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Cleaning residue from inline muzz
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*Also posted in gun cleaning forum*

Hello all,

Hoping some of you muzzleloader experts can help me here. I have a T/C inline that I first shot this past summer. Used White Hot pellets and Powerbelts. Got home and cleaned the bore with liquid solvent and foaming cleaner, then followed with hot soapy water and a thin coat of Rem oil.

Didn't shoot it again until this past weekend (White Hot/Pyrodex pellets and Powerbelts), and followed the exact same cleaning procedure. Something strange happened. The patches showed the normal black residue until I cleaned with hot soapy water. Then, the patches started showing an orange/brown residue - most wet patches I run through it now are covered in it. No matter how many patches I run through it, I get the same result. Have swabbed it probably 30 times now. I guess it could be rust, but I'd be surprised because I think I followed all the right cleaning steps when I last shot it this summer. And if it is rust, why wouldn't it show up at all on any patch (not even a speck), until AFTER I cleaned with soap & water? Looking down the more with a snake light, I see no obvious rust or pitting.

Any ideas on what's happening here, and what I can do to fix it?

Thanks in advance for any help.
Dan
 
Posts: 84 | Location: Pennsylvania | Registered: 27 May 2014Reply With Quote
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Sounds like rust to me. I do not clean with hot soapy water when using BP subs. Black Powder yes it is corrosive. I use Hoppes wet the bore a few times, let it soak for a couple minutes, brush, more wet patches of Hoppes let it soak and repeat one more time. Then dry it out and coat with a wet oil patch. I live in Arizona so we have pretty dry air except a few months a year. I have not used White Hots but doubt it is corrosive. I use Blackhorn 209 powder. I have experienced exactly what you describe in my old black powder Hawken I use to have after soapy water cleaning. I oiled it heavy when storing. Snapped a few caps before firing the next time and never had a problem.
 
Posts: 595 | Location: Camp Verde, AZ | Registered: 05 February 2006Reply With Quote
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First, realize that pyrodex is the MOST corrosive propellent ever made. Black powder is not actually overly corrosive; it was the caps that ruined all the guns.
Secondly, using any kind of petroleum based solvent on that kind of fouling will not remove it, and in fact will seal it in the pores, only to later return as RUST. Which is what happened to you.
Pyrodex will also eat brass like acid.
Thirdly, the only approved black powder solvent, is Water. And pyrodex is so bad that it needs a thorough cleaning with water, then dried, and oiled.
I started using Pyrodex in 1977/8 when it first came out. I still have three pounds of it since I quickly realized it was weak, hard to ignite, and as corrosive as pure salt.
If you want some, come and get it.
If I feel the need to use a BP substitute I use 777. But nothing like the real thing.
 
Posts: 12569 | Location: USA | Registered: 02 August 2009Reply With Quote
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Thanks to both of you for the replies, very helpful. Sounds like this is not a terribly unusual thing, and that all is not lost. All I need to do is get the rust out and it should be as good as new.

I'm still fairly new to muzzleloaders so do you have any recommendations for which cleaners and oil/lube to use in the bore, in addition to soap & water? I've heard good things about JB Bore Paste and TC Bore Butter.

I recently bought a can of Blackhorn 209 and going forward it is the only thing I plan to use. I knew White Hots and Pyrodex were corrosive, but I didn't figure they were as bad as they are. I still have some of both left but it just isn't worth the hassle of using them up.
 
Posts: 84 | Location: Pennsylvania | Registered: 27 May 2014Reply With Quote
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I’ve found Ballistol works extremely well with real black, any of the subs, and even smokeless. Either straight or mixed with water.


Shoot straight, shoot often.
Matt
 
Posts: 1089 | Location: Wisconsin | Registered: 19 July 2001Reply With Quote
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I,m on the brink of purchasing a bore camera, like $35.00 on Amazon, for the very subject you have brought up.


NRA Benefactor Member
 
Posts: 35 | Registered: 11 February 2007Reply With Quote
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For cleaning Windex all purpose cleaner just melts the powder fouling away. Just make sure it does not have ammonia in it. The stuff I use is clear. Try it it really works well and is cheap. I run some bore butter down the barrel after cleaning and then good to go.
 
