Red residue at muzzle after shooting

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laufer

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After a shot is discharged, red residue/ little drops are formed at the muzzle and tip of the cleaning rod- any idea what causes those? It was a "regular" load of 70gr 3F in a 20ga x42" smooth barrel, regular weather, no humidity, no wind, beautiful sunny day. Powder is from the same batch I have used before on this and other guns and did not get any red droplets at the muzzle. It cleans easy, clean barrel is in perfect condition.
 

Stophel

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I've heard of this before. I may have even seen it, myself, I don't quite recall. I don't remember what it was, though.... so... not very helpful! :D
 

Carbon 6

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Are you cutting patches at the muzzle ? could be your own blood. :)
Otherwise it might be iron (III) thiocyanate but that's just a wild guess on my part.
 

Stophel

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I'm not a chemist, and even with my vast repository of arcane knowledge (meaning a brain full of useless junk), I have never heard of iron (III) thiocyanate. Why would it be present upon combustion of black gunpowder? And then, why only on occasion?
 

hawkeye2

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Many years back myself and a lot of skirmishers began noticing red spheres about the size of the head of a pin among the fowling. Due to the political climate at the time many felt that taggants had been added to the powder by GOEX but an acquaintance who is a GOEX distributor explained that it was from the sulfur. As that batch(s) of powder was used up it went away. It took almost 2 seasons for everyone to burn it all up and I haven't seen it since.
 

Carbon 6

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Looks like my horse isn't even going to get out of the gate, 😞
Oh well, it was a long shot.
 

Nazgul58

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I noticed it recently as well. Around the flash hole, using newer can of GOEX. Started using an older can and it didn't happen. Not sure what it was.

Don
 

59sharps

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Many years back myself and a lot of skirmishers began noticing red spheres about the size of the head of a pin among the fowling. Due to the political climate at the time many felt that taggants had been added to the powder by GOEX but an acquaintance who is a GOEX distributor explained that it was from the sulfur. As that batch(s) of powder was used up it went away. It took almost 2 seasons for everyone to burn it all up and I haven't seen it since.
Yea I’m one of those skirmishes along w a few other team members
 

nkbj

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Yep, noticed when started shooting my first muzzleloader, a "Kentucky" rifle purchased at a drug store.
Back then some people automatically patted themselves on the back and said it showed they were "getting a good burn".

When black powder is consumed it liquefies in the process and then burns. The saltpeter melts and the sulfur melts. Sulfur turns red when it melts immediately prior to combustion. So my guess is that if you have unconsumed powder that melted but didn't burn, then you could have red beads. I'd imagine there's a few different factors that could promote that.

If you ever want to see how all that melting works, if you char a hole in a piece of wood and add small amounts of saltpeter and sulfur the hole will form an interior of glowing coals (similar to what would be gotten rid of by swabbing a cannon bore to prevent igniting the next charge). When the hole gets deep enough it will look like a miniature volcano, the molten saltpeter and sulfur boiling with bubbles of combustion, getting carbon from the walls of the hole. A lot of fun when you're in elementary school but now it gives me the shudders to think about how much dumb luck I used up.
Surviving those experiments are why I don't make my own powder.🍀
 
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When black powder burns, it converts the chemicals to other compounds, smoke, residue in the barrel, etc. under different 'atmospheric conditions', you get mucky or dry fouling and occasionally the red balls. Normal.
 
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