Double Charges and Smokeless Powder in a Muzzleloader (Video)
Russ Chastain 10.22.15
This video was made to show why you shouldn’t use smokeless powder in most muzzleloaders.
Many folks would say that you shouldn’t shoot smokeless powder in ANY muzzleloader, but one company (Savage Arms) made a muzzleloading rifle that is safe for smokeless. And that is the ONLY mass-produced muzzleloader that was safe for smokeless powder. Even then, it is only safe with certain powders in carefully-measured charges.
99.9% of muzzleloaders should only be used with black powder or black powder substitutes.
After the intro, the hosts of the video decide to show what happens when a regular muzzleloader is stoked up with a double charge of FFg black powder, in this case, 160 grains with a round ball on top.
Next, they decided to fill most of the gun’s barrel with FFg black powder and cram two round balls on top.
And then they enter truly dangerous territory: They feed the old sidelock smokepole a charge of H110 smokeless powder. Note that they said they were going to put in “80 grains” of H110–but they didn’t.
What they did is use a volumetric measure, meant for measuring black powder and black powder substitutes, and they filled it to the 80-grain mark with H110 smokeless powder. That does NOT equate to 80 grains of H110, because black powder and smokeless powders are measured in different manners. Black powder is measured by volume, and smokeless powders are measured by weight, although both systems refer to the charge in grains.
The gun was damaged, but didn’t explode. Do not assume that it’s safe to use that powder and load in your muzzleloader! A similar charge of another type of black powder would have been likely to grenade the gun, and any other barrel might have ruptured with this load.
For their next shot, they decided to use Titegroup smokeless powder. Again, they fill the 80-grain volumetric black powder measure and dump it down the barrel, topping it off with a round ball.
That blew the gun open.
And then they went a little nuts. They loaded three times as much H110 smokeless powder with three round balls. (Again, it’s not really 240 grains of H110, even though they used the black powder measure to meter the charge.)
The results were dramatic, to say the least.
Now, if you’re someone who says that, “Hey, they used old-school sidelock guns in this video. Mine is a newer inline, it’ll be fine,” then well, you’re wrong.
Again, the ONLY mass-produced muzzleloaders that are safe for use with smokeless powder–and only certain smokeless powders, at that–are the discontinued Savage Model 10ML rifles. I have one. I like it a lot, and I would never, ever use smokeless powder in any other muzzleloader.
You shouldn’t, either.
Check out the video below.