September 10, 2006, 11:12 PM
If I were to use a non-sparking mortar & pestle, Is there any reason I could or should not make FFFFG powder from my FFG to prime my flintlock?

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September 10, 2006, 11:27 PM
None I can think of! :)

September 10, 2006, 11:28 PM
What should it look like Could I make it too fine?

September 11, 2006, 01:09 AM
Do you have an excessive amount of FFg that you are tryin' to use up? Just curious why you don't just go get a lb. of Goex FFFFg, unless you just can't find any. That I understand.
That's alot of work to grind and screen. You may wanna do it wet, I dunno about you but friction and BP bug me.

September 11, 2006, 01:57 AM
Before I'd try grinding down some black powder, I'd try using the 2 Fg in the priming pan. It might work a lot better than you think. Grinding even if safe will not give you the uniformity that factory powder will.

September 11, 2006, 02:08 AM
FFFFG seems to be unavailable in San Jose
So, I just had a thought that I might be able to make my own from coarser material

September 11, 2006, 09:11 AM
You`d be supprised how well 3f or 2f powder will work in your primming pan ...try it sometime .

September 11, 2006, 09:59 AM
IIRC, the problem with "grinding your own" is that you could lose some of the coating (graphite?) that keeps the indivdual grains from clumping together.
Also, as said earlier, BP + friction = something I would rather not do.:D


September 11, 2006, 10:49 AM
Must we go through this again? ELECTRICAL sparks, friction, etc., - it's HARD to set off blackpowder with anything except heat (flame). As in, really hard to do by accident.

Steel/steel sparking will set it off, though. Use a marble or ceramic mortar/pestle. You'll be fine.

September 11, 2006, 01:47 PM
Handling Precautions

#2- Handle with care. Avoid impact, "friction", heat, sparks, and open flame.

Ask Goex...

I don't think anyone else mentioned Electrical Static Discharge or current.
But seein' how you mentioned it. We had a cannon that shot cement filled beer cans well over 1000 yards. The ignitor was an electronic fuse attached to a DC truck battery....it set off 600 grains of Goex FFg with no problem.

September 11, 2006, 03:52 PM
Electronic fuses ("Solar fuses" etc.) are much different from electrical sparks - they use a resistance wire (nickel/chromium, usually) to create heat from the electricity; thus, the electricity doesn't set the charge off so much as the heat. :)

September 11, 2006, 04:14 PM
Must we go through this again?

Third Rail, You are the only person in my experience of over 50 years of using black powder that has made the statements you make about what will and what won't set off BP.
I will continue to follow what the manufacturers recommend. i.e. Handle with care. Avoid impact, "friction", heat, sparks, and open flame.

Now, if in YOUR experience, none of these things have happened, fine, maybe you're just lucky. I personally don't want the experience of proving you wrong.


September 11, 2006, 05:14 PM
Didn't I say DC? We din't have a real long extention cord to go from home to the range.AC or DC, powder between current and ground will go Boom! i.e. powder kegs and a magneto ... you know, wind um up push the "T" handle down.
Anyway try it if you must with a 1 lb. can of Goex in an old Chevy Impala and see ifin it goes Boom or not.
I'm done this kinda stuff burns me out.
All I know is what I know, just so you know I know...LoL!

I still wouldn't grind up Goex Black Powder for all of the above sound reasons. FRICTION bein' a good one.

September 11, 2006, 05:36 PM
Wonder if we could get Myth Busters to do some experments with Black Powder and the subs . A friend of mine checked the tempture point of a flash from B/P and Pyrodex .. with just a few grains on a cookie sheet in his wifes oven ..( don`t think she was home at the time ) anyway the real black flashed at 350 degrees and the Pyrodex at 600 .. kinda what we figured would happen ..Pyrodex has always been a little harder to ignite . I would like to see some test done with electric sparks on both .

September 11, 2006, 06:29 PM
Sundance not up real close you wouldn't...LoL!

In the above, I remembered it was a remote control Aircraft glowplug that was used to fire that cannon electrically. and not powered by a truck battery just one of those DC dry cell batteries. So in essance you can set BP off with a spark plug...now I din't say to try it.

