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Thread: My homemade black powder

  1. #8141
    Boolit Master
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    I may not be doing things right,
    But I did a calculation of the density of my compressed pucks.
    They came out around 92% compression.
    But , when I broke up the pucks , ground them and screened them to each grain size. My grinders of powder came out to 85 to 88 % comparison to granular Goex.
    I am not trying to get all my powder to perfectly match up to commercial powder.
    I just need to know what the comparison is like so I have an idea on how much volume matches the weight of the factory powders that I have and still use.

  2. #8142
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    Did you buff your powder? I believe that if you polish as much as Goes does, the measurements should match

  3. #8143
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    I did polish some of it.
    It didn’t increase the weight per volume.
    But it makes it measure better and more consistant than the unpolished that has those tiny sharp corners.
    Polishing that I have found.
    Helps keep the powder from forming DUST as you shake or move the powder around in your container over time.

  4. #8144
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    I tested the re-milled and reprocessed fines, that I had left over from several batches. I got mixed results, but a couple of good ones.
    The most notable thing I found, was, they have great density. I got 1.7 puck density, and after processing, the 3fff powder in a 50 grain measure, for five drops averaged 54.1 grains. That is 108.2%.
    I only shot my .50 TC Renegade, with patched round ball and .020 patch.
    The 60 and 75 grain loads of 5 each performed very closely to my tests of Charmin TP powder.
    The 90 and 120 grain loads annihilated every patch. Blew the middles out of them and shredded the edges. They were lubricated with pure lanolin and when I first saw what was happening, I started soaking them with spit. They all shredded and I got lousy readings on them.
    The powder did perform well on clean and accurate, both. Even though the heavy loads blew patches, they were very accurate. And in all, I shot 17 loads without swabbing and the last went down as easy as the first.
    This test was just to rid myself of a bunch of fines, and it did that. I wish I had not added some of my lesser powder fines by mixing them all together a few months ago. I'm satisfied the velocities would have been higher than they were. I was really impressed with the density gain, from reprocessing. And, how clean they burned. I know some of the fines were Wisteria and Black Locust charcoal. Both were dirty, on the first round as well as low energy. Which goes to show, not all fast growing, even light density woods, make good powder. Both of those powders were made before I learned how to do a simple test for Ash. That probably won't happen again. Thanks, Linstrum!
    My plan is to try the powder in my pistols in the next few days, if we don't get rained out. They may like it, though I don't have high hopes. It will be fun, as it was today.
    Carry on!

  5. #8145
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    Today I found a reason why my density was coming out lower using my 20 ton press.
    What the problem was is,
    I was setting my die on a piece of 1/4” thick very high impact plastic on the steel plate on the press.
    It seemed that the plastic was acting like a sponge.
    I would put full pressure on the powder.
    But it didn’t come out dense all the way thru a 1/4” thick puck , and even less on a 3/8” thick puck.
    So today,
    Instead of using the plastic on the bottom steel plate , I started using a piece of thin Aluminum.
    I made the aluminum plate out of the bottom of an empty cat food can.
    So far the pucks look denser.
    After they dry out I will see how much more dense they are after I grind them up.

  6. #8146
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    LAGS;
    I see no reason your aluminum won't work. I would think it should do very well.
    Many moons ago, Linstrum posted about our plastic spacers. He said the milk jug spacers that I have been using are much softer plastic and will deform under pressure. That is what happened on my column, when 'cycling' the press. I ruined I think, four or five of them.
    Anyway, Linstrum said that clear plastic like on two liter pop bottles, is a bunch harder and more pressure tolerant. If and when I make more, I'm going to try that.
    The sponge effect you mentioned really comes into play when cycling a column. The powder and or the spacers are definitely affecting it.
    For that reason, I'm thinking about trying a couple of columns of pucks, without spacers and put several, at the bottom of the die and try that. I can break up a 2" diameter puck 3" in length, about as easy as I can space them and go through the trouble. After trying the straight out of the press processing and doing the drying last, I think I'm going to try the large column, on my next batch. Being able to make one 3 ounce puck would speed things up a lot, I'm thinking. My first and only experience breaking pucks up with pressing moisture still in them made tumbling and drying a lot quicker and easier while doing a better job of polishing as well. And fines fell way off.
    When you get the final results on the aluminum, let us know and good luck!
    Last edited by DoubleBuck; Yesterday at 12:16 AM.

