Black Powder Substitute??


April 25, 2012, 11:09 AM
In my area BP is hard to find,but I see lots of Subs(Pyrodex,777,etc.).

If forced to use a substitute which one and why?


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April 25, 2012, 11:16 AM
I'm using Pyrodex RS in both 12 ga brass shot shells and 45 Colt loads. Pyrodex, many claim is very corrosive though it cleans using the same methods as BP. I've not found it really corrosive but decap and wash the brass in soap/water as soon as I get home and clean my gun using simple green followed by water then normal cleaning/lubing after I dry it completely.

I've never been used the 777 but might eventually.

April 25, 2012, 11:35 AM
I've shot Pyrodex P and it did fine with no problems. They say it is more corrosive than bp, but to me it doesn't matter I clean my guns just as soon as I get through shooting. To me Pyrodex isn't as messy or gums up as much as Goex fffg, just my opinion though. I can't say for 777 I've never shot it but I do believe it is much stronger so they say load 15% less of the load you want. Anywhere from 35-40 grains will be ok as long as your gun is not a brass frame.

April 25, 2012, 01:20 PM
Another option is there are pretty detailed instructions online for making your own black powder. Just throwing that out there.

April 25, 2012, 02:15 PM
Go to they will ship directly to you. If you have two or more people splitting a order then the powder becomes cheaper that way.

Driftwood Johnson
April 25, 2012, 04:50 PM
Good Grief! Don't even think about making your own Black Powder.

Or didn't you hear that Goex had still another explosion last year, and they are the professionals.


Among the substitutes, Pyrodex still requires you to use a bullet lube that is compatible with Black Powder. Using bullets lubed with conventional modern bullet lube will cause problems.

American Pioneer Powder (APP) and Hodgdon's 777 do not require a BP compatible bullet lube. Standard smokeless bullets can be used with either one.

777 is roughly 15% more powerful than real Black Powder, so caution must be used with heavy loads.

April 25, 2012, 05:45 PM
Good Grief! Don't even think about making your own Black Powder.

Or didn't you hear that Goex had still another explosion last year, and they are the professionals.


By similar logic, if Mario Andretti has a car accident, does that mean that the rest of us shouldn't drive?

Industrial accidents happen even when producing the most mundane of products.

All that to say: Evaluate the cost/benefit/risk for yourself. Reloading can be dangerous. Firearms can be dangerous. Ad infinitum. If you have a desire to make your own BP, learn everything you can, evaluate the risks, and proceed if you deem it correct to do so.

No one should have to settle for substitutes, if they don't want to! :evil:

April 25, 2012, 06:12 PM

April 25, 2012, 09:54 PM
The only substitutes I have used are Pyrodex and 777. Both perform just fine. I usually use Pyrodex for cowboy action shooting because it is less expensive. I acquired some 777 at a very good price, otherwise I would not have used it at all.

April 25, 2012, 09:58 PM
ever hear of powder being made with bat poo? an ole timie told be to save the bat poo in my shed,said somthing like; selt peeter sulfer charcoal (home made) and bat poo. he said it stinks awful bad but it works

April 26, 2012, 01:23 AM
The Pyro has more of a BOOM but 777 has more power for the volume.

April 26, 2012, 02:28 AM
I bet you are near BP and just don't know it. Your big box sporting goods stores sell it, you just have to ask for it as it is not allowed on the shelf with the subs. Bass Pro, Gander MT and Cabela's handle BP. ASk the clerks for it.

BP is rather large in Indiana so there should be several other dealers. There is a Goex distributor in Waldron, IN. Friendship hosts some of the largest BP shoots in the Nation. Check around.

Also you can get it by mail 0rder.

April 26, 2012, 07:36 AM
{There is a Goex distributor in Waldron, IN.}

I did not know this. Thanks for the heads up.

April 28, 2012, 10:21 AM
Has anyone tried the new Alliant Black MZ?

red rick
April 28, 2012, 07:45 PM
I called my local GS today and he told me that they havn't been able to get Goex for about 2 months now. He said they had an explosion at their plant. He told me that he expected to get some in about 2 weeks.

April 28, 2012, 08:48 PM
We made Black powder in HS Chemisty and got an A for our project but I was in HS from 1980-84 in rural Arkansas. We took it out to a farm and blew up a stump.

April 28, 2012, 09:11 PM
I have used Pyrodex RS on and off for a long time. My rifle, shooting 75 grains of black powder or the equivilant volume of Pyrodex, shoots to about the same point at 100 yards (probably within a couple of inches). I only shoot .490 round balls. While I prefer bp I too cannot get it at times and have found Pyrodex to be an acceptable substitute. Some have indicated it is more corrosive that bp but I clean my rifle fairly quickly so it is not an issue for me.

