Just ran several tests..


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GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL
April 27, 2011, 11:01 AM
Been busy for the last few days. I made blackpowder using some willow, natural hardwoods lump, Mesquite chunks all natural, and 'store bought' airfloat..Made about 3 ounces of powder each time. Mesquite surprised me. As near as I can tell the Mesquite left my gun a little cleaner and shot just as hard as the rest. I wanted a re-test on the Mesquite so I made another 3 ounces of powder. Ran the same tests with the same results. Cleaner gun and hard hits; just as hard as the other three, maybe a tad bit harder than the willow...I'm not trying to argue here. I don't argue period and that's all there is to it. I was very careful with my loads and the measurements were exactly the same for all 5 batches of powder that I made..Would like to read any comments anyone may have to make....

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tpelle
April 27, 2011, 11:54 AM
I'm interested with experimenting with making my own black powder. I've seen a few U-Tube videos, and one in particular used a sort of motor-driven tumbler filled with non-sparking balls (some looked like glass marbles, and others were some sort of non-sparking steel (stainless?)) to do the final mixing and to "grind" the powder down to the consistency required.

What sort of grinding and mixing process do you use?

The charcoal should be easy enough to produce (a metal container of some sort and a Coleman stove or open fire), but what about the other ingredients - the sulfur and the potassium nitrate? In this "homeland security" age, can these ingredients still be had locally over the counter without a visit from the FBI?

Any issues with getting the consistency right so as to approximate fffg?

ofitg
April 27, 2011, 11:56 AM
GOTC, do you have access to a chronograph to measure the velocities?

Over the past few months that I've experimented with different BP recipes, preparation methods, etc, I always used willow charcoal (just because I read it was the best). I wonder how much it really matters....?

ofitg
April 27, 2011, 12:16 PM
What sort of grinding and mixing process do you use?


tpelle, I use a Lortone 3A rock tumbler - I also use a plastic insert inside the rubber drum, just to make sure that I'm not abrading rubber particles from the drum's interior - I found that 8 ounces of .45 soft lead balls work well as tumbling media.

My practice is to ball-mill about two ounces of charcoal and sulfur together, tumbling time is eight hours.

To cook the final product, I add 3/4 ounce water to 1/2 ounce of the charcoal/sulfur mix. Agitate until it turns into a thick liquid, then put it on a hot plate. When the liquid starts bubbling, stir in 1-1/2 ounces of potassium nitrate.
Pour the hot liquid into a shallow dish (it turns to sludge within seconds as it starts to cool), let it dry. Crumble it up and shoot it.

I don't have any means to compress the powder under tons of pressure, so my powder is similar to the stuff manufactured prior to the mid-1800s. Instead of hard, dense little grains, the consistency is more like cookie crumbs.

I have seen sulfur and potassium nitrate on Ebay, so you shouldn't have much problem obtaining those items. Regarding charcoal, I found that you can manufacture it in small quantities by cooking the wood in a Lee melting pot (max temperature) for one hour..... you can make a lid for the pot out of thin sheet steel.

GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL
April 27, 2011, 12:35 PM
No, I don't chronograph. Don't even own one. Now, let me tell you and anyone else who read's this. I have proven absolutely to myself that several other woods are just as good or better than willow. I had already been thinking and am now thinking even more about all the bulls*** I have read and been fed about willow being the end all for making blackpowder. Now, that story has been around for way over 100 years. I believe that how it got started about 'use willow', 'use willow', 'use willow', is handed down from the fur trappers and mountain men. They lived and camped near the rivers and streams because that's where the beaver was. Being near the water like that is also where one would find a lot of willow growing so naturally they would use it. I have already (this morning) found out (from different sources on the internet including 2 universities) that Mesquite burn's a lot hotter than willow. I think that is probably why my gun was cleaner using Mesquite blackpowder. Every shot I fired, using all of the powder in all 5 batches, was made using a scoped Traditions Evolution with a partially fluted barrel and chambered in .45 caliber. I was firing 180 grain Cabela's sabots and using 209's. Range for the shots were carefully measured out in meters. 75 meters and 125 meters..People can believe what they want to but I KNOW that I have proven to myself just exactly what is what here with all of this bulls*** about what to use and what not to use, and do this and don't do that and whatever. It also explain's to me and set's my mind at rest about the Colonel I read about who had something to do with the Texas Rangers who refused the Dupont powder and made his own using Mesquite....PS..I use a small ball bill with .56 caliber lead media. I mix a few .451's in there to. Having 2 different sized media will help it grind faster for some reason....

arcticap
April 27, 2011, 01:46 PM
There's so many kinds of willow that maybe some folks don't know the difference and have been using pussy willow instead. :D

They're actually a related willow and might be worth trying:

http://gardening.yardener.com/YardenersPlantHelper/LandscapePlantFiles/FilesAboutShrubs/ShrubFiles/PussyWillow

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pussy_willow

Willows have wide variations in these tests. These include weeping willow, black willow, goat willow, diamond willow & narrowleaf willow. Plus there's probably some variation whenever charcoal is supplied from independent sources and then more afterward once different batches of ingredients are mixed to make the BP.

http://www.wichitabuggywhip.com/fireworks/charcoal_tests.html

makos_goods
April 27, 2011, 02:39 PM
No, I don't chronograph. Don't even own one. Now, let me tell you and anyone else who read's this. I have proven absolutely to myself that several other woods are just as good or better than willow. I had already been thinking and am now thinking even more about all the bulls*** I have read and been fed about willow being the end all for making blackpowder. Now, that story has been around for way over 100 years. I believe that how it got started about 'use willow', 'use willow', 'use willow', is handed down from the fur trappers and mountain men. They lived and camped near the rivers and streams because that's where the beaver was. Being near the water like that is also where one would find a lot of willow growing so naturally they would use it. I have already (this morning) found out (from different sources on the internet including 2 universities) that Mesquite burn's a lot hotter than willow. I think that is probably why my gun was cleaner using Mesquite blackpowder. Every shot I fired, using all of the powder in all 5 batches, was made using a scoped Traditions Evolution with a partially fluted barrel and chambered in .45 caliber. I was firing 180 grain Cabela's sabots and using 209's. Range for the shots were carefully measured out in meters. 75 meters and 125 meters..People can believe what they want to but I KNOW that I have proven to myself just exactly what is what here with all of this bulls*** about what to use and what not to use, and do this and don't do that and whatever. It also explain's to me and set's my mind at rest about the Colonel I read about who had something to do with the Texas Rangers who refused the Dupont powder and made his own using Mesquite....PS..I use a small ball bill with .56 caliber lead media. I mix a few .451's in there to. Having 2 different sized media will help it grind faster for some reason....

