Considering Getting Started in BP

Discussion in 'Blackpowder & Musket' started by TXnorton, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. TXnorton

    TXnorton New Member

    Hello All:

    I have just purchased a Perdersoli Sharps rifle in .45-70. My original plan was to just shoot smokeless powder rounds. I already reload many calibers of metallic cartridges, and have ordered a set of RCBS dies for this caliber.

    However, since getting interested in the Sharps, I have read a bit about the sport of black powder shooting. At this point, I am very curious about shooting BP rounds, but am not ready to commit to casting and lubricating/sizing my own lead bullets.

    My newbie questions are:

    1. Can you obtain good accuracy with commercially available lead bullets? I am refering to the "pre-lubed" standad 0.459" bullets that are available from outlets like Cabella's. Are there "better" choices for off-the-shelf lead pre-libed bullets?

    2. As I already own all the components required for smokelss powder re-loading, what additional equipment would I need to load BP rounds for the .45-70? I assume I need a "drop tube" device for loading the powder charge, but is there anything else I would require.

    I'll be buying the Lyman book on BP re-loading shortly, but any other advice on how to get started with BP would be appreciated.


  2. Slickrick214

    Slickrick214 New Member

    Are you talking about black powder subsitute or modern smokeless powder. To start with smokless powder and black powder aren't even measured the same way. Both black powder and smokeless powder are measured in grains but black powder is measured by volume, and smokeless is measured by weight. The reason for this is that black powder is a simple chemical compound (made of sulphur, charcoal, and saltpeter) of a given grain size (Fg, FFg, FFFg, etc), and can be relied upon to produce consistent loads when measured by volume. A volumetric measure of FFg black powder can be expected to contain the same amount of powder - therefore the same explosive potential - time and time again. Smokeless powder, on the other hand, is made in many variations - and the little particles of powder are made in many different shapes and sizes. One type of smokeless powder will be composed of small short cylinders, and another type made of tiny grains resembling grains of sand.Being composed of differently-shaped particles would be enough to cause volume to be an unreliable measure of smokeless powder. I'm pretty sure you would have to get a whole different measuring system to load the rounds.

    I don't know why people insist on using black powder subsitutes in Civil War muskets and carbines. All it does is cause problems in guns made for black powder. As for your problem with bullets. I'm not sure about the first part of your question. For the second part of your question you can load your gun like the guys back during the war. Make a self contained paper cartridge filled with black powder wrapped around the bullet. Drop the breech block, place the cartridge inside, cap the gun and shoot. There's no need to buy brass shells or anything like that. Once the round is shot thats it. Loading like they did during the Civil War takes more time but its cheap. a powder flask will cost about 25 dollars. Nitrated paper can be bought for pretty cheap, if you want you could go to a local tobacco store and buy a few packets of cig rolling paper for just a few dollars. Thats pretty much all you need to load paper cartidges. The bullets and powder you'll have to buy either way no matter which way you choose to shoot.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2008

  3. TXnorton

    TXnorton New Member

    First Experience with BP

    Update on my first experience with BP:

    I purchased a few boxes of factory GOEX Black Powder rounds for my .45-70 Pedersoli Sharps, and shot two boxes at the range this past week-end.

    What a blast (literally)! Sparks and lot of smoke out the end of the barrel, it was a real attention getter at the range. The GOEX BP rounds shot as good a pattern at 100 yards as did the factory smokeless Remington smokeless/jacketed rounds that I had shot the prior week-end. It ws great fun, and I am definately hooked. I've bought and read the Lyman BP manual, and several other BP publications, so I'll now start re-loading BP loads in the .45-70. Shooting the .45-70 smokeless rounds (factory and my own re-loads) is great, but shooting the BP rounds is just a lot more fun.

    Now, my wife (bless her), has bought me a black powder cap and ball Walker-Colt pistol for Christmas. Any advice out there on loads, shooting, or cleaning this pistol?

    I have been shooting guns for over 40 years, and this foray into BP is adding a really exciting new dimension to the sport.


  4. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Well-Known Member

    You're wrong on 2 counts that I see. The 1st is you're confused between 1863 model, which does take paper cartridges, and 1874 model, which REQUIRES brass case and is the 1 he has-remember he clearly stated .45-70?
    That alone states he has an 1874 model. The 2nd area where you're incorrect is more of an opinion thing where you state that blackpowder substitutes cause problems in guns meant for blackpowder. The facts of the matter is as long as you choose the correct bp subsitute powder, it works every bit as good as black powder itself.

  5. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

    I agree with stalkingbear. Subs are pretty good. I've used Pyrodex ever since real bp got so hard to get. It cleans up just as easy as real bp if not easier. Accuracy with it is superb.
  6. stetson

    stetson New Member

    I have an in line black powder rifle that I find it's more expense to shoot than a conventional rifle.Don't get me wrong it's a hoot to shoot but I find it's a pain to clean after your done.