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Thread: Can Swedish blank powder be salvaged?

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Can Swedish blank powder be salvaged?

    http://www.jgsales.com/6.5x55-swedis....-p-92711.htmlHey folks. I just bought 4800 of these rounds. The idea is to pull the 'bullets' and reload with a new charge and a real boolit. Does anyone know if the powder which is taken out of these cases is reusable? I understand it is likely a fast pistol type powder. Does anyone have solid information about reusing it for light plinking loads in rifles? Thank you.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    There are people on here that will say "use it for fertilizer" There are others that have no problem with working up a load for unknown powder.
    There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in the means of achieving the same ultimate end: communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism—by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide. Ayn Rand

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    99% of people will tell you NOT TO use blank powder to load a conventional projectile cartridge.

    I'm in the 99%.

  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
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    I am thinking of loading 'gallery type' loads. Very light, just for short range plinking.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ben View Post
    99% of people will tell you NOT TO use blank powder to load a conventional projectile cartridge.

    I'm in the 99%.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    It might be possible, but I'd be highly suspect of any load data you might be able to find. Even using blank data from another round would be irrelevant because those aren't really blanks, but ammo with a wooden bullet.

    I bought some along with a order of other stuff from JG. I figured when am I ever going to be able to find wooden ammo for $2.50 a box.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Listen to Ben.
    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms *shall not be infringed*.

    "The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution."
    - Thomas Jefferson

    "While the people have property, arms in their hands, and only a spark of noble spirit, the most corrupt Congress must be mad to form any project of tyranny."
    - Rev. Nicholas Collin, Fayetteville Gazette (N.C.), October 12, 1789

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Swede 45's Avatar
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    I´m Swedish.. as my name may hint!
    And around here we have plenty of old blanks showing up now and then, and other types of military 6.5x55´s and this idea comes up regularly on Swedish forums and talks..
    NO-NO-NO are the short answer..

    I know that there are some people out there that says that you can use the powder and the brass, (berdan primed) but after speaking with technicians at Norma and some old guys that actually worked with making these blanks (I´m living close to two places that made these) my strong advice is NO! Unless you want to apply for the Darwin award of the year!

    The reason is that the powder was made under less control than regular powder, and was not made by one plant, but many makeshift factories.. One was a matchstick factory not far from me.
    So the powder could change from batch to batch.. The powder are faster than any today available commercial powder, and in old books generally mentioned as to be a "brisant" powder, meaning high explosive.

    I recall reading in some old Swedish gunmagazine (or a long forgotten post in a Swedish forum?) about a guy working at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm making a labtest of this powder and found it beeing way way "faster" then the Norma R1 pistol powder, that then was the "fastest" available commercial pistolpowder. His conclusion was that it was unreliable to use to build controlled pressure loads in "normal" rounds due to the dramatic pressure spikings and quality variations from batch to batch!

    The brass for the blanks was the last reload of recycled brass, that no longer made it through quality control for full loads. The Swedish army re-used all their brass and the Swedish civilian sharpshooter association had a trade back for the military brass they shot.
    The production of Swedish 6.5x55 had a big variety of quality level loads, "not for automatics", "civilian use only", " reduced shortrange practice", "gallery loads" et.c
    All with different quality specs, and blanks was the last use of brass that had fallen down the quality ladder during their recycle..

    So, please don´t!

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Nice post Swede 45. I was also suspect of even using the brass for reloads. The description specifically states tarnished, berdan primered brass. Not really a good endorsement.

  9. #9
    Boolit Man
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    It might be a fun project to work up a load for the powder. And you should use good safety procedures if you chose to do so.

    I read somewhere that some of the American blanks, about which the same stories as above have been told, contained Winchester 231. So much for the unusual and unusable powder argument, at lease on those particular ones.

    So, if each blank uses 10 grains, and you have 4800 to pull, and you save all the powder, they'll yield 48,000 grains. There are 7,000 grains in a pound so you'll yield 6.857 pounds of unknown powder. Widners has Clay Dot, today, 8#'s for $109 and Winchester Autocomp 8# for $110. You're right at $150 with the fees and shipping.

