Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Turkey Flats Jack

Home Brewing your own BP

Recommended Posts

I've mentioned several times that I make my own BP. I've had people ask me how to do it. I'm always hesitant to explain how I do it because if I forget something as i'm typing it up and someone follows it to a T they could harm themselves or damage a gun. That being said please DO NOT follow these instructions. There's plenty of write ups in various online places that give step by step instructions. Read them all. Do lots of research  before trying. There are multiple ways to get the same end result.  Should you choose to attempt it after that be sure to test your product many times before ever putting a projectile in front of it. It took me at least 10 times of various methods to get to what works for me. My current method is producing powder that gives me about 10 fps difference between it and GOEX cartridge. That's good enough for me.  I tried and tested for about a year before I was confident enough to take it to the range and use it. Getting started is not cheap and there was times where I thought it wasnt worth it. But after making and using about 10-15 lbs of powder I think i've about broke even.  

 

Basic mix:

75% potassium nitrate (powder form)

10% sulfur (powder form)

15% charcoal (softwood air float)

1% yellow dextrin

Yes I know that adds up to 101% it'll be ok. the dextrin is an additive to help the chemicals all bond to get an even mix of everything in each and every grain. It does reduce the power of the powder slightly but its a fair trade off to ensure consistency of every measure.  

 

Getting your Chemicals:

There's a lot of places to acquire them. I like ordering online from a place in florida called seed ranch. Of course the bigger the bulk order the cheaper it is per pound of product. Always use the highest quality chemicals to produce the best powder possible. I order 50 lb sacks of potassium nitrate and 5 lb bags of sulfur. I make my own charcoal and will take that into a separate step. Same as the Dextrin. https://www.seedranch.com/Default.asp

 

Charcoal:

I make my own. Proper charcoal will make or break your powder. You want a soft wood charcoal so buying the stuff you use for cooking out doesnt work to well. There's plenty of types of wood that work. Some are easier to find than others. I have an abundance of white pine scraps from other past projects so that's what I use. Cut the lumber into kindling. The thinner the better. You'll need a metal box of some sort. I happen to have a popcorn tin laying around. You know the kind that you get from the boyscout sales. Poke a single hole in the center of the lid. Drop the kindling in only filling it about 1/3 of the way. I've found filling it much more than that takes a long time to process and then I end up with a bunch that isnt useful on the bottom. I use a propane turkey fryer as a heat source. Place the tin directly in the flames of the torche. crank it wide open and wait. Do not walk away after all it is an open flame and also you'll need to know when to take the heat off. After a few minutes you'll likely notice smoke and/or a flame coming out of the vent you poked in the lid. That's what you're watching. when the smoke has died down to nothing it's time to turn off the propane. Let it cool and inspect your charcoal. It took a couple times for me to get the timing right. From there break the sticks down to fit into your rock tumbler. I use a harbor freight dual drum tumbler and .44 cal round balls to break it up. normally it takes about 8 hours to get it all turned into powder. You want it as fine as possible. Sift out any lumps and toss them aside for for the next batch. I wont bother to post a link to making charcoal i'm sure there's a lot of them on youtube and you can find the one that looks like it'll work best for you. 

 https://www.harborfreight.com/dual-drum-rotary-rock-tumbler-67632.html?_br_psugg_q=rock+tumbler

 

Dextrin:

Simple cornstarch you can find at just about any grocery store. take a cookie sheet or cake pan and line it with wax paper or tin foil. dump the cornstarch on to it and spread it out evenly. Put the oven on 400 degrees. Place the tray in the oven. Keep an eye on it. You do not want it to burn. When the top layer has turned a nice golden color pull it out, give it a good stir, level it back out and put it back in the oven. Repeat until you have an even golden color throughout. That's dextrin. 

 

Mixing your chemicals: 

By weight you want 75% potassium nitrate, 15% charcoal, 10% sulfur. I make small batches so I use 200 grams of KNO3, 20 grams of Sulfur, and 30 grams of charcoal. for a total of 250 grams. Now for the dextrin. I add in 2.5 grams (1% of the total batch weight) of it. I mix it all in the dual drum rock tumbler with the 44 cal lead balls. I put half of the ingredients in each drum. Not eyeballing it. I weigh it out into each drum. The longer you let it blend in the tumbler the better. I havent noticed a difference in quality between blending any longer than 16 hours though. I generally set the tumbler outside (plugged into a 100' extension cord stretched out fully from the house) and let it go for 12 hours. Less than 10 hours and i've had varying results. 12-16 hours seems to be my perfect time. Once that's done run it through a sifter if you get more than one or two clumps in either canister let it run longer. You may need to add more lead balls to help shorten the mix time. I generally run 25 per side but that's just what's worked for me. The finished product at this point is called green mill and is technically black powder. It will burn but doesnt work well as a propellant yet. 

