View Full Version : Black Powder Substitutes, Really ?

01-16-2016, 09:14 PM
Calling modern muzzleloading propellants "black powder substitutes" for many of the rifles that they were designed to be used in is just stupid. Many of these pellet formed propellants were never intended to be used in a black powder era design gun.

Holy Black has as much place in these modern rifles as it does in a modern cartridge firearm. Could you use it, sure you could. Would you then call it a smokeless powder substitute ?

Pyrodex is probably one of the very few so called black powder substitutes left. I have read all the "horror stories" here about it and they are all very amusing. Pyrodex is everything Hodgdon ever claimed it was and if you fallow their directions for its use you will never have any trouble.

Today's modern muzzleloading propellants are made for today's modern mostly inline and primer ignited rifles. Some of these propellants can be safely used in black powder era designed guns but to call them black powder substitutes is just simply wrong.

You could call them black powder alternatives I guess but let's stop this "substitute" BS.


01-16-2016, 10:37 PM
Yes, really they are substitutes since can be used to as black powder substitute with volume-for-volume in most cases. All the subs are designed to operating in the same pressure range as real black. It's true that some are harder to ignite and may not work in flinters or with caps but they are still substitutes.

Are you aware that the first black powder substitute was not Dan Pawlak's Pyrodex? It was bulk smokeless powder used as a one of one substitute for black powder. This was very common during the 1920's and 1930's.



01-16-2016, 11:11 PM
i see absolute no point to this post. except something to do at the moment.

01-17-2016, 11:53 AM
M-Tecs. You simply can not obtain the same velocity with any amount of black powder that you can with a modern muzzleloading propellant.

Today's inline rifles were designed as much to use black powder as the .460 Smith&Wesson was.

All of this evolved from hunting regulations. We are always trying to find a way to beat the system and inline rifles with modern propellants were designed just for that purpose.


01-17-2016, 12:27 PM
I agree, no point to this post at all. Seems to be up on a very high horse. If you don't like it, don't use it.

01-17-2016, 01:44 PM
He's like a guy who sees The Shootist and thinks he knows everything there is to know about John Wayne.

01-17-2016, 04:54 PM
Oh… This is gonna be a good thread!

01-17-2016, 05:15 PM
M-Tecs. You simply can not obtain the same velocity with any amount of black powder that you can with a modern muzzleloading propellant.

Today's inline rifles were designed as much to use black powder as the .460 Smith&Wesson was.

All of this evolved from hunting regulations. We are always trying to find a way to beat the system and inline rifles with modern propellants were designed just for that purpose.


I am not sure what your point is. I agree that "primitive hunts" should be just that. Loose powder, flint or cap (no 209 primmers) and lead projectile. I have fought that battle at the state level and lost. You really only have two choices. If you don't like the law work to change it or get over it.

I am far more of a "gun nut" than a "hunting nut". I also like choices. Depending on my mood I may hunt with sidelock with real black, sidelock with a 209 adapter and Blackhorn 209 or an inline smokeless muzzleloader. Was that the intent of the original regulation? No, but it is the intent of the current regulations in the states that I muzzleloader hunt.

I am a long range competitor and a very avid prairie dog shooter. I have the ability and equipment to shoot big game at very long ranges. I choose not to. The last couple deer hunts I used 45/70 Trapdoor with real black. It didn't bother me in the least that most of the other hunters had scoped 7mm Mags or 300 Mags.

We are always trying to find a way to beat the system

If that was not the case humanity would still be huddled in caves trying to stay warm, dry and fed.

01-17-2016, 06:54 PM
M-Tecs. So far you have been the only one to reply with anything meaningful.

"High horse", "John Wayne" ? This is the typical emotional response.

I can support my performance claims with published data along with my own. It is what it is.

I was kind of surprised at first with the replies but I guess I shouldn't have been. These are the same people who have beaten into submission everyone who dares to mention "substitutes" or God forbid using them and liking them.

In case you haven't noticed this is the "black powder substitutes" forum.


