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Thread: Just how touchy is BP?

  1. #41
    Boolit Master
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    I have no doubt a pound of BP igniting inside a house is bad news, but deadly? I've lit off as much as 1/2 a pound, and it just makes a big WOOF and satisfying mushroom cloud. There is no doubt a quart of gasoline ignited in a house could start the whole place on fire.

    If you can pump your own gas, you can handle black powder. The only reason both BP and smokeless powders are charged a hazmat fee for shipping, is that when burning in a large quantity, say 100 pounds in a truck, it never ends well. I don't drive around with 50 pounds of powder in my car, and I don't handle more than a pound of powder at a time. Outside of an open flame or spark, BP won't just spontaneously ignite. Maybe if you left it in the oven? BP is stored in plastic bottles, previously steel cans. Why would a plastic and steel powder measure cause problems?

    Let me put it this way. If the plastic bottle it's stored in isn't melting, there is no danger of the BP inside igniting.

  2. #42
    Boolit Master
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    Static Electricity IS a BIG "no no" for Black Powder!!! Its coated with graphite to lessen the hazard, but still very dangerous.

    Decades ago. fellow DE gun cub member hadan open can "deflagrate" in VERY DRY STATIC SPARKING winter weather.
    GONRA'a memory sez: 5 days in the Wills Eye Center.

    You can construct all sorts of test setups/scenarios but its difficult to demo properly....
    Be smart, NOT "tempt fate"!!!

  3. #43
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    http://www.texas-mac.com/Sensitivity...Discharge.html

    SENSITIVITY OF BLACK POWDER TO
    STATIC DISCHARGE
    By Wayne McLerran

    It’s been many years since I designed and published an article on a semi-automatic
    black powder (BP) loading system consisting of an electronic powder dispenser,
    digital scale, fiber optics cable, a tall stand and a drop tube. By pressing a single
    button the dispenser trickled out a precise charge of BP down the drop tube into the
    case setting on the digital scale platen. The dispenser stopped when the scale
    registered the programmed powder weight to within +/- 0.1 grains. Knowing this, a
    fellow shooter recently asked if I was concerned about using the setup with black
    powder since the dispenser is constructed out of plastic and has a plastic reservoir
    which potentially could build up a static charge. Prior to building the loading
    system and due to a similar concern, I researched the subject extensively,
    experimented with subjecting BP to high voltage static discharges, and was
    convinced that any static charge created by the dispenser would not be sufficient to
    ignite BP. 20 years later I continue to use the same setup without any problems.
    But the subject continues to come up in many of the online BPCR forums and is
    therefore worthy of additional discussion.

    My experiments with attempting to ignite BP consisted of the following. Using
    Goex 2Fg and 3Fg I first pounded it to dust with a hammer with no reaction.
    Several piles of the dust were then subjected to high voltage discharges of
    approximately 100,000 volts with a hand tester used to test static discharge damage
    thresholds in integrated circuits. The discharge caused some of the small granules
    to move but none of the samples ignited. Around the same time a fellow by the
    name of Barry Bush published two excellent and lengthy articles on BP safety in
    the 1999 spring and summer editions of The Black Powder Cartridge News.

    Mr. Bush is obviously a very knowledgeable guy and did a good amount of
    experimenting to determine the sensitivity of BP to heat, pressure and static
    discharge ignition. He found BP much more sensitive to heat than smokeless. He
    also found that BP is not very sensitive to shock, and is much less sensitive to high
    voltage sparks than smokeless powder. Barry passed sparks of up to 20,000 volts
    directly through BP with absolutely no ignition. Goex Fg, 2Fg, and 4FA (unglazed
    powder) BP was used. The 4FA powder was used to see if the lack of graphite
    would allow the powder to ignite. He said that it is conceivable that a 100,000-volt
    spark from a fingertip could ignite BP, but the chances are very remote, which I
    proved to myself by my experiments detailed above.

    In summary Barry said, “Many common perception of black powder come from
    those who lack practical experience, and they often reflect confusion with other
    explosive materials. Modern smokeless powder has an excellent safety record, but
    in some respects smokeless can be more dangerous than black: it is more likely to
    give extreme pressures from an overload, more susceptible to decomposition, and
    under some conditions, more sensitive to electrical discharges.” In closing he
    further stated, “Black powder has managed to outlive most of its detractors, and
    hopefully will continue to do so. Meanwhile, shooters can ill afford to repeat
    folklore, speculation and hearsay which may come back to haunt them.” The last
    sentence refers to past and possible future government regulation on BP due to
    incorrect and misleading information.

