Use the fast pistol powders Bullseye, AA#2, WW231, keep a ramrod or cleaning rod handy, start with starting loads in any of the reloading manuals for the weight bullet you are using and work backwards from there to the point you lodge one in the barrel, drive it out with the rod of choice and go up a little on your charge weight to the velocity and noise you want. I don't use any fillers just point rifle up to settle powder at back of case before shooting. The NRA ran some tests years ago with lighter than normal charges of Bullseye and did not get any detonations so that is what I use. Do not use anything but the real fast burners, you will only defeat your purpose anyway. Buy the way, the heavy bullets for caliber are quieter than light ones. Also only use cast bullets no jacketed types.
The 'Dot' powders (red,green,and blue) work well because they are bulky. No fillers are necessary. The reason there is no detonation problems with bullseye is the powder is consumed before the bullet leaves the case. The classic 148wadcutter with 2.8gr bullseye is an example. The powder burn is so fast that it is in realiity a detonation. Seat that wadcutter .25' deeper in the case and the same load puts the pressures in the 80,000psi range. You can research Paco Kelly's article on the dots at www.sixgunner.com/ .
I read with some interest Paco's artical envisioninig a richer life in the suburbs. In all, I found it a dissappointinig adventure. I have tried teh following:
2.5 grains 2400 in 32-20 case with 100 grain midway .314 bullet. Shot out of vintage 1892 26" winchester. When load goes off, imbeds bullet 1/2 way into a solid lead brick from 15 to 20 feet. Certainly hits with more authority than a pellet gun and would be good medicine on a rabbit etc. I'd liken the power to a .36 cal lead ball from a wrist rocket sling shot. It really isn't silent, your neighbors would look over I'd say its about as loud as a CO2 pellet pistol. The problem is the inconsistency of ignition. Some come out hard, others stick in barrel. Add another 1/10 of a grain and it really loudens up.
I have also tried I believe 2 grains of bullseye in a 45-70 case with a touch of toliet paper. I then press in a .452 200 grain 45 acp bullet into the case. Used in my Ruger No. 1 with 22 inch barrel. This is pretty quiet and very powerful I shot it at a rabbit from my upstairs window, I missed the rabbit but it hit my tomato garden raised bed, and completely shot through a 2X6 and a couple inches of dirt. Not very accurate probably due to inconsistent pressure and undersized bullet. Bad news is firing bulleye in bedroom makes a smudge on wifes fancy bed pillows and makes much dirty smoke.
All in all this is fun stuff, but don't kid yourself, it will never replace a quality air rifle for sneaking pest control in town.
To get the most consistent ignition, use the heaviest bullet you can find. Seat them backwards with the base of the bullet flush with the case mouth (minimize powder space). Couldn't hurt to leave the bullets as large as possible, perhaps unsized, unless the end up bulging the case and preventing it from chambering.
On a .45-70 I'd start with about 4 grains of Bullseye and go from there. You will probably stick one in the barrel occasionally.
A smidgen of dacron or similar over the powder might help ignition.
This is pretty much the same procedure I've used for lapping, minus the abrasive, of course.
I get pretty good performance from a .457 RB with a heat-receipt paper wrap and I use 8 gr. unique in my 32" barrelled 45-70. I can hit woodchucks out to 100 yards with it and the heat recepts don't ignite. I did some without the receipt patch and had some bouncing causing little lead skid marks and less accuracy. I have taken them up to 14 gr. Unique. I don't use any filler either and just make sure I lift the barrel some before shooting them. If that's a pain, a fluff of dacron keeps the powder at the bottom. Give em a try, they are a hoot to shoot. I carry 3 or 4 while deer hunting to use in case I'm not seeing deer and want to bag a squirrel or grouse. Oh, I use a lee FCD to crimp the ball in place at just past the hemisphere of the ball.
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