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#1834661 - Thu Aug 05 2010 09:06 AM Re: Black Powder [Re: long hunter]
Mark Kw Offline
On the board

Registered: Tue Nov 30 2004
Posts: 241
Loc: Florida
Zimm,

Seems you took my post out of context ... I didn't say it was "impossible" for ESD to ignite black powder, all I was saying is that it's not as dangerous as the hype and myth makes it out to be. I started building and shooting ML's when I was a kid, moved on to loading black powder cartridges and never had any incidents by following the common sense safety rules that apply to both black and smokeless powders. The vast majority of "incidents" involving guns of all types are caused by either ignorance or stupidity. Of course actual "accidents" do happen through no fault of the victim(s) but by far the majority of incidents claimed as being accidents are actually caused by ignorance or stupidity. No one is immune from making mistakes and because of that "accidents" will happen. What I'm talking about are all the incidents like the fellow who burned-up himself and his reloading area because he spilled smokeless powder into an electric heater - that's not an "accident" that's ignorance/stupidity in having an ignition source within the proximity of a reloading operation. The fellow who got burned because he left an open can of black powder on the shooting bench when firing his flintlock ... again, the root cause was ignorance/stupidity. The fellow who dropped his rifle and it fired shooting a hole through his truck, that was an "accident" but the idiot who put the ramrod and ball through his hand while speed-shooting was the victim of "stupidity".

Black powder is no more dangerous than smokeless powder and far less dangerous than gasoline. The whole point of my posts is simply to separate the fact from the myth/hype. Compare it to the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, the media hype has cause far more economic damage to the region than the oil leak. Same thing with metallic lead, big media hype over lead paint results in an all-out assault on metallic lead when in reality metallic lead is far less problematic than the BHP's oozing into your food & water from the plastic containers they're packaged in.

If we're going to be serious about black powder safety, we need to put out facts and not hype or myth. How many of you make it a point to inform people about the brass pipe bomb powder flasks? Yep, those CVA and other styles of brass pipe with the threaded end caps, they're made with thick brass and do not have any manner of safely venting the gases should the powder ignite making them nothing more than a brass pipe bomb. Look at the period flasks, they're made from very thin sheet brass or copper so if something does manage to ignite the powder, the flask fails easily before building a lot of pressure ... same with a powder horn or gourd, both will vent relatively quickly before building the high pressure as will happen in the brass pipe flasks. That's not saying if you use a horn or gourd that you're not going to get hurt or seriously burned but at least you're a lot less likely to get perforated with fragments too.

Long Hunter said, "Common sense. Not so common anymore." and that is the truth.

I saw part of a program on the History Channel a few days ago called "Top Shot" I think. The alleged "experienced" shooter was using a flintlock and dropped it from his shoulder as soon as it didn't fire. Had that rifle hang-fired and he or someone else go hurt, would we have blamed the ignorant/stupid shooter or the black powder? Obviously the shooter is to blame because no matter if it's a flinter running on black powder or a gas-auto running on smokeless, a "failure to fire" is always to be treated the same way in that the gun remains shouldered and pointed downrange for at least one full minute. I got peppered with dirt while shooting on the line when the fellow next to me immediately ejected a round that didn't fire, it was a hang-fire and the primer went off as it hit the ground. Was that fault of the powder contained in the cartridge or the moron who didn't follow standard safety rules of waiting a minute before clearing the FTF round?

All I am saying is that we should follow all standard safety rules and of course take all precautions to mitigate ESD no matter if we're working with black powder, smokeless powder or gasoline but let's keep things in perspective according to the facts not hype or myth. How many decades have long since past yet there are still those who perpetrate the "barrel seasoning" myth despite the fact that common sense and scientific fact completely dispells the seasoning BS. How many times do you see the myth about flintlocks having a "long firing delay" yet when someone fires a properly built and tuned flintlock they can't detect any delay. Like the bigshot benchrest shooter who constantly complained about "lock-time" on Mauser actions being excessively long yet when blindfolded he couldn't tell the difference in lock-time between his favored Rem 700 action and a Mauser or Win M-70 or a Mossburg pump.


