Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Goex "Cartridge" disappointing

  1. #1
    Member  
    Join Date
    05-17-08
    Location
    NE Tennessee
    Posts
    93

    Goex "Cartridge" disappointing

    I purchased two pounds of this stuff a couple of years ago from a buddy at the range. At the time, I was just happy to be purchasing any black powder locally instead of having to order it online with the attendant hazmat fees.

    After my initial elation at breaking 1,000 f.p.s. with FFFg, this "Cartridge Grade" is a real drag. My first mistake was probably dropping the powder charge from a true 40 grains by weight down to 37.5 grains. However the chronograph results revealed a tremendous velocity loss that I'm sure has more to do with the grade of powder than the 2.5 grain drop in powder. 37.5 grains of Goex Cartridge grade powder compressed under a lubed felt wad and a 255 grain LSWC "Keith-style" 452424 bullet (crimped in the groove) gave me about 750 F.P.S. out of my 7.5 inch Colt 3rd Gen. Single Action Army. This was originally intended to be my rifle load, hence the lubed wool felt wad to add additional lubrication. Out of my 24 inch Rossi Puma, it made only between 950 and 1,000 F.P.S.

    A second variation omitted the lubed wad and seated the "Keith bullet" over the front driving band. This upped the velocity to about 800 F.P.S. with the revolver. The rifle stayed about the same. As a control, I fired my older load of 40 Grains Goex FFF under the 255 Grain 454190. It gave consistent velocities in excess of 1,000 f.p.s. out of the revolver and 1250 to 1300 f.p.s. in the rifle.

    I expected "some" velocity loss with Cartridge Grade over FFF, but 200+ f.p.s. ?!

    I just finished loading 50 rounds using the same Cartridge grade powder but with a full 40 grain load compressed enough to seat a 452424 over the front driving band. Probably a waste of my time experimenting anyway, since Goex quit making the cartridge grade some time ago. And perhaps it seems silly of me to fret so much about velocity when so many more content shooters concern themselves only with accuracy. But I was really pleased when I was able to achieve"original" velocities using the FFF load. Why else was I shooting a Single Actino Army .45 other than to experience a bit of history? So although I was mildly concerened when that FFFg ran out, and I had to fill the powder measure with the long ago purchased Cartridge Grade powder, I was unprepared for that great a loss in performance from one grade of powder to the other.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville

  2. #2
    Senior Member  
    Join Date
    05-10-05
    Location
    Kingsport Tennessee
    Posts
    5,672
    Are you sure its the powder alone?

    I had limited experience using black powder and Pyrodex with lubed felt wads between the powder and bullet both in cartridges and in cap and ball revolvers, limited in part because the lube from the wad seemed to contaminate the powder the longer the load was stored. I had "poofs" with loads that normally gave "bangs" and flaming wads following the bullet to the target. The limited experience I had was all bad, so I discontinued using lubed felt wads over BP or BP substitute.
    Cogito me cogitare; ergo, cogito me esse.

  3. #3
    Member  
    Join Date
    05-17-08
    Location
    NE Tennessee
    Posts
    93
    I suppose it is possible that some lube might have leaked, but I sandwiched the felt between two card wads that I'd made from a batch of business cards that had a glossy surface on one side. I faced the glossy surfaces toward the wad. This was a pretty tight fit, and the lube impregnating the felt was fairly stiff, so I doubt there was contamination. The same powder charge without the wad yielded about 50 f.p.s. faster velocity--perhaps the wads absorbed the initial shock? Perhaps that affected obturation which also had an effect on lowering total pressure? I don't know, but I was prepared for a 50-100 f.p.s. velocity loss and not the 200 f.p.s. loss I got.

    On the plus side, recoil was noticeably softer, and I had no blow-by. At first I was puzzled by the clean cases until I remembered that my loading experiment with this powder had also included my first attempt at annealing the case neck. So I guess the annealing was successful.