I've read reports where ESD won't set it off and where it has set it off. Put any pyro worth there salt can set powder, gas, or liquid off using electrical current as an ignitor. Just depends on how it is done. Whether on purpose or by accident..probly why accidents are called accidents...(spark, friction, static, or heat)
Ya Know?

September 11, 2006, 06:49 PM

September 11, 2006, 07:07 PM
OK, I'll give you static sparks(high voltage, nil amperage).However, we were discussing grinding (which causes friction, which can cause heat, and is a form of impact)) Got any experiments that refutes these?


September 11, 2006, 07:15 PM
Yeah, I still have all ten fingers; I grind BP all the time, I make it from scratch as well. Truly, if friction set it off as easily as people think it did, I'd be "Lefty" or "Stumpy".:)

September 11, 2006, 08:32 PM
Sorry don't have the Forum listing this was in just needed to read it once.
Here's a couple Pics.

I was a an explosives, (Powders and Squibs), Lab Tech for a spell and one thing I learned was to always expect the unexpected. And I'm still alive...so I won't tell a soul to do something I may have done and got away with, that's up to them to decide.
I don't and won't grind BP...I'll make it and mix it wet a pound or less at a time break it up and sift it.
I suppose grinding graphite coated BP as you do it is quite safe as you do have all your fingers. But I can't see doing that with BP, I'd throw fffg in the pan before I'd do that...I may condsider BP subs as being able to be ground up. Anyway Just my opinion others surely will vary.
Main thing is you'all just be safe...

September 11, 2006, 09:11 PM
Some people handle poisonous snakes, some people swim with stingrays, some people juggle chainsaws. They consider the risks acceptable or they wouldn't do it.

I don't. And if I did, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else.


September 12, 2006, 12:14 AM
I don't and won't grind BP...I'll make it and mix it wet a pound or less at a time break it up and sift it.

I can see why you would want to mix it while it's wet, but it may increase the potency of the BP just as the process for making lift powder indicates. However, I'm not quite sure if meal powder is exactly the same as BP either, since meal powder hasn't undergone the "homogenization" type process that commercial powder undergoes. But according to the following statement, it does seem plausable:

Just FYI, adding the water also increases the strength of the Black Powder by allowing some of the Potassium Nitrate to dissolve and be absorbed into the pores of the charcoal particles.
See "lifting powder": http://www.unitednuclear.com/bp.htm

September 12, 2006, 12:30 AM
I shouldn't get into this, but what the hell.

First, them of you that take as gospel the "Impact" thing, take just a few nice big grains and set them on your anvil or your vise and smack them with a hammer. See if you have set them off. Probably not.

Second, go to the page third rail linked to. Read the guy's stuff. 50,000 volts of static won't do it.

Third, I don't know what the pic that Smoke posted means. I see a glow to the right of the "electrode", whatever that is. Is that a hot hunk of iron?

Fourth, a "glow plug" is not a "spark plug". A glow plug is a short circuit, a resistance metal that is designed to get hot. Model aircraft engines are actually diesels running on gasoline or alcohol or whatever. Same with a diesel engine, the VWs and the like before the TDIs came out. All had "pre-chambers" that needed heating, and that was with resistance heat, ie, glow plugs.

Fifth, "Push the plunger down and "BOOM". That was not igniting the main charge, that was setting off the blasting cap, once fulminate of mercury, what they are nor, I don't know. With BP, it is a flash of fire, so BP goes BOOM. With dynamite or TNT, it is simply a BOOM, so the rest of the charge also goes BOOM, sympathetic detonation.

A simple hand grenade works the same way. A couple ounces of HE, a blasting cap, a primer fired by a striker, spring operated, that snaps the cap when the spoon is let go. A powder train that is timed for about 7 seconds to let you throw and duck. Then the blasting cap detonates, then the explosive charge.

As far as the OP asking about 4F fines, why don't you just pour some of your BP through a fine mesh sieve?

One, none of the granulations are ALL 1f, 2,f, 3f, they also have fines in them, strain the fine stuff out, use that for your priming powder, although I have read that a lot of long rifle shooters consider 3f to be better priming powder than 4f is.



