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Thread: My homemade black powder

  1. #5981
    Boolit Buddy
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    Get well soon Vettepilot. I have a few small symptoms myself, but can still taste and enjoy food. I hope you get back to yourself ASAP!

  2. #5982
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks so much for your thoughts guys. I truly am miserable. My daughter had to help me get to/in the shower just now. She's been waiting on me "hand and foot"! Embarrassing! It hurts incredibly just to roll over in bed, or sit up!

    InjunJoe--> message sent.

    Take care you all,
    Vettepilot
    "Those who sacrifice freedom for security, have neither."
    Benjamin Franklin. (A very wise man!)

  3. #5983
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vettepilot View Post
    Thanks so much for your thoughts guys. I truly am miserable. My daughter had to help me get to/in the shower just now. She's been waiting on me "hand and foot"! Embarrassing! It hurts incredibly just to roll over in bed, or sit up!

    InjunJoe--> message sent.

    Take care you all,
    Vettepilot
    I sympathise - it aint fun thats for sure - dont see your message yet
    hang in there!

  4. #5984
    Boolit Master



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    Hang in there - Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I have been where you are now, and then some
    Being human is not for sissies.

  5. #5985
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    I just checked the downforce on my jack handle and converted it to psi. Ooops.
    35kg downforce on the handle is over 9 tonnes on the jack - and that is 6900psi.
    Oops! I was aiming for 3500psi when I started.

    Update! Just entered the weights and measures.
    Density after drying estimated gone from 1.8 to 2.0.
    2.0! If this is not a calculation error, I am stoked.

    Cross check calculated on weight of all pucks afterward instead of adding each pressing: 1.95

    Wow!
    Last edited by ChrisPer; 05-14-2022 at 02:44 AM.

  6. #5986
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    This is the puck pressure chart that I copied from this forum calculated for 3k psi:

    Puck diameter - 1 1/2" = 1.77 sq. in. at 3k psi = 5,301 lbs. = 2.6 tons pressure needed
    Puck diameter - 2" = 3.14 sq. in. at 3k psi = 9,424 lbs. = 4.7 tons pressure needed
    Puck diameter - 2 1/2" = 4.9 sq. in. at 3k psi = 14,726 lbs. = 7.4 tons pressure needed
    Puck diameter - 3" = 7.0 sq. in. at 3k psi = 21,205 lbs. = 10.6 tons pressure needed

    I have a 3" puck die and use a 12 ton jack. I do not have the instruments to check the pressure, and I also have not calculated the density, but I should be good to go.
    Last edited by HamGunner; 05-14-2022 at 01:11 PM.
    RICK
    NRA Benefactor Life Member/VFW Life Member

  7. #5987
    Boolit Master
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    In my working in the construction industry for most of my life.
    We had to do compression checks on the soil.
    It does matter how much pressure is applied to get your Compaction.
    But it also must be of the correct moisture content to get and retain the compression and compaction you need to retain.
    Most soils are evaluated as to how much moisture is needed.
    The moisture is generally 2% above optimum moisture.
    But to evaluate the moisture required for each soil.
    We Heat the soil and dry it out and weigh it.
    Not a good idea on BP.
    But if your moisture content is consistant thru the whole batch.
    The compaction will remain consistant.
    But if the next batch made with the same exact materials, but the moisture is different.
    Then the compression will vary.
    We are getting into a fine scientific area.
    But it is Overkill for what we are doing at home
    But I just wanted to bring this up , if you notice differences in the compaction between batches.
    Now if your ratios of chemicals is changed between batches.
    The moisture required for that mix , May change too.
    BTW.
    The moisture added to concrete mix will also effect the strength of the concrete.
    Too much water , less strength.
    Not enough water , it is softer also

