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Judah

Making Gun Power with Household Items.

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I have read extensively on how to make gunpowder at home but I have never tried it because if it didn't kill me, my wife would.

 

I would love to see if you could really make gunpowder at home and evaluate its quality. I think this would make an awesome post.

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I do not know about making smokeless powder at home. What most people call 'gun powder' is more properly called Black Powder to differentiate from smokeless. That I can and have made. The dangerous part of making BP (OK, it all is risky and requires care but the MOST dangerous part) is the grinding process. In order to get the clumps into something like grains, you are most likely going to need a mill. During the milling process you must use something that is ABSOLUTELY without sparks. Lead balls for the grinding medium. A tumbler that does not build static electricity (no plastics/pvc - think brass and lead) is mandatory. That tumbler is FULL of explosive dust. ANY SPARK and the best you can hope for is a quick trip from the fire department. The worse involves the morgue.

There is a decent enough book, 'The Do-it-Yourself Gunpowder Cookbook', also available for the Kindle. Link to Amazon from the Survival Cache Home page and help out the web site. It has a step by step. Frankly, I don't think I'd even try to make smokeless. BP is somewhat more tolerant of 'small' mistakes in number of grains or grain size. Smokeless is quite capable of doing MAJOR damage to a firearm is you put 10 grains instead of 7 grains in the case. BP will be OK with an extra few grains and usually it is physically impossible to 'double charge' with BP. The case isn't big enough! Not saying you can be cavalier with reloading, just saying BP can be more forgiving than smokeless. It will still kill you absolutely, positively and sincerely dead if you get careless so be careful.

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I don't want to sound like I'm insulting Judah (or anyone else who thinks making black powder at home would be fun), but I have to ask why you would bother.

 

You won't be loading it in your modern firearms (not more than once anyway). You won't be so low on supplies and ammo that it's easier to make your own primitive weapons than it will be to find another gun somewhere (every single SHTF situation seems to involve hordes of people dying off...well that means the ratio of guns to humans will be going UP not down).

 

As a survival skill making black powder falls somewhere between memorizing every country and western song of the last four decades, and being able to whittle wooden toys for your kids. Almost totally useless, is what I am saying. It is dangerous to make, dangerous to store. It is illegal to manufacture without a license in lots of places. The possession of home made black powder and ANY sort of container or improvised trigger constitutes 'bomb making materials' and carries a hefty prison term (even moreso in our post 9/11 society). It has almost no practical value, once you actually make it. It is hygroscopic (it attracts and retains moisture) so you have to store it someplace very cool and dry or it gets ruined.

 

I just don't see the wisdom in pursuing the production of BP at home, especially nowadays. There are so many more useful things you could be making or learning than that.

Edited by survivalcyclist

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I'm just curious, what would happen if you loaded black powder into the case in a modern firearm, say an AR?

 

I am not sure but I know I would not try to use BP in a semi, especially a gas system like an AR. BP is loaded in some carry overs from the western days (45 Colt, 44-40, 45-70, etc) and I know not all modern arms stipulate BP is a safe alternative for smokleless. I am not sure what the pressure differences are tho.

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Awhile back a person that i'd known from a gun shop made some home made black powder & loaded it in a 45acp cartrage. Chambered it in a Glock 21, It went " KA BOOM ", not fun at all, blowing up your gun. He also has pork marks on his face for the rest of his life. Personally i would'nt attempt making my own black powder. Ones mileage may very in doing so, if you deside to make it.

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If any of you wanted to be grey or off the radar this is not the way to do it.

 

My personal view is this thread is not going to do anyone any good.

with all the sick twisted individuals out there we "do not need to feed the animals".

 

you folks keep pissing on the electric fence are going to get a surprise,

ARE WE BEING MONITORED you bet and this thread make us look even more irresponsible

and crazy want to know if we have moles well this looks like bait in a trap IMO.

 

they problem with trying to show others that your SMART is you may inadvertently in your zeal

to show your knowledge you could open Pandora's box, and we all know how that turned out.

 

Please inform me if this is going to continue so I might resign from Survival Cache because I want

nothing to do with this subject or be associated with anyone or group that does.

This is BAD a terrible Idea and in no way will help anyone to survive and may lead to other conversations

that are very dangerous and could be misconstrued as those crazy preppers are taking about

building a X_________ .fill in the blank with something horrible and linking us with destructive or

potential anarchists as soon as some punk does something to a mailbox and he learned it WHERE.

