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Topic came up Friday Evening with my 1 brother about Black Powder...

He lives out in Oregon and was home last week and says that there is NO WAY I am buying True Black Powder anymore because it is Unstable and all the laws governing it...

If we would have had Time, I would have shown him the Can that I have of 3F to show him it says right on the can black powder...

He says that the stuff I have is not true black powder because of how unstable it is and how there is so many permits and licenses needed to buy and resell it...
He told me that there is NEVER any Black Powder on the shelves in the sporting goods stores he goes into around here when he is home...I explained to him that the stores that sell it, keep it in a back room and when you want to buy it, you tell them what F you want, 2F, 3F, 4F and then have to give your license for them to sell it to you....

So, my question for the older guys on here who have been playing with Front Stufferes for many years...



Is the Black Powder we get now a days still TRUE Black Powder or is it some other stuff like the Pyrodex but ignites faster then Pyrodex??
 

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Woodywoodduck said:
Topic came up Friday Evening with my 1 brother about Black Powder...

He lives out in Oregon and was home last week and says that there is NO WAY I am buying True Black Powder anymore because it is Unstable and all the laws governing it...

If we would have had Time, I would have shown him the Can that I have of 3F to show him it says right on the can black powder...

He says that the stuff I have is not true black powder because of how unstable it is and how there is so many permits and licenses needed to buy and resell it...
He told me that there is NEVER any Black Powder on the shelves in the sporting goods stores he goes into around here when he is home...I explained to him that the stores that sell it, keep it in a back room and when you want to buy it, you tell them what F you want, 2F, 3F, 4F and then have to give your license for them to sell it to you....

So, my question for the older guys on here who have been playing with Front Stufferes for many years...



Is the Black Powder we get now a days still TRUE Black Powder or is it some other stuff like the Pyrodex but ignites faster then Pyrodex??
Never had to show my lic. to buy it. Been stockpiling (hoarding) it for a while now. Get it at a sporting goods store in another county. I'm up to --lbs. (lets just say,enough for a while).

Can't answer your question about true black powder or not.
 

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Real black powder is still real black powder. It's not "unstable", people have found cans and horns with black powder that was more than 100 years old and it still functioned as good as did when it was made. The only killer of black powder is water/moisture. If you keep it dry, it will keep indefinitely as has been well proven.

You don't need a license to "buy" black powder (unless perhaps you live in one of the "republics" - you do need a licence to "sell" black powder, selling BP without a license is the easiest way to get yourself a stay in the big house.

CTML's
The question of whether a static electric spark can set of black powder has been debated for a while, and I recall hearing of some previous experiments showing that it could not. Since I am involved in the design of a BP breechloader which is to be electrically fired, I resolved to put the matter to test in two experiments.

The Test Setup:
First, I placed a piece of white writing paper on top of a grounded block of metal and placed a small pile of Swiss 4F powder on the paper; I find that this powder ignites near instantaneously in my flinter. I then placed a wire from a ceramic torch igniter 1/4" over the top of the powder. The igniter generates a pulse of electricity of about 10,000 volts, which is about the most static charge that can be built up on a person. I used a combination of flash and time exposure to capture the image, where I sparked the igniter about 10 times during the course of the exposure.
http://www.ctmuzzleloaders.com/ctml_experiments/sparks/sparks1.jpg[img]
As you can see, the powder did not ignite. I repeated this several times, and the results were the same. I also tried various BP substitutes, and they did not ignite either



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For the second experiment, I used an Oudin coil, which is used for testing glass neon fixtures for leaks. It produces pulses in excess of 40,000 volts and will give you quite a burn (and shock) if you let it hit you
[img]http://www.ctmuzzleloaders.com/ctml_experiments/sparks/sparks2.jpg
This was impressive! The pile of powder was hit dozens of times, and again, it never ignited. You can see little flashes where the sparks strike; these are caused by vaporization of material from the surface. Although I couldn't get a picture of it, the paper had hundreds of tiny holes punched in it where the sparks burned through.

