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Thread: Weight or volume BP

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Weight or volume BP

    I have shot muzzle loaders for many years and we always just use a measure for loads,in BPCR do you use a scale for it or just measure it by volume? Thanks

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Scale ,cause there is the expectation of sameness/consistency shot to shot that will not happen with volume measure .

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    I have done both. I use a Belding and Mull powder measure to throw charges which is accurate as it is. For a big match or days I'm feeling fussy I also weigh charges, not just for the consistency but also to double check my technique using the measure.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    Weight.
    Volume can work with a good measure and technique, but as I long ago gave up making "partice ammo" I weigh out every round.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master Murphy's Avatar
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    jj500,

    My suggestion is this. Set your scale up and weigh 10 charges measured by VOLUME and get an average weight.

    Many years ago, I took it that 90 grains of Pyrodex was 90 grains. I had zero experience with black powder or pyrodex. I weighed the charges on my scale set at 90 grains. Turns out, by volume they came in in the upper 130+ grains. Forgive me if you already know this as I do know know your level of experience, just sharing mine.

    Murphy
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master

    rfd's Avatar
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    always digitally weighed for cartridges, always volume thrown for muzzleloaders.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Once I have the powder column height needed/wanted/required I weigh that charge and set my measure accordingly.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    There is absolutely no such measure as 'grains volume'! Black powder is always grains weight. Grains equivalent is volume.
    Wayne the Shrink

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  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Smith View Post
    There is absolutely no such measure as 'grains volume'! Black powder is always grains weight. Grains equivalent is volume.
    Bless you!

    The grain is a unit of weight. Brands, grades, and lots of real gun powder vary such that a volume charge will vary among samples and sampling technique (throwing a volume charge) will vary too.

    prs

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Scale most of the time.

    I will use volume when I am not being fussy, like with a patched ball muzzle loader or a plinking load.

    As noted above, DO NOT weigh BP substitutes unless you know the conversion from volume to weight. They are not the same as BP. I would hope 'everyone' knows this or at least reads the warnings on the powder containers.

  11. #11
    Black Powder 100%


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    If you do a search of this forum, you will find that this subject has been discussed many, many, many times. When cartridge guns were brought out. It told you the amount of BP in each cartridge, like 45-70,38-55, 32-20 and so on. Even the Buffalo hunters used scales on their ammo. As our fellow member put it, if he's loading ammo for serious things, he weighs his charges. Later David
    Shooter of the "HOLY BLACK" SASS 81802 AKA FAIRSHAKE; NRA ; BOLD; WARTHOG;Deadwood Marshal;Bayou Bounty Hunter; So That his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat; 44 WCF filled to the top, 210 gr. bullet

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by cajun shooter View Post
    If you do a search of this forum, you will find that this subject has been discussed many, many, many times. When cartridge guns were brought out. It told you the amount of BP in each cartridge, like 45-70,38-55, 32-20 and so on. Even the Buffalo hunters used scales on their ammo. As our fellow member put it, if he's loading ammo for serious things, he weighs his charges. Later David
    I agree - I use a scale when I am really serious and a measure for normal run of the mill stuff ---something to think about though ---most smokeless ammo shot on this planet is assembled by volume measure not weight -- disagree ?? think about it ....what does your rotary measure do ? its a volume measure - we calibrate it using a scale and the more conscientious among us will weigh every tenth charge to be sure its working

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Modern smokeless benchresters measure their powder by volume. They don’t even use a chart, just “clicks” on their Culver measures.

    The old time black-powder benchresters also measured their charges. There were many mentions in Shooting and Fishing that so-and-so had tried weighing vs. measuring and found no difference. They filled the case (just the one case), tapped it on the bench, put a wad on top and breech-seated the boolit.

    The distance at the time was 40 rods, about 200 meters. I shoot mostly out to 600 yards, with occasional forays to 800, but haven’t tried Long Range Target shooting yet. I “semi-weigh” my blackpowder cartridges, throwing the charge on a scale pan. If it is the weight I want, plus or minus 1/2 grain, into the shell it trickles. I’m not good enough off cross sticks to see any difference, but off a bench I can occasionally impress myself.

    A friend went out with a bunch of weighed powder loadings and found that off the bench, he couldn’t see any significant elevation differences until the differential was three grains, this for a ~70 or so grain charge. He’s a better shot than I am, so I figure I’m doing as good as I can.

    For cap-and-ball pistols and the more routine sort of muzzleloader, I measure without weighing.

    But, if you’re a top contender and don’t want to give anything that you can control away, weigh charges, orient boolits, chant gibberish while walking widdershins around your lube as it melts and do whatever else makes you confident. There’s a big mental component to any top-level athletic achievement. If you think it’s important, it is.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    [QUOTE=Bent Ramrod;4316789]

    A friend went out with a bunch of weighed powder loadings and found that off the bench, he couldn’t see any significant elevation differences until the differential was three grains, this for a ~70 or so grain charge. He’s a better shot than I am, so I figure I’m doing as good as I can.

    What distance though? 25 fps velocity dont matter up close - but at distance ? that same difference could be hit or miss? I play with loads over the chronygraph - looking for consistent velocity shot to shot - its easier (for me) than trying to figure it on a long range target - not a top contender by any stretch but I dont like to give meself the opportunity to blame my equipment - that said - the long range deal has kinda turned into an equipment race the last few years.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Indian Joe,

    It was 600 yards.

    My advanced development for grease groove and paper patch loads was benchrest at 600 yards (now it’s 500 meters) and after weighing the first groups of charges to get the optimum, the thrown charges +/- 1/2 grain shot groups as good or better than the weighed ones. Probably because I was getting in more shooting practice with the faster reloading of more ammunition.