    However, all of my black powder loads have produced less blow-by than my smokeless loads, and I attributed this to the different pressure curve involved. But I've also experienced some split cases for the first time in my life. My last range outing produced the third so far. This was with the heavy FFF charge in an non-annealed case, as was my first split case. But my second split case happened with only 18 grains of FFF in a VIRGIN Starline Auto Rim case from one of my pseudo .455 Webley loads. I have never encountered a split case before I started loading with black powder. Perhaps this is just coincidence, but it also makes me wonder if there is something special about the pressure curve in black powder that makes the cases more prone to splitting despite the lower overall pressure.

    I have since annealed all of my fired .45 Colt case necks, and I made up some 40 grain Goex "cartridge grade" loads with them. I tried neck-sizing them only, which left the case body bigger and allowed the 40 grains to more easily fill the case without danger of spilling over. They chamber easily enough in my Colt, and I'm eager to see how they perform.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville

  4. #4
    Moderator  
    Join Date
    05-30-06
    Location
    North Idaho/Eastern Washington
    Posts
    1,375
    Using your older load of 40 gr FFF as a control, you changed not only the powder but the bullet too. Try changing only one thing at a time. I've been getting WAY more velocity from a semi hollow base 180 grain Buffalo bullet, verses a 200 grain Lee bulet, with the same load otherwise in my Remington percussion revolver. I can't attribute the huge velocity difference to the 20 grain mass difference alone - the bullet design has to be a factor. Then again, I should probably fire a lot more shots before coming to a conclusion.

    How many shots are being fired to come up with your average velocity? What is the extreme spread? Delving into these issues may yeild some useful information. A fifty foot difference in your average for example, with an ES of 75, wouldn't mean much if the sample size is only 6 or 12 shots. A 20 shot sample is considered a minimum for getting a meaningful standard deviation, for another example.

    Maybe you're well aware of all this though, so forgive me.

  5. #5
    Member  
    Join Date
    05-17-08
    Location
    NE Tennessee
    Posts
    93
    You haven't insulted me in the least; I'm grateful for any advice. You bring up a valid point about the two bullet types. They weigh the same, but one is 2 thou larger in diameter. Calling the 40 grain FFF load a "control" was, admittedly, a poor choice of words, since I wasn't only using a different grade of powder but a different charge amount. If I'd had any of an earlier experimental batch of 37.5 grains of FFF under that bullet I'd have compared that. As it was, all I had was an even older 40 grain load. But I remember that 37.5 grain FFF load was a real thumper as well. 50 rounds of that left the web of my hand bleeding from too many hammer spur impacts during recoil. Recoil with the "cartridge" grade was much, much milder. The recoil and velocity of the 37.5 grain "cartridge" load was just so profoundly different from the 40 grain FFF load, it was like comparing 357 magnum to 38+p. And I was unwilling to chalk the majority of that difference up to 2.5 grains of powder and a 2 thou smaller bullet.

    Oh, and as to the representative sample, I shot fifty rounds of the felt lube load, fourty of the non felt-lube load, and 25 of the 40 grain FFF load. I didn't have a notepad with me, and my chronograph doesn't store information. So I didn't calculate my average velocities mathematically. But I remember a high of about 780 and a low of 720 with the felt lube load, a high of 830 and low of 795 with the non felt lubed load, and a high of 1033 and a low of 998 with the 40 grain FFF load.
    Last edited by johncantiusgarand; June 16th, 2011 at 06:23 PM. Reason: left something out.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville

  6. #6
    Senior Member  
    Join Date
    09-30-03
    Location
    SW PA
    Posts
    1,808
    Nice report! And, I'm not surprised in the least that the 'Cartridge Grade' powder has such low velocities in the Colt....as I believe it is/was made more for rifle length cases like 45/70, 100 et al. I use 1F in the Martini-Henry .577-450...which works just fine, but I'm sure the velocity would be dismal in a pistol case.

    But, interesting reading about your experiments..thanks!

