DIY Black Powder

Discussion in 'Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns' started by Night Driver, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. ofitg

    ofitg Active Member

    Feb 25, 2010
    The Tap-O-Cap set includes two tools - the "pliers" contraption is just an ordinary paper punch for making 3/16-inch holes.

    The cylinder-looking assembly on the left is the real magic - this is the tool which transforms thin sheet aluminum into little cups. This is the part you really need.

  2. ofitg

    ofitg Active Member

    Feb 25, 2010
    Here's a scan of the Tap-O-Cap instruction sheet -


  3. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

    Jan 11, 2010
    excellent! thank you
  4. ofitg

    ofitg Active Member

    Feb 25, 2010
    Jack, do you have to refine the bat guano? I remember reading an article in the American Rifleman back in the 60s, an American Indian was describing how his ancestors made their own blackpowder (including bat guano)....

    I just tried a different method for producing potassium nitrate -

    Dissolved 4.3 ounces of ammonium nitrate in 10.5 ounces of water, ran it through a coffee filter paper to remove un-dissolved solids.

    Next, added 4 ounces of potassium chloride to the water and heated it in a glass pot. When it was steaming hot, but not quite boiling, I removed the pot from the stove and allowed the liquid to cool.

    When it cooled down to room temperature, I poured it into a glass jar and put it in the freezer. After an hour or so, the liquid was slightly above freezing temperature, and a layer of white crystals had formed in the bottom of the jar.

    At this time, I poured off the liquid, taking care not to lose any of the crystals. I removed the wet crystals from the jar and put them on a coffee filter paper to drain off the remaining liquid.

    After drying, the potassium nitrate crystals weighed 2.2 ounces.

    For anybody who's interested, ammonium nitrate is easily purchased in the "Instant Cold Packs" available in pharmacies.

    Potassium chloride is available in 40-pound bags, for use in water softener systems.

    Potassium chloride provides another interesting possibility - using an electrolysis method, potassium chloride can be converted to potassium chlorate, for home-made primer compounds.

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

    UPDATE - I found that potassium nitrate produced by the above method is not pure enough to yield high-quality blackpowder..... I guess-timate that it is around 90% pure.

    Two additional re-crystallization stages are recommended to get the purity up to the desired level.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  5. ofitg

    ofitg Active Member

    Feb 25, 2010
    Mini Charcoal Maker

    I got some dried willow branches, ranging from 1/2 inch diameter to one inch diameter, and scraped off the crusty bark with a pocket knife. I cut the branches into 1-1/2 inch lengths, and packed the short pieces into a small Lee Melting Pot (2.9 ounces of dry wood) -

    I made a simple lid for the pot, using a 3-7/8 inch diameter steel disc - cut it from the end of a food can - I had to grind three notches in the edge of the disc to provide clearance for the screw-heads in the top of the Lee Pot, and I fixed a small machine screw through the center of the disc to serve as a simple handle -

    With the lid on top, I plugged in the Lee Pot with the temperature control set to maximum. It generated quite a bit of smoke during the first 20 minutes, and then the smoke stopped. I left the thing cooking for two hours - probably longer than necessary - then I unplugged the Lee Pot and let it cool down.

    The yield was 0.8 ounces of charcoal. I would have to do this three times to get enough charcoal to make one pound of blackpowder. I imagine that the larger-size Lee "Magnum" Pot (advertised to hold 20 pounds of lead) could produce more than 3 ounces of charcoal in a single run.

    Attached Files:

  6. ElvinWarrior

    ElvinWarrior New Member

    Hey Guys, newbie here, BP nut, made my own charcoal many, many times... here's a couple ideas...

    I have made my own charcoal at various points. When as a lad, being unable to buy black powder at the local gun shop, but being able to buy Saltpeter, and Sublimed (Washed) Sulphur at the local drug store, or, sending away for it in mail order by answering the adds in the back of Popular Mechanics, or Poplular Science magazines... (Back in a more innocent day...) Those two items were readily available... But, finely ground charcoal powder was only available through mail order, and many times, I didn't want to wait for that... So, I did the next best thing, I made my own. It never entered my lil 13 year old head to crush up BBQ charcoal, I would have done that !!! But, oh well, I had fun making my own charcoal powder anyways !!!

