Black Powder & Bullseye ??

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Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on Wed May 30, 2018 1:10 pm

The club I belong to has a group that shoots black powder guns once a month, on the same range we use for Bullseye shooting.
    http://www.hrpclub.info
I got to wondering if there is any Bullseye competition using these guns.  I'm guessing not, but am curious.

Years ago, I wanted to try it, but everything seemed way too complicated.  Then I got a black powder gun from a friend, but have never used it.  I keep thinking I'll go to one of those get-togethers, and see what it's like.  Getting together with people who know about something is the best way to learn.

Anybody else here do that?
Sounds like a low-key way to have an enjoyable day doing something very different......

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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by jmdavis on Wed May 30, 2018 1:28 pm

There are national and international competitions with black powder. Some are with BP revolvers, others with single shot pistol. They generally use paper targets and are precision events in the same manner as bullseye. 

My personal experience is limited to roundball rifle competition.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by jglenn21 on Wed May 30, 2018 2:33 pm

Jason should be alone soon to explain it all given he is a national Champ with the Muzzle loading pistols
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by lyman1903 on Wed May 30, 2018 3:58 pm

I have and have shot a few cap and ball pistols, but not for comps, 

most fun I have had with black powder is shooting  a Brown Bess, 

Flints are fun, and gave me some perspective of what my patriot ancestors went thru

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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on Wed May 30, 2018 9:42 pm

I watched some videos last night, including one about my Ruger.  I've always thought of black powder shooting as a way to just enjoy myself, take the pressure off, and learn what people used to have to do.  I've been trying to get into it for at least 25 years, but way back when, I never bought one of the guns, and now that I have one I'm spending so much time doing other things at the range and reloading bench.

I read that there are special safety concerns, about how to store the powder and so on.  I still need to learn about those too.  Not sure who Jason is, but I hope to hear from him too.

The gun in the photo I posted above - it's not literally "my" gun, but it's the same gun.  Apparently they're no longer for sale, other than used, but even though people say it's not "accurately realistic", they also say it's the best one ever made, using modern technology to build an old style gun.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Bullseye_Stan on Thu May 31, 2018 5:45 am

I've got a Ruger Old Army circa 1978.  It's not a replica of any revolver and is built on a Blackhawk frame.  Black powder has more static electricity safety concerns than pyrodex or any of the smokeless powders for DOT transportation regulations.  Some people are terrified of historical black powder made of KN03, sulfur, and carbon;  I think those same folks (IMO) are also terrified of acetylene. 

That said, years ago I shot some FFFg black powder though mine (still have the metal can), but most of the powder was Hogden Pyrodex.  The Old Army is a very accurate revolver and fun to shoot.  Need an outdoor range though.

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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Jon Math on Thu May 31, 2018 7:38 am

I shoot a lot of BP-shotguns, smoothbore fowlers, rifled long rifles, military muskets, pistols revolvers fling and percussion.  I hunt and shoot competitively with the stuff.  At a local level it is a lot of fun, kind of a relaxed pace, and everyone and their brother will be happy to help you along.  However, if you start getting serious about it be aware in matches they split seconds and are just about at the decimal scoring point.  Like all competitive sports everyone is pushing the rules, race tuning firearms, and it stops being fun and starts being work to get to the top, and it gets every bit as expensive as any shooting sport, more so as BP gunsmiths are few and far between—and they know how to bill for their time Very Happy
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on Thu May 31, 2018 8:22 am

Bullseye_Stan wrote:I've got a Ruger Old Army circa 1978.  It's not a replica of any revolver and is built on a Blackhawk frame.  Black powder has more static electricity safety concerns than pyrodex or any of the smokeless powders for DOT transportation regulations.  Some people are terrified of historical black powder made of KN03, sulfur, and carbon;  I think those same folks (IMO) are also terrified of acetylene. 

That said, years ago I shot some FFFg black powder though mine (still have the metal can), but most of the powder was Hogden Pyrodex.  The Old Army is a very accurate revolver and fun to shoot.  Need an outdoor range though.
I found this review:
      https://www.chuckhawks.com/ruger_old_army_syn.htm
I've read it, and watched the video.

