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Thread: Blowback troubles

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Blowback troubles

    Howdy folks, long time reader, very first post.

    Usage: Cowboy Action Shooting
    Gun: 1866 Yellowboy Carbine, .45 Colt, action liberally sprayed with Gunzilla before shooting string.
    Ammo: 200gr RNFP (blue 'crayon' lubed) pushed by 23gr (by weight) APP FFFg and a pinch of grits to get 1/8" compression. Federal Magnum LP primers.

    Trouble: Lots of blowback crudding up the works. I can fire between six and ten rounds, but I have not made it an entire shooting string without the gun locking up in the first string of the day. I am not even willing to try a second string to see if I can make it multiple stages.

    I was told that the 45 Colt in the rifle would give me troubles by some of the darksiders here in my home CAS group. I have also found shooters in the forums that use 45's with BP (and subs) with next to no trouble at all.

    Now, from there, I am going to load up another batch (no filler, more powder) and see where that gets me.
    If that doesn't work...
    • Move to a heavier bullet
    • Move to Holy Black (using an appropriate lube, not the modern wax that APP allows)


    Does anyone have better ideas or more steps to try in between? (Other than a shiny new 1866 in .44WCF of course)

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Several things to try are one try ballistol mixed 10-1 with water for solvent this may work better with the BP fouling than the gunzilla. Your actual load dosnt sound to far off. But the "blue lube may be part of the problem mixing with the fouling to make a tar hard and crusty fouling. Give SPG a try its meant for these BP rounds and helps to keep the fouling softer. Another little trick is to drop the grits filler and add a grease cookie of spg .060-.090 thick under the bullet. Heres the load Id recommend to start your 23 grns 3 f BP, a playing card wad. compress to depth required to seat the bullet with a .090 grease cookie and a second playing card wad. Seat the grease cookie by hand and poke a hole in the middle with a needle or paper clip. then the wad. seat the bullet down onto this and very lightly crimp. This should shoot well and the added lube in the grease cookie will help a lot with fouling. Most 45 pistol bullets have grooves desighned to carry lube for a 7 1/2" barrel not a 20" barrel or longer. Most coercial bullets and lubes are harder than BP requires and the lubes contain things that may harden fouling.

  3. #3
    Boolit Mold
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    Just wanting to make sure I am on the same page...
    I'm not having trouble with the barrel fouling, I'm having trouble with the action fouling out. A grease cookie will help? I'm game!
    American Pioneer Ppwder is supposed to be okay with the wax lube but my mileage may be varying...

    I've read up a bunch on grease cookies, lube recipes, SPG, card wads, and cooking out the crayon wax to pan lube the bullet over again. I have not done any of it yet because APP is supposed... oh, I said that already...

    My load is actually one of my mentor's loads filled to a 45 case (he shoots .38/.357). I've heard the rifles in .38/.357 don't have the blowback trouble that the rifles in .45 do.

    Payday is Friday and the shoot is Saturday so cookies will have to wait for next time. So, now my plan of attack looks like:
    1. Same load, no grits, more powder
    2. Same as #1 above, but cook out the crayon and pan lube
    3. Same as #2 above, but with a grease cookie/card wad sammich
    4. Same as #1 above, but with a heavier, Big Lube bullet
    5. Save my nickels for an 1866 in .44-40 (the Wife says the 45 Yellowboy is hers anyway)

    To be certain of the order of operations for using a grease cookie...
    I need to compress the powder down to the point that the cookie has enough room for when I seat the bullet, I am not squashing it all flat and squeezing the grease past the card into the powder, correct? AND....the hole you mention is just in the cookie, not in the card wads, correct? Hey... what is the hole for?

    Thanks for the insights, I'll let you know how they work out!

