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Thread: Sensitivity of Black Powder to Static Discharge

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Sensitivity of Black Powder to Static Discharge

    Guys,

    If you subscribe to The Single Shot Exchange Magazine and had a chance to read the April issue, youíve most likely read the article titled, Sensitivity to Black Powder to Static Discharge. If you donít get the magazine and are interested in reading the article, you can access it by clicking on the following link:
    http://www.texas-mac.com/Sensitivity...Discharge.html

    Wayne
    NRA Life (Benefactor & President's Council) Member, TSRA Life Member, NSSF member, Author/Publisher of the Browning BPCR book.
    http://www.texas-mac.com

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by texasmac View Post
    Guys,

    If you subscribe to The Single Shot Exchange Magazine and had a chance to read the April issue, you’ve most likely read the article titled, Sensitivity to Black Powder to Static Discharge. If you don’t get the magazine and are interested in reading the article, you can access it by clicking on the following link:
    http://www.texas-mac.com/Sensitivity...Discharge.html

    Wayne
    Article fits my experience !! Impact doesnt do it - have not tried the spark test but have had difficulty igniting the stuff with a match in cold damp weather - ignition temperature of the powder is key and if an electrical spark did not meet that then it should not go off.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    i shot a 1lb can of dupont 2f at 200 yds with a 17 mach iv and it went off.
    keep safe,
    bruce.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Funny you posted this up, since I have had some trouble with static elect. in my powder dispensers on occasion (& particularly just recently) & was thinking of getting some dryer sheets to try to help eliminate the static electricity, but then I ran across an article on putting alum. foil balls in the dryer to remove static electricity from clothes, so I thought maybe some foil in either some strips or small balls in the powder dispenser might help.
    So, I read the article & at the bottom the feller says the same thing about lining the powder dispenser with alum. foil.
    Like I said, "Funny" to me, coincidence that you bring up/post the article here & I was literally just thinking abut this in the last couple days.

    Thanks for sharing the article & posting it!
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Good article. Echo's my experience. Old wives tales are hard demons to kill. A thought that occurred to me decades ago when there was a lot of hoopla about static electricity and black powder was; if it takes something over 400 degrees F to ignite black powder and there is that much energy/heat in a static discharge then we should have lots of pin-prick burns on our fingertips from every time we discharge static buildup from carpet, car seats, petting our dogs....whatever. How many have had the experience of a static discharge when kissing your wife or girlfriend? As sensitive as our lips are they certainly should have had a pin-prick burn. Ever nursed a burn after a static discharge?
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRUCE MOULDS View Post
    i shot a 1lb can of dupont 2f at 200 yds with a 17 mach iv and it went off.
    keep safe,
    bruce.
    I believe that would be temperature and or hot spark from hitting the can rather than actual impact doing it !

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharps4590 View Post
    Good article. Echo's my experience. Old wives tales are hard demons to kill. A thought that occurred to me decades ago when there was a lot of hoopla about static electricity and black powder was; if it takes something over 400 degrees F to ignite black powder and there is that much energy/heat in a static discharge then we should have lots of pin-prick burns on our fingertips from every time we discharge static buildup from carpet, car seats, petting our dogs....whatever. How many have had the experience of a static discharge when kissing your wife or girlfriend? As sensitive as our lips are they certainly should have had a pin-prick burn. Ever nursed a burn after a static discharge?
    Nope ! no burns - not even from the couple of serious jolts from electric fences .

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    One of the characteristics of any and all electrical charges is they cannot reside on the inside surface of a hollow conductive device or container. You can verify this by reading about a Faraday cage. My family witnessed this when my mother was a teenager. My grandfather drove up to a pasture gate near my great grandfather's farm house. The car was struck by lightening. My grandfather was not harmed and the car continued to run.



    If you have an all metal powder measure the static charge can only reside on the outside. Run a grounding conductor to earth ground and static charges will bleed off.