    Conditions could change next week. The Zombie Apocalypse could come upon us, and we may never agains be able to purchase powder afterward. But this week, I wouldn't take the time to develop the load.

    Just my 2 cents worth. YMMV

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Ben View Post
    99% of people will tell you NOT TO use blank powder to load a conventional projectile cartridge.

    I'm in the 99%.
    Yes, and there are ½% who are waiting to see if someone else gets away with it, and ½% who think other people should have the same number of fingers as they do. A trouble shared is a trouble halved.

    It might be that this powder is usable in shotguns or pistols. But most certainly a lot of blank powder can't be. General Hatcher tells of accidents to people assuming EC blank was the same as EC shotgun powder, and I don't believe he thought bad luck came into it.

    Military blanks are only guaranteed to make a bang and not disintegrate soldiers. Even if you hear from someone who has worked up safe loads with powder from Swedish blanks, who is to say whether itilit was always the same powder? The powder factories very often remanufacture powder which hasn't turned out as desired, or relabel it as something else. Blanks seem like a pretty good way of using up batches of other powder which had gone wrong - and perhaps very wrong.

  11. #11
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    Swede 45 gave you some very good information and advice. I would heed it.

    After all, if you decide to go forward with this, whatever concoction you come up with will either be going off in your hand, or next to your face. What could possibly go wrong????

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
    After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. - William S. Burroughs.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    You might check with a guy with the handle "kaifs" over at gunboards. He bought many thousands of those rounds and salvaged the brass and powder.

    He had a large quantity of the powder and knew the Swedish specification for it. As I remember it was a lot like Unique in burning rate.
    A few years ago when there was zero pistol powder he was able to trade it for the rifle powders that he needed.
    He posted quite a bit about his brass because the Tula berdan primers were still available at that time. You can search his posts.
    I know I wast tempted to buy a lot of that ammo just for the brass. If the powder is about the same as Unique it would make for good plinking ammo in handguns.

    Today I would test in a pistol before I throw it away. Under no circumstances would I try it in a rifle until I understand the burning rate really well.
    EDG

  13. #13
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    The folks above, Ben, Swede and others, are right. The problem lies in the fact that blank powder HAS to be EXTREMELY fast burning - much faster than powders designed for any sort of bullet, in order to get the guns that fire them to operate as designed. This makes them relatively "explosive," rather than just a propellant, and you can run into VERY high momentary pressures in a VERY short time with VERY small charges. This can get dangerous VERY quickly, and it's not just your gun you'd put at risk, but your life or significant body parts if you hold the gun in your hands.

    If you happen to be bound and determined to try this, I'd tie the gun to a tire and fasten the tire to the ground and pull the trigger with a long cord, while sitting behind a concrete wall. Anything else would tend to be very risky of life and limb, and the gun itself. Having blown up a gun once, I have NO desire to EVER repeat that. "Once burnt, a lesson learnt!" FWIW??? I haven't tried the blank powder, so this is all opinion, but I've read of some doing so, and they've never reported anything good as results.

    The fertilizer thing is probably good advice. Also, the cases tend to be heavier than standard brass designed to fire bullets, so there'd probably be a problem getting a bullet to fit in the cases and chamber. That kind of brass pretty much has to be thicker to provide SOME "back pressure" to allow the very specialized powders to create enough pressure to function semi-autos. It's an interesting concept, until you find out enough about it, and certainly the appeal of "cheap ammo" beckons tauntingly, but .... I'd definitely recommend against even trying it. Some of that type powder might be good for firing wax bullets in a revolver, but even then, I'd start with just a pinch, and I mean a TINY pinch, and see if the wax will hold up against that rapid a pressure buildup. Wax bullets can be fun, but can also be aggrevating to put together, unless you're just playing around. But I'd NEVER put that powder behind a real bullet. The wax bullet thing just came to mind as a possibility. Might be useful in forming brass, too, but it'd take a VERY discretionary approach to make it work. I'd suspect a .22 Short fired case to be aplenty to form cases, but that's only a wild guess, and I'd start well below that much. It's very powerful and extremely fast burning stuff. Has to be to burn without a bullet to provide some resistance. Again, FWIW???

