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Commodore Swab

Hunting with home made black powder in a home made gun

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Once upon a time (roughly 4 months ago) I was at our home in Thailand and was most curious when my brother-in-law commented that his gun worked the same way as the small cannon I had mailed to my wife (22 caliber) that I had turned on a lathe. After several days I was able to get a scope on everything. He is hunting rats in rice fiels with bait set up at a range of about 10 yard with a muzzle loading gun (roughly 50 caliber) that he was loading 4 to 5 small balls (twice the size of BB's) for each shot. The gun has a barrel of approximatly 36 inches with a hammer swinging perpindicular to the barrel the hammer hits a paper cap (similar to to what you would find on a kids cap gun). The powder is made in the village using 3 different elements. One is charcoal the other sulphur and the third is a white crystal (unable to determine actual use or what it is), I was able to bring back the sulphur and crystal and have been thinking about making some to compare with goex in their ratios and the black powder ratios which are known.

All in all it was very intestering to come across a black powder cap and ball gun being used everyday. . .

cannons.jpg

Edited by vintagesailor

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The powder is made in the village using 3 different elements. One is charcoal the other sulphur and the third is a white crystal (unable to determine actual use or what it is), I was able to bring back the sulphur and crystal and have been thinking about making some to compare with goex in their ratios and the black powder ratios which are known.

Everything you want and/or need to know about BP can be found here: BP

Be sure to check out the work about homemade BP.

Edited by Quartermaster James

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Everything you want and/or need to know about BP can be found here: BP

Be sure to check out the work about homemade BP.

From the BP Site:

""Homemade black powder

1. Introduction

Dear black powder friend: Certainly you have tried to make your own powder when a boy""

I wonder if that would be a good poll? Did you ever try to make Black Powder as a kid?

I know I did, and yes, it just fizzled like the article mentions. I think I will give another go at it one of these days.

One of the things I did run across that was not in the article was that corning the powder also helped make it more reliable. Corning it requires you to compress the powder while still wet, then let it dry and then bust it up. The article did say that you had to use twice as much of the uncorned powder for the same 'power' as commercial. anyway, it is a fascinating subject, especially if you are successful and DON'T blow yourself up. B)

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Mine did explode because I had commercial grade charcoal that you get from chemistry hobbie stores when I was a lad. It destroyed my entire lab set and made a mess of my quarters, but that didn't hurt near as much as the switchin I got.

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I remember reading somewhere that the old log buildings they use to make black powder in had an extra large gap between the logs so that when it blew up, and it was going to, it was only a matter of time, it would only blow out the chinking and they would not have to rebuild the entire building. This little tidbit kept me from trying this at home.

Then there was the guy in El Paso with hooks for hands who tried it as a kid.

I'd be interested in Cascabel's take on this.

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I remember reading somewhere that the old log buildings they use to make black powder in had an extra large gap between the logs so that when it blew up, and it was going to, it was only a matter of time, it would only blow out the chinking and they would not have to rebuild the entire building. This little tidbit kept me from trying this at home.

Then there was the guy in El Paso with hooks for hands who tried it as a kid.

I'd be interested in Cascabel's take on this.

Actually I had heard it that DuPont made it in many small buildings with three sides made of stone but the roof and front wall made of light materials, so that when it went, you only lost the roof, wall, and any unfortunate who was working inside, but the building could be rebuilt quite quickly. Sad to say, labor was an expendable commodity. I would guess that the key if you do decide to make it yourself, is to only make small batches and so limit the destruction if something goes wrong.

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I'd be interested in Cascabel's take on this.

Well...... since you asked. I was the neighborhood "mad scientist" when I was a kid. I had one of those six-inch thick library edition dictionarys for my recreational reading. I looked up "gunpowder", and got the formula from there. (remember, this was in the early 1950's, before there was such a thing as the internet with easily available info). I did a bit more reading in encyclopedias at the library, and found a lot about proper procedures, like finely grinding your ingredients, and properly blending with a bit of dampness, and then drying and screening the results.

Mine worked quite nicely, to the point of the local law enforcement types scouring the town looking for the perpetrator of random explosions. Mostly harmless, but attention getting. Anyhow, soon all the drug stores in town were told by the police to NOT sell certain chemicals to young boys, even if they had a note from their mothers !! They never did find out who was at fault, but that effectively put a stop to things. :o

Other kids that I was acquainted with tried it with less spectacular results, being that they just mixed the ingredients dry. Their experiments worked, but not really well. I don't remember anyone getting hurt beyond singed eyebrows from being too close to the action. Most home made powder that I was aware of back then (other than mine) was rather weak in performance.

I remember hearing of kids getting badly injured from experimenting with home made bombs occasionally, but this was usually reported as being pipe bombs using a whole lot of match heads as the explosive. Most of the newspaper reports at the time stated that the explosions occurred during assembly.

I do remember reading somewhere about buildings at powder mills being lightly constructed to keep damage to a minimum in case of accident.

>>>> Cascabel

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