GOTC

Those sound like strong words from a man who doesn't have any means of verifying the velocity of his loads other than "feel." Perhaps you have some other scientifically verifiable evidence to proffer?

Willow is a preferred wood because of the density. It is a low density wood and produces low density charcoal. Using engineering tables that have been around over a hundred years you can look up the potential energy yield for different charcoals by weight and by mass density. Willow is on the higher end of the scale by weight. Mesquite is actually much lower on the energy scale by weight.

The only way you can make equal energy Black Powder mixtures with Willow and Mesquite is not to mix by weight. You have to resort to the densities, not the weight by volume. I wrote about this once before.

Be careful with relating heat from a charcoal fire to the potentially yielded energy content of charcoal. Mesquite as a fuel wood or even a charcoal burns hotter because of the lignin content. Lignin is actually a polymer and is considered an impurity in gun powder. Lignin takes more oxidizer to combust than the cellulose. You would have to play around with your ratios of KNO3 to the mesquite to get the balance you need. The rate at which it liberates the energy is actually longer than less dense woods. An equivalent weight of willow will be consumed much sooner than an equivalent weight of mesquite. Ask anyone who uses it for BBQ, mesquite burns long. All dense woods burn long.

Mesquite is a tight pored very dense wood that also has a very high mineral content. If it was a better wood for gun powder manufacture quite a few of my friends would be in tall cotton right now.

Believe it or not people have been making gun powder for a few years:p before your recent discovery. Perhaps you should consider their years of research and experience.

Regards,
Mako

GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL
April 27, 2011, 03:08 PM
Well Mako Goods, use your willow. Sir, I don't care what you or anybody else uses. I was just telling people what I found out for myself. Not trying to and don't need to prove anything to anyone. I'vd already proven it to myself and I'm the only one who matters to me. I made the powder, I made the shots, and I burned my gasoline driving my Ford Pickup truck back and forth to look at the targets. I don't need to know and don't care to know what people done way back then. I've done peeped everybody's hole card. I done found out what work's real good for me. Everybody else can do as they please. None of my business..Articap, is pussy willow good? I'vd never had any but even the antelope out here are starting to look good to me!....

makos_goods
April 27, 2011, 03:28 PM
GOTC,
If you have nothing to prove to anyone why did you even post?

It seems that you are willing to tell us "how the cows ate the cabbage," but you are unwilling to listen to anything that doesn't fit your narrow view. I asked "what cows?" and now you are loudly protesting. I ask "what cabbage?" and you howl all the louder.

When it get's into the realm of feeling, or when people start using comparative adverbs like harder instead of offering evidence I relegate those findings to the same corner as I do with those who would divine their fate with astrology.

I leave you to your unicorns, excuse me, I meant your antelopes.

Regards,
Mako

Foto Joe
April 27, 2011, 04:46 PM
I should probably know better than to stick my nose into this but oh well....

Although I don't make my own, I'm intrigued by the fact that I could if I wanted to. I too have heard since the beginning that willow is the best. But I commend somebody like Stan for trying something different. Although in my part of Wyoming Mesquite trees hard to find, unless the grocery store has pre-made mesquite charcoal.;)

It's long been human nature for us to experiment with different methods of doing things. There may be a method which yields better results for most, but given humidity, altitude and environmental conditions, maybe that formula isn't the optimum for a given location.

It sounds like GOTC has come upon a formula which works to his satisfaction. I don't see a thing wrong with using mesquite instead of willow. What if you actually needed to make powder and you couldn't find a willow stand to save your life? Wouldn't it be nice to know that there are other woods out there that might be able to be used. Who knows, we might all be exiled to West Texas some day and have to hunt armadillos to survive!!:what:

I see THR as a media which allows us to share ideas. If the idea is dangerous or foolish, then someone will probably step on your neck. If you simply just don't agree with the idea then politely state your case or leave it alone althogether.

Stan,
I'd like to know what kind of weight difference you get for a specific volume of mesquite Black Powder compared to say Goex or another commercial powder. I'm assuming that the mesquite would be quite a bit heavier, or would I be mistaken?

And lastly...Using mesquite Black Powder just for target shooting must make you hungry for BBQ :rolleyes:

robhof
April 27, 2011, 05:24 PM
Anybody tried cottonwood, or am I opening up another can of worms?

tpelle
April 27, 2011, 06:29 PM
Just to jump in here before my main question..........
......... I read somewhere that pretty much any "junk" soft wood would work for making the charcoal.

Now, back to my main question: These tumblers that folks use. I'm surprised to see that they have rubber or rubber-lined drums. I always associated rubber with static electricity - but I have to admit that I'm kind of hazy on the matter. Are rubber drums OK for milling the final mixture?

I picture myself doing this with a LONG extension cord.

tpelle
April 27, 2011, 06:35 PM
Sorry - Double Tap!

ofitg
April 27, 2011, 07:11 PM
GOTC, I'm not trying to challenge your findings - I think it's fascinating to experiment with different recipes, and now you got my curiosity going - I'm gonna have to start collecting mesquite branches. My list of "things to do" gets longer every day ;)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

tpelle, I can't say whether the rubber drums (with or without plastic liners) will cause any static build-up, but I can assure you that ball-milling a mixture of sulfur and charcoal is very low risk. There's no oxidizer present.

In the few months that I've been playing with this project, I've never had any mishap. Just to be on the safe side, I run my ball mill out in the back yard.

Have fun with it!

Bluehawk
April 27, 2011, 07:14 PM
GOTC
I would be curious to know your technique on how you produced the powder...care to share? Formula...milling times...etc.
BTW...Dixe sells (or did at one time) a BP testing device that looks like a small BP percussion pistol. It loads a few tiny grains in the barrel...a shield swings over it and when it's fired a spring loaded arm shows the comparative value. You measure that against a known value such as Goex that you test...it's very simple and reliable.
Those looking for the chemiclas...go to: www.skylighter.com

Personally, I use a Thumblers Tumbler Model B tumbler, 150 .58 caliber lead balls, using 75-15-10 formula, milling for 24 hours a 500 gram batch at a time.
When done, I wet it all down into several "snowballs" then screen them through window screen...let it air dry completely in the shade.
The grains are rather soft but work fine for the intended purpose of rifle or pistol powder. You do have to use a little bit more of it for the desired velocity but at pennies per pound it's worth it.

