Quartz in Pyrodex

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  • Last Post 03 July 2023
cove posted this 18 June 2023

I can't get black powder, so have been using Pyrodex in a 36 cal Remington cap and ball revolver.  When cleaning the cylinder the other day I noticed some gritty black residue in the sink and was reminded of something I had read in a "Safety Data Sheet" for the ingredients of Pyrodex.

     Potassium nitrate - 15-40%

     Potassium perchlorate - 15-40%

     Silica: crystalline quartz - 0.5-5%

     Distillates, etc - 0.1-1%

Quartz has a relative hardness of 7, whereas steel is around 6.  When Hodgdon was contacted their reply was: "Hello Bill, thank you for contacting us.  I reached out to our chemical engineer on this question. He said the quartz composition was not something we could share details on but it should not be a concern. He said the flame temperature would have a much more significant effect on barrel life and that Pyrodex would have a lower flame temperature than real black powder and a barrel would be expected to last as long or longer than one used with black powder."  My question concerning the reason quartz was included was not addressed. I can see why finely ground glass(quartz) is used in primer compound where the added friction enhances ignition, but why in Black powder substitute?  Maybe we should consider Pyrodex for lapping barrels. 

      

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Bud Hyett posted this 18 June 2023

The quartz crystals become incandescent and does aid in ignition. They are carried in the flow of gas and exit the barrel.

Any quartz remaining in the barrel will be embedded in the next lead ball going down the barrel. 

When using percussion caps, every little bit helps. 

Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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MP1886 posted this 18 June 2023

I use to use Pyrodex in my Ruger Old Army cap n ball.  The results were that it flame cut my upper frame at the barrel/cylinder gap much like the 357 Maximum when it came out in revolvers. Inaddition it burned a pit in my hammer face where it strikes the percussion cap. Pyrodex, in my opinion, burns hotter then BP and I think it's crap!!  Won't see me using it anymore. I disposed of my remains stock of it. I got not help from Hodgdon and they blamed it on the steel Ruger used in their gun.

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Aaron posted this 18 June 2023

I have been shooting Pyrodex in my C&B revolvers, percussion rifles, and in metallic cartridges since 1977. My bores are bright and clean. My rifling is crisp and pronounced. There is no flame erosion or flame cutting evident on any of the firearms used, including a ROA given to me as a Christmas gift in 1977. If the firearms are cleaned thoroughly and within a day of firing, preferably the same day, you will not experience corrosion or pitting on the guns.

I have, over the last 4 decades, heard scores of horror stories regarding Pyrodex propellant. I have not personally experienced ANY of the touted horror stories. In my capacity as a firearms industry professional, I have however, seen disgusting examples of abuse, lack of care, infrequent and incomplete cleaning, the cleaning of both Black Powder and Pyrodex residue with AMMONIA, which is the equivalent of chemical suicide, and witnessed the results of cave-man tools used on precision parts.

I shoot Pyrodex in several 36 Navy guns, 44 Army guns, 1858 NMA guns, 36, 44, 45 conversion guns, 38-40 guns, 44-40 guns, 45 Colt guns, 45-70 guns, 45-90 guns, 50 caliber guns, 54 caliber guns, 38 Short Colt guns, 38 S&W guns, 38 Long Colt guns, and 38 Special guns to name a few. As mentioned above, all have survived without erosion, corrosion, discoloration, pitting, or any other defect of which Pyrodex may be blamed.

With immediate and proper cleaning - WITH HOT SOAPY WATER - all corrosive salt residue will be removed. A light coating of gun oil like Ballistol, will protect your gun and make it smell great. Be careful with the Ballistol however because it has more chick attractant then Aqua Velva or Old Spice. smile

45 years, at least a hundred pounds of Pyrodex, No Problems.

 

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

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RicinYakima posted this 19 June 2023

"Windex" destroyer of black powder guns. 

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cove posted this 19 June 2023

Thanks guys, I feel better about using Pyrodex now that I have some feedback. The explanation that the quartz inhances combustion makes sense. I will now sleep better at night.

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MP1886 posted this 19 June 2023

I have been shooting Pyrodex in my C&B revolvers, percussion rifles, and in metallic cartridges since 1977. My bores are bright and clean. My rifling is crisp and pronounced. There is no flame erosion or flame cutting evident on any of the firearms used, including a ROA given to me as a Christmas gift in 1977. If the firearms are cleaned thoroughly and within a day of firing, preferably the same day, you will not experience corrosion or pitting on the guns.

