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Very interesting. Great work figuring that one out.

I read once that you calculate your black powder rifle charges by starting with about as much as a .38 shell will hold, which is what, about 20 grains? Lay a panel of white painted plywood over the bench, start loading, and when you find unburned powder dropped on the wood, you've reached maximum. Once you know your max load, start working backwards, shooting for scores, three round groups, and then you take the load that gives a good compromise in velocity and accuracy.

It's not like smokeless, it's pretty forgiving. Dixie Gun Works used to test barrels by sealing both ends with a plug, and setting off the charge through a nipple with a fuse. Must have been interesting to see/hear it as the powder blew out of the nipple.
 
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