    Being a kid, on a very limited lawn mowing and neighborhood chores budget, with a little help from my paper route, which actuallly didn't net me as much money as lawn jobs did because alot of people skipped out on the bill, or didn't pay the bill for several months running, not realizing, that I had to BUY the papers, AND the rubber bands, AND the carrier bags, I used from the paper company, and I DIDN't get my money until AFTER I paid the paper company THEIR SHARE.... (Not complaining, but I have NEVER liked working for OTHER people, probably because of this experiance as a lad, I do, and will always, find a way to employ myself... always and forever more !!!)

    N.E. Ways... I didn't have tons of bucks for my hobbies back then, so I did use the tin can method ONLY, I heated my tightly fitting tin cans, one fitted into another, with a hole in the center of the bottom of the can that fitted upside down into the bottom can, on the stove with the wood strips inside, willow branches, which, I had read, that BOTH Colt, and Messuere DuPont SWORE was the VERY BEST source of charcoal for BP manufacture... I lighted smoke coming out of the can, and thereby, was able to heat the can, with the wood strips, inside the house, without smoke, or smell. The main by-product of the gasses expelled from heated wood, are very similar to natural gas, mostly methane, with other tars and things from the wood, which make the foul smelling smoke. But, BUT... if you set that smoke, and gas mixture aflame... very little smell, and NO SMOKE at all !!! And... AND... as a little bonus... when this little tin can charcoal generator, stops producing enough smoke, to sustain a flame at the top of the can... Guess what??? Your charcoal in NEARLY DONE, so... another 5-10 minutes, and your charcoal IS DONE !!! It's a built in indicator that uses the flame as the timer!!!

    As I got older, and had a few more dollars to spend on my hobbies and interests, I replaced those cans with a slightly modified stove top pressure cooker, an ALL STEEL ONE, Not one with a aluminum or other metal bottom welded or pressed on. I also replaced the gasket, on the lid, with some high temp gasket material I purchased from raw gasket material I picked up from Pep Boys, and made my own high temp gasket, as the rubberized one that came with the pressure cooker would not hold up in a dry environment, it was intened to be used with a kettle producing wet steam. The top of the stove top pressure cooker, has a spout on it, and a weighted free floating pressure weight... I just took the weight off, and I adapted a cheap little brass bunsen burner I picked up from the chemical hobby section of a hobby store... (Another relic of the bygone days of innocent America... ) and mounted that bunsen burner on the top of the modified pressure cooker... VIOLA... I had my burn-off burner... a VERY NICE one !!!

    Good Shooting Buddies !!!


    Elvin Warrior... aka.. David/Dave/Davie
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
  7. polishshooter

    polishshooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    You know guys this has been a fascinating read.

    I too have been having trouble buying my Goex FFFg I need for everything I shoot, and the only shopowner in town who carried it just died at 92 yrs old, his wife is supposed to try and keep it open but I don't know if she can.

    I used to belong to the NMLRA, I might have to join again.

    But it has been a while since I had the thought "You know? This post just MIGHT be one I want to print and put back just in case....":cool:

    Never done it yet, but have been thinking about it for years....

    Now as far as caps, I too have some that have to be 15 or 20 years old still in original tins and they still work every time when I try them...

    But maybe I DO need to invest in a flintlock musket, or fusil, HHhmmmm...As it is now all mine are caplocks except my one flintlock rifle...
  8. ElvinWarrior

    ElvinWarrior New Member

    Hey guys....

    All this chatter about making your own caps and such, had me a wonderin.... You know those plastic, toy, cap gun caps, the plastic cup style caps, that either come in strips or rings... Those pack quite a wallop !!!! More than enough to ignite a BP charge I am sure... AND... They are cheap, Cheap, CHEAP... they can be had for as little as $0.74 cents, for a pack of 72 caps, thats about a PENNY a cap !!!

    Now, I am not sure, if they would fit, out of the box, onto standard #10, 11, or musket type nipples on reproduction or antique guns... BUT... They Might !!! And, at 74 cents a package, or, if your want to splurge... about $1.89 per 72 pack, what have you got to loose by trying??? At any rate... those guys stuffing roll caps into mini aluminum tins... well... snip off the tail of the plastic cup caps, and stuff those down there !!!

    These caps are available at....

    And... here are a couple of pics...

    8-Shot Ring Caps, 72 count per pack, $0.74/pack


    12-Shot Ring Caps, 72 count per pack, $1.89/pack.