Jaymo
April 27, 2011, 09:39 PM
The Harbor Freight rock tumbler has a black rubber drum. Wonder if the black pigment prevents static buildup, like a black rubber static discharge strap?

arcticap
April 28, 2011, 01:42 AM
Does anyone know what kind of charcoal that Goex uses?
Is it maple?

Oyeboten
April 28, 2011, 05:41 AM
If I am understanding this right, traditionally, Black Powder making relied on lighter Specific Gravity Woods which would have a higher Cellulose to Lignum ratio than do the Heavier Wood Species.

Willow is a relatively light Wood...and relatively free of Mineral saturations or inclusions.

No doubt, any sort of Wood will produce Charcoal that will work for making BP.

Though, a home made Black Powder which performs well in a long Rifle, might not work as well in a Pistol for it being a slower burning product for having been made using Charcaol from a heavier Specific Gravity Wood species.


Which leads me to wonder...how Balsa Wood would do?

Or, why even use Wood at all?

May one not make a super fine Charcoal out of Cotton, for example? Which would begin as nearly pure Cellulose, and, no Lignum present?

On and on...



Anyway, Hats Off to GotC for his interest and effort to experiment, and, thus to inspire and encourage us all by example.


One way to tell if one's Shots are more Powerful is by noting their placement on a Target over a long distance, which is to say, to note the difference in drop from one batch of Powder to another, with the same weight Loading and same point of Aim, where, of course, the longer the distance, the more the drop will show.

Less drop = more power ( or higher FPS, same thing of course).


My guess, is that sans Chronograph, this is what GotC was doing.


It is what I would do, if I did not have a Chronograph...or, what I would do, even if I did have a Chronograph for that matter.

makos_goods
April 28, 2011, 12:47 PM
Oyeboten,
Extremely low density woods like balsa or other sources of fuel such as plant sugars have burning rates that are too high to be useful as sporting powder. There are many types of powder but just as you wouldn't use Bullseye or W213 in a rifle cartridge. You match the fuel source to the needed burning rate. That's why mesquite isn't a good choice.

As I said the complex polymer chain lignin is undesirable. On the other hand a certain amount of creosote is extremely desirable. Creosote content in the right proportion and with the correct density of charcoal makes for a "moister" burning gun powder. Many of you have probably heard that Swiss and even Schuetzen is "moist burning" and leave softer fouling residue. This is because of the Scottish Alder they use.

To answer the question about the charcoal used by Goex I can only offer the following:

When Gearhart-Owen (later to become GOEX) purchased the Belin powder plant in Moosic, PA from DuPont in 1972 the longtime supplier for the charcoal was the Huskey Oil Company at a wood chemical plant located in Bradford County, PA. Huskey used both maple and beech wood to produce wood chemicals with the charcoal was simply a byproduct of the process. Then in 1973 Huskey unexpectedly closed this plant. Rumor was their equipment was worn out and the new owners were an unknown quantity and they weren't willing to invest in upgrading their equipment. Over the years DuPont had changed from being a source for their byproducts to the primary customer for their plant's production.

A few months later (1973) Goex began using subcontracted maple charcoal produced by the Roseville Charcoal Company in Zanesville, OH. The actual wood charring operation was located in West Virginia.

This continued until April 16,1997 when there was an explosion at the Moosic plant. This incident shut the plant down and GOEX, Inc.then made the decision to keep the Belin Plant closed and move the black powder manufacturing operation to Minden, LA.

Coinciding with the plant accident in Moosic causing a stop in operations, the Roseville Charcoal company lacking another customer ceased their operations in West Virginia. After the Goex move to Minden and the resumption of production in 1998 Roseville subcontracted production of charcoal from smaller plants producing charcoal for spirit distillers and filtering charcoal.

There was a marked decrease in the energy of Goex at this time, but to be fair it probably was due to a multitude of reasons, the Potassium Nitrate source, the new locations water quality, or lack thereof as well as the mongrel charcoal they were receiving all contributed.

By early 2001 Goex found a new supplier for their charcoal that at least equaled the quality of their old Huskey charcoal. Since the change to the new supplier and especially since Hodgdon acquired Goex in 2009 Goex has played it’s supplier list extremely close to the vest. I have gotten a few tidbits from Jerry Dean and they have assured them it is equivalent charcoal to the Huskey without coming out and stating it is maple. The oak they were getting just wasn’t doing the trick.

Goex had been chasing Swiss and even Schuetzen a bit with their Express and even Cartridge grades. They were doing this with processing and even the Potassium Nitrate instead of the charcoal. A pyrochemical chemist consultant they had kept pushing them to change charcoal and the tried some Alder out of Scotland, but they failed to secure a charcoal producer and paid a premium to have the wood shipped. Hodgdon just isn’t willing to invest in a better wood at this time. The consultant pointed out they had a ready source of Black Willow in the U.S. and they just needed to develop a Southern charcoal producer and they could repeat the higher energy charcoal that the Confederacy enjoyed.

This reference to the powder production and quality was cited in the historical documents residing at the Augusta museum and monument in Georgia.

“General Rains oversaw the production of 2,750,000 pounds of gunpowder at their Augusta facility for three years. They furnished the majority of this fire power for Confederate soldiers east of the Mississippi River. The Augusta plant never worked to capacity, and even when a rush order with 22,000 pounds of powder came from Charleston, it took them only two days to fill it. The powder captured at the end of the war was placed at Fortress Monroe and it was pronounced superior to all of their federal supplies.”

It is also written about in Gunpowder of the Rebel Flag: (Secrets of the Confederate States of America) by George W. Rains Which is primarily the speech given by Rains in 1882 at a Confederate Survivors Association meeting.

Unlike the Union which had been primarily using hardwoods for their powder, the plant in Augusta was using softwoods and specifically Willow.

That's about it for Goex. And in tests Goex is outperformed by other brands of gun powder regardless of the measuring methodology. It is interesting to review these tests because the differences in mass density become apparent when they are measured out in the traditional grains volume (or CCs) instead of grains weight. Goex still makes the majority of it's money selling to the military (actually the majority is to munitions contractors). Maybe someday Hodgdon will get serious and challenge Swiss, but I'm not holding my breath.

ofitg
April 28, 2011, 02:35 PM
The following is an excerpt from the book Liber Ignium ad Comburendos Hostes, written by Marcus Graecus..... there is some mystery about the age of this text, but most agree that it was written prior to 1300 AD....


http://img846.imageshack.us/img846/8/marcusgraecus.gif (http://img846.imageshack.us/i/marcusgraecus.gif/)

Oyeboten
April 28, 2011, 04:37 PM
Thank you Macos Goods for the additional information.

