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anyone tried making fulminate of mercury for caps?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by roscoe, Jul 13, 2008.

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  1. roscoe

    roscoe Member

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    I have this urge to be able to make everything involved in shooting a cap and ball revolver - sort of a self-reliant thing. The percussion caps seem to be the hard part. The caps themselves can be made with a Tap-o-Cap, and some folks load them with roll caps. But, I was wondering if anyone had made true fulminate of mercury.

    I found a youtube video of a guy doing it and it seems simple, if toxic as hell. Lots of unpleasant fumes, plus you obviously have to be careful not to lose your fingers, presumably by making just a little at a time. Still, I have the urge, and I was wondering if anyone else had the urge to try it, at least once.
     
  2. PTK

    PTK Member

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    That would fall under manufacture of high explosives without a license, which is quite illegal. :)
     
  3. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    Yes, it is. If you're going to do something that foolish at least have the intelligence to not broadcast it on the internet.
     
  4. Shotgun Willy

    Shotgun Willy Member

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    Fulminate of Mercury is supposed to be pretty touchy stuff, as well as being illegal to make.
    That being said, when you blow yourself up, I've got dibbs on your stuff.:evil:
     
  5. Gunruner

    Gunruner Member

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    You can get a lic. through the ATF to manufacture explosives and then you would be legal, However the $300 fee is too expensive , IMO. The paperwork and application w/fingerprints could be filled out and mailed in one afternoon. Just questioning whether or not you can do ANYTHING, is not illegal. It's called free speech as long as you do not damage anyone.........Mike P.S. Just how many of the folks over here make their own black powder? AND post it...........
     
  6. roscoe

    roscoe Member

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  7. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    Fulminate of Mercury is a nasty material. Back in the 19th century when it was used in ammo, Winchester lost a lot of good men in their mixing room. It was made wet, and would be mixed that way. As it dried, it became unstable. Then it might blow up. A lot of men were burned badly and maimed, and even killed IIRC. Winchester finally revamped the room with blast walls to deflect the force of the explosion, and used mirrors to allow the workers to see what they were doing, so they wouldn't be directly in the line of the blast.
    I suggest you leave this alone ... but that's just my two cents ......
     
  8. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

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    There are a lot of better priming materials. Look into it, and avoid fulminate of mercury.
    It's not what is used in modern caps, anyway. I believe they use potassium perchlorate. Older primers still have lead azide, though.
     
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    You can probably find a guy on YouTube going about building a homemade atomic bomb.

    That doesn't mean you should try to do it to!

    rcmodel
     
  10. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    Both the video and the fulminate of mercury seemed like high quality productions and were enjoyable to watch.
    If it wasn't an emergency though, who would want to actually use that material as a primer? It's not worth breathing in any of that residual FOM primer smoke otherwise, is it? :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2008
  11. Pilot

    Pilot Member

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    Trivia: In the movie "Mr. Roberts", Jack Lemmon's character uses fulminate of mecury to blow up the laundry.
     
  12. Voodoochile

    Voodoochile Member

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    I can understand the reasoning for the OP to want to manufacture his/her own percussion caps & what not & Fulminate of Mercury was the most stable product in the 19th century to manufacture the caps from but I think I'll stick with the store bought stuff for now.

    I don't even make my own powder here because I'm affraid of the consequences of my kids getting hurt from my own possible mistakes "no good place at my home for that activity."

    I guess what I'm saying is, if you do go along and start making your own just be careful.
     
  13. sharps59

    sharps59 Member

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    and its morre corrosive to your gun than any thing else you are using.
     
  14. roscoe

    roscoe Member

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    Well, I appreciate all the replies. I dodn't chose fulminate of mercury because of any reason other than the chemistry seems like the simplest. If anybody has a better home-brew, I am open to it.

    I also appreciate the safety concerns. I think that it is probably possible to to it in small enough quantities to minimize the danger, with safety equipment employed. Obviously, it will be done outdoors to avoid fumes.

    I just like the idea of being able to make all the components for a cap-and-ball revolver.

    By the way, I think that explosives made in very small quantities for hobby use are legal.
     