    13-Shot Strip Caps, 78 count per pack, $1.35/pack.


    Have Fun Guys !!!


    ElvinWarrior... aka... David
  9. ElvinWarrior

    ElvinWarrior New Member

    Dear Polish Shooter,

    Where I live, In Los Angeles, CA, the "liberals" have passed so many gun control laws at the State Level, The LA County Level, AND, the LA City Level, than nearly all gun shops have shut down, and moved out of LA County, There are only about 6 gun shops left in all of Greater LA, a population area of several MILLION persons, and, only ONE who carries BP products somewhat reliably. Even THAT supplier, DOES NOT carry, actual real Black Powder, he just carries the various brands of Black Powder Substitute.

    Things are a gettin tough all over I guess.

    N.E. Ways, the substitute powders are okay, if you are a person who likes saccarine instead of sugar, and Turkey Bacon instead of actual real bacon, then, I guess you would LOVE Tripple Sec 7 Black Powder Substitute at $29.00/lb, when you can get it.

    So, powder acquisition has been an ongoing problem for me for some time now. One solution, is internet online distributors, who will ship powder to you, which is what I do now. Or, I actually have begun to make my own black powder sometimes too.

    I generally deal with a distributor called "The Maine Powder House", --- NOTICE... there is no "www", DON'T Add it in !!!

    They carry BULK quantities of Goex, German Powders, and Swiss Powders. You have to fill out a signature form, which is a simple little one liner you fill out and either mail, email, or fax into them, along with an image of your State DL or ID. If you email it in, or fax it in, you will be able to order from them the same day if you get that done before noon or so. They ship, as soon as your payment clears, and if you use a major credit card, that is immediately.

    They will give you somewhat of a break, if you order 25lbs or more, in that they will pay the $20.00 Hazmat fee for ground shipping a hazmat tracked item through the mail, and, they will pay the shipping, so, that right there is on or about a $40.00 savings. (Hazmat will not allow the shipping of Black Powder by air carrier, ground carrier, package services, ONLY.) For example, if you ordered 5lb of Goex 2Fg, and 5lb of Goex 3Fg and 3lb of Goex 4Fg. at their current Goex pricing of $15.00/lb that would come in at, $195.00 for the powder, But that is only a 13lb order, so, you have to cover the Hazmat fee and the shipping feee, so, toss in another $40.00 bux, bringing your order total to $235.00.

    If you ordered a nice round, 25lbs of Black Powder, for an additional $150.00, your $20.00 Hazmat Fee AND your shipping charges would be picked up by the company., so, for an additional $150.00, you DOUBLE the amount of powder you get from the $235.00 order, actually, a pretty good deal if you can swing the total order price, for 25lbs of Goex powder at $375.00.

    I don't know about you, but 25lbs of Black powder for me, even though I am a fairly advid BP Enthusiast, I am sort of stingy with my powder out on the range, is over a years supply of powder for me, and works out to a big savings for me, even though the $375.00 for the order is a bit stiff to swallow when I place it.

    The following pricing list, is lifted right out of the "The Maine Powder House", company web page.

    Please read our Ordering Policy BEFORE placing an order.

    First time buyers MUST complete the Ordering Statment Form BEFORE placing an order!

    Kennesaw Deck Cannon $28.00
    FCannon Kennesaw Field Cannon $28.00
    GCannon Kennesaw Garrison Cannon $28.00
    Brushes 3 Gun Brushes $9.00
    Scope Afforadable Brass Borescope $19.99
    Safe Powder Storage Safe $199.00

    Sch-R Reenactor Powder, best for Blank Fire $12.50/lb
    Sch1Fg Schuetzen Black Powder, best for large caliber cartridge rifles and muzzleloaders $15.00/lb
    Sch2Fg Schuetzen Black Powder, best for 50 caliber and larger $15.00/lb
    Sch3Fg Schuetzen Black Powder, best for 45 caliber and smaller $15.00/lb

    Null-B Swiss Black Powder, The worlds finest Pan Powder. Faster and Hotter than any other pan powder. Limited Quantities! $27.00/lb
    Sw1Fg Swiss Black Powder, used in large caliber BP Cartridge rifles $20.50/lb
    Sw1.5Fg Swiss Black Powder, used in large caliber BP Cartridge rifles $20.50/lb
    Sw2Fg Swiss Black Powder, used in larger caliber rifles and pistols (over .45 caliber). Also used in BP Cartridge rifles & pistols $20.50lb
    Sw3Fg Swiss Black Powder, used in small caliber rifles, pistols & revolvers (under .45 caliber) $20.50/lb
    Sw4Fg Swiss Black Powder, used in priming powder for flintlock rifles and pistols $20.50/lb

