Thoughts on American Pioneer Powder?

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  • The Saint

    Black Powder Nerd
    Dec 10, 2021
    186
    Baltimore County
    I've recently switched over from Pyrodex to APP for almost everything percussion. For years I used Pyrodex, and still never had a problem with it...but cleaning and margin-of-error wise it is by far the most corrosive of all the BP subs. For the record, I've nothing against Pyrodex, and it works exactly as it should. Switching to APP has cut my cleanup time in half, and in certain things like shotguns it's legitimately no worse than smokeless cleanup. Seriously, shoot the gun all day...1 wet patch and some oil and the gun is done in minutes. I also really love the fact you talk to the owner when you call, too. I'm huge on supporting small business, and I'm a believer in the product now. Here's a pro/con list I've worked up for it:

    Pros:
    -Almost exact velocity match to actual BP
    -Produces just as much smoke and fire as any BP or sub does
    -Cleans up almost as easily as smokeless; a HUGE game changer to many who hate cleaning
    -Doesn't foul barrels up or require cleaning patches through a shooting session even if basically no lubes are used
    -Small business and owners are great guys with a product that simply works as advertised
    -Price is about the same as any other sub, minus the more expensive Triple 7
    -Granules are large for 2 and 3F compared to other subs, so bulks up density fantastic in cartridge/shotshell use
    -Doesn't require massive compression from bullet to get a fantastic ignition; light compression is all you need (due to granule size)

    Cons:
    -Granules are, as mentioned above, huge in comparison to other 2/3F powders...so normal flask spout holes will have to be very wide to dispense it without clogging. Works best with a scoop, and this mostly only happens with 2F. My biggest con, and using a scoop or shotgun dipper into a powder measure instead of flask solves this problem.
    -Smell might not appeal to all...it's a bit more acrid and sour than BP, but I've come to enjoy it just like I did Pyrodex. Is this really a con?
    -Might not be the best choice in things 36 caliber or smaller because of granule size...for me I don't use it in .32s yet, but will be trying it before too long as well.

    What about you guys? Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Other?
     
    Last edited:

    rseymorejr

    Active Member
    MDS Supporter
    Feb 28, 2011
    21,784
    Harford County
    I've recently switched over from Pyrodex to APP for almost everything percussion. For years I used Pyrodex, and still never had a problem with it...but cleaning and margin-of-error wise it is by far the most corrosive of all the BP subs. For the record, I've nothing against Pyrodex, and it works exactly as it should. Switching to APP has cut my cleanup time in half, and in certain things like shotguns it's legitimately no worse than smokeless cleanup. Seriously, shoot the gun all day...1 wet patch and some oil and the gun is done in minutes. I also really love the fact you talk to the owner when you call, too. I'm huge on supporting small business, and I'm a believer in the product now. Here's a pro/con list I've worked up for it:

    Pros:
    -Almost exact velocity match to actual BP
    -Produces just as much smoke and fire as any BP or sub does
    -Cleans up almost as easily as smokeless; a HUGE game changer to many who hate cleaning
    -Doesn't foul barrels up or require cleaning patches through a shooting session even if basically no lubes are used
    -Small business and owners are great guys with a product that simply works as advertised
    -Price is about the same as any other sub, minus the more expensive Triple 7
    -Granules are large for 2 and 3F compared to other subs, so bulks up density fantastic in cartridge/shotshell use
    -Doesn't require massive compression from bullet to get a fantastic ignition; light compression is all you need (due to granule size)

    Cons:
    -Granules are, as mentioned above, huge in comparison to other 2/3F powders...so normal flask spout holes will have to be very wide to dispense it without clogging. Works best with a scoop, and this mostly only happens with 2F. My biggest con, and using a scoop or shotgun dipper into a powder measure instead of flask solves this problem.
    -Smell might not appeal to all...it's a bit more acrid and sour than BP, but I've come to enjoy it just like I did Pyrodex. Is this really a con?
    -Might not be the best choice in things 36 caliber or smaller because of granule size...for me I don't use it in .32s yet, but will be trying it before too long as well.

    What about you guys? Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Other?
    You had me at "Less clean up time"

    I have 12 10 Gauge shotshells loaded up with it now. As soon as I make it out to the range to shoot them up I'll be able to tell you more. I'm expecting I won't be disappointed.
     

    Melnic

    Active Member
    MDS Supporter
    Dec 27, 2012
    13,146
    HoCo
    I started with APP when I got into a side lock. I used it to break in the barrel and get a lot of shooting time with a 54 sidelock. I had to keep my patch ultra clean from the cap to the breech but it worked. I agree about it being cleaner than real black powder and that the 2F granuals were big. My accuracy was not as good with it though. I ended up using it for making 45 Colt BP loads and was just fine for that use.

    Have you noticed any differences in accuracy? When I was using it with the 54 I worked up a load with real Black Powder, and then searched around the same range with aPP and the real BP shot about 20% tighter groups.
     

    The Saint

    Black Powder Nerd
    Dec 10, 2021
    186
    Baltimore County
    You had me at "Less clean up time"

    I have 12 10 Gauge shotshells loaded up with it now. As soon as I make it out to the range to shoot them up I'll be able to tell you more. I'm expecting I won't be disappointed.

    I put 50 shells through the Burgess, and it was literally like I shot smokeless all day. I was extremely impressed.