I think I had known that the differing Charcoals were important, but, had forgotten about the Creosote.

I appreciate your reminder about how it is possible to make Black Powder which would have too fast a burn rate for use in Small Arms.

Indeed, there were many differing kinds of Black Powder for different uses back when, or even today, and some are too fast for small Arms.

Interesting that the Powder Manufacture of the North was not so well informed or well supplied, as that of the Southern States at the time of their contentions.

Willow I think may also be the Wood for the slender Charcoal 'sticks' used traditionally by Artists for sketching, but, I am not sure.

I used to make Charcoal Sketching sticks for a girlfriend who was an Artist, and I used whatever suitable sized twigs I could find, and, overall, they worked very well, with some being harder or softer than others.

I just baked them in a sealed ( old style Metal Lid ) Coffee Can filled with Sand, in my Wood Stove.


What qualities would one look for then, in candidate Woods, for making the Charcoal, for making a good Pistol Powder, if one does not live where suitable Willow species are found?


I am in Las Vegas, where, possibly, some sorts of Willow exist far up in to the lower Mountain areas, but, I doubt any are to be found in Town or close by.

Creoste Bush, so called, grow all over the place here...and, years ago many residents grew Grapes, and some few still do, so, either of those would be obtainable I suppose.


But, the profile in overview for candidate Woods, would be the factors of Cellulose to Lignum ratio, and, Creosote content? With low mineral inclusions or saturation? As a place to start?


Mesquite Wood to my recollection, is usually a fairly dfense and heavy Wood, which probably has some significant Creasote content, but, I have not burned any in a long time to have noticed any details on it.

Those Trees who are positioned to enjoy more Water, and a milder Winter, likely end up producing a lighter Wood, than those situated in more arid and colder conditions...so there would be maybe some considerable variations then in the quality of Charcoal one would get, according to the elevation or other situation of the individual Tree, or, with how these Trees have adapted to their range of regions and conditions.

Just guessing on that...

GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL
April 28, 2011, 07:41 PM
That's exactly how I was doing it. That's why the targets were set at exactly 75 meters and at 125 meters. Don't need a chronograph to tell if the round is getting there and don't need a chronograph to look at the hole knocked through the plank to tell if I have enough power or not. I'm a field man, not a book man. I didn't say willow did not make good powder. I said that the Mesquite Chunks (all natural wood), (which I bought at Wal-Marts), made me some good powder with a good clean burn and plenty of power. Stand by it to. The shots were made from an inline. Have no idea how good a burn I would get in a '47 or '58 or carbine....Not EXACTLY 75-15-10 for my Mesquite or natural hardwoods sir but you're not far off the mark. This is late April. Been a hard wet month even for Wyoming. When it warm's up a little more I may make about 4 more ounces using Mesquite and then try a few balls through the '47 and the '58. If it burn's pretty good and pack's some punch then I'll know it'll work in the carbine. Hell, it shoot's good but I don't expect any blackpowder made either by a company or individual to pack the punch of Triple Seven 3fff unless maybe one soaks it with a tiny tiny hairline drop of nitro or some sugar maybe. (sugar will greatly enhance any explosion)....Yeah, I know a little about that sort of stuff. The last time I made nitro I was 15 years old. Cooked it in a small pot on top of Momma's cookstove. If she'd known about it she would have beaten me half to death I'm sure. Made about half an ounce. (has the consistency of high octane gasoline when it's first boiled. then it has to be distilled.) Took it down into the field back out behind the barn and set it on the ground against a big tree stump. Set it off with a single shot .22 rifle. Couldn't find a piece of that stump as big as the palm of one of my little 15 year old hands...That 'natural hardwoods' make's some good powder to...Mako Goods, sir; why do you make such a deliberate attempt to be so insulting? You're just wasting your time. I know what I know. Tested and found out for myself. I use TS3fff and have a damn good supply but if someday in this uncertain world we live in I may need to make a little powder I will know how. Why do you seem to derive such pleasure in quoting stuff out of some book and trying to tell me how wrong I am? I would not do you like that. I'd just simply accept your posts and go on about my business. My powder shot damn good. Knocked some pretty damned impressive holes through that 1 inch thick plank and stayed well within the section of the plank I had marked off with a paintbrush and black paint. The only negative of the whole experience is that I made several shots (high powered) and my right shoulder and right arm are still just a little sore....

alsaqr
April 28, 2011, 08:18 PM
GOTC, thanks for your informative posts.

makos_goods
April 28, 2011, 08:49 PM
...Mako Goods, sir; why do you make such a deliberate attempt to be so insulting? You're just wasting your time. I know what I know. Tested and found out for myself.

...Why do you seem to derive such pleasure in quoting stuff out of some book and trying to tell me how wrong I am?

...I would not do you like that. I'd just simply accept your posts and go on about my business.


GOATC,
I don't make an attempt to be insulting, I just state the facts. If that is insulting I'm sorry.

As for "QUOTING" from a book...I'm quoting from my education, I consult my references and notes when necessary. You do this for a hobby, I did it for a job. Not just small arms ammunition, but big ordnance as well. I used to buy tons of BP and other explosives a year. 95% of the BP produced in th U.S. is used in making initiators and bursting charges for ordnance and fusing.

In addition, perhaps you can tell us which books I am "quoting from." They aren't things you will find lying about.

The reason I sometimes react to your posts is that I believe in good data, research and facts. There is a dearth of decent information out there and every time someone posts it becomes part of the communal "knowledge" that floats around on the internet. I shudder when I see certain things posted. This isn't voodoo, witchcraft or some mystical art, it is simply applied chemistry and chemical engineering. There is a reason for everything even if someone is unaware of it or unwilling to accept it.

You have a short memory sir, I have at times been the first person to respond to your request for help. I remember a couple of threads... Furthermore when you started this thread what was your original statement? I believe it was ..Would like to read any comments anyone may have to make....

These are my comments...

Now about you making nitroglycerine.... hmmmmmmmmmmmmm....

Regards,
Mako

P.S.
I am a student of history as well (with the bona fides to prove it). Tell me more about those Texas Rangers that eschewed the factory powder in favor of mesquite based powder. That is a a story I haven't ever heard before and I'm very interested in pursuing that line. I have access to the necessary records and writings and this could be something to add the the public history of the Texas Rangers.