  8. #5988
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    This report goes back to message 5888 and my use of Red Elderberry low ash (1.8%) charcoal. These results are all 70 grains by weight, fired in a T/C 45 Seneca, w/ Maxi Ball, and chronographed, average of 5 shots. The only variable has been the charcoal.
    Cedar 1387
    Aspen 1431
    Grape 1250
    GOEX 1339 2f
    W. Pine 1355
    R. Elder 1317 (Fired one shot w/Aspen powder as a control, which ran 1451fps)
    Thus, the Aspen charcoal, at 6% ash has still been my best powder. When willow is available to me, I will test it, but meanwhile the Aspen is homegrown and 50 yards away. I will increase the amount Aspen charcoal to compensate for the 6% ash, but compensate to 2% ash, rather than 0 ash. That is a small increase, but doesn't hurt to try.
    jmh54738

  9. #5989
    Boolit Master
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    I just love the reports with velocity info guys, and thanks to all that provide them!

    The powder is way cheaper than factory, burns cleaner, and has the same or better power/performance---> when was the last time ya encountered a "WIN" like that?? Very cool.

    Still bedridden here, but finally feeling a small improvement. Thanks for your thoughts and well wishes. They do help. The Chun Flu has seriously aggravated the De Quervain's Tenosynovitis in my wrist, making typing very painful and difficult.

    Vettepilot
    "Those who sacrifice freedom for security, have neither."
    Benjamin Franklin. (A very wise man!)

  10. #5990
    Boolit Master
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    Glad to hear you are doing better.
    I am lucky in that I have not got major sick durring this pandemic.
    But my doctor told me that I have O . L .D
    Which is causing most of my issues during retirement.
    I try and keep my distance from my grandkids because they are little Germ Magnets.
    Last edited by LAGS; 05-14-2022 at 09:42 PM.

  11. #5991
    Boolit Buddy DoubleBuck's Avatar
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    jmh54738;
    Excellent report! I'd say the Aspen is good coal! I bet over time you can improve it some more, too. Find the sweet spot, as it were.

    VettePilot;
    Good to see you back! I've been worried about you. I hope you can quickly and fully recover. It can be rough. It was rough on me.
    “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” – Yogi Berra

  12. #5992
    Boolit Buddy DoubleBuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisPer View Post
    I just checked the downforce on my jack handle and converted it to psi. Ooops.
    35kg downforce on the handle is over 9 tonnes on the jack - and that is 6900psi.
    Oops! I was aiming for 3500psi when I started.

    Update! Just entered the weights and measures.
    Density after drying estimated gone from 1.8 to 2.0.
    2.0! If this is not a calculation error, I am stoked.

    Cross check calculated on weight of all pucks afterward instead of adding each pressing: 1.95

    Wow!
    ChrisPer;
    That ought to get that volume/weight at or above commercial, shouldn't it? That should be very durable powder and if you can get the grain size to what you need, I'd say you've done good! Be sure and let us know!
    “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” – Yogi Berra

  13. #5993
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    Whilst in the throne room, I was looking through THE AUDUBON SOCIETY Field Guide to North American Trees Eastern Region. The Chanticleer Press Edition, 2nd Printing March 1983. And what should I spy on pages 335-336, Item 106, Black Willow, "Swamp Willow" "Goodding Willow" Salix Nigra Marsh? "In pioneer times the wood of this and other willows was a source of charcoal for gunpowder."
    If that, what does not kills us, makes us stronger, why ain't I superman?

  14. #5994
    Boolit Mold
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    Hey , do you guys brown the rice starch same as you did with the dextrin?

  15. #5995
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisPer View Post
    I just checked the downforce on my jack handle and converted it to psi. Ooops.
    35kg downforce on the handle is over 9 tonnes on the jack - and that is 6900psi.
    Oops! I was aiming for 3500psi when I started.

    Update! Just entered the weights and measures.
    Density after drying estimated gone from 1.8 to 2.0.
    2.0! If this is not a calculation error, I am stoked.

    Cross check calculated on weight of all pucks afterward instead of adding each pressing: 1.95

    Wow!
    OK I found the calculation error; a bunch of aluminum dividers between pucks were not included in the weight calculations.
    The correct density is 1.85 after complete drying, but I estimate 2.1% moisture remains after 48 hours in the dehydrator.

