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Thread: Nitro Conversion Inconsistency.

  1. #1
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    Nitro Conversion Inconsistency.

    I have a Ruger Old Army which has been converted to use nitro powder and shotgun primers. I was advised to use 4.5 grns of Herco behind an Alox lubricated .457 round ball.

    When this load works consistently it sounds right and is very accurate, but I'm getting quite a few weak discharges and have noticed unburnt powder accumulating in front of the muzzle.

    I would have thought either the ball is not seating tightly enough or the powder is not burning fast enough. As already stated, the ball is the recommended .457 dia and I can see a ring ring of Alox coming of after seating, but not really a lead ring as with my BP revolvers. I have also tried ball from different makers with no difference in the results obtained. I realise that it's important to use a 'Flake' type shotgun type powder in these conversions to prevent finer powder disappearing through the primer hole, but wondered if a slightly faster burning powder than Herco such as Unique might help the situation.

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

    Regards
    Brian
    Last edited by Abasmajor; 11-05-2018 at 03:07 PM.

  2. #2
    markreid is offline Happy to be fishing and shooting
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    Might be worth trying blu dot powder, I have a .44 anvil conversion Uberti 1858 shoots .457 balls reasonably accurately. Couple of other ex members of the club have west lake alpha’s are also using blu dot, slightly more dirtier powder.
    There is no such thing as a dangerous gun, there are dangeruous people though

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by markreid View Post
    Might be worth trying blu dot powder, I have a .44 anvil conversion Uberti 1858 shoots .457 balls reasonably accurately. Couple of other ex members of the club have west lake alpha’s are also using blu dot, slightly more dirtier powder.
    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the suggestion.

    I have looked on the Anvil Conversions site Q&A section where Blue Dot and Unique were suggested alternatives to Herco, but it also notes that Blue Dot is a slower burning powder than Herco and Unique a bit faster, so maybe Unique might be better in this case.

    Brian

  4. #4
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    .

    Anvil conversions who sell replacement nitro nipples reccomend 8grs of Herco on a .454 ball seated no further than the origional loading rod allows.
    No filler or wads.
    Some fettling may be required.
    Once I find some Herco that will be my starting point.
    If you try this let us know how you get on.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by weebeestie View Post
    Anvil conversions who sell replacement nitro nipples reccomend 8grs of Herco on a .454 ball seated no further than the origional loading rod allows.
    No filler or wads.
    Some fettling may be required.
    Once I find some Herco that will be my starting point.
    If you try this let us know how you get on.
    Hello,

    As it's a Ruger Old Army I wouldn't want to use a ball of smaller diameter than the recommended .457

    I have measured phials of 4, 4.5 and 5 grns of Herco and will try these next to time I go to the range. The original 4.5 grn load is fine when it works, but I'm not happy with the occasional light discharge and the evidence of unburnt powder which accumulates in front of the muzzzle.

    If this doesn't work, I will try a slightly faster powder such a Unique.

    Brian

  6. #6
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    if you are getting poor ignition check that the nipples are not partially blocked.

    You could also try a different primer. Some are hotter than others. Some burn dirtier than others so trying different ones may solve your problem.
    You can get magnum primers but I would seek advice before using them just in case it ups the pressure in the cylinder.

  7. #7
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    My anvil Remington uses shotgun primers which have enough umph to fire the ball with no powder. Maybe a set of shot gun nipples from a and a gunsmiths at skeggy might be worth a look. Keep us up to date with how it goes. I have a short barrel nickel roa that I wouldn't mind converting sometime. Tim

  8. #8
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    A bit more research suggests that due to the burning characteristics of the slow burning powder the charge should be increased rather than decreased.

    Next time I visit the range I will increase the load incrementally from 5 to 6 and 6.5 grns of Herco and see what happens. I have also sourced some ball of .460 diameter and some slightly faster powder (Unique), so still some options to pursue.

    I will update this thread with any progress after trying the above alternatives.

    Regards
    Brian

  9. #9
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    Thumbs up Nitro ROA

    Birmingham Proof House markings on cylinder
    "Maximum Service. 4.3 grains Alliant Unique. 200 grain RNL bullet."

    Al
    AlBur
    Always Remember "Utopia Does NOT Exist"

  10. #10
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    I use 3.2 gr of Herco in my Alfa MLR and never had any issues but it does kick quite hard so I was thinking of dropping to 3 gr, 148 grm WC btw.