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I agree with Snake, you can buy the stuff so why try to make it. It can not be used in modern cartridges with stepped necks. It was used mainly is straight walled cases and large bore balloon cases such as the old 8 m/m. using lead bullets. BP will not work with jacketed bullets. Too much powder can cause an explosion as can a low powered load. This should not even be tried.

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BP is an explosive. Just like smokeless. Make too much of it and your friendly, neighborhood Federal Agent or LEO may stop by and ask 'what cha doing?" Unless you live out in the sticks you may also have some uneasy (with some justification) neighbors.

 

Using BP in any semi-auto is likely to lead to a malfunction, and quickly. Some rounds were designed for BP. The .45 Colt for example. The .45 ACP was not. Obviously, loading a .45 Colt case 'full up' with smokeless is a good way to destroy a decent gun and quite likely your life. Shifting even a bolt gun to BP has some issues. I can find how many grains of BP my .45 Colt likes in the loading manuals. I have never seen how much BP the semi-autos like or the modern calibers would use. Without the proper gear to determine burn rates and pressures, you are playing you bet your life the gun manufacturer put in enough over design in the weapon that you don't kill yourself.

 

BP and smokeless burn differently and as always these things are important. An observant reader pointed out to me that encouraging the making of BP is an unnecessary risk to a persons safety and shelter. This is absolutely true. If TSHTF is less than 10 or 12 years, I strongly suspect that ammo resupply will appear before everything I own goes click. It isn't that much ammo as I don't plan to fight a major war here. Hunting, practice, varmint eradication and perhaps, if I'm unlucky, self defense don't really demand a massive amount of ammo. The time, effort, and risk of making your own powder is probably not worth the cost. Finally, since I can not make primers/caps, that is the ultimate limit anyway.

 

As a survival skill making black powder falls somewhere between memorizing every country and western song of the last four decades, and being able to whittle wooden toys for your kids.
While I don't know what SC has against "Ghost Riders in the Sky" his point is well made. For legal reasons, safety reasons and financial reasons, it just does not seem to be something to worry about doing.

 

If for reasons of your own, you insist on learning how to do it, find out what the law is and then find someone who KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING and have done it long enough to prove they'll good at what they do. Get them to teach and mentor you. HINT: a guy called 'lefty' or 'eye-patch' probably isn't the best role model.

 

Just my not so humble opinion.

Edited by Capt Bart

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The knowledge and ability to manufacture an alternative powder seems to a good prep to have under your belt. When people ask "why bother?" tell them "So I am better prepared to survive." But do it safely!

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Here is a Black powder loading table for pistol cartriges:

 

http://www.goexpowder.com/images/LoadCharts/Cartridge-Pistol-Revolvers.pdf

 

Wandering around will find the rifle loads.

 

Still, primers will be a concern.

 

Rosemead,

I realize I may be stating the obvious, but there was a time I didn't know and there may be new folks to shooting who don't know. Not meant to be insulting but this is a safety thing, so here goes:

 

When we say pistol, we usually mean semi-automatic weapon like a Glock or a 1911. The .45 ACP stands for .45 caliber Automatic Colt Pistol (automatic for automatic cocking - the ACP is a semi-auto pistol, confusing but what isn't when it comes to guns?). The chart you link to is on the GOEX site and they are good, solid purveyors of black powder and information. Given that, the data is probably correct but unless you have reloaded before I would STRONGLY advise that you NOT do any reloading until you have a solid reloading manual and have gone through several reload cycles with standard stuff.

 

I also note that ALL of the black powder reloads are for revolvers - there is not a single 'pistol' in that list. Not that it could not be done, somewhere by somebody, but the fact is, black powder is not a good performer in pistols. PROBABLY not dangerous to shoot, but your 15 shot Glock will probably become a single shot, clear the jam, repeat type weapon.

 

Get a solid reload manual, get a book like 'ABC'S of Reloading' by Rodney James and UNDERSTAND the principals of what you are going to do. If I sound paranoid it is because I am paranoid. If you lose recognition of the fact that you are playing with EXPLOSIVES there is a real risk of injury.

 

I like reloading. It is relaxing, fun and saves money. Get careless and it will kill you; just like flying, skydiving, bungee jumping or any number of other things.