    I started with APP when I got into a side lock. I used it to break in the barrel and get a lot of shooting time with a 54 sidelock. I had to keep my patch ultra clean from the cap to the breech but it worked. I agree about it being cleaner than real black powder and that the 2F granuals were big. My accuracy was not as good with it though. I ended up using it for making 45 Colt BP loads and was just fine for that use.

    Have you noticed any differences in accuracy? When I was using it with the 54 I worked up a load with real Black Powder, and then searched around the same range with aPP and the real BP shot about 20% tighter groups.

    I've noticed no difference in my accuracy. Ran a bunch through my Smith carbine and it was almost stacking holes at 50 yards if I did my part. My POA/POI changed a little, but the group size is perfectly good. For a muzzleloader, at least in my .45 underhammer it's much of the same.
     

    Archeryrob

    Sir meat stuffer
    Mar 7, 2013
    2,270
    Fairplay, MD
    I loaded all the paper cartridges with it for the 44 with 21 grains, lubed wad and round ball on it. It does just fine and I like it being easier to clean and not having to clean it like black powder. They said shoots cleaner, but I can't tell the difference. If I don't oil my cylinder pin the cylinder will still bind up emptying the the second loading.

    I have not tried it in the Accura yet and might. 777 is leaving crusty crude down by the packed powder area. I would like to see if APP is even easier to clean. I stopped using Pyrodex because of cleaning it up.
     

    The Saint

    Black Powder Nerd
    Dec 10, 2021
    186
    Baltimore County
    I loaded all the paper cartridges with it for the 44 with 21 grains, lubed wad and round ball on it. It does just fine and I like it being easier to clean and not having to clean it like black powder. They said shoots cleaner, but I can't tell the difference. If I don't oil my cylinder pin the cylinder will still bind up emptying the the second loading.

    I have not tried it in the Accura yet and might. 777 is leaving crusty crude down by the packed powder area. I would like to see if APP is even easier to clean. I stopped using Pyrodex because of cleaning it up.

    Triple 7 and Pyrodex both use perchlorates as a base; which will produce that same flaky caked up crusty stuff you're talking about. The difference is Pyrodex also uses potassium nitrate (same as actual BP base) and perchlorate mix...where as Triple 7 is purely potassium perchlorate. That turns into a perchloride (nasty salts) when ignition happens, and = hard crusty sugar ring...and why if you forget to clean Pyro/T7 it's a death sentence to the gun, whereas actual black is more forgiving by comparison. APP uses ascorbic acid, basically Vitamin C, which not only should ignite easier, but will burn far cleaner...and should be less corrosive and more forgiving similar to actual BP.
     
    Last edited:

    GunBum

    Member
    Feb 21, 2018
    748
    SW Missouri
    Black powder and black powder substitutes both need fuel and oxidizer and something to lower the ignition temperature (sulfur for most of them). Traditional black powder is roughly 75% potassium nitrate (oxidizer), 15% Charcoal (fuel), and 10% sulfur. In reality, there are 1000’s of black powder recipes that have been used over the last 1000 years, so take those ratios with a grain of salt. Most black powder substitutes change the oxidizer, fuel, or both.

    The Oxidizers in Pyrodex and Triple 7 are both mixtures of potassium perchlorate and potassium nitrate. The actual ratios are trade secrets. If you don’t believe me, read the SDS for both of them. Pyrodex uses wood charcoal similar to traditional black powder. Triple 7 uses a sugar based fuel, and a few other additives. I’ve personally done the chemical analysis of both, so I can unequivocally state that their SDS is accurate, but missing a lot of proprietary information on “non hazardous” ingredients, and they really don’t want you to guess the perchlorate/nitrate ratio.



    According to the old SDS for APP, the ingredients are proprietary information. Since OSHA and the UN don’t play that game, the current SDS shows the oxidizers as, get ready for a shock, potassium nitrate and potassium perchlorate. I’ve never done chemical analysis of APP, but would like to. I’ll have to see what I can get away with at work.



    I’m going to hang my Chemist hood in the corner and call ******** on APP’s claims that they have something truly different. They may have a cleaner burning mix, but that’s it. It’ll still leave corrosive residue in your gun.
     

    The Saint

    Black Powder Nerd
    Dec 10, 2021
    186
    Baltimore County
    No one is claiming it's non-corrosive, just the least corrosive of the bunch. And it's the cleanest by a fair bit. Ascorbic acid is what the president of the company himself told me.
     

    GunBum

    Member
    Feb 21, 2018
    748
    SW Missouri
    I‘m not disputing what someone said, just pointing out that their official declaration for emergency purposes says that it is mostly potassium perchlorate and potassium nitrate. Ascorbic acid in pyrotechnic compositions is typically used as a fuel, not an oxidizer, and fuels in most black powder like substances are not the dangerous part (as far as hazmat response goes). So he may be honest stating that it is vitamin C based.

    If I had to guess on composition, he’s using a variation of “Golden Powder” which has been used in amateur pyrotechnics for decades. The lack of residue comes from the lack of sulfur.


     

    The Saint

    Black Powder Nerd
    Dec 10, 2021
    186
    Baltimore County
    Seems right to assume such, regardless...the stuff seems to work great in my experiences. I'll never switch back as long as I can order APP.
     

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