    To further reinforce the above comments that BP is not sensitive to static
    discharge, go to the following links at the Connecticut Muzzleloaders website: http:
    //www.ctmuzzleloaders.com/ctml_experiments/sparks/sparks.html and http://www.
    ctmuzzleloaders.com/ctml_experiments/electric_ignition/eignition.html. The spark
    experiment is similar to the ones both Barry Bush and I ran. The key to
    understanding the differences in the two ctmuzleloaders.com experiments is the
    high voltage sparks in the first experiment and those in Barry Bush’s and my
    experiments do not contain sufficient energy (power) to heat the BP particles to the
    ignition point. Electrical power (measured in watts) is the combination of voltage
    and current. Static discharges generated from friction on plastic containers or
    sliding ones foot on carpet and touching another object are typically at very high
    voltages but the current levels are very low. The second ctmuzleloaders.com
    experiment was based on using a capacitor, an electrical energy storage device to
    ignite the powder. Although the voltage level was significantly lower the capacitor
    provided a much higher current source when discharged through the powder, which
    was sufficient to heat the powder to the ignition point.

    Another question that comes up now and then is based on concerns about static
    buildup on plastic containers used for shipping and storing BP, especially when
    pouring the powder out of the container. What many BP shooters do not realize is
    the containers are made of antistatic plastic. Although antistatic plastic can be
    made in several colors, clear, red, etc., the plastic containers BP is shipped in are
    typically black and contain small amounts of carbon to make the plastic slightly
    conductive to electricity (antistatic). So pouring BP out of the containers cannot
    build up a static charge.

    The development of antistatic plastic was the result of the semiconductor industries
    need to reduce the cost of shipping integrated circuits (ICs) in the 1980’s, which
    were commonly shipped in "conductive" aluminum tubes at the time. Some ICs
    are sensitive to even low levels of static discharge. Most of my career was spent
    in the semiconductor industry and I remember reading at the time that materials
    with a surface resistance of as much as several hundred thousand ohms per square
    inch would drain away any static charge. Using a standard VOM (volt ohm meter)
    or multi-meter, one can actually determine if the plastic used in BP shipping bottles
    is antistatic.

    While writing this article I grabbed a black plastic bottle of Swiss 1.5Fg and my
    handy Harbor Freight multi-meter, the one they give away if you purchase anything
    at the store. With the meter set on ohms and the sharp-tip probes inserted into the
    plastic about an inch apart, the resistance was around 300,000 ohms, sufficient to
    eliminate a static charge buildup. Just to double check, I also used an expensive
    multi-meter with the same results. By the way, typical non-treated plastic is an
    excellent insulator (has extremely high to infinite resistance) and therefore will not
    drain off a static charge unless ambient humidity levels are high; it’s wet or
    sprayed with a conductive material, which brings me to some solutions if you are
    still concerned about static charges building up and igniting BP.

    Plastic powder-dispenser reservoirs can be lined with aluminum foil, sprayed with
    Static Guard or other brands of antistatic sprays to lower the surface resistance and
    drain off static charges. Spraying with a water-diluted detergent solution and
    allowing the surface to dry will temporarily eliminate static buildup as will wiping
    with a fabric softener sheet used when drying clothes. Or go to the following link
    (http://www.instructables.com/id/Crea...-Static-Spray/) to easily make a
    solution from three common household ingredients.

    I'm certainly not suggesting one can be careless when using BP, but the
    experiments discussed here and the additional information presented should cause
    you to reconsider the warnings and unsubstantiated myths we in the shooting
    community have been passing around about BP safety.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "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."

    "Before you argue with someone, ask yourself, is that person even mentally mature enough to grasp the concept of different perspectives? Because if not, there’s absolutely no point."

    – Amber Veal

  4. #44
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by GONRA View Post
    Static Electricity IS a BIG "no no" for Black Powder!!! Its coated with graphite to lessen the hazard, but still very dangerous.

    Decades ago. fellow DE gun cub member hadan open can "deflagrate" in VERY DRY STATIC SPARKING winter weather.
    GONRA'a memory sez: 5 days in the Wills Eye Center.

    You can construct all sorts of test setups/scenarios but its difficult to demo properly....
    Be smart, NOT "tempt fate"!!!
    For that to be true, you would need a spark to travel from you, through the bottle, through a powder kernel, and to ground. I have doubts that such a shock wouldn't be lethal to a person, let alone the powder. I'm not even sure it's possible, as electricity always takes the path of least resistance, which is not through the powder, it would be on the surface of the can. Much more likely is a spark fell into the can, maybe from a fire, or someone's chimney.

    I've seen people smoking cigars while shooting muzzleloader, I kid you not. That's the kind of nonsense to avoid. Not some static electricity myth.

  5. #45
    Boolit Master
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    Rationalize all ya want guys, but GONRA's comments stand.
    WEAR EYE PROTECTION! GROUND EQUIPMENT! BE CAREFUL!

