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Old April 7, 2009, 10:15 PM   #1
pappy177
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Make Black Powder

I have been swamped with questions on how I make my black powder so here is a short tutorial.

Go here http://www.wichitabuggywhip.com/fire...ckpowder2.html

It will explain more than i can type tonite. I make my charcoal from kiln dried white pine , that is important.
DO not use the Precipitation or CIA Method as you will get ****.
You CAN make better BP than you can buy. You cannot blow up your gun or hurt it if not overcharged.
After I ball mill it for 6-10 hours I put it into a plastic tub and stir while spraying with a 50-50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water till just damp with an old 409 sprayer (you will see it turn real black) DO not over wet.
what you want is to be able to squeeze some and have it stay together but crumble apart easy.
Put a peace of aluminium window screen over a bucket or large bowl and work it through by hand or with a plastic spoon it will granulate, pour onto several layers of newspaper , spread out to dry. turn jently every hour or so till dry and your set mate. any more questions don't hesitate to ask. and remember , charcoal is the key , cannot use store bought.
Buy a cheep scale from ebay that measures to 1 10th of a gram and measure carefully. The harbor fright rock tumbler works fine with 50 cal round balls in it , say 50 of them.
you can buy the Potassium Nitrate here

http://www.skylighter.com/mall/chemicals.asp?Sort=P

as well as sulfur

Much , much cheaper way to shoot and it expands your hobby.
The size , ie ff , fff and such is determined by the screen size you use.
After dry pour it into your screen again and tap gently to remove the fines(dust with can be re wetted and granulated again.)
You can also add 3% dextren when ball milling , its a glue if you will and make the grain harder. (less dust)
You can get everything at the site I listed and the mill at HF
Jeff Noyes
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Old April 7, 2009, 10:39 PM   #2
zxcvbob
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I made a pound of BP last year, using white cedar charcoal, "stump remover" potassium nitrate, and garden dusting sulfur. Ground it up in a HF rock tumbler overnight with .457 lead balls, then moistened it and pressed it thru a wire mesh seive.

It was a little disappointing the first time I tried it, but it still had too much moisture. I let it dry for a couple of months and tried it again. Worked pretty good. I think the impurities in the stump remover were the limiting factor, but last time I was at the Asian market, I saw 2 ounce bags of very pure-looking saltpeter for 59ยข.

I didn't have any money with me at the time, but I need to go back there and buy a few bags and see how they work.
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Old April 7, 2009, 11:02 PM   #3
pappy177
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Make your own charcoal from white pine , very easy with a gas or charcoll grill.
Stump remover , not so good , has fillers in it , mostly clay.
Garden sulfer is ok if you get good stuff , rubber makers is best-pure.

Trust me on this guys , been doing it on and off for 30 years.
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Old April 7, 2009, 11:24 PM   #4
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I roasted my own charcoal using white cedar. Have a friend that gonna get me some willow wood next time a big limb falls off his willow tree.

Stump remover is not very good. I got it for $1 per pound (Walmart clearance price) and was trying to see if it is useable. (It is.) I need to check with the local wholesale fertilizer dealer and see if they can get me a 50# bag of "spray grade" KNO3.
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Old April 7, 2009, 11:35 PM   #5
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you want garden grade KNO3 (better known as green house grade)
Willow would be excelent.
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Old April 8, 2009, 01:43 AM   #6
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The first link doesn't work for me...
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Old April 8, 2009, 06:53 AM   #7
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Use this link:

http://www.wichitabuggywhip.com/fireworks/index.html
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Old April 9, 2009, 07:10 PM   #8
vwjoe84
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I read somewhere, it's been a while... That towards the end of the civil war when the south was blockaded, and i think the North had advanced down past mammoth Kentucky (Where the South got its Saltpeter from) That they resorted to using Urine (rumor?) and other odd things to make powder. Anyone know about these more crude recipes? Not that i want to pursue making any of them but i guess in a pinch it could help.
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Old April 10, 2009, 12:21 AM   #9
pappy177
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cattle wast mostly but england had collectors that collected waste to make it,
it is still made this way in lots of countries , I cannot recall it ever being mined.
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Old April 10, 2009, 07:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
You CAN make better BP than you can buy.
How are you quantifying that?
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Old April 10, 2009, 03:14 PM   #11
Double J
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Making Black Powder

Isn't a Federal Explosives License needed for that activity?
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Old April 10, 2009, 03:18 PM   #12
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Isn't a Federal Explosives License needed for that activity?
Not as long as it's for personal use. If you sell it yes.
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Old April 12, 2009, 07:33 PM   #13
jtaylor
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I've been making my own for years..... a few suggestions....

