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Thread: Pedersoli Philadelphia Derringer - correct loads?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master


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    Pedersoli Philadelphia Derringer - correct loads?

    A few days ago when the weather was delightful I had intended to take my unfired Pedersoli Philadelphia Derringer (percussion) to the range for its first shots. I checked my downloaded Pedersoli SUGGESTED BLACK POWDER LOADS Acrobat file - nothing listed for this derringer or their screw barrel box lock Liège Derringer. I emailed Pedersoli for load data.

    Pedersoli's load recommendation is: .451" round ball with .010" patch, 9 grs. of FFFFg

    While my experience with Pedersoli's recommended loads for their Kodiak Safari is that loads are extremely modest, this derringer recommendation seems unusually modest.
    ***
    Their Philadelphia Derringer is about one-half the weight of the common Jukar derringer, nearly identical in size to original Henry Deringer pistol that murdered Lincoln - but .45-caliber rather than .41-caliber. Quality of assembly and fit is excellent.

    Those who have experience with this derringer, or comparably small Italian-made derringers, such as Palmetto of the turn of the millenium, please furnish safe, but less modest loading data.

    I request data because I had intended loading with 15-20 grains Goex FFFg with .451-inch RB before it began snowing again. Now I'm unsure what to load.
    It’s so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then don’t say it. Sam Levinson

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Texantothecore's Avatar
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    If it is ffffg I would use that to start with. It will be a very fast load.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    dondiego's Avatar
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    Start with 10 grains of 3F and go up from there if you don't have any 4F. You'll figure out when to stop.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    you can turn 3F into 4F very easily with a mortar and pestle.

    In my experience, larger kernals are what is faster. In your place I'd start with 5 gr of 3F if my confidence was low, and go up by 5's. If I was confident in the gun, 10 seems reasonable.

    Sounds like a great little pistol.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Some humor. if the bullet won't fit down the bore, then you have too much powder in the barrel.

    Anyway, the derringers weren't loaded with large loads as they have a really short barrel. Much of the powder would still be burning after the bullet left the barrel. So using much more than 10 grains, probably won't gain anything, except maybe more flame burst out of the barrel.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiterabbit View Post
    you can turn 3F into 4F very easily with a mortar and pestle.

    In my experience, larger kernals are what is faster. In your place I'd start with 5 gr of 3F if my confidence was low, and go up by 5's. If I was confident in the gun, 10 seems reasonable.

    Sounds like a great little pistol.
    Could you explain your experience with larger kernals being faster?

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    I would start with 10 grains of 3F. There isn't much to hang on to and recoil can get "out of hand".

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by dondiego View Post
    Could you explain your experience with larger kernals being faster?
    Absolutely. I put my 58 cal flintlock on a chrono. The accuracy load is 90 grains of 3F. I get 1700 fps with this. Since popular conception is large kernels are slower, I thought I'd see what kind of velocity reduction I got with 90 grains of 2F. Ball speed was 1900 fps. I'm not looking to make a study of it, so I don't particularly care why, nor will I claim to know why or tell people online my thoughts about why. But the observation is there. In the case of a 58 cal flint shooting roundball with lots of powder, 2F is faster.

    That is the only case of comparing 2f and 3f in my experience.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Hmmm... I've always read that to achieve the velocity of a 2F load reduce it by 10% using 3F.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master 40-82 hiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whiterabbit View Post
    Absolutely. I put my 58 cal flintlock on a chrono. The accuracy load is 90 grains of 3F. I get 1700 fps with this. Since popular conception is large kernels are slower, I thought I'd see what kind of velocity reduction I got with 90 grains of 2F. Ball speed was 1900 fps. I'm not looking to make a study of it, so I don't particularly care why, nor will I claim to know why or tell people online my thoughts about why. But the observation is there. In the case of a 58 cal flint shooting roundball with lots of powder, 2F is faster.

