View Full Version : Video- Making Black Powder

June 22, 2012, 08:07 PM
Here is a video I made explaining this simple black powder recipe and what you need to pull it off.

Doc Hoy
June 23, 2012, 05:37 PM
Quite cool!

June 25, 2012, 10:19 AM
I am so sorry to rudely hijack this thread, but moderator(s), or 4V50, if this is your direct jurisdiction,

can you please make my post about sulfurless black powder a sticky on this forum?

I think it would benefit the members alot. There are alot of us who use black powder not just for recreational shooting but defense and hunting and would prefer using a powder that is far less corrosive and requires the least amount of maintenance.

Sulfurless, or cocoa powder, is very convenient for those who run extended trips with little time for weapon cleaning.

June 25, 2012, 10:27 AM
No link to it? Love to see it. Never been a time I didnt have time to clean my revolvers.

June 25, 2012, 10:36 AM
RE: brushhippie: Ask and ye shall receive :)

(DISCLAIMER: FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. DO NOT ATTEMPT unless you know what exactly you are doing)

In response to the curiousity displayed by some in the previous thread about sulfurless black powder I decide to start an official thread regarding this subject.

Sulfur acts with a primary role as ignitor in standard black powder, with a secondary role as the fuel. Like what other posters said, sulfur has a very low ignition point and helps greatly in flintlock ignition. That is where the advantage ends when we move into caplock and primer ignition.

To obtain nearly the same level of power upon firing as you would normally get from Swiss FFFg or Pyrodex-P, the quantity of Saltpeter has to be adjusted to more than standard black powder. The sole backbone of black powder, saltpeter is what allows the fuel (charcoal) to burn confined by releasing virgin oxygen upon ignition. As a Chinese alchemist once said: "Sulfur is the Minister, while Saltpeter is the Prince". In this case, charcoal is the minister.

Upon firing in the 1858 New Army/Beals with 33 grains FFFg equivalent and a Lee conical, sulfurless produces only a blue haze which disappears before the echo of the shot dissipates. This powder is EVEN LESS SMOKY than commercial smokeless powder. One question that I have not been able to fathom is that since European militaries HAVE discovered sulfurless black powder in the 1870s, almost a decade before the invention of nitrocellulose powder, why did so many nations bankrupt themselves by discarding their state-of-the-art black powder weaponry and purchasing nitro-proofed guns and ammunition, as smokeless technology had a very finicky beginning in the 1880s.
The fouling from firing this sulfurless powder is very minimal, although I never, ever leave guns uncleaned for more than 5 minutes after firing.
The highest velocity I have gotten with this powder is almost 1050 feet per second with a 200-grain conical. The ratio of ingredients is 85% saltpeter and 15% charcoal

Ignition is no issue at all, because not only I use a hot cap (Dynamit Nobel), I also charge the cone with a nipple charger for boosted heat and power.

I take extreme care to ensure that only the purest raw materials go into making this powder because unlike recreational shooters, my life, safety, and being able to get fresh meat depends on clean powder. The saltpeter that I use is medical grade Humco potassium nitrate, 100% pure. It is far more expensive than garden-grade nitrate but I normally do not fire a lot of rounds. Charcoal is made by vacuum-baking fresh willow twigs in my own homemade furnace. Willow charcoal, even when completely charred, is still springy like fresh willow and I love it so much!

Saltpeter: 85%
Charcoal: 15%

The ingredients are then ball milled for 3-4 hours, with half-dozen golf balls inside the mill drum as the grinding medium.

Afterwards, I mix the meal powder with water to form a thick paste that I call "Zhi-mah-wu", because it EXACTLY resembles the Chinese sweet bun-sweet sesame seed paste that I love so much , also called Zhi-mah-wu. When the paste solidifies into a solid ball, I run it through 1.5mm screens for 3Fg equivalent Pistol Powder.

After the powder is completed, I put the 3Fg into a jam jar and mix it with some finely powdered graphite for even distribution, and preservation.

June 25, 2012, 11:00 AM
Very interesting I will try that for sure! I plan to try them all eventually! Oh and I rely solely on my Black Powder revolvers for self protection as they are the only handguns I own, I carry one all day every day, I cast the balls I make the powder, if I could (which Im working on) Id make the primer caps as well....damn tap o cap.....

June 25, 2012, 03:42 PM
That's pretty neat. I'm going to add that to the humongous list of things I want to try. Thanks for posting the video!

June 26, 2012, 08:26 AM
Many firearms and, especially, black powder forums prohibit the posting of receipes for making black powder because of the great inherent danger in the process.
I am an avid muzzle loader using black powder only. I would never attempt to make it except in an extreme survival situation.
I did not view your video and do not intend to.

June 26, 2012, 09:11 AM
...and thats fine too Rifleman. Your aversion to trying it does not make it evil. ;)

June 26, 2012, 11:26 AM
Many firearms and, especially, black powder forums prohibit the posting of receipes for making black powder because of the great inherent danger in the process.
I am an avid muzzle loader using black powder only. I would never attempt to make it except in an extreme survival situation.
I did not view your video and do not intend to.

