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Making blackpowder.

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL, Mar 15, 2008.

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  1. GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL

    GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL Member.

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    Would someone on here please post a couple of link's for me to go to which will explain exactly how to do it?
    I realize there have been numerous link's posted, but I don't make it and I don't shoot it so I never paid much attention to the links.
    I just want to read about it and all I know how to find on my computer is where to buy it at..Many thanks for your help....
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2008
  2. Beagle-zebub

    Beagle-zebub Member

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  3. GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL

    GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL Member.

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    Beagle-Zebub..Thanks!!
    Reading this will help me pass my weekend and maybe learn something to.
    I didn't know exactly how they done it. I knew the ingredients and all and about milling it and whatnot, but after that I was kind of lost.
    I knew that like anything else there was an art to it.
    This link you posted appear's to be some real good reading, and I appreciate you taking the time to post it for me....
     
  4. JCT

    JCT Member

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    • Ingredients needed: 99%+ pure; Sulfur, KNO3 ( Potassium Nitrate ) and Willow or Alder Charcoal

    • Materials needed
    1: ball mill aprox. 1 gallon size, with half the jar filled with .45 to .50 hardened lead balls ( mill media )
    2: Screens/strainers to sift out media and to granulate BP
    3: Digital scale: 500 gram minimum +/- .01 gram accuracy
    4: Other useful: Isopropyl Alcohol, pyrex measuring cup, plastic buckets, wood spoons, storage for finished BP

    •*Steps;
    #1: Weigh; 75% KNO3, 15% Charcoal 10% Sulfur. For a 500 gram batch ( just over 1 lb ), that's 375 grams KNO3, 75 grams Charcoal and 50 grams Sulfur. Weigh each separate and zero scale each time for accuracy. Pour all powder into mill jar with media already in jar. Seal mill jar.

    #2: Run mill 3-6 hrs.

    #3: Empty mill jar into strainer over newspaper or bucket, sift out lead, place back into jar

    #4: Powder is now "mill dust" Black Powder, it can be granulated next...

    #5: Wet powder with water and about 10% alcohol to aid absorption into dry powder. Mix by hand or spoon until it's a clay like consistency.

    #6: Rub the ball of BP through screen to granulate, dry outdoors, not in direct sun ( slow drying makes better BP )

    That's it, store properly. This powder is more fragile than commercial, since it's not been compressed to 1.7g density, it takes up more space per load, but is more powerful too.
     
  5. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    "Clay-like consistency" means a stiff clay that almost crumbles. If you get it too wet, you won't be able to screen it. (don't ask me how I know this)
     
  6. JCT

    JCT Member

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    I've over wet it more than a few times. It'll clog up your screen and make large grains of BP, too big for revolvers.
    Moist enough to bind the BP, but dry enough to allow it to be screened into the size you want. I'm not picky about fffg, ffg size. Homemade powder ends up being a mix from ffffg to fg, but works great and is so clean!! I shot about 50 rounds through the Walker yesterday and couldn't see fouling except on the base pin, chambers were clean, bore was clean! Hotter BP= cleaner BP. I most likely won't ever use GOEX again, but I would buy and use Swiss if it were sold anywhere around here, just for the convenience and durability of commercial BP. My homemade doesn't work well in the powder flasks, probably because I leave to many bigger chunks of BP in there too. Sometimes, I just use a lee dipper or powder measure and work from a container of my BP.
     
  7. Beagle-zebub

    Beagle-zebub Member

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    JCT, do you get reasonable accuracy with your powder? The thing about the grain-size being all over the place made me wonder that.

    EDIT: Also, it seems like fireworks people believe that higher density is a good thing, which they put into action with big presses. What's the deal with that. Both you and the Swiss website that I originally posted would seem to contradict that, even accounting for the fact that the firecrackers aren't worrying about messiness.

    You being able to get off fifty shots from your Walker is danged impressive! Now I'm even more excited about this stuff....
     
  8. GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL

    GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL Member.

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    JCT.. Thanks. man. I'vd got the picture now. Between you and the site Beagle-zebub sent me to I feel like an expert already! Thank's again....
     
