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Curio & Relic/Black Powder Curio & Relics and Black Powder Firearms, Old School shooting fun!

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Old 03-08-2011, 2:29 AM
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Default Home Making Your Own Black Powder

Some of us really, really, really, die hard BP enthusiasts have taken up a new hobby of home manufacturing our own Black Powder, which isn't as difficult as one might think, but, it isn't all that simple either.

The Basics...

The most typical Black Powder Formula, used for BP guns/cannons/mortars, is very simple. 75% Saltpeter (Potassium Nitrate), 15% Charcoal, and 10% Sulphur, with a binding agent such as Gum Arabic, or Dextrin (Powdered Sugar) added into the mix to bind the powder once it is dried. The formula can be varied somewhat, within limits, to yield powders with a little more, or a little less potentcy, but why bother? The old tried and true formula works just fine, and, if you want variances, vary the load, not the powder.

This is where the simplicity ends, and the messy preparations begin.

Using a triple beam scale, which can be mail ordered from various online suppliers, weigh out the ingrediants for the batch of Black Powder you wish to make. What this will mean, is that you will be generally limited to your maximum batch size, by the maximum batch size of the ball mill you have in your home work shop. In my case, I have a 16lb Ball Mill, which is the weight of the balls, in the mill chamber, NOT the weight of the product it can mill. My 16lb ball mill can handle a maximum batch size of a 5lb batch of Black Powder.

What is a ball mill you ask?

A ball mill, is a mixing/grinding mill generally used for the preparation and mixing of fine powders, generally, explosive or pyrotechnic powders. In the case of ball mills, used for the purpose of producing Black Powder, the ball mill rotating drum chamber, is filled 1/2 full, with lead balls, generally, in a small home mill, such as mine, that would be .490 round lead balls, the exact same lead balls I fire out of my 50 Caliber flintlock rifle. In my home mill, that works out to 16lbs of lead balls being tossed around the rotating chamber, knashing, grinding and mixing the chemicals of the Black Powder together into an ever finer, and finer powder dust and mixing the components together thoroughly.

We start by measuring out the ingrediants, by weight, to the specifications of the formula of 75% Saltpeter, 15% Charcoal, and 10% Sulphur. For a 5lb batch of Black Powder, the maximum capacity of my ball mill, that would be 3.75 lbs of Saltpeter, 12 ounces (English) of Charcoal, 8 ounces (English) of Sulphur, and 8 ounces (English) of Gum Arabic.

Take the Charcoal, Sulphur, and Gum Arabic, and place it inside the ball mill chamber. DO NOT ADD IN THE Saltpeter at this time. Close and seal the ball mill chamber, and turn the ball mill on, setting the speed of rotation to about 60 RPM, One (1) rotation per second. Let this mixture mill, or rotate, for 3 to 5 hours. The longer the mixure mills, the finer the powder will be, and the more potent the powder will be. I mill mine, at this step, for 6 hours. The result will be, a very finely ground powder, nearly a dust, that is medium dark grey, not black, like the charcoal, but grey.

Stop the mill when the desired fineness of powder granulation has been achieved. Add in the Saltpeter to the mill, also, at this time, add in 3 cups of clean, clear, distilled water. The final mixing phase of Black Powder, is done with a wet compound, to prevent the powder from accidentally igniting, which can happen inside the ball mill. Turn the mill on, again checking the speed of rotation, which will need to be adjusted since the thick wet slurry will have a tendency to drag on the ball mill motor, and slow the aparatus down a bit, adjust for this differential. Allow the mill to run, for 8 to 12 hours, checking the mill about every 2 hours to make sure the slurry is still wet, and adding in clear, clean, distilled water, from time to time, to replace the water lost in the mixing chamber due to evaporation. Never run the ball mill dry, with this mixture, as you risk a rather great risk of accidental ignition.