Edited by Mark Kw (Thu Aug 05 2010 09:19 AM)

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#1834705 - Thu Aug 05 2010 09:51 AM Re: Black Powder [Re: Mark Kw]
zimmerstutzen Offline
The man

Registered: Fri Oct 19 2001
Posts: 9728
Loc: lancaster
Mark I never intended that to be directed at you and I am sorry if it came across that way. But here and for instance on the traditional muzzleloading forum, some get the idea from Pletch's experiments that it can't happen under any circumstances, that static could ignite black powder. There was even an engine in the 1890's that ran on gun powder, ignited by electricity. (Wonder why that never took off???)

Hey, Darwin references aside, a good many of us have done some incredibly stupid and dangerous things. It is a wonder that some of us are alive. I remember finding a dud aerial flare at Ft Indiantown Gap, so we poured the powdered magnessium in a line across the road. Then we had trouble lighting it, so we added some gun powder, ........ I still made it to see more birthdays. Some teenagers doing similar things didn't see more birthdays.

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#1834741 - Thu Aug 05 2010 10:20 AM Re: Black Powder [Re: zimmerstutzen]
Bunky Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: Wed Oct 12 2005
Posts: 4281
Loc: PA 5B
Holy cow Zimm that brings back a bad memory---my best friend growing up and his brother filed down a 1 pound magnesium rod and we emptied the gunpowder from a brick of firecrackers and lit it in the driveway-----BLINDING LIGHT!!! Their dad is one of the foremost experts for the US in ballistics and anything to do with muntions (BOMBS) and he blew a cork! We got a royal chewing out!
_________________________
AIM SMALL MISS SMALL
Isaiah40:31Wings of Eagles
Numbers6:24May HIS Face Shine Upon You
DeColores

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#1834835 - Thu Aug 05 2010 11:42 AM Re: Black Powder [Re: Bunky]
Acorn20 Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: Fri Nov 27 2009
Posts: 1602
Loc: Chambersburg, PA
I'm still shooting black powder that I bought in bulk back in the seventies. You guys remember the seventies? Back when powder was $2.95 a pound! Anyway, that powder was packaged in a heavy plastic bag and shipped in 25# metal kegs. I guess I was a little surprised to see the plastic bag because of the chance of static electricity when dispensing the powder. There was definitely some static electricity because you could see a couple grains of powder sticking to the side of the bag. In retrospect, I don't know if there could be a charge great enough to ignite the powder grains but there is always a little powder dust in the bag and that's what always worried me.

We have a bakery that is always cleaning flour dust; a local wood pellet company just had an explosion, their third in as many years and a large, local woodworking shop burnt to the ground in the mid-eighties. They say there are always two explosions when dust is involved...the initial blast and then a secondary blast when all the dust in the rafters and beams becomes airborne.
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Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible!

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#1834895 - Thu Aug 05 2010 12:42 PM Re: Black Powder [Re: Acorn20]
zimmerstutzen Offline
The man

Registered: Fri Oct 19 2001
Posts: 9728
Loc: lancaster
Acorn, around 1988, I was at thhe Dan'l Morgan shoot outside Winchester VA, and a guy came walking down just behind the firing line selling 5 lb plastic lined paper bags of black powder. Some guys bought them and put them under the loading bench. At $3.00 a pound I bought 25 pounds, but high tailed it back to the truck immediately. While I was at the truck someone came down the line and made them remove the powder.

When i worked at the Chocolate factory years back, they had their own sugar mill to grind confectioner's sugar from coarse sugar. The whole room was filled with sugar dust, we used special tools and wore special shoe covers to avoid sparks. And some idiot walked in with a lit cigarette in his mouth. The union steward pushed him back out the door and fired him on the spot.

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#1835969 - Fri Aug 06 2010 09:54 AM Re: Black Powder [Re: zimmerstutzen]
Bunky Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: Wed Oct 12 2005
Posts: 4281
Loc: PA 5B
Interesting----
Static Electricity, are you at Risk?
Static electricity is the ignition source in about 13% of all chemical fires and explosions (Source: Marc Rothschild - Rohm and Haas). Static electricity is generated whenever materials come into contact and rub against each other, particularly when the materials are in particulate form and being moved at significant speeds. Electrostatic charge will readily accumulate on plastics and other insulating materials, which may ultimately result in a spark or brush discharge capable of igniting a flammable atmosphere. In the absence of any measures to control static electricity, there is a real risk that filling or emptying an FIBC will generate enough static electricity to cause and incendiary discharge.
_________________________
AIM SMALL MISS SMALL
Isaiah40:31Wings of Eagles
Numbers6:24May HIS Face Shine Upon You
DeColores

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#1835983 - Fri Aug 06 2010 10:08 AM Re: Black Powder [Re: Bunky]
zimmerstutzen Offline
The man

Registered: Fri Oct 19 2001
Posts: 9728
Loc: lancaster
When i wear my top coat in winter and get out of the car and reach to close the car door, the spark that jumps actually hurts. It can be heard by other folks even twenty feet away. It is such that I usually use my foot to push the door shut.

