View Full Version : Black powder costs rising.

January 2, 2011, 08:22 PM
I was with a young person a week or so ago as he bought black powder. $24.95!!!!!!!

Nothing in BP is exotic, granted there are government induced costs but hey, that's way too much!

A while ago there were a few threads about making BP, some folks said it was too dangerous (That depends on how it's done, of course!) and some that it wasn't worth the trouble. I'm thinking "wrong" on both charges, and the way things are going it may end up being the only reasonable way to acquire PB.

So, how does one do it, safely and cheaply? I got an email from a company that sells the stuff to make it with, says $6 a pound will be the result. Another site sells a book on the subject that says $1 per pound is about right. (!!!)
We are talking about real black powder with willow charcoal and proper granulation's here, not the stuff we used to make as a kid. The one site sells ball mills and hard lead balls and the right charcoal, plus detailed instructions on putting it all to work. Anyway, this is a bit late but Lord willing I'll be making my own and testing it against commercial BP soon.

January 2, 2011, 08:24 PM
Best way to cut costs these days.... buy in bulk when possible.:cool:

January 2, 2011, 08:33 PM
Making black powder is a fun experiment, but w/o a formal manufacturing facility, where you can get consistant-sized granules, it's probably a hit-or-miss endeavor. Also, it only takes one spark.........

We buy fffg from sutlers at reenactments, and one of our members orders it through the mail from somewhere in bulk for $11/pound...
Good luck...

4V50 Gary
January 2, 2011, 08:50 PM
Group buy in quantities of 25 lbs. It's cheaper that way.

January 2, 2011, 10:12 PM
check out this site:



January 3, 2011, 04:01 AM
This outfit sells black powder in bulk.


January 3, 2011, 08:01 AM
+1 to both sewerman and arcticap. Both good sources.

January 3, 2011, 09:18 AM
Bulk order online is definitely the cheapest way. Also, isn't making your own BP illegal?

January 3, 2011, 09:29 AM
Special hazmat and storage costs are what drive the price up beyond reason. I have an opportunity to buy twice a year from a distributor at savings. When I started the ml thing more than 40 years ago the cost per shot from a traditional muzzle loader was almost too small to calculate. Today it is a real factor for those who want to compete and shoot a couple hundred rounds per day. Sad.
BTW, I still have a few tins of caps from my store that I sold in the 1970s. They sold for 79 cents per tin of 100.

January 3, 2011, 12:43 PM
isn't making your own BP illegal?

The framework of your response implies that you don't know, and neither do I. One of the websites I found said it wasn't illegal, none of them said it is illegal in the US.
One outfit, https://www.skylighter.com/offers/launch/BlackPowder/checkout.asp?emk=12_20_2010_A sells all the items needed, including screens for granulation. Theirs is a fireworks making site and doesn't seem to care about shooting.
I like the idea of not being dependent on an industry that is so heavily regulated and inspected. One could raise the objection that none of us "Little guys" can make powder as clean burning and powerful as the best powder (Swiss powder, from what I've read, burns cleaner than anything else.) but probably nothing commonly available 100 years ago did either. The big Columbiads used huge amounts of powder for each shot, it would be interesting to see how the large batches needed during the Civil war was made.

Anyway, I'd sure like to try to make it myself. I bought a book on it, making black powder, the book cost $24, so it better be good.

January 3, 2011, 12:53 PM
Making black powder was recently cussed and discussed in another thread not too long ago. I'm agin it. Dangerous.
I recall when the U.S. Senator from Indiana, Birch Bayh (father of the current but outgoing Senator) was a guest at the National Muzzle Loading Championships at Friendship, Indiana. He was treated like a visiting king.
At the time he was promoting his "Black Powder Relief" bill in the Senate. He and the title of the bill were simply giant lies. Nothing "relief" about it. When passed it imposed restrictions on the handling, sale and transport of bp making it scarce and very expensive.
I'll stop here before getting too political.

January 3, 2011, 01:59 PM
The framework of your response implies that you don't know, and neither do I.

Yeah, I'm not sure. I have read in a couple places that other people thought it was, and I think they quoted something from the ATF. But I can't find those discussions or the parts they quoted, so I don't know for sure. It certainly seems like something that the ATF would prefer was illegal, whether it is right now or not. I'm also pretty sure it's a good way to blow myself up, so I don't think I'll be trying that, whatever the state of legality is.

January 3, 2011, 03:31 PM
Current price from a major supplier here in the UK - around $20 per pound. Bulk packaging is not available.


January 3, 2011, 03:38 PM
Over $20 a pound sounds like 777.

joe sixgun
January 3, 2011, 10:09 PM
GOEX runs $20.00/pound here in west MI when they have it. Only a few shops sell it. EVERYONE sells pyrodex...........I guess it won't kill you as dead or something like that according to the powers that be.