  9. JCT

    JCT Member

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    I'm getting good groups, all my BP revolvers shoot high, but I'm working that out lately too. I just don't think the grain size makes enough difference. I also remember reading about a mix of FFg and FFFg that used to be used for revolvers for some reason.
    Firecrackers are usually made with a different powder altogether; Flash powder, which is still a fuel oxidizer mix ( KCLO4 and Aluminum powder ).
    Fireworks use all grades and densities of BP. Lift powder is usually pressed, but doesn't have to be. Powder for blackmatch fuse, rockets, fountains..etc is unpressed, mill dust BP, just like mine. They use mallets and rammers to load the cardboard tubes and create the solid fuel grains.
    I've never tried Swiss BP, but may break down and order some this summer to compare to mine. I'll have to buy a chronograph someday too just to be more scientific when working up loads. I like how the fouling stays nice and soft when using real BP, that's an advantage over the substitutes which seem to have dry and hard fouling.
    I almost got into pressing my homemade powder, but it's just not needed. While a 50 grain spout of my powder probably only weighs as much as a 45 grain spout full of GOEX, the power is greater. The lower density may also allow it to burn faster. I don't bother with the spouts most times, I can just fill the cylinder and since my powder will compress, I can fit the wad and ball still and it ends up being a good load.
     
  10. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    I ran across the musketeer site long ago and it is good.

    He even demonstrates he made saltpeter from naturaly occuring saltpeter from a wall. It was just as effective even with some contamination. However contamination can easily be removed (and for general use should be as it can be hard enough to scratch the barrel.)


    Some additional highly valuable information:

    Saltpeter can in fact be made by anyone just be leeching soil if necessary. Essentialy it can be made from animal waste, (even human waste, but for the same reason they don't use human waste for agricultural purposes you should avoid that.)
    A really informative reading would be to look up early salt peter production.
    Specificly Nitre beds.

    That will teach you how to make black powder from scratch even in a doomsday scenario with no chemicals or commerical products.

    Bottom line, you could make gunpowder from your own bodily wastes if you wanted.
    Of course you could also make smokeless powder and even high explosives from scratch by making some acids from scratch, nitrating and then purifying various things with everything you could aquire on a deserted island.

    Some of the most informative reading when read with the understanding of modern chemistry is very old historical alchemy experiments many done as early as the 800's. They are some of the simpliest, and generaly use materials you could collect outdoors.
    Be sure to double check them with modern chemistry, but the correct ones are great.
    Knowing such information could allow you to make even some of the most powerful modern explosives and propellants on a deserted island so is quite valuable.
    Such information is also very important to spread as with it widely known it is appearant that firearms and firearm technology could never be controlled or eliminated.

    Of course currently you can just purchase saltpeter and sulphur, and make your own charcoal (the most important part.)

    There is various methods to combine them. JCT gives a great one.


    For safety purposes be sure to use all non sparking equipment. For an electricly powered mill that includes making sure no fine powder will reach the motor (and some can become quite fine dust). Many mills also come with or suggest steel media or ball bearings for other purposes. DO NOT USE any material that will or can spark, including iron or steel. Lead works well for this purpose.
     
  11. oneiron

    oneiron Member

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    Nitrates

    I am a farmer and I use to get Potassium nitrate to spray on my cotton in late season. What we call spoon feeding it. Now you can't find a source. You can't buy ammonium nitrate any more. The only thing I can buy in bulk is Urea which is 45% CO(NH2)2. The twos should be subscripted in the last formula.
    Can Urea be use to make bp?
     
  12. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    Spray-grade KNO3 fertilizer is still available (but it's hard to find) and it should be high enough purity to use for making BP. I think it is just technical grade, which is what you want. Prilled KNO3 fertilizer can also be used, but you'll probably have to purify it to make *good* BP.

    Urea won't work at all. It's not oxidized nearly enough.
     
  13. berkmberk1

    berkmberk1 Member

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    From what I read on Ulrich Bretscher's Black Powder Page, I could extract saltpeter from the manure collected from my friend's stable..........she also has a large willow tree........hmmmmmmmmm :evil::evil::evil:

    I wonder what practical amount of time is required for the process.........I guess however long it takes to boil down the "brine"???
     
  14. GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL

    GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL Member.

