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Missing targets with black powder
Unread 02-17-2019, 07:10 AM   #1
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Andrew Sukel
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Default Missing targets with black powder

Shooting clays with 2f black powder, ive loaded 1,11/8,11/4 square loads. Over the powder card followed by the felt wads. I pack,tamp each one separate.Paper with rollcrimp and brass with glued in over shot card. Shoot out of 2 different guns both vintage with tight chokes, 40 thous. I break very few targets , even on the skeet field I miss station 1,7 more then I break and the ones I do break are very light breaks. I pop in a smokess shell and break targets just fine. I shot a few at a board and they seem like a very open patterns but no holes blown threw, compared to the smokeless loads that are very tight. Iím thinking about using a shot cup? Iím not sure what Iím missing here?
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Unread 02-17-2019, 08:29 AM   #2
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I use a bunch of black powder 1 oz. with 3 drams of 1.5 Old Eysenford in my 12's and break as many clays as I do with smokeless powder. You may be suffering from a Gremlin in the brain and over leading the targets. Velocities are not that much different between the powders. I use it in 10, 12 and 16 gauge and they are very good performers. Patterns would generally be tighter with the plastic wads. Use the same leads with black and you should be fine. When I shoot I do find that it may take a few targets to get my brain in the groove and do miss a few targets on station 1 at skeet and on some long crossers on the clays course Keep at it and things will come together.
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Unread 02-17-2019, 09:57 AM   #3
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Andrew, it can be frustrating sometimes with black powder loads, but is very rewarding when it comes together. Eric, makes a good point, my first black powder shots I usually miss in front. I am always surprised that my lead is close to smokeless. I'll even miss in front with a flintlock.

I think we could help you more if you described the components you are using and the order. I have found(with help of others on this forum) that the wad is what can make or break a pattern. I also would spend some time at the patterning board, with some different combinations.

Don't worry, you'll figure it out. In clays or hunting, there is nothing better than a black powder double!
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Unread 02-17-2019, 05:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Andrew Sukel View Post
I break very few targets , even on the skeet field I miss station 1,7 more then I break and the ones I do break are very light breaks. I pop in a smokess shell and break targets just fine.
I realize you wanna shoot that vile black stuff , but if you break very few targets with it and you break targets just fine with smokeless the problem is solved use smokeless and forget the vile black stuff
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Unread 02-17-2019, 08:34 PM   #5
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Andrew, you stated that you are using square loads with 2f powder.
I have found that square loads pattern better using 1f powder. If using 2f, I back off on the powder by 10-15% and patterns improve.
You did not say whether or not the cushion wads are lubricated or dry. I lighty lube mine with bore butter which helps to keep the bp fouling soft.
I also put an overshot card on top of the cushion wad to keep shot from embedding in the cushion wad.
Hope this helps.
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Unread 02-17-2019, 09:13 PM   #6
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Thanks. I never considered a card on top of the wad. I will try cutting back some also.
I wasnít to Concerned about speed and leads to mess with my head but missing straight away and incoming targets at a short distance makes me think thereís something wrong with my loads.

As far as components , magtech brass, circle fly 11ga 1/8Ē nitro card, circle fly 11ga 1/2Ē no lube fiber wad
Chadditte paper, 13ga circle fly 1/8 nitro card, 13 ga 1/2Ē fiber wad.
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Unread 02-17-2019, 11:58 PM   #7
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Thanks Andrew that helps. Just for clarification it sounds like you are using fiber wads not felt wads. I have shot the exact same combination of components in the brass magtechs and it works okay.

The first thing I would do is cut those 1/2" fiber wads in half, but use both, one on top of the other. Those 1/2" wads are relatively heavy and push through the pattern. When you split them in two they break away faster.

I have been using lubed wads in brass shells, though I am not sure if circle fly is making them anymore. The only difference is(like Matt) I always put a overshot card on top of the wad so shot doesn't stick to the wad. I never use the lubed wads in the paper shells.
I think if you split the wad in two like I described above you paper shells should perform better.

When I am not using a square load and trying to get more velocity I do use felt wads. I use 2 - 1/4" wads and I will lube one of the wads for brass shells. You can buy them for 12 gauge or cut you own depend on what you need. They have some more give and may be something you want to try at some point. For 90% of my shooting I am using square loads by the way and I am stilling learning too.

There are lots of opinions on all of this and the best thing to do is try a few component changes and see what the result is. In my opinion, shooting a hammer gun with the type of shells it would have used when new is just too cool and very rewarding.

Keep us posted and good luck!
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Unread 02-18-2019, 03:15 PM   #8
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There is really nothing "vile" about black powder loads. Clean up is easy using just soap and water and only takes a few more minutes than with smokeless powder. I use Federal or Cheddite paper hulls and fire once and toss. (Roll crimp really looks smart and would be proper for vintage loads). Plastic hulls can be used but avoid plastic wads as they burn up and leave plastic in the bores. I prefer Old Eysnford 1.5 or 2 FG as the fouling is relatively light and stays soft. Easily shoot a 50 round clays course without having to patch the bores. Jay is on the mark about using a vintage hammer gun and paper hulls with black powder. Great shooting experience and just plain fun!
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Unread 02-18-2019, 04:54 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Eric Johanen View Post
There is really nothing "vile" about black powder loads. Clean up is easy using just soap and water and only takes a few more minutes than with smokeless powder!
If you perceive it as ďeasyĒ thatís great and thatís your prerogative . And I perceive it as ďvileĒ and thatís my prerogative . I only use the vile stuff in a period PA longrifle .
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Unread 02-18-2019, 05:28 PM   #10
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Sika, I am really sorry if I got you nose out of joint.
that was not my intention. I just see nothing wrong with black powder, it is just different and more traditional in vintage doubles and it really is a bunch of fun breaking clays or bringing down the game.
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