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Thread: Black powder in a 45-70

  1. #1
    Boolit Master DHurtig's Avatar
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    Black powder in a 45-70

    I have never shot black powder before and I have been given a pound of it. It is labeled as super fine black powder suitable for muskets, pistol and shot guns. Manufactured by Gearhart-Owen Industries Berlin plant Moosic Pennsylvania. Is this suitable for a H & R 45-70. Can anyone recommend a load. Can you use a standard large rifle or magnum primer. All help is appreciated, Dale

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Look again for FFFFg or 4Fg on the can. If you find it, what you have is priming powder, and it is suitable ONLY for priming. Do not load your 45-70 with FFFFg or 4Fg powder.

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    Boolit Master joec's Avatar
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    According to the Black Powder Handbook that I have the powders listed are Goex FFg, Elephant FFg, Goex Cartridge, Pyrodex RS and Pyrodex Select but would assume Swiss and other FFg would also work fine. All loads are loads listed call for Large Rifle Magnum Primers and case length should be 2.100".

    Listed below by Bullet size followed by OAL and powder by grains volume.
    292 gr, 2.550 OAL, 70 gr
    405 gr, 2.550 OAL, 60 gr
    480 gr, 2.990 OAL, 65 gr except for Elephant which calls for 70 gr
    500 gr, 2.835 OAL, 60 gr except Goex Cartridge which is 62 gr
    535 gr, 2.930 OAL, 60 gr

  4. #4
    I'm A Honcho! montana_charlie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DHurtig View Post
    Can anyone recommend a load. Can you use a standard large rifle or magnum primer.
    Choose a bullet and determine how far out of the case it can stick while still being short enough to chamber easily.
    Fill the case to a level where insertion of the bullet will just slightly compress the charge.
    This will probably be between 60 and 70 grains of powder.
    Standard primers are fine, as black powder ignites more easily than smokeless.

    Clean the barrel with water after shooting. a little bit of dish washing detergent can be helpful, too. Also, wash out the fired cases with soap, water, and a good brushing.

    CM
    Last edited by montana_charlie; 07-20-2012 at 09:35 PM.
    Retired...TWICE. Now just raisin' cows and livin' on borrowed time.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Mike Brooks's Avatar
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    Got a picture of the can?

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by DHurtig View Post
    I have never shot black powder before and I have been given a pound of it. It is labeled as super fine black powder suitable for muskets, pistol and shot guns. Manufactured by Gearhart-Owen Industries Berlin plant Moosic Pennsylvania. Is this suitable for a H & R 45-70. Can anyone recommend a load. Can you use a standard large rifle or magnum primer. All help is appreciated, Dale
    If you Google the manufacturers name you might find out more. It looks like that plant was acquired by Goex. Since it says it suitable for muskets, pistols and shotguns it's probably 2f or 3f. But it would be good to know for sure.

    Chris.

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    Boolit Master DHurtig's Avatar
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    I couldn't find any designation for FFFFg or 4Fg on the can. The texture is like a fine ball powder. Maybe these pics will help, Thanks, Dale




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    Boolit Master smokeywolf's Avatar
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    I think if it were me, since you are loading this in cartridges and not using this in a "musket, pistol, & shotgun", you've never worked with the holy black before, I would invest $25.00 or $30.00 in a pound of Goex or Swiss 1 1/2 or ffg and eliminate the guessing and supposition.
    Also, Gearhart-Owen may have used this same labelling (SUITABLE FOR MUSKETS, PISTOLS & SHOTGUNS) on all of their granulations of black powder, changing only the granulation reference "SUPERFINE".

    Stay safe and enjoy shooting and reloading for a long time.

    smokeywolf

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    It looks like the number of "Fs" has been wiped off. It's normally printed between the logo and the word "superfine". You can just barely make out two of them.

    I remember that powder from when I was a kid. It used to be the only kind you could get, I might still have some of the cans around here.

    And as long as it's not 4F it should be fine to fire in a 45-70. But before that, either get a good book on shooting black powder in cartridges - there are several, some by Mike Venturino and some by Steve Garbe and lots of others and get used to how to do it. Or just load some up and see how they work, and clean the cases and your rifle when you're done. That works too, and you'll get to see if what you did shot very well. Follow Montana Charlie's load data - however much powder fits in the case with reasonable (like 1/8 inch) compression and a standard primer. Have fun!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by DHurtig View Post
    I have never shot black powder before



    BE WARNED!! Once you shoot your first load and get a whiff of that BP aroma you will be hopelessly addicted and there is NO CURE for this addiction!



    Seriously as was suggested buy another pound of powder in a known granulation and start from there, after shooting up that pound you will most certainly be needing more anyway and by then you will probably be able to better identify what you have. Trust me you WILL be hooked and will be buying more powder!



