Reproofing a BPE rifle to NE?

Discussion in 'Double Rifles' started by matt85, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. Thomas Rutledge

    Thomas Rutledge AH Member

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    Thanks, What does the 2860 BAR mean? Thanks. Also, there is discussion on using reduced modern powder loads with less pressure and velocity. Opinion?
     

  2. Russ-F

    Russ-F AH Senior Member

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    Wise words. As a point of interest though the velocity of the .577 3” BPE was more around 1750 FPS not 1400
     

  3. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Fanatic

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    bar pressure to psi
     

  4. Russ-F

    Russ-F AH Senior Member

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    As has been mentioned above, re-proofing a BP shotgun for smokeless loads is very different from doing the same for a rifle.

    Historically in the UK at least, standard (not magnum) BP & smokeless shotgun cartridges produced essentially the same velocities & pressures. As an aside - some of the currently black powder shotgun cartridges produce somewhat lower velocities/pressures than they should due to being loaded with relatively ‘weak’ BP though.

    Within the context of a shotgun cartridge - BP can produce quite high pressures if required & was until very recently used as an integral part of British proof even for ‘smokeless’ shotgun barrels.

    Within the framework of British game shooting - both smokeless & BP shotguns were both built fire 1 to 1-1/8 oz of shot with cartridges producing about the same pressure so for instance an early 12 bore boxlock s/s originally proofed for BP cartridges weights, looks & feels just the same as a boxlock s/s made this year for smokeless loads.

    Express (for BP) & Nitro Express rifles are very different animals though. For example the width of the breech of my 450/400 NE was at least 50% greater than that of my 450 BP Express. A true .577” NE rifle compared to a typical .577” BP Express is almost like comparing a heavyweight boxer to a middle weight one.

    Some of the latest BP Express rifles were quite heavily built (such as the Greener currently being discussed) & can stand the nitro proof test but in fairness ‘safe’ doesn’t always mean ‘suitable’ - at least not for a regular diet of full loads.

    Aside from the heaviest built of the of BP Express - reproofing a typical BP Express rifle for Nitro is a very unwise thing to do. As mentioned in a post above - the proof house would refuse to do the test in most cases.

    Regards

    Russ
     

  5. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    2850 BAR is about 44,000psi. That's the pressure the proof house says is safe. That being said, I would be leery of a black powder gun being proofed to a nitro powder load of a full nitro express. Think of it as being three guns we're talking about here:

    Gun 1 - A .577 BPE (Black Powder Express)
    Gun 2 - A .577 Nitro for Black powder
    Gun 3 - A .577 Nitro Express

    Gun 1 might only weigh 9lbs. It was meant to handle black powder pressures and velocities.
    Gun 2 might weigh 9lbs, or maybe 10lbs. It was made for blackpowder, OR nitrocellulous powder (cordite) of EQUAL PRESSURE AND VELOCITY.
    Gun 3 might weight 13-14lbs to endure the full force recoil of the significantly more powerful Nitro Express loading. That includes heavier bullets, more powerful powders, much heavier barrels and stock.

    The loading of a blackpowder gun with equal pressure and velocity in an nitro-for-black load is possible, but there are hazards. Using the wrong powder can create barrel damage due to too much space in the case, or powder shifting, or many other reasons. It requires expert research and due care to make sure the loads built are correct for the BPE or Nitro-for-Black application. At any rate, the gun won't regulate correctly if you don't have similar speeds and pressure because the sights and barrel wedge were regulated for say 1600fps with a 500 grain bullet, yet the full nitro load is calling for a much heavier charge and a heavier bullet at higher velocities. Beyond safety, that just isn't going to work for regulation.

    Be careful. Research heavily. Do not use a .577NE load in a gun designed for .577 black powder express.
     
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  6. Thomas Rutledge

    Thomas Rutledge AH Member

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    Thanks everyone. I would like to come up with a load using modern powder that is safe and respects the nature of my rifle. I feel my limitations are the wt, stock, and ability to regulate. The rifle is 12 lbs and may be reproofed for a full load, that full load is useless and could damage the rifle from the limitations listed above. I am open to suggestions of what a reasonable load might be to match the rifle. I am thinking 1600-1700 fps using a bullet around 650 gr. Opinions? Who would be recommended to assist me in this? Thanks.
     