April 29, 2012, 01:23 AM
powder companies make large amounts of powder at once and doing it like that makes it very dangerous but hey, if you want to sell and stay in business, you do what you can to do it as safe and possible.

I prefer pyrodex and blackhorn209 for my muzzys.

Driftwood Johnson
April 29, 2012, 07:26 PM
Powder companies have been in business for many years and thoroughly understand the chemistry and processes involved in making powder. The roots of Goex go all the way back to the first Du Pont powder mill on the Brandywine in 1802. After Du Pont gained too much control of the explosives business the Sherman Anti Trust act broke the company up in 1912. The Hercules Powder company was one of the spinoffs of the break up. Hercules eventually changed its name to Alliant, which makes Unique and many other Smokeless powders today, and Goex was spun off to continue making Black Powder. These guys have over two hundred years of cumulative experience making Black Powder.

To suggest that the home hobbyist is somehow safer making Black Powder than the professionals is ludicrous. The pros have all the controls in place, and even so, every once in a while a powder mill goes up in smoke. The latest explosion at Goex, which happened last June, was caused by foreign material getting into the corning mill. Corning is probably the most dangerous part of making Black Powder. The three ingredients are mixed together into a past with water. Most of the water is driven out, and the resulting cake is ground down to granular size in the corning mill. These days it is always a remote operation, nobody is in the corning mill when it is operating. That's why nobody was killed this last time around.

My Dad was a chemist. He worked for Hercules Powder Company in Kansas during WWII. He was a foreman on a line producing rocket fuel for bazookas. The fuel was extruded into sticks through a hole in a large steel plate in a large press. One day that building blew up. Everybody inside was killed. Luckily my Dad was somewhere else that day. Powder mills are usually constructed with separate buildings housing separate operations, so that if an explosion occurs in one operation, the entire facility is not destroyed. This facility had multiple buildings each with a blow away wall facing out onto the prairie. When the rocket fuel extrusion building blew, that steel plate was found about a mile away on the prairie.

A few miles from where I live the United States Cartridge Company did business in Lowell Mass from shortly after the Civil War until about 1929. In 1903 an explosion in one of the company's powder magazines leveled a neighborhood, killing 22 employees and residents of the nearby neighborhood.

My Dad told me how to make gunpowder when I was about 15 years old. He told me the ingredients and the correct proportions so that I would not experiment on my own. Then he cautioned me not to even think of trying to make it on my own.

My point is the powder companies have been doing this for hundreds of years, they have all the safety precautions in place, including dust control, keeping the correct moisture level in the powder cake, doing the most dangerous operations remotely, and still they have the occasional mishap. In 1986 the president of Goex and a worker were killed in a lab explosion. If the professionals still experience explosions, it is arrogant and foolhardy to think the hobbyist can do it safely. Even just making a pound or two of powder at a time, have you ever seen what happens when a pound of Black Powder explodes?

As for the Mario Andretti analogy, you are talking apples and oranges. Mario Andretti getting in a car accident does not mean the rest of us should not drive. It means the rest of us should not get into a race car and compete with other professionals.

And making powder is not at all like reloading. Reloading is much safer than trying to make powder at home.

Leave the dangerous stuff to the professionals who have been doing it for years and have the proper equipment to do it right.

April 29, 2012, 07:56 PM
You make many good points. However, it is a fact that many home 'hobbyists' have been making black powder for many, many years and continue to do so today. It's also a fact that mistakes have been made and the practice has cost some people serious injury and even death. I don't know, and I don't know how we'd find out, the percentage of bad results based on the total number of home powder makers. Without that information it's impossible to assign a probability of doing damage, and thus to accurately assess the risk involved. Certainly it's foolhardy to simply start making an explosive powder by experimenting with different techniques. But, the processes involved in black powder production are really quite well known and published. It's not difficult to obtain the necessary education to reduce the risks from the foolhardy experimenter stage to what many feel are an acceptable level. I would suggest that it can be done and is being done by perhaps hundreds of people who understand the risks, have dealt with them and know what they're doing.

April 29, 2012, 09:15 PM
I shoot Pyrodex mostly in my revolvers, but I also like 777 and shoot it in my CVA inline. These are the two subs I've found that perform the best. Pyrodex is hard to tell from holy black IMHO, same smell, same mess. 777 is sulfur free, so it don't give that neat smell BP addicted me on so many years ago. :D But, it's a hot powder that performs well. I hunt with the inline and really don't care about the smell.

April 29, 2012, 09:47 PM
I have used BP in the past but now use Triple 7 (777) routinely. Blackhorn is great powder but very expensive and difficult to get at times. I also have used Pyrodex with success in the past. Triple 7 is my favorite currently.

red rick
April 30, 2012, 05:09 PM
In my inline I like Blackhorn, easy to load after shooting many rounds without swabbing between rounds.

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