    BTW, I have an un-opened can identical to that (mine is FFG) that I have had for probably 25 years, my shooting was on hold for many years due to my job and when I bought fresh powder I just left that old can on my bench.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Warning

    heed the warning of imediate addiction!!! this stuff is as fast as crack to go straight to yer noggin and once there it will naww at ya till you either go crazy or succomb to the addictive nature of blackpowder. you will start out in jerks and steady as ever you will come along side the rest of us that are hoplessly in-tangled with this evil black substance that once gets into your nostrils and bowels...{ yep after shooting around 100 of these bp filled cases in an afternoon i swear my farts smell like the burnt sulfer i been breathing all afternoon}.

    the other thing is that can of powder. id bet some that it was origanally a 3f g or FFFG configuration BUT>>..>> until figured out i also would leave it alone and purchase a pound of 2f or 1f powder and give it a whirl....the 4f grade powder in a 45-70 will creat some kinda preassure in a large case like that. of the 2 or 1 or even the 3f grade you will not be able to put enough powder in that case and still seat a boolit to harm the rifle.

    have fun and dont say later that you werent warned about the addictive nature of this benign substance.
    WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...MORE WILL BE SAID THEN DONE

  12. #12
    Boolit Man
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    These guys are right about Black Powder addiction,once you go black you'll never go back. If the government ever hear s about this we'll be on the DEA hit list.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    To determine what grade the Goex can of powder is - look on the bottom of the can. There will be an ink stamp (if not worn off or obliterated) that identifies the grade of powder.
    The first two numbers of the code identify the powder grade:
    01 - Fg
    02 - FFg
    03 - FFFg
    04 - FFFg ... used for priming powder only
    Regards
    John

  14. #14
    Boolit Master DHurtig's Avatar
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    Now I see the FF on the can but can't tell if there were more than 2. I wasn't really looking to get into black powder. I was given the can of powder and being the frugal ( read that as cheap ) person that I am, I hate to see anything go to waste. The bottom of the can has some numbers and letters as follows 730C24C. Thanks for all your input guys. I'll try to see if the guy I got it from might remember what it is. Dale

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    Boolit Master joec's Avatar
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    One note for you Dale on black powder, the stuff lasts for centuries. I read recently that a museum had a 50 lb keg they though was empty but it wasn't. One of the employees said he could dispose of the powder and return the keg which he did. He disposed of it by using it and the stuff was from the French and Indian War. It had even be wet a time or two but just naturally dried on its own.

  16. #16
    Boolit Mold af2fb751's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DHurtig View Post
    Now I see the FF on the can but can't tell if there were more than 2. I wasn't really looking to get into black powder. I was given the can of powder and being the frugal ( read that as cheap ) person that I am, I hate to see anything go to waste. The bottom of the can has some numbers and letters as follows 730C24C. Thanks for all your input guys. I'll try to see if the guy I got it from might remember what it is. Dale
    That's the lot number. The screen grade is usually stamped just above with the date. The "superfine" is branding for the quality, not anything about the screen mesh size. BP will last forever, stored right, so if members here can't entice you to use it, don't trash it. The FF stamped on your can was replaced by pre-printed cans, like the one below. A picture of a small amount of contents can do a lot to confirm or rule out the size guess.



  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    730C24C ...
    The lot number deciphers as:
    73 = Year
    OC = Month, October
    24 = Day
    C = Batch

    Now, Oct 24, 1973 was not the day the powder was made ... it is the date it was packaged in the can.

    Why no grade prefix #? The powder predates when Goex put the number on their cans

    It had even be wet a time or two but just naturally dried on its own.
    There was a test performed in the 1800's by a British gun crank (don't remember if it was Halford or Metford) ... wet the gunpowder - dry it, the velocity will increase between 2 - 4%
    Regards
    John

  18. #18
    I'm A Honcho! montana_charlie's Avatar
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    The pictures posted by af2fb751 are instructive. They show that Gearhart-Owen used a lowercase 'g' after the 'FF'

    After enlarging the o/p's photo, I am certain I can see the remnants of the small 'g' on his can.
    Therefore, I believe it to be a container of FFg powder ... a great granulation for rifle cartridges similar to the 45/70.

    CM
    Retired...TWICE. Now just raisin' cows and livin' on borrowed time.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DHurtig View Post
    I have never shot black powder before and I have been given a pound of it. It is labeled as super fine black powder suitable for muskets, pistol and shot guns. Manufactured by Gearhart-Owen Industries Berlin plant Moosic Pennsylvania. Is this suitable for a H & R 45-70. Can anyone recommend a load. Can you use a standard large rifle or magnum primer. All help is appreciated, Dale
    If it turns out to be FFg then you have a great granulation of BP to use in your H&R .45/70. Now which H&R is it? THe Trapdoor they made in the 1970's? Or the Handi Rifle under current manufacture?

    If it is the Trapdoor Carbine, I would suggest that you use the Army's load of 55 grains of FFg and a 405 grain hollow based bullet. This will give you a easy recoiling and accurate round so long as you use a BP compatable lubricant in the grooves of the boolit. The boolit should be cast with a 30:1, lead:tin alloy to get the most out of the hollow base so it obturates and fills the bore and grabs the rifling.
    Listen! Do you hear it. The roar of cannons, the screams of the dying! Ahh! Music to my ears!

  20. #20
    Boolit Mold af2fb751's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Boy View Post
    The lot number deciphers as:
    73 = Year
    OC = Month, October
    24 = Day
    C = Batch

    Now, Oct 24, 1973 was not the day the powder was made ... it is the date it was packaged in the can.
    Thanks John. The can in my picture deciphers to November 10, 1981. I think I paid $7. -Dan.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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