After 8 to 12 hours of final milling, turn the ball mill off. open up the ball mill chamber, and dump the entire contents of the mill chamber, mixing balls and all, onto a large cookie sheet, carefully, by hand, remove each of the balls from the ball mill mixture, pulling off as much of the wet black powder off of the surface of each ball, and dropping the black powder paste back onto the cookie sheet pile, and dropping the mixing balls, back into the ball mill chamber, separating the mixing balls, from the Wet Black Powder paste.

Once all of the balls have been removed from the wet black powder paste, rinse and clean the ball mill mixing chamber, and the balls in the chamber, with clear tap water, removing each of the rinsed balls, from the chamber one by one, and dropping them into a working bowl of some sort. perform the final rinse of the ball mill mixing chamber, dumping the water down the drain, and rinsing the ball mill mixing chamber several times, until no more black powder residue is present inside the chamber at all. Perform this step also, with the separated mixing balls, in the large working bowl. Dry the inside of the mixing chamber, with a towel, and allow the mixing chamber, and it's lid, to air dry overnight. lay out the damp mixing balls, on a second large cookie sheet, and allow the mixing balls to also air dry overnight.

Take a third large cookie sheet, and lay out a #10 framed screen (FG) Granulation grid. Dump the wet powder paste mix onto the framed screen. Knead, like with bread dough, the wet powder mix through the screen, dropping the bits and chuncks of black powder paste onto the cookie sheet below the screen frame. When all of the powder paste, has been kneaded through the screen, and there is a large pile, of kneaded chunks and bits of black powder paste droppings on the coookie sheet, allow the kneaded black powder bits and chunks to air dry for one (1) to three (3) days, until the powder chunks are completely and thoroughly dry.

The next step is grain sizing, or silexing. A "silex" or grain size, is determined by the grid of the sizing and separating screens used in the next steps. We will start with a #20 mesh screen. that is being shaken, gently, onto a #30 mesh screen. The #20 mesh screen, is the sizing for the 2F black powder grain size. any chunks, or bits, of dried black powder that will not easily pass through the #20 Screen, are larger than 2f grain size, those that do pass through, are smaller. take the top screen, the #20 mesh screen, and dump, the powder bits and chunks that would not pass through the screen, into the bowl of a motar and pestle set. The motars used for black powder, are heavy porcellan mortars, with wooden pestles. Carefully and slowly grind the large chunks down, with the mortar and pestle, into smaller and smaller chunks, And repeat this step until all powder chunks pass through the #20 mesh screen without being forced through.

Repeat this process, using the #30 mesh screen as the separator, and a #60 mesh screen below it. All black powder grains that pass through the #30 mesh screen, will be smaller than 2f grain size, those that do not pass through, are now sized to the 2f granulation size. At this point, you can make a decision, as to how much, 2f, 3f and 4f powder you wish to produce from your 5lb batch of black powder. Generally, your 5 lb batch of black powder will granulate out to about 1lb of 2f, 3 lbs of 3f and 1 pound of 4f or smaller, powder. If you want more 2f powder than you produced, then you will need to re-wet, and re-knead the powder chunks, that are not sized to the 2f size, air dry from 1 to 3 days, and repeat these sizing steps again, and again, until the desired amount of 2f granulated powder is produced. if you are happy with the mix of 2f powder to the rest of the batch, set the 2f powder aside, and continue on.

With the remaining powder, now on top of the #60 mesh screen, again, gently shake the #60 mesh screen, dropping down the powder that passes through the #60 mesh screen, down onto a #100 mesh screen. Those grains of powder that pass through the #60 mesh screen are smaller than the 3f size grain, those that will not pass through, are now correctly sized to the 3f Black Powder silex. If you are happy, with the amount of 3f powder produced during this sizing step, then set the 3f powder aside, and proceed onto the next sizing step. If not, then, you need to re-wet, re-knead, and re-dry the other, smaller sized grains to coagulate them up into larger grains.

The final sizing screen step, is done with the #100 mesh screen. All powder grains that easily pass through the #100 mesh screen, are smaller than the 4f granulation. Those that will not easily pass through, are of the 4f Black Powder granulation size. There should be, very little, if any, powder that will pass through the #100 mesh screen size. In most cases, so little, that it isn't worth the time and trouble to re-wet, re-knead, and re-dry the powder for another sizing sequence. Most people just dispose of this powder, by igniting it safely in their back yard on an open tray of some kind. Others, because it is so little, just mix it into the 4f powder, which is generally only used for flintlock priming pan uses.

