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Hodgson 777 shooters - advice please
Hi Guys,

I finally had a chance to shoot my Pietta 1858 at the weekend. As I don't have an explosives licence yet I am currently using 777.

I went with a load of 20 grains (by weight) and have to say that I was unimpressed with the results on paper. Now I fully appreciate it could be down to me as a newbie, although I have previously shot the clubs pistol with far better results.

In trying to work out if it's me, the gun or the load I thought I would ask what 777 loads other people are using in their 1858's? I'm getting a good fit with the ball (nice ring left after seating) and using 1075 caps which seem to fit the best.

Any and all advice appreciated. Smile

An 1858 New Model Army .44?  30 grains of Triple 7 works fine for me, but I've never experimented.
See my replies in another place.
Quote:An 1858 New Model Army .44?  30 grains of Triple 7 works fine for me, but I've never experimented.

Thanks for this. Out of interest, is that by weight or volume? I still don't fully understand the volume thing as all my centerfire reloading is done by weight.
By volume. Just what the "30-grain"  spout on my flask delivers, in other words.
I doubt if it's exactly 30 grains at all. The thing is, as long as it's sufficiently consistent it doesn't  matter for our purposes.
If you were going for super-accuracy and super-consistency I guess you'd be weighing it out into plastic vials. But is a repro revolver capable of delivering such super-accuracy? In other words, would a grain or two variation make any difference in these conditions? I don't know.
The recommended load from Hodgson is 20 grains with a maximum of 25 grains.

Are you using a wad or filler on top of the powder, under the ball?
What lubricant are you using on top of the ball?
I use a greased wad between powder and ball. I put a little grease over the ball: my own, which is 96% Trex 4% beeswax.
The purpose of the grease is to guard against chainfire; or rather, since the wad should serve that function, to reassure fellow shooters that I have taken precautions. I find it hard to believe that this grease lubricates anything significantly.
Looking at the Hodgson site, they say that the loads should be measured by volume not weight. Difficult to get to grips with, but 777 has far more energy ( at least 25%) than black powder.
As a reasonable load for a 45 is 16 to 20 grains Swiss no 2, 20 grains of 777 by weight sounds like too much.
If the greased wad you are using is one of the ox- yoke thin ones, you should consider switching to dry semolina or one of the much deeper ones, to move the ball clear to the top of the cylinder.
The lubricant is critical, it needs not only to prevent a chai fire but to lubricant the ball and remove the fouling from the barrel after each shot.
Does the lubricant you use stay in the cylinder after the first shot?
Triple 7 does yield more energy, though the figure I was given was "for a given load of black powder use about 85% in Triple 7" which I would say means it gives about 18% greater pressure.
The only reason why one should measure loads by volume not weight (which, when you think about it, is a bit funny, in that the supposed volume measure is expressed in grains, when the grain is a unit of weight!) is so that you, and everyone you talk to, is using the same measure, thus enabling comparisons and consistency. I.e., always use weight, or always use volume.
I use a Wonder-wad usually and the ball comes fairly close to the top of the chamber. I'm happy with that for my 44, but as I say I've never done any serious experimenting or "load development". Perhaps I should. (By contrast to my 36, for which I have done quite a lot, and in which I have settled for a particular measure of powder and a wad and polenta filler).
I'm ready to stand corrected but I find it quite hard to believe that a bit of grease on top of the ball does anything but get splattered around; I really don't see how it can be relied upon to lubricate the ball and/or remove the fouling. Has it been demonstrated that either of these things actually happen?
I don't quite see what you mean about the lubricant staying in the cylinder. Do you mean in the actual chamber? How can it do that?

P.S. Don't get me wrong, I'm not arrogant and I'm happy to learn from others more expert. I can't help challenging  and arguing though, it's how I am  Smile
18 or 25%, not worth arguing about. My point was that 20 grain by weight is probably too much powder.

As a fully paid up member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, I agree with you that the use use of grains as a volume seems a little strange, but it is what Hodgson advise and until you have determined the density of 777, it should be followed.
Each of us is entitled to their opinion, but if you do a literature search, you will find lots of supporting evidence that the lubricant serves the purpose I have outlined.

To clarify, you need a lubricant that stays over the ball in the 6th chamber after the previous 5 shots have been fired.

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