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Thread: F vs FF

  1. #1
    Boolit Master


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    F vs FF

    What are people’s opinions and thoughts on using F or FF in a long smooth bore gun? Larger calibers if that makes a difference.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I do believe "F" is cannon grade. Real large and heavy stuff. "FF" is what I use in my .60 rifle.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    What are people’s opinions and thoughts on using F or FF in a long smooth bore gun? Larger calibers if that makes a difference.
    My son shoots Fg (12 to 16 mesh) in his Pedersoli Charleville - no hassles !

  4. #4
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    I use FFG in my 20 gauge fusel-de-chasse as well as in my 58 caliber rifled muskets. For me, I usually use 3F in my C & B revolvers and in rifles 45 cal or smaller but when short on a grade of powder, will substitute. If you have any FG, give it a try in your smoothbore and see how it works - it's not going to hurt anything. If I was limited to just one grade, it would be FFG and I'd work with it in smaller caliber rifles/pistols. Over the years, when I was out of a grade, I'd substitute.

    FG is not "cannon grade" powder. There is a whole different granulation for cannons. For "small cannons" - such as 1" bores, etc. - what I would call "toy cannons" - FG will work fine. In our 3" rifled Parrott Rifles, we used a "cannon grade" powder -unfortunately it's been enough years I've forgotten just what we used. In a 3" rifled gun - Ordinance or Parrott - a "service load" was 1 pound of cannon grade - much coarser than FG. For blank loads, the load was decreased. The furthest we hit a target with our 3" rifle with a service load and projectile was 1 1/4 miles which was about maximum range for a 3" rifle - we hit a junked out National Guard pickup at that range.

    On a large smoothbore - use a military smoothbore as an example - .69 plus - remember that paper cartridges were used and the tail was torn off, the "fire-lock" primed first and then the remaining load, ball, paper put in the box and rammed home. I used to prime my fusillade with FFFFG out of a separate horn. The fusillade has a large lock - not unlike military smoothbores - and I found that the FFG I was using for my main charge worked equally as well as a priming charge. The 1" flint throws more than enough sparks to tonight the FFG as a priming powder with just as fast ignition as the FFFG I was using. YMMV as each gun is different.

    Some may disagree on the powder grades to use in what calibers - and that's fine - but it still is dependent on the individual rifle/smoothbore. It's kind of like the worry some have over "series" on their round balls. Today, we get too caught up in the fine details - for years, balls were cast in "bag molds" and the sprue cut off with the handles which had a cutter on them - they weren't cut nicely like the sprue cutters do on a modern made mold - but those balls from bag molds took a lot of meat as well as taking care of critters, two and four legged. When the only thing available were muzzleloaders . . . if you couldn't get one granulation, you took and used what was available.

    Give it a try and see how your smoothbore works with both FF and F - you might be surprised at what works best or both may work equally as well.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    i only own, assemble, build, maintain, and shoot flintlock rifles and smoothbores in calibers that range from .32 to .62, and they all get swiss 3f both down the tube and in the pan. particularly with flintlocks, and the need to feed a pan, having one power horn simplifies shooting.

  6. #6
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    You can use them, and they will be accurate with round ball, and there is no reason loads couldn't be worked up for shot that are effective. You would be working with lower velocities, and the coarser granulation you use, the more fouling. I use 3FFF in all bore sizes. It works well, takes less powder, thereby saving money.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  7. #7
    Boolit Man
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    Mr. GregLaROCHE- I use 1F powder in my 12 and 10 gauge shotguns. I have also used 2F granulation, but I feel that the shot patterns seem to be a bit more uniform with the larger granulation. You can use the old reliable 1:1 powder to shot volumes for cylinder bores or slightly heavier on the powder with the 1F in choked guns and get good results.The 1F also seems to be milder on the shoulder than 2F. I hope this is helpful. GWW

  8. #8
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    I'm new to black powder. I heard that the more F's the finer the powder and better/cleaner for your barrel.

    It was recommended to me to get FFFG

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conditor22 View Post
    I'm new to black powder. I heard that the more F's the finer the powder and better/cleaner for your barrel.

