30 December 2022
Apologize for the possible confusion in my saying “I’m not sure on one detail. With black powder, the poly or veggie wad is compressed onto the top of the powder column.” That was not a well expressed statement. That was a lead-in to migrate to the foam wad/smokeless powder subject. I am sure about the wad and black powder relationship. I’ve been shooting black powder in my rifle since 2009 or 14-years and that’s the only way my loads have been assembled.
There is another forum that I frequent called the Shiloh Rifle forum. (I’ve seen Arnie posting there at times.) I joined it in 2008, shortly before I purchased a CSA Model 74. My intent then and still is to shoot only black powder in that rifle. I could have missed it but there has never been a thread or post, suggesting that the relationship between the bullet base and wad/powder column is anything but the wad resting or compacted onto the top of the powder column. There have been MANY comments about how an air gap between the top of the compressed powder/wad and bullet base must be avoided. There are a few shooters on the forum who shoot smokeless or substitute black powder powder, but my reading says the vast majority shoot black powder. In most cases the wad is either poly or veggie material, with thickness being 0.030” or 0.060”. All much stiffer than the foam material used in smokeless loads.
The case is not full with powder to the top of the case. Some shooters start out with the dumped powder being flush with the case top. But then the powder is compressed with a special compression die, the wad is pushed onto the top of the compressed powder column and then the base of the bullet is pushed into place, resting on the top of the wad. There is no air gap anywhere in the assembled load.
After responding to this post, I called a local shooter/friend who I’ve seen @ our matches shooting a PBB smokeless load and breech seating. He has used both the foam or thinner veggie material. I asked him about the powder and wad positioning relationship. He repeated the black powder “rule” above and for smokeless powder, he said to just start the wad into the case mouth, DO NOT push the wad down onto the top of the powder column.
So, not to start an argument but I’ve had good coaching on the use of black powder and wads and that’s the way I’ll keep doing it. But someday I may try breech shooting with smokeless powder @ our matches, so the foam wad material here caught my attention.