  16. #5996
    Boolit Master Linstrum's Avatar
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    rice starch

    Quote Originally Posted by csitas View Post
    Hey , do you guys brown the rice starch same as you did with the dextrin?
    Hey, csitas, good question! Thanks for asking. The recommended stuff is called glutinous rice starch. Well, glutinous implies "glue-like". The particular glutinous rice starch I've come across is very sticky stuff just the way it comes, and very sticky stuff is what you want to make black powder grains that won't fall apart.

    The simple test for starch is to put a tiny drop of water in a pinch of the dry starch powder, and then rub it a bit with your fingertips. If it is what you need, it will immediately become like wet sticky glue. After it dries, it will be as hard as a piece of uncooked elbow macaroni, which is what you need.

    If you try that with corn starch, it won't behave like that at all. After corn starch dries out, it is still a loose powder. But if you dextrinize white corn starch by baking it in an oven at 350ºF to 375ºF for an hour or two (how to do it was already mentioned a few days ago), it becomes a very good adhesive material when mixed with water.

    I've always made my own canary dextrin out of corn starch, but it requires at the very least a decent toaster oven with an accurate temperature control. Besides that, I have never used glutinous rice starch or dextrin in black powder for firearms use because those materials slow down the burn rate a bit. But like others have already warned, if you keep the starch or dextrin under 2%, you will do just fine.

    What I did use my own canary dextrin for was making canon igniters, where the black powder had to stay together, no ifs, ands, or buts.

    One material I had just started to try out as a powder grain binder back in maybe 2004, before life got in my way, was Zinsser alcohol cut pure shellac. Just a warning about shellac, it does have a short shelf life, so check the date on the can before buying any, if you want to experiment with using it. Shellac has been used as a traditional binder and fuel in some non-firearms black powder mixtures. I was getting decent results, but couldn't follow through to keep working on it. Real shellac is made from insects, it doesn't come out of oil wells, just in case you wanted to know.
    Last edited by Linstrum; 05-17-2022 at 02:07 AM.
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  17. #5997
    Boolit Buddy DoubleBuck's Avatar
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    Guys, now I've got a question or three. Has anyone else tried cooking Brown charcoal? I'm wondering if charcoal cooked at a low temperature (550-<600°f) do you still use the smoke to determine thorough cooking, or is time the only concern? Do you have to remove it, cool it and check the wood, (like I did) or what would be the factor you're looking for to determine when it is done?
    I cooked some last fall and it turned out pretty good, but I had to check it two times to see if it was done. That means cooling the retort down so it won't ignite the coal and then check it for done, and if it's not (mine wasn't) heat it back to cook temp and cook it awhile longer.
    As I said, my charcoal came out good, but that I got from Almar was not really black at all but more golden brown. And, the tests I did on it told me that it was really good.
    Just to be clear, I've always cooked my charcoal on an open or semi open fire in my wood stove, or homemade bbq pit/smoker. I cook it until the vent lights and watch for it to die off to a small flame. The English at Waltham Abbey watched for the vent flame to have a 'violet' color; which I have seen, but did not that day. It was in the daylight outside and I didn't ever notice the violet flame. As it was my first time, I was unsure of how far to go.
    I'm thinking maybe I need to just do it at night, so the flame color is more noticeable.
    Just wondering if anyone else had experience making good brown charcoal, and what indicators you use, or if others had to just wing it like I did. I'm going to cook a new batch up soon, and would like to be more confident of my ability to pull it at that golden brown, but fully cooked point.
    All input is appreciated.
    “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” – Yogi Berra

  18. #5998
    Boolit Buddy
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    I haven't done proper brown charcoal, and I only have rudimentary control on temp so far using salvaged 300C thermometers from old grills. I stopped my batches when the smoke stopped because I wasn't watching closely and missed late changes. Haven't been able to light the off gas so it stays lit. Boy my smoke stinks, don't hang out the washing until its done!