  7. #8147
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    When I first started Corning my powder.
    I used that same type of plastic that was 1/8” thick for spacers.
    Like you said like the milk bottle spacers. It would compress and spread out so much that it got stuck in the die.
    I might try making some aluminum spacers to try.
    But today I only made the puck out of three tablespoons of green dampened powder.
    The water ratio was correct since there was no moisture coming out the bottom of the die.
    I too may try making some Brass spacers to make more pucks on each pressing.
    My “Fly” die will make three , three tablespoon pucks on each pressing when I use the spacers.
    But that three tablespoon quantity works good.
    The puck is fairly thin , and weighs about .7 to .9 ounces per puck.
    Then it also dries out faster if left sitting in the sun.
    ( we have plenty of sun here in Arizona )
    When dried for a day, I break the pucks up with a pair of wire cutters before putting them in my ceramic coffee grinder.
    I have tried making a tall puck that almost fills up the die.
    But it doesn’t work too well.
    First off the die plunger doesn’t get guided down straight when doing the pressing.
    And the middle of the puck takes forever to dry.
    If you break it up before fully dry, the center is still soft and turns to dust real easily.
    Now ,if I take my thin pucks and break them in half after taking them out of the die, they dry way faster since the moist softer center is exposed.
    Last edited by LAGS; Yesterday at 01:04 AM.

  8. #8148
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    Has anyone tried making pellets of black powder like they do with subs?
    Tim
    Words are weapons sharper than knives - INXS

    The pen is mightier than the sword - Edward Bulwer-Lytton

    The tongue is mightier than the blade - Euripides

  9. #8149
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtknowles View Post
    Has anyone tried making pellets of black powder like they do with subs?
    Tim
    After learning about those Bartholow cartridges I have been meaning to try that. I need to make a mold/form for them first, then some nitrocellulose glue to hold them together. I'm pretty sure it would work, just not what I would do with them after they're made. Possibly for use in the '63 Sharps rifle or revolvers.

  10. #8150
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtknowles View Post
    Has anyone tried making pellets of black powder like they do with subs?
    Tim
    most of us are happy with the idea that coarser grains = slower burning. The difference from Fg to FFFg, is noticeable
    so if we made a compressed pellet from dampened meal, then we should expect it to burn like one very large coarse grain ? yes ? - so that should mean its a fail ?
    OTOH a pellet made by compressing together previously corned grains - might work as it would be disintegrated and ignited at the start --why bother comes to mind ?

  11. #8151
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    Quote Originally Posted by LAGS View Post
    Today I found a reason why my density was coming out lower using my 20 ton press.
    What the problem was is,
    I was setting my die on a piece of 1/4” thick very high impact plastic on the steel plate on the press.
    It seemed that the plastic was acting like a sponge.
    I would put full pressure on the powder.
    But it didn’t come out dense all the way thru a 1/4” thick puck , and even less on a 3/8” thick puck.
    So today,
    Instead of using the plastic on the bottom steel plate , I started using a piece of thin Aluminum.
    I made the aluminum plate out of the bottom of an empty cat food can.
    So far the pucks look denser.
    After they dry out I will see how much more dense they are after I grind them up.
    HA!!! theres reasons we hang around here !!! -----waiting for little nuggets of wisdom to drop ------might be you just dropped one for me . I been using spacers (5 or 6 in the puck stack) made from that softer plastic -= milk jugs and ice creame carton plastic - never thought about it compressing - we'll see next time round .

  12. #8152
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    All it would really take is a different puck die. It would even eliminate leftovers - just take all of your fines at the end of a BP session and make pellets just like you would make pucks - and then don't grind them up. However this would essentially just be shooing one large grain and it most likely would not burn fast enough. I don't know how Pyrodex pellets work effectively, I have never used them.

    I would definitely do this if it worked. But seriously I do not think it would. You would be making model rocket engines. Probably rather good ones actually - but thats not what you are after.
    Currently casting and loading: .32 S&W Long, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, 10mm, 44 Special 44 Magnum. .223, 7.62x39, 7.62 x 54R, .30-06, 45-70, .32, .36, .44. .45. .50. .54. .58 and .60 round ball and various minies. And .375 heel crimped conical for those .36 conversions . KB6MRP on Discord

  13. #8153
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    I started off with one of the Woody's 3" dies along with a half dozen thin Delrin plastic spacers, which I doubt will compress any measurable amount. I do not use a spacer on the top, but just the piston right on the meal and nothing on the bottom with the meal right onto a steel plate. I just place my die on a flat piece of steel that is placed on top of the press plates of the press. Only thing that has come out of the die at the bottom is a tiny bit of moisture before I learned just how little moisture is needed for pressing. Now the steel plate is only a bit damp when I finish the compression.