  11. #11
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    First of all, some links to a few pictures of my Ruger Old Army nitro conversion revolver which allows me to load the gun with the cylinder in place rather than having to remove it to load using a small press which is normally the case on UK conversions or purpose made muzzle loading nitro revolvers.

    https://i.imgur.com/33xXWRNl.jpg

    https://i.imgur.com/p5SEooyl.jpg

    https://i.imgur.com/8L92G2el.jpg

    https://i.imgur.com/p5SEooyl.jpg



    I tried increasing the load in small increments from 5 to 6 grns of Herco at the range today. The heavier loads grouped higher, but still suffered from the presence of some unburnt powder with the occasional light discharge. A definite improvement this time though as the 5 grn load grouped into 4" at 25yds unsupported with the fewest light discharges. I will now try a faster powder and some .460 ball to see if things can be further improved.

    Regards
    Brian
    Last edited by Abasmajor; 18-05-2018 at 03:54 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abasmajor View Post
    First of all, some links to a few pictures of my Ruger Old Army nitro conversion revolver which allows me to load the gun with the cylinder in place rather than having to remove it to load using a small press which is normally the case on UK conversions or purpose made muzzle loading nitro revolvers.

    https://i.imgur.com/33xXWRNl.jpg

    https://i.imgur.com/p5SEooyl.jpg

    https://i.imgur.com/8L92G2el.jpg

    https://i.imgur.com/p5SEooyl.jpg



    I tried increasing the load in small increments from 5 to 6 grns of Herco at the range today. The heavier loads grouped higher, but still suffered from the presence of some unburnt powder with the occasional light discharge. A definite improvement this time though as the 5 grn load grouped into 4" at 25yds unsupported with the fewest light discharges. I will now try a faster powder and some .460 ball to see if things can be further improved.

    Regards
    Brian
    I think I know what your problem is.

    You do not compress blackpowder but you do need to compress smokeless to achieve good ignition. Blackpowder is consumed almost immediately on ignition, which is why it is classed as an explosive and it will explode when unconfined. Smokeless powder will not, it only burns with a very fierce flame. It needs to be held back for a fraction of a second because it generates pressure very quickly but needs time to do this.

    An example of this is from when I used to reload shotgun cartridges and may help you understand it better.
    For a shotgun cartridge to function correctly so it gives a clean powder burn the crimp, (or rolled turnover), has to hold the powder back long enough for it to start generating pressure. Sometimes if a paper cartridge case was used too many times the paper at the mouth would become soft and the crimp would not be tight.
    What happens is that on ignition the shot and wads start to move before the pressure has built up and the powder charge funnels up the barrel with just the outside portion burning. When it gets out of the barrel into the atmosphere it burns rapidly and goes "bloop". Hence the term a "Blooper" (You may not of heard of this now paper cartridges are rare). The shot usually falls to the ground well short of its intended target and has no energy. Because a clean burn has not been achieved there is usually a lot of residue left in the barrel.

    Centrefire ammunition works differently so the powder does not need to be compressed. The resistance of the bullet in the case neck and the resistance of the bullet passing through the rifling have the same effect of holding back the charge.

    I would look at using a wad under the ball so the powder needs to be compressed when the ball/bullet is pressed into the chamber. The tighter fitting bullet will obviously help as well.
    I would also try different primers and check the nipples are clear with no unburnt residue or burrs that can impede the jet of flame into the powder charge.

  13. #13
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    Problem Solved.

    Hi,

    Problem solved with the use of 2.9 grns of Bullseye instead of the previous 4.5 grns of Herco.

    Interestingly, the point of impact was the same as with the Herco load, but without the inconsistent performance and no evidence of unburnt powder.

    Regards
    Brian

  14. #14
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    .

    Is there any noticable recoil with such a small load of powder and have you chronod it ?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by weebeestie View Post
    Is there any noticable recoil with such a small load of powder and have you chronod it ?
    This load was the same one that I used when shooting .38 SPL and a 148 grn HBWC bullet before the 1995 breech loading pistol ban and the recoil feels about the same as far as I can remember. It's now my intention to gradually increase the load up to a maximum of 3.5 grns to see what effect if any this has on accuracy, although I'm sure this will improve once I re familiarise myself with the pistols handling characteristics.

    Brian

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