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To buy or to make black powder????????


Pee Wee #15785
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What is the option for black since one of the biggest USA maker is stopping production.  I can make my own but getting a good charcoal is the hard part.  Making small amounts isn't to unsafe as I don't have fines in the air for a spark to set off.  Mine isn't as good as Swiss but it works.

 

Would you take $200-$300 and spend it on black now or just buy what you need to make it??????

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I think it would depend on the age of my guns. Actual BP built guns from the 1800s, I would go ahead and get genuine BP. If modern, stronger repros or guns made in the 20th Century, I would be more open to rolling your own.

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16 minutes ago, DeaconKC said:

I think it would depend on the age of my guns. Actual BP built guns from the 1800s, I would go ahead and get genuine BP. If modern, stronger repros or guns made in the 20th Century, I would be more open to rolling your own.

 

It's difficult to get homemade powder close to as powerful as that of commercial made. It takes pure ingredients and a controlled process and professional equipment.  

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I'll continue to buy imported Black powder.   Diamondback, Schutzen, etc.

 

I don't have enough spare lives left to make tens of pounds of Black.

 

good luck, GJ

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2 hours ago, Warden Callaway said:

 

It's difficult to get homemade powder close to as powerful as that of commercial made. It takes pure ingredients and a controlled process and professional equipment.  

Thanks! You learn something new everyday!

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There are chemical suppliers who specialize in fireworks that sell the necessary components for black powder (and other stuff). 

Skylighter.com is one such place.  

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I've made it. Nothing I ever made was as good as even the cheapest stuff that I could buy. Also... it's kinda dangerous. 

 

Snakebite

 

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An excerpt from an investigation ( CHEMICAL ENGINEERING TRANSACTIONS VOL. 31, 2013 )

into an explosion at the GOEX facility in Minden, the same facility closed by Hodgdon:

 

An accidental explosion at the GOEX powder manufacturing facility in Minden, Louisiana destroyed a section of the plant on June 7, 2011. The plant is the last black powder manufacturing facility in North America, producing product for a wide range of customers. The explosion originated in the corning mill where pressed black powder cakes were fed through an aluminum worm screw into a feed hopper and then moved along four sets of rolls and sieved shakers to reduce the size to the desired granular dimensions. The explosion fragmented the screw worm and hopper and destroyed the corning mill structure. Subsequent examination of recovered fragments of the screw worm suggested that the incident was likely triggered when a piece of quartz that had contaminated the batch impacted the aluminum worm. The friction generated enough heat to initiate the explosion. An alternate mechanism that could not be ruled out was frictional heating due to a fragmentation failure of the aluminum worm. Due to the nature of this product, it might not be possible to eliminate such events during the corning operation.

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As a retired chemist who has made black powder in the past my advise is DON'T DO IT !!!!    If you do manage to make some it will be only useful for fireworks, etc. Impossible for the "home chemist" to make high quality BP fit for firearms.

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If you have plenty of time on your hands and don't mind tedious work by all means make your own. But test it and retest it before taking it to a match where there's others. I make mine but it's not for everyone. 

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You get some coal, some potassium nitrate and some sulfur.  You mash the coal into as small chunks as you can and mix the three substances together.   

You now have perfectly good gun powder that can be used in a cannon made out of bamboo to shoot at any Gorns that are menacing you.

Hey it worked for Captain Kirk!

 

After you do that, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona I'd like to sell you.

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I won't go into how you make gunpowder as I have only 2 lb of experience. 

 

There are thousands of directions and examples of making black powder available.  Some are what I'd say good examples and some I'd say where fools only tread.  Many are making powder for fireworks.  They tend to very the process to achieve different goals.  

 

I've seen videos of primitive people making it in thatched huts with toddlers squatted over them while they are drying it over an open fire.  I've seen what look to be Afghanis squatted over a fire in their back yard making it. Modern people cooking in on their range tops. 

 

I did a lot of reading and watching videos before deciding on the method I was going to use. And the basic ingredients.  I had a mentor on this forum and another on The High Road black powder forum that I drew a lot of direction from.   

 

The basic ingredients are pretty much inert when seporate.  When combined, the mixture become gunpowder, even if a lower forum,  and safety precautions need to be followed as you would the finished product.  It's simple to make gunpowder.  It takes a lot more work to make a powerful gunpowder that approximate the power of store bought.  

 

The biggest health problem I've discovered is that the exposure to potassium nitrate drops my blood pressure to the point where it takes a half day in a recliner to recover. I started wearing a mask and using gloves. 

 

It's said one of Daniel Boone's slaves was a valuable asset because he could make gunpowder. 

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Sawmill Mary and I had a great day yesterday shooting and socializing with the Mountain Oysters Gang in Higginville, MO.  It was their last match of the year and had a special celebration lunch after.

 

I left one tombstone standing from a clean match.  :unsure:

 

573449728_WardenCallawayOct32021Higginville.jpg.0ba7ccc2f4e2a272a2973e3967d6aae9.jpg

 

I was shooting my 44WCF loads with my homemade black powder.  Full compressed loads. 200g Lee bullet lubed with Javilina.  All three guns performed fine with no maintenance between the 6 stages. 

 

At home, the guns showed the expected contamination but still had no buildup and were still running fine.  Cleaned the pistols with running tap water and bronze brush. Clean up was easy. Even the Marlin with Micro-Groove rifling was still fine - lots of rifling showing end to end. I ran a wet bore snake through the it and it was clean.  

 

I may make some more over winter,  if time and weather permit, just to keep my hand in. 

 

 

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The first step making good black powder is combing the compounds using a 10 ton wheel mill with properly prepared charcoal for 24 hours.  Using a ball mill will not compete with the same quality as a wheel mill.  The Chinese use ball mills and the reason for an inferior grade of powder

Same with individuals making their own ….

Edited by John Boy
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12 minutes ago, John Boy said:

The first step making good black powder is combing the compounds using a 10 ton wheel mill with properly prepared charcoal for 24 hours.  Using a ball mill will not compete with the same quality as a wheel mill.  The Chinese use ball mills and the reason for an inferior grade of powder

Same with individuals making their own ….

 

I told a couple of my black powder buddies that I was shooting black powder I had made myself. But I suspect nobody else noticed the difference.

 

 

 

 

1861849643_CimarronAmerican44WCFaftermatchoct2021.jpg.6fbab2697a5484eb7698182e67703f0f.jpg

 

Here is the cylinder face and gap after 6 stages with no attention between.

 

I'd say a successful test.

 

My powder is less dense and less powerful by some small amount.  I can measure by volume of Goex and weigh it. Then the same volume of my homemade.  Weigh each volume and you'll find the homemade lighter.  The amount lighter looks to me about proportional to how much weaker the power.  So if you're loading 30 grains by volume of Goex, you may have to load 35 grains of homemade. 

 

My cost for raw materials is about $3/lb.   Could be less if buying buying in volume.  Could be considerably more if buying stump remover. Very time consuming an messy.  But lots better than not having a source. 

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