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A black powder substitute is a replacement for black powder used in muzzleloading and cartridge firearms. Black powder substitutes offer a number of advantages over black powder, primarily including reduced sensitivity as an explosive and increased efficiency as a propellant powder.
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Hodgdon’s Pyrodex was the first widely available substitute on the market. Pyrodex is less sensitive to ignition than black powder and uses the same shipping and storage guidelines as smokeless powder. Pyrodex is more energetic per unit of mass than black powder, but it is less dense and can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio by volume for black powder in many applications. Pyrodex is similar in composition to black powder, consisting primarily of charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate, but it also contains graphite and potassium perchlorate, plus additional ingredients protected by trade secret. Originally available as loose powder in two granularities, RS (Rifle/Shotgun) equal to FFG black powder, and P (Pistol) equal to FFFg black powder, Pyrodex is now becoming available in Select and solid pellet varieties. While Pyrodex offers improved safety and increased efficiency (in terms of shots per pound of powder) over black powder, the level of fouling is similar; Pyrodex is caustic and corrosive. Therefore, the same cleaning regimen used on black-powder fouling must be employed when Pyrodex has been used.
Hodgdon also makes Triple Seven, one of the families of sulfurless black powder substitutes. Triple Seven and Black Mag3 are more energetic by mass than black powder and can produce higher velocities and pressures. Triple Seven is a volumetric substitute for black powder but produces higher velocity. To match the velocities of a traditional black powder load it is recommended to reduce the load by 15%. Still burning carbon, the carbon-based fuel burned here is from the sugar family, not from charcoal and h4350 powder for sale.
Western Powders Company introduced Blackhorn 209 in 2008. Like many other black powder substitutes, it is made to be a volumetric substitute for black powder. It is dispensed in “black powder measures” for muzzleloading applications. Blackhorn 209 is essentially non-corrosive, low-fouling, very consistent in gas generation, but non-hygroscopic.
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