  6. #46
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by GONRA View Post
    Rationalize all ya want guys, but GONRA's comments stand.
    WEAR EYE PROTECTION! GROUND EQUIPMENT! BE CAREFUL!
    You are continuing a myth based on decade old 2nd hand knowledge. You do not need safety glasses to reload ammo.

  7. #47
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    You are continuing a myth based on decade old 2nd hand knowledge.
    That is a fact, the charcoal used in making BP is an excellent conductor as seen by this picture of trying to ignite BP using electricity.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	sparks1.jpg 
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    NRA Endowment member, TSRA Life member, Distinguished Rifleman, Viet Nam Vet

  8. #48
    Boolit Master

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    old, scary myths will never ever die. that's the only fact about black powder and static electricity.
    "Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician." - Jeff Cooper

  9. #49
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    It pretty much takes a hot red spark to set off blk powder. The plastic bottles the powder is shipped in is a static resistant plastic like what is used working with sensitive electronic components. (grounding shields)
    I stuck my fingers in the cooling fan checking voltages on a vacuum tube plate choke charged with 3000 volts 1.6 amps and the reaction made me bump the choke that blew a hole through my thumb with the smell of burning meat on the webber grill (no blood by the way) but that is not the same as a white/blue 100,000 volt static charge. There are different heat static charges that react differently.

  10. #50
    Boolit Master

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    the bottom line is that it takes a goodly amount of heat to set off black powder of any granulation.
    "Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician." - Jeff Cooper

  11. #51
    Boolit Master
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    Well, I'm convinced now that black powder isn't as ignitable as might be feared.

    I'm not convinced that it's safe to do without eye protection while reloading. There are too many other potential hazards beside powder ignition for me to risk my eyes.

  12. #52
    Boolit Master

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    messing around with firearms in any manner is best accomplished with eye protection at the least, and during the task of their usage it's as mandatory as hearing protection, lest either or both are severely compromsed.

    lighting up a flintlock long gun's pan of bp with the scraped glowing hot steel chard embers of the hammer steel, and having that pan powder explode and create the proper heat to travel into the touch hole and ignite the chamber charge of bp, it sure makes sense that the trigger puller's eyes, that are inches away from said pan, are well protected. my avatar proofs that statement.
    "Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician." - Jeff Cooper

  13. #53
    Boolit Master
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    Then you better sell all your vehicles and never drive again.
    "In general, the art of government is to take as much money as possible from one class of citizens and give it to another class of citizens" Voltaire'

    The common virtue of capitalism is the sharing of equal opportunity. The common vice of socialism is the equal sharing of misery

    NRA Benefactor 2008

  14. #54
    Boolit Master
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    Not to piss off the "Anti Safety Glass Crowd" but GONRA sez its also a great idea to wear 'em whilst disassembling guns. Flying / Bouncing coil springs CAN zap an eye!
    >>> Always assume the worst CAN happen! Simple safety measures don't screw up yer life too much! <<<
    Think about it.....
    As Socrates sez: "Coulda - Woulda - Shoulda".
    Have phun guys!

  15. #55
    Boolit Master
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    Safety glasses are rarely a bad idea. I just hate how far things have gone. Now I'm forced to wear safety toe boots at work. I'm destroying my hips, knees, and doing no favor to my back and feet... all to save a big toe one day.

  16. #56
    Boolit Bub Castaway's Avatar
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    GONRA, agree 100%. Was compressing a spring around a strut today and before I could capture it, the mainspring seat went flying and hit my glasses.

  17. #57
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    And then there is the person coming from behind and standing along side watching you shoot the flintlock that gets the education what not to do.

  18. #58
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lead pot View Post
    And then there is the person coming from behind and standing along side watching you shoot the flintlock that gets the education what not to do.
    "Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician." - Jeff Cooper

  19. #59
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by KCSO View Post
    Dust is explosive if fine enough and mixed with air. Bp Is about the same BP dust mixed with air will ignite with static a PILE of FFFg won't. A spark from a flinter is red hot steel say 900 degrees or more. Paper burns at a little less than 500 degrees and ill ignite BP. You can hammer BP and it won't go off IF you don't make a spark. You just need to use reasonable care in use and storage.
    You got it! We all know of black powder plants that have exploded. I think it happens in the milling process where fine dust may be created. There have been several fertilizer plants around us that have had explosions....KNO3 dust. KNO3 is a key ingredient in the black powder recipe. As said above, even fine flour dust will explode if dispersed in the air. If the black powder dust is fine enough, then static electricity will probably set it off in the same way. Black powder kernals....no.
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  20. #60
    Boolit Buddy
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    Never load a muzzle loader directly from a horn or flask.

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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