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Thread: My homemade black powder

  1. #3941
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vettepilot View Post
    Regarding my post on not scaring away newbies. I never meant to imply one should use just any materials. Clearly, I think one should use one of the top 3 or 4 wood types, and quality chemicals. I was hoping that would stand to reason.

    My only point was that it is not necessary to "go down the rabbit holes" that many of us do, searching for "more better whatever".

    Follow Fly's or Indian Joe's proven and simple techniques, use good supplies, and have fun. That's all.

    Vettepilot
    wasnt trying to be nasty - I did say I think I disagree with ya
    Last edited by indian joe; 06-02-2021 at 12:37 AM.

  2. #3942
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighUintas View Post
    I tested my Paulownia BP today against OE 2f. The results are: I think I need to work on my charcoal or something. My homemade was about 140fps on avg slower and much dirtier.

    The two loads of 10 rounds each were:

    68gr OE 2f
    405gr bullet

    68gr homemade
    405gr bullet

    I was able to shoot the 10 **** OE string without wiping and without any noticeable drop in accuracy.

    After 5 shots of the homemade, it seemed the velocity was increasing and group getting larger, so I wiped the barrel after 6 shots with a single wet patch. There was what seemed like twice the amount of fouling on that patch than the one after shooting 10 rounds of OE without wiping. Then decided to wipe after each shot for the rest and it seemed to be very dirty each wipe.

    Attachment 283710Attachment 283711
    Attachment 283712

    I picked up a quart metal paint can today. I think I'm going to do some small batches to see if I can figure out what I did wrong (if anything) with my charcoal. I also picked up a cedar picket to test.
    If you shot those at 50 its pretty handy, if at 100 its bordering on brilliant - I reckon I see a couple pulled shots and some vertical stringing from barrel heating (or older eyes struggling for focus) on both targets that would near halve your group size.

    I bet you get it better as you "get the hang of things" -----BUT----- realise you set the bar pretty high already - if - your comparison was against Wano (scheutzen) instead of OE your HM would already be in front for velocity and cleaner burn - thats a darn good result in a short time!

  3. #3943
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    Thanks, Joe!


    A question for all you guys that use the lead filled copper media: do you know if it's necessary to have the jar half filled using these? I think mine is actually about 1/3 or slightly more than a 1/3 full. My understanding is that you want it half full when using balls to make sure the balls are falling onto themselves during tumbling. When using cylinders , they do more tumbling rather than rolling.

    Anyway, I'm wondering if I need to make a few more cylinders.

  4. #3944
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    I am using about 1/5 full on a thumbler's tumbler and after ~7 hours it is as fine as talc powder. I believe it is 108 380 cartridge brass that I filled with lead and crimped to hold in place. My container size is ~1/2 gallon.

  5. #3945
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grayone View Post
    I am using about 1/5 full on a thumbler's tumbler and after ~7 hours it is as fine as talc powder. I believe it is 108 380 cartridge brass that I filled with lead and crimped to hold in place. My container size is ~1/2 gallon.
    That's a great idea. I love the cleverness on here!

  6. #3946
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighUintas View Post
    Thanks, Joe!


    A question for all you guys that use the lead filled copper media: do you know if it's necessary to have the jar half filled using these? I think mine is actually about 1/3 or slightly more than a 1/3 full. My understanding is that you want it half full when using balls to make sure the balls are falling onto themselves during tumbling. When using cylinders , they do more tumbling rather than rolling.

    Anyway, I'm wondering if I need to make a few more cylinders.
    I just used leftover roundball - cleaned out a bunch of stuff from under the loading bench and then every cast I kept the rejects instead of returning them to the pot - can is about half full - sizes from buckshot to .69cal - stuff is starting to look a bit wore out - aint broke but getting a little tired - I have some linotype I dont need and proly cast a bunch of that into RB for next time. The cylinders sound better but more work too maybe?.

