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  #1  
Old 03-08-2010, 06:23 AM
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Adjustable Powder Measure vs. Flask Spout


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For some time now I've been using an adjustable powder measure to load CB Revolvers. A couple of days ago I picked up a replica (Italian) Colt Army/Navy flask that has a 30gr spout on it.

I don't load 30gr so I need to replace the spout, no big deal. What I discovered when I checked the throw on the flask though was this: The 30gr spout throws 35gr consistantly when measured in my adjustable measure. Now I'm wondering, which one is right?

My concern is that one of my family is an 1851 Confederate Navy (brass). I load this thing at 20gr Pyrodex fffg and I don't want to exceed that. Do ALL fixed flask spouts tend to throw over?

I realize that I can cut the spouts down but I'm wondering if I should order a 15gr to throw 20gr.

Joe
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  #2  
Old 03-08-2010, 07:12 AM
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I think you can order a different spout. Or easier order some cheap flasks and custom make one for the revolver.

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  #3  
Old 03-08-2010, 09:00 AM
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Believe major safety consideration with black powder is not loading directly from your powder supply i.e. flask. Reasoning is if there's a ember it would ignite the whole works creating a virtual hand grenade in your hand.
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:57 AM
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Personally I am guilty of loading from the flask in the revolver cylinder. I have a measure that brings powder level to a set place and then basically seals the flask from the measure spout but in reality hailstone is correct. It is dangerous. I also have powder measures made for a pistol. They measure up to fifty grains. Maybe I will start using them.
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  #5  
Old 03-08-2010, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Now I'm wondering, which one is right?
The only way to tell for sure is with a scale and FFg black powder. FFg black powder is the base level for volumetric powder measuring. So your 30 grain volume measure should throw a charge of FFg black powder that weighs 30 grains. If you're using Pyrodex or Triple Seven, that 30 grain volume charge will weigh less than 30 grains because both are less dense than real black powder.

In the long run it's not all that important, so long as you're throwing the same amount of powder each time, and your gun likes the charge you're using.

For example, I have a brass H&A measure that, when set on 100 grains, will actually throw 100 grains weight of FFg GOEX when weighed on my RCBS 10-10 powder scale. But my two TC U-View measures throw a significantly lighter charge than the scale on the measures indicates. When set on 100 grains they throw around 90 grain weight charges of FFg GOEX. So when I say I'm shooting 100 grains of GOEX FFg using my TC measure, I'm really shooting 90 grains (true volume and weight).
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  #6  
Old 03-09-2010, 05:16 AM
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Point Taken

Quote:
Originally Posted by hailstone View Post
Believe major safety consideration with black powder is not loading directly from your powder supply i.e. flask. Reasoning is if there's a ember it would ignite the whole works creating a virtual hand grenade in your hand.

I fully understand your point regarding pouring directly from the flask and I do agree it is not without peril, okay here's the "but".

Generally I'm shooting at least two different pistols. I load both then shoot both. After firing of course I've got to walk down and tape my target or sometimes just see if there is a hole in it somewhere. I then clear all nipples with a pick, set out my wads etc. and begin charging chambers. Typically there is a lag time of anywhere from two to five minutes between firing and charging.

Am I taking an additional risk by loading directly from the flask? You bet! Is it mitigated by the extended time after firing? I believe it is.

The point to my whole question is the lack of apparent standards regarding charge tubes and adjustable measures and hopefully bringing that to the attention of some folks who may not be as anal as I am about specifics.

If you're loading delicate such as a brassy (as I do), it would be a shame to find out too late that your fixed tube was throwing 20% more than it should have and you destroy your prized possession out of ignorance.

Note: Yesterday I ordered 15gr, 20gr & 40gr tubes from Track of the Wolf. When they come in I'll do the same comparison that I did with the 30gr that came on it and post the results.

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  #7  
Old 03-09-2010, 08:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foto Joe View Post
. . . The 30gr spout throws 35gr consistantly when measured in my adjustable measure. Now I'm wondering, which one is right?

. . . Do ALL fixed flask spouts tend to throw over?

. . . I'm wondering if I should order a 15gr to throw 20gr.

Joe
Trust in your powder scale and hopefully you have a set of weights to verify your scale is working properly. You could also verify the charge on a friends' scale or your local gunshops' scale etc. that will tell you whether the spout or adjustable measure is right.

I would NEVER assume all fixed flask spouts tend to throw over.