The next picture shows a similar test set-up, except this time the black powder was ground into dust-like consistency. Again, no ignition, even though the sparks striking the middle of the pile blew powder clear from the areas where they struck.


For those skeptics who might not believe that the sparks actually got near the powder granules, in this experiment, the photo shows sparks passing around and over the individual granules as the spark travels between two electrodes.

So - Why wouldn't all of the sparks set off the powder?

The answer comes from the fact that black powder, and other carbon-containing propellants, are fair conductors of electricity. When a material conducts well, it takes a lot more current to heat it up. This is why the lamp wire stays cool and the filament in your light bulb gets white hot. The same current passes through both, but because the light filament has a much higher resistance to the passage of electric current, most of the heat ends up there rather than in the wire. In the experiment here, the air has a very high resistance, while the powder conducts fairly well. The passage of the spark heats the air white-hot, but the powder stays cool. A very high-current spark (like lightning!) would, of course, heat everything and cause ignition, but this would take much more current than could be provided from a static-like source.
 

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Been shooting Black Powder and going to shoots for a good 40 years. Have never seen an incident, yet! As with any thing, the person using it is the main danger....
 

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Hey MarkKW, while I agree that black powder is difficult to ignite with static electric, the biggest static electric discharge known is a lightning bolt. For all those guys who say, black powder can't be ignited by static electric, Put a can of 3f on top your lightning rod and we'll see.

And if a charge of electric cannot light black powder, how does the CVA electra work??? About 30 years ago, I knew a guy that screwed a spark plug into the base of a muzzleloader barrel to make an electric ignition gun. Of course it was primitive and low powered and the cord running back to the car was somewhat limiting.


Black powder is safer than most folks realize and less safe than a few idiots realize. (Homemade pipe cannons for instance. I could go on with some of the idiotic things I heard folks do, but that might just give some folks stupid ideas.)

Stores are not supposed to put black powder on the shelves because it is classified an an explosive, and by regulation is supposed to be kept in a special magazine. Pyroduh, Triple 7 and others are classified as propellants and may be put on the shelf. In fact, the ease of shipping and selling Pyroduh was the only reason folks used it. It really has no advantage otherwise over real black powder and is somewhat more corrosive.

I have a couple hundred century old black powder era cartridges and they are just fine. They won't go off if I raise my voice or stomp on the floor. (however, old fashioned real TNT can "sweat" nitro gylcerine under the rare and unlikely combination of right circumstances. that is a different animal) Some businesses and some states may require that you produce a driver's license to buy it, but it isn't the norm. (except maybe to prevent sales to minors.)
 

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Zimm---I love your response to this topic and I wont bother to chime in this time --- look back in old posts to find out what us 'old timers' know and feel about static elec. and blackpowder. Its the idiot playing with it and not using it correctly as above posted...as for static elec. ask a bomb tech at Aberdeen Proving Gound who orders the stuff by the PALLET load to do various testings and his air lift to Shock Trauma in Baltimore ---- Look back in history as to the production of blackpowder and the results to a factory or two due to static electricity and all the safety cautions surrounding the issue,,,,,,,,,,
 

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Can't remember if I had to show my DL when I bought the 4F at Cabela's in Wheeling, WV, but I had to pick it up when I was finished with the day's shopping, and escorted out the door when I did pick it up.
 

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I buy mine online by the case load....delivereed to the door and no problems. 25 pounds at a time save a few bucks plus extra is nice to have and hand out to friends.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Mark Kw said:
.

You don't need a license to "buy" black powder (unless perhaps you live in one of the "republics" - you do need a licence to "sell" black powder, selling BP without a license is the easiest way to get yourself a stay in the big house.
Walk in to the Gander Mountain in Harrisburg Pennsylvania...See what they Demand before they will sell you a can...they have a nice little Book that they write all your information into and then you get your Drivers License Back and a can of the Black Powder you asked for!

This may be an Oregon Thing....My Brother is Liveing there...he told me they will NOT Sell it there and he also mentioned that Black Powder is NOT True Black Powder....


ALL they can buy from what he told me in Oregon is Pyrodex!
 

