Sunday, August 19, 2012

Making Your Own Black Powder

I have been hanging out lately with a bunch of guys over at Gun Slingers Gulch that shoot black powder revolvers and other firearms that use the old time real black powder.  If you shoot black powder firearms or hunt during the black powder special hunting seasons you know what the attraction is already.  Many of you may have watched the Hatfields and McCoys mini series recently and got to see a lot of black powder replica firearms in use throughout the mini series.  Anyway the cost of shooting these replicas is getting higher and higher as the price for a pound of black powder keeps spiraling upward. Fewer gun shops or box sporting goods stores carry real black powder as the powder companies are making and marketing more substitutes. Fly, brushhippie and others have been leading the way in showing many of us how to make our own black powder, cast our own lead roundballs and bring our costs down for the sport of shooting black powder firearms.   The satisfaction level of making your own cast balls and milling your own black powder only adds to the sport.  Black powder shooting is a primitive sport that brings many of us back to older simpler times when people did more with less.  I will be hunting deer this year with a handmade flintlock rifle loaded with a lead roundball I cast myself, using black powder I made and ignited by a flint I knapped out of Texas flint I picked up off the ground just as my ancestors may have done when they settled in Texas. 

This article and these videos are for educational purposes and neither Wild Ed’s Texas Outdoors, myself,, Fly or brushhippie assume any responsibility for this information.  It is presented for responsible adults to use as they see fit, anyone making powder or shooting black powder firearms does so at their own risk. Most of us do this outdoors and in a safe place away from others. Now that we have the legal stuff out of the way enjoy brushhippie’s videos straight out of the backwoods just for you.  Wild Ed

Making Your Own Black Powder by Brushhippie

Howdy folks I was asked by Mr. Ed to put something together about my ongoing adventures of the making of black powder. First off I suppose I would have to explain that I’m not great at being told I can’t do that..... or have that, I’m more about; well what would it take me to pull that off. So that being said I started my research by reading as much as I could about the process on the Black Powder forums, since this is where I got all the info I needed on the Black Powder revolvers I had recently purchased. What I found was folks tend to be a bit weird when you start talking about making your own powder, the recipe is there one day and gone the next as no one wants the responsibility of somebody burning themselves up by making mistakes that should be common sense, so use this information carefully and at your own risk! OK my recipe comes from a gentleman named Fly, this feller lives over in Oklahoma and his interests are based in building fireworks and Black Powder shooting so for some 30 years he and his colleagues have tested many different recipes and these are the ingredients and measurements he passed on to me saying keep it simple. There are three basic ingredients, KNO3(Potassium Nitrate), Black Willow charcoal and sulfur, these ingredients are readily available online at a number of hobby chemical companies. You will also need an inexpensive rock tumbler (available from Northern tools or Harbor freight for about 40 bucks), some sort of scale, (I use a mechanical mail type scale that couldn’t cost more than a couple of bucks) and some lead round balls (for grinding) Now what ever size batch you want to make the mix is 75% KNO3 15% charcoal and 10% sulfur, combine these chemicals with around half the capacity of your tumbler filled with LEAD roundballs, DO NOT use steel bearings or anything else that can DO NOT want a spark! You will want to grind this mix for 6 hours or so, the longer the better as grinding is basically cramming KNO3 into the carbon of the charcoal. After grinding you will need to add Dextrin which is your binder, all Dextrin is, is cornstarch baked at 350 degrees for 3 hours or so (it will turn yellow) you want to add 5% of whatever your total powder weight is, now I add the Dextrin to the tumbler and just grind it for another 15 to 20 minutes. Once you’ve got your binder mixed in pour you powder out into a strainer or use screen wire to separate your powder from the round balls, at this point I spread the powder out onto a cafeteria tray for misting with water, use a spray bottle to spray and mix in the water slowly you want enough water to ball it up in your hand but not so much that water squeezes out of it. Once you have the consistency you want take the powder and ball it up in your hand and push it through a 16 mesh screen (which is 16 holes per inch) I use a piece of screen wire stapled to an old bottomless drawer, onto newspaper and place somewhere the humidity is low. It will dry overnight and will be ready to shoot. To test the speed of your powder pour out a line say 3/4 of and inch wide and 4 inches long and light it up if it all lights up instantly its fast if it burns more like a fuse its slow, the more you do it the better you will be at it! This is simple and effective and costs WAAAY less than buying the stuff! Have fun and be safe! Good shooting and keep it safe, Brushhippie

Feel free to stop by the gulch and talk awhile.

Brushhippie's Making Black Powder Part I

 Brushhippie's Making Black Powder II

 Hope you enjoyed brushhippie's videos.  Feel free to leave a comment. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hippy great report.The only thing
I find, is cooking the dex.I cook
mind at 450 for three bto four hours untill golden.

Great VIDEO!

Your bud Fly