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    Yeah, I'm learning a lot here. Good way to spend a weekend.
    I heard a long time ago or read it in a book somewhere that you can get all the nitrate you need under the cow piles.
    I also know where there's a couple of pools of sulphur water. That must mean there's lot's of sulfur in the ground there. I'll have to find a site and read on the computer maybe how to get it from the soil. Hell, it might just lay around in chunks like rocks for all I know.
    I know I drink a lot of coffee and I piss a lot. I think what one would have to do is place the urine like in a can and cover it with a cloth. The cloth would allow the moisture (steam) to escape and would also hold in the nitrate.Probably be kind of smelly but it's better than dying. I'vd also got to find out about cow piles and how to get the nitrate down to a reasonably pure form. (if I can)....
     
  15. Macmac

    Macmac Member

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  16. JCT

    JCT Member

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    United Nuclear sells Harbor Freight tumblers at a huge markup. These mills will make decent small batches of BP, but buy the mill from Harbor Freight for about $25!!
    Steve Baron at Micropyro has a great reputation for good prices and quality charcoal, but it's so easy to make your own if you have Willow or Alder.
    Phil at www.ihaveadotcom.com sells KNO3 and Sulfur at fair prices, he's a nice guy and good to deal with.
     
  17. Macmac

    Macmac Member

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    I see harbor freight has 2 sets of tumblers, but I am not familar with either.

    It causes me to wonder if the double drum has the same motor the single drum has.

    This causes me to wonder if the double drum motor is stronger and so using a single drum on the double drum frame might be a way to go.

    JCT, Once I sent a pm to you, but have no way to know if you got it. I have just now sent one more.

    Please read it and reply one way or the other ok?
     
  18. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Member

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    That's what I do. It seems to work OK. (the single-drum tumbler probably has the same motor, but I wasn't sure so I paid the extra $5 for the double)
     
  19. Macmac

    Macmac Member

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    Thank you for the info.. I simply must do this and succeed no later than late summer.

    It is hard times here and deep snow. "Things" are expensive and just being here for me at this time is a fight in survival right now.

    Like anyone else I must buget items.

    I am sure once I have this figured i can work backwards taking more time but no power and still make it, but I want to do this way now.

    To me it is life, and a long reached goal. It will be closure on 4 decades in related effort.
     
  20. berkmberk1

    berkmberk1 Member

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    Couldn't these mills also be used as rudimentary brass tumblers?

    I saw one of the 15 lb tumblers at an antique mall for $99. I wonder if its still there?
     
  21. JCT

    JCT Member

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    I use my mill to tumble my brass

    [​IMG]

    Ebay seller hobfir sells a great ball mill if you don't want to build one.
     
  22. Beagle-zebub

    Beagle-zebub Member

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    You could use it for bingo down at the old folks' home, too.
     
  23. scrat

    scrat Member

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    GOC you got my wheels spinning again. However im not going to go with a ball mill. Im going old style. The way it was originally made. Mortor and pestle. I found a good cheap site that sells them. I paid less than 10.00 for a descent one being shipped to me now. Lookse like no turning back.


    here is the site

    http://www.fantes.com/mortar-pestle.html
     
  24. GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL

    GENTLEMAN OF THE CHARCOAL Member.

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    Scrat, good morning. I just went to the link you posted on the Mortar and Pestle. Hell, it say's ir will grind peppercorns and coffee beans, so you know it will grind powder. I'm going to buy one of them today.
    It say's that as you turn the inside part in a circular motion it will actually pull the substance into it so to speak. That's alright.
    Yeah, Scrat. this is a good link. After I drink a pot or two of coffee here I'm going back to that link (i'vd already put it on my favorite's list) and see if I can make an order today.
    Thanks....
     
  25. Macmac

    Macmac Member

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    JCT, Would it be a bother to get a pic of the drum up as well.

    This photo is far better than the others, as i can see the const better.

    What are the rollers from, possibly a larger scanner printing bed?


    If you know what is the rpm of the drum?

    What is the rpm of the motor?

    Does the drum have internal fins of any type like a common back yard cement mixer does?

    As an aside I can see working backwards and getting to a mortar, but I'd rather use water power if no other was available to drive a drum. Time is still time.
     
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