#1: skylighter is high priced ....KNO3 and Sulfur here are as good and and cheap as they get, Phil's a nice guy too....http://www.ihaveadotcom.com/

#2: If you're mill is loaded properly with the right sized and right amount of media so that you get a cascade effect, BP takes no longer than 3 hrs to mill....any thing more and it's just a thick cake of powder in the walls of the barrel with the media rolling around inside.

#3...probably should have been #1..... Willow charcoal!! the very best (alder is great too ) Powders like Swiss are made with willow charcoal...you'll see a phenomenal difference in performance, power and you'll have a much hotter and cleaner burn with less fouling.



I do the same otherwise, mill about 2 lbs in a batch on my homemade ball mill and then wet and screen...I just fill my 45 lc. cases to the top and seat a bullet! It's roughly 28 grains total, but I notice more recoil than equivalent amounts of goex.
Homemade powder can be cleaner and on average it costs me about $4 a pound and a few hours here and there....
As fun to make as it is to shoot!


edit; as long as it's for personal use and you store no more than 50 lbs per household, no licensing or permits are needed...however , since it's not a graphite coated "sporting powder" like GOEX....you're supposed to store your powder in a type 4 magazine....just thought I'd post that info.
And yes...it can match or out perform store bought BP since it can be chemically and physically the same. Store bought is pressed to 1.7g per C3 though....denser...allowing more mass per volume, however, the 28 grains I can fit into my shells or 40 grains in my walker work great.

Last edited by jtaylor; April 12, 2009 at 07:40 PM.
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Old April 12, 2009, 07:45 PM   #14
B. Lahey
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Quote:
That they resorted to using Urine (rumor?) and other odd things to make powder.
Yep.

Human waste was one of the most common ingredient sources, as I understand it. There was a show called "Worst Jobs in History" that had a segment on the process. All of those shows are up on the internet, do a Google Video search if you want to see it.

Fairly nasty, but somebody had to do it.
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Old April 13, 2009, 12:44 PM   #15
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What about the amount of powder residue created by using the softwood charcoal?
IIRC, using cedar or pine charcoal helps to increase its potency but also creates more fouling.
Is that true?
What about using willow charcoal?
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Old April 13, 2009, 12:54 PM   #16
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I'm pretty sure making the charcoal would violate some "spare the air day" law here in sunny California, but the whole process does sound fun. Looks like another thing to add to my list of retirement projects!

Anyone aware of any ball mill kabooms? Mrs. Grymster usually takes a dim view of me blowing things up.
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Old April 13, 2009, 01:02 PM   #17
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Quote:
What about the amount of powder residue created by using the softwood charcoal?
IIRC, using cedar or pine charcoal helps to increase its potency but also creates more fouling.
Is that true?
What about using willow charcoal?
From what I've read willow is best. Using pine or cedar decreases potency tho the cedar might make it smell better.
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Old April 13, 2009, 01:05 PM   #18
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Quote:
Anyone aware of any ball mill kabooms?
There have been. Anytime you put an unsealed electric motor in the vicinity of explosive dust you have that possibility. Using an airtight container would help but making the mix while wet would be best.
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Old April 13, 2009, 04:22 PM   #19
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charcoal

The links are great.
How about hemlock for charcoal?
Also, I've read about folk who state that they can make BP for about $4 a lb. How do they do that? Saltpeter and sulfur for a pound of BP cost more than that from the sources listed, even in bulk. Not disagreeing, sure would like to know the source.
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Old April 13, 2009, 06:45 PM   #20
pappy177
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Haffa green house grade is about 40 dollars for 45 pounds , good sulfur can be had at any lowes , home depot or hardware store, charcoal should be kiln dried white pine or willow.
do not mess with charcoal , it is the key , read the link I posted.
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Old April 13, 2009, 07:38 PM   #21
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Pappy

I have heard the best willow is from weeping willows, the fine branches (about 1" thick, with the bark stripped off?) does that sound right?
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Old April 13, 2009, 08:02 PM   #22
pappy177
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I have heard the best willow is from weeping willows, the fine branches (about 1" thick, with the bark stripped off?) does that sound right?



yep , perfict mate!!
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Old April 13, 2009, 09:04 PM   #23
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HEY pappy you better stop by my house and show me
how to make a ton of that home made brew?
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Old April 13, 2009, 10:48 PM   #24
pappy177
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very easy to make.
Back in the mid 60's I lived in Yuma for 5 years , my friend and I spent our free time exploring old mines and ghost towns , we did find two old six shooters that I now know were 45 long colt and one rifle with a rolling block I have no idea what it was.
They were quickly taken from us by our parents as we were only allowed to have 22's and pump 410's.
I often wonder what happened to them because as you know nothing rusts down there.
And by the way we got around on my old 305 Honda superhawk at that time , quite a bike in its day.
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Old April 14, 2009, 06:25 AM   #25
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back in the....

Quote:
305 Honda superhawk
First motorcycle I ever road on.
Pete
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