Now your 5lb batch of Black Powder is correctly sized into the various piles of 2f, 3f and 4f Black Powder granulation sizes.

The next, and final step, is to coat, the powders, with finely ground graphite dust. The purpose of this step is to protect the Black Powder from moisture contamination. Black powder is a mild desicant, which means, it has a tendency to absorb water from the air. Coating the powder, with finely ground graphite dust, will protect the powder from exposure to damp air, and keep the powder dry. It also aids, just a little bit, in the ignition of the powder.

To do this, to perform the graphite dust coating. place one of the piles of the sized black powders, back into the ball mill mixing chamber. DO NOT ADD THE BALLS into the ball mill chamber. add in a small quantity of graphite powder dust, about a half a cup or so. close the ball mill chamber, and turn the ball mill on. allow the powder to tumble, with the graphite dust, for 30 minutes in the chamber. After 1/2 hour of tumbling, turn the ball mill off, open the ball mill chamber, and dump the powder/graphite mixture back onto the sizing screen from where the powder came. Gently shake out the powder on the sizing screen. The excess graphite powder will, shake out of the mix, this graphite powder can be recovered, and re-used for other powder coatings in the future. Now you have your coated black powder of the correct sizing, ready for storage.

Repeat this proceedure, for each of the silex groupings of the Black Powders, 2f, 3f and 4f.

Your powder is now ready for storage. Many of the pyrotechical supply companies, that offer the base chemical supplies for making black powders, also offer storage canisters, either plastic or metal/tin containers. Either is fine, but the plastic ones tend to be alot less expensive. I prefer, personally, to store my home made black powders, in small wooden kegs, which I purchase online and have shipped to me. The kegs come in sizes that will hold, 5, 10 or 25 lbs of black powder. They are a little on the pricey side, but not as expensive as one might assume. They are attractive, and are, after all, the traditional method of Black Powder storage from days gone by. They make for an interesting bit of conversation on the shooting ranges. I mark my black powder kegs with my trade mark, three big red X's, for my home made brand name, of "Tripple Red-X Black Powder". I also mark, the kegs, also in red, with the powder granulation, 2f, 3f or 4f. I do not bother to record a date of manufacture at all. Black powder, when properly made, dried, sized and coated with graphite dust, will, keep for HUNDREDS of years, and keep perfectly in-tact, not loosing ANY of it's potency AT ALL, over periodes of HUNDREDS of YEARS.

There are many accountings, of old black powder, found in storage caves, that was as good when found, as when made.

I hope all of you enjoyed my little article, on, "How To", make your own home-made Black Powder.

Sincerely,

Elvin Warrior... aka... David
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Last edited by ElvinWarrior; 03-09-2011 at 5:04 AM..
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Old 03-08-2011, 6:09 AM
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I trust you made the Saltpeter in the traditional method, using cow manure and urine?
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Old 03-08-2011, 7:00 AM
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OP, what kind of BP shooting are you into?
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Old 03-08-2011, 7:14 AM
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Sounds like a lot of work
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Old 03-08-2011, 7:38 AM
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Dear Tanner,

ummm, no, I don't fabricate my own saltpeter, I buy the chemical components from a pyrotechnical supply company, pyrocreations.com. They sell a Black Powder chemicals kit, which will make 10lbs of Black Powder, for, $59.97, plus shipping. That works out to $5.99/pound for Black Powder. Compare pricing for standard Goex, at around $29.00/lb, in less than 25lb lots.

Sincerely,

Elvin Warrior... aka,,, Dave
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Old 03-08-2011, 5:59 PM
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make crack like this....hahaha
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Old 03-08-2011, 9:10 PM
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I found the article rather interesting. Thanks.
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Old 03-08-2011, 9:49 PM
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Very interesting, thanks for the write up.
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Old 03-08-2011, 9:53 PM
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Default Home Making Your Own Black Powder, Part 2, Photos

Pictures are helpful, I find, in bringing a subject home to roost.