Busyhands94
April 28, 2011, 09:31 PM
thanks for posting this! you can actually get potassium nitrate as Green Light brand stump remover. it works well once you purify it. you need to dissolve it in hot water, strain it through a coffee filter, and then let the liquid dry and collect your potassium nitrate. it works for me, i think they add something to it that enhances the stump removal properties but hinders burn time. however once you dissolve/strain it it works much better. also if you would like to test the powder they have this at Dixie: http://www.dixiegunworks.com/product_info.php?cPath=22_125&products_id=3519

BHP FAN
April 28, 2011, 10:53 PM
Conventional wisdom is often wrong, and if we always did things the same, just because it was good enough for our forfathers, we'd all still be packing percussion six-shooters...which, I guess, would be pretty cool!

Norton Commando
April 29, 2011, 07:34 AM
I have a gun book at home that covers the history of guns/firearms from Friar Bacon's time until just after the civil war.

Interestingly, in the early makings of black powder, the book quotes the use of Hazelwood for the charcoal. Also, the first projectiles fired via black powder were not balls, but rather arrow/spear shaped objects; at least that's what the book and early paintings of "cannons" suggest.

Great stuff!

GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL
April 29, 2011, 09:14 PM
Well anyway....I looked up Hazelwood on the internet and found many links. Couldn't find anything about it's being used in the making of blackpowder or of any type of gunpowder. Dosen't mean it wasn't there though for sure. I bet it's on here somewhere; I just wasn't lucky enough to stumble across it..I use TS3fff. The only reason I make a couple of ounces every now and then is just to keep my hand in so to speak. The reasons I experimented with different woods is because I got to wondering what people done when they needed to make some powder and no willow wood was handy. Then Articap told me something about charcoal natural lump would work good. He was right to. (he usually most always is). Then I checked with some chemical supply houses and they told me hell yes. Natural hardwoods charcoal with no additives would work excellent. They were right to. The only reason I tried Mesquite is because as many people on here already know, I am a Walker man. (Uberti 1847 Colt Walker). I know I read somewhere on this damn computer (from archives and posted as fact) that Old Man Walker was known to turn down gunpowder supplied to his rangers here and there because he preferred his own powder for his personal use which he more or less made for himself and used Mesquite for burning charcoal..I had to change the mixture (formula) around but it didn't take much changing (stayed basically the same) and I ended up with what I would rate as some pretty damn good powder. (I compare everything to TS3fff and BlackMag3 as far as easy ignition and power. If it won't ignite easily then it's not worth a damn to me. If it has no power to push that ball on down the line then it SURE isn't worth a damn to me)

Bluehawk
April 29, 2011, 11:12 PM
As I mentioned in an earlier post, simply go to www.skylighter.com and Harry will help you with all the stuff you need to make BP at good prices...you don't have to hassle with stump remover or anything else. You will even get a great newsletter with amazing info on everything you ever wanted to know about BP (and pyrotechnics) from the simple to more complex techniques.
Another good supplier is Firefox...Gary and Diane are really nice folks!
http://www.firefox-fx.com/

makos_goods
April 30, 2011, 01:34 AM
...The only reason I tried Mesquite is because as many people on here already know, I am a Walker man. (Uberti 1847 Colt Walker). I know I read somewhere on this damn computer (from archives and posted as fact) that Old Man Walker was known to turn down gunpowder supplied to his rangers here and there because he preferred his own powder for his personal use which he more or less made for himself and used Mesquite for burning charcoal...

You do know that Walker really wasn't an old man, he was 30 when he died...

GOATC,
I am very serious about tracing the story you related about Samuel Walker and his production of gun powder in Texas. I have an entire section of my library devoted to the books about the early Texas Rangers. I have the works of Walter P. Webb, Mike Cox, Clyde Durham, Samuel Reid, Jr., Stephen L Moore, Frederick Wilkins to name a few.


I know you are an expert on Samuel Walker so forgive me for being so gauche, but could you identify the time period in his time in Texas that he set up this powder manufacturing operation? I am including a time line of Walker’s life you will undoubtedly be familiar with from the time he entered Texas in 1842 until his death in 1847. It would greatly reduce the amount of searching I will need to do if you could identify the specific period it took place in from the list below.



Jan 1842 Walker came to Texas
Mar 1842 Vasquez loots San Antonio
Sept 1842 Woll Occupies San Antonio
Sept 1842 Walker Signs on with Capt. Billingsly (Hays and Wallace part of Billingsly’s force) during the Woll incursion
Oct 1842 Somervell Expedition into Mexico, Walker participates
Dec 18, 1842 Gen. Somervell declares the expedition over
Dec. 19, 1842 William Fisher refuses to quit, Walker and Wallace join him, Jack Hays returns to Texas and warns them of failure.
Dec. 23, 1842 Fisher Invades Mier
Dec. 25, 1842 Wallace wounded and captured
Dec. 26, 1842 Fisher and rest surrender
July 30, 1843 Walker escapes a second time (this time for good)
Sept. 1843 Arrives by ship in New Orleans
Late Winter 1844 Enlists in Texas Rangers as part of Jack Hays’ company
Late Winter 1842 Wounded by lance recuperated over several months
June 8, 1844 “Walker Creek Fight” First major use of Hays’ tactics with Paterson revolvers against Comanches
June 8, 1844 Wounded in “Big Fight” , out while recuperating
Wounded two more times each time out for a month or more while recuperating
Wounded again, gets the nickname “Unlucky” Walker for his multiple wounding beginning in Mier.
Mar 28, 1846 After last convalescence discharged from Hays’ company
May 13, 1846 American Congress declares war on Mexico
June 1846 Joins Gen. Taylor at the Rio Grande
June 30, 1846 Appointed as Capt. In the U.S. Mounted Rifles by Taylor (he is allowed to retain his Ranger Commission until Oct. 2, 1846
July 1846 Heads East for six months to raise money and get equipment for his command. Heads to Washington
Nov. 1846 Meets with Colt in New York
April 1847 Back to Texas
May 10, 1847 Disembarks his force in Vera Cruz
May, 27, 1847 Sets up a post in Perote Castle
July – Oct 1847 Protecting American supply lines for Taylor and Scott
Oct. 4, 1847 Gen Lane passed through Perote Castle on the way to Puebla enlists the aid of Walker’s force
Oct. 9, 1847 Walker killed in the assault in Huamantla



Fortunately for you I am a registered researcher with access to the archives at the Texas State Library, the Texas Ranger Research Center in Waco, the Texas A&M military history archives and the Sanders-Metzger Collection and museum. I also have reciprocal access rights with almost any of the State university library systems both electronically and onsite. I will declare myself guilty of shamelessly using my relationship with my 2nd cousins husband to have gained access to the archives and in obtaining the necessary credentials. Once you give me the lead I need it will be relatively easy to find the original source of the information you have cited.

