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Discussion Starter #1
Prior to losing this thread I was discussing ignition problems in my CVA St Louis Hawken 50 cal, using #11 caps, .490 RB, and 90 gr (equiv) of Pyrodex RS. After a lot of fooling around with the folks at BPI I finally ended up with a musket cap nipple and matching hammer. I was able to test this new setup earlier this week. I'm happy to say that I had not a single misfire or hangfire during 12 shots fired. Ignition was as quick as I could have asked for but now another unexpected problem has raised its head - accuracy. I would never have expected accuracy to fall off since ignition appears to be so much ore reliable. At 60 yd I was having a hard time getting my shots to stay within a 10 inch circle. I had shots go high, left, and right by about 5 inches, as well as a couple of bulls and other decent hits. I was using my normal sawhorse/sandbag setup and was paying close attention to shot-to-shot sight placement. I did not experiment with charges at all which may have helped some. The lot of Pyrodex I used was new last year. The musket caps were of new manufacture.

Anyone got ideas? I think I'm going to try changing the charge volume some in each direction, as well as switching to true black. The season starts in 4 weeks and it would be nice to get this straight soon.
 

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Wish I had an easy answer for you! Last fall, before Idaho's late ML elk season, I was working feverishly with a T/C Greyhawk that had ignition reliability issues. Went the same route you did for reliability, and installed musket nipple and used RWS musket caps to light her off. Did wonders for ignition, as it was 100% even in the most humid, wet conditions. However, I also lost my accuracy. Loads that typically shot 3" or under at 100 yards went to 8" at 50 yards! Tried FFg and FFFg powder by both Goex and Elephant, did the Pyrodex thing, as well as an old stash of Black Canyon powder. Didn't cure the issue, and tried using CCI musket caps as well. No change.

Went back to a flamethrower nipple, that I drilled out slightly, and RWS #11's, and the accuracy came right back, but then too the igniiton problems returned. Came down to having to remove the nipple after every loading, and prime under the nipple with a few grains of FFFg for reliable lighting.

Sorry, I don't have an answer for you. If you find the cure, please be sure to let us know.

God Bless,
 

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Good news...bad news...didn't expect accuracy to go to pot, but guess being over ignited is the problem. Won't hurt to re-work the load. How much powder compression do you try for when loading? May be worth a try to increase that factor.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I've been trying to figure out what could be causing this. We've all seen cases of changing primers that also changes accuracy in cartridge loading, so the answer may be as mystical as that one. But assuming it has nothing do with the phase of the moon, there may be some likely candidates.

By over igniting I guess you're talking about changing the powder burn rate. Adjusting compression may help but you'd think that changing the granulation would too. But then going to Fg probably isn't reasonable. When I load, the ball gets pushed down by hand until firmly seated, and then I drop the ramrod on the ball until it bounces "good". That usually takes 6 strokes (I counted). I've used this technique since the beginning, heeding the words about leaving air space between the ball and powder charge. Of course this could be distorting the ball somewhat, like I said, this step isn't new.

It seems that burn rate and pressure curve could be adjusted somewhat by changing propellants. Marshall says that going to black (various brands and granulations) didn't help, at least in his case (at this point I'm making the assumption that we have the same issue). Maybe trying something like 777 might be worthwhile.

Could the increased concussion be causing the powder charge (and ball) to move forward some prior to complete ignition? Maybe increasing ball/patch diameter, with corresponding charge reduction, would eliminate that. Current ball diameter is .490 and patches are .015 thickness. I've seen patches at .020 so that would be easy to try. And balls come in different diameters too.

I don't have access to different propellants, balls, or patches today so I'm planning to try fiddling with charge volume some this afternoon. Will also try the #11 nipple with priming just to make sure there's not something else going on with the rifle itself.

Having found A solution to the ignition problem makes me not want to give up too easily on accuracy. Especially since it took over 3 weeks to get the right parts together for the musket nipple. I want my cake and to eat it too!

This just goes to show you, if it's not one thing it's something else...
 

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I've got the solution to all this!!!!

We all go out and buy new flintlocks and forget percussion ignition entirely! :D

Bye all, keep us posted.

God Bless
 

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Tend to seat with about 25 pounds of pressure...didn't mean to use that amount, but it seems to be the amount I get when sheating (tight). All I did was set the rifle on a bathroom scale, read the weight, and then seat a ball to my normal amount and take a reading of the pressure applied. Just a number, it doesn't mean it's right, just that amount feels right to me and I can repeate it time after time..less pressure or more and I find inconsistant readings.

My normal loading procedute is to cant the rifle a bit to the nipple side when loading...thump the but a tiny bit to settle..then ram the patched ball home (with the above 25pounds...give or take..of pressure). Maybe the "lean" to the nipple side helps trickle a little bit into the fash's path, maybe I'm just lucky, but this is my normal loading procedure.
 