I have no idea yet of any special safety concerns.  If it's sitting on a shelf, in the original container, is it "safe"?
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Jon Math on Thu May 31, 2018 8:33 am

You might want to discreetly check about local bylaws and State laws for Black Powder storage.  Many places require a storage permit – locally for me they are issued by the fire department, but might be the town hall or police/sheriff where you are or none might be required at all.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Tim:H11 on Thu May 31, 2018 12:30 pm

Mikemyers, I’m Jason Gregoire. I’ve shot muzzleloading pistols competitively very aggressively for four years. Not a lot of time in any sport. But in that time I went from an absolute newbie to winning the NRA Nationals in 2015, and NMLRA Nationals in 2015, 2016, and 2017. I hold two national records; one with a revolver and the other is the grand aggregate record previously set in 1964. I am also one of 28 Distinguished masters since they started it in 1962. 

You should look up the National Muzzle Loading Riffle Association. The pistol event is like bullseye. Three guns, single shot percussion, single shot flint, and percussion revolver. The Nationals is a 1000 point agg. 300 cap, 300 flint, and 400 revolver. We shoot the same targets that we do in Bullseye both at 25 and 50 yards. Rules are one handed standing like in Bullseye.

My guns. 

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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by jmdavis on Thu May 31, 2018 12:37 pm

Jason, 

Is your percussion single shot from Hamilton?
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Jon Math on Thu May 31, 2018 12:47 pm

Long way from Dan Boone’s pistols.  Those are works of art.  What caliber are they?
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Tim:H11 on Thu May 31, 2018 12:48 pm

jmdavis wrote:Jason, 

Is your percussion single shot from Hamilton?

No. The 10 Ring Precision Pistol are different. Similar in design but the grips for his are 1911 grips. This frame the maker chose a smith model 41 to model. Those are Herrett Nationals for a 41.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Tim:H11 on Thu May 31, 2018 12:49 pm

Jon Math wrote:Long way from Dan Boone’s pistols.  Those are works of art.  What caliber are they?

Cap is .36, Flint is .32, and revolver is a 45.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Jon Math on Thu May 31, 2018 12:58 pm

Tim:H11 wrote:
Jon Math wrote:Long way from Dan Boone’s pistols.  Those are works of art.  What caliber are they?

Cap is .36, Flint is .32, and revolver is a 45.

Thanks!  Are those production pistols or custom built? 
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on Thu May 31, 2018 1:49 pm

Tim:H11 wrote:Mikemyers, I’m Jason Gregoire. I’ve shot muzzleloading pistols competitively very aggressively for four years. Not a lot of time in any sport. But in that time I went from an absolute newbie to winning the NRA Nationals in 2015, and NMLRA Nationals in 2015, 2016, and 2017. ............You should look up the National Muzzle Loading Riffle Association. The pistol event is like bullseye. ........
Sounds fascinating, and your guns look beautiful!  I'm impressed.   But I'm also aware that I've never shot one, ever, and other than watching and reading, had no idea where to start....   and I need to learn what I need to know about safety before I get serious about doing anything beyond looking.

My plan is to go to the next Black Powder day at my club I can get to, July 20th.

From what all you guys are saying, it sounds like Black Powder could be a bigger part of Bulls... er, Precision Shooting.  I'll look into the things you wrote about.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by jglenn21 on Thu May 31, 2018 1:59 pm

back when I played with BP pistols the Lyman book was my bible

https://www.amazon.com/Lyman-Powder-Handbook-Loading-Manual/dp/B0000C6I4U

still hunt with my Thompson Center Hawkin in 50 cal.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Tim:H11 on Thu May 31, 2018 6:07 pm

First thing you need to know and understand before you start pouring and packing stuff down inside the barrel or chambers of a gun, is that black powder is an explosive not a propellant. It is utilized as a propellant in firearms but it is an explosive. You need to know the laws pertaining to such an item in your home town and or state as well as take the proper safety percussion’s necessary so you can avoid the loss of life or limb. Having said that black powder is loads and loads of fun when handled correctly. 