For those who have a real Hudson Bay point blanket. Strech that out across the bed on a dry january day, and lift the thing up and off the bed in the dark. Like fireworks. I took notice that it would even cause slight interference with the Tv signal to the Tv on the night stand when I pulled the blanket down to get into bed. I have no idea if it can ignite Black Powder, I suspect not BUT I'm just not going to take the chance.

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#1836964 - Sat Aug 07 2010 09:25 AM Re: Black Powder [Re: zimmerstutzen]
Mark Kw Offline
On the board

Registered: Tue Nov 30 2004
Posts: 241
Loc: Florida
Zimm,

I replied the other day but I see it didn't post or got lost... Anyway, I don't take many thing personally so don't worry about that. All I wanted to do was clarify things.

Bunky,

That's true but a "flammable atmosphere" is different from a flammable solid. Things like gasoline fumes, LPG/NG, acetylene, MEK and so forth are either gas or gas emitting and it's the gas the mixes easily with the ambient air making for the "flammable atmosphere. An internal combustion engine when properly operating contains a "flammable atmosphere" in the cylinder on the compression stroke, it's that flammable atmosphere that is easily ignited by the spark from the sparkplug. Black Powder is a solid which means it takes a whole lot more heat to get it going than can normally be produced by human ESD.

 Quote:
there is a real risk that filling or emptying an FIBC will generate enough static electricity to cause and incendiary discharge.


FIBC's are quite unique in that more often than not, they're made from non/low-conductive material and being filled with a non/low-conductive material. When you combine the two especially in case where the FIBC is being filled/emptied, it is possible to generate ESD potentials of 100kv or more considering that a typical FIBC has about 64 cubic feet of storage volume and a total volume of 112-144 cubic feet, that's a lot of area for dust to build up in and a lot of surface area on the FIBC. The larger the contained volume and the larger the surface area, often around 160 square feet for a typical FIBC, the higher the ESD potential can become especially when combined with materials that promote ESD generation. The potential for a dust explosion caused by ESD when filling/emptying FIBC's is very real but it all depends upon the size of the dust particles and their flammability rating. The maximum temperature and duration of an ESD must be sufficient to cause ignition of the dust. As said before, one cannot compare typical human-source ESD to that produced by such conditions as filling/emptying an FIBC. The issue of a "painful" human-source ESD isn't a factor in determining the actual voltage & amperage flow because the felt pain is directly proportional to the point at which the arc originated such that nerve ends are at the surface of the skin, the nerves run on electrical impulses and any electrical disruption within the nerves can cause enhanced sensation of discomfort. Anyone who has gone through an EMG/nerve conduction test can attest to the fact that even the very low voltage and amperage used for such tests can vary anywhere from a mild sensation to severe pain despite the fact that no damage is being done by the electrical current.

A typical human-source ESD is far less than the 13,000-17,000 volts a Piezo-electric generator puts out (the little push/twist button igniter on your BBQ grill). The typical painful loud snap of a human ESD generates an arc length less than 0.050" or about 6,000 volts. Humans also have a considerably lower capacitance value than something like FIBC because the human body is electrically conductive which means the amount of amperage released in a human-source ESD is way below the available potential in an FIBC thus greatly limiting the amount of heat the ESD arc can produce and subsequently transfer to a flammable solid.

I'm not trying to beat a dead horse here but it is pertinent to make the distinction between the ESD potential of a human verses that of something like an FIBC. To try making that kind of stretch would be the same as trying to make the stretch between a little portable generator and a nuclear power plant generator, both generate electricity but one is a whole lot bigger. As I said before, I'm not discounting the fact that ESD is a concern that should be addressed but I am making that point that black powder is no where near as sensitive to ESD as some claim it to be ... if that was the case, how could so many black powder manufacturers get away with packaging the product in plastic containers?