I have, over the last 4 decades, heard scores of horror stories regarding Pyrodex propellant. I have not personally experienced ANY of the touted horror stories. In my capacity as a firearms industry professional, I have however, seen disgusting examples of abuse, lack of care, infrequent and incomplete cleaning, the cleaning of both Black Powder and Pyrodex residue with AMMONIA, which is the equivalent of chemical suicide, and witnessed the results of cave-man tools used on precision parts.

I shoot Pyrodex in several 36 Navy guns, 44 Army guns, 1858 NMA guns, 36, 44, 45 conversion guns, 38-40 guns, 44-40 guns, 45 Colt guns, 45-70 guns, 45-90 guns, 50 caliber guns, 54 caliber guns, 38 Short Colt guns, 38 S&W guns, 38 Long Colt guns, and 38 Special guns to name a few. As mentioned above, all have survived without erosion, corrosion, discoloration, pitting, or any other defect of which Pyrodex may be blamed.

With immediate and proper cleaning - WITH HOT SOAPY WATER - all corrosive salt residue will be removed. A light coating of gun oil like Ballistol, will protect your gun and make it smell great. Be careful with the Ballistol however because it has more chick attractant then Aqua Velva or Old Spice. smile

45 years, at least a hundred pounds of Pyrodex, No Problems.

 

I'll get some pictures of the cutting on the ROA.  You will know it's not from maximum charges of smokeless powder because it's a black powder firearm. Bear with me.

 

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MP1886 posted this 19 June 2023

These are the pics of what Pyrodex did to my Ruger Old Army Stainless.  That cut in the top strap is a couple thousands deep. This revolver hasn't been shot a whole lot. Notice too the erosion of the edge of the forcing cone which would be on the twelve o'clock position when the revolver is upright.  The pic of the hammer nose is not so good, but that dark ares is actually a pit not nearly as deep as the cut in the top strap. Remember now that there is a percussion cap on the nipple and the face of the hammer is not without a barrier between it and the flame coming out of the nipple. Yes the Pyrodex burned a hole through the cap or either split it allow the flame to get to the hammer face. You can see from the recoil shield the revolver doesn't have a lot of wear on it. I quit Pyrodex immediately after I saw this when I was cleaning it.

 

 

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Aaron posted this 19 June 2023

 Tony,

Great pics! I know how hard they are to get. Holding a camera, light, shadows, focus....

It seems to me that you have normal flame erosion of the top strap. Like bolt drag around the cylinder, every revolver has some minor degree of cutting there. Every one of my revolvers has minor cutting. It means we use the darn things. I'm sure you have "googled" flame cutting and seen pictures of excessive and worrisome cutting. To be considered a problem, it needs to measure 20-30 thousands. I have seen severe cases where .032 safety wire could be laid into the cut. In every severe case, the culprit was jacketed light bullets at excessive velocities driven by large amounts of powder. The higher pressure at the forcing cone with unburned propellant acting as an abrasive usually is the culprit. This is typically seen in 357 Magnum and 44 Magnum revolvers.

To my eye, your top strap seems to be exhibiting normal wear, as is your hammer face. As you surmised, some percussion caps blow through. This is typically seen with poorly fitting (improper size) caps for the particular nipples you use. A sure way to stop the blow-through is to install custom nipples like ones made by SlixShot. Then use the specified caps being either #10 or #11 caps of a particular brand. It's kind of a pain in the arse but cap problems can be frustrating and, they can be corrected. 

I didn't pick up on the forcing cone issue you stated. It looked peachy in the photo. Regardless of how you interpret my reply, I suggest you go out and shoot the heck out of that ROA and get some dings in her. A few range scars and "oh dang" moments add some flavor and character to the gun!

Hope that helps...

Safe Shooting!

 

 

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

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MP1886 posted this 19 June 2023

I've been shooting BP cap and ball since the 60's and had quite a few of them. Of the only one that had a top was the 1858 Army. At that time Pyrodex wasn't around so it was strickly BP and there was no flame cut on the top strap.  I've also had two ROA Rugers. The first didn't exhibit the flame cut and I didn't shoot Pyrodex from it.  It's the second one you see pictured that only flame cut with Pyrodex. I use the correct size caps. I like the Ruger nipples because on the inside where the combustion the nipple hole is very tiny and that lets less pressure exit via the nipple. What I was talking about on the forcing cone is the face of it at 12 o'clock (it's upside down in the pic) just starts the taper of the cone, that edge is rounded and eroded. Not see that in any of the other BP's unless they've been shot a LOT!  None of my center fires, which some are magnums and use smokeless powder, have any flame cuts either.

I had two friends, unfortunately they've passed on that hunted in an exclusive muzzle loading state and they told me to stay away from Pyrodex.  This is back when Pyrodex was the rage.  I asked why and they said it's extremely corrosive and burns very hot. That Ruger shown had no flame cut until after I shot the Pyrodex. 

