I found this interesting. The test is to load different amounts of Pyrodex (simulant for Black Powder) into a black powder revolver and run it through a chronograph. Yeah, I know, what’s the big whoop about changing the powder level changing the power… But, I was surprised at the range. 25 grains gave about the same power from a .44 as the wimpiest modern rounds – .25 ACP / .22 rimfire. At the top end, it was about the same as a .357 magnum standard pressure round (though it was needing a slightly compressed powder charge).
So I can load up this one gun with power levels appropriate for squirrels or hogs? Hmmm….
At 5 minutes 24 seconds he has an error in the numbers he puts on the screen. For 30 grains of Pyrodex he has the right average velocity but the Ft-Lbs ought to be more like 259 ( I think he just carried down the 9 from the velocity and didn’t notice…). All the other numbers look about right to me.
My speculation would be that the velocities available in a .36 ball BP revolver would be about the same for similar cylinder fullness, so one ought to be able to make decent estimates of their power range just via a mass:mass ratio adjustment on the lead ball weights.
As I’m leaning toward .36, that’s a bit of math I’ll be doing after just one more cup of coffee ;-) That the .44 is just at the power level, fully charged, that’s generally considered “just enough” for stopping hogs and black bears has me thinking maybe .44 is the better choice (and not worry about the need to buy a second bullet mould).
Somehow it had not occurred to me that you could calibrate load / velocity in Black Powder guns and have a variable power loading. I think it is because the powder flasks are always talked about as delivering a consistent charge, coupled with thinking the lever to compress it was likely to have a best stop point. In other words: Having never done it, I was assuming in error…
So, OK, I really like the idea of making up some paper cartridges in various power levels and just drop in what you want. Probably just 2. A 25 grain “plink & squirrels” and 40 grain “big banga boom” ;-)
Next, another video by the same guy where he compares Pyrodex vs “Real Black Powder” Goex. The Pyrodex gives faster bullets, while smelling like a “dirty fireplace” (or maybe it was BBQ) while the Goex smells “like the 4th of July”. Pyrodex must be cleaned quickly due to acidic products while Goex is harder to clean but not urgent.
I’d not thought about the actual aesthetics of the shots, but realize that I want that 4th of July experience ;-)
Also of interest is that he cites one of the gun makers as only recommending the 25 grain charge for brass frame revolvers and larger charges only in steel frame. Yet brass has a tensile strength similar to mild steel ( 66 k PSI IIRC though with wide ranges depending on exact materials). Since they know what materials they used that’s worth note.
So added to the check list is construction material and maker recommendations of max loads.
He has some chronograph issues from using wads under the bullet in this round (chronograph reading both bullet and wad…) but gets enough numbers for a reasonable result.
That Pyrodex has a “must clean today” or it starts to abuse the finish on the gun argues for real black powder in an Emergency Supply as consistent cleaning is more likely to be an issue then. It also would argue for a period-IN-correct stainless steel gun. Those are pricey. Ruger made one (and hopefully still does) but I’m not sure about the Italian makers.
So it is looking a little less like I’m going to run right out and get one. Still more details to work out. Perhaps I’ll do the “2 Stage” method with a “Rapid Prototype” of a .36 cheap copy gun, get some experience, then know what I really want in the top end stainless camp…
Or maybe I’ll just go make that 2nd cup of coffee ;-)