Posts: 209 | Location: BRF mid west WI. | Registered: 28 February 2003Reply With Quote
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I also use Windex for the initial cleaning after shooting. After a few patches and a brush or two, I run a couple dry patches down the barrel and then try again with a half and half solution of Simple Green and water. I could probably just go with the Simple Green/water only, but the Windex is really good for getting the residue out first. Then just oil like any of my other guns.


Larry

"Peace is that brief glorious moment in history, when everybody stands around reloading" -- Thomas Jefferson
 
Posts: 3924 | Location: Kansas USA | Registered: 04 February 2002Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by dpcd:
First, realize that pyrodex is the MOST corrosive propellent ever made. Black powder is not actually overly corrosive; it was the caps that ruined all the guns.

If I feel the need to use a BP substitute I use 777. But nothing like the real thing.


Pyrodex ATE my .54 Lyman Trade Rifle, not matter how well I cleaned it. It has been
rellogated to a wall hanger.

T7 put crud rings in my TC 209x50 that were so hard they needed to be brushed out after
every shot in order to load the next bullet.

"The real thing" is impossible to get around here.

Just three reasons I went to smokeless muzzle loaders.


************************

Our independence is dying.
 
Posts: 554 | Location: Walker, IA, USA | Registered: 03 December 2001Reply With Quote
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OK, hold the phone before the BS meter breaks Pyrodex IS more corrosive than Black Powder. Black powder consists of charcoal, SULFUR and SALTPETER. Corrosive and oxidizing chemicals. Pyrodex contains more sulfur.

What you have is likely a crud ring formed by using standard shotgun primers. This creates and ultra-hot spot at the ignition site and crystalizes the powder. The most effective way to clean this AND YOUR GUN is to go out to the Dollar Store and buy their cheapest windshield wiper cleaner. Before you begin swabbing, push a round toothpick up the primer hole. Stand the barrel up and pour it full of this cheap blue cleaner. Go find something else to do for 30 minutes. Pour the barrel out and refill it. Then as it sets upright, pull the toothpick and let the cleaner drain through the touchhole. NOW, pull your breechplug and run a cleaning swab through the barrel several times. I like to follow this up with a few swabs of bore butter or the like. Clean the breech. Put bore butter on the threads, replace the breech and reassemble your gun.


RETIRED Taxidermist
 
Posts: 827 | Location: Magnolia Delaware | Registered: 02 December 2006Reply With Quote
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I teach muzzleloading here in Delaware and this is a sheet I give all the students.

Let’s Talk Propellants by George Roof
When it comes to the propellants used in muzzleloaders, much of the information tends to be “what I heard” instead of what I know. This will be a lame attempt to provide you with factual information other than what “Bubba told me.” We will go by three categories but you are reminded that though the Savage Arms 10ML-II was made for shooting modern smokeless powder, it could and did operate with the conventional “primitive” and synthetic propellants. Therefore it is literally a “hybrid”. I'm not sure it's even marketed presently. Whatever you do, DO NOT USE CONVENTIONAL SMOKELESS POWDER IN ANY OTHER FIREARM.

Black Powder: This is the original propellant dating back to antiquity with the Chinese being credited with the first recipes. Made by combining fine ground charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate (saltpeter), it is a very fast burning powder (deflagrating), and whose burn rate is determined by the coarseness of the powder. Components were wheel ground and then passed through various sized screens. Powder was graded in “F” and “C” designators. The “F” stood for “fine” while the “C” was “coarse. Coarse powders were used in cannons and artillery, but for the sake of our discussions in muzzleloading firearms, we will talk about the “F grades.” Fg powder is used primarily in big bore shotguns and punt guns of the early part of the century. FFg is used for firearms down to the .50 caliber while FFFG is used primarily in flintlock rifles and calibers below .45. FFFFg powder is considered “flash powder” and is used mostly in the pans of flintlocks as ignition propellants or in very small caliber handguns and derringers. (If you're wondering, the "F" stands for "fine" and the "g" stands for "grade" or "ground". Obviously the more "F's" the finer the powder.)
Black powder is considered a “Class A” explosive and though usually stable, it remains a fickle propellant. Burn rates can vary between manufacturers; it can be ignited from percussion or static electricity as well as flammable sources. It must be stored separate to other powders and because of stringent requirements on dealers, is often hard to find. Fuel for the propellant is charcoal and sulfur while the saltpeter is an oxidizer. It is supremely inefficient as only about 50% of the mass is converted to propellant while the remainder either leaves the barrel as white smoke and unburned charcoal or it attaches to the interior of the barrel as a corrosive crud.

