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Cream of Wheat (i.e. how to get an extra 500 to 600 fps)
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July 23, 2023 - 3:57 pm
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Or commonly referred to as COW.  I was reading of some experiences using various fillers and their impact on load performance.  Quite of bit of this is from the Paco Kelly’s Leverguns and Cast Boolits forums.  I read of several example where fillers a dramatic impact on velocity and pressure.  An example, in a .40-72, a black powder duplication load (39.5 grains of 3031) that the manual says should hit under 1500 fps.  The shooter used COW as a filler and the load chronographed at 2004 fps.  Many shooter had other examples where COW and other fillers have significantly increased velocity and pressure.  

I did read a recommendation that if using a filler, reduce starting load by 30%.  As a tangential thought, it occurred to me – is COW a way to deal with the powder shortage?  COW is cheaper than gun powder.

It is interesting to read how controversial the topic of fillers is.  Many of these guys have been shooting these old rifles for decades – if not scores of years.  Some, advise never to use a filler.  Others, have had positive experiences.  One fellow loads for 60 different calibers – most of them obsolete and was clear on seeing no need for fillers in any of them.  

On COW, some commented that it often does become a projectile.  If this is true, would it be somewhat loading a second bullet in the case?  

One shooter referenced a test that Hodgdon did with COW and grits:  “Using a very dry filler like COW changes the properties of the powder and displaces the moisture content thus changing the burning rate of the Smokeless powder.  The longer the time the COW-Grits is in the case the pressure and velocity continue to increase.  Many BP shooters use COW or Grits however BP is very dry.”  This shooter also agrees COW can turn into a projectile.  His own method:  “I use a Dacron filler when reloading reduced loads with some powders.  The amount I use is just enough to maintain the powder at the bottom of the case and keep it from stringing horizontal as the case is loaded in the rifle.  I do this only with powders I know are of a position sensitivity type.”  He adds, “The best advice is not use a filler at all.  What works for me, maybe a disaster for you.”

One shooter who does use fillers comments, “In my own experience, filler always improves my groups, sometimes dramatically.  However, I would suggest filler only for the advanced reloader, or for a reloader who is using a tried and true load from an advanced reloader who had already tested the load.”

Years ago, I used COW (or cornmeal – I can’t recall) in a Marlin M1895 .45-70 circa 1896.  I was completely oblivious to the type concerns outline above.  I’m still alive to tell about it but that could be luck.  Another factor that runs though my mind is some of the rifles I shoot are rare and desirable pieces.  I need to think about their safety too Smile  I don’t want to use them as guinea pigs.

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July 23, 2023 - 4:33 pm
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This is one of the reasons I use toilet paper for all my smokeless loads in the black powder cartridges.  Maybe I don’t have to in some cases but I’d rather be safe than sorry.  Does anybody have a list of position sensitive powders?

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July 23, 2023 - 5:39 pm
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steve004 said Many shooter had other examples where COW and other fillers have significantly increased velocity and pressure.  

Predictable–like using a heavier bullet, raises pressure.  One reason I like the dandelion fluff I once used was that it’s almost weightless.  But any filler is one more step in the loading process, so if it can be skipped with good results, that’s my preference.

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July 23, 2023 - 10:09 pm
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How many acres of dandelion fluff to supply a day’s shooting?Laugh I can just Imagin running all around the yard gathering it all up.. Please excuse my warped sense of humor!

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July 23, 2023 - 11:08 pm
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Brooksy said
How many acres of dandelion fluff to supply a day’s shooting?Laugh I can just Imagin running all around the yard gathering it all up.. Please excuse my warped sense of humor!

  

One seedpod = 100 shots at least, probably many more.  Pods on one average sized plant = lifetime of shooting.

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July 23, 2023 - 11:14 pm
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 I use cornmeal in my black powder Winchester’s with smokeless powder, mostly 3031 except bottle necked cartridges. In bottle neck I use TP and 4198. Yes you do have to cut the powder charge and use a chronograph. I separate the filler from the powder with a very thin paper wad. I have shells loaded 20 years ago and they work good. I load 44-40 and 38-40 in the same way using 2400. I did start low and work up to black powder velocity. With a filler speed is powder sensitive.

 On 1886’s in 38-56 I use 28grs of 3031 gives 1500fps

                 38-70          25grs of 3031 gives 1450fps

                 40-65          30grs of 3031 gives 1367fps

                 40-70          30grs of 3031 gives 1350fps

                40-82           32grs of 3031 gives 1466fps

                45-70           35grs of 3031 gives 1245fps

                45-90           38grs of 3031 gives 1450fps

                50-110          58grs of 3031 gives 1620fps

 This is what I use and not a recommendation. T/R 

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July 24, 2023 - 1:28 pm
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clarence said

Brooksy said

How many acres of dandelion fluff to supply a day’s shooting?Laugh I can just Imagin running all around the yard gathering it all up.. Please excuse my warped sense of humor!

  

One seedpod = 100 shots at least, probably many more.  Pods on one average sized plant = lifetime of shooting.

  

Milkweed pods or dandelions? I know an old shooter around here that collects milkweed pods for this.

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July 24, 2023 - 2:36 pm
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Brooksy said

Milkweed pods or dandelions? I know an old shooter around here that collects milkweed pods for this.

Milkweed!  That’s what I meant to say, but I’ve got dandelion on the brain, because I eat the leaves growing in my yard every day. 

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