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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A friend has an Enfield snider conversion in .577 that has been handed down from his Grandfather. We found dies from lee, bullets and new brass (formed from 24 Ga brass shotshells. What I need is some advise on loading pyrodex. We want to be very conservative when firing the 490 grain lead mini balls.

Anyone got advise on loading this caliber with pyrodex?
 

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I wouldn't load it with Pyrodex. Period. go with 2F Black Powder, it's easier to clean up, and you wouldn't have to worry about pressure differences, etc. Just make sure the powder touches the bullet(no air space) if you want less powder, use wads or cornmeal to fill the space.
Good Luck
 

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.577 Snider

As the rifle is possibly upwards of 140 years old I would advise on getting a professional gunsmith to check it out before you load up. I also would rather stick to black powder than use Pyrodex..
 

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I've used XMP-5744 and Lee Tumble-lubed .58 cal bullets for quite a while. I've stopped using cornmeal as it was stretching the fool out of my HDS brass. My vote is Pyrodex RS with Dacron filler or foam to take up all air space in the chamber. You'll know you're on the right track if you get 3" groups @50yds with the issue sights. I consider this MUCH better than the British standard for this arm, i.e., one MIF (Minute of Indiginous Forces]. FWIW....
 

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As the rifle is possibly upwards of 140 years old I would advise on getting a professional gunsmith to check it out before you load up. I also would rather stick to black powder than use Pyrodex..
Re-read that about a 'smith check.... Then get TWO or THREE opinions....

I use Pyrodex in my .58 Zouave as well as my Snider MkIIIs and Seargent's Rifle. My main load, however, uses XMP-5744 and a Lee Target Minie for 3" @50yds with original sights on a good day. This is much better than the British standard of one M.I.F. for this arm [1 M.I.F. = one Minute of Indigenous Forces].

Start with 60grs Pyrodex RS and Dacron or foam filler to take up all of the airspace in the case. If your primers look happy you can increase the load, but DO NOT go all the way to "crazy loads" in the 110gr - 140gr range. I have and I do NOT recommend it!!!

I have stopped the use of cornmeal filler, as it was stretching the fool out of my HDS brass. When you resize the brass you'll see this is actually a slightly necked round. I think the (heavy) cornmeal is hitting this shoulder and forcing the case to stretch - and trimming this is a pain! Graeham mentions the same thing in "Shooting the British Double Rifle" - another good general resource for loading old blackpowder cartriges....

Now if you've read this far - re-read that about a 'smith check.... Then get TWO or THREE opinions....

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks guys....

I had the rifle checked out. The rifle is pristine and in excellent near new condition. It is a family rifle that was a prize from competitive shooting. The rifle was fired last month for the first time in over 100 years. It was very impressive. We are doing load adjustments now but we are at 60 grains (by bulk) of RS with a dacron filler over the top of the charge twist tamped using a hardwood dowel and topped off by a .58 caliber wool wad. The soft lead lubricated bullet is seated to the first groove with a very slight taper crimp. I am using Winchester magnum primers. The rifle is a joy to shoot and the owner has been wearing out a man sized CQB target at 100 and 200 yards using the as issued sights. He is shooting without a sling and is seeking a reproduction. Thanks so very much for the help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Final load....577 Snider Enfield conversion

60 grains (bulk) of RS with a pinch of filler over the charge, tamped, and a wool wad under the lubricated bullet seated to an OAL of 2.45. The brass cases are very soft so I found that it was not necessary or desirable to flare the case. I used a combination of beeswax and crisco to lube the bullets and had a local machinist make a sizing and lubrication die to fit an RCBS Rockchucker with the insert removed. The rifle is very accurate with this load and consistent with average MV of 1.300 fps. The spread was only 55 fps.

We dropped the brass into a plastic bottle with water and a cap full of liquid dishwasher soap. When we got back we put a measuring cup of white vinegar in the bottle and swished it for five minutes then rinsed with fresh water. They were tumbled in corn media before resizing and reloading.

NOTE: This load data is appropriate for this rifle only and may not be safe in other rifles of this type and age depending upon their condition. We encountered no brass growth or pressure signs and the breach opened easily after each shot.
 
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