September 12, 2006, 01:31 AM
Articap, I meant making BP from scratch, it would be wet then dried and sifted. I think I said I wouldn't wet Goex ffg. Sifting would be cool but not grinding it.(Goex)

And George whatever my friend, I have set BP off with ESD and current, so whatever you think or want to do with your BP is fine by me. Only I won't tell anyone else that what I do is what they should do... and that's was the only reason I continued this post again as long as I have.
Now I can say I'm done...it was fun as usual...

...and for those who can't buy the powder they need here you go...
Recipe is from a friend.

†Disclaimer:Make black powder entirely at your own risk, I assume no responsibility for your actions, or the consequences of your actions. It's as safe as you are while making it!

•Initial setup supplies•
*1: a 3lb Rock tumbler ( ball mill ) www.harborfreight.com -approx.$25
*2: Digital scale to .1g accuracy www.digiweighusa.com - approx.$20
*3: 100 .457 or larger lead balls
*4: Good airtight containers to mix/store
*5: Stainless kitchen seives or screens to approx. grain size
@ www.firefox-fx.com( cheapest I've found, great service!, bulk discounts)
*1: Potassium nitrate(KNO3)- 10 lbs for $34.50, enough for 13.5 lbs of BP
*2: Charcoal,(air float)- $3.75/lb
*3: Sulfur- $2.50/lb
*4: Dextrin-$2.80/lb
•Industry Standard BP Formula= 75% KNO3 15% Charcoal 10% Sulfur
* Many people make there own charcoal from Willow, it's considered to be the best for fast BP. Airfloat worked fine for me!

•••Directions-( Best to do all of this outside of course!) Use some common sense and it will be a safe project.
1- Set up the ball mill with a 50-100' cord, away from people and buildings, on a solid table or ground. Remotely turn the ball mill on/off. Just an extra safety measure! - Put the 100 lead balls into the barrel of the tumbler.
2- For a 200g batch,(little under 1/2 lb) weigh 150g KNO3, 30g Charcoal, 20g Sulfur. Pour into tumbler barrel and place back into tumbler.
3- Mill for at least 3 hrs. Remotely shut tumbler off.
4- Pour tumbler contents through screen over newspaper, to seperate meal powder from lead balls.
5-Once you have the desired amount of meal, put it into large sealable container ( lock&lock from Wal-mart is great, they have a silicone seal and snap lids). Add an additional 8-10% Dextrin( 200g meal gets about 20 g dextrin)
6- Shake to mix then add small amount of water( spray bottle works best). Shake again. You want the powder to clump but not be too wet. You can always add more water and it's helpful to have some extra dry meal set aside incase you add too much water.
7- Now take the "dough" and place it in the seive to be granulated. Use your hands or a spoon to force it through, onto a newspaper. (This is called "ricing" the powder. Commercial powder is hydraulically pressed into bricks, dried, crushed, seived and graphite coated. Pressing is easy if you have the press and can make the proper container to do this.)
8- Let dry in sun, 2-4 hrs.
9- Store in Lock&Lock container or empty BP or Pyrodex containers.
•Initially while not a big money saver, it's fun, easy and will save money in the long run!

September 12, 2006, 08:21 AM
http://discountpyro.com/ is also really good for chemicals. :)

Initially while not a big money saver, it's fun, easy and will save money in the long run!

Especially if you love to use blackpowder, even when other things work better. :D

September 12, 2006, 08:28 AM
When I find something that shoots more accurate and consistant groups the "Holy Black" I'll let you know. (with my Lube Pills and no fouling binding up my Revs):D

Thanks for the site!

1911 guy
September 12, 2006, 08:48 AM
I'd try FFFg. I use it in my .36 when I'm hunting. I don't like to carry extra unneed things, so the horn of FFFFg stays home except for range time. Works every time for me, still get fast ignition.

September 12, 2006, 04:34 PM
I have never shot a flint lock that did not work better with
FFg in the pan, then with FFFFg.

It would be interesting to know when and where that idea
started. I suppose the powder companies trying to sell
one more can of powder.


