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Thread: My homemade black powder

  1. #4081
    Boolit Master
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    It's not cheap though. Better to use the .45 acp, 10mm, 44 mag, etc., cases if you can find them.

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

  2. #4082
    Boolit Bub
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    For the suggestion of Plaster of Paris molds, I wish to suggest not using that.

    In the art school, they teach a basic art casting with 'pewter' which has a nice low melting point - scrounged old pewter mugs and vases at up to $10 a pop from antique shops - and the molds are plaster, it has to be baked for four hours or so to remove water of crystallisation so the steam doesn't damage the casting or worse cause an explosion.

    I tried plaster before I heard this, and my brass, and tin, castings in plaster molds were terrible.

    For lost wax casting the commercial 'plaster' medium is called Cristobalite, it is fine ground silica(quartz?) with a plaster binder. You have to burn it out - ie melt out the wax model, then fire it at 600C for one or more hours to remove everything volatile that may compromise the finish of the casting.

    I just tried casting pistons for my puck die, using the 'sharp sand' filled resin method. Perhaps plasterer's sand bound with plaster would make a more heat-stable mold than plaster itself?
    Last edited by ChrisPer; 06-18-2021 at 10:57 PM.

  3. #4083
    Boolit Bub
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    Also, I guessed 30% pore space in the sand, and that much resin made it a pretty dry-looking mix. I used a rammer and then it looked pretty solid in the thick aluminum tubes.
    However, the catalyst may not have been adequately mixed; after a week, its not tough to touch. Oh well, try again with more catalyst. Its winter here, and things set slow.

  4. #4084
    Boolit Man
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    Guys;
    A little shout out, to HighUintas today. Yesterday he and his wife were gifted a new baby girl! Rosalind Dolores arrived healthy, 6 pounds and nearly 19". He said he might be slowing down on the testing and posts, etc., for a bit. I know I'm not alone in offering congratulations, and well wishes, to he and his family!

  5. #4085
    Boolit Master
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    CONGRATULATIONS HighUintas!!!

    It's a FATHER'S DAY father day! Guess ya won't ever forget her birthday date!

    ;~)

    Vettepilot
    Last edited by Vettepilot; 06-20-2021 at 03:27 PM.
    "Those who sacrifice freedom for security, have neither."
    Benjamin Franklin. (A very wise man!)

  6. #4086
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks for the congratulations! She's more perfect than I thought possible

    I managed to get some sassafras pucks pressed and graded, so hopefully I'll get to see how it does in my gun tomorrow!

  7. #4087
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisPer View Post
    For the suggestion of Plaster of Paris molds, I wish to suggest not using that.

    In the art school, they teach a basic art casting with 'pewter' which has a nice low melting point - scrounged old pewter mugs and vases at up to $10 a pop from antique shops - and the molds are plaster, it has to be baked for four hours or so to remove water of crystallisation so the steam doesn't damage the casting or worse cause an explosion.

    I tried plaster before I heard this, and my brass, and tin, castings in plaster molds were terrible.

    For lost wax casting the commercial 'plaster' medium is called Cristobalite, it is fine ground silica(quartz?) with a plaster binder. You have to burn it out - ie melt out the wax model, then fire it at 600C for one or more hours to remove everything volatile that may compromise the finish of the casting.

    I just tried casting pistons for my puck die, using the 'sharp sand' filled resin method. Perhaps plasterer's sand bound with plaster would make a more heat-stable mold than plaster itself?
    I don't go to yard sales and second hand stores frequently, but I do go sometimes. I've been searching for around 5 years now, and I've lucked into finding Pewter exactly ONE time!! And even then I didn't "score" it. It was a small stand for a pocket watch, and weighed about, maybe, 4 ounces. They wanted 5 bucks for it and I passed. I don't know how/where to find Pewter.

    ;~(

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

  8. #4088
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vettepilot View Post
    I don't go to yard sales and second hand stores frequently, but I do go sometimes. I've been searching for around 5 years now, and I've lucked into finding Pewter exactly ONE time!! And even then I didn't "score" it. It was a small stand for a pocket watch, and weighed about, maybe, 4 ounces. They wanted 5 bucks for it and I passed. I don't know how/where to find Pewter.

    ;~(

    Vettepilot
    There was a fashion for pewter mugs as presentations in the late 1970s so you can get a few around the places you are looking. The smaller scrap metal dealers end up with the bent ones that are not salable as antiques. Pewter in modern times I think is Britannia metal, no lead in it. Malaysia exports, or once did, a lot of tin as Selangor Pewter.
    Google seems to find a lot... eBay...

  9. #4089
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have been very lucky on my pewter scores as of late. I notice that some people are marking as "pewter" strange metals that are mostly made of aluminum. I don't know whether these are attempted scams or genuine ignorance on their part.

  10. #4090
    Boolit Master
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    I've kind of found, if you're not sure if it's pewter, it's probably not!

