DON'T make your own!

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Acker

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Oh man..I would NEVER make my own powder,and I'm that guy who gets away with everything crazy I try..I live in Dupont,Pa..Named after IE Dupont explosives Co..[Formerly Smithville..] There were explosions there once a year for decades that took MANY lives,some were friends fathers..Closed now,they made Dynamite,Nitro,& black Powder..I was coming back from woodchuck hunting one night with my dad & my cousin Ray,maybe 1971? All three of us sitting in the front seat of dad's '61 Studebaker Lark Station Wagon..Where we were on a backroad,all three of us just happened to be looking at a powder storage magazine on the mountain east of my house,4 miles away..Not quit dark yet,it blew up!!! Blast was incredible,huge ball of fire and a shockwave..[Like a daisy Cutter bomb..] shook the car!!!
 

MSW

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I will cop to having looked about on u- tube. something about the style and manner of presentation of the folks making these videos seems to tell me that the little voice in the back of my head is right: this is not a good idea. for one thing, I can't see how I would get a consistent product. for another, I see a bunch of points along the way where I would blow my house (and my sorry a$$ along with it) to perdition, all so I could save a few bucks or be able to claim that I was somehow more "rugged" or more "independent" than my neighbors … did I mention that they're all hippie- dippies and think that guns are "icky?" Did I mention that I really don't care what they think of me anyway?

so, if there's a complete breakdown of social order, and I need to made some sort of explosive out here in the hinterland, I know how, but until then, i'll let well enough alone.

one guy's opinion … free and no doubt well worth the price.
 

tenngun

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I think there are a a few things we can read about that were skills and practice from the past that It’s neat to do from a learning point of view that are unwise for us today.
Old times just dipped their cups in the nearest creek. Might eat fresh meat till it starts to ‘turn’. Just ignore a cut after it stopped bleeding till it healed or got infected and killed them.
I’ve made powder, won’t do it again unless we face a zombie apocalypse or a meteor that blast us back to the Stone Age
 

Eterry

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I made a batch, following a recipe, but was not impressed. I had to mix it 50/50 with store bought to get it to go bang. As long as i can get it at local shoots im good.
 

VADSLRAM

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There are plenty of sites that can show you how and sell you the chems to make BP. But they aren't here.
BP is legal, flash powder is a gray area. But once you put BP in something not a firearm and flash powder in ANYTHING, it becomes illegal in most states.
And I tell you straight, unless you take the time to process it correctly and have the right charcoal, home made BP is much dirtier than Goex et al and slower burning. Until you can't get it anymore buying commercial is a much better idea. I mean come on, yes you can make 25 lbs of BP cheaply but realistically at 50 grains a shot 25 lbs is almost 4000 shots.
 

Carbon 6

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but realistically at 50 grains a shot 25 lbs is almost 4000 shots.
3500 to be exact.

7000 grains to a pound, divided 50 grains to a shot, gives us 140 shots per pound. Multiplied by 25 pounds = 3500.
 

TNGhost

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3500 to be exact.

7000 grains to a pound, divided 50 grains to a shot, gives us 140 shots per pound. Multiplied by 25 pounds = 3500.
Great, except black powder is measured by volume and not weight when loading. ;)
 

tenngun

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Great, except black powder is measured by volume and not weight when loading. ;)
It is volume but close to stated weight. Three f might weigh a tad more then two f in a measure.
when I make a measure I pour it out in salt In an adjustable measure so I get a hole of that same volume.
A pound of powder occupies about a pint of space. Measured in volume Grains or drams or grams You get about a hundred 70 grain charges in a pound. But I usually spills a bit. So I might get 90-95 70 grain charges out of a a pound, plus I got to prime. And priming from my horn ive been known to over prime and waste what I brush out.
 

Carbon 6

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You get about a hundred 70 grain charges in a pound.
100 x 70 = 7000 so, it looks like the math still works or you account for inaccuracies in measuring, spillage and priming and you still come up short of 4000 shots /case, shorter even than the 3500 I stated.
Not that any of it really matters, just shoot and have fun.
 

tenngun

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I know ‘Blood Shooters’ might pre weigh charges, put it in little plastic tubes. Then they weigh each ball. I know sometimes my measure ‘heaps’ sometimes a little short. And my ball is the one that passes visible inspection when it drops out of the mold. I doubt I really get twenty ball or thirty two ball from a pound of lead either.
 