Pyrodex: This is where things become confusing. In order to “dumb down” users, the manufacturers advertised this as a “black powder substitute” and attempted to simplify its usage by keeping the language the same. Pyrodex is nothing like black powder. Contrary to some belief, it is actually more corrosive than black powder because of the sulfur content. It is measured in “volume” like black powder, but the grain size is larger and often 100 grains of black powder volume weighs around 60 grains. It is much more stable, making resale and storage easier. It is more difficult to ignite (which can be an advantage to commercial dealers, but makes the requirement for stronger and hotter ignition sources for firearms.) It cannot be used in flintlock firearms. It has no natural ingredients and is considered “smokeless powder” by USDOT. It is advertised as a “propellant”.

Triple Seven, Black Mag3, Clear Shot, Shockey Gold, etc.: If you thought the doublespeak was bad on Pyrodex, you ain’t seen nothing yet. All of these are modern synthetic propellants. They continue to imply substitution choices for black powder yet are chemically isolated. They contain neither sulfur nor charcoal (they use a sugar based carbon). They, too, are measured by volume but since they burn far hotter than black powder, it takes less for them to provide the same energy. Though they still only burn about 50% of their bulk, the “cleaner” advantage comes from less powder being used to attain the same energy. What residue that is left in your barrel is less corrosive only because of the amounts left and the fact that sulfur is absent.

Pyrodex and Triple Seven Pellets: Can you say “blind faith”. Rational people simply stick to the recipes quoted by the firearms manufacturer for these items. First of all, you must accept the fact that these pellets are as close to black powder as dogs are to cats. They are listed as “pelletized powder” but in reality are nothing more that solid propellant rocket fuel. They provide so much energy that few companies making them endorse ever using more than two pellets in a load. But we know how hunters are: magnum loads make better hunters and since the firearms makers encourage it, why not walk on the wild side. Velocities exceed their name brand loose powder kin and they far exceed that of black powder. Since they have no commonalities with these propellants, they are less corrosive because their increase burning rates and their low volume allow less residue to be left in the barrel. Because of the chemistry, the ignition sources must be hotter and the design of the propellant is used to aid that ignition. These two type pellets are hollow and ignite from inside the pellet. They use 410 shotgun primers as igniters as conventional caps simply don’t supply enough heat to ignite these pellets. (it must be noted that larger bore shotgun and rifle primers should NOT be used. They are much hotter and create a situation where the sugar base propellant is crystalized in the barrel and will form a "crud ring" that will need to be removed in order to insure ease of loading. This ring is easily removed by plugging the primer hole and filling the barrel with cheap windshield washer fluid. Let it set for about 20 minutes and then pour out and clean your barrel conventionally.)

This information is not given as an information source but rather a short primer as to the differences in the most common of muzzleloading propellants. There are many valuable information sources available on the Internet by simply typing your question into their site search engines.


RETIRED Taxidermist
 
Posts: 827 | Location: Magnolia Delaware | Registered: 02 December 2006Reply With Quote
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George, thank you very much for the detailed information. This has indeed been an interesting experience and a somewhat frustrating but very valuable lesson learned.

Happy to report that all traces of rust are now gone. This came only after nearly 200 swabs of the barrel with muzz solvent, Hoppe's and JB Bore Paste, and periodic oiling with Bore Butter and Rem Oil. Perhaps the best thing I did, that got the last bit of it out, was scrubbing the bore with a .50 cal brush chucked in a cordless drill, with the brush wrapped in Chore Boy copper pad cleaning fibers (thanks Labman). Worked like a charm and I probably should have tried it a lot sooner. I would have gone George's recommended Windex route had this not worked - I didn't see that post until after I did the Chore Boy thing.

