These new plugs had to get longer in order for us to be able to get our fingers on them,to be able to remove them quickly. Longer is not necessarily a bad thing (unless it's a bad design) but it is something to take into account when planning your load.
OK, so it's longer. Now what?
Well, the first thing that has to be considered with the added length is the obvious increased distance from the business end of the primer to the powder. (In primer world, this added length was like 1.23 miles!)
Primers only have so much juice, and so much juice only produces so much fire and hot gas. Some very high-tech research has just gotten underway that will tell us what exactly is going on inside that fire channel, and sometime later this year that info will be available. It will be extremely useful, but we're all just going to have to wait for the results. For now, more fire is better.
Even though the 209 primer produces very hot fire, very fast, that fire also cools and reduces in it's intensity very rapidly while making that long trip. You have to think how far the 209 SHOTGUN SHELL PRIMER was designed to throw it's fire to really put it in perspective. But the right 209 primer in these new breech plugs is more than sufficient.
One way Thompson Center has reduced this distance from primer to powder is by dishing out the face of the plug, another topic for later. I hope others follow suit with this feature, it has more value than just cutting the distance but more on that later.
The best fix: hotter primers. This has always been recommended by Blackhorn when using Blackhorn 209 Powder which has a higher flashpoint. But hotter primers will help all the way around, regardless of what powder you shoot. I really wasn't too fond of the higher impact primers with the shorter breech plugs, but they're looking more like the way to go with today's new breech plugs.
One of the main things to look for in a primer besides the fire it produces, is how consistent they are in producing the same amount of fire each time. Some brands are noticeably more consistent than others.
Another key to making these new plugs reliable is to keep them clean, extra clean. CLEAN. A deep topic, but not for this post.
So, longer is not necessarily bad, if the design is good. But the two things we can control that will effect the performance in a good way are:
1. More fire.
2. Cleaner operating space for the fire we have.
In the next few weeks, I'm going to set up the range and do a current primer test. It's been a two years since my last one (as seen in my DVD "Precision Fire Inlines" and also in a previous blog post "209 Primers & Modern Muzzleloading") and it's a good time for another one. I have picked up a few thousand of 11 different 209 primers and I'm interested to see what the new ones are made of. You can bet I'll share my results with all of you right here on the MAX Blog.
I gotta say that here and on MAX's Facebook, I might have just started talking about breech plugs, but in reality I've spent the last 6 months attending "Breech Plug University" where I'm about to graduate with a Master's Degree! Ha! The side-affect of all that research has been the really cool development of some items that will help with all that cleaning we have to do.
But for now, that's my take on "Length". Next we'll be moving on to "Fire Channel" (some may call it the "Flash Channel") and "Transition Area"....right here in a few days...