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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Anybody using Pyrodex P for their 36 caliber 1851 Navies? Looks like around 20 grains should be appropriate with RB's. I can not get real BP anywhere so a substitute is a must. Have been out of shooting these for over 30 years so I'm a little out of touch. I am going to use a C series Colt as a shooter, looking for insights, thoughts, etc that will be helpful. Thank you all. Aloha.

I live in Hawaii and I cannot find real black powder anywhere. I seem to be limited to either Pyrodex P or Hodgdon 777. I've never used either but will be driving 158 miles to get some next week so if that changes the equation/question I apologize for the confusion. I would love to get a couple pounds of actual BP but that just is not an option.

7/8/13 - Thanks to those who have given their input. It is greatly appreciated. Does anyone have an opinion on 777 as opposed to Pyrodex? Advantages or disadvantages to either. I have been out of BP shooting for so long that I am in need of a complete education on these newer powders. Aloha.
 

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You should be able to get Back Powder via Mail Order.


That's how I got most of mine.


Get like 5 Lbs or something and that way the shipping and hazmat are easily forgotten.


Otherwise, I used to use Pyrodex years ago, and, I found I much preferred Black Powder to it.

Far as I recall, Pyrodex is a 'Volume-by-Volume' propellant, but with no compression or crushing.

So, whatever it takes to fill up the room there would be, under the Ball or Bullet, without the seating of the Ball or Bullet compressing or crushing it, then, that is how much one would use in a Percussion Revolver or Metallic Cartridge.
 

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I do remember reading somewhere that even after it is cleaned, Pyrodex can still corrode the metal. I have a .50 caliber Hawken that suffered that fate after using Pyrodex and cleaning it as usual, i.e. hot soapy water and oil after drying with boiling water. I stay away from the stuff. I did run a test with Clear shot substitute and found it did not corrode after sitting uncleaned for a year. Now don't cringe, I tested it on the already ruined .50 cal. I mentioned earlier. Oyeboten is correct, BP is available by mail. If you don't want to buy a bunch, maybe you know folks around your area that would go in with you to cut shipping?
 

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Black Powder is just the most fun and the best all round for the Cap & Ball ( or even many Metallic Cartridges originally meant for it ).

Clean up is easy, Hot Soapy Water and a Brush ) and, one can even use Bees Wax 'wafers' between Ball/Bullet and Powder, which eliminate fouling as well...letting you shoot all one would ever want with no binding or build up, between cleanings/washings.

'Swiss' Powder is said to be the best...and, is closest to the better grades of what was in use back when.
 

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I gave up on black powder years ago. Use pyrodex exclusively in all my black powder guns (levers, cap and balls, trapdoors). For my 3rd gen 1851 navy I set a black powder VOLUME setting to 17 to 21 grains and use pyrodex P. I have no idea the actual weight. Pyrodex is used on a volume basis, based on black powder. 17 grain setting was my standard for years, then lately wanted a bit more oomph so i went up to 21 grains. With black I got maybe 6 shots until the cylinder locked up from fouling and terrible accuracy. With pyrodex I get 30-36 shots before fouling locks it up. Remember, use a VOLUME setting for pyrodex, not a weight!! Set the measure for 17 grains volume and go from there.
Started using pyrodex in 1994 and so far no corrosion issues if cleaned like you shot black powder. It is imperative that before shooting you clean all oil out of the bore (I run an alcohol soaked mop down the bore). After shooting clean with a water based cleaner, oil it up, and you should be good to go.
It shoots accurately. Photobucket changed since I used it last....lets see if I can post this:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Looks like top target may be 18 gr, then 21 gr on left & 23gr on right?

Thank you very much for the info, could you clarify the grain weights with the 3 different targets please.

I gave up on black powder years ago. Use pyrodex exclusively in all my black powder guns (levers, cap and balls, trapdoors). For my 3rd gen 1851 navy I set a black powder VOLUME setting to 17 to 21 grains and use pyrodex P. I have no idea the actual weight. Pyrodex is used on a volume basis, based on black powder. 17 grain setting was my standard for years, then lately wanted a bit more oomph so i went up to 21 grains. With black I got maybe 6 shots until the cylinder locked up from fouling and terrible accuracy. With pyrodex I get 30-36 shots before fouling locks it up. Remember, use a VOLUME setting for pyrodex, not a weight!! Set the measure for 17 grains volume and go from there.
Started using pyrodex in 1994 and so far no corrosion issues if cleaned like you shot black powder. It is imperative that before shooting you clean all oil out of the bore (I run an alcohol soaked mop down the bore). After shooting clean with a water based cleaner, oil it up, and you should be good to go.
It shoots accurately. Photobucket changed since I used it last....lets see if I can post this:
 

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Oldguy03, somehow I missed your question to me. Sorry. Yes you are correct about the 3 different charges. I was simply testing how well the gun shot and how it felt with various amounts of powder. I do this several times and then take group averages. This target was used to test 18, 21, and 23 GN volume settings of Pyrodex. I'd have to dig up my notes to see what the actual averages were, but on this target 18 GN shot the best. I do know at the time I had 2 cartridge guns I shot a 17 GN volume of pyrodex in, so instead of 18 GN in this navy I just kept the measure on 17 and used it for all 3 guns. i should also add I use Ox-Yokes wonder wads that i dip in bore butter, but I have a hard time getting their 36 cal wads in place, so i use their 31 cal wads in this 36 cal navy. It works for me.
 

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I believe it can"t be stated enough to use the eq. charge in VOLUME so I will say it again. I believe I loosened up a signature series Colt 51 navy by compressing pyrodex. The gun really made a big boom on the full cylinder load. The part that held the loading lever fell off and I returned the gun and told them that if they replaced the gun I would rather have a 60 Army, so that is what they sent me. I am using pyrodex in a 3rd 44 dragoon and as long as I don't compress the charge, the loading lever does not fall down.

It appears that I am cleaning my revolvers fine with hot water and black powder solvent when using pyrodex. But, the first time I cleaned my Colt repro 1861 rifle, I did not do it well enough and had some rust in the bore and nipple. Now when I shoot my rifle, I double clean it to be sure. I would concur that pyrodex can be harder to clean than good old black. I still have cans of pyrodex that I paid as little as $5 and the nearest black powder cost is about $25 per pound.
 

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I don't have my book here with me, but as I recall it, 777 charges should be less than Pyrodex P.
I recommend you check the published data from Hodgdon before using 777.
rayb
 

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Yes 777 gets higher velocity over Pyrodex P with an equal VOLUME setting. I have chrono'ed many many charges of both and it has always been the case. I assume that this means higher pressure also (but am not sure).
 
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