September 12, 2006, 06:18 PM
The 4f pan primming powder comes out of the little pan primming flask much better ..... soooo they can sell more flasks and the powder companys can sell more powder .. the difference in 2f and 4f in the pan going off would have to be measured in milliey seconds ..a delay you would never hear .

September 12, 2006, 10:38 PM
I'll agree with 1911, Tinker2 and Sundance on this one.

Take a smidge of 2f and 4f and touch a match to them and see if the 4 flashes quicker than the 2 or even 1f.

I don't make my own, it's only 15 bucks a pound 40 miles from me, plus tax, of course. No HAZMAT shipping to worry about, go get a pound or 5 at a time.

The Dextrin is the part I don't like. That is kind of like using Pyrodex and the other subs.



4v50 Gary
September 12, 2006, 11:03 PM
Colonial Williamsburg a stop motion photography to study the ignition of a flintlock. Guess what?

They discovered that a flintlock likes 2F better than 4F? Here's what they observed. As the flint begans to scrape the frizzen, a shower of sparks begins to fall down into the pan. That's no surprise to any of us. Here's the surprise: when the shower of sparks hits the pan, it bounces back up! Yep, some sparks actually bounce back up out of the pan. They found that fewer sparks bounce back up on 2F than it does on 4F. From that they surmised that the larger grain actually captures the spark, giving it more time to work on the grain and ignite it.

Historically soldiers primed from their cartridges and paper cartridges only had one type of powder in it. Secondly, early frontiersmen carried only one powder horn. Late in the 19th Century the smaller priming horn appeared and not in the Colonial Days of America. So, go ahead, use 2F.

September 12, 2006, 11:37 PM
George, every old recipe I've seen for BP calls for a binder, be it modern dextrin or otherwise.

September 13, 2006, 11:59 PM


Find me any older recipes that DO mention sugar as a "binder". The WATER is the binder. The substitutes use sugars INSTEAD of charcoal, they are carbohydrates, carbonaceous material, the fuel.

Hell, find me a NEWER recipe that tells you to use sugars.

The links above also tell you to use charcoal that still has woody material in it, "pure" carbon won't work, as the ignition temperature is too high. What the hell "air float" is, I don't know. If it's pure carbon, it is the wrong stuff.



September 14, 2006, 12:15 AM
Good site! Thanks George... Now I Gotta trim down this 60 foot Silver dollar Eucelyptus tree in my back yard. I know they make good firewood but are they hard enough to make charcoal for BP brew?

September 14, 2006, 12:25 AM

Air float charcoal is willow tree (most usually) charcoal that has been milled fine enough to float in the air when a pinch is released mid-air. :)

Out of curiosity, have you made BP from scratch before?

September 14, 2006, 05:00 AM

Just scroll up 6 posts and see my statement that I have NOT made my own BP.

I think, from the posts you have made here in the past few months, that you have very little BP experience. You have jumped on Der Feuhrer's bandwagon, and are suddenly an expert.

Part is that you list yourself as from Conneticutt, what 500 miles from Jule's shop in Ohio? Where Manyirons is from, I don't know, though he keeps signing himself as the shop's sweeper outer.

You come across as a branch dealer, a hanger on.

I really don't care what you charge for your stuff, I probably will not buy it, BUT, to sell your wads at about the same price, or a little more, than the Wonderwads, that you and many others cut down for their overprice is unconscionable.

To ad the lube, which you are charging about 25 bucks a pound, and to call it Gatafeo, or Improved, or whatever, and also to say it is from an old British recipe, when the only reference I can find is the Whitworth rifle, with a wad impregnated with tallow and wax, is also a piece of salesmaship. I have found no recipe. Where did you get yours?

I have no bone to pick with Jule, I just don't like the hucksterism you guys are exhibiting.

I shouldn't have even read the post that lead to this, let you guys do your damnedest. But, you're just so damned wrong at what you usually say. Hucksters, pure and simple.



September 14, 2006, 10:38 AM
George, if you'd searched the forums, you'd see that I've stated in more than one place that I've been making BP for quite literally years, and have been using it, though not in firearms, for just as long.

I don't make assumptions about you, I don't attack you, give me the same courtesy.

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