01-17-2016, 07:06 PM
Some only like holy black, some prefer subs, some prefer smokeless and some like them all (me). I am not seeing what the issue is??

01-17-2016, 07:06 PM
Ok, call them "alternatives." Or as opposed to "Holy Black," maybe subs could be called "Holier Than Black," if it makes you happy.

01-17-2016, 08:58 PM
Some only like holy black, some prefer subs, some prefer smokeless and some like them all (me). I am not seeing what the issue is??

Hey I'm with you I use both. I've been hunting PA's flintlock only season since its inception.

I never intended this to be "a big issue" I was simply pointing out that some of propellants were designed and marketed for modern muzzleloaders and don't really deserve the "substitute" title.

If it wasn't for Holy Black I could never get my flinter to ignite the 777 main charge. :)


35 Whelen
01-20-2016, 11:45 PM
I've just recently begun delving into black powder (cartridge only)and have been somewhat dismayed by the snobbery among those who use only "Holy Black", as they call it, and turn their noses up at anyone who chooses differently. What difference does it make if one chooses Pyrodex over GOEX, or Swiss, etc.? In a fairly short period of time I've tried Pyrodex P, Pyrodex Select, Triple 7, GOEX and Swiss. I think one either has to be a chemist or extremely anal retentive to tell the difference when the trigger is pulled, with the exception of some differences in velocities between the powders. Yes, I've read the childish BS of "wrong colored smoke" and "smells different", pffft...
I wonder why any smokeless powder invented after the original isn't called a "substitute" smokeless powder?

OK, I'm through ranting....;-)


01-21-2016, 01:24 AM
Motor...what would you have someone do if all they were able to get was a substitute? Should they be banned from hunting primitive season or enjoy shooting? I prefer black myself, however there were times I had no alternative or resource other than a substitute. I did have to up my charge a bit to get the same performance but it did work well in my .45 Peter Berry that I built. The only time I've run into the "holy black" snobbery was when I rondezvoued.

01-21-2016, 10:47 PM
Motor...what would you have someone do if all they were able to get was a substitute? Should they be banned from hunting primitive season or enjoy shooting? I prefer black myself, however there were times I had no alternative or resource other than a substitute. I did have to up my charge a bit to get the same performance but it did work well in my .45 Peter Berry that I built. The only time I've run into the "holy black" snobbery was when I rondezvoued.

I don't understand your first couple questions. I use a substitute (Pyrodex RS) and 777. In fact I use 777 in my flintlock during PA's flintlock only deer season.

The only reason I mentioned hunting regulations was to point out the primary reason for the evolution of the modern inline high performance front loaders. I don't have anything against it.

I try to keep my posts as technical and lacking emotional response as possible. That being said, I have to honest and say some emotional comments made by people who have not used or even tried something that they are so against does rub me the wrong way.

One example: Guys says black powder fouling cleans up easier than 777. This guy has obviously never used 777.

35 Whelen: In no other shooting sport will you run into "snobs" like you do when it comes to black powder. What are they afraid of? They drive newbs away and that will only lead to demise.

Instead of all the half truths or out right misinformation why can't they just say to a newb, "yeah that Pyrodex will work but if you really want to have fun try some real black powder some time" I just don't get it. The only way to keep the sport alive is to encourage participation not to drive off people with snobbery.

OK, I'm through ranting too......:)


PS: This forum (Black Powder Substitutes) is a sub forum in a black powder cartridge forum. I know this thread is about muzzleloaders and I hope that was OK in this sub-forum.

01-23-2016, 06:21 AM
Yes it is OK to be here, the sub forum had to be somewhere if it was in muzzle loaders we would get people talking about the stuff in metallic cartridges.

This forum is for the not black powder propellants designed for muzzle loading regardless of what it is shot in.

01-23-2016, 08:52 AM
[QUOTE=Dryball;3513849]only time I've run into the "holy black" snobbery was when I rondezvoued.[/QUOTE

I could understand that. Would be about like walking into a CW Re-Enactment camp with a CVA inline claiming it was an 1853 Enfield.

