Black powder & cowboy ammo

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by old sailor, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. old sailor

    old sailor New Member

    Aug 17, 2010
    I have an old Hopkins&Allen breaktop revolver, circa 1898. After much research as to what ammo I might be able to shoot in it, I don't have a definitive answer. Are cowboy loads safe to use? It was designed to use BP ammo. No one can tell me if cowboy ammo is OK to use. Apparently the pressure curve is a key factor, what is the pressure of cowboy ammo vs. black powder? A final answer would be greatly appreciated!
  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    I think this might be a good example.

    You've got two cars. A Pinto with an automatic transmission, and a dragster. Both cars, for whatever reason, max out at 60 MPH.

    You get in the Pinto and put the pedal to the metal. 8 to 10 seconds later, you're roaring down the road at 60 MPH.

    You get in the dragster and punch it. 1/8 of a second later you are maxed out at 60 MPH.

    Now, both cars ended up going the same speed, but the dragster got you there faster and the G-forces your body felt were much greater.

    Kinda the same way, smokeless ammo, in the older calibers loaded to the same pressures as the black powder rounds, but smokeless burns so much quicker that it gets to that pressure so much faster, and puts much more of a strain on the gun.

    Short answer - if your gun was designed for black powder, don't shoot smokeless in it. It's gonna hurt it. It might stretch the frame. It might blow up in your hand. It might go a couple of hundred rounds. It might happen the first shot. But it's gonna hurt it.

    If you want to shoot your old black powder gun, look around and find some black powder ammo. It's out there. It's hard to find, usually, but it's out there.

  3. old semperfi

    old semperfi Active Member

    Aug 27, 2009
    i live in southern indiana,old country boy at hear
    alpo is 100 percent correct,nuff said. old semperfi
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