  7. Russ-F

    Russ-F AH Senior Member

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    As a general note - that figure of 2860 Bars marked on the Greeners barrels is the ‘Proof Pressure’ not the ‘service pressure’.

    All British proof marks which quote imperial measure (i.e. tons per square inch) are ‘service pressures’ - in other words the actual maximum pressure the correct ammunition will produce in use. For example a shotgun barrel may be marked ‘3 Tons’ - in reality the cartridges would be producing around 2.8 tons per square in use (just under the 3 tons maximum). The pressure endured by the gun at proof would be much higher than 3 tons.

    Since the change to ‘Bars’ as a unit of pressure (one Bar being about 14.5 psi) the number stamped on the barrels referred to the actual pressure produced by the ‘proof’ cartridges (not the service pressure). So a shotgun barrel which uses cartridges with a maximum pressure of 3 tons per Square inch would now be stamped ‘850 Bar’.

    The main point is whilst under the old proof system you could use shotgun cartridges producing 3 tons (i.e. the figure stamped on the barrels) - under the new system if you did that (i.e. 850 bars) you’d be firing nothing but proof loads!

    Frankly from a UK point of view we’d have preferred the proof house sticking to the old system which caused no confusion.

    Regards
    Russ
     

  8. Russ-F

    Russ-F AH Senior Member

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    Tom,
    The book by Graeme Wright ‘Shooting the British Double Rifle’ has good ‘Nitro for black’ loads - ones which would be ideal for your rifle. You’d also know from the proof test that you had a very healthy reserve of strength is using these loads. The books also has .577 2-3/4” NE loads for the 650 grain bullet.

    Regards
    Russ
     

  9. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    So the best source of loads I know is Graeme Wright's "Shooting the British Double Rifle" 3rd edition.

    For .577 3" Black Powder Express, here is what they have:

    Original Ballistics:
    167gr BP - 570gr bullet - 1725 fps
    167gr BP - 610gr bullet - 1650 fps
    167gr BP - 560gr bullet - 1740 fps

    Average regulating load:

    650gr jacketed bullet - Swiss 3Fg (No. 2) 170gr, Fed 215 primer, Bertram Cases, 1545fps
    570gr cast lead - DUPLEX LOAD of 18gr SR4759 Plus and 130gr GOEX 2Fg - WLR primer - Bertram Case - 1590fps

    The loads require wads or buffer, plus lube.

    For .577 3" Nitro-For-Black Powder, here is what they have:

    Original ballistics:
    Cordite 65gr - 560gr bullet - 1700fps - 6.0tpsi
    Cordite 75gr - 560gr bullet - 2000fps - 8.0tpsi

    *That means 8.0 tons per square inch is maximum pressure you should target with a Nitro proofed .577 black powder that has been reproofed for nitro loads if you want to be prudent. A long ton conversion of tpsi to psi is 17,920psi for your pressure target, or 8.0 tpsi (UK Long tons)

    Modern regulated loads to accomplish this:

    650gr jacketed bullet - H4198 powder - 78 grains - Fed 215 primer - Bertram Case - 1840fps (if it will regulate) Dacron filler.

    650gr jacketed bullet - Varget powder - 100 grains - Fed 215 primer - Bertram Case - 1850fps (if it will regulate) Foam filler.

    650gr jacketed bullet - AR 2207 powder - 78 grains - Fed 215 primer - Bertram Case - 1840fps (if it will regulate) Dacron Filler

    650gr jacketed bullet - AR 2208 powder - 100 grains - Fed 215 primer - Bertram Case - 1850fps (if it will regulate) Foam Filler.


    Wadding and stuffing is CRITICAL to these loads. Not using correct wadding or filler can result in damage to gun or personal injury.

    None of this is my opinion, don't sue me. Sue Graeme Wright if you injure yourself. (that's the legal disclaimer there at the end)
     

  10. Thomas Rutledge

    Thomas Rutledge AH Member

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    Thats a lot and Thanks. Im a little embarrassed at my ignorance in all of this but I am learning fast. Its hard for me to ask this in public but which one do I have? I think its the .577BPE. Thanks.
     

  11. Thomas Rutledge

    Thomas Rutledge AH Member

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    Another pic..