Myself, I totally prefer blackpowder. I have to drive 100 miles one-way to Winchester VA to get it, so I stock up when I go. But I shoot Civil War era handguns and rifles, so it works best for my shooting.

If I was into moderns in-lines, I would definitely use some of the newer propellants, as they seem to work well in these type rifles with hotter ignition and somewhat higher pressures.

I always wondered about the supposed "crud ring" that Triple 7 was said to leave in a barrel. I tried some T7 in my cap and ball 1860 Colt revolver once, and it worked great. Good ignition, and plenty of power. Shot accurate, and cleaned up quick.

Other than being more expensive than black, I didn't see any downside to the T7. If that was all I could get, I would use it.

Anyone know anthing about the "crud ring" problem with T7?

01-23-2016, 08:41 PM
Hickok, I would like to hear about the "crud ring" too because I've never noticed it. I'm not saying it dosen't happen.

The only crud I run into is when I reload my flintlock. The bottom 6 or so inches of the bore is cruddy where the 10gr 4F priming charge burned. :)

I do know that T7 leaves a very light white haze looking fouling behind. It does not interfere with loading but the accuracy nuts say it does effect accuracy to some degree. Nothing a hunter would notice but I guy target shooting may. This haze is easily removed with one in and out pass with a lightly moistened patch. I do this sometimes when range testing or especially when sighting in. I want my first shot at game to be comparable to shooting a freshly loaded, clean barrel.


01-24-2016, 02:22 PM
Motor, I too was hoping some one knew something about the T7 "crud ring." I have read about it on other forums where guys say it formed right in front of where the ball and powder were seated in muzzle loading rifles. Was supposedly as hard as baked on carbon to remove.

Like you, when I fired T7 in my revolvers, it just left a white residue, it never built up any, and wiped away easily. I have to say, it worked nicely for me, and if I got short on black powder, I wouldn't hesitate to buy some more.

01-28-2016, 08:17 PM
i wonder if the original intentent of all this was just wording. their is getting to be too much issues in every area of our lives about wording. these type of people will argue about anything and never ever do anything with it than waste the time we have to live. i remember a local women who did this to me at a public meeting over words. i said to her in french, you have a big mouth women, dont you. didnt get a rise out of anyone as no one else spoke french, sure made me feel good. the point is. cast booilits is for shareing information, not ripping people for words use to share info. as to the crud ring i had that in rifles but have never ever tried it in my 3 cowboy revolvers. thanks guys, think i will get a can of it and see if it is as clean as you guy say. i know this about 777 powder. it can be made to shoot very very accurate. how does it clean out of a 38 special case or a 45 long colt case? and how would you clean these case useing triple 777? also i could care less about the spelling i read or sentence structure, its the shared info im after. keep it coming shooters.

01-29-2016, 10:33 AM
Johnson, I want to try T7 again in my C&B revolvers also. Read up on it a bit, and seems the crud ring involves rifles. Don't see how it could be a concern in the C&B revolvers. One way to find out, I'll have to fire a couple of cylinders of it and check it out.

I prefer the BP, but it is not always easy to get.

Powder Burn
01-29-2016, 11:41 AM
Haven't been able to determine if the deer I shot over the years prefer black over subs. They are dead within a few seconds of being blasted. Manufactures may "name or classify" types of powders to keep folks safe. Black powder substitutes seem logical. T7 seems to build up at the breech in my rifles, but is easy to clean since I swab out after every shot.

Tar Heel
02-01-2016, 02:48 PM
Is there really a point? Who cares. I have a lot of Pyrodex R on-hand so I am going to use it in my 45-70 BPRC cartridges. It's as simple as that. Might shoot great, might shoot bad. Either way it smokes and makes the Sharps bark. It's all fun.

And by the way, some of us live in remote areas. Holy black isn't as easy to get as Pyrodex. I mean the loose Pyrodex. I don't have a in-line rifle. Don't want one.