I wouldn't expect Hodgdon to give an honest answer and I'm not buying their answer. You can keep using it if you want, but I'll stay away from it.  I like 777 much better and if you would like to know about my corrosion test on it in long storage ask me about it sometime.

 

TD

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David Reiss posted this 20 June 2023

I have been using Pyrodex in my BP revolvers and rifles since the mid 80s without any issues. As such I can't see any reason to stop. While I will shoot BP when I have it, but I got a deal on the Pyrodex from an old friend and still have about 12-15 canisters of both rifle and pistol. Just my two cents. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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MP1886 posted this 20 June 2023

I have been using Pyrodex in my BP revolvers and rifles since the mid 80s without any issues. As such I can't see any reason to stop. While I will shoot BP when I have it, but I got a deal on the Pyrodex from an old friend and still have about 12-15 canisters of both rifle and pistol. Just my two cents. 

 

This is interesting, Why am I seeing what I am when I use Pyrodex? How would one know Pyrodex shoots hotter, guess more correct is burns hotter, the BP?

Here's some info:  It took me a few days (I work our of town)But I found some answers.
BLACKPOWDER Ignites at 480 degrees.
Pyrodex and triple 7 ar 740 degrees.
A little nore information.
Standard #11 cap when fired is at 3,024 degrees.
Magmum #11 cap when fired is at 3,7171 degrees.
#2 musket cap when fired is at 3,717 degrees.
3209 shotgun primer fired is at 3,024 degrees.
All information came from Dave Ehrig's book.

The general consensus on most the muzzleloading forums is that don't like pyrodex.  Here's just one that  you can read to give you a genral idea:   https://www.modernmuzzleloader.com/threads/black-powder-vs-pyrodex.54973/

Now as for my test to see how corrosive 777 is or isn't I shot my ROA Ruger with it quite a few shots. Then after I was finishe I let is set out in the open in my basement which is very humid. I let it set for three weeks as I monitored it. After the trial all that I noticed is that the revolver was visibly wet wherever the 777 residue was on it. That was it, just wet. There was no signs of corrosion in the bore or cylinders.  Yes the revolver is stainless so I don't know what it will do on a blued regular since gun except to say this: I have a Pietta cap n ball pistol and I shot 777 in it and when finished I spray the whole revolver down including inside the bore, the cylinder, through the hole in the frame where the trigger is, down the slot where the hammer is, the nipples, etc., and let it set. Nothing happens or appears and it doesn't get the wetness like the ROA did, but I didn't spay it as I wanted to see what would happen. 

I'm not telling anyone here to do the same nor switch from using whatever powder you use in you BP firearms. I'm just telling you what I've found and others have found. I'm not trying to be confrontational, just providing data.

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David Reiss posted this 20 June 2023

MP 1886,

I think you've made your point, again and again. Some just have other opinions. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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MP1886 posted this 20 June 2023

Yes I've made my point, just like certain others do on this forum......not meaning you.

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Aaron posted this 20 June 2023

Here is a thought. If you have been shooting Cap & Ball revolvers since the 60's, odds are you are now old enough where your ROA will outlast you with whatever fuel you use in it. 134

Load it. Shoot it. Have fun!

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

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MP1886 posted this 20 June 2023

Here is a thought. If you have been shooting Cap & Ball revolvers since the 60's, odds are you are now old enough where your ROA will outlast you with whatever fuel you use in it. 134

Load it. Shoot it. Have fun!

 

Aaron you are correct and I do shoot my cap n balls a lot and really enjoy them.  It's amazing how old the designs are, but yet how efficient then are compared to more modern firearms. I have an 1860 Colt replica that I shoot a lot and enjoy.  I like to use this Lyman bullet designed long ago for the Remington Army. It's a hollow base conical, a roundnose semi-wadcutter if you will. I load it over 23 grains of 777 and it gives me over 1000 fps. The roundball does nine hundred some fps. Now if I would have used Pyrodex way back when I first started, which it wasn't invented yet, I'd hate to see what my BP firearms would look like.

Have fun with yours with whatever you use.

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Aaron posted this 20 June 2023

Aaron you are correct and I do shoot my cap n balls a lot and really enjoy them.  It's amazing how old the designs are, but yet how efficient then are compared to more modern firearms. I have an 1860 Colt replica that I shoot a lot and enjoy.  I like to use this Lyman bullet designed long ago for the Remington Army. It's a hollow base conical, a roundnose semi-wadcutter if you will. I load it over 23 grains of 777 and it gives me over 1000 fps. The roundball does nine hundred some fps.

