These photographs show the firing sequence of a black powder .577 Enfield percussion rifle during chronograph testing of loads used. It is absolutely vital for us not to exceed the maximum muzzle velocity and energy specified in our Range Safety Certificate and due to the highly variable nature of black powder, testing is necessary. With metallic cartridges, the ballistic properties are specified by the manufacturers, but as every load of black powder is made up individually, the firer must gain knowledge of what is safe by direct measurement.
The chronograph used by the club can be seen mounted on a tripod in front of the firer and contrary to what might be imagined, it survived the tests unscathed. The large amount of smoke and dust produced when firing black powder means that it is necessary to have both good range ventilation and to keep the floor clean so as to avoid a build up of debris. The range floor needs to be washed with water on a regular basis, as this neutralises any powder residue.