Regards,
Mako

Oyeboten
April 30, 2011, 02:26 AM
I would like to understand more about how 'Sugar' ( as in White, refined, Cane Sugar? Or? ) and in what proportions, increases the burn rate or whatever it is that it does do, in otherwise basic Black Powder.


And, would it have to be introduced early in the process ( as a Powder form, or, as a Liquid Suspension in Alcohol and or Water? or? ) to be mulled or ground with the Sulfur and Saltpeter? Or..?


This is very interesting...

Smokin'Joe
April 30, 2011, 11:19 AM
M.G. Was Samuel Walker ever armed with the revolver that is named for him?

Foto Joe
April 30, 2011, 11:24 AM
Yup, but according to the history that I've read he never got the chance to use it in battle. He was killed shortly after a Walker was presented to him by Sam Colt.

Norton Commando
April 30, 2011, 12:19 PM
GOTC - the Hazelwood charcoal reference was made by Harold L. Peterson in his book The Treasury of the GUN.

Interestingly, when I as perhaps 11-12 years old, I and a friend made a big batch of black powder using ground up sulfur, saltpeter and of all things, Kingsford Edge charcoal. We guessed at all the proportions. It certainly wasn't a very efficient black powder mixture, but it was a real thrill for us kids to see it burn and explode homemade firecrackers!

col.lemat
April 30, 2011, 03:21 PM
He was presented with two pistols. S.N. 1009 & 1010

Smokin'Joe
April 30, 2011, 04:45 PM
At what point was the Walker revolver officially named "Walker"? Was this before or after his death?

Norton Commando
April 30, 2011, 06:41 PM
At what point was the Walker revolver officially named "Walker"? Was this before or after his death?

Good question; I'd say that this particular Colt was named in his honor after Walker's death during the battle of Huamantla. But this is just a WAG.

makos_goods
April 30, 2011, 06:49 PM
Joe,
It never was officially named "Walker"The Army board called it the U.S. Model 1847 Holster Pistol, that is the official name.

After Walker's death it was said that Colt referred to it as the Walker. The primary cause for us to know it as the Walker is because of Colt's collectors.

We could just as easily call it the Model 1847 Colt, just as we designate the 1851, 1860, 1861 and so on. The 1848 models become a bit more complicated because there is a pocket pistol in .31 caliber that shares the same date. But the Dragoons are actually in the parlance that the Army purchased them US model 1848 Holster Pistols.

The very misnamed 1848 "Baby Dragoon" shows just how that the names we use today are whimsical creations of modern writers and collectors. The .31 caliber pocket pistol has no connection whatsoever with the pistols being purchased by the U.S. government for their mounted troops (note this is not Cavalry). The factory official name for the "Baby Dragoon" was the Colt Pocket Pistol Model 1848, .31 Caliber.

Have you also noticed how that any square back trigger guard is often called a "Dragoon trigger guard?" Once these names get started they take on a life of their own.

Now there is one Colt pistol that has a mystery to the name, and that is what we should call the 1848 Whitneyville Dragoon produced by Whitney before the move to Hartford. Some argue that it should simply be called the 1848 Dragoon, or more correctly the US Model 1848 Dragoon without any model designator. They argue that it is no different than the 1911 without a suffice preceding the 1911A1 or the M16 preceding the M16A1 and A2 models.

There is debate about whether or not the Army ever even saw any of these pistols as submissions, or if they all went the commercial route and Colt waited to submit his (1st model) first pistol produced in Hartford to meet the critiques of the original 1847 Holster Pistol design. I tend to support the second position.

~Mako

Bluehawk
April 30, 2011, 09:05 PM
Here is a great text/video tutorial from Skylighter on the making of your own BP...he uses dextrin (a type of potato starch) in his formula which I refrain from because it slows the burn rate down a little bit.
This should answer most if not all of your questions on how this is done. His grains are comparable to 2Fa but by further breaking them down you can produce good 2Fg or 3Fg sizes...he shows you how...very easy and simple.
Hope you guys enjoy it...let me know!

http://www.skylighter.com/fireworks/how-to-make/Black-Powder-Quick-and-Cheap.asp

This is his chem kit for making 10 pounds of your own powder at under $6/pound.
And no I don't work for this guy...have never met nor even talked to him but I know of him and his reputation, which is excellent.
Enjoy...

http://www.skylighter.com/mall/kits.asp?fl=search#KT0700

Bluehawk
May 1, 2011, 11:01 AM
Oyeboten...I don't know of any true BP formula using sugar although I have read somewhere there is a BP substitute using sugar.
Sugar in just about any pyro mixture would be considered a fuel...and not a bad one at that. It's a common ingredient in smoke mixtures (lactose/milk sugar) but in there normally as a cooling agent. For "candy" rockets, you use small tubes and a formula of 70% pot nitrate and 30% sugar (powdered confectioners). It is simply run through fine mesh screens a few times then rammed into the rocket tube which has to be a core burning type. They are not very powerful but they are unique and give off a nice, thick, milky white trail all the way until it burns out.
There is another type of "candy" rocket fuel which is far more powerful but it entails cooking the chemicals and unless you are experienced it's best to stay away from it

CharlesK80
May 1, 2011, 07:00 PM
Makos, I have never made BP nor purchased any lot greater than 25 pounds at a time. I am jealous of your knowledge of the sport, its tools and powders.

However, I was astonished at your implication that Union black powder was inferior to that produced in the Georgia mill based upon the sole assertion of a Gen. Rains who was the manager of that mill.
Not exactly an unbiassed source and certainly not an objective test. The memory of the good General is not much of a reasonable basis upon which a reasonable conclusion can be made. A speech made at a Confederate reunion may perhaps exaggerate a bit, yes? And you take it at face value?

Further, why suggest that all Southern BP was superior to all Federal based upon the alleged production of one Rebel facility ?

Sorry, I’m not buying it.


Give Gen. Rains another drink and he may well exclaim that Southern brass was better than Northern steel. And the Visitor Center will quote it.

makos_goods
May 1, 2011, 10:12 PM
....However, I was astonished at your implication that Union black powder was inferior to that produced in the Georgia mill based upon the sole assertion of a Gen. Rains who was the manager of that mill.
Not exactly an unbiassed source and certainly not an objective test. The memory of the good General is not much of a reasonable basis upon which a reasonable conclusion can be made. A speech made at a Confederate reunion may perhaps exaggerate a bit, yes? And you take it at face value?