02-04-2016, 12:23 AM
I think I'll just leave this right here........

Next time another hunter talks down on how you hunt, tell that cannibal to read this.

Cannibals and useful idiots

Written by John Wasmuth

The following is real, and it’s here.
Joe Hunter goes to a cocktail party, nothing fancy, just a holiday gathering in Anytown, USA. A conversation begins with Bob Peta, it goes something like this;
“Say Joe, didn’t you go deer hunting this year.”
“Sure did Bob.”
“Man that’s, uh, great, did you get one?”
“Yep, sure did, nice 6 point.”
“Uh, wow, hey that’s great. Say listen Joe, yer a true hunter, a ”Real” hunter are you not?”
“Yes, I sure am.”
“Say, I hear tell of a kinda huntin where people can go and kill animals in fenced in areas. You’ve never done that have you?”
“No, no I haven’t.”
“Well I wouldn’t call that “real” hunting, would you Joe.”
“Well, that’s not the way I hunt.”
“I know Joe, but there are people that hunt in fenced areas, I don’t think that’s “Really” hunting, do you Joe.”
“Well, uh, I guess not.”
“Great, say listen Joe, a bunch of us concerned “Real” hunters are trying to get that done away with, we feel that it is unethical. Will you help us Joe?”
“Well sure, because that’s not the way I hunt, and I am a “Real” hunter.”
“Say thanks Joe; here is what we need you to do. As a “real” hunter, the big boys in senate and congress will listen to you; they know that any “Real” hunter only hunts the way you do, and that’s the only “Real” hunting there is. So what we need you to do is get out there and get petitions signed, people will sign them because you are a “Real” hunter and know that only your way of hunting is the “Real” way.”
So Joe diligently goes after the goal, to ban and outlaw any kind of hunting that Bob suggests is not “Real” hunting. He gathers signatures, petitions courts, makes meetings, he is really cleaning up this “unethical” way of hunting. Hell, he’s got a lot of support. He’s gathering “Real” hunters from all over, and finally, after much hard work, they get a legal way of hunting banned.

“Joe, you did great and we sure appreciate your hard work, but hey, let me tell you what I heard about. There is another kind of hunting “We” think is not right. Do you think you can help us?”
“Well, I guess so Bob, I don’t hunt like that, so it’s not “Real” hunting. How can I help?”
“Well, here is what we need…….,” and it’s the same story. Odd how Bob seems to keep adding onto the list of what “Real” hunting is, but Joe goes at it hard and heavy, and in the end, he gets that type of legal hunting banned. Bob and his “Friends” are happy. Joe’s a “Real” hunter after all, and these other guy’s, well, they are not, because the way they hunt is different from Joe, and Joe does not like that type of hunting, so what’s the harm in getting rid of it? Joe’s a “Real” hunter you know. Not like those other guys. He even goes to Sportsman’s organizations and recruits from within, it’s easy because there are a lot of “Real” hunters there.

Time passes and more and more legal forms of hunting are banned. Bob and his “friends” are happy with Joe. He’s been a big help. After it’s all just about gone, Bob and his “friends” decide that it is time to get Joe’s way of hunting banned, the final chapter.
“Bob, uh, hey buddy, this is Joe. I know I helped you get rid of all those other forms of legal hunting, but now there is a move to get rid of the way I hunt.”
“Well Joe, I know. My “friends” and I are spearheading that.”
“But Bob, I thought you liked the way I hunt, that it was ok for me to do the type of hunting I do.”
“Well Joe, no, any and all types of hunting are bad, the poor defenseless animals never have a chance, and we dislike, actually hate hunters.”
“But I thought the way I hunted was “Real” hunting to you.”
“Hell Joe, it was all “ Real” hunting, but we at PETA and HSUS Hate you, but thanks for all your help, we really appreciate it.”

