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Thread: 3f powder not available what can I use

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy Driver man's Avatar
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    3f powder not available what can I use

    Im a bit stuck. With the component shortage now spreading world wide i have found i cant get any FFF from my usual sources and can only get FF and 4F. I shoot a 1858 Remington 44 Uberti replica and have only used FFF . Can I use any of the 2f or 4F instead, and if so what sort of loads work. I load 23 grains of 3F with a semolina wad and a 457 round ball topped with a lube of beeswax and petroleum jelly. Very accurate and fun to shoot. I live in NZ and am at the end of the supply chain so don't expect to get resupplied soon. On the other hand I can still get primers and powder altho prices have risen.
    The Bird of Time has but a little way
    To fly-and Lo! the bird is on the wing

  2. #2
    Load it with the 2F and carry on. Don't think I'd use the 4F. I'd load whatever amount it took to get the ball seated where you want it with your lube and wads, should work just fine.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master trails4u's Avatar
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    I use FF in all of my BP revolvers, from 36 Navy to Colt Walkers.... Ya should be good to go.
    "Do not follow where the path might lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail" Ralph Waldo Emerson

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy Driver man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trails4u View Post
    I use FF in all of my BP revolvers, from 36 Navy to Colt Walkers.... Ya should be good to go.
    Now thats good to hear. Ill do a range trip Sunday . I was thinking I might have to pour about 5 grains of 4f then top up with FF to get reasonable results.
    The Bird of Time has but a little way
    To fly-and Lo! the bird is on the wing

  5. #5
    When your 2F runs out head on over to the home made black powder thread and carry on.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    as stated go with 2FG. grade. BP. not a problem.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    I'm another one who has used 2F when 3F wasn't available - in both .36 and .44 - has always worked fine. Same for my rifles of smaller bores.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    There’s a fellow who tested original paper cartridges from the Hazard’s powder company. The powder used was called Pistol Powder and it was found to be 4F granulation. When tested it gave the same power as Swiss powder today in 4F. These cartridges were stout using 36 grns behind a 211 grn bullet. That’s pretty serious. The old Lyman 1st Edition Black Powder Handbook has loads going up to 37 grns of 4F with a ball and the pressures aren’t extreme at all.

    I’d never suggest loading against what the manufacturer suggests, but in all honesty the modern steel guns are stronger than they were 160 years ago. I use energetic powders (Olde Eynsford by Goex and Triple 7) in 3F and get plenty of power for hunting so I see no need to use 4F. However if all I could find was the plethora of weaker powders I’d be finding an accurate 4F load. Your load isn’t stout and you aren’t using a bullet so there’s nothing really to fear by trying 4F as well. Shoot both 2 and 4F and see what you see. Ruger shows 4F loading as well but also stated accuracy tended to suffer.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Oh, and there’s a museum curator who disassembled a lot of original 19th and early 20th century cartridges and found these quite often loaded with 4F and even finer powders and this even in large calibers. 4F is only for the pan is a 21st century thing.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    I use 3f for about all my shooting , but a few months ago when I was thinking of buying more , Grafs only had 20 cans of 3f and I passed as I had powder still , well a few days later I thought it over and went back to order , no 3f but they had 20 cans of 2f so I ordered 20 cans of 2f and 5 cans of 4f , figuring I could use the 4f along with the 2f or in my flintlocks , I have been shooting the 2f through the 44 revolver the 50 caliber rifle and then loading it in the 40-90ss and the 50-95 .

    Years past I had some 1f and I shot that out of the 50 muzzle loader , I was glad I ordered the 2f and 4f when Grafs had it as the price went up on their reenactor grades right after I ordered .

    I to think the home made powder is going to be the way to go , and have stocked up on the potassium nitrate and Sulphur .

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Forgot to mention how in Europe 4F has been pistol powder for a very long time. Look at their offerings and note the usage they show for handguns:



    And Swiss is potent stuff much like Olde Eynsford and Triple 7.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    If you can find only 2f , then just crush it a bit and run it thru a screen.
    Anything that will pass thru a 30 mesh screen but will not pass thru a 40 mesh screen will be your 3f.
    Just screening your 2f will seperate your finer 3f and 4f without any crushing.
    It won't be much , but it is a starting point

  13. #13
    Boolit Master Hanshi's Avatar
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    Just me, but 4F in a bp revolver would be my choice. Black powder cartridges in the old west were loaded with bp similar to 4F and were powerful. With today's c&b revolvers far stronger than the old iron frame ones 4F is quite a good choice.
    Young guys should hang out with old guys; old guys know stuff.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanshi View Post
    Just me, but 4F in a bp revolver would be my choice. Black powder cartridges in the old west were loaded with bp similar to 4F and were powerful. With today's c&b revolvers far stronger than the old iron frame ones 4F is quite a good choice.
    I 2nd that!!!

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy Driver man's Avatar
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    Well, thats given me a bit more confidence. I will do a test for accuracy at the range on Sunday with each powder and see which gives the best results. One of the muzzle loader competitions held at the range with revolvers is at 25metres precision (single hand) 13 shots with 10 best shot scoring. I normally do well .
    The Bird of Time has but a little way
    To fly-and Lo! the bird is on the wing

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    From an old Colt Industries pamphlet:
    "FFG black powder is best for large and medium-size revolvers, and FFFG for the small pocket models, but any grade that is available will work reasonably well."

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Just from a fouling perspective I wouldn’t want to use 2F in anything unless it shot better. I might try it in my .50 cal rifle.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Driver man View Post

    i have found i cant get any FFF from my usual sources and can only get FF and 4F.

    Graf & Son currently has Goex FFFg in stock @ $21/lb, with a minimum purchase:

    https://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog...ategoryId/3501
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master
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    https://powderinc.com/black-powder/ Powder Inc has FFFg powder
    Regards
    John

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    The OP is overseas our stateside retail sales are not shipped over seas .

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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