The following photo is a typical triple beam scale, available for around $100.00 from most online suppliers.



This is the chemicals supply kit, available from skylkighter.com. It costs $59.97, plus shipping, and is enough supplies to produce 10lbs of finished Black Powder.



The ball mill, used to mix and grind the components together. This model is a 15lb ball mill, and is available for $229.00 from pyrocreations.com



The sizing screens, this is a set of square sizing screens, containing 5 screens of screen meshes #10, 20, 40, 60 and 100, they are available for $139.85 for the set, and are available from skylighter.com



A large Mortar and Pestle, used to break up the dried Black Powder bits and chunks into the Fg, FFg, FFFg, and FFFFg granulations used by Black Powder shootists worldwide. It is available for $58.72 from skylighter.com



Sincerely,

Elvin Warriror... aka... David
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Last edited by ElvinWarrior; 03-08-2011 at 10:03 PM..
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:17 PM
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Dear Operator,

Nice Holsters !!! I may be placing an order with you soon for my lil puppy, my 31 Caliber, New Remington Pocket Pistol, 5-shot, with a 3-1/2" barrel. Actually, I have two of them, and I guess, I would need a shoulder style holster, along with an ankle version. I would like mine to be of white patent leather, and include two small pouches on each holster, to hold two spare cylinders for each pistol. I want the cylinder pouches as an integral part of the holster, as, these are black powder guns, and clumbsy, and time consumbing to re-load, it's best to carry pre-loaded spare cylinders around with a pistol of this style. My signature picture below is a photo of the stock pistol, from the factory, before I had it nickle and gold plated, and replaced the grips with immitation ivory plastic grips.

Sincerely,

Elvin Warrior... aka... David
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:23 PM
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Nicely put together post, ElvinWarrior! At the rate things are going, I might have to resort to this to feed my cannon, as getting Cannon Grade BP at an affordable price is getting pretty tough.
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Old 03-09-2011, 1:55 AM
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You do realize that you just put yourself on the terrorist watch list.
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Old 03-09-2011, 5:16 AM
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Dear Trickster,

I am only now getting on the list? Jeesh, I thought I had been on for years already !!!

LOL

Elvin Warrior... aka... David

A young friend of mine, Jason, whom will now also be on this list with us.... What are friends for right??? Jason really LOVES gattling guns, and yes, although the gattling gun he is posing with, is in miniature, it is in fact operational and does fire. Jason and his dad built that gattler, from plans and a partial kit, they did a wonderful job of it, it is an incredible piece, really, just an amazing gun !!! As some of you more savey BP enthusiasts have probably already surmised, yes, thats a VERY NICE Sharps 44/70 Rolling Block Carbine Jason is holding in the picture there. Ya gotta know, any dad that lays out $1,200.00 bux for ONE of his boys Birthday Presents, REALLY LOVES THAT KID !!! (Kudos to Dad there !!! Buying your son a gun he will pass down to his grandchildren is NOT SPOILING him, it's investing in his Future as a MAN !!!)

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Last edited by ElvinWarrior; 03-15-2011 at 3:25 AM.. Reason: more details, and more details.
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Old 03-09-2011, 5:23 AM
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Dear Grumpy,

Sounds like a plan and a half to me Sir !!! You could VERY EASILY properly size your cannon granulation in the first, kneading step, kneading ALL the powder to an appropriate cannon grainage. You would need no further grain separation steps at all that I can see. And the cost savings would be ENOURMOUS. At $59.97 for ten pounds worth of Black Powder supplies, thats $5.99 a pound !!! You can, drop the raw materials cost down even a little further, by buying more than 5 10lb kits at once, skylighter.com, the source referanced in my article, offers several quantity pricing tiers in their online catalog...

Good Shooting Buddy !!!

