Black Powder Subs-


March 10, 2013, 05:25 PM
Does anyone know what they are putting in the black powder substitutes,besides the three major parts/compounds that we know of ? I was just thinking,,what do they put in them to make them more powerful than the competition.The Tripple 7,made by Hodgdon is supposed to have more power than other brands of bp substitutes.So what are they putting into the mix that gives it more Power/BanG/oompH ?Or,, what do you think they mix into it? ?Any Ideas ? thanks for any info:D

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March 10, 2013, 06:59 PM
It's <proprietary>.
March 10, 2013, 08:26 PM
I know they mix some BS in.

March 10, 2013, 09:01 PM
Yes, it is proprietary - makes (dollars and) sense to keep it that way.

Pardon the obvious pun. But while the folks at Hodgdon are undoubtedly nice guys and shooters themselves,they buy food and pay their bills with funds that they receive when we buy their powder. And the Good Lord knows that if the "recipe" for Pyrodex or Triple Seven or any other product hit the Internet; somebody will try to copy it, goof it up, and suddenly there will be one less powder manufacturer out there, along with some very happily richer ambulance-chasing lawyers.

All my disclaimers having been thrown out there; I seem to remember reading somewhere that 777 was "sugar-based".
Hey, it was posted on the Internet, so it MUST be true, right? :evil:

March 10, 2013, 09:18 PM
^^^ what yuma kid says... It's good powder IMO. I'm less concerned about what's in it, as long as it works well I'm happy to support the guys who provide it.

March 10, 2013, 09:25 PM
I heard the same about the tripple 7 being sugar bassed too.I know that sugar based powders are sometimes used for fireworks or those model rocket engines.. I'm just curious to know what they put in to give that extra bang,but if everyone knew about it,I guess we'd be makin it too :p Could it be Potassium Perchlorate ? I'm just guessing.:rolleyes:

March 11, 2013, 08:49 AM
^^^ what yuma kid says... It's good powder IMO. I'm less concerned about what's in it, as long as it works well I'm happy to support the guys who provide it.

+1 The one thing I wish I could easily get BP for, though, is ignition reliability. Pyrodex, 777, the subs all are harder to ignite and that keeps me from getting a flinter. I know, I know, I can order 200,000 lbs of it and the hazmat fee will be reasonable. :rolleyes: When I get my hardened storage bunker built, I might consider that. Meanwhile, 777 has a power advantage and most of it works in my caplocks. I tried Blachhorn 209 in my inline, didn't like it, prefer 777.

March 11, 2013, 02:18 PM
I like 777 a lot in the revolvers, but less even in other percussion guns. I think I've spent more on upgrading nipples and buying every cap on the market to deal with some fussy percussion guns than I would have spent on the hazmat for one big BP order.

And do try a flintlock. They're fun and the one shot pistols don't use all that much BP.

Driftwood Johnson
March 11, 2013, 08:00 PM

It's no secret.

Hodgdon has the MSDS sheets for all their powder posted right on their website.

They don't tell you the ratios, but they do tell you exactly what is in them.

When Pyrodex was originally formulated, it was made so that it delivered the same amount of energy per volume as real Black Powder does.

For some reason, Triple Seven is formulated to be about 15% more powerful than real Black Powder. This is also posted right on their website. A few years ago I head that they were going to come up with a new formula that delivered the same energy as Black Powder, but I have not heard any more about that.

March 12, 2013, 01:39 PM
There are other ingredients besides the Charcoal,Potassium nitrate,Potassium perchlorate,Sulfer and the graphite.They won't tell you "every", component they put in the powder,but they say the information can be disclosed per 29cfr 1910 . 1200 (i) whatever that means...

March 12, 2013, 03:17 PM
Many years ago, in my model rocket phase, I made what's known as "Carmel Candy Rocket Fuel".

60% Potassium Nitrate, 40% Powdered Sugar, by weight. Nothing more. You can blend it dry, or, as the name implies, melt it in the oven, below it's flashpoint, into a carmel "candy" w/the consistency of hot tar. Then pour it into a mould. After it solidifies, it can be inserted into a rocket motor.