    Gx2F Goex Black Powder, best for 50 Caliber and larger $15.00/lb
    Gx3F Goex Black Powder, best for 45 caliber and smaller $15.00/lb
    Gx4F Goex Black Powder Priming powder for Flintlock Rifles and Pistols $15.00/lb

    Decal Bullet Hole Decal $3.60
    Book Reenactor's Black Powder Guide $14.95

    There are other online outfitters out there that ship BP as well, but The Maine Powder House is as good as any, and they are reliable, and generally ship the same day.

    I hope this helps.


    ElvinWarrior... aka... David



    P.S... One of my very favoritist of pics... "A Boy, and his Pet !!!"

    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  10. ElvinWarrior

    ElvinWarrior New Member

    Re: DIY Black Powder, Ball Mill BP Methode, Detailed Instructions, Part ONE

    Hey Guys,

    This is a repost of an article I did on Home Making BP using the Ball Mill Method, it is VERY DETAILED. I posted this on another forum I belong too,, and after reading this post, I thought it belonged here even MORE... Now... I am not a professor of chemistry working on my degree in ancient pyrotechnics, so... this is a laymans "How To" article ONLY.

    Some of us really, really, really, die hard BP enthusiasts have taken up a new hobby of home manufacturing our own Black Powder, which isn't as difficult as one might think, but, it isn't all that simple either.

    The Basics...

    The most typical Black Powder Formula, used for BP guns/cannons/mortars, is very simple. 75% Saltpeter (Potassium Nitrate), 15% Charcoal, and 10% Sulphur, with a binding agent such as Gum Arabic, or Dextrin (Powdered Sugar) added into the mix to bind the powder once it is dried. The formula can be varied somewhat, within limits, to yield powders with a little more, or a little less potentcy, but why bother? The old tried and true formula works just fine, and, if you want variances, vary the load, not the powder.

    This is where the simplicity ends, and the messy preparations begin.

    Using a triple beam scale, which can be mail ordered from various online suppliers, weigh out the ingrediants for the batch of Black Powder you wish to make. What this will mean, is that you will be generally limited to your maximum batch size, by the maximum batch size of the ball mill you have in your home work shop. In my case, I have a 16lb Ball Mill, which is the weight of the balls, in the mill chamber, NOT the weight of the product it can mill. My 16lb ball mill can handle a maximum batch size of a 5lb batch of Black Powder.

    What is a ball mill you ask?

    A ball mill, is a mixing/grinding mill generally used for the preparation and mixing of fine powders, generally, explosive or pyrotechnic powders. In the case of ball mills, used for the purpose of producing Black Powder, the ball mill rotating drum chamber, is filled 1/2 full, with lead balls, generally, in a small home mill, such as mine, that would be .490 round lead balls, the exact same lead balls I fire out of my 50 Caliber flintlock rifle. In my home mill, that works out to 16lbs of lead balls being tossed around the rotating chamber, knashing, grinding and mixing the chemicals of the Black Powder together into an ever finer, and finer powder dust and mixing the components together thoroughly.

    We start by measuring out the ingrediants, by weight, to the specifications of the formula of 75% Saltpeter, 15% Charcoal, and 10% Sulphur. For a 5lb batch of Black Powder, the maximum capacity of my ball mill, that would be 3.75 lbs of Saltpeter, 12 ounces (English) of Charcoal, 8 ounces (English) of Sulphur, and 4 ounces (English) of Gum Arabic.

    Take the Charcoal, Sulphur, and Gum Arabic, and place it inside the ball mill chamber. DO NOT ADD IN THE Saltpeter at this time. Close and seal the ball mill chamber, and turn the ball mill on, setting the speed of rotation to about 60 RPM, One (1) rotation per second. Let this mixture mill, or rotate, for 3 to 5 hours. The longer the mixure mills, the finer the powder will be, and the more potent the powder will be. I mill mine, at this step, for 6 hours. The result will be, a very finely ground powder, nearly a dust, that is medium dark grey, not black, like the charcoal, but grey.