  7. #3947
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    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    I just used leftover roundball - cleaned out a bunch of stuff from under the loading bench and then every cast I kept the rejects instead of returning them to the pot - can is about half full - sizes from buckshot to .69cal - stuff is starting to look a bit wore out - aint broke but getting a little tired - I have some linotype I dont need and proly cast a bunch of that into RB for next time. The cylinders sound better but more work too maybe?.
    Yup, I'd say if I had a ball mold and some linotype, I'd use that and heat treat it. With the copper cylinders, ya have to smooth out the cut edges, so it might be sixes

  8. #3948
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    One other question...

    So I was pressing some pucks and altered my sequence to do a 10 minute dwell time, then let up the pressure completely and did that 2 more times.

    I noticed that at least 15g or maybe 30g actually flowed out the bottom of the die sleeve! I could nearly watch it flow while it was under pressure. I'm pressing on top of a thin aluminum pie plate. Has anyone had this issue and what did you do to prevent it? Just a better sealing pressing surface?

  9. #3949
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighUintas View Post
    One other question...

    So I was pressing some pucks and altered my sequence to do a 10 minute dwell time, then let up the pressure completely and did that 2 more times.

    I noticed that at least 15g or maybe 30g actually flowed out the bottom of the die sleeve! I could nearly watch it flow while it was under pressure. I'm pressing on top of a thin aluminum pie plate. Has anyone had this issue and what did you do to prevent it? Just a better sealing pressing surface?
    I think that is the sponge effect, I've seen. It seems if, after the pressure is lifted, if the powder 'sponges' out the base of the die, when you hit it again, the cylinder of the die is no longer touching the backing plate and path of least resistance is to try to raise the cylinder of the die, while the piston tries to move down. I didn't lose a gram, but it was not right either, and I quit and knocked the puck out of the die, and started over. I use an inch and a half thick steel plate, for a back up. I would think aluminum plate should not be the problem. It's probably those dang laws of Physics, AGAIN!
    Last edited by DoubleBuck; 06-02-2021 at 01:18 AM.

  10. #3950
    I have a short puck that goes in the bottom of my sleve. I put the puck in the bottom of the sleeve, fill it with powder, put the main piston in top of that, then press it. Powder can't get out that way.

  11. #3951
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paramax55 View Post
    I have a short puck that goes in the bottom of my sleve. I put the puck in the bottom of the sleeve, fill it with powder, put the main piston in top of that, then press it. Powder can't get out that way.
    20 ton truck jack in a homemade frame, jack underneath, die on top pressing upwards - 3" heavy wall PVC die body - its a neat sliding fit in a 3/8" steel bearing hanger I salvaged off a busted cultivator (so thats a short piece of heavy tube welded to a flat base) - made a neat fitting masonite (underfloor board) bottom plate - so die body in - bottom board plate in - then powder (I think about 100grams per puck) - plastic ice cream can spacers between pucks - fill to the top - aluminium top die - do a preliminary quick press then top it up (one or maybe two more pucks) - lean on it till the jack squeaks - I try to maintain the pressure a bit but am gonna work more on that - leave the pressure on for longer. When its done I take the die body out and use the jack to push the column of pucks out the top of the die body. Sounds complicated but its not really

  12. #3952
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paramax55 View Post
    I have a short puck that goes in the bottom of my sleve. I put the puck in the bottom of the sleeve, fill it with powder, put the main piston in top of that, then press it. Powder can't get out that way.
    Oooh.... I like that!

    Just added to my machining "To Do" list: "Make stepped bottom plug for powder press die." Thanks for the idea!

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

  13. #3953
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    @Indian Joe: Any speculation on what caused HighUintas' powder to burn dirty?? What seems to be governing factors regarding cleanliness of burn, given that one is using good wood??

    @HighUintas: What type of wood did you use, and how did you char it? (Sorry, I'm sure you said before but I don't recall.)

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

  14. #3954
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vettepilot View Post
    @Indian Joe: Any speculation on what caused HighUintas' powder to burn dirty?? What seems to be governing factors regarding cleanliness of burn, given that one is using good wood??

    @HighUintas: What type of wood did you use, and how did you char it? (Sorry, I'm sure you said before but I don't recall.)

    Thanks,
    Vettepilot
    With my large number of frequent posts, I'm not surprised that you missed it or lost it!