Further, why suggest that all Southern BP was superior to all Federal based upon the alleged production of one Rebel facility ?

Sorry, I’m not buying it.


Give Gen. Rains another drink and he may well exclaim that Southern brass was better than Northern steel. And the Visitor Center will quote it.


Charles....

Go back and read the post you are referring to more carefully. You are arguing with the wrong person, I didn't say it, Gen. Rains didn't say it either, furthermore the information is just provided by the visitors center, they didn't create it.

Your argument is with Gen. Dyer chief of ordnance for the U.S. Army who accepted the report from the test of Confederate munitions secured at Fort Monroe. The U.S. Army Ordnance Board said the Union powder was inferior as you put it.

The speech by General Rains also made no mention of the report, I doubt Rains would have cited it to a meeting of the "Survivors of the Confederacy." General Rains speech talked about the advanced methods they employed, the quality they maintained until the mill was closed and the fact the Confederate Armies East of the Mississippi never ran short of powder while the mill was open. So before you "sniff" at Confederate powder production there is another book you should read called Never for want of powder: the Confederate Powder Works in Augusta, Georgia.

That was very true, they often had powder and no projectiles for their artillery. Confederate guns often resorted to stones and anything they could stuff down the tubes.

There are also entire books written on the efforts to obtain Potassium Nitrate and Sulfur during the war. One such book is Caverns of War: Confederate Saltpeter Cave Operations in Western Virginia. In another book about the logistics of the Confederacy called General Lee's Army: From Victory to Collapse, there are entire chapters devoted to the mining operations of sulfur, copper, gold, silver, lead, iron and soft coal. Nitric acid was always in short supply and that became a major strategic need for the Southern States.

This isn't a whim or mythic tale of Southern superiority, the report to the Army Board is simply a scientific report based on data gathered in the years following the war. The reason people know about it today is that it wasn't popular at the time in Washington and they repeated the tests. Later when the Department of the Army tried to compel the former staff of the Powder Works to relate what they knew, you can guess the answer they got.

I'll leave this for you to research now...See if you can find who gave the information to the Army in 1867, the same information that they had been threatening individuals with imprisonment with if they didn't divulge it. After you find it report back here and also tell us what the "ransom" paid for that information was.

Regards,
Mako

arcticap
May 1, 2011, 10:36 PM
Here's info. about the 2 largest northern powder manufacturers that are alleged to have produced about 80% of the north's black powder during the Civil War.

Enfield [Connecticut]

The Enfield Historical Society and Battlegroundcigar.com tell us that Col. Augustus Hazard (1802-1868) founded the Hazard Powder Company in 1843. He built a mansion in Enfield, and was visited there by many notable persons, including Samuel Colt, Daniel Webster and Jefferson Davis, then Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce, and later President of the Confederate States of America.

The gunpowder industry exploded, with the Mexican War of 1846, the California gold rush of 1849 and the Crimean War of 1854 all bringing huge orders for gunpowder. By popular vote of residents, the village at the western end of Enfield was named Hazardville in the 1850s in honor of Col. Hazard.

By the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, gunpowder was a million-dollar business in Enfield. Wartime capacity at Col. Hazard's mills reached 12,500 pounds of gunpowder per day. About 125 buildings were used in the production process, stretching from Hazardville to Scitico. The mill at Hazardville was in operation 24 hours a day, and produced 40 percent of all the gunpowder used by the Union during the Civil War.

A few buildings remain standing today in the area known as Powder Hollow.

http://vernon.patch.com/articles/civil-war-guns-powder-stonewalls-horse-and-34-battles

In 1802 E.I. du Pont founded his company solely as an explosives manufacturer. Trained at the French government’s gunpowder agency headed by the famous chemist Antoine Lavoisier, E.I. was certain that he could produce black powder superior to the best available American product at that time. DuPont’s Brandywine powder mills did indeed manufacture the highest quality black powder. By the beginning of the War of 1812, DuPont had become the leading black powder supplier to the U. S. government. An era of national development between 1830 and 1860 created greater demand for powder to blast open coal mines and to build roads, canals and railroads. In 1857 Lammot du Pont patented a new method of black powder manufacture which substituted sodium nitrate for potassium nitrate, resulting in a more powerful blast than traditional black powder. Two years later, DuPont purchased the Wapwallopen powder factory outside Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, to manufacture this blasting powder for industrial uses. During the Civil War, DuPont supplied almost 40 percent of all powder used by the Union army and navy.

http://www2.dupont.com/Heritage/en_US/related_topics/explosives.html

CharlesK80
May 2, 2011, 01:44 AM
Makos, thank you for your excellent reply. My researches are quite limited and the prospect of my finding answers to your questions would be like a pig searching for pearls. Please, since you know the answers, favor us with the information.

The only significant report on this issue is that of the Federal Department of War, not the self-serving Gen. Rains.

I think the Secretary of War was at that time Stanton who was opposed to Pres. Johnson’s reconstruction efforts. Secy. Stanton would have encouraged the publication of such a threatening report, whether true or not. Just another reason to keep a boot on the neck of the South.

I confess that I have never read nor heard any prior expression to the effect that the Union black powder was not the equal of any produced by any of the Rebel mills.

I toured what remains of the Augusta Powder Mill 5 years ago and recall being told by the friendly staff it survived without any war time damage to the structure, Sherman having elected to by-pass Augusta.

Making wonderful/horrible gun powder is one thing. Getting it to Rebel Gen. Johnson or Lee was another.

makos_goods
May 2, 2011, 11:39 AM
Charles,
Thank you for the gracious answer. I read over my post and saw I made a mistake on a date, the first report from the tests at Fort Monroe was submitted in 1867. I should say “accepted,” according to records of the activities they had conducted earlier tests. That is not when the person I told you to research submitted their report to the Army.

The majority of the records are now in the national archives. For a while some of them were at the Augusta Museum of History which for a while had storage in the warehouses near the remaining chimney and the new mill that was built. Since you’ve been there then you know the history of the entire facility and how it was a huge complex, much more than just a powder mill. The mill actually ceased operation over a week after Lee surrendered. Since the city was bypassed everything remained intact.