To echo what dpcd said, and George seems to imply, Pyrodex isn't worth the space it takes up. I'm sure it has worked and does work fine for many shooters, but after this exercise in frustration I conclude that no one in their right mind would bother with it given the available alternatives. I don't know what I'll do with the pellets I still have, but I sure as hell won't be putting them down my barrel. I have loaded some charges of Blackhorn 209 and from now on, that is all I will ever use.

"Just Say No" to Pyrodex. Thanks for the help everyone.
 
Posts: 84 | Location: Pennsylvania | Registered: 27 May 2014Reply With Quote
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Thanks for the post George .
Most helpful.
 
Posts: 137 | Location: Winter Haven , Fl . | Registered: 16 July 2010Reply With Quote
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Black Powder is easy to obtain. You can order from grafs.com with only an additonal $10 special hazard fee plus regular shipping fee. There are other online sources as well.
 
Posts: 134 | Location: Western Washington | Registered: 24 October 2007Reply With Quote
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George: Your information is invaluable! tu2 Thanks to everyone who had input here! tu2
 
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We had some really large oak logs to split. Bored a hole into the side of the log, poured in black powder sub, put cannon fuse in and pack with clay. Light the long fuse and get behind another tree several yards away. No chances taken. As you cut the log into burning length pieces they fall into split chunks. Good thing because we were lifting all by hand and they were large diameter. It worked quite handily. Packy
 
Posts: 1803 | Registered: 28 May 2002Reply With Quote
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[ QUOTE]Originally posted by packrattusnongratus:
We had some really large oak logs to split. Bored a hole into the side of the log, poured in black powder sub, put cannon fuse in and pack with clay. Light the long fuse and get behind another tree several yards away. No chances taken. As you cut the log into burning length pieces they fall into split chunks. Good thing because we were lifting all by hand and they were large diameter. It worked quite handily. Packy[/QUOTE]
flame shocker clap Hold my beer and watch this!
 
Posts: 674 | Location: Quakertown, Pa. | Registered: 11 December 2008Reply With Quote
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All this trouble I just use smokeless in my savage.

No fuss no mess. Big Grin
 
Posts: 16034 | Location: wis | Registered: 21 April 2001Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by p dog shooter:
All this trouble I just use smokeless in my savage.

No fuss no mess. Big Grin


Ditto.
No fuss no mess
No black cloud obscuring target (deer)
No mad rush to clean
Also converted a 700ml and used Boyd's ProVarmint stock...perfect for this lefty!


************************

Our independence is dying.
 
Posts: 554 | Location: Walker, IA, USA | Registered: 03 December 2001Reply With Quote
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What we've used for 25 years now, is a pint of alcohol, mixed with a pint of "oil soap" Murphy's generally mentioned by store brand fine, and a pint of Pyroxide. These all put together in a large container and shaken a bit to mix them. When done shooting, block the nipple so it won't run out, (toothpick can work) and stand the rifle up, and pour the cleaner down the barrel till about 4" from the top and let it stand there (concrete floor or something not a rug, as will foam up and overflow). Let stand there 1/2 hour and it'll foam up and clean "right down to the shine" as the add used to say. Since I shoot patched round balls, find it's also a great patch lube. If used as a patch lube, helps wipe the just fired powder back out of the rifling. Once the rifle's been setting 1/2 hour, turn it down into a tub and pull the toothpick, or whatever, and let it drain. Then flush with hot water a time or two, dry with patches and oil with WD40m, which will help drive the moisture out. If you want, also run a patch up and down a few times with RenmOil or some such. But I've found the WD40 (WD means Water Displacement and it was developed to "dry" stuff with a bit of moisture on it.
 
Posts: 436 | Location: Maryland | Registered: 18 June 2006Reply With Quote
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I find Blackhorn 209 to be the bee's knees!

Super velocity and accuracy, less smoke and much less residue than Pyrodex or Triple Seven.

And best of all it cleans up with any rifle solvent!! No water and messing around.
 