    I'm using wood from the Paulownia tree in my backyard. I trimmed it a bit ago and used branches ranging from 1 in to 2 in in diameter. I cleaned off all the bark, dried them out completely in my toaster oven set to 150 Fahrenheit on convection, and split them into pieces that were roughly half inch by half inch.

    I did not clean out the flaky pith material from the center of the branch, nor did I cut out any bark seams from offshooting branches. I don't recall seeing any bark seems running through the pieces I put in there, but it's possible there were a couple. I think the wood was pretty darn clean, other than the centerpieth material.

    I packed it into my one gallon paint can, fairly snug but still loose enough to rattle when shaking the can around. I put it on my propane burner, which has a 10-in ring filled with a whole lot of tiny nozzles all the way to the center, so it does produce very even heat throughout that 10-in circle. I had the paint can on its side with a 3/8 inch hole for venting, and a grill thermometer installed as well. I also had a stainless steel stock pot sat over the top of the paint can on the burner to create an oven to help heat it more evenly. I still turned the paint can 5 to 10 minutes to help heat the can evenly.

    From the point of starting to heat the can, to the point that I turn the flame off and taped the hole, was 45 minutes. There was a very lazy yellow flame coming from the hole that did not want to stay lit when I decided to shut the burner off. The thermometer finally jumped up between 600 and 650 degrees Fahrenheit in the last several minutes of heating it. It read lower most of the time.

    I also have some powder made from rosebud brand cedar horse bedding chips, and a cedar picket from Lowe's. I cooked the chips in my one gallon can as a test prior to doing the polonia. That test was a little less controlled, but the temperature hit 600 right as I turned the flame off.

    The cedar picket was charred in a court size paint can, on a different propane burner that is less powerful and I had the flame turned about as low as it would go. The cedar picket took about an hour and a half to finish. When I pulled that charcoal out of the can, one end of it was all black of course, and the other end of the wood was a very dark brown. The black and of the charcoal sticks was on the lid side where I had the ventil facing down and burning, so it got more heat than the other end of the can. I didn't have a thermometer in that small can, but I am guessing the temperature was much lower than the one gallon cans, since it was dark brown on the other end.

    With burn tests on paper, all three powders left a yellow halo around the burn area and it seemed that the cedar chips left slightly more black carbon fouling on the paper than the polonia, and the cedar picket left even more black carbon fouling on the paper then the chips. But, the cedar picket powder was only meal and had not been pressed and dried yet.

    Because they were three different wood sources, I can't draw this conclusion with certainty, but it seems possible that the lower charring temperature of those woods could be causing them to burn dirtier

  15. #3955
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paramax55 View Post
    I have a short puck that goes in the bottom of my sleve. I put the puck in the bottom of the sleeve, fill it with powder, put the main piston in top of that, then press it. Powder can't get out that way.
    Paramax, that's a pretty rang dang good idee, there!

  16. #3956
    Boolit Master
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    I was really bored, sitting waiting for an important phone call, so I made a quick drawing of the base for my pressing die that I'll machine up when I get a chance. I want mine to have a step, as shown, and I'm going to add two thumbscrews to my die sleeve to clamp onto it. This will not only prevent things from shifting/moving, but also be handy for keeping all pieces together while loading and handling it.

    Vettepilot
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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

  17. #3957
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighUintas View Post
    With my large number of frequent posts, I'm not surprised that you missed it or lost it!

    I'm using wood from the Paulownia tree in my backyard. I trimmed it a bit ago and used branches ranging from 1 in to 2 in in diameter. I cleaned off all the bark, dried them out completely in my toaster oven set to 150 Fahrenheit on convection, and split them into pieces that were roughly half inch by half inch.

    I did not clean out the flaky pith material from the center of the branch, nor did I cut out any bark seams from offshooting branches. I don't recall seeing any bark seems running through the pieces I put in there, but it's possible there were a couple. I think the wood was pretty darn clean, other than the centerpieth material.

    I packed it into my one gallon paint can, fairly snug but still loose enough to rattle when shaking the can around. I put it on my propane burner, which has a 10-in ring filled with a whole lot of tiny nozzles all the way to the center, so it does produce very even heat throughout that 10-in circle. I had the paint can on its side with a 3/8 inch hole for venting, and a grill thermometer installed as well. I also had a stainless steel stock pot sat over the top of the paint can on the burner to create an oven to help heat it more evenly. I still turned the paint can 5 to 10 minutes to help heat the can evenly.