I only ever mixed it in it's dry form, & tamped into small paper tube rockets. If the rocket nozzle was too small in diameter, the rockets would explode. Later, I learned that this mixture was also known as "White Gun Powder". It needs to be confined to explode, similar to smokeless.

It does leave behind a residue more difficult to clean up than BP.

March 12, 2013, 05:38 PM
re: 29cfr 1910 . 1200 (i)

CFR is code of federal register or something like that. It's where regulations are published. That section is OSHA stuff re: hazardous materials.

1920.1200(i) covers trade secrets. Basically what they're telling you is that if you really need to know they'll tell you a little more but no more than OSHA absolutely requires since they consider the exact formula to be secret. There's a whole system where you can tell your concerns to a doctor and they'll tell the doctor what's in it and the doctor will go back to you and disclose if your concern is valid or not but no details.

March 12, 2013, 07:51 PM
AH, I knew that code would have to give up some information and I suspected it would also be protected.They are covered so well by all of that ! I was just so curious to what went in it,but I'll bet there are people out there constantly experimenting with different ingredients to try to come up with better.That would be a risky venture. Thanks for that web site,it's pretty interesting.I would not have known where to look for that code !

March 12, 2013, 11:42 PM
This doesn't really answer your question, but, burn rate would influence preasure peaks. ie. FFF bp compared to FF bp. Just a thought.

March 12, 2013, 11:45 PM
They are covered so well by all of that !

That's the way it works. Some bureaucrats get tasked with regulating something and they seek input from the affected companies and there's various rounds of public comment and eventually they always seem to end up with something that the existing large players can deal with but it's a nightmare for any new, small players to enter the space. Big companies can afford full time departments to deal with this stuff. But I digress.

March 13, 2013, 11:12 AM
Yes, and it sure looks very effective.Thanks for the info and that govt web site,now I have some direction on where to look when I see those confusing codes like that.I'll bet that they discourage alot of people from digging further,because I didnt know where to find things like that,all I could think when I saw it was, it must be in some sort of code/law book.

March 13, 2013, 11:57 AM
CFR = "Code of Federal Regulations" = The colossal collection of regulations created to implement the laws and authority granted by the USC to our massive bureaucracy.

USC = "United States Code" = Collection of the permanent laws of the United States. "Massive" is an understatement.

March 13, 2013, 12:01 PM
Thank you. I was combining acronyms in my head - the Federal Register is where rules and proposed rules get published.

March 13, 2013, 02:22 PM
I prefer to use Goex black powder.I tried Pyrodex, and let`s just say I`d shoot with it if real black powder was no longer available.:eek: I`d be very unhappy that I could no longer get Goex, but still slightly satisfied I had something (BP sub) that -frequently goes BOOM and often pushes prbs and minie balls out of my smokepoles!:o

March 13, 2013, 02:38 PM
Oh yeah,without a doubt ! If I couldnt get the real bp I,d use the Pyrodex,and I use it anyway just to have a variety of powder.The walmart I go to has the "P" and the "RS" and I got some of it.It sends the lead down range just as well.Some people say it's garbage,and I could never understand that.The only thing I can think of is that its a little harder to clean up.

March 13, 2013, 08:26 PM
I'm jealous of all you guys who can pick (at the very least) a sub at Wally World - they've got NOTHING for BP in my town. It's even "mighty slim pickins" at the one LGS that carries anything BP. If you want something more 'exotic' :rolleyes: than Pyrodex P or RS, Remington #11 or CCI #10 caps; you are SOL.

When friends/family are flying into town is when I make my powder and caps runs to Cabelas in Phoenix; it's the only saving grace about having to pay $200 to fly into Yuma - I can drive up to "the big town" and go shopping for "necessities" for less than the cost of the flight.

Now if I could just figure out what phase of the moon is occuring when Cabelas actually has Remington #10's in stock; and get people to arrive during THAT period......

March 13, 2013, 08:40 PM
CFR = "Code of Federal Regulations" = The colossal collection of regulations created to implement the laws and authority granted by the USC to our massive bureaucracy.

