More text

Nothing says "I Love You, Dear" like screaming lower back pain!

Sometimes Wrong but rarely in doubt!

03 June 2010

Shooting Blackpowder Subsitute

Last night was a meeting of the Rod and Gun Club that I belong too, aka Possum Lodge.  During the spring, summer and fall months it's been my practice to head to the meeting early so I can get some range time in.  So last night my father-in-law and I arrived at the club about forty-five minutes before the meeting.  I blasted away with my two favorite guns, my Ruger No. 1 in .45-70 Gov. and my new fifty caliber inline muzzleloader, a Traditions Vortek.

The last time I was out I sighted in the new muzzleloader so this time I tried out various combinations of powder, pelletized powder, saboted bullets and straight bullets.  All in all I shoved 3720 grains of lead downrange and used up about 800 grains of Pyrodex pellets and 480 grains of loose Triple Seven blackpowder subsitute.  That translates into about 14 shots in 40 minutes or shot about every three minutes.

I observed that the Vortek seems to have reasonable accuracy with both the 240 grain sabots and the 300 grain bullets with either 2-50 grain Pyrodex Pellets or 80 grains of Triple Seven.  Eighty grains of Triple seven is the equivalent of 92 grains of Pyrodex so 80 grain Triple Seven Loads have slightly less energy than the Pyrodex 100 grain loads.

Overall the gun performed reasonably well and despite the issue with the safety (which was resolved by the vendor) I am quite happy with my Traditions Vortek.

Pyrodex v. Triple Seven

After a day of shooting Triple Seven and a day using both Triple Seven and Pyrodex, I have to say that Triple Seven wins hands down just based on the ease of clean up.  The lower amount of fouling that occurs with Triple Seven also means that the accuracy is less degraded after a large number of shoots.

I generally swab the barrel with a wet cleaning cloth between shots.  With Triple Seven the swabbing means that I get a fairly consistent conditions from one shot to the next.  With the Pyrodex the shot grouping were less consistent and when I pulled the breechplug there was quite a bit more fouling in the base of the barrel then I had observed with the Triple Seven.  Overall the Triple Seven seems to be the superior substitute for blackpowder in my opinion.


  1. I absolutely love that big breech loader of yours. That would be my type of firearm, given I can't buy the sorts of firearms I'd prefer (C-8, Mac Tac .50, C-9, FN-90 or a Glock 30).

    When I go to shop one day, we'll talk. My plan would be to acquire:

    1. Mossberg pump (.12 ga) w. tactical loads
    2. M-1 Garand in .30-06
    3. Lever Action Model 94 (Winchester?)
    4. M1911 or one of its modern successors in .45 ACP
    5. Remington 700 or the equivalent in .300 WinMag
    6. Something in .338 Lapua if I'm ever made of money
    7. Big breechloader like yours
    8. Colt Dragoon (.44)

    Those are the ones I think I'd like to own in the long run that might be legal.

  2. 1)What's a tactical load?

    2) You should also consider getting a Moisin Nagant, very cheap, you can get them as low as $150. I'd also consider a SKS (AK-47 Variant) as both the gun and the ammo are cheap

    3) The Winchester 94's are no longer produced, you should also consider a Marlin 336 (I have one).

    4) I want an STI 1911 in .45 ACP but they're $1300 new.

    5) The 700 is a bit over-hyped, it's still a pretty solid gun though, you might consider just getting it in .308. Your shoulder will thank you.

    6) It really depends on the gun. I believe you can get a Tikka (economically priced Sako) for under $2k

    7) I'd get two breechloaders, a flintlock and a modern inline (like the one I have now).

    The reasoning is that the flintlock is a fun and interesting gun to shoot. When the shot really counts you want a gun that is all weather and has more dependable ignition than a Flint-lock.

    You should not that for a flintlock you do not require any firearms license. You could buy one today if you wished.

    8) I've consider a few different blackpowder revolvers and I have no solid opinion which one would be the best.


Polite and erudite comments by