I do quite a bit of muzzleloader shooting. Due to few businesses carrying black powder in my area, I have been using Pyrodex black powder substitute. I have found Pyrodex to be difficult to clean, even using products like Ballistol (which made cleanup far easier that previously used methods).
I recently purchased a pound of American Pioneer powder, a black powder substitute. The package states not to use oil based lubricants when shooting and also states the product will clean up using just water.
I was frustrated about the lack on information online about this powder. Most of the information I could find was from the company’s website.
Yesterday I fired approximately 30 rounds through my Springfield Hawken Percussion rifle using American Pioneer powder. The barrel did not foul as rapidly as it does when shooting Pyrodex. Recoil was slightly sharper than similar loads by weight when using Pyrodex, and the report sounded more like smokeless powder. Similar volumes of white smoke compared to Pyrodex was generated by the American Pioneer powder, and accuracy was similar. After approximately 15 shots I started lubing the patches with spit, which made loading slightly easier.
Then it was time to clean the rifle.
I removed the cone (nipple for those who insist on using historically incorrect terms) and placed the barrel in a bucket of lukewarm water. No other solvents or oils were added. I ran three cleaning patches down the barrel using the patch jag. The third patch came out clean. I have never been so impressed. I oiled the rifle with Ballistol and put it in storage. I plan to check it in a few days to check for any harmful effects, a process I have found to be necessary when cleaning up after Pyrodex..
I next plan to test American Pioneer Powder in cartridges vs Pyrodex in cartridges so stay tuned for part 2.