Assuming a 15 gr. spout will throw 20 gr. is NOT a valid assumption.

Suggest you work with your scale to adjust the spout capacity of any spout. Just my dos centavos, YMMV.

Last edited by Marshal Kane; 03-09-2010 at 11:40 AM.
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  #8  
Old 03-09-2010, 08:57 AM
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Black powder varies in density, by manufacturer and granulation.

Your flask spout (or other metering cavity) has a certain volume. "Cubic inches," "cubic centimeters," etc. "Grains" is not a volume measurement, it is a measurement of weight (mass). The actual weight (mass) is a function of the volume of the cavity, the density of the powder, and possibly some variation for how it packs in.

It would probably be something of a minor miracle, if all the spouts from all the manufacturers, with all the different brands and granulations of powder, all metered out to be the same mass for the marked "30 grains" or whatever.

Don't sweat it.
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  #9  
Old 03-09-2010, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshal Kane View Post
Trust in your powder scale and hopefully you have a set of weights to verify your scale is working properly. You could also verify the charge on a friends' scale or your local gunshops' scale etc. that will tell you whether the spout or adjustable measure is right.

I would NEVER assume all fixed flask spouts tend to throw over.

Assuming a 15 gr. spout will throw 20 gr. is NOT a valid assumption.

Suggest you work with your scale to adjust the spout capacity of any spout. Just my dos centavos, YMMV.
+1 I usually buy spouts oversize. I weigh the charge I want and pour into the spout. Mark where it ends up and cut accordingly.

As stated by others the granulation of the powder will give you a different volume of powder even withthe same weight.
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  #10  
Old 03-09-2010, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by OneEyedJack View Post
The only way to tell for sure is with a scale and FFg black powder. FFg black powder is the base level for volumetric powder measuring. So your 30 grain volume measure should throw a charge of FFg black powder that weighs 30 grains. If you're using Pyrodex or Triple Seven, that 30 grain volume charge will weigh less than 30 grains because both are less dense than real black powder.

In the long run it's not all that important, so long as you're throwing the same amount of powder each time, and your gun likes the charge you're using.

For example, I have a brass H&A measure that, when set on 100 grains, will actually throw 100 grains weight of FFg GOEX when weighed on my RCBS 10-10 powder scale. But my two TC U-View measures throw a significantly lighter charge than the scale on the measures indicates. When set on 100 grains they throw around 90 grain weight charges of FFg GOEX. So when I say I'm shooting 100 grains of GOEX FFg using my TC measure, I'm really shooting 90 grains (true volume and weight).
I have fond that any given charge of black powder (in 2f) measures light compared to the volume in grains. I have tested it against multiple volume measurer's. I think I came up with 64.3? grains of weight as a very consistent average with my powder to a 70 grain volume.
I took the time to do some checking because I have a trapdoor and I don't want to risk anything in that old of a gun, especially when it wasn't a strong design in 1873.
I tend to think that the volume is the more important and at least in cartridge guns a lot of guys have found this to prove out in accuracy testing. A cartridge has a pre defined area that the powder goes into so I know this can have slightly different results in a muzzle loader but given the fact that the powder does weigh less than it measures in grains I think it's better to error on the side of caution in old guns.
Another thing is that since the grain volume is used for different powder granulations and thus different weight equivalents I think that the volume which is the way it was originally loaded is the correct method.
I am far from an expert but thought I would throw my two cents worth into the mix.
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  #11  
Old 03-10-2010, 08:55 AM
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I have fond that any given charge of black powder (in 2f) measures light compared to the volume in grains. I have tested it against multiple volume measures.
That's exactly the problem Sharps. There simply is no standard for volume measures. Get five different measures from five different manufactures and each will throw a different volume of powder. Which one is correct? All of them, and none of them. Remember, all of this "volume equivalent" business is theoretically based on the weight of black powder.

So let's make up a little story.

In the mid-1800's Charlie Wingshooter went to the local gunmaker to pick up his new gun, and bought two pounds of "FF Grade" black powder. He paid $1.60 per pound for that powder because black powder was sold and measured by weight.

So Charlie worked up a load for his new .40 caliber rifle and found a certain amount that shot best in his gun. He took a piece of river cane and cut it off so that it held exactly that amount and tied the measure to his powder horn. Now old Charlie was wondering how many shots he was going to get out of his powder purchase. So the next time he was in town he stopped in at the local apothecary with his powder horn and asked his buddy Abe, the pharmacist, to weigh his charge.