Posts: 197 | Registered: 28 August 2008Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by larrys:
I also use Windex for the initial cleaning after shooting. After a few patches and a brush or two, I run a couple dry patches down the barrel and then try again with a half and half solution of Simple Green and water. I could probably just go with the Simple Green/water only, but the Windex is really good for getting the residue out first. Then just oil like any of my other guns.


Those of you who use Windex to clean your muzzle loader...do you use the original formula that DOES contain ammonia or the new formula that is ammonia free?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
J. Lane Easter, DVM
Hunter/Conservationist

DSC Life Member
NRA Life Member
APHA Honorary Member

A born Texan has instilled in his system a mind-set of no retreat or no surrender. I wish everyone the world over had the dominating spirit that motivates Texans. – Billy Clayton, Speaker of the Texas House
 
Posts: 26681 | Location: Gainesville, TX | Registered: 24 December 2006Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by ledvm:


Those of you who use Windex to clean your muzzle loader...do you use the original formula that DOES contain ammonia or the new formula that is ammonia free?


I use the one that has ammonia in it. Cleaning the rifle with Windex has made it so easy for me to get into muzzleloading when I did. I'm able to carry a small bottle of windex with me and I don't mind swabbing every shot.
 
Posts: 2885 | Location: West Texas | Registered: 16 December 2006Reply With Quote
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Thank you kindly.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
J. Lane Easter, DVM
Hunter/Conservationist

DSC Life Member
NRA Life Member
APHA Honorary Member

A born Texan has instilled in his system a mind-set of no retreat or no surrender. I wish everyone the world over had the dominating spirit that motivates Texans. – Billy Clayton, Speaker of the Texas House
 
Posts: 26681 | Location: Gainesville, TX | Registered: 24 December 2006Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by george roof:
I teach muzzleloading here in Delaware and this is a sheet I give all the students.

Let’s Talk Propellants by George Roof
When it comes to the propellants used in muzzleloaders, much of the information tends to be “what I heard” instead of what I know. This will be a lame attempt to provide you with factual information other than what “Bubba told me.” We will go by three categories but you are reminded that though the Savage Arms 10ML-II was made for shooting modern smokeless powder, it could and did operate with the conventional “primitive” and synthetic propellants. Therefore it is literally a “hybrid”. I'm not sure it's even marketed presently. Whatever you do, DO NOT USE CONVENTIONAL SMOKELESS POWDER IN ANY OTHER FIREARM.

Black Powder: This is the original propellant dating back to antiquity with the Chinese being credited with the first recipes. Made by combining fine ground charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate (saltpeter), it is a very fast burning powder (deflagrating), and whose burn rate is determined by the coarseness of the powder. Components were wheel ground and then passed through various sized screens. Powder was graded in “F” and “C” designators. The “F” stood for “fine” while the “C” was “coarse. Coarse powders were used in cannons and artillery, but for the sake of our discussions in muzzleloading firearms, we will talk about the “F grades.” Fg powder is used primarily in big bore shotguns and punt guns of the early part of the century. FFg is used for firearms down to the .50 caliber while FFFG is used primarily in flintlock rifles and calibers below .45. FFFFg powder is considered “flash powder” and is used mostly in the pans of flintlocks as ignition propellants or in very small caliber handguns and derringers. (If you're wondering, the "F" stands for "fine" and the "g" stands for "grade" or "ground". Obviously the more "F's" the finer the powder.)
Black powder is considered a “Class A” explosive and though usually stable, it remains a fickle propellant. Burn rates can vary between manufacturers; it can be ignited from percussion or static electricity as well as flammable sources. It must be stored separate to other powders and because of stringent requirements on dealers, is often hard to find. Fuel for the propellant is charcoal and sulfur while the saltpeter is an oxidizer. It is supremely inefficient as only about 50% of the mass is converted to propellant while the remainder either leaves the barrel as white smoke and unburned charcoal or it attaches to the interior of the barrel as a corrosive crud.