    You still have to observe care with other means of ignition. No flames or impact.
    Last edited by EDG; 04-15-2018 at 10:13 AM.
    EDG

  9. #9
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Somehow intuition is telling me not to test this theory. I will still use my all-metal tools when I load black, and take the usual anti-static measures around it. The theory only needs to be wrong once.
    flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo

  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    Was the old #5 cast iron Ideal powder measure made with that in mind or just the way things were made at the time? Since I have one would it be a safer measure to use with BP?
    Information not shared. is wasted.

  11. #11
    I don't claim to know much about electricity. I've never seen any, but it can be in there, invisible, waiting to leap out and zap you.

    I have, however, tried at great length to ignite individual powder grains, with the piezo-electric unit from a defunct blowtorch. I could see the tiny spark leaping from the wire to the grain, without ignition. All static electricity is high voltage, sometimes very high, but the current varies, and I am sure there are forms of static electricity that would do it.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I am just interested in the "cling" properties being removed. Not too worried about any "boom" or flareups...
    2nd Amend./U.S. Const. - "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."

    "A man ought ta do what he thinks is best" - "Hondo" Lane.(John Wayne)

    "If ya don't like my gate, ya don't have to swing on the hinges..." - L. Ackerman ( RIP)

    Enforce the Immigration laws & deport the illegal aliens. Quit fooling around!

    ~~ WWG1WGA ~~

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    I don't know how many 'cases' of black powder I have used for reloads using the all plastic Lee Perfect Powder Measure ... and it's still me typing this post
    Regards
    John

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Boy View Post
    I don't know how many 'cases' of black powder I have used for reloads using the all plastic Lee Perfect Powder Measure ... and it's still me typing this post
    I read the report (supposedly) of the last blowup of the GoEx plant - (Moosic PA - 1990's) - short version - employee goes into dust filled processing room to change defective light switch - forgets to turn the power off first - shorts wires in the switch and starts a fire which then goes BANG big time - the amazing part was he actually had time to run. Same circumstances (or very similar) in dusty grain storage silos have ended in similar fashion. Carelessness and cutting corners has a large part in these incidences. ( and most other "accidents")

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    It is not a theory. Take any college physics course and static charges are covered. Michael Faraday was a preeminent English physicist of his time.
    The Van de Graaff generator uses the static charge characteristics to generate very high voltages.

    If you are still chicken find some stainless steel screen and cut a piece to line your plastic powder hopper. Then ground both the screen and the measure.

    Quote Originally Posted by uscra112 View Post
    Somehow intuition is telling me not to test this theory. I will still use my all-metal tools when I load black, and take the usual anti-static measures around it. The theory only needs to be wrong once.
    EDG

  16. #16
    Boolit Master



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    Never tested for static but I have shot Blackpowder in cardboard tubes and a couple of junk 45-70 cases with 22 cal jacketed at about 3,900 FPS without detonation.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by M-Tecs View Post
    Never tested for static but I have shot Blackpowder in cardboard tubes and a couple of junk 45-70 cases with 22 cal jacketed at about 3,900 FPS without detonation.
    I think the difference with cans lies in the metal being intensely but momentarily heated by stress. Think of the heat generated by bending a pieceof wire to and fro till it breaks, being concentrated in a single millisecond with no chance to be conducted away.

    Michael Faraday was invited to visit the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel, who asked him what this... electricity... of his actually was. Faraday answered "I'm sure I don't know, sir, but I'd wager you'll tax it."

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ballistics in Scotland View Post
    I think the difference with cans lies in the metal being intensely but momentarily heated by stress. Think of the heat generated by bending a pieceof wire to and fro till it breaks, being concentrated in a single millisecond with no chance to be conducted away.

    Michael Faraday was invited to visit the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel, who asked him what this... electricity... of his actually was. Faraday answered "I'm sure I don't know, sir, but I'd wager you'll tax it."
    Hilarious answer and sounds like a politician.
    NRA Endowment member, TSRA Life member, Distinguished Rifleman, Viet Nam Vet

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I have a small jar of used clothes dryer sheets, use them to wipe down the powder measures. There are smokeless powders that will cling to the hopper tube also, Trail Boss being one of them. I sometimes use that in my cartridge conversion C&B revolvers.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Its good to question what we "know"... there is a lot of good knowledge that comes from old-wives tales and other hand me down knowledge, but some of it is, of course, poppycock.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check