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Black powder longevity
Topic Started: Thu May 22, 2014 1:46 pm (301 Views)
Shiloh
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A former student of the gunsmithing school I attended was on FaceBook recently telling how someone brought to him an 1816 model musket that had been converted to percussion and used probably through the Civil War. It was found to be loaded. He pulled the buck and ball load and the lead was all white so it almost certainly had been loaded at about the time of the Civil War or very soon after and left that way. The powder poured out behind the load.

About a decade ago I had a similar incident when an ancient longrifle was brought in. I determined it was loaded and the bore was too small to get any puller I had available to work. So I capped it and fired it out back. Snap-Boom! That gun also had likely been left loaded since about the Civil War era. Black powder, unlike substitutes never dies if it is kept dry. Even if wetted, it will clump into hard chunks but is still every bit as powerful as when loose once dry. I have several 65 grs gartridges that got wet last year at Gettysburg and the powder inside the paper tubes is a solid chunk now. I still use them though. I tear the paper and squeeze it enough t break some of the chunk loose and dump into the bore then ram the rest of the chunck and particles down the barrel, cap and fire without issue.
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TWerth
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Yea, was very powerfull stuff in its time and still is. Just a bit harder to clean gun after using it. Amazing that after all that time it was still good.
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Shiloh
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There was a guy in VA (I think) a few years back that was running a little backyard hobby business drilling out and flushing old Civil War ordanance people would find and send to him (somehow!?) and had done it for years apparently. He was drilling a large caliber projectile and it exploded killing him and raining chunks of the round a half mile away. BATFE and police responding to the scene discovered what they described as "piles" of ordanance in his back yard. Sadly they took it all and blew it up someplace so no telling what we lost there. I have heard scuttlebutt that he was drilling something in the neighborhood of a 30# Parrott round or similar sized piece because of how far it threw pieces and it was in a drill press and there is not much bigger that he would likely have put in a press. The US Navy used to do that task for you if you had a found shell but they quit years ago so now it is incumbant upon backyard ordanance de-fuzers like this.
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TWerth
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Damn, but not real smart. One of the first things you learn is not top pick up any unexploded ordnance on the battle field. (wherever it may be)
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Grizzly
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I hear there's still some "bounce'n Betty's" lay'n around the grounds at Fort Knox where they allow ya to deer hunt dnmte
NOT ME! 8577wb
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