Sincerely,

Elvin Warrior... aka... David
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Old 03-09-2011, 6:04 AM
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You guys don't make your own charcoal? I met another calgunner last weekend who makes his own charcoal to make his own blackpowder. I might have to get into this as well.
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:48 AM
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Sydwaiz,

Well, actually, I have made my own charcoal in the past, but since the chemical supply kits come with their own charcoal, I generally don't bother with it unless I purchase the chemicals one by one, instead of in a kit. But, I rarely do that, since, the kit pricing for the blackpowder kit, is well below the individual pricing for the components.

But yes, both Dupont, and Colt swore on a stack of Bibles that the very best charcoal to use, for black powder manufacture, the charcoal that yeilds the best potency, is made from dried, wintered weeping willow branches. When I was a lad, in Ohio, and there were willow trees all over the place, getting wintered dried willow branch twigs was not all that tough to do. But out where I live now, there is a scarcity of Weeping Willow Trees in Los Angeles, and commeasurately, a scarcity of Weeping Willow branches as well.

The process for making the charcoal is pretty straight forward and simple. Most people just pick up an old style stove top pressure cooker. They pack the pressure cooker with Weeping Willow Branch Twigs cut to fit inside the pressure cooker when standing up on end. The lid is bolted down and sealed, the stove heat turned on beneath the pressure cooker, and you wait, for the heat, to break down the willow branches, producing a flamible gas that exits out of the top of the pressure cooker.The exiting gasses are set to flame and burned off. When the pressure cooker is no longer generating enough gasses to keep a steady flame going, the heat is turned off from under the pressure cooker, and the whole arrangement allowed to cool. When cooled, the pressure cooker is opened up, revealing a nice tidy batch of activated, ready to grind, willow charcoal twigs. The charcoal is crushed, and ground, with a large mortar and pestle. When all of the charcoal has been ground to a fine dust, the hobbyist is ready to proceed on with the actual black powder mixing phase.

Sincerely,

Elvin Warrior... aka... David
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:32 PM
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Just think, some folks on this forum are concerned about the hazard of residual lead dust in their tumbler media. :-)
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Old 03-09-2011, 1:09 PM
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Very interesting, thanks for the write up!
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Old 03-09-2011, 4:53 PM
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You may want to investigate this thread on another board before you attempt anything that may remove you from the gene pool: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthrea...ghlight=making
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Old 03-09-2011, 6:32 PM
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Keep in mind that powder mills would periodically detonate in the old days and be leveled. There is a reason that the mills weren't placed in populated areas. I think anyone making blackpowder in their residence is taking an unnessasary risk to life, limb, and property.
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Old 03-09-2011, 6:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smle-man View Post
Keep in mind that powder mills would periodically detonate in the old days and be leveled. There is a reason that the mills weren't placed in populated areas. I think anyone making blackpowder in their residence is taking an unnessasary risk to life, limb, and property.
Black powder doesn't detonate, it explodes. And really, anyone who doesn't understand the difference probably shouldn't be the type to make their own powder.
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Old 03-09-2011, 6:56 PM
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Dear Smle-Man,

Yes, you are correct, the danger of ignition in a ball mill is very real. The ball mill manufacturers suggest that, the ball mill be placed in a remote corner of ones back yard, inside an old top access floor freezer, dug into the ground, and with a remote power switch to power the mill on, and off, from a great distance away from the mill.

If this alone doesn't scare the crap out of you, then, okay, your ready to mix your own Black Powder. If you are timid about this process at all, my advice would be, don't go there.

Sincerely,

Elvin Warrior... aka... David
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Old 03-09-2011, 6:58 PM
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If you know what IYAOYAS stands for without googling, you are probably ok to make your own powder, too.
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Old 03-09-2011, 7:06 PM
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Dear Nodda Duma,

You are correct, Black Powder is classed as an explosive. Modern smokeless bullet powders are classed as propellants. There is a differance, however, it is rather slight. The differance between the rate of burning of modern smokeless powders, and that of Black Powder, is not that great. Modern smokeless powders are nearly explosives.

