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I've been playing a bit of "mad scientist" the last couple of months.  Mostly because of the urging of my son.  He'd like to make his own black powder but he lives in suburbia and really hasn't the space.  

 

I know others on the Wire make their own black powder.  

 

I've watched a lot of videos and read a lot online about the process.  On one hand, it's a primitive skill.  Wild men of Borneo squatted over an open fine in a thatched hut make it to shoot in their crudely made muskets.   On the other hand,  it's rocket science.  There are many who are into pyrotechnics.  They make black powder for many special applications - as rocket propellant,  sound, display, etc.  And go to great detail in the process. 

 

While there are hundreds of videos showing the process of making black powder,  I ran across this video that was well produced.  

 

 

 

In my own experiments, I've found that I had to press the powder into "pucks" and crush and screen to get near the performance level as Goex. 

 

The economics of the home made black powder is very attractive if you don't count labor or equipment investment.   The bought potassium nitrate and sulfur add up to about $3/lb. I made my own willow charcoal.  It could cost less per pound if bought in larger volume.  It could even be free if you make your own potassium nitrate and sulfur.  

 

I've made enough to know how to make black powder, have enough raw material to make 20 pounds, and a ball mill and improvised suport equipment should I decide to make more. But it's a time consuming and dirty ordeal.  This morning I bought some Grafs FFFg. 

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Just a thought to consider.

If by some very bad luck there is fire caused by your making gun powder (black powder included) your home/car insurance is void.

 

Edited by Cliff Hanger #3720LR
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I was Grade school age and my Laboratory was in the basement beside the furnace.  Carefully I mix the three ingredients together before grinding the mixture with a mortar  and pestle.  Put the mixture in a “borrowed” cake pan half full of dirt.  Lite a match and...nothing!  Mixture wouldn’t lite!  Same result with the second mixture.  But my third attempt went off in a substantial cloud of smoke as did the first two batches I had left in the cake pan.  The running furnace fan promptly distributed the sulfur smell throughout the house.  For some strange reason my mother didn’t accept my “I don’t know” answer.

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I made it many years ago. Mine was poor quality and I was scared the whole time I was doing it. Not something I ever expect to do again.

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Charcoal, sulphur, salt peter pretty basic but very dangerous to mix.

A neighborhood chum tried it using a mortar and pestle and ended up minus a couple of fingers !!!!

Not worth the danger factor!!

Buy it already made, better consistency and much safer.

My two cents

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The puck method is the best method but everytime I ratchet my shop press tighter I lose a few minutes of my life out of anxiety.

 

I've worked in chemical manufacturing for the past 7 years though as a chemist, working with rocket fuel, drums of pharma grade acids, and all manner of flammable and explosive materials so I'm a bit desensitized to it. One time a drum of pure hydrochloric ruptured and poured out all over me. My leg was literally smoking, but without even thinking I rolled the drum over so the hole was on top, threw off my coat and clothes and was in the emergency shower in seconds. I was lucky, but the safety protocols and mundane trainings and practices saved my life.

 

Chemistry is fun, if you're trained and careful. But don't be an idiot. That's my disclaimer.

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7 hours ago, Constable Nelson #11784 said:

Don't powder mills mix it WET? 

 

Mills mix dry so the components dont stick to the walls of the drum.

 

There are a few wet methods, one of which is an alcohol precipitation method, the other is a slurry method. Both are ok for fireworks but wont provide ballistics comparable to firearm powders like goex.

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10 hours ago, Snakejaw_Joe said:

The puck method is the best method but everytime I ratchet my shop press tighter I lose a few minutes of my life out of anxiety.

 

I've worked in chemical manufacturing for the past 7 years though as a chemist, working with rocket fuel, drums of pharma grade acids, and all manner of flammable and explosive materials so I'm a bit desensitized to it. One time a drum of pure hydrochloric ruptured and poured out all over me. My leg was literally smoking, but without even thinking I rolled the drum over so the hole was on top, threw off my coat and clothes and was in the emergency shower in seconds. I was lucky, but the safety protocols and mundane trainings and practices saved my life.

 

Chemistry is fun, if you're trained and careful. But don't be an idiot. That's my disclaimer.

Still have the scars from another persons FU in lab.  As others have stated, far safer to buy it and maybe cheaper in the long run.  

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8 hours ago, Ramblin Gambler said:

Has anyone shot a match with homemade powder?  That would be impressive. 

 

 

Once the primer situation stabilizes, I will be!

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Made a lot when I was a kid, was a lot of fun. Made our own fuses, placed the stuff in small co2 cylinders, lit, and ran. Quite an explosion. Also made our own toy cannons and worked very well. Would be cool to video.

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2 hours ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

You mean, you just don't take coal, sulfur and potassium nitrate and mush it all together in equal amounts?

 

Certainly worked for Captain Kirk!  Good thing the Metrons knew the formula...

 

CS

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Kirk defeats the Gorn with homemade gunpowder.

 

1 hour ago, Count Sandor, SASS #74075 said:

Certainly worked for Captain Kirk!  Good thing the Metrons knew the formula...

 

CS

 

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2 minutes ago, Ramblin Gambler said:

 

Sounds like you need to home make some primers too then. 