USC = "United States Code" = Collection of the permanent laws of the United States. "Massive" is an understatement.

Reminds me of this bit of wisdom....

Pythagorean theorem: 24 words. The Lord's prayer: 66 words. Archimedes' Principle: 67 words. The Ten Commandments: 179 words. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address: 286 words. The entire Declaration of Independence: 1,300 words. Current US Government regulations on the retail sale of cabbage: 26,911 words.

March 16, 2013, 01:16 PM
Now if I could just figure out what phase of the moon is occuring when Cabelas actually has Remington #10's in stock; and get people to arrive during THAT period......[/QUOTE] :D I like how you put that,with the moon phase n all :p I can only get the Bp at W-mart in the fall, so when they do have it I'll buy a few pounds of it.This time around they only put out the RS,which I already had plenty of. And actually,,, the planets have to be aligned just right in order to be able to get the Pyrodex "P" from them :p But I would have to otherwise order it and pay the hazmat fee,which nobody likes paying,or take a long drive and spend it on gas.

March 16, 2013, 10:35 PM
Walmart and BP? Right. :rolleyes: Of course this is goose hunting country and the only ammo our local WM has is 10 gauge 3.5" magnum steel T shot, three shelves full of it, and not a .22 round in the state. :rolleyes; They don't really have to stock BP to make me happy, just get my Federal 550 round bulk packs back!

Do they store it out back there in a bunker or break the law? Just wondering. It's like pulling teeth at most walmarts to get service at the sporting goods counter and when you do get help, they're clueless. :rolleyes: I can imagine asking one of 'em to go out back for 4 lbs of FFFG. I doubt most of 'em could spell FFFG.

March 17, 2013, 10:16 AM
McGunner: I'm with you. I can remember in the not-too-distant past (one U.S. President ago) when the best deal going in Yuma was the 1325-round pack of Federal .22LR's for some stupid low price like $27.
As of two days ago, you could get any kind of ammo you wanted, so long as it was Winchester .270 or 7mm Mag! The rest of the shelves had varying layers of dust on them, depending upon how long ago the stock had run out.

I about FREAKED when I went into a Wally World somewhere in SW Iowa with my son-in-law this past August.... MANY BP inlines, some with either laminated or Realtree-printed 'glass stocks and hundreds of saboted rounds from Hornaday and the like. Unfortunately, what we were looking for was some SD/HD rounds in .45ACP for the XDM he had just gotten in a trade; and the same in .357 for the S&W 66 we had found dirty and unloved at a local gunshow for his wife/my daughter's birthday - almost "exactly like Mom's", which was her request.
But there was 'No Joy in Wal-Mart' that day; unless fully jacketed ball could be considered SD/HD in either caliber, because that's all they had. And that was BEFORE the Elections! Fortunately, digging through the stockroom at the hardware store where my daughter works in another Iowa town netted us the HOLY GRAIL..... Hydra-Shok's in both calibers; and for only $35 per box (with her employee discount).

At the hardware store, the Pyro (and GOEX!!!) are stored in a big-azz safe from some no-longer-existant bank. Wal-Mart? I have no clue, and will probably never know; since none of the FOUR stores within 15 miles of my house would offer you anything but a 1000 yard stare if you asked for powder. :(

March 17, 2013, 10:31 AM
From the MSD's, they should list every major ingredient above a certain percentage, which I've thankfully forgot, but MSD's are seldome what they should be.

However, since the chemistry of explosives (at least low order explosives, the kind we're interested in) is rather simple we'd likely as not be able to see if anything important was missing.

Potassium Nitrate
Potassium Perchlorate
Graphite 2.5mg/m3 respirable dust

Triple 7:
Potassium Nitrate
Potassium Perchlorate
Graphite 2.5mg/m3 respirable dust

We can ignore the graphite as it's only used to coat the granulared powder.

I'd say the Pyrodex is nought but BP with enough Potassium Perchlorate mixed in to legally make it something else. I suspect that Pyrodex being harder to ignite as seems to be the commen perception here is due to a higher ignition temperature, which in this case means less Sulphur.