Pyrodex: This is where things become confusing. In order to “dumb down” users, the manufacturers advertised this as a “black powder substitute” and attempted to simplify its usage by keeping the language the same. Pyrodex is nothing like black powder. Contrary to some belief, it is actually more corrosive than black powder because of the sulfur content. It is measured in “volume” like black powder, but the grain size is larger and often 100 grains of black powder volume weighs around 60 grains. It is much more stable, making resale and storage easier. It is more difficult to ignite (which can be an advantage to commercial dealers, but makes the requirement for stronger and hotter ignition sources for firearms.) It cannot be used in flintlock firearms. It has no natural ingredients and is considered “smokeless powder” by USDOT. It is advertised as a “propellant”.

Triple Seven, Black Mag3, Clear Shot, Shockey Gold, etc.: If you thought the doublespeak was bad on Pyrodex, you ain’t seen nothing yet. All of these are modern synthetic propellants. They continue to imply substitution choices for black powder yet are chemically isolated. They contain neither sulfur nor charcoal (they use a sugar based carbon). They, too, are measured by volume but since they burn far hotter than black powder, it takes less for them to provide the same energy. Though they still only burn about 50% of their bulk, the “cleaner” advantage comes from less powder being used to attain the same energy. What residue that is left in your barrel is less corrosive only because of the amounts left and the fact that sulfur is absent.

Pyrodex and Triple Seven Pellets: Can you say “blind faith”. Rational people simply stick to the recipes quoted by the firearms manufacturer for these items. First of all, you must accept the fact that these pellets are as close to black powder as dogs are to cats. They are listed as “pelletized powder” but in reality are nothing more that solid propellant rocket fuel. They provide so much energy that few companies making them endorse ever using more than two pellets in a load. But we know how hunters are: magnum loads make better hunters and since the firearms makers encourage it, why not walk on the wild side. Velocities exceed their name brand loose powder kin and they far exceed that of black powder. Since they have no commonalities with these propellants, they are less corrosive because their increase burning rates and their low volume allow less residue to be left in the barrel. Because of the chemistry, the ignition sources must be hotter and the design of the propellant is used to aid that ignition. These two type pellets are hollow and ignite from inside the pellet. They use 410 shotgun primers as igniters as conventional caps simply don’t supply enough heat to ignite these pellets. (it must be noted that larger bore shotgun and rifle primers should NOT be used. They are much hotter and create a situation where the sugar base propellant is crystalized in the barrel and will form a "crud ring" that will need to be removed in order to insure ease of loading. This ring is easily removed by plugging the primer hole and filling the barrel with cheap windshield washer fluid. Let it set for about 20 minutes and then pour out and clean your barrel conventionally.)

This information is not given as an information source but rather a short primer as to the differences in the most common of muzzleloading propellants. There are many valuable information sources available on the Internet by simply typing your question into their site search engines.
KEY

This is the very best way to get the crude ring out that I have ever tried...THANK YOU!!!!!.
 
Posts: 674 | Location: Quakertown, Pa. | Registered: 11 December 2008Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by george roof:
I teach muzzleloading here in Delaware and this is a sheet I give all the students.

Let’s Talk Propellants by George Roof
When it comes to the propellants used in muzzleloaders, much of the information tends to be “what I heard” instead of what I know. This will be a lame attempt to provide you with factual information other than what “Bubba told me.” We will go by three categories but you are reminded that though the Savage Arms 10ML-II was made for shooting modern smokeless powder, it could and did operate with the conventional “primitive” and synthetic propellants. Therefore it is literally a “hybrid”. I'm not sure it's even marketed presently. Whatever you do, DO NOT USE CONVENTIONAL SMOKELESS POWDER IN ANY OTHER FIREARM.