  15. redneckrepairs

    redneckrepairs Member

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    Can it be done , yess , should you NO However i say the same thing to folk who want to make and grind their own black powder. Point is you can do it , and do it safely if you have a good set of instructions . What you found of wicipida is not good instructions even if they happen to have the recipee right today . Any explosive that can become energetic on its own is best left to the " buy it " stage . Now note i am not telling you not to research it and do it , i am however predicting that in your home workshop something will introduce a variable ( read this as a change of humidity and a spark if nothing else ) and you will have the fastest fire you ever seen lol . By all means get the info , by all means set up to produce . By no means try it . Either you have set a safe zone , and follow a recipe or not . As of today in America dont make any kind of " priming compound " in bulk unless and until you are licensed for same .
     
  16. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    I thought the You-knighted Steaks Army Improvised Munitions Manual advised using match heads. I suppose that stuff could be scraped off or even wetted and then scraped off, made into a paste and applied.
     
  17. alemonkey

    alemonkey Member

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    If you break the white tip of a strike anywhere match off with a pair of pliers, then bang the pliers on a hard surface, you'll get a bang with sparks and some smoke. So I assume matchheads would work.

    It always freaks unsuspecting people out when I show them that....
     
  18. Gun Slinger

    Gun Slinger member

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    Legal ramifications aside, the neurological (brain) damage that you would most likely suffer should you be exposed to the (quite toxic) mercuric compounds would make it kind of hard to appreciate the sense of accomplishment and your new found sense of "self-sufficiency".

    Nice to know how to do it but, isn't your health worth more to you than the significant, inherent risk of irrevocable neurological damage?
     
  19. roscoe

    roscoe Member

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    I have read about people doing that (on a blackpowder forum). The problem is that those strike-anywhere matches are getting rarer.

    I have actually scraped the matchhead tips off dry and put them in a reused primer in an otherwise empty .45 LC case and it definitely works.
     
  20. PTK

    PTK Member

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    Unfortunately, the BATFE doesn't care what you think. They're concerned only with what is and isn't legal.
     
  21. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Gunslinger said:
    Never mind the legalities, who needs brain damage? Either stock up on percussion caps or get a flintlock. Maybe we can convert a Ruger Old Army to be a flinter? :p
     
  22. BigBlock

    BigBlock member

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    Hey roscoe, everyone told me I'd get lead poisoning and die if I melted down a battery to make bullets. I did it carefully and safely and the doc says there is NO LEAD in my body.

    Does that mean you should try making the primers? No...but just 'cause everyone chimes in and says you shouldn't do something...doesn't make them right, either.

    There is definately a danger in making caps. You can decide for yourself whether you want to take that risk. My suggestion - given the danger, time needed, and probably cost - maybe you should just buy a case or two of your favorite caps and probably have a lifetime supply? Maybe work on a good storage system for factory made caps instead of playing with mercury.
     
  23. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    NOW we're talkin'!:D
     
  24. JCT

    JCT Member

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    Every one seems to interpret BATFE Orange book differently...but, from what I read; an individual, making explosives on their own property, with no intent to sell, distribute or transport ( DOT regulates )...is not defined as a manufacturer! It's pretty clear in the book. However, you must have proper storage, or make and use the explosives within the same day.
    You do not need a license to make low order or high explosives. You might check it out online, BATFE website has a pdf of the orange book. You'll only need that license if you're in the business of dealing, producing for commercial use or distributing explosives. Also check proper magazine types required and table of distances if you plan to build a storage shed for any explosives.
    We've discussed all this extensively over at Recreational Pyrotechnics and most seem to agree and interpret BATFE, that an individual on their own land can basically do what they want under some logical guidelines. If you want to make caps, it's certainly possible and can be done safely. I'd stay away from armstrongs mix though!!! Stick with fulminate or find a suitable alternative that isn't too sensitive. You can't even get a manufacturers license unless....you're a manufacturer, so that kind of clears that up. We looked into it once...unless you're a business, you can't get the license and don't need it either.
     
  25. roscoe

    roscoe Member

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    Thanks - you got one?

    Thanks also for the legal lowdown; that was my understanding as well.
     
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