G. W. Rains (who despite being called a General by the U.S. Parks service was actually a Colonel*) returned to his profession as a professor of Chemistry and Pharmacy at the Medical College of Georgia. He stepped in after the city acquired the complex which had been stripped by the U.S. Army and some of their “contractors” from 1865-1868. The reason the chimney remains is due to efforts by Rains and chronicled in the book about his speech. The city of Augusta tore down the two miles of water front factory but left the one chimney and gave it to the organization Rains had made his speech to seven years after his petition.

You probably guessed it was “General” Rains who stepped in by some accounts as early as 1868, but the official record shows 1870 and stopped the pressure being applied to the foreman and the chief chemist who helped close the facility in April of 1865. Rains had been given deferential treatment by the department of the Army because he was a West Point graduate and he had returned to teaching in Pharmacology and there was a dearth of doctors or anyone involved in medicine in the South after the war. Acting the gentleman as he always had he prepared a report which is in the National Archives in Washington D.C.

The entire complex was a marvel, and the safety measures put in place were unfortunately only implemented at one of the mills that Arcticap cited, The Hazard mill was destroyed in a huge blast in 1913 that was heard as far away as Connecticut. After that blast they begin looking for answers and the determination was that they hadn’t been applying the standards set by none other than G.W. Rains. Powder manufacturing is a dangerous business, as I wrote earlier the last “major” Goex incident was in 1997.

There was never an accident at the Augusta plant which produced close to 3 million pound of powder. This is testimony to the efforts and organization of the work processes. Rains had entire sections of the facility shut down after dark because he forbade use of artificial lighting. They prepped materials in areas which could be safely worked under lamp light and worked 24/7. This in some ways was a forerunner to J.I.T. manufacturing (Just In Time) that is now ballyhooed and attributed to the Japanese. It involved prepping just the right amount of materials the night before to allow complete use and shut down of the potentially explosive portions of the operation by nightfall.

Regards,
Mako

* "History" and the narrative now records Rains as a General, but CSA records show otherwise. The narrative takes on a life of it's own and is repeated until it becomes "history." If you think that is interesting you should study the "history" and the multiple narratives of Samuel H. Walker sometime. Even the information at the Ranger Museum is often wrong. They know it too, I kid the director almost everytime I see him and we are alone. Someday it may be rectified, but it will require the "historian" who wrote the material and former administrators to be out of the picture. I have encouraged him to put the information in place to be unsealed at a later date, because I am sure he will retire before it can come about. The Ranger Museum is not part of the Texas Rangers but it enjoys a close and supported relationship with them. The actual records in the State archives and the action reports maintained by what is now the combined DPS and Ranger archives are what determines in the factual record of the activities of the Texas Rangers.

makos_goods
May 2, 2011, 06:28 PM
Gentleman of the Charcoal,

I am going to have some free time this week and I could visit the stacks if necessary to review materials on Samuel Walker. Of the items of interest less than half of them have been electronically copied. If I had some direction as to the time period it would be of great help because I have to ask for each item one by one.

I have carefully read your posts and the inference is that it would have been during the time he had a command. Contrary to a lot of “historical” references (actually bad) you read about Walker, he was never was an officer or had a command in the Texas Rangers, he was an enlistee and never progressed beyond a basic Ranger. His days of command were entirely in the U.S. Army and based on your comments that would indicate he was producing powder while in Mexico.

Let me know as soon as you can. I’m heading out to Philadelphia next week and will be tied up for a while.

Regards,
Mako

Southron, Sr.,
May 9, 2011, 09:11 AM
I guess that I am one of the few contemporary Americans that can claim that I MIGHT have shot some of the gunpowder made at the Augusta Powder Work. (Or it MIGHT have been from another Confederate powder mill or imported British powder.)

Back in the early 1970's a friend of mine that was into metal detecting found some old Confederate artillery shells. He "unloaded" them and was rewarded with about 5 pounds of gunpowder.

What I remember about the powder was that the grains were of various sizes. We screened the powder and ended up with some that, the grain size, was, roughly, in the modern FFg grain size.

We shot the powder in our muskets and I noted that rather than the blue/gray gunsmoke produced by DuPont, the smoke produced by this antique powder was very gray.

In your experience does black powder produced by willow charcoal, coal dust or whatever ingredients produce different colored gunsmoke? I am just curious why the gunsmoke produced by the Confederate gunpowder was so gray.

Southron, Sr.,
May 9, 2011, 09:25 AM
Regarding Sam Walker-my understanding is that although he had received a gift pair of Walker revolvers in Mexico from Sam Colt, his unit were not issued their Walker Colts until AFTER Sam Walker had been killed in combat.

Apparently Whitney were up to their old tricks-turning out lower quality arms when they made the Walker Colts for the government because many of the Walker Colts "blew up" in Mexico when the cylinders failed.

This might have led to the assumption that "homemade powder" was used in the Walker Colts because G.I. issue powder was "too powerful." That is my theory, at least!

Southron, Sr.,
May 9, 2011, 10:26 AM
I understand that there were cases during "The Late Unpleasantness Between the States" where some Yankee powder contractors were caught mixing powdered charcoal into musket powder. The reason, of course, was to defraud the government by providing inferior powder. I.E., 100 pounds of powdered charcoal plus 400 pounds of gunpowder = 500 pounds of gunpowder for billing purposes!

Bluehawk
May 10, 2011, 05:58 AM
If that's true it would have been discovered after the gunpowder keg was opened. The powdered charcoal would be significantly different from the granulated gunpowder and of course the powdered charcoal would have settled to the bottom of the keg during shipment. At any rate the gunpowder truly would not have been inferior nor contaminated as it would have been a simple task to screen the gunpowder from the charcoal.

Southron, Sr.,
May 11, 2011, 10:05 AM
Apparently, even back then, there were dishonest contractors that would defraud the government! LIke the old saying goes-the more things change the more they stay the same.

I recall reading several first hand accounts from "The War of Northern Aggression" about Yankee soldiers on the battlefield taking .577 caliber ammunition out of the cartridge boxes of dead or wounded Confederate soldiers because they knew that the Southern made ammo was better!

By the way- .58 Caliber was the "Official" Yankee caliber for Rifle-Muskets. Early in the war the Confederacy officially adopted .577 Caliber as their standard!

Also, the Confederacy officially adopted the British Enfield pattern cartridge. The problem was that after the Bath Paper Mills in Carolina burned down due to an accidental fire, there was no paper company in the Confederacy that could produce the high quality paper needed to make the Enfield pattern cartridge. Consequently, the Confederate reverted to the U.S. type of cartridge because it used a lower quality paper that they could obtain.

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