Is it legal to make one's own blackpowder?


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Boats
January 31, 2003, 04:14 PM
Just curious.

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DVNovum
January 31, 2003, 05:49 PM
Yes it is, but why would you want to? The current factory products are so much better than what you could make on your own that it makes an individual effort worthless. Unless you are one of the survivalist types who just wants to prove that he can make his own stash for the hard times. I have tried it a couple of times and only been able to achieve anemic results. So now I stick to GOEX or Pyrodex.

Boats
January 31, 2003, 06:20 PM
Well no illusions here that I could equal factory quality, but it is a good "skill" to have, like being able to make a fish trap or knowing how to swim.

4v50 Gary
January 31, 2003, 07:49 PM
Yes you can. That's half the fun of it and if you go to the NMLRA National Match, they have six or seven day seminars where you build your own.

Mike Irwin
February 1, 2003, 12:49 AM
Gary?

I don't think he's talking about building his own gun.

I think he's talking about grinding his own powder...

Not very smart, if you ask me.

dfariswheel
February 1, 2003, 01:05 AM
You can make your own powder. Quality will be very low, and of course there's always what happened locally 10 years or so ago.

There was a guy who was REALLY into the "buckskinner" thing.
He even made his own barrels from scratch.

He was making a batch of powder one Saturday and blew himself, his daughter, and most of his neighbor's house to kingdom come.

Then there's a gentleman in Kentucky some years back. He now has two steel hooks instead of hands, and one eye that works, more or less.

Boats
February 1, 2003, 01:46 AM
Lest anyone think I have designs on a Darwin Award, let me reiterate that I am intellectually interested in this topic, and not looking at going out and actually doing it.:D

dfariswheel
February 1, 2003, 02:30 AM
As far as the LEGALITIES of it, that would depend on your local laws. Some areas might prohibit it, or require a license.

There are also usually laws about storing the stuff. That's where the widow of the man killed had real problems.
Seems there are local ordinances, and I think, state laws about explosive storage magazines. He had WAAAYYYYYY over the limit stored, no permit, and the fool was making more close to the magazine.

As far as I know, there aren't any Federal laws about "rolling your own".
A number of sources have recipes for the mixture of black powder.
It's not that complicated, just dangerous.

Years ago, when DuPont was still making it, their factory was a series of small stone buildings, with very thin sloped tar paper roofs. This was all located beside a small creek.

Whenever an accident occurred, they called it being "blown across the creek", because that's what actually happened.
They'd clean out the building, pick up what was left across the creek, put on a new tar paper roof, and production was re-started.

Black powder was of fairly low quality until they learned how to do a process called "Corning". This process made for a much better blend, higher quality, cleaner burning , and more uniform size.

444
February 1, 2003, 07:58 AM
After you satisfy your intellectual curiosity about making black powder, I got another one for you. Reloading primers. I know that it has been done before. I know it is very dangerous. But I would like to know the details myself just for intellectual curiosity.
I am in the process of reading an older book on reloading and he is dicussing the manufacture of primers, and it got me to thinking about this subject.

I vagely remember reading an article in a magazine where the guy mentioned that he reloaded primers. He removed the anvil, used a punch to knock the cup straight again. Then he used something like the material off the tips of matches or something for a priming compound and re-inserted the anvil ??

4v50 Gary
February 1, 2003, 09:33 AM
Opps. You're right Mike.

During the Siege of Boston (1775), the Rebels were very short of gunpowder. Fortunately, the British weren't aware of it and didn't risk an assault. They remembered too well the losses they suffered at Breed's Hill (mistakenly called Bunker Hill). Quite a number of educated men, including Charles Willson Peale resorted to making their own. Same thing happened in the Carolinas.

You need a special tumbler to do it. Rubber coated balls and a lot of land in case it decides to go Ka-Boom!

dfariswheel
February 1, 2003, 03:12 PM
A lot of "field expediant" reloading went on during WWII.
The president of my old gun club was 80 years old and told us some great stories about trying to keep shooting during the war, when ammo and reloading componets weren't available.

.22LR was reloaded by putting mashed up matchheads into the rim. Not very reliable.

A company sold a swaging tool that used fired .22 cases as the jacket for bullets. This was still available as late as the mid 60's.

One shooter got a few 20mm cannon shells swiped from an ammo plant, GROUND THE POWDER INTO A SMALLER SIZE, and reloaded 30/06 ammo. According to the president, the loader started out with a "light load", and worked up!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reloading cartridge guns with home-made black powder was common. He reported that it didn't work too well in modern cartridges, but worked well in pistols, and shotguns.

444
February 1, 2003, 03:32 PM
"A company sold a swaging tool that used fired .22 cases as the jacket for bullets. This was still available as late as the mid 60's"

http://www.corbins.com/

http://www.graybeardoutdoors.com/forums/32.shtml

dfariswheel
The book I am reading was talking about reloading during the war, this is what brought up my question about reloading primers. This was just the beginning. These guys were making homemade presses, dies, you name it. Wouldn't it be fantastic to find out all the stuff they did and put it all into a book.

sixgun_symphony
February 2, 2003, 01:45 AM
Reloading cartridge guns with home-made black powder was common. He reported that it didn't work too well in modern cartridges, but worked well in pistols, and shotguns.

The .32 Winchester Special was designed as a modern smokeless powder cartridge that could be reloaded with traditional blackpowder.

Back about 1900, the reloaders were not familiar with the new smokeless powders and wanted somthing they could reload with BP.

Of course one can get a rifle chambered in a traditional BP cartridge like .32-40, .38-55, .45-70 and et cetera.

Hal
February 2, 2003, 09:32 AM
Here ya go Boats. Step by step and with pictures.

http://www.wecreate4u.net/~pyro/top.html

My impression?
Way more trouble/risk than it's worth.

Interesting reading though just because of the "So that's how they make it" factor.

scotjute
February 3, 2003, 11:01 AM
GOEX moved into an old US Ammo Depot in N. Louisiana back in the 90's. Been there about 8 yrs. They've had at least 2 explosions and at least 1 death since they've been there. Note : they moved here because their original Pennslyvania plant had been destroyed because of explosion. The Army granted them a lease, because it was deemed to be in the national interest to maintain US production of black powder. It is still used in some Army munitions.

foghornl
February 5, 2003, 10:39 AM
Doesn't the Navy still use black powder as the propellant in some of ther REALLY BIG guns? like the 12-16 inchers?

scotjute
February 5, 2003, 11:28 AM
No, I believe that they used pressed and formed cordite cakes. There is no shell casing around the explosive propellant. Probably why it is a tad dangerous.
If anyone else knows, please chime in.

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