The second thing you should know is that there are a lot of myths and truths to black powder, pyrodex, and muzzleloading firearms. Many times these myths are passed on as truths and can cause someone to avoid a perfectly safe and very useful technique in the way of caution or quite the opposite and leave a newbie in a dangerous or potentially dangerous situation. It’s important to search information from more than one source and take account as to who the source is and what this persons experience level is. 

Now, I’ve already thrown out a word that raises lights and sirens where I’m from. Prydoex. I would advise you to just leave that stuff on the shelf at the store where it belongs. Myth/fact about Purodex Number one: it’s cleaner than black powder.... answer: well, yes... maybe. But it’s not worth the risk. Risk you ask? Yes risk. Which explains myth/truth number too: Pyrodex is less corrosive than black powder.  .... No! It’s not! From what I’ve seen it’s worse! Horrible wretched stuff it is! Unless you deep clean and I mean REALLY clean your gun, it will corrode and rust your prized fire spitzen, smoken beltchen, louden boomer! Don’t do it! Please! There is a barrel on display sometimes at Friendship Indiana during the shoots. It was shot with pyrodex, left overnight, then cut open the next day to show the effects. Rusted to hell and back and pitted like a gravel road that needed an overhaul five years ago. Total loss. Black powder? Some rust. It was removable. Pitting? Minor if any. 

The thing about muzzleloaders and cleaning is when your done with that gun for an extended period of time or the day then clean the gun and grease it up for storage. Stay on top of it. Black powder is corrosive. Pyrodex is the devil. 

Your revolver is a Ruger Old Army. It’s loosely based off the Remington 1858 New Model Army revolver in army caliber or 44 caliber. It is accurate. And quite collectible to the right kind of people. It however can be difficult to shoot well for some. It is built like a tank. It is heavy, and poorly balanced. But mechanically they shoot good. I’ve seen many in competive use at Friendship. Some reworked, some stock. 

The big thing about revolvers is avoiding a chain fire. A chain fire, if you don’t already know, is when the chamber you’re firing ultimately causes one or two other chambers on either side of the intended chamber to also touch off. Not a fun experience. I was beside one when it happened once. I was not injured nor was the shooter but we both had had enough of that for one lifetime. 

What causes a chain fire? There are many ideas as to why and some are hard to prove. Bottom line is simple. Have the right size ball for your gun so that the ball seals the chamber when it’s loaded. It should cut a ring of lead perfectly and be unbroken. You also want to use a “bullet lubricant”. Many put a grease over the top of the chambers. Some claim “it’s to avoid a chain fire”. It’s not. It’s a bullet lubricant that helps with leading and keeps fouling soft. This isn’t a patched ball, it’s lead on bore. We use bullet lube on our lead bullets in conventional metallic cartridges so why not here right? It’s not to prevent a chain fire though it could help some. It’s intended purpose has to do with the bore. And lastly crimp or squeeze your percussion caps slightly so they wedge on to the nipples and stay on in recoil. If one were to come off, the spark from one nipple could ignite the next chamber if the nipple wasn’t covered. Touch hole size, cylinder dimensions, and nipple length play a role as to wether it’s possible for this to happen or no but regardless, the idea is seal the front of the chamber, and seal the back. How else could the powder be ignited? It can’t. 

My load was 18 grains of Goex 3F black powder, cornmeal filled to top flush on top of the powder, and a .454 ball loaded on top. I used white lithium grease as a bullet lube. I loaded the cylinder on a press separate from the gun. It had a control for seat depth so every shot was loaded the same. My load, with the amount of cornmeal I used was a compressed charge. Safe, but snappy. Revolvers shoot best when the ball is flush with face of the cylinder. My press allowed me to do so. You’ll have to do just play around with what you have. It’ll shoot accurate enough. Perhaps not at 50 yards but 25 yards or closer and you’ll be ok. 

