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A friend has several French revolvers marked 1873 St.Entienne..they were orginally a 11 mm.With a very small amount of boreing, He has bored them out to 45 cal.He has slugged the barrel to confirm the cal.
Problem is they were orginally black powder. What smokless
powder will approximate the pressures of a 45 cal 45 cal.
What powder to use and source of supply?
 

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Lots of people here have more experience than I, but, if it was made for blackpowder, stay with black powder or the new Clean Shot or Pyrodex or some of the other "new" black powder replacements. None of these are smokeless.
 

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These guns would have been made when heat treating of steel was non-existent. Load smokeless in them, there is a high likelyhood you will be picking pieces of them out of your anatomy. If you shoot these pieces at all stick to black powder!
Mark
 

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I firmly agree with the posts above, if you use anything but black in them you are begging for trouble, it's not that it may burst the cylinder, it will, and harming all those around, those old guns made back then, particularly those made in europe, were made more of iron than steel.
I'm forever telling people that "black is an explosive, modern is a propellant" its like putting nitro in your car, if it's old it will blow to bits. besides what's wrong with black powder anyway? Paladin
 

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Have only looked at a couple of 11mm French revolvers, never fired one. Have worked with a 10.4Italian and a couple of .450 BullDog types...on a guess, the French was actually better finished, but don't believe it would be any stronger. Won't say a smokless load couldn't be made to work, but will say that it's not going to be easy to stay within acceptable pressure. Personally, I'd stay with black or RS Pyrodex.

Fiocchi still loads the 10.4 and the .450, and perhaps a lesson from them would help. Both are smokless loads...the powder isn't a match for anything seen commercially. The bullets are made with minimal bearing area, are smaller in diameter than the bore of the examples I've measured (and yes...they shoot pretty poorly), and are light for their caliber. Those are "tricks" to keep pressure low.

If you "just gotta" then keep the above in mind: small diameter, short bearing area, low weight help keep presure down (also keeps smokeless from bruning worth a rat's rump, but that's the idea). The above pretty well describes a round ball; a good place to start with BP as well.
 

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If he had kept in 11mm French, you can cut 44 Russian, 44 Special or 44 Magnum cases down to .710 inches and load a 180 grain lead 44 bullets over 3 grains of Bullseye. David
 

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To my knowledge, there is only one muzzle loader than can safely handle smokeless - a modern Savage inline. I would not even dream of using smokeless in any other firearm, especially an older model of questionable strength.
 

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A friend has several French revolvers marked 1873 St.Entienne..they were orginally a 11 mm.With a very small amount of boreing, He has bored them out to 45 cal.He has slugged the barrel to confirm the cal.
Problem is they were orginally black powder. What smokless
powder will approximate the pressures of a 45 cal 45 cal.
What powder to use and source of supply?
Your friend has simply destroyed a valuable collectible revolver, I hope not "several" of them. To which .45 caliber cartridge has he rechambered them? The original cartridge used a very light weight (180 grain) pointed bullet at about 700 fps. The cartridge length was about like a .45 ACP but obviously loaded with black powder the ballistics were rather anemic, nothing like the black powder .45 Colt. With light bullets, 200 grains or less, and 20 grains or less of black powder it "MAY" be safe to fire. Don't even think about smokeless.
 

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I shoot the 3.0 grains of Bullseye with a 180 grain bullet. There is no pressure to speak of.

Granted that it was originally a black powder cartridge but when smokeless powder arrived the French did load the cartridge with smokeless.

Since there isn't enough pressure with 3.0 grains to even expand the case, I may try 3.1 and then 3.2.

A great gun to shoot, very fun, slow bullet lots of noise and no recoil.
After reading another article on reloading for this caliber, the person was using cases formed from 44-40, 220 grain 45 rnl bullets over 5.0 grains of Unique, I deceided to try .455 Webley cases. They fit the chamber like they were made for it and I also shoot .455 Webley. I had to trim the rim diameter to .508, otherwise the cases stck after being fired. I settled on a 220 grain 45 rnl bullet over 3;0 grains of Bullseye and it is a great combination. The 44 bullets are under sized for the bore and the 44 cases were very sooty. No more sooty cases and the .455 Webley cases fall out, after the rim has been trimmed.
David
 

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Blackhorn 209

May want to try Blackhorn 209 - a nitro-cellulose based, non-corrosive, black powder substitute. A form of "Bulk Smokeless" powder if you want to call it that.
 

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To my knowledge, there is only one muzzle loader than can safely handle smokeless - a modern Savage inline. I would not even dream of using smokeless in any other firearm, especially an older model of questionable strength.
They make a number of different conversion cylinders for cap and ball revolvers to switch from cap and ball to cartridges including smokeless powder. Granted, all are low pressure cartridges, but they indeed do shoot smokeless powder rounds.