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    Yes.
    For making blanks only. NO WAY as a propellant.

    Shiloh
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Blackwater View Post

    If you happen to be bound and determined to try this, I'd tie the gun to a tire and fasten the tire to the ground and pull the trigger with a long cord, while sitting behind a concrete wall. Anything else would tend to be very risky of life and limb, and the gun itself.
    Amateur proof testing of this kind is notoriously unreliable. It needs accurate measurement of steel and brass afterwards to give reliable information. The reason most people who do it don't experience a blowup, is that most rifles aren't going to blow up. I think most blow-ups happen after some repetition of whatever was done, or to only a few of the people who try it. But you need something better than that.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Swede 45's Avatar
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    I once asked a Norma technician about the powder in these wooden blanks and if it had a similar burnrate as any other listed powder, and could be used for something?
    " No, basicly much faster than Norma R1 and originally intended for explosives." And he also indicated that due to poor qualitycontroll during wartime production, that you never can be sure about the origin and specs of the powder.

    Just for fun, I´ve just pulled a couple of those wooden blanks.. the wooden projectile weighs about 6-8 grains. The powder charge varied in weight in each case ( 3 pulled) and all three charges had a cut flake powder, but all three powdercharges had a different look to it.. one was greenish, one was more graphite gray and one almost black with slightly bigger flakes.. Uniform specs? Dont think so!!

    Headstamps was -43, -57 and -73.
    Headstamps are NOT a way to determine the batch of powder since these are loaded in re cycled cases and mixed during production. Only thing you know is that the round can not been made pre headstamp.. obviously!

    When I occasionally have fired some of these for fun i have noticed that about 30% of the brass splits.. and that´s in a cartridge that produces nearly no pressure..
    I would NEVER EVER use these cases for a load with a bullet in them.

    And "it works for me !" people shouldn´t be listened to.. driving in the oncoming lane at night with lights out might work for them.. but I for sure wont try it !

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Maybe I'm missing something here, but if it's for close range plinking why not shoot the wooden bullet as loaded?
    Proud member in the basket of deplorables.

    I've got the itch, but don't got the scratch.




  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    You might check with a guy with the handle KAIFS over at gunboards. He bought many thousands of those rounds and salvaged the brass and powder.

    He had a large quantity of the powder and knew the Swedish specification for it. As I remember it was a lot like Unique in burning rate.
    A few years ago when there was zero pistol powder he was able to trade it for the rifle powders that he needed.

    Today I would test in a pistol before I throw it away. Especially when you are talking about 8 or 9 lbs of powder. It is not blank powder since the wood bullet weighs about 20 grains.
    EDG

  19. #19
    Boolit Bub
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    From my reading, the wood plugs spin themselves apart a few yards from the muzzle.
    Quote Originally Posted by RayinNH View Post
    Maybe I'm missing something here, but if it's for close range plinking why not shoot the wooden bullet as loaded?
    Edited because I said lead instead of wood.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master NoAngel's Avatar
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    I have this "THING" about tossing small pinches of unusable powder on top of the wood stove in the shop. I mean, who doesn't love a good fire and the smell of burning nitro-cellulose???

    I was given some .50 BMG blanks once and curiosity overwhelmed me. I cut one open with a tubing cutter and tossed the blank powder on top of a hot wood stove. The powder looked exactly like Bullseye. It went up with a poof the instant it touched the hot metal. The resulting poof looked akin to 4F BP in a flintlock flashpan. YOW!!!!

    No way in hell I would work with blank powder. NO.
    When dealing with islam one should always ask themselves: "What would Leonidas do?"

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