    <<Falling over in a fit of laughter...>>
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  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I compress with he first card was in place the hole in the grease cookie is to release the air under it so it dosnt push up after seating in place.
    There are several ways to make grease cookies. I put a chunk of the lube on a piece of wax paper lay a piece of flat stock the desired thickness on each side away from it and another piece of wax paper and roll with a heavy rolling pin to the thickness of the flat stock. Peel top layer off. when compressing the first wad and powder simply push the case mouth thru to cut the cookie push the pin thru and seat with the second wad on top. This is the faster of the 2 ways I use.
    Another is to put some water in a brownie pan and heat melting lube on the water to the desired thickness and let cool. The lube wont mix with water and floats to the top remove and dry on paper towels. same method for inserting. The water allows for the surface to be level and make a very even cake for the cookies to be cut from.
    I am currently saving my nickels and dimes for an Original Henry reproduction steel frame in 44-40 for grins and giggles. I'm hoping to order it this fall winter.
    If fouling is blowing back into the action the case isn't sealing the chamber or cases are dumping fouling into the action. How clean is the load burning? A heavier bullet may help with the cases not sealing.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    The "blowback" is being caused by your piddly powder charge. It's not generating enough pressure to expand the case and seal the chamber. Keep the breakfast cereal for the kids, replace it in the case with powder, things will be much better.
    Long range rules, the rest drool.

  6. #6
    Boolit Mold
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    Well, that was much better. Still not as good as I need, but a lot better by half. Shot the first string of ten and it all went without a hitch. Sprayed some more gunzilla in the lifter (still the stock brass lifter) with the lifter both up and down from both sides. Loaded second string of ten, made it to the tenth round before the gun locked up on me, lever about halfway closed on the tenth round.

    I'm pushing right around 30gr (by weight) now, no filler. I noticed that I can get the powder to settle in the case to where the base of the bullet seats so there is no real compression if the powder has already settled.

    Should I get the powder to settle in all the cases and then go a pinch farther so there is compression of the settled powder? I'm a fair hand with muzzleloaders and a fair hand at reloading, but marrying the two together has me seeking more answers.

    Thanks much,
    Red Bear

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master Don McDowell's Avatar
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    It's best to not have to use the bullet to compress the powder. That can swell the bullet nose and create chambering problems all by it's self.
    Long range rules, the rest drool.

  8. #8
    Yep, your lube, light charges are causing the action to jam up from fouling.
    Don't use any petroleum based products.
    I looked up "Gunzilla" without a lot of info found, but there are so many good, inexpensive products for use with holy black. I use TC Bore Butter.
    Replace your blue lube with SPG.
    It sounds like you might be using Starline brass, it is the most robust brand but too firm to form a good seal especially with a straight walled case like the .45 Colt's. Softer brass will be a benefit.
    With black powder you'll have much better success with the .44-40 or .38-40 with SPG and a good charge in say Winchester cases.
    Every year we shoot a 400 round 2 day match, it's a real challenge to keep your rifle running for 2 days with black powder.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master In Remembrance
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    Does anyone have better ideas or more steps to try in between?
    Put a HARD factory crimp on those straight wall cases so when the powder ignites there is sufficient pressure to seal the case to the chamber walls
    Regards
    John

  10. #10
    You can anneal your brass, in a low light area touch the mouth of the cases to a propane torch flame until it starts to turn orange. I don't put my cases in water to cool. Wear a glove. My match director says he doesn't wear a glove to anneal .45-70 brass(!)

    That'll soften the case mouth and help form a seal, but this is secondary to switching to SPG Lube and using a product in the action for black powder only if Gunzilla isn't specifically for black powder.

  11. #11
    Boolit Mold
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    Appreciate the responses, truly. I only get to test these out when we have our Cowboy shoots because I am not a member of our local shooting range. So the application of y'all's recommendations will be rather slow.

    I poked around here on this forum on compression dies and I will work that into the mix so the bullet is not doing that job anymore. Saw several ways to go about it. Just occurred to me that the powder has to be compressed before a grease cookie is used since using the bullet to do it will squash the grease everywhere inside.

    Going to work on pan lubing next. It has been something I wanted to try once the idea of black powder got into my head for Cowboy Action Shooting. Saw a bunch of homemade recipes along with SPG. I'll most likely start with whatever is cheapest.