  7. #7
    Senior Member  
    Join Date
    05-27-06
    Location
    was COlorado, now COmmirado
    Posts
    7,778
    Isn't Goex powder a little hygroscopic? How long had it been in storage? No BP expert, but I wonder if moisture absorption might have been another variable.

    Much of my adult life has involved hunting down and killing extraneous variables.
    "Gun control is not about public safety, crime reduction, or 'the children.' Gun control is about power. The people have it, and the government would rather they didn't." (An internet poster, not myself.)

  8. #8
    Member  
    Join Date
    05-17-08
    Location
    NE Tennessee
    Posts
    93
    Well, the can was sealed until I opened it to reload, so I doubt it was moisture absorbtion. In fact, the FFF I used earlier was from a partially-emptied can I'd had for over a year; if anything, I'd have expected it to have been more affected. I haven't had a chance yet to try out my latest Goex cartridge reloads. I went back to 40 grains. Compression is, consequently, heavier with these.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville

  9. #9
    Senior Member  
    Join Date
    10-16-08
    Location
    NW Ohio
    Posts
    1,007
    I am NOT a black powder expert.

    Having said that, it sounds to me like you lost compression by cutting the powder charge and did NOT bring it back by putting in more in the way of the wad column.

    Are you just compressing with the bullet and wad column, or are you using an M die (two stage neck expander but often used to compress black powder in cartridge loading) or something of the type to compress the powder first?

    A friend was trying to load black powder and was putting in a wad column about like you are using and having all kinds of trouble. Finally, he made a new, oversized wad cutter (wads came out of at about 0.363") and cut the over powder wad out of milk carton cardboard. NOT the fancy gallon jug plastic, but the old fold top cardboard milk cartons, seating the oversized wad with the wax and printing toward the powder and the plastic up.

    M die. Then seat wad with M die. Then load bullet, greased felt wad and over felt wad, making sure they are all solid, leaving NO space in the wad column.

    The new, tight wad kept any grease (whether from bullet seating pressure or leakage from heat melting while out in the sun at CAS matches) out of the powder and made sure that the powder had a very firm compression so it burned better.

    BTW, without compression ONLY black powder will work NONE of the substitutes will burn in a reenactor's blank. Reenactor's blank being 60 gr. of FFg poured loosely down the barrel and the cartridge paper discarded. NO wadding of any kind allowed in reenacting! Black power will work. Pyrodex and all that stuff WILL NOT.

    Good luck with your problems.

    BTW, it sounds like you have your .45 Colt loads down to what the Govt. used most of the time, moving at the speed of the .45 Schofield that was most often issued to both Schofield and Colt armed units!

    Buckshot

  10. #10
    Member  
    Join Date
    05-17-08
    Location
    NE Tennessee
    Posts
    93
    I suppose it's possible that the compressibility of the felt wad negatively affected what was a compressed powder charge. I'm using a home-made compression die to compress the powder (tried seating the bullet once without it and ended up smushing the bullet nose something awful). This is fairly severe compression--beyond the usual "1/16th to 1/8th inch compression" you usually read about. 40 grains (by weight) just about fills the case to the mouth, and that charge is then compressed down far enough to seat the bullet--almost to the cannelure mark on the case wall. To fit the felt wad and bullet on top of that required crimping in the crimp groove of a Keith bullet. When I eliminated the felt wad, I crimped over the front driving band. I had switched to a slightly lighter powder charge initially, because the required compression for so long a load just looked like it would be too severe for 40 grains. But the full 40 grains compressed easily enough--especially with the Goex cartridge; it seems to compress easier than FFF.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville

  11. #11
    Member  
    Join Date
    10-16-08
    Location
    Houston, Missouri by choice
    Posts
    48
    In my limited experience that has also been backed up by various reports I've read over the years. The "hottest" black powder is the "SWISS" brand of black powder.
    Be polite, be courteous, be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
    If you could do it all over again with everything you know now. You would just make different mistakes.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •