Shooting black powder Guns with Smokeless powder Ammo

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by johnlives4christ, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    i've always heard you never shoot smokeless ammo in a black powder gun.

    from what i understand it isnt the pressure created, but how fast the pressure rises that does the damage. thats why you cannot just shoot a reduced type load in a black powder gun.

    i do not remember where i seen this, but i recall seeing an advertisement for either an old gun or an an old ammo/powder maker that said something like " this reduced smokeless load is safe for your old blackpowder gun"

    if i recall it was from the 20's or the 30's.

    if i recall correctly the mosin nagant rifle started as a black powder firearm. would they have done anything to the rifles to change them for use with smokeless powder?

    and just when did it become generally accepted that you dont shoot smokeless powder in a black powder firearm?

    from everything i've read about the switch between the two, smokeless was billed as the greatest thing since sliced bread and offered in all the old chamberings when it first came out.

    ~john
  2. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    If the loads are done with care and by an experienced reloader you can absolutely shoot smokeless in a BPC weapon. IMR manufactures trailboss which is a smokeless propellant acceptable for use in just about every BPC in existence. Unique is another good smokeless BPC propellant.

    Now, that said, you should NEVER use smokeless loads in a damascus twist steel shotgun. You know what happens when bugs bunny hammers a cork into elmer fudds shotgun muzzle. they will do pretty much the same thing.

    You would also want to be wary of inherently weak actions like the springfield trapdoors. and early leverguns.

    Kepp in mind that with smokeless propellants, i little goes a loooong way...
  3. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    hmmm i had no idea of this jla
  4. old semperfi

    old semperfi New Member

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    i live in southern indiana,old country boy at hear
    i have always heard you do not use smokeless powder in muzzeloading fire arms but never the way you are refering to.most all older milatery rifles were black powder,such as the 45/70 they are now both black powder and smokeless old semperfi
  5. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    The problem is the steel used to make guns before the advent of smokeless powder. Most of it was not strong enough to take the fast rise time of the smokeless burn but totally capable of the slow, long burning rate of Black Powder. Once Smokeless powder was well entrenched in the gun industry, the quality of the steel went up. The turning point was somewhere around 1900. Of course, every manufacturer of that era had a different point where they upgraded to smokless powder steels and research is necessary to know what is right for your vintage firearm.

    Even then the most of the steel we have today was not available until post WWII. The use of chrome-moly alloys and certain alloys of stainless steel makes todays guns tremendously stronger than earlier guns. Even stainless did not become prevalent until the 1970's and later as no one had figured out how to make the stainless steel alloys work adequately in a gun until S&W and others figured it out.

    In the early parts of the the 20th century they had to rely on localized hardening of the metal and case hardening, making some of the guns from that era questionably strong. Over loading one of those guns is a gamble.

    People who really know BP vintage guns, like Mike Venturino who has written several books on the use of BP in vintage guns, insist that only BP or modern replica BP powders be used in those guns. The guns are less harmed by the use of BP regardless that smokeless loads can be developed that seem to work OK.

    Pick up one of the Venturino books that cover the vintage firearm of your choice. He is an excellent read and the books are loaded with very good advice and loading information.

    LDBennett
  6. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    It not ever a good idea to use smokeless in a muzzleloader because the bullet compresses the charge. most smokeless powders increase in pressure when compressed. with black, its the only way to get it to burn at all.

    The use of smokeless is only acceptable if used in black powder cartridge (BPC) firearms, but, as stated before, it must be done properly and with great attention to pressures.
  7. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    I don't presently own any true antique firearms. If I ever do I will reload for them with black powder and not chance a KB for no good reason. BP or its equivalents are not very expensive, why make problems?
  8. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    To be clear (if anyone even assumed something else??) my comments were for black powder cartridge guns, not muzzle loaders. Muzzle loaders should NEVER EVER be used with smokeless powder...EVER!!!!

    Cartridge guns, rifles and pistols, made before 1900 (and some later than that depending on the manufacturer) are suspect when used with anything other than black powder. That was my point.

    JLA:

    I know you knew what I meant but I just wanted it to be perfectly clear to the uninformed.

    LDBennett
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  9. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Its all good LD, I got your back;)
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