video:
But did you saw the pictures? I've added them now. Even they say their product is just for modern steel.
Thanks a lot for the explanation, I'm new to this. Which volume measure did you use?
No I did not get hurt by the chain fire, in fact it did no damage to the gun.
Any black powder designed volume measure would work. I can't remember the brand I use.
I am aware Pyrodex PELLETS should not be used in antiques, but never heard the warning for the loose powder. Thank you for the picture. I will have to look into this and see if it is a 'lawyer thing" to avoid lawsuits or is real. If real then I am done shooting my old ones as I won't mess around with black powders lack of accuracy and other perks....I do not intend to 'blow into my bores' to keep fouling soft!, nor do I like jammed up cylinders after 6 shots, nor driving home with a loaded muzzleloader in the truck because the ball is jammed halfway down the bore after an attempted reload after only 2 rounds! This is quite interesting and again I thank you for bringing it to my attention.
AZSHOT is certainly correct in that a lot of muzzleloader shooters do not like BP substitutes in ANY firearm, even modern. I know I get sneers and snide comments at the gun range when shooting even modern repro percussion rifles using Pyrodex from people who think black is king, and that attitude probably forms a lot of the online consensus . But I like to shoot, and having a ball jammed in my rifle after only 2 shots with black powder, or getting only 4 or 5 shots off in my trapdoors before I get huge 1 foot or greater groups as I do with black, led me to Pyrodex (have done 30 straight with Pyrodex in a 45-70 trapdoor w/o cleaning and still got 3" groups at 100 yards). My shoulder was RAW after that test!! But this is what I do, I am certainly not going to recommend that you go against what the manufacturers say, so as per your first post wanting opinions about doing so.....I suppose my opinion is for you not to do it.
I made my own paper cartridges too but rarely use them now, I just prefer loading at the shooting bench. I guess if I was doing a woods walk or something I would probably go back to paper cartridges. Years ago I posted here how I made them but can't find that post now. Here are a few pictures:
Wood Font Hardwood Wood stain Electric blue

Green Wood Rectangle Font Pattern

Pink Rectangle Font Material property Magenta

Let us know what you decide to do.
 

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Black Powder Cartridge Rifle Nationals competitions in the 1990s-2000s found nearly 100% of the shooters using real black powder. And those were mostly in strong steel, modern replicas. ASSRA events also. It was only deer hunters and CAS that wanted to try some replica powders, or we would have never had any. Black works better, cleaner, no rust issues. I've been shooting it for 40 years. Hope you can find some, maybe you can take a trip somewhere in the EU and find a way back with it. Like drive?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No I did not get hurt by the chain fire, in fact it did no damage to the gun.
Any black powder designed volume measure would work. I can't remember the brand I use.
I am aware Pyrodex PELLETS should not be used in antiques, but never heard the warning for the loose powder. Thank you for the picture. I will have to look into this and see if it is a 'lawyer thing" to avoid lawsuits or is real. If real then I am done shooting my old ones as I won't mess around with black powders lack of accuracy and other perks....I do not intend to 'blow into my bores' to keep fouling soft!, nor do I like jammed up cylinders after 6 shots, nor driving home with a loaded muzzleloader in the truck because the ball is jammed halfway down the bore after an attempted reload after only 2 rounds! This is quite interesting and again I thank you for bringing it to my attention.
AZSHOT is certainly correct in that a lot of muzzleloader shooters do not like BP substitutes in ANY firearm, even modern. I know I get sneers and snide comments at the gun range when shooting even modern repro percussion rifles using Pyrodex from people who think black is king, and that attitude probably forms a lot of the online consensus . But I like to shoot, and having a ball jammed in my rifle after only 2 shots with black powder, or getting only 4 or 5 shots off in my trapdoors before I get huge 1 foot or greater groups as I do with black, led me to Pyrodex (have done 30 straight with Pyrodex in a 45-70 trapdoor w/o cleaning and still got 3" groups at 100 yards). My shoulder was RAW after that test!! But this is what I do, I am certainly not going to recommend that you go against what the manufacturers say, so as per your first post wanting opinions about doing so.....I suppose my opinion is for you not to do it.
I made my own paper cartridges too but rarely use them now, I just prefer loading at the shooting bench. I guess if I was doing a woods walk or something I would probably go back to paper cartridges. Years ago I posted here how I made them but can't find that post now. Here are a few pictures:
View attachment 746231
View attachment 746233
View attachment 746234
Let us know what you decide to do.
Hi Dandak, thank you for your long message!

I'll send you a picture of the front page from this magazine. How will you find out if it's a real warning or just a thing to avoid lawsuits? However, please let me know if you have more information about this!!! I've also asked a swedish gunsmith and he told me Pyrodex is ok with antique firearms, but 777 is too fast-burning.