January 3, 2011, 10:52 PM
I don't shoot competitive. I have some relative new bp pistols, 1851, 1858, 1860, and walker. I have shot Pyrodex but just want to bang a few rounds with real black powder. I have checked locally and none is available. I called to Farmington, NM about 80 miles away and was told NOBODY in New Mexico has a permit. I was told there was some in Pagossa Springs which is a hundred miles away in a direction I rarely travel.

I called a local vendor who specializes in gun shows. He is an old timer who carries lots of powders, bullets and primers. He does not have black. Says he does not want the hassle of permits and such to get it.

Making an order with associated shipping is out of the question for the amount I would use.

Soooo......I will stick with Pyrodex or Triple 7 for now. At least the vendor said he has Rem caps which until now I have been unable to find.

January 3, 2011, 11:14 PM
10 years ago, it was $12/lb, and now it has doubled. Teh gubmint claims 3%APR or lower inflation. I call BS.

January 4, 2011, 07:03 AM
10 years ago, it was $12/lb, and now it has doubled. Teh gubmint claims 3%APR or lower inflation. I call BS.

I agree. Doubling the price in 10 years takes a 7.177% annual inflation rate.
A 3% annual inflation rate doubles the price in 23.45 years.

Maybe we need to put our money into black powder instead of stocks, bonds, and real estate.:eek:

January 4, 2011, 12:48 PM
HisSoldier said:
The big Columbiads used huge amounts of powder for each shot, it would be interesting to see how the large batches needed during the Civil war was made.

I just finished reading the book - Gunpowder: Alchemy, Bombards, And Pyrotechnics: The History Of The Explosive That Changed The World

I got is from Amazon for like $1.35. It is a nice hardback like new and was very interesting and it discusses this very thing. How BP was made for these guns.


January 4, 2011, 12:52 PM
I still have a can that I bought 10 years ago and it was like $12 and now it is like $22 at Bass pro.

January 4, 2011, 02:51 PM
Noz, 777 from the same supplier around $60 per pound.


January 4, 2011, 08:07 PM
I had a can of Dupont FG with a $2.50 price on it. I bought it back in the mid 60's for a .75 cal cannon, that my brother and I built the carriage for, the barrel came from DGW for $15. We dug it out 8 yrs ago when we were clearing out our parents old house. The powder was still good and we even fired the cannon with some 30+yr old cannon fuse.:o

January 4, 2011, 10:43 PM
The least amount I can remember is 1.65 lb. That was in 1960.

January 5, 2011, 01:09 AM
My fire is somewhat quenched, I got a call from my pastor who told me he bought a 25 lb. keg for $10 per pound and would be happy to sell a few pounds to me for the same price. Making the powder isn't entirely about price though, it's about independence, so I may go ahead with this. The danger in most pursuits can be minimized, so to just say it's dangerous doesn't impress me unless it is conditional, like "tumble mixing batches in excess of five pounds dry" would be a logical conditional statement.

It's very similar to the anti gun rant "Guns kill people", yes, they do, but that's a statement that really requires elaboration. Sometimes killing people is justified and a gun might be the best way to accomplish it, on the other hand, most of us handle guns for an entire lifetime without harming ourselves or others.

January 5, 2011, 07:56 AM
FYI, under Federal law it's illegal to sell black powder without a license. Your pastor's offer is illegal even though he's selling it at the price he paid for it.

It is legal for a group of individuals or a club to make a group buy and distribute the powder amongst the group, but there must be an agreement in advance of the purchase. You and your pastor could agree to share the cost of a bulk purchase in advance and the powder after delivery, but you can't share it after he's made the purchase by himself.

The regulation language is not clear, stating that no person may be 'in the business' of selling black powder without a license; BATF interprets being 'in the business' as including distributing the powder to individuals other than the original purchaser even if they pay less than the original purchaser (the old 'loss leader' marketing technique).

Will the BATF come knocking at your door or your pastor's door? I highly doubt it. I've heard rumors of BATF enforcing that policy but never personally known anyone who was cited. But just in case, I suggest you enter into an agreement with your pastor to make a new shared purchase of black powder.

Doc Hoy
January 5, 2011, 08:28 AM
I am asking this question because I truly do not know. I am not trying to be impertinent.

Is it legal to give black powder away....to give it to someone without remuneration?

January 5, 2011, 08:36 AM
Good question, Doc. According to BATF, no. They cite the practice of some retailers giving away free samples of food items in supermarkets to entice people into buying the product. The retailer is 'in the business', and giving away samples is a business technique.

Seems pretty far fetched to me, but that's their position. Again, I've only heard rumors of prosecutions based on such tactics; I don't personally know anyone. The most popular rumor is that of an arrest at the Spring National shoot at Friendship a few years ago. I have read the regulation language on the BATFE web site, however, and it does use the term 'in the business of'. It all boils down to what it means to be 'in the business of'.

January 5, 2011, 10:07 PM
My gut feeling is that this would be something they would arrest an individual for only if they were already looking for some excuse to arrest that individual, especially if he was only sharing a reasonable amount of powder with a friend who obviously uses it legally.

Now, if someone builds a pipe bomb and the ATF finds out that you gave him that black powder, that would be a whole nuther story.