    I give it all that my 20 ton press wants to give it before it started to get too hard to crank. I count the cranks and try to give each compression about the same amount. I might give it minute or so to rest before removing the pucks, but not really a lot of resting pressure time.

    I do about 90ml of green meal for each layer in the die (large medicine cup level full) and I end up with six pucks per press cycle. The pucks come out about 1/8"-3/16" thick. Have always gotten a high percentage of density, so I have not really altered the compression procedure much.

    I have been busting up and grinding the pucks before they are completely dry and then spreading the screened powder out on cookie sheets for further drying. I think I will start polishing the freshly screened and still slightly damp powder in my mill without media and then screen again and see if that gives a better flowing powder. I know others report that it helps a bit, so why not give it a try. Might actually give me another percent better density measure as well. Here lately, I have been getting at least a 92-93% density measurement comparing to Goex, so maybe I can come closer to 95% with a bit of polishing. Would basically just add little more time on the mill and one more screening session.
    Last edited by HamGunner; Yesterday at 11:59 AM.
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  14. #8154
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    The reason I use a plate of some type to sit on my presses steel plate is because I set up the die on the bench next to my press.
    I was setting it up on that plastic plate , then I could move it on th the press easily.
    And when one die is in the press , I will set up my second die to be ready to press.
    Those plastic plates I have been using are from when I built concrete Tilt Up buildings.
    Those squares of plastic were used as shims sitting on the concrete footings with the 20 ton concrete wall was set on them with a crane.
    We would stack the plates under the wall to make the wall level and square.
    I never saw deformation in those plates when setting the heavy concrete walls on them.
    But the pressure from the press ram does deform them over time.
    And I think that it is absorbing lots of the pressure on the pucks.
    Plus when I used it as my spacers, it multiplied the amount of absorption.
    Milk jug spacers weren’t as bad.
    But now I will try the non iron metal spacers of some kind and see how that works.

  15. #8155
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2TM101 View Post
    All it would really take is a different puck die. It would even eliminate leftovers - just take all of your fines at the end of a BP session and make pellets just like you would make pucks - and then don't grind them up. However this would essentially just be shooing one large grain and it most likely would not burn fast enough. I don't know how Pyrodex pellets work effectively, I have never used them.

    I would definitely do this if it worked. But seriously I do not think it would. You would be making model rocket engines. Probably rather good ones actually - but thats not what you are after.
    You are right, you don't want to press the fines together or you are making a rocket engine. Just like if you light a pressed puck, it doesn't burn very fast. But take granulated pressed powder and glue it together with nitrocellulose and you have something entirely different. And I suspect the glue only adds to the energy.

  16. #8156
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    Thinking that small pucks to fit the barrel makes me thing of Rocket Powder too.
    Some people might want to use some kind of Pucked powder to make loading easier since they don’t have to weigh the powders each shot.
    Those guys are mostly the In Line Shooters.
    I am also concerned that those pucks are harder to ignite with regular primer caps or flints.
    You might have to go to the 209 primer set up.
    If you want to see how a pre Pressed puck will perform.
    Press yourself a puck , about 1/2” diameter that is about 4 CC’s of volume.
    Then use a paper tube about 1/2” diameter and load it with about 4CC’s of powder just pressed down like if you were loading a barrel.
    Now, with a fuse ignite each one at a time.
    You will see that the puck ignites ,burns and flys around.
    But the paper tube one will almost Explode.
    It isn’t one of the safest tests to do.
    But it will show you the big difference if you really want to try pressed pucks for loading your rifle.
    You can safer try doing it with a smaller load just to get the basic idea.
    Last edited by LAGS; Yesterday at 01:40 PM.

  17. #8157
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    The idea of ​​black powder pellets is a good one, it makes things much easier. The secret is to make the pellet with one or more holes. When the outer layer burns, its area decreases and therefore the speed decreases... when the inner part of the pellet burns (inside the hole) the same thing happens, the more it burns, the more the area increases and thus the speed. That's why burning a piece of disc is different from burning a pellet with a hole in the center.

  18. #8158
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    A pellet with a hole in the middle really reminds me of a rocket motor!

  19. #8159
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    I sorta remember a fella making pellets waaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyy back in this thread. Probably first 200 pages.
    For his revolver. Ummmmm i believe it worked but i dont remember any numbers.

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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