    Stop the mill when the desired fineness of powder granulation has been achieved. Add in the Saltpeter to the mill, also, at this time, add in 3 cups of clean, clear, distilled water. The final mixing phase of Black Powder, is done with a wet compound, to prevent the powder from accidentally igniting, which can happen inside the ball mill. Turn the mill on, again checking the speed of rotation, which will need to be adjusted since the thick wet slurry will have a tendency to drag on the ball mill motor, and slow the aparatus down a bit, adjust for this differential. Allow the mill to run, for 8 to 12 hours, checking the mill about every 2 hours to make sure the slurry is still wet, and adding in clear, clean, distilled water, from time to time, to replace the water lost in the mixing chamber due to evaporation. Never run the ball mill dry, with this mixture, as you risk a rather great risk of accidental ignition. It is a VERY GOOD IDEA to have the ball mill on a 2Hr timer power cut off timer, in case you forget to come back and check on the mill, to make sure the slurry is still wet, it will automaticallly shut itself down, preventing the mill from running on dry, or nearly dry, powder, which is how, ball mills can accidentally ignite. Keep it WET and you will keep it SAFE. Very Simple RULE this !!!

    After 8 to 12 hours of final milling, turn the ball mill off. open up the ball mill chamber, and dump the entire contents of the mill chamber, mixing balls and all, onto a large cookie sheet, carefully, by hand, remove each of the balls from the ball mill mixture, pulling off as much of the wet black powder off of the surface of each ball, and dropping the black powder paste back onto the cookie sheet pile, and dropping the mixing balls, back into the ball mill chamber, separating the mixing balls, from the Wet Black Powder paste.

    Once all of the balls have been removed from the wet black powder paste, rinse and clean the ball mill mixing chamber, and the balls in the chamber, with clear tap water, removing each of the rinsed balls, from the chamber one by one, and dropping them into a working bowl of some sort. perform the final rinse of the ball mill mixing chamber, dumping the water down the drain, and rinsing the ball mill mixing chamber several times, until no more black powder residue is present inside the chamber at all. Perform this step also, with the separated mixing balls, in the large working bowl. Dry the inside of the mixing chamber, with a towel, and allow the mixing chamber, and it's lid, to air dry overnight. lay out the damp mixing balls, on a second large cookie sheet, and allow the mixing balls to also air dry overnight.

    Take a third large cookie sheet, and lay out a #10 framed screen (FG) Granulation grid. Dump the wet powder paste mix onto the framed screen. Knead, like with bread dough, the wet powder mix through the screen, dropping the bits and chuncks of black powder paste onto the cookie sheet below the screen frame. When all of the powder paste, has been kneaded through the screen, and there is a large pile, of kneaded chunks and bits of black powder paste droppings on the coookie sheet, allow the kneaded black powder bits and chunks to air dry for one (1) to three (3) days, until the powder chunks are completely and thoroughly dry.

    The next step is grain sizing, or silexing. A "silex" or grain size, is determined by the grid of the sizing and separating screens used in the next steps. We will start with a #20 mesh screen. that is being shaken, gently, onto a #30 mesh screen. The #20 mesh screen, is the sizing for the 2F black powder grain size. any chunks, or bits, of dried black powder that will not easily pass through the #20 Screen, are larger than 2f grain size, those that do pass through, are smaller. take the top screen, the #20 mesh screen, and dump, the powder bits and chunks that would not pass through the screen, into the bowl of a motar and pestle set. The motars used for black powder, are heavy porcellan mortars, with wooden pestles. Carefully and slowly grind the large chunks down, with the mortar and pestle, into smaller and smaller chunks, And repeat this step until all powder chunks pass through the #20 mesh screen without being forced through.

    Repeat this process, using the #30 mesh screen as the separator, and a #60 mesh screen below it. All black powder grains that pass through the #30 mesh screen, will be smaller than 2f grain size, those that do not pass through, are now sized to the 2f granulation size. At this point, you can make a decision, as to how much, 2f, 3f and 4f powder you wish to produce from your 5lb batch of black powder. Generally, your 5 lb batch of black powder will granulate out to about 1lb of 2f, 3 lbs of 3f and 1 pound of 4f or smaller, powder. If you want more 2f powder than you produced, then you will need to re-wet, and re-knead the powder chunks, that are not sized to the 2f size, air dry from 1 to 3 days, and repeat these sizing steps again, and again, until the desired amount of 2f granulated powder is produced. if you are happy with the mix of 2f powder to the rest of the batch, set the 2f powder aside, and continue on.