You see, what Joe became was a “Cannibal”. A “Useful Idiot” to the anti’s and PETA. They don’t give a rat’s backside how you hunt, what you hunt, or when you hunt. They just want all hunting done away with. They use hunters against hunters to gain support for their “Causes”.

If you do not support any and all forms of legal hunting, and decide to pick and choose the ones you like and dislike, and voice any decent about the way someone else legally hunts, you are in fact, a “Cannibal” and a very “Useful Idiot” for the enemy (the anti's). There are plants even within the sacred walls of your favorite Sportsman’s organizations, and online message forums working against our way of life. Route them out, expose them, and be rid of the nonsense. Hunting’s future depends upon it.

02-04-2016, 12:29 AM
While we are at it, someone needs to do something about all these "muzzleloader hunters" that use GPS units driving around in modern vehicles wearing RealTree camo, and fancy modern hunting boots. Ban all that stuff, too. Indian moccasins (have you priced them? OUCH) and authentic buckskin clothing with coonskin-cap only. The use of magnetized needles is allowed in naturally-occurring mud puddles ONLY. Horseback only from your house.

02-29-2016, 07:22 PM
I shoot an abundance of APP (American Pioneer Powder) Cowboy action shooting. Unless I'm shooting my C&B 1860's or Walkers. Then I'm shooting black. ( Where people think Black powder is Holy is beyond me) What I shoot at gets that way.
At rondezvous I shoot strickley Black, in rifle, pistol & shotgun. I camp in a tipi too. If you shoot some thing else, you are welcome in my camp anyhoo.........
Cowboy action, APP in rifle, pistol & shotgun.
BPCR is strickley black. That's what the BP moniker is for. If ya shoot some thing else, I don't care, and I'll ask you what you are using and how well it works.
Long range lever, is going to be a mix of APP & Smokeless.
APP affords one to shoot with smoke, with out the hassle of special lubes, I suppoze one should call them "Holy Lubes?"
Black gives a deeper roar and the fire works we all love, that's why night shoots are so popular.
When I hunt, deer and or pheasants, I will not use pyrodex, it has failed me big time in the past, so I will only hunt with black in those type guns.
Otherwise, smokeless works real well. Now, if you want to tell me I'm doing it wrong, THAT my friend, is your problem.

As far as calling it a substitute, it works for me. "If I don't want to use black, I can SUBSTITUTE this, and not blow my Hawken to bits!!"
Or, I shoot "smokey powder" instead of "smokeless powder". I'm sure just about every one on this board has shot about all the powders out there.
Be it "Holy" Black, "Heathen" Smokeless, or that "Awful" Stuff in the middle.
I'm just darned glad I get to shoot.


02-29-2016, 07:40 PM
Amen to that .. Shoot what you like ..
I never understand peoples desire to deride anothers choice of what they shoot ..
As long as they are shooting , and doing so safely why should I care !!
let 'em have fun ..

PS personally I like Jim Shockeys .. easy to load multiple rds without cleaning every other shot .
super easy end of day cleaning, never seen a sign of it causing any rust and most importantly my "BP" guns shoot extremely accurately with it

Lead Fred
02-29-2016, 08:09 PM
Its what some are left with, after the gobermint bans holy black, to keep it out of the hands or terrorists

03-01-2016, 11:21 AM
muzzleloader hunters in the very very remote areas i hunt in in western nebraska are no threat at all to my hunt or takeing too much game. their is hardly anyone out here hunting but me and my son and a friend. cant remember seeing anyone hunting muzzleloader when i was out their. so the point is if they had a laser sight controlled muzzle loader it wouldnt make any difference to any of us here, what we really need is more hunters with any kind of muzzle loader you want to bring. check out western nebraska, more state and federal land that you could explore in a life time. if you want to pay for a hunt, i know a rancher who's drive way is 7 miles long and has 100,000 acres of land. his prices are not bad either. i dont care what a muzzleloader hunter uses as out here the deer dont run up to you and say please please shoot me. you have to hunt for them and if shots are under 125 yards you are very very lucky.