Smokeless vs black powder ammo

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by w1spurgeon, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. w1spurgeon

    w1spurgeon Member

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    Dec 30, 2007
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    Chattanooga, TN
    Despite all the warnings, I have been firing smokeless powder cartridges in my old revolvers designed for BP. I buy only lightly loaded "Cowboy" rounds and all my fingers are still attached to my hands.

    Would you like to weigh in with an opinion on that strategy?
  2. Goody

    Goody Member

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    Jun 1, 2006
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    350
    In my opinion it is a very foolish and dangerous thing to do. It is not just the difference in pressures, but how they are achieved. Look at the the pressure curve differences. Factor in the quality of the steels available 125 years ago and the detrimental effect of age. I think that you have been lucky so far. Tick tock!

    You can reload with a cheap $20 Lee handloader all he BP you could ever want to shoot. With newer substitutes cleanup is a snap and you can use regular hardlubed lead bullets designed for smokeless.
  3. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Hesperia, CA
    At the turn of the last century guns made for smokeless powder used different alloys of steel than the previous black powder guns. Usually guns from that era have some collector value and shooting them with smokeless powder and risking damage to the gun and you is probably not a smart idea.

    Modern guns are tolerant to higher pressures because modern alloys, developed mid century (1900's), are much stronger than anything from the 1800's. Steel alloy development only started in the late 1800's and progressed slowly until the steels of today. Black Powder guns have serious strength issues when used with the fast pressure rise smokeless powders of today.

    If you reload there are options, like Pyrodex or the other easier to use black powder clones. There are even some that are non-corrosive (but Pyrodex is not one of them). The best performance comes from using quality black powder. Mike Venturino has written several books on shooting guns of the BP era. You might want to try to find one and study it.

    LDBennett
  4. GMFWoodchuck

    GMFWoodchuck New Member

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    Bp loads will only have a couple thousand psi, smokeless loads will be in the several tens of thousands. That's like wondering why your atv tires blew up after pumping them up to 120 psi when they were meant for 15 psi. You would be well advised in listening to Goody and LDBennett and stop this procedure. Either buy some modern guns so you can reload with smokeless or use black powder in the old guns.
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