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Black powder is an explosive. It DETONATES. Smokeless powder is NOT an explosive and burns at a specific rate. That is why you use different powders for different kinds of loads and guns. A handgun has a short barrel and smaller cartridges so the powder for loading those rounds is a fast burning powder. Shotguns have long barrels and big cases so their powder is usually a little slower burning. Each specific powder is a TOTALLY different speed of burn and creates pressure in a slightly different way. As the pressure builds the powder burns faster and as it burns the pressure builds.

 

Black powder goes boom and pretty fast the pressure is gone but there for an instant it was HIGH! I have reloaded for decades and it is a safe hobby as long as you know what you are doing and stay alert. Hey a friend of mines Mama broke a persons leg with a bowling ball when she lost it on the back swing. You do NOT eat greasy french fries while you bowl! Life has its dangers and actually reloading is probably as safe as most hobbies.

 

The smokeless powder isn't very dangerous at all. The primers are explosive though and need to be handled in small quantities and with respect. If you put it in an ashtray when someone puts a cigarette out in it they start a fire. It does not explode or even burn all that fast since it can't develop pressure in open air. It only makes pressure when it is contained in something fairly strong. You can not make firecrackers with smokeless gunpowder.

 

I made black powder when I was a kid. It is no big deal and wasn't all that powerful really. I suspect that we didn't have the mix exactly right...not enough saltpeter probably. There might be a few occasions where I had use for some black powder but if I'm going to have to store the separate powdered parts I would rather just store the powder already made.

 

There are actually several different recipes for powder that you can make to charge a firearm. The old charcoal, saltpeter and sulfur combo is but one that was used over the centuries. NONE of them are smokeless powder and making smokeless powder is not something that you make in a home lab much less a kitchen.

 

I hate to think of what black powder would do to the gas system of a modern automatic weapon. Even if you didn't blow your gun up you would probably ruin it in no time at all. You CAN load black powder in cartridges for revolvers and rifles. It was used commonly until 1894. A 45-70 was a 45 calaber bullet on top of 70 grains of black powder. Ditto for the 50-110, 38-40, 32-20 and all the other old loads. Even the old 45 long colt was originally a black powder round. The first one that was NOT this way was the 30-30. That was the first commercially made smokeless round.

 

The pistol thing is an old military bull$h!t thing like calling your weapon a gun.( You know...This is my weapon...this is my gun...this is for fighting...this is for fun!!! As you hold your crotch with your left hand and your weapon in your right.) The fact is if you want to call your revolver a pistol I have no problem with that and will know what you are saying just like I know that your M-16 can be a "gun" in the basic sense of the word. I'm not real big on PC crap or playing vocabulary games.

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If any of you wanted to be grey or off the radar this is not the way to do it.

 

My personal view is this thread is not going to do anyone any good.

with all the sick twisted individuals out there we "do not need to feed the animals".

 

you folks keep pissing on the electric fence are going to get a surprise,

ARE WE BEING MONITORED you bet and this thread make us look even more irresponsible

and crazy want to know if we have moles well this looks like bait in a trap IMO.

 

they problem with trying to show others that your SMART is you may inadvertently in your zeal

to show your knowledge you could open Pandora's box, and we all know how that turned out.

 

Please inform me if this is going to continue so I might resign from Survival Cache because I want

nothing to do with this subject or be associated with anyone or group that does.

This is BAD a terrible Idea and in no way will help anyone to survive and may lead to other conversations

that are very dangerous and could be misconstrued as those crazy preppers are taking about

building a X_________ .fill in the blank with something horrible and linking us with destructive or

potential anarchists as soon as some punk does something to a mailbox and he learned it WHERE.

 

Snake, you know I love you, but you are long-winded!

Shorthand version:

1. Stupid idea

2. Dangerous for all concerned

3. Can we delete this thread, please?

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Danm,

The pistol thing is an old military bull$h!t thing like calling your weapon a gun.( You know...This is my weapon...this is my gun...this is for fighting...this is for fun!!! As you hold your crotch with your left hand and your weapon in your right.) The fact is if you want to call your revolver a pistol I have no problem with that and will know what you are saying just like I know that your M-16 can be a "gun" in the basic sense of the word. I'm not real big on PC crap or playing vocabulary games.

