Pyrodex Pellets in Metallic Cartridges

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  • Last Post 04 October 2023
Aaron posted this 12 May 2023

I have just sent in an article submission to TFS regarding the use of Pyrodex Pellets in metallic cartridges. At the end of the article is an invite to participate in this Forum Topic so we can discuss their use (or not). The article will deal directly with a now controversial topic regarding Black Powder (or Pyrodex) and airspace.

Prior to the article publication, I wonder how many of you use Pyrodex Pellets in metallic cartridges. Please weigh in if you do, or wish to do so. I for one, use them in the 45 Colt and 44 WCF cartridges.

 

With rifle in hand, I confidently go forth into the darkness.

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Clod Hopper posted this 13 May 2023

Interesting.  I infer that this is a way to avoid handling Black Powder and measuring.  Why is this controversial?  I cannot see how it would be dangerous, but I know little about BP substitutes.  Ii sold my last BP firearms yesterday.  I am too old to clean them anymore.

Dale M. Lock

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Aaron posted this 13 May 2023

Dale, your inference is in error sir. The controversial topic is regarding airspace. I shoot Black Powder and Pyrodex in both loose and pellet form. The article will address the matter fully. For now, I am trying to determine how many of us load Pyrodex Pellets in their metallic cartridges in the past or do now.

Sold your smoke-pole? What? You are never too old to look like you climbed out of a coal mine! Besides, the grandkids can be roped into a cleaning session. foot-in-mouth

 

 

With rifle in hand, I confidently go forth into the darkness.

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Clod Hopper posted this 13 May 2023

Isn't there air space in a rifle using these pellets?

Dale M. Lock

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Aaron posted this 13 May 2023

I encourage you to look forward to the full article in a future TFS.

 

With rifle in hand, I confidently go forth into the darkness.

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Aaron posted this 25 September 2023

Hopefully the FS article will generate some thoughts!

 

With rifle in hand, I confidently go forth into the darkness.

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alphabrass posted this 25 September 2023

I have read the article.  Interesting questions.  I have no experience with pellets.  My thought is that the amount of airspace might be a factor.  There is some airspace when a pellet is used in a ML rifle, not much though.

 Edit: To clarify my thought: The difference between the airspace in a case versus the airspace in a barrel with a ball/bullet stuck halfway down.

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RicinYakima posted this 26 September 2023

Just received my FS today, so will read it soon. 

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hporter posted this 26 September 2023

I enjoyed watching the video linked in the article.  In fact, I've watched quite a few of his video's in the past few days. Entertaining fellow.

Thank you for the article and the link.

I've read all the same warnings all my life.  When I bought my replica 1859 Sharps carbine, I thought it strange how much air space there was in the chamber, especially using the Charlie Hahn cardboard tubes to hold the powder.  But it has never caused any issues, though I suppose with all the leakage at the breechblock, it has a built in pressure relief valve.  Ha ha.

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RicinYakima posted this 27 September 2023

Just received my Fouling Shot today.

The chemistry between Pyrodex and Black Powder is miles apart. Black powder is nothing like Pyrodex. Your instincts are correct. No air space for black, and do what ever with Pyrodex.

 

 

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Bryan Austin posted this 27 September 2023

Aaron, thanks for the article.
I think we all have herd such "myths/facts" over our lifetime about one thing or another and adhere to them the best we can.....until one day they are either proven true or false...or even plausible (I miss that show).

I wish I had the pressure trace to test some of those loads in the 44-40. Larry might can try some out in some other cartridge on his equipment and see if there are pressure issues that could lead us in one direction or the other.

Also, thanks for the 44-40 pellet load from Pyrodex. 943fps is good!


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Aaron posted this 27 September 2023

I wish I had the pressure trace to test some of those loads in the 44-40. Larry might can try some out in some other cartridge on his equipment and see if there are pressure issues that could lead us in one direction or the other.

Also, thanks for the 44-40 pellet load from Pyrodex. 943fps is good!


That would be very interesting to see the pressure curve and the Pmax with the use of the pellets in both the 44-40 and the 45 Colt. While I have not put these over the chrono yet, I can state with certainty they are "crisper" than the BP loads. I have been loading these pellets in both calibers for over a year now and can say with certainty it is a lot easier than with black. I just drop a pellet into the case and seat the bullet.

That Pyrodex data is on the Hodgdon site, but man I had to dig for it. They have a lot of good information there worthy of the archives but it is, as I said, buried and well hidden. I believe their reference to Pyrodex and airspace is for the powder form, not the pellet form. Unless they would be willing to talk about it with a lay person, we may never know. Industry secrets are tough to crack and get a reason why something does what it does - or not.

I have had no issues whatsoever with the Pyrodex pellets in pistol cases, specifically the 44-40 and the 45 Colt. No misfires, no hang-fires, no squibs, nothing bad at all. Am using standard primers to light them off. Have fired both the 44-40 and the 45 Colt in rifles as well. No issues. I am deathly afraid to try a single pellet in the 45-70 however. There is no feedback from the BP community about this and I do not wish to be the first to report any possible problems with it even though intellectually, I know it should work since Hodgdon has published data stating so.

 The cost of the pellets may be a drawback for a lot of folks, but having boxes of pellets on-hand, I decided to give it a try. They sure make the C&B revolvers easier to load. After just looking online to see the costs, my first observation was that BP prices have just gone up SIGNIFICANTLY since I last purchased some. Previously it was $19/lb, it is now $25/lb. So....it is $0.11 a shot with BP and $0.26 a shot with Pyrodex pellets. A little over double the cost. Truthfully, I don't know if the convenience of the pellets is worth twice the price. Perhaps if you load 50 cartridges a year and use the rest in C&B revolvers, it may make sense. When we are cranking off several hundred for a shooting match, it makes no economical or practical sense to me.

 

 

With rifle in hand, I confidently go forth into the darkness.

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Tom Acheson posted this 29 September 2023

I do not fool around with Pyrodex in any form. So no comment on that propellant. 

However, I do use quite a bit of black powder. This started in 2009. Prior to that I succumbed to the common belief that you needed to take the rifle into the bath tub with you to clean it….BS! Glad someone set me straight!

The very first thing I was cautioned about was to avoid any air space between the base of the bullet and the top of the powder column. While some here might try to claim that is a bogus “rule”, like quite a few other “unproven rules” that cast bullet shooters should overlook, I’m not buying it, regardless of what some future article says to the contrary. My rifle and my targets like what I’m doing so I’m not changing!

Tom

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Clod Hopper posted this 04 October 2023

I finally read the article myself.  The idea that BP must be compressed goes a long way back.  It seems to me there may have been a simple mistake, or a unique one time event.  Also, there are so many variables, the situation may have changed with modern BP.  My best guess is that making sure the ball was solidly against the powder made for a more consistent shot, and this became a "fact" after some time.  I can see it being the rule for armies training their troops.

Also I do know for sure that Pyrodex is not BP.  It is sulfur, sodium benzoate, and dicyandiamide (DCDA).

 

Dale M. Lock

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