I'm also one to push safety and ESD mitigation is definitely something people should address and to do so the facts must be presented. One doesn't want to cover a reloading bench with plastic like vinyl or Formica nor should wood be coated with polyurethane or other synthetic paint/finish because it creates the same conditions as any other plastic type covering. Same as having an unfinished wood or concrete floor as opposed to wall-to-wall carpet, plastic seat coverings, plastic trays/containers and so forth.

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#1837059 - Sat Aug 07 2010 11:08 AM Re: Black Powder [Re: Mark Kw]
Bunky Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: Wed Oct 12 2005
Posts: 4281
Loc: PA 5B
I am just worried that when people post something here, in this instance that static electricity can not cause BP to ignite then someone will take that as gospel. You have to remember that hundreds look at this site. That said how would one feel if BP did ignite in someones presence and cause damage or worse. Static electricity has been clearly labled a NO NO around BP (forever). That said I will go on record as to my input----NEVER take a chance with static electricity around BP.....GOD gives you one set of body parts why take a STUPID risk no matter how small it may seem to you at the time. If you look back I addressed this issue by interviewing two of the nations (USA) top explosive experts from Aberdeen Proving Ground, who happen to be dear friends of mine....one I have known for 40 years....the other 20. Their advise was per the postings --- BE SAFE and not sorry!


Edited by Bunky (Sat Aug 07 2010 11:08 AM)
_________________________
AIM SMALL MISS SMALL
Isaiah40:31Wings of Eagles
Numbers6:24May HIS Face Shine Upon You
DeColores

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#1837754 - Sun Aug 08 2010 09:44 AM Re: Black Powder [Re: Bunky]
Mark Kw Offline
On the board

Registered: Tue Nov 30 2004
Posts: 241
Loc: Florida
Bunky,

I never said ESD "couldn't" ignite black powder, I simply pointed out the fact that it is far less likely than the hype/myth would lead one to believe if one avoids creating a dangerous situation. Consider all the tons of black powder handled every single year by shooters like us as well as the military and how many incidents are there? Of the very few incidents, how many can be absolutely proven as caused by ESD? In all the years I've been paying attention to this, I have dug up enough information (most second/third hand) on just five end-user black powder incidents involving ESD. 1- Carrying powder in a plastic lined "wine flask". 2- Powder dust on a plastic table cover and plastic funnel while sitting on a plastic covered chair and handling a metal powder flask. 3- Dispensing powder from a plastic bulk powder measure combined with a plastic covered table with plastic cartridge trays in a carpeted room sitting on a plastic covered chair. 4- Pouring multiple pounds of powder into a plastic bucket. 5- Synthetic clothing and a plastic powder flask with metal valve parts.

We know for fact that gasoline fumes are far more susceptible to ignition from ESD than black powder yet with 11-12 million vehicle refueling every year, the number of fires known to be caused by ESD are extremely low. Over 18 years, from 1992 to 2010, there were a total of 176 gas station refueling fires initially attributed to ESD reported to the PEI. PEI investigations ruled out ESD in 17 as the cause was the in-tank electric fuel pump, 32 fires did not involve fueling a vehicle and 30 of those incidents did not involve fueler (human) contact. Based on the information I could find from PEI & API, there were 150 gas station fires that are known or can reasonably be attributed to ESD and 87 of those involved the human re-entering the vehicle while the fueling was in progress. The bulk of the ESD incidents happened between 1995 and 2003 with the majority happening between November and March.

When one looks at the facts it's easy to see that the commonality of the incidents involving powder and gasoline is the end-user creating the unsafe conditions that result in ESD problems. As I've said all along, black powder is less susceptible to ESD than many other common products like gasoline, solvents and LPG/NG that are used in far greater quantities by far more people yet the actual number of incidents caused by ESD are extremely low. Going further, of all those incidents caused by ESD, the root cause primarily lies with the end-user creating the unsafe conditions.

This is why I absolutely stress the point that FACTS must be presented, not hype/myth. A poster on a BPCR forum suggested grounding the reloading press and wrapping a ground wire around the plastic bulk powder measure - fact is that unless the operator is also bonded to the rest of the equipment, such actions would create more of a risk potential than not doing anything. In order to mitigate ESD issues, one must remove the potential to generate ESD which is why it is of the utmost importance to present the facts, not hype/myth. As you said, "Be safe, not sorry." and that's why one must know the facts rather than be mislead by hype/myth.

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