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Hi, Gent:
I'm just wondering if the musket caps are whacking the ball hard enough to make it strip the rifling even before the powder lights? Are the patches getting cut with the musket caps, but not the #11s? If you're using pure lead balls, have you tried some cast from wheelweights or a lead-tin mix? I'll let Marshall figure out the ideal mix. :)

I'm sticking to flint.

Bye
Jack
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Eureka!!! Flint! Every once in a while someone advances a simple idea that changes humanity forever. :)

So I went out and ran my experiment this afternoon. I was intending to fire 10 rounds each with 90 gr Pyrodex with each nipple and document the results. My usual spot was occupied by campers so ended up going elsewhere. This time the range was about 80 yd (paced off). I fired 5 with the musket nipple and then 5 with the #11 nipple. First group of five with the musket nipple went about 12". First group of five with the other nipple went about 5". Suddenly I noticed something...what's this? The rail that holds the ramrod thimbles was rattling. So I tightened the screws and reran the test. This time the musket nipple sent 4 shots into about 5". The 5th one was lost somewhere. The #11 nipple made a group of 3 about 12" in diameter. Two of this last group were lost. Duh!!! Not what I expected to see.

Of extreme interest to me what that only one shot with the #11 nipple had any ignition problem at all, and it was a slight hangfire. So what was different? I ran a patch down the barrel and vigorously pumped air through the nipple between every shot.. I wasn't intending to perturb the experiment this way but was getting tired of the black ring around my mouth from blowing down the barrel every time. I also have an extreme aversion to putting my mouth over the muzzle of a gun...any gun! So perhaps now I have a workaround for the original problems I was having, discovered quite by accident.

But yet another difference. The original nipple I was having problems with ended up out in the yard when I accidentally threw it out with the cleaning water after a previous outing. During my rounds with BPI trying to get the musket nipple thing working they had accidentally sent me a #11 nipple instead of what I'd ordered. So that was the nipple I was using today.

Now, here is some data that I found most interesting of all. I took my chrony this time hoping to find something velocity-wise that could explain accuracy problems. Here's what I got for all 20 shots, in the order they were fired:

1763 1899 1873 1895 1910 1889 1882 1913 1905 1850 1932 1921 1896 1905 1927 1883 1921 1950 1873 1904

As a general trend you can see the velocity going up slightly throughout the progression. There are exceptions but mostly thats the trend. My conclusion is that this was due to the barrel getting progressively dirtier and the pressures increasing correspondingly. Whether this is true or not isn't the relevant piece of information I discovered. Guess which one of these is the most important in a hunt? This points out to me that from now on when shooting a muzzleloader for groups, the one to pay the most attention to is the first group of ONE. It's not likely to matter that the 20th one went 1904 fps or that it cut the bullseye dead center!

Sorry for being so long winded but all in all I had fun today and wanted to pass on what I'd learned. Bottom line is that between now and the season I'll be looking most closely at one shot...the first one. Whether to stick with the musket nipple or not remains to be seen.

Incidentally, not having fired the ML over a chrony before I don't know if these velocities are reasonable or not. What has been you guy's experience?
 

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Bp

I would suspect that if you would go to real BP you would get a lot better consistency and reliability. I have had a lot of problems with substitutes that I never had with BP and I am talking 40 years experience. I live so close to a swamp I get gators in the yard, and everything is damp all the time. Pyrodex has always given me reliability problems. If I hunt all day with it, I will pull the load and reload at lunch. I just don't trust it.
bartmasterson said:
Eureka!!! Flint! Every once in a while someone advances a simple idea that changes humanity forever. :)

So I went out and ran my experiment this afternoon. I was intending to fire 10 rounds each with 90 gr Pyrodex with each nipple and document the results. My usual spot was occupied by campers so ended up going elsewhere. This time the range was about 80 yd (paced off). I fired 5 with the musket nipple and then 5 with the #11 nipple. First group of five with the musket nipple went about 12". First group of five with the other nipple went about 5". Suddenly I noticed something...what's this? The rail that holds the ramrod thimbles was rattling. So I tightened the screws and reran the test. This time the musket nipple sent 4 shots into about 5". The 5th one was lost somewhere. The #11 nipple made a group of 3 about 12" in diameter. Two of this last group were lost. Duh!!! Not what I expected to see.

Of extreme interest to me what that only one shot with the #11 nipple had any ignition problem at all, and it was a slight hangfire. So what was different? I ran a patch down the barrel and vigorously pumped air through the nipple between every shot.. I wasn't intending to perturb the experiment this way but was getting tired of the black ring around my mouth from blowing down the barrel every time. I also have an extreme aversion to putting my mouth over the muzzle of a gun...any gun! So perhaps now I have a workaround for the original problems I was having, discovered quite by accident.