    From the point of starting to heat the can, to the point that I turn the flame off and taped the hole, was 45 minutes. There was a very lazy yellow flame coming from the hole that did not want to stay lit when I decided to shut the burner off. The thermometer finally jumped up between 600 and 650 degrees Fahrenheit in the last several minutes of heating it. It read lower most of the time.

    I also have some powder made from rosebud brand cedar horse bedding chips, and a cedar picket from Lowe's. I cooked the chips in my one gallon can as a test prior to doing the polonia. That test was a little less controlled, but the temperature hit 600 right as I turned the flame off.

    The cedar picket was charred in a court size paint can, on a different propane burner that is less powerful and I had the flame turned about as low as it would go. The cedar picket took about an hour and a half to finish. When I pulled that charcoal out of the can, one end of it was all black of course, and the other end of the wood was a very dark brown. The black and of the charcoal sticks was on the lid side where I had the ventil facing down and burning, so it got more heat than the other end of the can. I didn't have a thermometer in that small can, but I am guessing the temperature was much lower than the one gallon cans, since it was dark brown on the other end.

    With burn tests on paper, all three powders left a yellow halo around the burn area and it seemed that the cedar chips left slightly more black carbon fouling on the paper than the polonia, and the cedar picket left even more black carbon fouling on the paper then the chips. But, the cedar picket powder was only meal and had not been pressed and dried yet.

    Because they were three different wood sources, I can't draw this conclusion with certainty, but it seems possible that the lower charring temperature of those woods could be causing them to burn dirtier
    Yeah, it seemed like you had mentioned low temp charring, so that's what I was wondering as well. I believe most everyone here has just been "chucking them in a hot fire and letting them roast" so to speak. I definitely had read that 600 to 700 hundred degrees was a good temp as I recall, but I would think that meant that temp should be reached and held.

    The only other variable I can think of, might be your artificial "seasoning" of the wood before cooking it. I don't know if that could factor in or not, but I rather doubt it...

    Vettepilot
    Last edited by Vettepilot; 06-02-2021 at 10:36 PM.
    "Those who sacrifice freedom for security, have neither."
    Benjamin Franklin. (A very wise man!)

  18. #3958
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    Seems I read that right around the time of the change-over from Holy Black to smokeless, there were experiments done with a more powerful form of BP called "Brown powder". It was apparently made using under cooked wood, hence the name. Maybe research that a little?

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

  19. #3959
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    [QUOTE=Vettepilot;5200453]@Indian Joe: Any speculation on what caused HighUintas' powder to burn dirty?? What seems to be governing factors regarding cleanliness of burn, given that one is using good wood??

    Got no idea really - I got lucky with clean burn first time around - (hybrid willow) - stuck with it since then - I split it all up into sticks half to three quarter inch - only put sound wood in the can - toss any punky stuff (get a bit of that in the willow after its dead a while) - using deadfall timber 2 to 5 years down - stuff from 2 inch to 5 inch mostly - got plenty of choice! - burn is proly underdone - always have some sticks not charred enough to grind - If it will snap crisply I use it - flint gun leaves a brownish residue around the pan - notice that compared to the grey that other powder leaves - have had a couple comments that I dont get as much smoke or its a bit different colour - hard to tell when you behind the gun. Was tempted to try pawlonia (I know where an abandoned plantation is - in another state!)but them willow trees are 100yards from my keyboard - I figure the energy is better spent refining the process a bit.
    ......

  20. #3960
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vettepilot View Post
    Seems I read that right around the time of the change-over from Holy Black to smokeless, there were experiments done with a more powerful form of BP called "Brown powder". It was apparently made using under cooked wood, hence the name. Maybe research that a little?

    Vettepilot
    Yup. Here's a few links to charcoal information I've found. There's a bit of "brown" charcoal info in there.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YV_...w?usp=drivesdk

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Wnq...w?usp=drivesdk

    http://www.fao.org/3/X5328E/x5328e00.htm#Contents

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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