Black Powder: This is the original propellant dating back to antiquity with the Chinese being credited with the first recipes. Made by combining fine ground charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate (saltpeter), it is a very fast burning powder (deflagrating), and whose burn rate is determined by the coarseness of the powder. Components were wheel ground and then passed through various sized screens. Powder was graded in “F” and “C” designators. The “F” stood for “fine” while the “C” was “coarse. Coarse powders were used in cannons and artillery, but for the sake of our discussions in muzzleloading firearms, we will talk about the “F grades.” Fg powder is used primarily in big bore shotguns and punt guns of the early part of the century. FFg is used for firearms down to the .50 caliber while FFFG is used primarily in flintlock rifles and calibers below .45. FFFFg powder is considered “flash powder” and is used mostly in the pans of flintlocks as ignition propellants or in very small caliber handguns and derringers. (If you're wondering, the "F" stands for "fine" and the "g" stands for "grade" or "ground". Obviously the more "F's" the finer the powder.)
Black powder is considered a “Class A” explosive and though usually stable, it remains a fickle propellant. Burn rates can vary between manufacturers; it can be ignited from percussion or static electricity as well as flammable sources. It must be stored separate to other powders and because of stringent requirements on dealers, is often hard to find. Fuel for the propellant is charcoal and sulfur while the saltpeter is an oxidizer. It is supremely inefficient as only about 50% of the mass is converted to propellant while the remainder either leaves the barrel as white smoke and unburned charcoal or it attaches to the interior of the barrel as a corrosive crud.

Pyrodex: This is where things become confusing. In order to “dumb down” users, the manufacturers advertised this as a “black powder substitute” and attempted to simplify its usage by keeping the language the same. Pyrodex is nothing like black powder. Contrary to some belief, it is actually more corrosive than black powder because of the sulfur content. It is measured in “volume” like black powder, but the grain size is larger and often 100 grains of black powder volume weighs around 60 grains. It is much more stable, making resale and storage easier. It is more difficult to ignite (which can be an advantage to commercial dealers, but makes the requirement for stronger and hotter ignition sources for firearms.) It cannot be used in flintlock firearms. It has no natural ingredients and is considered “smokeless powder” by USDOT. It is advertised as a “propellant”.

Triple Seven, Black Mag3, Clear Shot, Shockey Gold, etc.: If you thought the doublespeak was bad on Pyrodex, you ain’t seen nothing yet. All of these are modern synthetic propellants. They continue to imply substitution choices for black powder yet are chemically isolated. They contain neither sulfur nor charcoal (they use a sugar based carbon). They, too, are measured by volume but since they burn far hotter than black powder, it takes less for them to provide the same energy. Though they still only burn about 50% of their bulk, the “cleaner” advantage comes from less powder being used to attain the same energy. What residue that is left in your barrel is less corrosive only because of the amounts left and the fact that sulfur is absent.

Pyrodex and Triple Seven Pellets: Can you say “blind faith”. Rational people simply stick to the recipes quoted by the firearms manufacturer for these items. First of all, you must accept the fact that these pellets are as close to black powder as dogs are to cats. They are listed as “pelletized powder” but in reality are nothing more that solid propellant rocket fuel. They provide so much energy that few companies making them endorse ever using more than two pellets in a load. But we know how hunters are: magnum loads make better hunters and since the firearms makers encourage it, why not walk on the wild side. Velocities exceed their name brand loose powder kin and they far exceed that of black powder. Since they have no commonalities with these propellants, they are less corrosive because their increase burning rates and their low volume allow less residue to be left in the barrel. Because of the chemistry, the ignition sources must be hotter and the design of the propellant is used to aid that ignition. These two type pellets are hollow and ignite from inside the pellet. They use 410 shotgun primers as igniters as conventional caps simply don’t supply enough heat to ignite these pellets. (it must be noted that larger bore shotgun and rifle primers should NOT be used. They are much hotter and create a situation where the sugar base propellant is crystalized in the barrel and will form a "crud ring" that will need to be removed in order to insure ease of loading. This ring is easily removed by plugging the primer hole and filling the barrel with cheap windshield washer fluid. Let it set for about 20 minutes and then pour out and clean your barrel conventionally.)

This information is not given as an information source but rather a short primer as to the differences in the most common of muzzleloading propellants. There are many valuable information sources available on the Internet by simply typing your question into their site search engines.


Good information.. Thank you. I shoot 2 pydrodex pellets in my Remington Stainless 700 Muzzleloader in .54 and Goex in my Old Thompson Center Renegade in .54. Your article explains why I have no cleaning issues. Using the right stuff I guess.
 
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