The real danger, is the fact, that Black Powder, can spontaeneously detonate, for no apparent outside reason, for internal reasons. A sudden shock, can set off Black Powder, a temperature increase, in the storage canister, storing the Black Powder, can result in an unexpected Black Powder detonation. Black Powder, that has been exposed to heat, can crystalize, the tiny crystals are very, very shock sensitive, nearly as sensitive as the chemicals used in ignition caps, mercury fulminate. Simply shaking, a flask of black powder, that has been exposed to heat, and has crystalized, will almost definately result in a very powerful explosion.

But, then again, none of us here are members of the BP forum because we are looking for a completely safe hobby. Heck, you can blow yourself up in your own home with a faulty gas stove, or a faulty gas water heater. With reaonable precautions, and reasonable care, Black Powder can be stored, and handled SAFELY. Throw out the precautions, and well....

Sincerely,

Elvin Warrior... aka... David
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Last edited by ElvinWarrior; 03-12-2011 at 12:20 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-09-2011, 7:08 PM
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problem is -- your far backyard may be close to my house - we don't all live on ten acre lots these days.
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Old 03-09-2011, 7:19 PM
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Dear Tallship...

Thanks for the link !!! It was very informative to read that thread. No, mixing explosives is not for the timid of heart, but I am not a novice in this at all, I have been home manufacturing my own fireworks and rockets since I was a wee lad old enough to send away to mail order suppliers who shipped dangerous chemicals, by mail, without HazMat and DOT regulations... Back in the good ol days when kids could order such things, over the counter, at drug stores, or, via mail order...

And yes, I still have all my fingers, and body parts intact. In fact, in all the years of my milling and mixing, I have never experianced an accidental ignition ever, not once. But, I always wet mix, and I always have the ball mill on a timer, so it shuts off automatically after 2 hours in case I forget to shut it off myself.

This isn't to say, that the danger isn't real, no, not at all. There is a danger of accidental ignition, this is a fact. But, with proper precautions, the danger is minimal, and, the safety precautions, such as, having the ball mills set up in a chamber, dug into the ground, with a top open to the sky, will severly limit any possible consequences of an accidental detonation greatly.

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Old 03-09-2011, 7:51 PM
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Heh. Brings back memories. Used to do this as a kid.

We would buy the Saltpeter, Sulphur and Charcoal at the pharmacy in the village.

Pharmacist would chuckle as he rang it up...

With just the three ingredients and a mortar and pestle, we had a real challenge to get enough homogeneity such that it would burn fast.
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Old 03-09-2011, 8:57 PM
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I thoroughly enjoy this thread.
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Old 03-10-2011, 7:04 AM
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Has life become so mundane for us that we need to engage in making our own black powder? To the earlier commentator, you are right I have no business making propellants or explosives. I learned in the Army that things that explode or detonate or whatever will do so when they shouldn't the longer you are around them. With all sincerity, best of luck with the powder production.
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Old 03-10-2011, 7:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smle-man View Post
Has life become so mundane for us that we need to engage in making our own black powder?
That's like asking why people still hunt when there are grocery stores to buy meat.
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Old 03-10-2011, 8:57 AM
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Has life become so mundane for us that we need to engage in making our own black powder? To the earlier commentator, you are right I have no business making propellants or explosives. I learned in the Army that things that explode or detonate or whatever will do so when they shouldn't the longer you are around them. With all sincerity, best of luck with the powder production.
making black powder seems like one of the least mundane things I can think of.
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Old 03-10-2011, 9:31 AM
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And I thought the casting and swaging of bullets was hardcore...
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:17 AM
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I should add to my cavalier post about making powder as a kid:

Kids, don't try this at home.

and

We used marble or wooden mortar and pestles, with very small batches, very slowly.
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Old 03-10-2011, 3:10 PM
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Making black powder at home isn't mundane at all. It is right up there with hunting a grizzly with a flint tip spear. More potential excitement than I need in my life.
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Old 03-10-2011, 3:16 PM
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Dear Nodda Duma,


The real danger, is the fact, that Black Powder, can spontaeneously explode,
Fixed it for you

Detonation sets up a concussion wave which propogates faster than the speed of sound. Since the concussion wave velocity is higher than the speed of sound, they are referred to as high explosive. Trinitrotoluene would be considered a high explosive... not because it is sensitive, but because it detonates when it explodes.