 

Making pucks:

Before you can corn (granulate) your green mill you will need to compress it into pucks. I take my green mill and pour it into a stainless steel mixing bowl. Using a spray bottle with 50/50 rubbing alcohol and water mist it down. Mix with a wooden spoon and mist as needed. You dont want it dripping wet. just damp enough to make a dough like consistency. Once you have achieved that you'll be ready to make pucks. load your paste into the mold and compress it. I've tried and used several molds and methods of compression. What i've found works best for me are ones like Woodys puck maker. https://www.woodysrocks.com/store/p275/Black_Powder_Puck_Press_.html#/ and a harbor frieght hydraulic press. https://www.harborfreight.com/6-ton-a-frame-bench-shop-press-1666.html I have a pressure guage installed on my bottle jack. I aim for 1000 psi. i've found that more than that and it's difficult to corn. in addition to deforming the mold when you get much over 1100 psi. less than 800 psi and you'll find that your granules are easily broken into smaller grains once dried. Now that you have your pucks made they will need to dry. Where I live there's a lack of warm days and high humidity. So i've adapted another method of drying besides setting out in the sun. I use a chicken egg incubator. https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/little-giant-still-air-incubator?solr=1&cm_vc=-10005&st=incubator I set it about 3/4 of the way up. set my pucks in and let them dry overnight. 

 

Corning:

Now that your pucks are dry you're ready to corn or granulate it to the size grains that you want. Lots of ways to do this also but here goes what I do. Lay out newspaper on the basement floor then I put 1 puck at a time into a flat bottomed stainless steel bowl and grab my louisville slugger. Using a wooden bat and stainless bowl as a pedestal and mortar I break up the puck into flakes. removing small parts as I go to keep them from getting to small. once I have all my pucks broken down I run them through screens to sort by size. Any smaller grains than 3Fg I set aside to be reworked in the next batch of pucks. anything larger than 1Fg gets smacked with the bat again. I use these sifters https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GZ82RZK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I ordered the ones needed for 2Fg and 3 Fg. Standard kitchen strainer on top the 30 holes per inch on bottom. if the grains dont push through the kitchen strainer they get broken up some more. if they fall all the way out the bottom they get set aside for the next puck making session. anything that stays on the 20 holes per inch screen gets used for shotgun, anything that stays on the 30 holes per inch goes into pistol and rifle cartridges. 

 

Well folks there's what works for me. I do not recommend it to anyone and I beg of you to do lots and lots of research before attempting it. I'll be happy to point anyone in the right direction to find the info same as I did. Hope you enjoy this and as always keep your powder dry. well once you've granulated it anyways. 

 

T.F. Jack

 

 

 

BP mesh sizes.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It should be mixed wet. ;)

That's how the real BP makers do it.

OLG 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

It should be mixed wet. ;)

That's how the real BP makers do it.

OLG 

There's recipes out there for that method too. I remember my grandpa making it on the kitchen stove. Never learned that way I was to young. As mentioned more than once there's several ways to do it. Do your homework and pick what works for you. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Know of what you mean. 

Made my own BP in high school with components 'borrowed' from the school's lab.

OLG 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Know of what you mean. 

Made my own BP in high school with components 'borrowed' from the school's lab.

OLG 

 

Yep - I went to school so long ago - we made BP & firecracker powder in chemistry class & zip guns and crossbows in shop.  & had a .22 hanging in the back window of half the trucks in the school parking lot. More friendly times back then ....... I miss it. :-(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Yusta B. said:

 

Yep - I went to school so long ago - we made BP & firecracker powder in chemistry class & zip guns and crossbows in shop.  & had a .22 hanging in the back window of half the trucks in the school parking lot. More friendly times back then ....... I miss it. :-(

I was at the tail end of that. We made Bowie knives in shop class and there were still guns in pickups 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a friend who makes BP and it is wonderful powder, he is very dedicated and follows a strict routine.

A while back I came across about 40 lbs of black blasting powder [ 60 year old & in good condition ]  really big granules I'm presently wetting  and when dry  using an old wooden handle in a wooden bowl, it doesn't break down to a flake more of a powder..I've laid some on the ground & burns a treat.I did try a bit in the rifle when I first got the powder  &  worked fine.

I have now  loaded enough for the 44-40 pistols & rifle and as soon as I can I will give them a try.I can't see any reason why they won't be successful.

BP in Australia is mighty expensive, anywhere from $27 lb for 5FA to $50 lb for  2-3 FA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Painted Mohawk SASS 77785 said:

I have a friend who makes BP and it is wonderful powder, he is very dedicated and follows a strict routine.

A while back I came across about 40 lbs of black blasting powder [ 60 year old & in good condition ]  really big granules I'm presently wetting  and when dry  using an old wooden handle in a wooden bowl, it doesn't break down to a flake more of a powder..I've laid some on the ground & burns a treat.I did try a bit in the rifle when I first got the powder  &  worked fine.

I have now  loaded enough for the 44-40 pistols & rifle and as soon as I can I will give them a try.I can't see any reason why they won't be successful.

BP in Australia is mighty expensive, anywhere from $27 lb for 5FA to $50 lb for  2-3 FA.

yep to get a "flake" you'll have to compress it, dry it, then corn it (break it up) If you're "grinding it in the bowl it'll turn into more of a powder. if you "break" it up it'll be more of a flake.  even 1F will send lead down range. IMO the larger the flakes the less weight it takes to fill a case so your full case loads will be less recoil than say a case full of 3F.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.