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Some people get a little excited when they see the powder I have.I'm less fearfull of it than I would be with 2 cars in a garage and 20 gal. of gas in each in a house fire.
 

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I know every time I buy more than one pound of powder my dad kind of freaks out on me. I don't think that he realizes how much podwer I can go through with a 54 cal shooting hunting loads all the time
 

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Woody, I don't know what he would mean by not true black powder the black powder most of us shoot (Swiss,Goex,Shutzen)Is made with the same ingrediants as they used 200+ years ago.
Cant get any truer than that unless you have an 18th century powder horn full of origional powder laying around
 

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The old story that black powder is black powder is sort of a fallacy. Some powder obviously had more oomph and different burn characterisitcs than other. Frank Mayer, the famous Buffalo hunter indicated that he preferred English powder because it burned moister and with more power. 1840's Gov't testing of Gov't contract powder reportedly gave higher velocities and energy than the stats reported in Lyman's black powder Handbook for Goex in 1970. Many shooters right here swear that Swiss is far above Goex in the way it burns.


"We loaded our own ammunition; had to; factory-loaded stuff cost too much, was, besides, too hard to get when you were away off on the buffalo range. After my first season I chose my powder with meticulous care. Two leading brands of American powder were Dupont and Hazard, both good enough except they burned hot, dry, and cakey in the barrels, making cleaning a more or less unsatisfactory operation.

Then I accidentally got a one-pound canister each of Curtis & Harvey's and Pigou, Laurence & Wilks FG grained powder, made in England, both of which burned so decidely moister and seemingly developed so much greater energy that I used them continually thereafter. I bought English powder from Tyron of Philadelphia. It cost 50 per cent more than American powder, but it was worth it."
 

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Zim is correct. Not only are there different grades of blackpowder but also diffferent qualities. The quality is dependent on two facotrs, the quality of ingredients that go in and the milling process. This is not the same blackpowder the Chinese monks stumbled on in the 9th century. This is highly refined, probably twice as powerful. Even by the mid-19th century, blackpowder had improved so much that the iron artillery pieces of the Civil war were blowing apart.

Unfortunately I do not think your buddy knows what he is talking about. Oregon has one of the stictest set of muzzleloader regs. (even more so than PA) and they allow blackpowder or blackpowder substitute. I have known several dealers from that area that carry powder.

GBJ
 

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I did'nt mean to imply that all black powder is equal,some is obviously better than others but that the same basic elements are used to still make it.

The quality of those ingrediants that diff brands of powder companys use is what makes the diff and still they are all true black powder!!
 

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Zimm,

Let's take 'em in order. The testing as above was related to "normal" electrostatic discharge (ESD) as would be common from shoes on a carpet which generates an average charge of about 15,000 volts or less. In extreme conditions, that means when everything is perfect it is possible to get a charge up around 60,000 volts. Fact one about electrostatic discharge is that while one can develop a very high voltage (potential), the available amperage is extremely low as in 0.0001 amps.

To put ESD in perspective, your lightning bolt reference is ill chosen because a typical cloud to ground lightning bolt runs around 90,000,000 to 120,000,000 volts (yes, that's millions of volts). Lightning strikes can produce currents in excess of 200,000 amps and generate heat to 60,000°F.

To understand this, you need to understand electricity. Volts or Voltage is the "potential" or when likened to a water system, the potential is the amount of pressure on the water. Amps or Amperage is likened to the amount of water that can flow from the pipe. One can apply say 150 pounds of pressure to the water but if there is no pump to generate flow (amps in electricity) when you open the valve, you'll see nothing more than the release of pressure ... just as you see the release of electrical pressure (volts) via the ESD arc. While the human body can store a lot of voltage (pressure) it does not have the capability of delivering the amperage (flow) to back it up. That is why when you get a static shock, it's one snap and done, if it wasn't people would be suffering severe burns or be dropping dead all over the place because it takes only 0.003 amps to cause death by stopping the heart and 0.001 amp to disrupt brain function.