Great paper cartridges, by the way, thank you for sharing the pictures.

Best regards!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Black Powder Cartridge Rifle Nationals competitions in the 1990s-2000s found nearly 100% of the shooters using real black powder. And those were mostly in strong steel, modern replicas. ASSRA events also. It was only deer hunters and CAS that wanted to try some replica powders, or we would have never had any. Black works better, cleaner, no rust issues. I've been shooting it for 40 years. Hope you can find some, maybe you can take a trip somewhere in the EU and find a way back with it. Like drive?
Hello Azshot.

I think there should be no rust issue with the substitutes as long the gun gets cleaned after each shooting session. A swedish gunsmith told me today that Pyrodex is ok to use with antique firearms, but 777 is too fast-burning.

However, I will still try to get bp here in Sweden. I think I could get some from Poland and import it, but I don't want to end up in jail. The gun laws in Europe are frustrating, sometimes I wish I were born in the US.
 

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I would look at all available time/pressure curves and choose which propellant most closely approximates black powder. Staying within BP max pressure means little if the pressure hits in a sudden shock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I would look at all available time/pressure curves and choose which propellant most closely approximates black powder. Staying within BP max pressure means little if the pressure hits in a sudden shock.
Interesting, thank you. Do you have an idea from where I can get that information?
 

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Interesting, thank you. Do you have an idea from where I can get that information?
Dynamit Nobel must have some good information - although they are so defense related these days. Vihta Vouri may very well be able to help. Even, shall we say, NORMA. The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer's Institute (SAAMI) would undoubtendly have information. It may take a bit of digging.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I would look at all available time/pressure curves and choose which propellant most closely approximates black powder. Staying within BP max pressure means little if the pressure hits in a sudden shock.
I think Pyrodex is more similar to blackpowder. 777 is too fast burning.
 

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In that case, I would email Hodgdon and ask about Pyrodex in your original revolver.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
No I did not get hurt by the chain fire, in fact it did no damage to the gun.
Any black powder designed volume measure would work. I can't remember the brand I use.
I am aware Pyrodex PELLETS should not be used in antiques, but never heard the warning for the loose powder. Thank you for the picture. I will have to look into this and see if it is a 'lawyer thing" to avoid lawsuits or is real. If real then I am done shooting my old ones as I won't mess around with black powders lack of accuracy and other perks....I do not intend to 'blow into my bores' to keep fouling soft!, nor do I like jammed up cylinders after 6 shots, nor driving home with a loaded muzzleloader in the truck because the ball is jammed halfway down the bore after an attempted reload after only 2 rounds! This is quite interesting and again I thank you for bringing it to my attention.
AZSHOT is certainly correct in that a lot of muzzleloader shooters do not like BP substitutes in ANY firearm, even modern. I know I get sneers and snide comments at the gun range when shooting even modern repro percussion rifles using Pyrodex from people who think black is king, and that attitude probably forms a lot of the online consensus . But I like to shoot, and having a ball jammed in my rifle after only 2 shots with black powder, or getting only 4 or 5 shots off in my trapdoors before I get huge 1 foot or greater groups as I do with black, led me to Pyrodex (have done 30 straight with Pyrodex in a 45-70 trapdoor w/o cleaning and still got 3" groups at 100 yards). My shoulder was RAW after that test!! But this is what I do, I am certainly not going to recommend that you go against what the manufacturers say, so as per your first post wanting opinions about doing so.....I suppose my opinion is for you not to do it.
I made my own paper cartridges too but rarely use them now, I just prefer loading at the shooting bench. I guess if I was doing a woods walk or something I would probably go back to paper cartridges. Years ago I posted here how I made them but can't find that post now. Here are a few pictures:
View attachment 746231
View attachment 746233
View attachment 746234
Let us know what you decide to do.
So?
 

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Pryodex is known to cause rusting problems.
Absolutely. You have to clean up just like blackpowder. The "pyrodex rusts worse than black" mantra began when shooters thought since it was a substitute for black, it could be treated like smokeless powder. ie: prompt cleaning not needed. They are wrong of course, you need to clean immediately, just like black. I've been using Pyrodex since 1994 (some 20 years after I started using black, so I am familiar with both) and so far....no rust on my pyrodex guns. Another myth that just gets repeated over and over ad infinitum without actually testing it.
 

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I didnt contact Hodgdon yet about their warnings. I can't imagine them saying it is just to avoid liability with old guns and I am sure they will reiterate what their manual states. I need to go back to my 1970s issues of gun magazines, when Pyrodex first came out, to see what is stated there. Is the pressure curve the same? You are correct 777 is more powerful than Pyrodex. I have chronographed loads in modern 44-40s as well as my muzzleloader and find for a given charge, 777 gives the fastest velocity, followed by black powder, with Pyrodex being slightly slower than black.
 
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