It is truly amazing how efficient the Cap & Ball guns are with period loadings or with more modern projectiles and propellants. I have discovered that the older BP cartridges (with cast bullets) are remarkable, and extremely accurate! It's always fun to outshoot the young black plastic commandos at the range with a C&B revolver or a 32-20 or 38-55. When I let them cut loose with the 45-90, they are amazed at the recoil. "Yup. Kills on both ends" I say.

I just got a 45 ACP conversion cylinder for the ROA. It slugs out TIGHT through the bore like all the ones made in the late 70's. Original BP chamber mouths are .451". Yes...... .451". Getting a .457 ball in there is like, well, you can imagine. Finally decided that .454 balls work great. Lately I have been shooting the Kerr bullet from Eras Gone Molds. Fantastic bullet!

Cheers!

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

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MP1886 posted this 20 June 2023

I'm glad you brought that up Aaron.  What kind of accuracy are you getting with that 45 acp cylinder in the ROA?  I was thinking about buying one, but I figured I got the 45acp cylinder for my Ruger Blackhawk 45 Colt and it's very accurate. I don't even shoo the 45 Colt from it much anymore. One more question on this, do you load the cartridges with BP or smokeless?

That 1860 Colt I recently got had too tight of groove dimension and the cylinder opening were tight. The groove barely made .450 and the cylinder openings were a hair over that. I have a .452 reamer so I chucked the cylinder in the lathe and opened them up. It went pretty easy as there really wasn't much metal being taken off.  Oh man!, what a difference in shooting.  The revolver is now one of the more accurate revolvers I own.  I'm glad I did that. You all the so called 44/45 caliber cap n balls I had over all those years definitely had a larger groove and cylinder openings.  The 1860 I have is a Pietta. Other then that it's an excellent gun with very good quality and the parts in it are finished very well and with good hard metal.

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Aaron posted this 21 June 2023

I'm glad you brought that up Aaron.  What kind of accuracy are you getting with that 45 acp cylinder in the ROA?  I was thinking about buying one, but I figured I got the 45acp cylinder for my Ruger Blackhawk 45 Colt and it's very accurate. I don't even shoo the 45 Colt from it much anymore. One more question on this, do you load the cartridges with BP or smokeless?

I just got it in two weeks ago. I had to reduce the axis shaft to fit the frame of my older ROA. Barrel/Cylinder gap is almost imperceptible to the eye. There is a very detailed measurement procedure called out on the Howell's Conversion Cylinder website so I knew some light stoning was in order. Midway made NO MENTION of this fact and I can only assume they have some disappointed customers. I wrote a lengthy email addressing that fact, as well as the mislabeling of the product, AND the damage done to it from what I can only presume was its many trips to and from customers where it was probably dropped. Enough of that though.

I have proof tested it on a cardboard target at about 25 yards with my 230gr RN pills. Shot a nice group which I did not measure. I was just testing to see if it would fire, and see if the 230gr load would lead the cylinder mouths, forcing cone, or bore at all. Shot well and had a promising (unmeasured) group. I'll take it to the range soon and put it over the sandbags to see what it does with the 230gr pills and my 200gr H&G SWC pills.

While BP would work in the 45ACP, I tested it with smokeless loads. While I am sure the cylinder would function with 45ACP SAAMI pressures, I will keep the pressure lower in the ROA to ease the strain on the old girl.

Notice the special pricing on this cylinder. There was NO description that it was damaged. There was "Only 1 left at this price" even though you could find the same cylinder on the Midway site for $270. Notice the label on the box with the 45 ACP product number but 45 Long Colt in the description. A complete mess I would say and I got a response from person C speaking for Person B who was too busy to answer emails. Bad form.

I think I will stick with smokeless for this cylinder since the lube grooves are pretty small on the bullets I have molds for. I will try Blue Bullets however since I have 50 of those rascals loaded up. I'll just be sure to keep the pressure lower for all the various bullets and mark the loads for the ROA conversion.

Well I am now so far off topic I'll probably get a topic ticket or something. Catch ya later.

 

 

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

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MP1886 posted this 21 June 2023

Those 230 round nose cast bullets, are they the Lyman ones?  I have that mould and cast those and they are extremely accurate in a lot of guns. Have fun with it.

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linoww posted this 03 July 2023

I have two 45 Colt Howell and one Kirst 45 ACP cylinders for my four ROA revolvers.Accuracy is fine but you must play with the bullet weight and charge to get them to hit near POI.they hit many inches high at 25 yards.Light bullets and a bit fast (safe levels though) seemed to help.

"if it was easy we'd let women do it" don't tell my wife I said that!

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