    The SASS members who got me started down this path are Confederate Colt and General Lee Smokey. Colt has a list of accolades as long as my arm and my recipes are his recipes tuned up from .38/.357 to .45. Smokey warned me about the 1866 in 45 Colt not liking black powder (or its subs) so I knew I was in for a trial and error session. That is what brought me here. A lot of the information I found (before I came in and started asking my own questions) came right off this forum.

    Gunzilla... I can find recommendations for and against it. I love it. Colt is the one that turned me on to it (it is what he uses). I absolutely love it. Two passes with a patch sprayed with Gunzilla and the bore is sparkling clean. I have not ever had guns come out that clean that fast. I will still give Ballistol a try, though. I'll try any (well-reasoned) idea to make this work since changing a load is a whole lot cheaper than buying a new gun.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    The bottle necked 44.40 seals the chamber much better. Shoots cleaner.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master

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    One thing that works for compressing powder is to make a "bullet" .005-.010 under case mouth dia and the same shape and form as what your using. This can be made from hardwood and finished with a clear epoxy finish aluminum brass or steel. Use this in your seater die to compress powder. If you get it right the die wont need to be reset between seating and compressing so you can simply compress the charge and then seat the bullet but you will need to crimp in a separate step so as to not lock the compression bullet in the case. Another way that might work is to use a bullet to make a fiberglass form ( Bondo or body repair fiberglass) and let cure coat bullet with 2-3 heavy coats of wax. Remove bullet and fill cavity with a steel filled epoxy, JB weld with steel filings added or bisonite.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy Huvius's Avatar
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    I would say to use a universal decapper to deprime and avoid a full length resize. That way you are insured that the case has an intimate fit with the chamber, that is if you get them adequately fireformed to the chamber.
    A light crimp on the case mouth is all you should need to hold the bullet and you won't be relying on a heavy crimp to build the pressure in the case to form the seal.
    And I agree, anneal your brass, use more powder and skip the cereal.
    Last edited by Huvius; 08-30-2017 at 05:38 PM.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    The way I see it you are not getting complete combustion of the powder and that is what is gumming up the rifle. The first thing I would do is get rid of that powder and try something else, I prefer Swiss 3f. You should not need the grease cookie but use a poly wad over the powder and use a compression die to compress the wad and powder to fit your bullet. Also do like most on here say and use spg lube. Use a medium to heavy crimp. If your cases are coming out dirty the case is not sealing and will need to be annealed. You should be able to get everything you need at Buffalo Arms.

  16. #16
    Are you sure you don't have any old petroleum based lube in the action? That'll jam you up good. Did you buy it used? Have you taken it apart and given it a good cleaning? Apply an oil or lube specifically for use with black powder? If not maybe even use a de-greaser to clean the parts and apply a liberal amount of lube. I use Thompson Center Bore Butter, there are many other good ones.

  17. #17
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Boy View Post
    Put a HARD factory crimp on those straight wall cases so when the powder ignites there is sufficient pressure to seal the case to the chamber walls
    All righty. Took the loads I had already and gave them another pinch in the crimp die (Looking down at the top of the die, I turned it 1/8th of a turn), just a pinch. Did likewise for the grits loads I had remaining.

    Rifle came out much, MUCH cleaner. Much less blowback, brass is cleaner and the shaft that the lifter rides in stayed a lot cleaner. Winner winner, chicken dinner. Barrel still cleans out with two patches. Detailed cleaning took a lot less time.

    Most of my brass is indeed Starline, around 98% of it. Annealing will be looked into a little ways down the road. The wife knows I am part Pyro, so any buying of torches will be watched closely.

    I am going to work on repeatability next, making sure I can duplicate this load efficiently. Right now my loads look a little like Corona beer (look at a six-pack from the side, no two bottles have the same amount...) So far it all seems 'the same' and appears to be working (for now).

    At this point the load looks like this:
    200gr RNFP w/crayon lube
    30gr American Pioneer Powder FFFg
    Federal Magnum Large Pistol Primer
    Heavier crimp

    I appreciate everyone's help so far, as my nephews said when they were little, "For realsies."

    Red Bear

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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