Triple 7 doesn't use sulphur at all which tells me that the perchlorate content is much higher than in Pyrodex, Sulphur and Potassium Perchlorate makes an interesting flash powder that is friction sensitive and unstable, imagine ramming your ramrod down on that...

Perchlorates give a higher burnrate than nitrates which would explain the 15% increase in power.

My conclusions would have to be that Pyrodex is a modified BP where a portion of the nitrate has been substituted for perchlorate and the ratios adjusted to give the same performance as regular BP.

Triple 7 is an old fashioned chlorate based propellant of the type used as high explosive from the civil war up to WW1 with Potassium Nitrate included to boost the smoke.

I'd say that anything else they put in would have very little to do with the burning proerties and more to do with manufacturing.

March 17, 2013, 12:12 PM
Thanks Ryden,at first guess,I said maybe potasium perchlorate might be in the Pyrodex,because of it's explosive abilities.And yeah, that would be pretty dangerous to use the ram rod on potassium perchlorate and sulfer :eek: I would'nt want to be the guy doin it, or even be next to someone doing that :uhoh:

March 17, 2013, 01:00 PM
Hmm. Kind of leaves us with a logical conundrum, doesn't it?

Since potassium perchlorate and sulfur mixed form an impact sensitive flash powder, and it appears they are mixed together in 777, and since several thousand black powder shooters use 777 in their guns (loading with a ramrod and thus subjecting the 777 to an impact load), one would expect at least a few incidents of accidental discharge resulting from the loading causing the potassium perchlorate and sulfur mixture to go high order.

But there seems to be no anecdotal evidence that those incidents occur.

So what am I missing here?

March 17, 2013, 01:22 PM
So what am I missing here?
Sulfur wasn't listed under 777 in Ryden's post.

March 17, 2013, 06:28 PM
:oThat would explain it.

March 18, 2013, 03:41 AM
Triple 7 doesn't use sulphur at all

I'm sorry Mykeal, it's my fault for not being able to write a coherent sentence.

March 18, 2013, 04:26 AM
A bit of further reading, anyone ever used the IMR White Hots?

Its Potassium Nitrate and Potassium Perchlorate and nothing else according to the MSD

This sounds a bit iffy, they are both oxidizers and no fuel is mentioned.
With chlorates, usually a metal fuel such as aluminium is used but that can't be the case here as that would make the powder grey.

When I was young and immortal I used to make my own fireworks, when I got kids I grew chicken (or smart) and stopped doing them, but the only chlorate compositions I recall that used something white as fuel are the whistle mixes, and those you'd never want to put into a gun.

I suspect that the fuel here is sugar of some kind, I bet I'm not the only one here that used to mix herbicide and sugar to blow something up as a kid :)

March 18, 2013, 08:04 AM
I'm sorry Mykeal, it's my fault for not being able to write a coherent sentence.
Ah, yeah, my wife often uses the same excuse...;)

March 18, 2013, 11:17 AM
NO one maker of a Black Powder Substitute is more powerful than another.

March 18, 2013, 11:51 AM
NO one maker of a Black Powder Substitute is more powerful than another.
Is there a hidden message in this sentence or do you mean that the product produced is not more powerful???

March 18, 2013, 12:10 PM
Shoot,, If anyone on this forum doesnt make sense, or makes iNcoheReNt posts it WoULd Be mE ! At least you guys are nice about it,some forums will just about hang a guy for messin up :p

March 18, 2013, 12:24 PM
NO one maker of a Black Powder Substitute is more powerful than another. I have heard that tripple -7 is more powerful grain for grain.I have not tried it out yet, but want to.

March 18, 2013, 09:56 PM
I found this , so I would say watch what you are doing............
Triple Seven may be, volume for volume, more powerful and users should follow load recommendations from the manufacturer.

March 19, 2013, 03:31 AM
That's what we're talking about here when we say that something is more powerful.

Black powder is measured by volume rather than weight as modern powders are and if you put in the normal volume of 777 in your gun you have an overload of 15%, hence more powerful.

March 19, 2013, 10:19 AM
I hope that anyone shooting Bp knows that, and doesnt take any of it for granted.

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