    I am just building a 6" bore fume extraction system for my wife (turps for oil painting) and I am planning to exhaust above the roof line which if I plumb the Weber in too, would help with the charcoal fumes.

  19. #5999
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have excellent results from the grain mill today!

    As the users suggested, I made thinner pucks this time. About 2/3 were thinner, less than 5mm, 1/3 more than 5.5. I took the obviously thick ones and used my puck breaker and sidecutters straight off. The thinner ones I put through the grain mill to break them. I took much smaller bites as I tightened it.

    I got
    56% 2F (previously 28% to 37%!)
    27% 3F (previously 27% to 33%.)
    17% fines including all 4F (everything <40#)! Last time 54% less than 40# with grain mill, previously 34-35% using coffee mill.

    I have learned something about using the sieves which may be useful to others.

    Like others, I regrind all coarse reject caught on the 15# sieve, a kitchen sieve. I made sure to sieve every pass so nothing got re-ground if it was already below 15#.

    I make sure I only sieve a small amount at a time so it works faster.

    For the 15 mesh, I would maximise product passing it. Using empty catcher and re-emptying twice during each little sieve batch, I found that in the first ten seconds almost all the easy fines pass through the sieve. The next 15-20 seconds, the grains that pass are full sized at the upper end of the sieve mesh size. Then the following 15-20 or more seconds, about 1/10 the amount of full sized grains continue as per previous interval, biased even coarser.

    So to get maximum 2F I sieve the 15 mesh long, long time and get all the coarse, weighty grains in the extended time.
    Then I sieve the 20 mesh for a shorter time, and keep more of the marginal grains for the 2F.
    Finally, the 40# retains the 3F. I try to get all the finer material through to make less dusty grains.

    As I mentioned before, I need rather more 2F than 3F for target shooting because my rifle charges are so much bigger.

    Next: test the broken bulk density, then put the stuff back in the tumbler for rounding and afterward, graphite.

  20. #6000
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisPer View Post
    I have excellent results from the grain mill today!

    As the users suggested, I made thinner pucks this time. About 2/3 were thinner, less than 5mm, 1/3 more than 5.5. I took the obviously thick ones and used my puck breaker and sidecutters straight off. The thinner ones I put through the grain mill to break them. I took much smaller bites as I tightened it.

    I got
    56% 2F (previously 28% to 37%!)
    27% 3F (previously 27% to 33%.)
    17% fines including all 4F (everything <40#)! Last time 54% less than 40# with grain mill, previously 34-35% using coffee mill.

    I have learned something about using the sieves which may be useful to others.

    Like others, I regrind all coarse reject caught on the 15# sieve, a kitchen sieve. I made sure to sieve every pass so nothing got re-ground if it was already below 15#.

    I make sure I only sieve a small amount at a time so it works faster.

    For the 15 mesh, I would maximise product passing it. Using empty catcher and re-emptying twice during each little sieve batch, I found that in the first ten seconds almost all the easy fines pass through the sieve. The next 15-20 seconds, the grains that pass are full sized at the upper end of the sieve mesh size. Then the following 15-20 or more seconds, about 1/10 the amount of full sized grains continue as per previous interval, biased even coarser.

    So to get maximum 2F I sieve the 15 mesh long, long time and get all the coarse, weighty grains in the extended time.
    Then I sieve the 20 mesh for a shorter time, and keep more of the marginal grains for the 2F.
    Finally, the 40# retains the 3F. I try to get all the finer material through to make less dusty grains.

    As I mentioned before, I need rather more 2F than 3F for target shooting because my rifle charges are so much bigger.

    Next: test the broken bulk density, then put the stuff back in the tumbler for rounding and afterward, graphite.
    important question
    whats your broken bulk density before rounding and graphite? .....compared to commercial finished powder would be great ?
    You are doin scientific ..... I am doin seat of pants ....would be fun / interesting to see how far out my guesswork is . thanks

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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