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

  11. #4091
    Boolit Bub
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    So what do you gentlemen use pewter for? I sought it for casting sculpture, or alloying boolits; its hard to remember why as for a long time I have only cast soft lead.

  12. #4092
    Boolit Buddy
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    I use it for bullet alloy or rather I did. I have enough hard and soft lead to last my wife and me until the end of our days. The pewter that I find now I cast into ingots for my son to use when I am gone. I wouldn't mind making a pewter powder flask for my homemade black powder though. Also, it's fun, believe it or not, to make a good score. I don't melt down art but if it is dented, banged up, screwed up or scrap I am there.

  13. #4093
    Boolit Master
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    Yep; for the tin to alloy with lead. Tin is about 24 bucks a pound now. :~(

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

  14. #4094
    Boolit Master
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    Yes.
    Tin has got more expensive.
    But remember, you are only using 2% of it to the weight of your lead.
    So one pound of tin can go a long way.
    I know.
    I bought 10lbs at 16.00a pound.
    And have 8 lb left over 8 years of casting for my center-fire cartridges.

  15. #4095
    Boolit Buddy
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    I'm slowly working on drying out some tree of heaven I found to compare it to the other charcoals I've tried.

    The pith on this tree of heaven wood is very large and very spongey compared to other woods.

    What's everyone's take on whether or not to cut that stuff out? I can't decide. I have cut it out on my Paulownia and sassafras, but unsure if it is necessary cleaner burning powder

  16. #4096
    Boolit Master swamp's Avatar
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    I don't remove it. I am using pieces 3 inch dia. and less.
    swamp
    There is no problem so great, that it cannot be solved by the proper application of high explosives.

  17. #4097
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by swamp View Post
    I don't remove it. I am using pieces 3 inch dia. and less.
    swamp
    Are you using tree of heaven? I also like to use those same diameters. I noticed the pieces that are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick have a pith that is extremely large in comparison to the wood, so I was kind of wondering if that large amount might make a difference. I think I've got enough thicker stuff than I can avoid using those pieces though.

  18. #4098
    Boolit Master swamp's Avatar
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    Yes, it is Tree of Heaven. I have a couple of 6 gal pails of peeled and cut to paint can length. Next step is to split into close size pieces and char. This is my 2nd batch of Tree of Heaven. I have 1/4 to 1/2 pail of course ground Willow on hand.
    swamp
    There is no problem so great, that it cannot be solved by the proper application of high explosives.

  19. #4099
    Boolit Man
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    Over the last month or so, I've shot a few different powders, testing ball speed, on my rifle. I came up with some pretty interesting results.
    I started with some charcoal I've been wanting to test, for a couple of years. I have a stand of Black Locust in my yard, which a tornado wiped out, a couple of years ago. It spreads by root and by seed and can be a nuisance. But, it grows astoundingly fast. One sprout grew more than 12 feet over last Spring and Summer. I used some of the sprouts, up to about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
    I was given a block of Balsa wood, by a friend, when I mentioned to him that it was supposed to make killer powder. I tried it second.
    Then, HighUintas sent me a box of Paulownia wood, to try.
    And, finally, I tried some of my Sassafras wood, which I have been using for quite some time.
    Each of these groups were with 60 grains weighed powder, and all were patched round ball, .58 caliber, 279 grain Hornady Swaged balls. I have molds, but used these, to ensure consistency. These are my results:
    Black Locust, 20 shots: 1190 fps average; deviation 31 fps.
    Balsa, 20 shots: 1345 fps average; deviation 40 fps.
    Sassafras, 41 shots (two days): 1359 fps average; deviation 33 fps.
    Paulownia, 41 shots 1320 fps average; deviation 45 fps
    Paulownia, 11 shots different day, 1289 fps average; deviation 38 fps

    So, from the different days, with different powder, it seems that atmospheric conditions may play a pretty big role on how speed is affected. A difference of over 30 fps, with the same powder, in this case.
    I have four more powders I want to test, which are Black Willow, Pee Hole Willow, if you get my drift; and Weeping Willow. The last one is a secret, for now. haha. I think it is going to blow them all away. But, we'll see.
    It's been a good month for shooting!

  20. #4100
    Boolit Bub
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    Well done DoubleBuck!
    I have added a gas burner ring to my Weber kettle to cook my soup pot of willow that is waiting to go. I have in stock two shopping bags of paulownia and two of willow all sawn to length for the pot.
    My homemade tumbler is bothering me; too many leaks. I made 150mm x 150mm drums from plastic sewer pipe and a i5omm inspection cover, because I cannot get a 150-100mm stepdown like the examples we see on the web. The inspection cover has given so much grief trying to seal it.
    And the darn $20 tumble dryer has a spider I made, to hold the 150mm drum inside it. Doesnt' hold it tight, so my lashings come undone and its all very frustrating.
    My sand-filled resin pistons for corning has failed - at 30% resin vol to 100% sand (assuming 30% pore space) the corners have not come out sharp enough. Lots of drawing board time.

    However, my powder is working!

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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