    IMG_1976.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2018

  12. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    You have a .577 3" Black Powder Express Rifle. It was built before nitro powders or stranded cordite was invented. It was built to regulate a lead bullet with the pressures and velocities of a Black Powder Express.

    The weird update to yours is that AFTER it was made, it went back to the proof house in Birmingham, England and was proven safe for Nitro powders. So the gun, in its condition perhaps 100 years ago, could handle 2 firings from each barrel with a Nitro load that was 2850 BAR. It doesn't mean you can shoot that load, (and you shouldn't, that was proof pressure), nor should you shoot a service pressure load that equalled a reduced amount of that proof load in my opinion. Your barrels, stock, and sights weren't intended for a 577 Nitro Express loading. It wasn't intended for a heavy jacketed or solid bullet either. The gun's weight is less than that required to accomodate a .577 Nitro Express loading. The barrels weights are less than required to accomodate a .577 Nitro Express loading.

    If you decide to pursue shooting it, you should be looking at a soft jacketed bullet from Woodleigh at Nitro-For-Black loadings IF it will regulate the gun. If it won't, you'll need to go with the older BPE recipes that pushed lighter bullets at slower speeds.
     
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  13. ikeda

    ikeda AH Veteran

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    This is a very interesting thread. I have an old (1884) H&H double in .500BPE that I've been looking for the safe pressure to load it to. John Taylor's book African Rifles and Cartridges lists the pressure for the .450BPE as 11 tons. Now I find the pressure for the .577 BPE is apparently 8 tons. Would it be safe to assume a good routine operating pressure for my .500 would be 10 tons? More? Less?

    A load with a 440gr bullet and 50 gr of 4759, or 56 gr of 5744 both give about 1730fps at 9 tons pressure and regulate pretty well.
    The original Cordite Nitro for black load of 55 gr Cordite @ 1900 fps seems to operate at about 10.7 tons. Is it prudent to operate this old gun at that pressure routinely?
     

  14. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    There's two questions to be answered:

    1. Is it safe at 10.7 tons?
    2. Is the action being unduly strained at 10.7 tons?

    My guess is that the answer to the first is "yes" and the second "no". Check the proof marks and inquire with H&H to be sure.
     
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  15. ikeda

    ikeda AH Veteran

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    It is proofed for 5 drams and H&H curtly informed me they were too busy to be bothered.
     

  16. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Follow the Ballistics of Graham's book for a Nitro for black load at 1850-1900fps. The pressure is 8.7-8.8 tons per square inch with those loads. The original cordite load was 1850fps at 8.0 tpsi for the 440gr at 1850.

    The original black powder loads were at a higher tpsi for the nitro for black loads which isn't suitable for a black powder express. However, the new Nitro-for-black loads are lower pressure than black powder pressures. Go with safety and less gun wear. Use the modern nitro-for-black recipes at 8.7-8.8 TPSI.


    The original Black Powder loads were for 340gr bullets at 10-11 tpsi for the record, not the 440gr bullet.
     

  17. ikeda

    ikeda AH Veteran

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    Well I would love to get the loads from the book but @ $400 to $500 per copy it is a mite steep.
    Can anyone help me out here?
    4759?
    5744?
    4198?
     

  18. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    This is all I've got so loads may not be the powders or brass you want. The bullets are similar or the same as Woodleigh's so use those:

    IMG_5493.JPG
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2019

  19. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Here was the final load data for a 500 Nitro-For-Black load in a double rifle I owned, take note I used a 450gr .065" dangerous game jacketed Woodleigh, not the .035" thin-skinned game 440gr bullet. As always, double check my data, work up slowly, and I'm not liable for anything if this goes wrong in anybody else's gun. (Load developed by Ken Owen for MY gun):


    500 nitro for black 3”
    18,178 psi
    Muzzle Velocity 1738
    95% powder burn
    450gr Woodleigh RN SN 06A (.065" thick jacket)
    55 Grains of IMR 4198 powder
    Taylor Knockout Value 56.9
    70+ yard maximum point blank range
    50-yard impact H.I.T.S. score of 1782

    PLEASE NOTE, I USED A 450GR BULLET, NOT A 440GR BULLET! The MV of 1738 at 55 grains does not mean it will create the 1910fps at 57gr because that recipe is for a 440gr bullet.
     

  20. ikeda

    ikeda AH Veteran

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    Thanks a lot, this will come in handy.
     

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