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Hodgdon Triple 7 FFFg Powder

September 24th, 2010 4


I recently tested the FFFg variation of Hodgdon’s new black-powder substitute, Triple 7, in three cap-and-ball revolvers. I only planned to test it in one gun, but the velocities achieved varied so greatly from Hodgdon’s printed data that I decided to expand the tests in an effort to understand the discrepancy.

The Hodgdon website shows 25 grains equivalent of Triple 7 FFFg produces 763 fps in a steel-framed 1858 Remington revolver. The same charge in my Cabela’s 1858 turns in a reading of 954 fps. Quite a difference. Results were similar in an 1860 Colt Army and a Dixie Arms .36-caliber Whitney. My velocities were 150 to 200 fps faster across the board than what Hodgdon shows in its data. I’m stumped for an answer but am convinced my data is accurate. I even ran each load through two separate chronographs. At this point, Hodgdon and I have agreed to disagree, and I invite any of you who have an opportunity to chronograph some Triple 7 loads in your revolvers to come to the Gun Talk Forum (handguns.com) and let me know your results.

Triple 7 is not a true equivalency powder, meaning you cannot always use the same measured charge you normally use with black powder. It produces a bit higher pressures per volume than black but is safe in modern firearms in good condition as long as Hodgdon’s data is adhered to. The Hodgdon website lists data for a wide variety of guns.

Velocities aside, this propellant is very clean-burning and I feel offers those who shoot cap-and-ball a convenient alternative to black powder. Revolvers do not stiffen up from fouling nearly as quickly with Triple 7, and cleaning a gun after use is amazingly easy. Fouling seems to just vanish when water is applied. Even after extensive shooting sessions, the second or third wet patch run through the bore comes out clean. All other parts of the gun can be wiped clean with a wet cloth. Hot water is not required either. Water straight from the tap works fine, although I prefer using hot tap water so that the moisture evaporates more quickly.

After firing hundreds of rounds through the three revolvers, there are no misfires to report. I was also impressed with the consistency of velocities. Accuracy was superb, even with a fouled bore.

I predict we will be seeing a lot of Triple 7 in the future in Cowboy Action competitions. This powder maintains the attributes of black powder yet eliminates the excessive fouling, messy cleanup and strong sulfur smell.

Suggested Retail: $22 for a one-pound canister.

  • BP Pistol Hunter

    I use 37-40gr of 777 3fg in my stainless Pietta Buffalo 1858 revolver and ger 1250fps/450 ftlbs. It knocks deer and hogs flat with the .454 balls. Real accurate out to 50 yards. Best and most powerful sub ever and super accurate.

  • larry Bollschweiler

    what is a recommended reduction for triple seven in a colt .44 dragoon.? I understand that it is 15% less than recommended pyrodex or other powder.

    Should I understand that is is merely for rifles and not for handguns?. To be safe, should I discard the remainder of my supply of triple seven and go back to pyrodex?

    What is your recommendation, should I reduce or discard?

    Thank you.
    L. Bollschweiler

  • larry

    i think that you will find that triple 7 is hotter or stronger powder by 15% so that means 25gr.=28.8gr. in triple seven

  • chicspandex

    I found I had lower and highly variable velocity until I reamed the cylinders to fit the bore. It seems to be a universal problem with the Pietta reproductions. I used 26gr (weight) and a Lee 160gr and got 975fps with a 5.5″ barrel. There is nearly 1/4″ more room, so it probable is equal to the recommended 15% reduction from a full cylinder of Black (and you can compress the Black a bit whereas I am just seating the bullet on the 777 with no more compression than to feel it is seated). I think the reason so many people get better accuracy with balls is because when they exit an undersize cylinder they can tip to fill the rifling, but a conical stays more centered and lets the gas blow by.

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