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Old 08-22-2009, 09:06 AM
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Default Black Powder Substitutes for .45-70

I'm about to restart loading for .45-70 after a few year hiatus. I'm using a 405 grain hollow base cast bullet.

I used to use a product called "Black Canyon", a BP substitute that was non-corrosive. Though it smelled a little strange it gave me good accuracy and made a nice cloud of white smoke. I can't seem to find it and was wondering what if anything has taken its place.
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Old 08-22-2009, 11:00 AM
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Black Canyon is no longer made I believe.
I have used American Pioneer (originally was marketed as CleanShot) and it works as advertised.
I've used it in both M/L and cartridge loading about 10 years and am very happy with it. Flintlocks have a hard time igniting it but percussion and cartridge is no problem.

Many reports say it clumps up in the container and is rendered totally useless. It will clump a little but a gentle shake of the plastic bottle will make everything well again and it never seems to loose it's potency as some claim after the container is opened and seal broken. I have some old CleanShot labled stuff and it is just as accurate in my 44-40 Win73 loads as the more recently purchased Am Pioneer branded powder.

It is a sugar based powder as many of the subs are(Black Canyon was also I believe) and will absorb moisture,,, but so will BP. Keeping it in a dry place in storage is only natural for any powder.

I've never used Pyrodex or 777. Seems it's a 'love it or hate it' proposition when it comes to the BP substitutes and shooters.. but they have a good following too

I find it (American Pioneer) does what it says it will and yes it does clean up with a simple patch or 2 of nothing but water, followed by dry and oil. No fouling to gum up the works either. 100 rds and more in a revolver with no fouling is no problem. Loads volume/volume as BP.
I prefer it in cartridge guns because of the non-fouling aspect.
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Old 08-22-2009, 01:20 PM
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Thanks for the quick reply, I have been doing some searching on the net but all the reviews I see are for the stuff used in muzzle loaders and not cartridge arms. I know there are plenty of loads that use smokeless powders, but a Trapdoor really needs to belch out copious amounts of white smoke when it fires.
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Old 08-22-2009, 03:46 PM
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Howdy

Now that you have mentioned what firearm you are using, may I humbly suggest you use the real thing, Black Powder. I realize real BP is difficult to obtain in some localities, and I completely understand the desire to use more easily obtainable substitutes.

But if corrosiveness is your main concern, real Black Powder is much less corrosive than most shooters believe. The thing that made Black Powder so bad was using it with old fashioned corrosive primers. Then you had plenty of corrosion. I seldom clean my Black Powder guns the same day I shoot them, I try to clean them within a week. Sometimes I have gone much longer. For what it's worth, I just cleaned my 44-40 Henry that I shot a match with last weekend. A couple of patches of my favorite water based BP solvent and the bore was clean as a whistle. No rust, no problem. Furthermore, the beauty of a single shot like a Trapdoor is it is basically just a pipe. No barrel cylinder gap, no complicated mechanism to fill up with fouling. Just a pipe with a plug at one end. Open up the plug and clean it out with a few patches. Done.

Yes, real BP does require special bullet lubes, that is one further selling point for the subs. Pyrodex does require a special bullet lube, just like real BP. But 777 and APP do not require any special lube and can be used with regular bullets with hard cast 'crayon' type bullet lube.

I use Goex or Schuetzen FFg with bullets lubed with SPG in my Sharps.

Last edited by Driftwood Johnson; 08-22-2009 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 08-22-2009, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smith357 View Post
Thanks for the quick reply, I have been doing some searching on the net but all the reviews I see are for the stuff used in muzzle loaders and not cartridge arms. I know there are plenty of loads that use smokeless powders, but a Trapdoor really needs to belch out copious amounts of white smoke when it fires.
I agree with the advice to use regular black powder for your trapdoor 45/70 rather than the BP substitutes.
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Old 08-23-2009, 02:05 AM
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I spent the evening digging out the old .45-70 gear and giving everything the once over.

I found everything to get started but the confidence in my knowledge. there were some stout 2nd level loads that were made up for a modern Miroku made Browning 1886 and some medium 2nd level loads for the Contender, Along with 30 nickel cases that we loaded up for an 1883 trapdoor, or was it an 88?It was a very long time ago.


I pulled a few of the old 405 cast bullets from the nickel cases and they made a nice popping sound from the suction, the old Black Canyon powder had turned brown and was compressed in the case. It came out as a fine powder with a pick. The cases are currently in the tumbler.




There is a lot of corrosion on the brass cases from the BC and I found 4 cases with split rims, and I know pressures were not all that high since the seating crimp is still prominent on the case.


I'm not so sure I want to continue down the BP Substitute road.. I think I need more education. I'm going to just sit back cast a few bullets, size and prime some brass, and read up.
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Old 08-23-2009, 07:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smith357 View Post
I know there are plenty of loads that use smokeless powders, but a Trapdoor really needs to belch out copious amounts of white smoke when it fires.
American Pioneer Powder actually smokes more than black powder does. That's pretty common knowledge around people that shoot the stuff in SASS Matches. I used to load it when it was called CleaNshot and later when the name was changed to APP also. I loaded it for 12 Ga, .38-40 and .44 Mag when I was shooting Frontier Cartridge class in the SASS Matches.

One of the best things about APP is you don't have to use a lube with it. It makes it's own lube plus it cleans up a lot easier than black powder. It will corrode brass though so we used to keep a jug of soapy water with us during the match to dump our brass in to make it easier to clean the brass later.

Smitty

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Old 08-23-2009, 10:46 AM
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I load APP according to mfg's data in my better third's .38 CAS ammo. It smokes big and recoils little. Although I haven't chronoed her loads, it doesn't appear to offer much velocity.

I load FF 777 according to mfg recommendations in my CAS 45 Colts, 38 Spec., 44 Mag and Spec and a few others. I also load 777 for my 1895 Marlin Cowboy with a 405 flatbase. Good accuracy. Good velocity. Good smoke. No sweat concerning lube type. If I could keep only one powder for the rest of my days, it would be Hodgdon FF 777.

I load FFg Goex with the same 405 gr. flatbase bullet for my Trapdoor. FFg is also used for my CAS shotgun.

YMMV, Rich
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