    With the remaining powder, now on top of the #60 mesh screen, again, gently shake the #60 mesh screen, dropping down the powder that passes through the #60 mesh screen, down onto a #100 mesh screen. Those grains of powder that pass through the #60 mesh screen are smaller than the 3f size grain, those that will not pass through, are now correctly sized to the 3f Black Powder silex. If you are happy, with the amount of 3f powder produced during this sizing step, then set the 3f powder aside, and proceed onto the next sizing step. If not, then, you need to re-wet, re-knead, and re-dry the other, smaller sized grains to coagulate them up into larger grains.

    The final sizing screen step, is done with the #100 mesh screen. All powder grains that easily pass through the #100 mesh screen, are smaller than the 4f granulation. Those that will not easily pass through, are of the 4f Black Powder granulation size. There should be, very little, if any, powder that will pass through the #100 mesh screen size. In most cases, so little, that it isn't worth the time and trouble to re-wet, re-knead, and re-dry the powder for another sizing sequence. Most people just dispose of this powder, by igniting it safely in their back yard on an open tray of some kind. Others, because it is so little, just mix it into the 4f powder, which is generally only used for flintlock priming pan uses.

    Now your 5lb batch of Black Powder is correctly sized into the various piles of 2f, 3f and 4f Black Powder granulation sizes.

    The next, and final step, is to coat, the powders, with finely ground graphite dust. The purpose of this step is to protect the Black Powder from moisture contamination. Black powder is a mild desicant, which means, it has a tendency to absorb water from the air. Coating the powder, with finely ground graphite dust, will protect the powder from exposure to damp air, and keep the powder dry. It also aids, just a little bit, in the ignition of the powder.

    To do this, to perform the graphite dust coating. place one of the piles of the sized black powders, back into the ball mill mixing chamber. DO NOT ADD THE BALLS into the ball mill chamber. add in a small quantity of graphite powder dust, about a half a cup or so. close the ball mill chamber, and turn the ball mill on. allow the powder to tumble, with the graphite dust, for 30 minutes in the chamber. After 1/2 hour of tumbling, turn the ball mill off, open the ball mill chamber, and dump the powder/graphite mixture back onto the sizing screen from where the powder came. Gently shake out the powder on the sizing screen. The excess graphite powder will, shake out of the mix, this graphite powder can be recovered, and re-used for other powder coatings in the future. Now you have your coated black powder of the correct sizing, ready for storage.

    Repeat this proceedure, for each of the silex groupings of the Black Powders, 2f, 3f and 4f.

    Your powder is now ready for storage. Many of the pyrotechical supply companies, that offer the base chemical supplies for making black powders, also offer storage canisters, either plastic or metal/tin containers. Either is fine, but the plastic ones tend to be alot less expensive. I prefer, personally, to store my home made black powders, in small wooden kegs, which I purchase online and have shipped to me. The kegs come in sizes that will hold, 5, 10 or 25 lbs of black powder. They are a little on the pricey side, but not as expensive as one might assume. They are attractive, and are, after all, the traditional method of Black Powder storage from days gone by. They make for an interesting bit of conversation on the shooting ranges. I mark my black powder kegs with my trade mark, three big red X's, for my home made brand name, of "Tripple Red-X Black Powder". I also mark, the kegs, also in red, with the powder granulation, 2f, 3f or 4f. I do not bother to record a date of manufacture at all. Black powder, when properly made, dried, sized and coated with graphite dust, will, keep for HUNDREDS of years, and keep perfectly in-tact, not loosing ANY of it's potency AT ALL, over periodes of HUNDREDS of YEARS.

    There are many accountings, of old black powder, found in storage caves, that was as good when found, as when made.

    I hope all of you enjoyed my little article, on, "How To", make your own home-made Black Powder.

    Part Two will detail all the supplies, equipment, Web Sites, Costs, et all....


    Elvin Warrior... aka... David
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
  11. ElvinWarrior

    ElvinWarrior New Member

    Re: DIY Black Powder, Ball Mill Method, Detailed Instructions - Part TWO

    This is part two (2) of the Ball Mill Methode of BP Home Manufacture.

    Pictures are helpful, I find, in bringing a subject home to roost.

