Black powder or substitute?

While Pyrodex and other substitutes might burn cleaner, Danny Jones advises using authentic black powder in a flintlock to ensure the pan flashes.

“You have to use real black powder, because imitations like Pyrodex are just too hard to ignite,” Jones said.

Black powder comes in different-sized grains, and it’s important to use the proper grain for priming and barrel charge.

“The ‘F’ on the can shows the size of the granules,” Jones said. “The higher the number, the finer the grain and the easier it is to ignite.

“A 4F is usually used for priming a flintlock; 3F is often used for the barrel charge in rifles up to 45-caliber, and 2f is used for larger rifles and shotguns.”

Jones said individuals can order up to 25 pounds of black powder through the mail (and possess up to 50 pounds), but UPS and other shipping companies will charge a haz-mat fee.

Mail order is often the only way to obtain real black powder, he said.

“Hardly any sporting goods store carries it anymore,” Jones said. “They say it’s because of the haz-mat issue, but the true problem is probably because there’s less demand for real black powder. Most in-line shooters use Pyrodex or some other substitute.”

Track of the Wolf ( is a good source for flints and other muzzleloading necessities, and Louisiana’s own Jacks Powder Keg in Marksville ( is a popular supplier of black powder.

About Terry L. Jones 115 Articles
A native of Winn Parish, Terry L. Jones has enjoyed hunting and fishing North Louisiana’s woods and water for 50 years. He lives in West Monroe with his wife, Carol.