    It was recommended to me to get FFFG
    true on the number of "Fs" but yer pic shows 777 and that ain't real black powder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rfd View Post
    true on the number of "Fs" but yer pic shows 777 and that ain't real black powder.
    Yep, whole different animal.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Years ago I shot a lot of comps. Back then almost everyone shot 3ffg in there muzzle loaders. As said above we used less powder & it
    seemed better accuracy. In my shot gun whole different story, I learned the hard way. I almost sold my shot gun for the holes in the
    pattern. But I was using 3FFFG & things changed when shooting 1FG powder which closed the pattern up a bunch. I still do not know
    why, maybe some here can explain why that is.

    Fly

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Just throwing out a guess here. Blackpowder's wonderful ability to bump up bullets can also deform shot. FFF would be much worse than F in that department. Balls fly better than discs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fly View Post
    Years ago I shot a lot of comps. Back then almost everyone shot 3ffg in there muzzle loaders. As said above we used less powder & it
    seemed better accuracy. In my shot gun whole different story, I learned the hard way. I almost sold my shot gun for the holes in the
    pattern. But I was using 3FFFG & things changed when shooting 1FG powder which closed the pattern up a bunch. I still do not know
    why, maybe some here can explain why that is.

    Fly
    Much of blown patterns can be blamed on using the thick cushion wads, rather than card wads. My smoothbores perform very well with 3FFF.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Are you sure you don't have that backwards? I always have a nitro card first to seal, but my shotgun performs much better followed by some kind of cushion wad on top of the nitro card. Just a nitro card and a fiber wad usually shoot pretty good. I find a fiber plus cork is often best. I tried both one and two hard cards only, and that's a blown pattern for me. I never tried only a fiber wad, I could see if that blew apart, it would not help your cause.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fly View Post
    Years ago I shot a lot of comps. Back then almost everyone shot 3ffg in there muzzle loaders. As said above we used less powder & it
    seemed better accuracy. In my shot gun whole different story, I learned the hard way. I almost sold my shot gun for the holes in the
    pattern. But I was using 3FFFG & things changed when shooting 1FG powder which closed the pattern up a bunch. I still do not know
    why, maybe some here can explain why that is.

    Fly
    Same experience here Fly - I think if we cut the FFFdown to same velocity as our Fg load proly same again result (or similar anyaways) I went Fg because I was shooting an old Antique Single barrel (thought it had Manton on the barrel) and didnt want to stress that ole gun - I thought there was a big hole in the pattern but turned out it was the nut behind the butt - ya have to put the pattern where the target is - patterns were nice when I tried it on something that didnt move - got an old truck bin in the yard that I threw a coat of white paint on.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master


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    smoothbores and shot loads only need card wads - 1/8" over powder and 1/16" over shot.

    3f black powder simply works for all long guns. after awhile, this is easy to see and understand. particularly with the better brands such as swiss and olde eynsford. this is good for flinters as one horn takes care of both the tube and pan. simple is as simple does.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfd View Post
    smoothbores and shot loads only need card wads - 1/8" over powder and 1/16" over shot.

    3f black powder simply works for all long guns. after awhile, this is easy to see and understand. particularly with the better brands such as swiss and olde eynsford. this is good for flinters as one horn takes care of both the tube and pan. simple is as simple does.
    I get that - no argument at all - but some fellers are making powder and ya cant just make FFF - so need to find a home for the various grades OR ya gotta reprocess half what ya make - cant mix it too much or ya get inconsistent results (fines in the bottom of the horn etc you know about that!)

    Most of the longrange gurus are using coarser powders in their cartridge rifles ? yes ---must work better ? or are they dreaming it up?

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    You know thinking back I used a pretty thick fiber wad over the powder, about 3/8 or so. I used a thin playing card disk over the shot. That's something
    I never worked much. Maybe that was more the problem? but the fg did help. I know this that shot gun has no choke & shoots a large pattern.

    Fly

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    You definitely want a hard card over powder to seal gases.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fly View Post
    You know thinking back I used a pretty thick fiber wad over the powder, about 3/8 or so. I used a thin playing card disk over the shot. That's something
    I never worked much. Maybe that was more the problem? but the fg did help. I know this that shot gun has no choke & shoots a large pattern.

    Fly
    Two cards over powder, one over shot. Go to Walmart and get some poster stock. It's about 1/16". One sheet will keep you shooting a long time. #11 Osbourne punch for 20 bore.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


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