Abe filled Charlie's measure with Charlie's powder, dumped it on the scale and said "it weighs 50.3 grains, but let's try again". The second charge Abe weighed was 49.8 grains, and the third charge was 50.1 grains. So Abe says "Charlie, you've got yourself a 50 grain measure. Now there are 7,000 grains in a pound, so you're going to get about 140 shots per pound of powder". Charlie is happy as a coon in a corncrib, and uses his knife to scratch "50 Gr" on the side of his river cane measure. Is it an accurate and true 50 grain measure? It sure is - for Charlie's powder (because it's based on the actual weight of Charlie's powder, and 50 grains volume = 50 grains weight).

Now let's suppose that last week you bought an old wood chest at an auction and when you got the rusty latch opened at home found it contained a nicely made powder horn with a river cane measure attached to the stiff leather strap. The side of the measure is crudely marked "50 Gr". Out of curiosity you fill it with GOEX FFg and weigh the charge. It weighs 58 grains. Why? Because it's not the same powder the measure was made for. However, the GOEX charge is the "volume equivalent" of Charlie's 50 grain load. You fill the measure with Triple Seven FFG and that load weighs 45 grains, and it too is the volume equivalent of Charlie's 50 grain load. As the manufacturer of that measure, Charlie established the base level for what volume produces a load that weighs 50 grains of the black powder he used as a base level.

Today, as in Charlie's day, there are no standards for "volume equivalent". We are all using approximations based on whatever the manufacturer of the measure thinks is appropriate.
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Last edited by OneEyedJack; 03-10-2010 at 09:11 AM.
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  #12  
Old 03-10-2010, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by OneEyedJack View Post
That's exactly the problem Sharps. There simply is no standard for volume measures. Get five different measures from five different manufactures and each will throw a different volume of powder. Which one is correct? All of them, and none of them. Remember, all of this "volume equivalent" business is theoretically based on the weight of black powder.

So let's make up a little story.

In the mid-1800's Charlie Wingshooter went to the local gunmaker to pick up his new gun, and bought two pounds of "FF Grade" black powder. He paid $1.60 per pound for that powder because black powder was sold and measured by weight.

So Charlie worked up a load for his new .40 caliber rifle and found a certain amount that shot best in his gun. He took a piece of river cane and cut it off so that it held exactly that amount and tied the measure to his powder horn. Now old Charlie was wondering how many shots he was going to get out of his powder purchase. So the next time he was in town he stopped in at the local apothecary with his powder horn and asked his buddy Abe, the pharmacist, to weigh his charge.

Abe filled Charlie's measure with Charlie's powder, dumped it on the scale and said "it weighs 50.3 grains, but let's try again". The second charge Abe weighed was 49.8 grains, and the third charge was 50.1 grains. So Abe says "Charlie, you've got yourself a 50 grain measure. Now there are 7,000 grains in a pound, so you're going to get about 140 shots per pound of powder". Charlie is happy as a coon in a corncrib, and uses his knife to scratch "50 Gr" on the side of his river cane measure. Is it an accurate and true 50 grain measure? It sure is - for Charlie's powder (because it's based on the actual weight of Charlie's powder, and 50 grains volume = 50 grains weight).

Now let's suppose that last week you bought an old wood chest at an auction and when you got the rusty latch opened at home found it contained a nicely made powder horn with a river cane measure attached to the stiff leather strap. The side of the measure is crudely marked "50 Gr". Out of curiosity you fill it with GOEX FFg and weigh the charge. It weighs 58 grains. Why? Because it's not the same powder the measure was made for. However, the GOEX charge is the "volume equivalent" of Charlie's 50 grain load. You fill the measure with Triple Seven FFG and that load weighs 45 grains, and it too is the volume equivalent of Charlie's 50 grain load. As the manufacturer of that measure, Charlie established the base level for what volume produces a load that weighs 50 grains of the black powder he used as a base level.

Today, as in Charlie's day, there are no standards for "volume equivalent". We are all using approximations based on whatever the manufacturer of the measure thinks is appropriate.


Excellent analogy. I used to weigh powder out to 1/10th of a grain, until I attended a benchrest match and found NO ONE weighed their powder at all. They measured by volume and spoke in micrometer readings of their measures. Yes I still feel weight is important as a starting point.
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