sgtsquid

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I'm reading on here about folks discussing powder, home-made caps, etc. I would like to tell a true story that happened a few years ago in Redding, Ca. My general vicinity:
This older, retired fellow, D.R. was making contact explosives (think percussion explosives) in his garage of his nice house in the nice neighborhood. With his nice wife of many decades in the house, of course. And our hero managed to blow off a couple of fingers. Wife calls 911, ambulance arrives, EMTs call police, Sheriffs, P.D. arrive, shortly followed by the BATFE folks. While our hero is in the hospital, the decision is made to evacuate the house, and the neighbors, and the investigation determines that D.R's house is an explosive hazard, so it is torched by Shasta County firefighters in a controlled burn, with various subsequent explosions as it goes up. And that's the end of everything they worked decades for. And then about 5-10 years later, it happens again, about 5 miles closer to my house, with 60yr old dynamite found in the barn by the new owner. Shasta County makes the same decision and result. Why do people do this? In my experience, this explosive tinkering never ends well. Google it yourself- Redding Searchlight Newspaper, Shasta County, Calif. OK, I'm done. Tinhorn
This is great to know, since I recently moved to Redding. I can't say that I am surprised. This town just gets more interesting all the time. The only time I made BP was after having experience keeping a bunch of rocket surgeons from blowing themselves up, taking every precaution conceivable, in a town where various explosions are common enough for the locals to not notice. I just wanted to try real serpentine powder in my Tannenberg gonne replica, and it did work well. That being said, it was just to see if I could do it, and I would still consider it a last resort.

I just tried to look for that story and found this gem from just a few months before I moved here.


The spirit of the Wild West is alive here!
 

SDSmlf

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The number of shots I get per pound depends on accuracy and how close to point of aim the shots hit. Different granulations and manufacturers very load volume by up to 20%. Tried home brewed stuff and found even with 50% more by volume I wasn’t where I wanted to be accuracy wise. Maybe I expected too much. Making black powder is something I will leave to the preppers. If I were really concerned about future supplies, I would start ordering 25 pound lots today. But that is just me in my little world.
 

deerstalkert

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the knowledge of how to do something is priceless, the wisdom not to do said something surpasses priceless.
i have a cousin with 3 stubbie fingers, also my brother in law can only flip the bird with one hand. both have been in that condition for 50 years or better. this discussion is not new.
 

hailcaesar

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It varies state to state how much BP you can have on hand. Example here in LA 25# while next door in MS 50#. I keep 5 to 10# at a time on hand. I have a small cannon that I have to feed so I do make some. Believe it or not if you buy charcoal you will have a hard time finding the correct charcoal. I make my own charcoal. I am blessed with having some trees on my land plus other types of good charcoal making trees. I ball mill 800' from the house with a blast wall. I plan on making a bunker to store both homemade/commercial BP one day.
 

Mad Michael

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I thought I remembered something about these cases so I did what Tinhorn suggested and looked them up, and went back to the primary sources too. D.R. was making fuel for model rockets, he wanted to take them to the annual competition in Nevada. The materials in question reportedly ignited when he brought a small soldering torch to close to them. D.R., like many of us, also reloaded his own ammo: so those materials were also in the mobile home. He was quite forthcoming with the authorities, admitted what he was doing. While I couldn't find any reference to picric acid in my notes nor online he did have Fulminate of Mercury. He plead guilty, was convicted of a misdemeanor, and spent 5 years on unsupervised probation. He decided that model rocketry was not for him and took up a new hobby. He now holds an amateur extra class license from the FCC.

The burning/blowing up of structures has been SOP since 2008 for all bomb disposal agencies when it is determined that the explosive agents cannot safely be removed from the structure, or it is impossible to know how much explosives are in place and where they are located, or when there is just so damn much explosive materials that the removal to a safe disposal location has potential danger. In D.R.'s case, it was determined that his mobile home did not have enough space in it for a group of bomb removal people to safely move around in, D.R. was aware of what was going to be done.

The case of dynamite found in outbuildings is a lot more common than most people know. First up until mid 1960's it was fairly easy to obtain. Second in rural areas it was useful stuff: it was used to clear fields of stumps, boulders, etc.; handy for a spot of quick fishing; cleared wells, built cofferdams, really it's use was limited by the users need or imagination. Redding is an area that was once big into lumber, is a farming area, not to far from Shasta Lake, came into existence when a small ranchero community called "poverty flats" became a railroad terminus named Redding, and is an area where hydraulic mining used to happen. One might say, dynamite is in the communities blood. The Happy Valley incident referred to by Tinhorn, however, ended up having so much explosive, I suspect that the barn was either used for storage by a construction company or perhaps a dealer who, for one reason or another, Just abandoned it. It too was burned, but large amounts of the material was removed and detonated at another location. This was very old dynamite described as "rotting"
I survived my wild, crazy, patently stupid childhood and teenage years managed to grow up, have children, work to retirement but I am still........
Mad.
 
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