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Hodgson 777 shooters - advice please
Yes, I have some figures for relative densities of black powder and Triple 7 somewhere, but I quite agree that it's fine to use "grains by volume"; the point is that you should always use either volume or actual weight, not sometimes one and sometimes the other.

I understand now what you mean about the lubricant staying. Yes, mine is still there over the 6th ball after firing the other five. Smile

I hope the original poster has found some food for thought here!
Hi Ben,

I hope that that helps not hinders.

To summarise:-
1.       I would recommend that you drop the load to 12grains by weigh to start with, certainly not more than 15 grains.
2.      Either use a deep wad, from Kranks, or use Sainsbury’s semolina powder on top of the 777, start with 12 grains.
3.      The ball then goes on top of that. If there is space above the ball, you may increase the semolina until it gets close to the top of the cylinder without hindering the rotation of the cylinder.
4.      Use a lubricant on top of the ball, try wonder lube, not because it is the best but because it is a known quantity.
5.      Use a pistol rest to test the group size from this load, before changing any of the variables. You should get at least a 3 to 4 inch group from a Repro from a rest.

If you doubt there accuracy, see the MLAIC Facebook posting of John Emmerson’s 98 at the Pedersoli competition this July, using a Euroarms. In addition I have shot a number of 96’s in competition using a Euroarms and Feinwerkbau revolver.

I may be two months late to this party but perhaps this will be of use to someone else down the road.

I've done a lot of scientific experimentation with all things firearms over the years, black powder being a new interest. I've done a lot of testing already to satisfy personal curiosity and suspicious "facts" I heard expounded by various experts at the range and on the internet.

Here's the chronograph testing I've done with Hodgdon 777 fffg and TS2 black powder, which is a German powder often used in proof houses, its granulation falling between common 3f and 2f sizes.

[Image: Untitled.png]

This confirms the common notion that 777 is more energetic than typical black powder. I plan to compare it against Swiss 2 soon, which is known to be a hot black powder.

As a point of interest, the 18 gr. (volume) pedersoli spout used in this test throws 18.2 gr. (mass) of TS2 powder. If this correlation is a surprise to anybody, it's worth reading about the actual origin of powder measure and the emergence of the myth that black powder must never be weighed! The same 18 gr. spout throws 15.1 gr. (mass) of 777. This means your 20 gr. mass of 777 that you used would equate to a 24 gr. volume flask spout. Hodgdon's maximum load for a steel frame 1858 is 25 gr. so you're just inside that but you mustn't exceed it.

Hodgdon expressly warns against anything heavier than light compression with 777 (.100") and recommends reducing the charge by 15% to match a black powder load:

My testing showed 777 produced a 71% increase in velocity over the same black powder load!

Hope there's some sense and use in all that...  Smile
Hi Woodsman,

Late but welcome.

I will be very interested in the results of your experiments comparing 777 to Swiss no2.
I'm new to muzzle loading and have only used 777 in my Pieta 1858 .44 target model. I have found the adjustable volume measurer confusing - if set to 20 gr. volume and filled to the top it holds 20 grains but if tapped gently the level drops (less than 20 gr.) If tapped firmly the level drops to 17.5 gr. Which is correct?
I use the 17.5 gr. as above which weighs 14.2 grains.
Don't worry too much about the variation, just be consistent in how you measure it and go by the results on the target.

The scale on the volumetric measures gives an approximate measure of black powder close to the weight stated. This will however vary as the same volume of a fine powder will have a different weight to that of coarse powder.

The modern alternatives to black powder have a different density to black and as far as I know manufacturers recommend that they are measured by volume, not weight, to approximately equate to a BP load.

Hope that makes sense - it can be confusing when starting out!

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Firearms, long range target shooting and associated history

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