I understand your concern, Rifleman, but when you talk about danger, there is great inherent danger to anything and any hobby that is out there. You should see what the rat-rod builders do on motorcycle forums. They share information about how to build the biggest and most horsepowerful beasts and some of them have little or no background in mechanics.

Is it dangerous to operate a hobbyist-built custom motorcycle that could puts out 450-HP and reach 0-60 in 3 seconds? Of course it is but if the job is done by responsible, professional people, the danger element is about eliminated.

What about kitchen-table gunsmithing? I have been a machinist for a long time and I have seen what disasters could happen when you give a Dremel tool to someone who doesnt know how to use it, or too enthusiastic.

Is it dangerous to make black powder? Of course it is, but a responsible individual does it with proper equipment, such as a well-inspected mill drum and non-sparking grinding medium, like golf balls that I use.

Almost everything is common sense and when that is used, everything is very safe.

June 26, 2012, 01:11 PM
My brother and I were given a chemistry set by a retired teacher back in the early 60's. The bottles were actually made of wood and the manual that came with it had a recipe for B/p, we made it up and actually used it in our 3/4" cannon, with booming success. We were early teens at the time and had no idea of the dangers, we also had a 5Lb can of 1f b/p we bought from the local hardware store. There was still about 1/2Lb of that powder with the cannon and some pieces of cannon fuse from the 60's when my brother and I cleaned out our parents home a few years back. We dropped 100gr down the barrel, packed it with some old newspaper and touched off the fuse, it all still worked fine.:D:D:D

June 26, 2012, 04:31 PM
Great post brushhippie, very informative.

Rachen - is the sulfurless recipe measurements by volume or weight?

June 26, 2012, 04:51 PM
Why do you use alky instead of water?Also what's the best charcoal
to use?


June 26, 2012, 05:12 PM
I used it the first time so it would dry quicker, it seems to be faster, I need a chrono to test the differences just havent gotten one yet. Here is a good link for different charcoals and their speeds. http://www.wichitabuggywhip.com/fireworks/charcoal_tests.html

June 26, 2012, 05:46 PM
Well great video, but I was told on another form dexstrin would
not disolve in alky.If that is so, how can it be a binder?:confused:

June 26, 2012, 05:55 PM
Couldnt tell ya....works for me. Sizes and holds just fine......I assume because crappo isopropyl alcohol isnt pure its cut with water. edit: The bottle Ive got says its 50 percent (what that means Im not sure). The recipe I used was the easiest I could find, I have since heard of many more, which I have yet to get to.....but I will eventually test them all.

June 26, 2012, 06:02 PM
YA! most likely.Thanks for the video,it great to see people making
there own.I have for some time & like you love shooting what I make

Have you ever corned your powder?

June 26, 2012, 06:11 PM
I have not, Id love to hear about your experience with what you've made! The fact that there are SOOO many different ways to do this, is that much more intriguing!
edit: Check this out, if this is true so why would you need a binder?....hmmmm

this is a quote from this site check it out too! http://www.jacobsrocketry.com/aer/propellant.htm

It is likely that the wetting dissolves the KNO3 and then coats it around the charcoal and sulfur particles so that it is in much more intimate contact with them.

June 26, 2012, 07:02 PM
Well yes, but to a point.To much water & the KNO3 turns to crystal

June 26, 2012, 07:15 PM
Yes I discovered that with my second batch, got it too wet and it wadded up under the screen and once dry was like concrete!

June 28, 2012, 02:43 PM
Great post brushhippie, very informative.

Rachen - is the sulfurless recipe measurements by volume or weight?

By volume. All my powder measures and spouts that I use to calculate materials are volumetric.

I choose that over using weight because so many factors can alter the weight of the materials. One batch of saltpeter may be as dry as a towel hanging in afternoon summer sun, the next one may be slightly damp enough to be unnoticeable, but yet, will throw all my weight calculations off orbit because of the latent moisture.

June 28, 2012, 03:34 PM
Rachen your missing something here from Hippies post.His powder is
not corned powder like Goex or the other over the counter powders.

So it,s weight is much less by volume then corned.It must be
measured by weight.;)


June 28, 2012, 04:04 PM
I have no opinion one way or the other regarding someone making his own powder. To each his own.

But this:
there is great inherent danger to anything and any hobby that is out there.
is utter nonsense.

Kindly describe the great inherent danger (to anything other than my wallet) in my wife's hobby of collecting antique china teacups and teapots.

June 28, 2012, 04:55 PM
Lead glaze…………….:D

June 30, 2012, 08:02 AM
There are some dangers involved and it is not for everybody although it might be slightly more dangerous than collecting china cups and saucers...only a little! ;). This and MANY MANY other recipes are out there available with a quick keystroke....try em or dont! Thanks for checkin it out guys....more to come!