Deflagration is an explosion in which the concussion wave propagates slower than the speed of sound. Since the propagation wave velocity is lower than the speed of sound, materials that deflagrate are considered low explosives. Black powder is in this category. Technically so is firewood. Note that propellants also fall in this category (propagation wave is slower than the speed of sound), and the actual nomenclature depends on the use. Use smokeless powder to propel a round down a barrel, it is a propellant. Pack it into a tube to blow up ant hills, it's an explosive.


By the way, many explosives will fall into one or the other category depending solely on either the amount of or the method in which energy is introduced into the system. For example, when a high explosive for ordnance is developed, you really only want it to detonate under a very narrow set of conditions... ie, when you detonate it with the fuse (which is part of the safe-arm device). Typically, the fuse will contain a small amount of more sensitive explosive that sets up a detonation wave, which then propagates into the main fill which in turn detonates. However, in a storage facility fire -- assuming you store the ordnance with the fuse removed -- you'd just want the fill to burn.
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Old 03-11-2011, 12:16 PM
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Interesting article. I'm keeping a copy. I may need it someday
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Old 03-11-2011, 7:28 PM
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ElvinWarrior,

Thanks for an excellent writeup. So far I have only attempted the so-called CIA field-expedient method, but with poor results. However, each time I get it a little better. The trick seems to be to take more time grinding the ingredients finer and finer. I chose this method since it was cheaper, but may soon resort to the ball mill. Anyway, wondering if anyone else has used this method with success.

Thanks,
-bill
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Old 03-12-2011, 12:40 AM
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Noda,

Thanks for the excellant commentary, and for explaining the concept of the detonation wave in classifying the differance between a high explosive, and a low explosive. Thanks also for pointing out, that both Black Powder, and modern smokeles powders are both technically explosives, depending more on how they are used, than their inherant characteristics.

Wing...

Never done the "CIA Methode", but you are correct, grinding and mixing, for hours and hours is the KEY to producing high grade Black Powder. Unless you happen to have an expendible 9 year old relative, who can sit at a motar and pestle for 8 hours at a time, grinding, grinding, grinding the entire time... Well then, a ball mill isn't just nice to have, it's MANDATORY. Without the ball mill, the powders produced will be dissappointing, to say the least.

smle-man...

Hunting Grissly with a flint tipped spear would not be something I would ever try to do, My preferred methode of hunting grissly, is, to carry my 58 caliber flintlock, loaded with a double load of Black Powder and a minnie ball, and, to also have at my side, my back up arm of a Le-Mat pistol. (The Le-Mat was the high officers pistol of the civil war southern officers, it was a 45 Caliber revolver with a 9 shot cylinder, and, a secondary 20ga shotgun barrel) I would load the 20Ga with a solid patched round ball. That would give me a total of 11 Shots, ten for the Le-Mat, and one for the 58 caliber rifle. I would feel pretty confident with that set-up.

Sincerely,

Elvin Warrior... aka... David

The Le-Mat, manufactured by F. LLI. Pietta of Itally, Dixie carries these at around $825.00 a copy, I think EMF (Early Modern Firearms) Also carries the Le-mat by Pietta, but they want over a thousand dollars for theirs. I get the distinct feeling that Dixie may be having a few sales soon, as they are overstocked on their more pricey guns at the moment, I wouldn't be too surprised if they offered the Le-Mat for around $600.00 at on or about the begining of next summer.

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Last edited by ElvinWarrior; 03-12-2011 at 12:53 AM.. Reason: Added details, corrected spelling
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Old 03-12-2011, 7:22 AM
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That is a fine looking pistol. Adding to my "I want" list!
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Old 03-12-2011, 7:39 AM
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I'd find a way to blow my self up doing all those instructions
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