But yet another difference. The original nipple I was having problems with ended up out in the yard when I accidentally threw it out with the cleaning water after a previous outing. During my rounds with BPI trying to get the musket nipple thing working they had accidentally sent me a #11 nipple instead of what I'd ordered. So that was the nipple I was using today.

Now, here is some data that I found most interesting of all. I took my chrony this time hoping to find something velocity-wise that could explain accuracy problems. Here's what I got for all 20 shots, in the order they were fired:

1763 1899 1873 1895 1910 1889 1882 1913 1905 1850 1932 1921 1896 1905 1927 1883 1921 1950 1873 1904

As a general trend you can see the velocity going up slightly throughout the progression. There are exceptions but mostly thats the trend. My conclusion is that this was due to the barrel getting progressively dirtier and the pressures increasing correspondingly. Whether this is true or not isn't the relevant piece of information I discovered. Guess which one of these is the most important in a hunt? This points out to me that from now on when shooting a muzzleloader for groups, the one to pay the most attention to is the first group of ONE. It's not likely to matter that the 20th one went 1904 fps or that it cut the bullseye dead center!

Sorry for being so long winded but all in all I had fun today and wanted to pass on what I'd learned. Bottom line is that between now and the season I'll be looking most closely at one shot...the first one. Whether to stick with the musket nipple or not remains to be seen.

Incidentally, not having fired the ML over a chrony before I don't know if these velocities are reasonable or not. What has been you guy's experience?
 

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Will agree to a point. Was a time when i'd use nothing but BP but finding/shipping BP has become more an more of a problem. Blame the changes in shipping regulations or the in-line shooters demand for peletized substitutes (and some shop owner's in ability to figure out the difference).

Whatever the reasons, find myslef shooting more Pyrodex (and Triple seven), but I don't use it in muzzle loading rifles if I can help it. DO findpyrodex to be a help in muzzle loading shotguns.

Smooth bore fouling seems worse than rifled barrel fouling. Could be that already inefficent BP is made more so by the large volumes and low pressure or it could be that fiber and hardboard wads scrape so much of the fouling ahead of themselves that they jam up fouling; just find that the fouling problem in a shotgun is worse than in a rifle.

Pyrodex seems to work a bit better in 12 and 10ga....it's the only guns I shoot it by preference.
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BTW: Tripple seven is HOT in a volume to volume comparison to BP. Haven''t had any trouble in 36-54cal rifles if the load is adjusted a bit downward but it is NOT TO BE USED IN SHOTGUNS unless much reduced.

Is great in cap-and-ball pistols..which may be the most filthy shooting guns ever made.
 

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BART,

Maybe you do this already, but if not give it a try.

When you drop the charge, and before ramming the ball, hold the gun verticle and slap the snail side of the stock smartly a coupleof times with the flat of your hand. This tends to move powder into the flash channel and closer to the nipple and thus reduce the problems with mis-fires. This accomplishes the same thing as removing the nipple and putting a priming charge under it without the work and wear on the threads.
 

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Bart - Use Black Powder; Wipe between shots; get one of those spring loaded things that fits over the end of the ramrod and lets you know when you've compressed to 40 lbs. pressure. good luck.
 

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Mainer i thought i was about the only one using one of them spring compressen gauges.They do help to get a consistant seat of the ball on the powder.
Consistantancy,that is what it is all about with any smoke pole.Heck i even weigh my balls to with in .5 grain of each other.
The problem here is confusing,pyrodex can go south in humid conditions,but that wouldnt explain the difference when changing nipples.
Cleaning in between shots has to do with good accuracy too,but theres the nipple thing.
Fouling would cause the ball to hit higher on the target but not super bad groups.
Blown patches can cause terrible accuracy but why would they blow by just changing nipples?
Pyrodex does have a much higher ignition point than real black powder,but so does tripple seven.
I bought a old cva hawkens on a whim once,sould have checked the barrel for it was a pitted rust bucket down deep in the bore,any way it would go off with goex every shot and tripple seven with no delays,just tore the **** out of the patches and werent very accurate at all.some day i got to get a new barrel for that thing.
i have a lyman gpr and was shooting goex but decided to try the tripple seven in it,had to reduce the load a tad bit from 80gr to 60 but it is a little more accurate and has more kick than before.dont smell the same though:>
I think the best thing to do is use the 11 caps and give it a couple of light slaps down by the lock area right after dumping in the powder before starting the ball.
If that dont work get some different powder besides pyrodex.No 11 caps sould work with no problems.
 
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