 

As much fun as it would be, I'll leave the Lead Styphnate synthesis to CCI and Federal :lol: 

 

See its like this... I'll sit at the poker table... but my limit is a $10 big blind. All about that cost/benefit analysis

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1 hour ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

Ugh...   I wanted to post that video, but Youtube has it flagged as age inappropriate.   What's up with that?

liberal democrats

 

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In the post apocalyptic world, a maker of black powder will be a valued and protected member of any society.  (Kinda like Master of Master/Blaster fame.)

Develope you skills before they're needed.  Bona futura.

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22 hours ago, Joke 'um said:

In the post apocalyptic world, a maker of black powder will be a valued and protected member of any society.  (Kinda like Master of Master/Blaster fame.)

Develope you skills before they're needed.  Bona futura.

 

My initial objective was to gather minimum equipment and supplies to produce a viable product. 

 

 

 

At this time raw materials are easy to come by.  This was made with food grade saltpeter, homemade willow charcoal, and garden variety sulfur.  

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As to making your own primers, there is also the Frankford Arsenal H-48 mixture created for the 30-40 Krag round. No azides or styphnates required.

There is a fella online selling a pre made mix (mix 3 parts). I would be willing to bet dollars to buttons (the exchange rate is too high on donuts these days) that his mix is the old Frankford Arsenal H-48 recipe. Do a search for “22 reloader”. Fella has a mixture called “Prime All”

The main drawback on this mix is that it creates potassium chloride as one of the post combustion products. So this is not a “non-corrosive” mix. Standard water based black powder cleaning agents will deal with removing the salt.
Those using smokeless powder would need to consider how to get the salts out, typical oil based cleaners won’t do it.

 

 

Edited by Fire N Iron
Deleted link to commercial website. I don’t have any affiliation but thought I might be transgressing.
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9 hours ago, Fire N Iron said:

As to making your own primers,

 

Son bought a kit to rebuild primers and also a kit to make caps out of beer cans.  It's unclear if he's experimented with it.  He says he's going to bring it down in June. 

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In "CAST BOOLITS" classics & stickies there is a very long stickie on making your own black powder which makes good reading if you want to do your own.  In high school a friend and me made some in our chemistry class.  There was a a black spot on the ceiling my last 2 years of high school where we touched it off in the ceramic dish we made it in.  Another time we made what the teacher said was nito.  That one had all the kids rushed out of the school and the fire department came in.  One of the firemen took it out side poured it out and used his Zippo to set it to burning.  No big bing or anything.  The things we did in our youth.

Edited by Pee Wee #15785
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On 4/13/2021 at 5:40 AM, Fire N Iron said:

 

The main drawback on this mix is that it creates potassium chloride as one of the post combustion products. So this is not a “non-corrosive” mix. Standard water based black powder cleaning agents will deal with removing the salt.
Those using smokeless powder would need to consider how to get the salts out, typical oil based cleaners won’t do it.

 

 

Do what the British Army did for many years... pour 2 pints of boiling water down the barrel!:D

Edited by Constable Nelson #11784
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On 4/9/2021 at 11:49 PM, Ramblin Gambler said:

Has anyone shot a match with homemade powder?  That would be impressive. 

 

I do and have for about the last year or so.

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6 hours ago, Turkey Flats Jack said:

I do and have for about the last year or so.

 

That's pretty cool.  2 questions

1.  Front stuffers or suppositories?  I imagine the rifles are suppositories, but do you use the homemade powder with them too?

2.  Any differences in power or failure rate between home made and commercially bought? 

 

 

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54 minutes ago, Ramblin Gambler said:

 

That's pretty cool.  2 questions

1.  Front stuffers or suppositories?  I imagine the rifles are suppositories, but do you use the homemade powder with them too?

2.  Any differences in power or failure rate between home made and commercially bought? 

 

 

I load cartridges with my powder. I practiced and tested my batches for months before I ever attempted to load any into a cap gun. Then several more months of testing before I took it to a match. My home brew is about 10fps off of what I metered goex cartridge at. Good enough for me. As long as I don't change any of my methods my powder stays about 5-10 fps from batch to batch. I haven't ever had any that failed to burn but my first few batches were not burning evenly. Changed a few things in my procedures and it worked out.  Anytime any of my materials change I run a test batch before using any at a match. I did a write up (last year? Maybe the year before) on here about my methods. I'm terrible with the search feature or I'd link it.

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On 4/12/2021 at 2:40 PM, Fire N Iron said:

As to making your own primers, there is also the Frankford Arsenal H-48 mixture created for the 30-40 Krag round. No azides or styphnates required.

There is a fella online selling a pre made mix (mix 3 parts). I would be willing to bet dollars to buttons (the exchange rate is too high on donuts these days) that his mix is the old Frankford Arsenal H-48 recipe. Do a search for “22 reloader”. Fella has a mixture called “Prime All”

The main drawback on this mix is that it creates potassium chloride as one of the post combustion products. So this is not a “non-corrosive” mix. Standard water based black powder cleaning agents will deal with removing the salt.
Those using smokeless powder would need to consider how to get the salts out, typical oil based cleaners won’t do it.

 

 

Sold some stuff recently so I bought the prime all compound and cap making tool.  We'll see how it goes, planning to keep this compound away from my smokeless guns for the time being since I'm mostly shooting cap and ball right now recreationally, I won't have to dip into my purchased primers very often.

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