That being said, these arent bored out original cylinders but modern made steel with appropriate heat treating. Because he's playing with bored out original cylinders, Id stick with BP or BP substitutes and avoid smokeless. Can you say hand grenade? Sure you can.
 

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MMichealAK
Yes they do I had one for my Ruger Old Army! Now the Old Army is made differently from the other Repro's! It is a stand alone way stronger then any other Repro's! It's made from the same steal they used in all the other Ruger Center fires! But even with that the R&R cylinder said to use nothing but Cowboy loads for the Ruger! Nothing over 13,000 PSI which is equal to the BP loads!
 

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MMichealAK
Yes they do I had one for my Ruger Old Army! Now the Old Army is made differently from the other Repro's! It is a stand alone way stronger then any other Repro's! It's made from the same steal they used in all the other Ruger Center fires! But even with that the R&R cylinder said to use nothing but Cowboy loads for the Ruger! Nothing over 13,000 PSI which is equal to the BP loads!
Yep.

Its funny but what people dont get is that the original BP .45 Colt load was a 250 or 255 grain lead round nose bullet over 40 grains (not by weight like smokeless grains) of Black Powder in the old balloon head cases. And many users said that was too much recoil to handle so they reduced it to 35 grains of BP in the old cases. Cases now have less capacity because they are solid headed and have thicker walls but still pressures for "cowboy ammo" run 14,000 PSI as established by ammo manufacturers *pressures from Ken Waters Pet Loads article*. Between the old Black Powder Frame Colts, the other early Colts (1st Gen.), then the Second Generation Colts, the Rugers, FAs, and Italian replicas, there are varying levels of stoutness of revolvers and loading should be done in view of that. The different conversion cylinders all say Cowboy Loads Only for them.

Ive chronoed Rem, Win, Ultramax, Black Hills and a couple others and their 250-255 grain loads all run just under 800 fps in my 4 5/8th inch Black hawk and run almost 850 in my 5 1/2 inch barreled Bisley Vaquero and Redhawk. This is more than enough power to get most any job done and shoots plenty accurate in the ROA with an R&D conversion cylinder in it so that is where I run my handloads for that level. I make VERY SURE not to get my Ruger Only loads anywhere near those cylinders.

They may survive but be unusable afterwards. And Im not willing to risk me or those guns.
 

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The 11mm French cartridge does not compare to the .45 Colt, the case is only a bit over half as long plus smaller diameter. It was loaded with a 180 grain bullet at 695 fps, about 1/3 of the power of a .45 Colt. Like several other short big bore cartridges it used a pointed bullet to aid penetration which would detract from stopping power.
The original post said "he has bored it out to .45 caliber" and I'm still wondering "what .45 caliber cartridge"?
Mike Venturino loaded the .45 Colt with 35 grains of Goex 3f powder and got the 250 grain bullet to an average of 973 fps from a 7 1/2" barrel. No doubt the original 40 grain load would top 1,000 fps. Elmer Keith, after blowing up a couple of Colts, concluded that no smokeless powder load safe to fire in the Colt revolver could match the ballistics of the Remington Blackpowder factory load.
 

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CoyoteJoe, I wonder if he's got those bored out for something that would be like a .455 Webley? IIRC the ballistics you mention sound pretty similar.
 

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Who knows? He only said "bored out to .45 caliber". It's pretty hard to recommend loads without knowing the cartridge.
 

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Black Powder 22 Cal. cartridges

Since there are no Black Powder 22 Cal. cartridges, is it OK to shoot a CB Short through an

H & R First model third Variation Premier 22 cal revolver ?? Are the pressures close to the same as black powder. revolver is in excellent condition. Any help would be appreciated!!
 

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In my younger/dumber days I fired a smokeless load in a Collectable Colt and ruined it! To answer your quiestion though: A few people are using triple777 from Hodgdon, but I haven't gotten that brave yet.
 

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swifty,

As a serious gun collector and historian, I am saddened your friend destroyed a few "old French M1873 11MM revolvers by reboring them to .45 caliber." These revolvers are 140 years old and really NOT suitable to refit for smokeless powder that, even for the French, did not occur until 1886!

I think the ONLY SAFE way to shoot the rebored revolvers is with Black Powder, or substitutes, per the manufacturer's recommendations. Smokeless powder was unheard of in 1873!!!! Perhaps your friend should have sold the M1873 pistols, unaltered, and bought a Ruger Old Army and shot it a lot.

Webley
 
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