    That is the only case of comparing 2f and 3f in my experience.
    I'm not sure you're actually seeing evidence that your 2F is faster than 3F. It seems pretty universally accepted that 3F is considered a faster powder than 2F. Do you think it possible what you are seeing is the result of a longer push against the ball in your barrel with 3F, as opposed to the absolute, and shorter duration, greater pressure pulse of the faster powder (sic, 3F)? I know BP is considered an explosive burn much more so than smokeless powder, so I'm not sure how this translate to pressure curves, but I could see the possibility a slower burning BP could be giving a greater velocity. Just a guess?

    However, your experiment IS greatly beneficial in its results. The reason why seems in doubt, at least to my way of thinking, if that has any bearing on the situation.

    Bob

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Had one and shot it a lot 10-15 grains of FFFg and a patched round ball. That will do all a derringer will do...more powder just blows out the barrel.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by 40-82 hiker View Post
    Do you think it possible what you are seeing is the result of a longer push against the ball in your barrel with 3F, as opposed to the absolute, and shorter duration, greater pressure pulse of the faster powder (sic, 3F)?
    Absolutely! Or, put independently of root cause (since it's all a guess on our collective parts), we could say that my experience is potentially related to firing a 58 caliber ball from a long rifle barrel (maybe even flint vs cap), and may not translate to other rifle and pistol configurations.

    Which is of course exactly what you insightfully suggested in the next paragraph.

    Doesn't change the data though.
    Last edited by Whiterabbit; 04-06-2016 at 05:49 PM.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I love reading this stuff. I had & still do the same derringer but CVA I bought in the late 1970,s. I shot 15 grains of 3fffg
    ever since. Those guns were not made for accurate shooting first of all. It was a close range pistol. But I love the fire ball
    they make at night. Heck if I missed I my opponent wound be blinded from the burn that he received.

    There fun Fly

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Remember, you have to be able to hang onto it after it goes bang .
    The rules of the range are simple at best, Should you venture in that habitat, Don't cuss a man's dog, be good to the cook, And don't mess with a cowboy's hat. ~ Baxter Black

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I shoot mine with 20GRS of 2FG, BLACK, and a .440 RB. with hornets / bees nest for wadding. and I have used news print also. not a problem.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    they were BELLY GUNS for shooting across a CARD TABLE!

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    My Philidelphia derringer will only work reliably with 4f powder.
    The flash hole is so small , that the powder won't settle in under the nipple with 3f or 2f.
    If I try to shoot 3f , I have to use my nipple priming flask to get consistent firing.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Lags, thank you for posting that information. I too have that same problem with my DERINGERS. what powder charge, how many grains do you use & what DIA, round ball /with a patch or not. just a wad on top of powder and over the ball? most of the time that I use my nipple priming flask it still not go off and have to pull the charge. if I look down the barely there is a grove cut into the face of it, I thought it was for the priming, to flash into the main charge, does yours have this?

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I use 15 gr of 4f under a patched round ball.
    Now my Derringer started out as. .45 cal.
    But it was so rusted when I got it , I drilled and honed out the barrel to .50.
    There was a slot across the face of the breech plug , but it mostly got machined away drilling out the barrel.
    For a while I switched to a Musket Cap nipple.
    That seemed to fire more consistently.
    But like I said.
    Pull your nipple.
    Put your powder in the barrel and shake it down to get it into the breech block.
    Then look in the hole for the nipple and see if the powder actually slid down and put enough powder under the bottom of the nipple.
    Then next time you load it with the nipple installed you will have a better idea of what you have to do to get the powder where it needs to go.
    The pistol had the same issues before the bore was redrilled.
    So in my case , it isn't things like a burr from drilling plugging up the flash hole.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Whiterabbit, et al. I think the discussion is at cross purposes. The larger grain may produce a faster projectile because of factors related to bullet weight, chamber size, etc., however the powder itself (larger grained powder) burns slower than finer grade powder. Black powder burns from the outside in, so to speak. A large grain burns from the outside toward the center of the grain. Same with fine grain powder, hence the finer burns faster. The gas product properties are not the same, in that the slower push of a large grain is not the same as the brisance of the smaller grain.

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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
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check