Guns that have electric ignition utilize electronic circuits that generate BOTH high voltage and high amperage. The amperage is what's needed to cause ignition, not the voltage, the voltage is only the potential required to start the arc, once the arc is started, the amperage is needed to cause the air or conducting material to be heated. The amperage must be sufficient to generate the amount of heat needed to exceed the ignition temperature of the material you are trying to ignite. In the example of guns that do not utilize an electrically conductive priming mixture, the electrical arc is normally generated between two fixed points where the voltage is sufficient to jump the gap creating the arc and the amperage flowing through the arc is sufficient to sustain the temperature of the plasma (when an arc breaks air resistance, the air is turned to plasma) long enough to generate enough heat (BTU's) that can be transferred to the inflammable substance so as to raise the temperature of that substance to its ignition temperature. For example, one can pass a match head through a candle flame without the match head material igniting, reason being is that the duration of exposure to the flame was insufficient to raise the temperature of the match head to its ignition temperature - or the match head did not absorb enough BTU's from the candle flame.

Commercial black powder is coated with highly conductive graphite as a flow aid to keep it from clumping. In the example shown above, the powder can easily pass the 40,000 volt arc because like ESD from the human body, the amperage (current flow) is insufficient to generate enough heat to cause ignition of the powder.

I'll tie this into Bunky's reply too. First thing is to separate the difference between production of black powder and the finished product. In the production of black powder, the components are still separate, they have not been combined into the finished product and the conditions required to produce the finished product do in fact create several potential hazards. The manufacturing process has no bearing on the safety of the finished consumer product no matter if it is black powder or a common adhesive found in many homes and businesses that is extremely volatile during the manufacturing process yet the finished product requires several minutes of exposure to a sustained open flame before it can be ignited. The individual components of black powder are combined using water to create the new substance that is then further processed into the consumer product, Black Powder, so discussion of the manufacturing process concerns are a completely different topic than discussion of the finished consumer black powder product.

Is there any positive proof showing that the APG incident was in fact caused by ESD? Was the powder black powder involved standard consumer grade? After nearly 30 years of working in heavy manufacturing and fire/rescue, I can assure you that ESD is more often than not a "catch-all" excuse when no effort is put into finding or identifying the real cause of an incident. Seven incidents happening in less than three years in the mixing room of a plastics manufacturing plant were all blamed on ESD ... official reports, including those from the state & federal agencies all listed the cause as "Electrostatic discharge". Yet another incident happened after the company spent a whole lot of time and huge sums of money installing all kinds of ESD mitigation devices, only then did anyone put an effort into finding the real cause which turned out to be mechanical in nature. Same was seen with incidents in a textile manufacturing plant and a plastic film manufacturing plant, all the incidents were initially blamed on the excessive ESD associated with these two industries. The only reason the truth came out was because both facilities happened to be insured by the same insurance company and it was the insurance company who demanded an independent investigation. The independent laboratory hired to conduct the testing used electronic equipment capable of generating ESD at levels more than five times what was possible in the manufacturing process and could not duplicate the incidents despite every effort being made to maximize the potential. In the end, ESD was ruled out as the cause of all the incidents, the real causes were determined to be mechanical and chemical chain reaction - when the causes identified by the testing laboratory were eliminated, there were no further incidents in either plant. These are but just a few examples and thus, unless there is some solid scientific proof identifying ESD as the cause of an incident, one should be looking for the real cause because more often than not, testing has proven to eliminate ESD as the cause.

Remember all the hype about cell phones causing explosions in gas stations only to find out about a year later that scientific investigation eliminated cell phones as the cause of all but the one incident where a cell phone was dropped into a puddle of gasoline where upon the phone was broken and the gasoline was ignited by an electrical arc generated by a circuit that had been mechanically damaged when the phone broke.