I used a filler (cornmeal) because the ball was at the top, and the powder was on the bottom creating a void between the two. In black powder, you don’t want a void between charge and projectile. Black powder has a burn rate far byond that of smokeless powder and so the gases created in that void can cause pressures to spike prior to the projectile clearing the muzzle leaving you with a bulge in your barrel or worse. This pertains to single shots both rifle and pistol. Revolver.... truthfully I don’t know and don’t want to find out the hard way. Use a filler if the ball is elevated and the charge is small. And even if you’re loading on the gun, and don’t have crontrol over seat depth, use a filler. It’s another added blocker to the powder from the front at least making a chain fire from the front pretty much impossible to occur. 

About burn rate... ever see in the movie the stupid guy making a trail of black powder from a wood barrel powder keg tying to use it as a fuse? It burns slow on TV right? That’s false. In real life the trail burns so fast it’s nearly impossible to follow it with the eye. In fact I tried it once. The line was too long and the powder as it burns - explodes, remember it’s an explosive, - it can push some of the “next-in-line” powder forward thus breaking the line and stopping the burn. This occurred for me. 

There’s so much more to say... for now think on these things and take it one step at a time. As you play with this new aspect of shooting and questions pop up feel free to send me a PM. And if your a smoker, don’t smoke while dealing with this stuff, or smoke around someone who’s dealing with this stuff. You don’t want to be the guy that has to explain to the range Officer why half of a can went off next to what used to be your Loading kit.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by mikemyers on Thu May 31, 2018 9:56 pm

Tim:H11 wrote:First thing you need to know and understand before you start pouring and packing stuff down inside the barrel or chambers of a gun, is that black powder is an explosive not a propellant. It is utilized as a propellant in firearms but it is an explosive. You need to know the laws pertaining to such an item in your home town and or state as well as take the proper safety percussion’s necessary so you can avoid the loss of life or limb.........
There's a huge amount of information in what you wrote, which I know nothing about.  Nothing.  And what I thought I knew was wrong.

Just one quick question - is it even safe to have a can of black powder in your home?  Following laws and regulations is important, but it's even more important to avoid what I guess would be an  explosion.  I had *no* idea of the differences between black powder and smokeless powder.  

How do you deal with this yourself, in order to be safe?  I've obviously got a lot more questions, but if it isn't "safe" to store black powder in one's condo or apartment, then everything else is irrelevant, I'm not going to do any of it.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Tim:H11 on Thu May 31, 2018 10:33 pm

Yes it’s legal to have a can. At one time I’ve had a case here. 1 can is 1 pound. A case is 25 cans. So for me if my house were to ever catch fire and it was getting out of control or near my powder storage, then it’s time to get out and get back. Keep in mind when I say explosive, it has a fast burn rate but to be violent it needs to be contained or under pressure. If a can was uncapped on a bench and somehow ignited it would make a ton of smoke, peel open the can and blow away with little damage anything near by. Stuff goes boom under pressure. No pressure or containment rather means your pressure levels can’t rise and build. 

How to store it? Cool dry place. An old cooler works good. In the summer when the house gets warm it keeps the temp changes with the AC from affecting it - if it does at all. Just keeps its separated from anything. It can’t go off from a static charge. Myth. They sell it in plastic cans. “Non static plastic cans”??? I don’t know. Another myth maybe ....?  

I handle it like anything else. It needs a hot spark or flame to ignite. Static is no threat in a home or range environment.
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Re: Black Powder & Bullseye ??

Post by Bullseye_Stan on Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:34 am

I think the sensitivity to static charge sparks is overblown as well.  Although, sparks will set off black powder - which is how flintlocks operate.  There is a reason that smokeless powder and pyrodex type powders have a different DOT classification with the most obvious being that black powder is flammable.  I have no serious concerns storing up to 25 lb of black powder: but I would take some extra precautions about where it was stored.  Internet kitchen table 'science' may or may not be accurate.  I think these same folks could 'show' that static charge won't ignite gasoline.

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