    I have a Chrony I used to play with but I haven’t tried to chronograph my BP loads. Generally speaking, my primary data is the target diagrams, and I only go to the other measurements if I encounter otherwise unexplainable accuracy problems. I do weigh my cast match boolits, my .32 muzzleloader round balls (that gun is plenty finicky), and any others I use for load development, into groups within a grain. But after I settle on an optimum charge, powder is measured, as described. And once loads are developed for general “fun” shooting, I normally just measure, load and shoot, no weighing of anything except the occasional safety check of the measure setting.

    Venturino's book on buffalo rifle shooting has a chapter on what matters in loading to a bunch of top-notch black powder match shooters, and one can pick the expert whose definition of consistency most closely matches one’s own experience.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Toymaker's Avatar
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    The NMLRA magazine MuzzleBlasts has a column called "The Bevel Brothers". Several years ago they discussed the difference between volume and weighed black powder charges. I believe the testing was relative only to muzzle loaders and didn't include cartridge rifles. I also believe it only covered Goex powders, but I could be wrong. By shooting loads through a chrony they found that weighed charges had more consistent velocities, smaller spreads and lower standard deviations than volume charges. They also found that weighed charges had a slight advantage in accuracy.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    All of this loading by weight or by volume is fine if your not shooting past one or two hundred yards. It does show up around 200 but when you get out to midrange the weight loads favor the volume loads from what I have seen.
    The other controlling factor that comes into play from my personal experiences is the case volume. The same 118 gr weight charge loaded in my .50 that in the past I have used more for long range shooting I found the change in the powder compression of the same weight produced more vertical especially when the new Starline brass came out that I added to my Bell cases that held more powder then the Starline cases. I did not mix the cases for shooting a match but when I shot the starline cases after the bell cases I had to change the elevation because the same 118 gr load was compressed more in the starline cases. Even in cases of the same brand will have different inside volume that changes the compression of the powder especially powder like the regular Goex that favors heavy compression it is very noticeable with verticals down range.
    Ever wonder why the Scheutzen shooters use one case and breach seat the bullet ???
    Kurt

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    [QUOTE=Bent Ramrod;4317317]Indian Joe,

    It was 600 yards.

    My advanced development for grease groove and paper patch loads was benchrest at 600 yards (now it’s 500 meters) and after weighing the first groups of charges to get the optimum, the thrown charges +/- 1/2 grain shot groups as good or better than the weighed ones. Probably because I was getting in more shooting practice with the faster reloading of more ammunition.

    I have a Chrony I used to play with but I haven’t tried to chronograph my BP loads. Generally speaking, my primary data is the target diagrams, and I only go to the other measurements if I encounter otherwise unexplainable accuracy problems. I do weigh my cast match boolits, my .32 muzzleloader round balls (that gun is plenty finicky), and any others I use for load development, into groups within a grain. But after I settle on an optimum charge, powder is measured, as described. And once loads are developed for general “fun” shooting, I normally just measure, load and shoot, no weighing of anything except the occasional safety check of the measure setting.

    Thanks for the reply -- That three grain variance surprises me - woulda thought more difference there - If you gettin half grain consistency in thrown charges, dont need a scale - part of my deal is I am working up loads with my own made powder and its much more difficult to measure accurately at this stage - plus I want to compare weight to weight with bought stuff. I also weigh my boolits - stash em away in a plastic storage box in groups and load in weight batches. For short range stuff none of this matters - loading 38/40 this morning - line up primed cases on the bench, fillem up from my powder horn, run through compression die, insert a boolit and crimp.
    I guess I am curious about what are we meaning? lots of blokes say Swiss is more powerful than others - if we weigh it its also more dense - so can fit more grains by weight in the same space - so a measure of swiss is heavier - you will get a few less shots per can of it using measured charges - is that some of the difference or did they make the comparison by weighing charges?
    I thought I had Venturinos book but its "gone walkabout" might need to talk to my son about that !

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    I do chronograph loads when testing and practicing. My better loads with the optimum compression and weighed charges with good bullets have standard deviations of 3 or under for 10 shot strings. Most are 12 fps extreme spread or less. This depends on a lot of things besides just the powder charge. 1) bullets consistant in weight, 2) Consitant cases prepped annealed and all identical, mixed cases or cases with different capacities, or specs and its gone, 3) Consistant compression at the optimum force for charge and powder. This can make a big difference in these numbers, 4) a good consistant lube for the days conditions ad barrel length bore size. To get the best load all of this has to come together and all be just what your rifle wants.
    The shutzen shooters (and modern bench resters) used powder measures most of the shutzen shooters measures were duo measures that threw both the priming charge and main charge. These were very accurate measures. The cases was inserted to the funnel the one side of the swing dropped the priming charge the other way the main charge. Modern bench resters use a culuver converted lymann, Harrels or Neil Jones for dropping charges. These also are very precise measures, and drop charges very close. The other things different with shutzen was a lot breech seated bullets separate of the case, possibly centering bullet into bore better and more evenly. One case was used making for 100% exact case volume and specs shot to shot.

    As to the original buffalo hunters weight and space were a premium. Horse back travel and wagon travel were much rougher than todays means of travel. I doubt there were presses, scales , or fancy measures in much use by them in the field. In probability their entire loading kit mould included probably would have fit in a coat pocket. Powder primers and lead would have been in the wagon.

    While I weigh my match loads charges, and am very careful with the pour thru the drop tube to be the same. Out to 200yds or so I don't see a lot of difference between thrown and weighed charges

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    The weight/volume will also vary quite a bit with different brands of Black also.
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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