The Muzzleloading Ignition Myth



It wasn't that long ago that three rifles were tested by Outdoor Life, with a 260 grain Winchester Partition Gold, with both two and three pellets of Triple Se7en. They were the New England Firearms Huntsman, a “CVA” Kodiak (CVA's very poorly made knock-off of the T/C Omega), and the Ultimate Firearms BP Xpress. With two “grain equivalent” T7 pellets, the least accurate of the three rifles was the Ultimate Firearms BP Xpress, averaging 2.1 inches at 100 yards. The BP Xpress was also the least accurate with three T7 pellets, averaging 2.6 inches.

You might think, if you buy into all the nonsense concerning the BP Xpress, claimed to create a “controlled detonation” with Pyrodex pellets and ridiculously claiming to “fully burn” T7 pellets, that the Ultimate Firearms BP Xpress would obviously have substantially higher muzzle velocities than either the CVA or the NEF Huntsman, both of which used 209 primers.

Such was not the case, not with Winchester PG sabots, not with Powerbelts, not with Buffalo 375 grain SSB's. In every single test with “150 grains” of Triple Se7en pellets, the highest muzzle velocities were from the rifle with the longest barrel, in this case the CVA Kodiak.

The screenshot that formed part of the cover of "21st Century Muzzleloading," a video I released back in the ancient days . . . of 2003.

What ignites a powder charge is trivia, so long as the charge is ignited. The gas generation from a primer is tiny in a muzzleloader, compared to the primary charge. A percentage of propellant burn doesn't matter much, for velocity is velocity no matter how you attain it. What burns the majority of the propellant is the propellant itself.

Nothing burns blackpowder completely, nothing burns Triple Se7en completely, nothing burns Blackhorn 209 completely: the unburnt solids (smoke) billowing out of the barrel make it obvious. Centerfire rifle cartridges don't burn their propellant, completely, either, the reason for flash hiders and so forth, and the reason barrel length makes a difference as well. If something was actually consumed completely, we'd often get rid of all that unnecessary barrel length in rifles and short-barrel AR's would have the same muzzle velocities as longer-barrel varmint rifles.

What long has been common sense and common knowledge is quickly forfeited in the intoxicated, bizzaro world, alternate universe of marketing.

Copyright 2014 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.

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