Sciencemadness Discussion Board

the easiest ignition cap for igniting gunpowder?

John paul III - 14-9-2022 at 14:16

What is the easiest substance to prepare to use a shock sensitive cap for igniting gunpowder? Now theres a lot of threads about blasting caps but if i could avoid using high explosives that would be nice

Deathunter88 - 14-9-2022 at 21:00

The reloading community has done a lot of work in this area in times where commercial primers are hard to come by (such as now...). See:

John paul III - 17-3-2023 at 05:43

So ive tested matchhead powder from regular matches and sulfur, mixed and crushed in a coffe cup with blunt end of a knife. I added matcheads until the mix looked orange. Wrapped in aluminium foil and whacked with a hammer it makes a very loud bang, my ears are still ringing

[Edited on 17-3-2023 by John paul III]

CRUSTY - 17-3-2023 at 06:00

Ear and eye protection is your friend when working with energetics, your future self will be grateful.

[Edited on 17-3-2023 by CRUSTY]

Energetics-testin - 19-3-2023 at 03:00

Quote: Originally posted by John paul III  
So ive tested matchhead powder from regular matches and sulfur

[Edited on 17-3-2023 by John paul III]

What you basically made is a veryyy impure sulfur chlorate mixture.

You should purify and recystalize the pottasium chlorate from the matches.:D

@CRUSTY is right..please wear ear protection for your future tests.

To be completly honest the only chlorate mixture that I find REALLY easy to detonate is Pottassium chlorate + red phosphorus 1:1

Also,you probably already know but most chlorate mixtures are unsafe and unstable.

Bert - 19-3-2023 at 04:32

Quote: Originally posted by Energetics-testin  

Also,you probably already know but most chlorate mixtures are unsafe and unstable.

I would not automatically atribute INSTABILITY (as in, unstable in storage) to all chlorate mixtures.

The old fashioned chlorate based corrosive priming compounds were kept in military service long after non corrosive styphnate based priming compounds were in use specifically BECAUSE they were known to have long term stability in storage- If you are shooting corrosive primed USA military 30-06 from before the 1950s and/or Eastern bloc military surplus ammunition made in the 1950s - 1970s with good reliability (as many do) you are using 50 YO + chlorate based priming mixtures-

I WOULD characterize ANY reliable percussion priming mixture as "unsafe", they are DESIGNED to ignite/explode on a fairly minimal mechanical input. Sometimes a dry mixing process is too much, if you look at commercial practices for (dry) primer composition mixing & handling, this will be done REMOTELY.

Keep quantities below 1 gram, wear eye/ear/face protection, a plexiglass/polycarbonate blast shield would be an excellent idea too. Ditto, Kevlar sleeves from the safety equipment store & gloves. Be outside.

If a mixture is effective as a percussion/friction/stab priming compound, you WILL eventually have an incident in handling.


That being said: The old Frankford Arsenal chlorate prime mixtures disclosed in Tenney Davis do work as advertised. Go look in the SM library for T. L. Davis, Chemistry of Powders and Explosives

Those old military primer mixes were chlorate based, sensitized/fueled by sulfur and/or antimony sulfide (usually also some additional hot gas and hot particle producing fuels such as fine aluminum, powdered TNT & etc.).

wg48temp9 - 19-3-2023 at 05:22

The mixture on the ends of strike anywhere matches can be used as is. Thats the type that have sandpaper as the striking area. The mixture can be removed easily when its damp. I should say most matches appear to be safety matched these days.

Apparently in the EU the regulations changed on the 31st May 2018 such that the ingredient/s for strike anywhere matches are no longer available.

Laboratory of Liptakov - 19-3-2023 at 07:54

Proven and tested procedure which works.
1) Crush match heads into a fine powder (substance A)
2) wash the scratch - match surface with acetone and evaporate acetone. (substance B)
3) weigh 0.06g of substance A, weigh 0.04g of substance B.
4) weigh 0.01g of fibrous nitrocellulose ( alternative styrofoam) and dissolve in 0.4 g of acetone (solution C)
5) Pour A + B into C, mix and create a thick moist slurry by evaporation, then small moist crumbs will be formed.
6) use a 0.5x0.5 or 1x1 mm sieve to form granules and surface 30-40 Celsius.
7) let it dry for at least 10 minutes.
8) fill a full cup of match. Use exact small steel rod for pressing. (rod from old drill bit) Pressed power cca 10 Kg. (In the vice, critical operation)
9) insert anvil and press contra cup with hole. (in the case of a shotgun primer)