 

There is a good reason for the "PC crap" when it comes to things like this. The ability to KNOW what everyone means helps prevent misunderstandings. Back in the prop airliner days, the flight engineer often had more control of the engines than the pilots. One day a DC-6 was landing at Chicago when a ground vehicle pulled onto the runway right in front of the landing aircraft. The Pilot called for "TAKEOFF POWER" and started his go around procedure. The Flight Engineer heard the command "TAKE OFF POWER" and so he did - he TOOK OFF POWER! The Captain managed to bounce that big airliner over the truck. That particular airline has not used the phrase TAKEOFF POWER since. Now it is MAX POWER. Confusion kills, thus the military teaches standardized phraseology.

 

but if I'm going to have to store the separate powdered parts I would rather just store the powder already made.

 

Agreed; there is no advantage in storage space between components and fully made up. I also like the granularity consistency. Getting FFF when you really wanted (and think you got) FF makes for some really erratic shot placement.

 

For those who want to know - you can shoot FFg in pistols but don't shoot FFFg in rifles - the difference in burn rates can be a big problem for long barrels. In a pistol, a too slow a burning powder will simply make for a slow round and a really impressive smoke and flame out of the barrel (sort of like a photo of a 16 in Naval rifle going off). Too fast a burning round and the pressures go up, perhaps dangerously, in a hurry. A fairly decent write-up is at

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femvet and Snake,

I'm not going to close or delete this thread although I share your concerns about folks trying stuff they're not ready for.

 

We are supposed to be adults here and I'm not given to censoring for any reason besides safety, personal attacks, and to keep the sites family friendly. Given that I trust that none of our readers are foolish enough to try ANY of this without a lot of preparation.

 

WHAT YOU FIND ON THE INTERNET IS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR SOLID RESEARCH AND GUIDANCE FROM SOMEONE WHO KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING!!!!!!!!

 

Yes, that was a shout; please don't try any kind of explosive, chemical or other dangerous activities without knowing you are good to go. If you THINK you are ready, you are NOT READY! Know your skill set. I dare say, none of us would feed mushrooms we've picked up out in the woods to our children until we knew we had it right. I don't do wild mushrooms because I don't know what's poison and what isn't. Same thing here, know what you're doing or DO NOT DO IT.

 

The solid books are needed because they have all of the steps that are needed to stay safe. Couple that with solid instructions and most things can be safe and fun. I like reloading with commercial Black Powder. I see it as a connection with a great western tradition. That is me, it may not be for you.

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I think some of it is a generational thing. I still think like I was raised to think and everyone should be responsible for THEIR actions. There were just SCADS of things that kids did when I was young that would just FREAK people out now.

 

We made black powder, we made booze from scratch. I was 9 when I got busted by the Mama patrol for bootlegging. We had 5 5 gallon glass water jugs with rubbers on top of them fermenting in the clubhouse we had built in the woods. Someone snitched so we had to "bottle" our product a little before its time! We stashed it and hid the jugs before the Mama swat team could close in on us. We hid it in my old playhouse to wait for things to cool down.

 

Warm days, green brew and glass bottles were my undoing. The stuff continued to ferment and the bottles started exploding. I was busted and it was pretty ugly! LOL.

 

We also played with carbide. GREAT stuff! You put a little in a pipe add water and when you set it off it sounds like a canon going off. We "Our Dads and such"actually made carbide canons with timers to put in the field to keep the deer out.

 

We camped, fished and hunted without adult supervision and messed with all manner of "dangerous" critters like gators and snakes. I used to frog gig for money and nobody ever thought anything about wading around in the swamp at night with the gators and moccasins. I wasn't worried, I had my machete! If the critters got to close I'd just whack them with the side of it and they would leave. You don't whack a gator with the sharp edge of a machete...it makes them mad. If you slap water at a snake he will swim away. If you whack him he goes under and THEN you don't know where he is. When you are in mid thigh deep water that's a little scary.

 

That was just what boys did when I was a kid. The ones that didn't know how to make black powder would unroll a few hundred black cat firecrackers and use that so there just wasn't any way to keep us out of trouble.

 

Despite all of this which today would make you some sort of monstrous delinquents, we were all in church every Sunday. We were polite to adults. We did NOT steal if you don't count fruit and watermelons and we all would rake the leaves in the old folks yards for free except for milk and cookies. Nobody was afraid of us and maybe we were a gang by today's standards but back then that was a good thing...think Spanky and "Our Gang."

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