    The following photo is a typical triple beam scale, available for around $100.00 from most online suppliers.


    This is the chemicals supply kit, available from It costs $59.97, plus shipping, and is enough supplies to produce 10lbs of finished Black Powder. Now, I know, that people have posted alternate sources for the base chemicals, such as, large Oriental Markets for the Saltpeter, Large Nursery outlets for the sulphur, and large home depot type outfitters for whole, uncompressed charcoal... But add up the $3.00/lb for the FOOD GRADE Saltpeter, whatever the FERTILIZER GRADE Sulphur costs, and having to grind up your own Whole Stick Charcoal, which costs a premium in my area... and, your close to the 60 bucks for the chem kit, at HOME GRADE ingrediants, as opposed to the CHEMICAL GRADE ingrediants shipped by the pyrotechnical outfits... and... my inclination is... Ummm... I think I will go with the chemical suppliers....


    The ball mill, used to mix and grind the components together. This model is a 15lb ball mill, and is available for $229.00 from


    The sizing screens, this is a set of square sizing screens, containing 5 screens of screen meshes #10, 20, 40, 60 and 100, they are available for $139.85 for the set, and are available from


    A large Mortar and Pestle, used to break up the dried Black Powder bits and chunks into the Fg, FFg, FFFg, and FFFFg granulations used by Black Powder shootists worldwide. It is available for $58.72 from


    That's pretty much it. The tools are pretty basic and simple, Although you can use Black Powders as a propellant for pyrotechnical (Fireworks) rockets and launching mortars, this process really isn't "Rocket science" at all. Mostly, it's just a matter of careful, patient, methodical preparation. Making your own BP can be a very fun, and rewarding part time hobby that will save you money on your hobbiest powder needs. If you are like me, and are a bit stingy with your powder, making two ten pound batches a year is enough for most of your needs for 9 or 10 months of the year. Not a bad passtime, and if you store your powder in little wooden kegs, quite an attention getter at meets, ranges, competitions, and hunting outings. In most states, it is legal for you to have and store 50lbs of black powder at home. What one does with 50lbs of black powder I have no clue, unless you are a cannon or a gattling gun re-enactment enthusiast, that's way more powder than I have any use for. So, it's okay to home prepare small batches of BP at home, for private use, it's okay to store reasonable quantities of it, but... Don't sell the stuff, even to friends, without proper authorization. And, it's always a good idea to have a welded, padlocked steel powder storage chest, keep your hobby, and your home safe !!!

    Have FUN with it guys !!!


    Elvin Warriror... aka... David
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
  12. junk250

    junk250 New Member

    Feb 17, 2011
    This is an interesting subject, BP is just about impossible to purchase reasonably unless you buy 5-10 pounds at a time mail order then is still over 20.00 lb. with fees.

    BP substitute is over 25.00 a lb. if you can find that !

    The best info I have found concerning homemade BP , is also from .

    In this article the author discusses and tests several methods including different ball milled methods but the "simply screened red gum/alcohol method" and the resulting tests done seem like the very best/easy/cheap/safe method out there, and compares to commercial BP in his tests !!!

    Note that he describes several different methods/techniques in the same article, but look close at the "simply screened method".

    He does two tests of "simply screened red gum/alcohol method", one with commercial air float charcoal (good) and one with Pine air float charcoal (very good).

    You can get all the materials at cheap, they even occasionally have willow air float charcoal (the best) but it sells out fast.

    You can get enough chemicals/charcoal for 10 lbs of BP for about 40.00(yes, that's 4.00 a lb. !), no ball mill needed. (Edit to say: not mix 10 lb at the same time, maybe
    .5 lb at a time : )

    I haven't tried it yet, and it really sounds too good to be true, but the article's Author obviously knows what he is doing, and he did the testing to prove the results.

    Hope this helps someone, I would like to be able to afford to shoot my BP .44 revolver every once in a while, so I'm going to try it soon.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
  13. ElvinWarrior

    ElvinWarrior New Member

    I know that the alcohol, or "CIA" method, as sometimes referred to, works well.

    There is something however, about, soaking BP in alcohol, and letting the alcohol fumes evaporate off, into a garage or workshop, that just makes me a bit uneasy... call me silly, but I will stick with the ball method, mixing with distilled water.



    ElvinWarrior... aka... David, "EW"
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2011
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