How about some more perspective. If one uses reasonable care when handling black powder in that known ignition sources are mitigated as best as possible, black powder is quite safe, much safer than gasoline. Speaking of safety and gasoline, consider the fact that every time you get in your vehicle, you are energizing an electrical circuit capable of delivering upwards of 25 amps to exposed terminals connected to the fuel pump located INSIDE the gas tank! You're then pumping that gasoline under pressures up to 100 psig within inches of a 1,200°F exhaust manifold. Go one further, while you're sitting there worrying about a can of black powder, consider that your wife is in extreme danger of being caught in a flour or sugar dust explosion while she's mixing muffins in the kitchen. Exposed flames or blazing red hot electric elements on the stove are within close proximity not to mention the electrical arcs produced by the electric mixer motor that's sucking in the flour & sugar dust from the bowl. How about that cooking oil hovering just below its auto-ignition temperature while sitting atop the flaming burner on the stove while you're frying up dinner?

By all means one should always use reasonable care when handling anything that can hurt you but for some reason things get blown all out proportion when it comes to black powder (pun intended). Spend the rest of your week looking at all the dangerous items or situations you find yourself in throughout a "normal" day. The same ESD that is highly unlikely to ignite black powder is more than capable of igniting gasoline or LPG fumes yet I haven't seen anyone putting on an ESD mitigation suit and attaching ground bonding straps to themselves and their vehicle before reaching for the gas nozzle. Consider also that the credit card reader and the credit card your putting into it are both plastic and when rubbed together are capable of producing an impressive amount of ESD potential. How about the guy driving next to you at 70 mph on the highway, is he fiddling with his cell phone or did he just spend the last five hours getting loaded at the bar? Putting a little air your tire? Do you know how many people have been seriously injured or killed by those pneumatic tire bombs? Cleaning up the bathroom and accidentally mix chlorine and ammonia, you know that even a very slight exposure to the gas released from that chemical reaction can be quite fatal. How many handymen have a set of acetylene torches in their garage ... consider how many of them don't have a clue that if the liquid acetone gets up into the filter/regulator the acetylene can become extremely unstable blowing up that heavy steel tank just like cast iron air-dropped bomb filled with high explosive? How many of those same people don't know that acetylene gas in the hose at pressures above 15 psig can self-ignite running a flame right into the tank filled with acetylene and acetone?

Common sense combined with a little factual information goes a long way. If you want to add in the "stupid factor", we'd have to ban life because no matter what, stupid people will find a way to hurt themselves or someone else. Just consider the fact that most muzzleloaders are clearly marked "black powder only" yet we still have plenty of stupid people who load them smokeless powder and then try to blame the gun when it blows up in their face. Black powder is no more dangerous than the bag of flour on the kitchen counter, the bottle of rubbing alcohol on the bathroom sink or the can of gasoline in the garage - the only thing that makes black powder or anything else dangerous is the ignorance/stupidity of the person handling it!
 

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As I said Mark, normal static electricity will probably not ignite black powder. But it does not rationally follow that NO static electricity can possibly under any circumstances ignite black powder.

As for cell phones annd gasoline. I understand that experiments were done. Did they rule out any possibility of an untoward event under all circumstances. NOPE!

I do knoww that twenty houses in Coopersburg PA were damaged when gas backed up into the towns drainage culverts and houses. Alll it took was somebody turning on the basement light to see what the odd smell was. Man hole covers flew 30 feet into the sky.

Around 1988, A guy in college park Md was using a srpray can to paint his boat trailer in March inside the garage. He took a break and unwisely set the aerosol paint can on top of the kerosene heater. Stupid happens.

As you say life is full of threats. When I lived in the DC area, the Mrs. would not let me keep the lawn mower gas or mower inside the garage, but the car would be there.????

As for the bag of flour, in college we made some really cool explosions by,,....... Never mind.

My neighbor ever driving a car is a danger to public safety. (24 yrs old with 5 DUI's and 4 underage drinking convictions. But his momma thinks he is a good boy. and continues to let him drive her car, without a license. )

I don't disagree with you, except in a very small technical way. Like the guy who bet he could hit a golf ball and have it go a mile. He went out on a large frozen lake that was frozen glassy smooth and hit that golf ball and it went a mile and a half before stopping. Under the right conditions, alot of unimagineable things are possible.

If I bet folks that I could ignite steel with a wooden match, how many would even give odds?
 
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