Never use smokeless powder of any type or in any quantity in a muzzleloading firearm, and never mix powders. The use of any smokeless powder could result in a detonation or explosion WHICH COULD CAUSE INJURY AND/OR DEATH TO THE SHOOTER OR BYSTANDERS AND DAMAGE TO PROPERTY.

Confine your use to Black Powder or Pyrodex and learn how to identify these powders and to use them correctly in your muzzleloading firearm. Here we will deal first with Black Powder for certainly it is the oldest of our propellant powders.

Black Powder is manufactured in four specific types or granulations for use in firearms. Generally speaking, it is the granule size which determines the appropriate use of Black Powder. Coarsest granulations are naturally the slowest burning and, therefore, work best in large caliber rifles and shotguns. Pistols or small caliber rifles require a finer or faster burning powder. The priming powder used in the pan of a flint lock is extremely fine and fast burning. The accompanying chart will help you to recognize the various granulations of Black Powder and to relate them to their proper use.


Discharging firearms in poorly ventilated areas, cleaning firearms or handling ammunition may result in exposure to lead and other substances known to cause birth defects, reproductive harm and other serious physical injury. Have adequate ventilation at all times. Wash hands thoroughly after exposure.

Black Powder Chart Showing The Appropriate Use Of The Various Granulations


FG (commonly called Single "F") The muzzleloading enthusiast finds little use for this very coarse black powder. It's use is restricted to the large bore (10, 8, 4 gauge) shotguns of yesterday.



FFG (commonly called Double "F") This is a very popular powder for the larger (.45 to .58 cal) rifles. It is also used for 12, 16, and 20 gauge muzzleloading shotguns. While it is not considered a pistol powder, it is sometimes used in very large caliber single shot pistols. It is recommended for use in the T/C in-line muzzleloaders.


FFFG (commonly called Triple "F") Due to its wide range of uses, Triple "F" is the black powder that is most commonly found on a dealer's shelf. It is used in all percussion revolvers, most single shot pistols, and most of the smaller (under .45 caliber) rifles. In a pinch, it can also be used to prime a flint lock.

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FFFFG (commonly called Four "F") The finest of all currently available black powders, Four "F" is best used for priming flint locks. Due to its limited use, it is sometimes difficult to obtain.

When purchasing Black Powder be certain that it is in the original manufacturer's container and that its granulation or type is clearly marked on the label. Follow the storage and handling precautions which are on the label. If you have any questions concerning the safe handling or storage of Black Powder, write to the manufacturer of the powder. Additional information on powder storage is available from the National Fire Protection Association, P.O. Box 9146, Quincy, Mass. 02269. Or call 1-800-344-3555. Ask for pamphlet #495.

This instructional booklet lists a range of Black Powder loads which are proper for your Thompson/Center firearm. Use only the granulation of Black Powder that is listed for your specific caliber and model. You will note that a series of charges are shown in each instance. The lightest charge shown for your firearm is the starting load. The heaviest charge listed is the maximum load. Start with the lightest load and work upwards gradually until you reach your best performing load. You will find that the best shooting load is well below the maximum charge listed.

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