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Author: Subject: Gun Propellants: Single, Double and Tripple based
Fulmen
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Although I'm sure it's beneficial, absolute uniformity isn't required as long as it's bulk uniform (meaning that two charges will have approximately the same size distribution). Regular black powder is like this, it's powder that passes one mesh and is retained by another. And the range can be pretty large for certain powders.

We're not banging rocks together here. We know how to put a man back together.
Bert

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If one reads the whole thread linked, it is obvious that uniform ballistics (or personal safety of the end users) is not achieved by this manufacturer!

Different loaded weights, no or very little grain size control, local gunsmith testifies that he sees lots of destroyed weapons due to the ammunition... That the ammo was not "Russian surplus" was discovered AFTER the users had frequent problems.

I suspect either this propellant was manufactured much as some of the "pizza cutter" grains earlier in this thread, or perhaps it may even be broken up high explosive shell filler, mining explosives or something else cheap, explosive and equally inappropriate that was to hand up by the Khyber Pass.

The OP of that thread did post a video of burning factory 7.62x39 stick powder and a sample of this "weed" powder as he names it. The burn rate of the improvised powder is way faster.

http://vid1270.photobucket.com/albums/jj613/zainulabdeen/IMG...

http://vid1270.photobucket.com/albums/jj613/zainulabdeen/fak...

I did ask some questions, but the original poster has some more pressing business of late. Staying alive, primarily. He's a government official in Pakistan, and some locals recently decided he needed to be abducted/murdered.

Be glad, those of you who live where propellant chemistry is an amusing hobby.

[Edited on 2-11-2015 by Bert]

Boom.
The explosion removed the windows, the door and most of the chimney.
It was the sort of thing you expected in the Street of alchemists. The neighbors preferred explosions, which were at least identifiable and soon over. They were better than the smells, which crept up on you.
-Terry Pratchett, "Moving Pictures"

It is essential that persons having explosive
substances under their charge should never
lose sight of the conviction that, preventive
measures should always be prescribed
on the hypothesis of an explosion.

Marcellin Berthelot - 1892 Explosives and their power - Page 47
James Ikanov
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Hopefully one might forgive my laziness for not reading the bulk of this thread, but one thing I've recently read about in another forum is specifically ball powder.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball_propellant#Constituents

The wikipedia article on it offers some surprisingly specific details and it sounds plausible that some variety of it could be made with some difficulty at a hobbyist scale.

Perhaps a simple sealed container with two valves and a cap of some kind (cap for pouring in the syrup and all the additives, one valve for raising pressure, and one valve for slow venting) mounted onto something like a ceramicists stand could be used to induce the formation of the individual balls?

Not a very simple proposition, but I think it could be done with a bit of effort.

Edit: Oh, bother, it seems this may have already been mentioned.

[Edited on 13-11-2015 by James Ikanov]

“To do good work one must eat well, be well housed, have one's fling from time to time, smoke one's pipe, and drink one's coffee in peace” - Vincent Van Gogh
Hennig Brand
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Bert I know you are trying to keep people safe, so I will start by saying that much I respect. I am a little tired, however, of a world where in an attempt at complete safety so much of the good things have been taken away and even a great many lies are told.

 Quote: Originally posted by Bert If one reads the whole thread linked, it is obvious that uniform ballistics (or personal safety of the end users) is not achieved by this manufacturer! Different loaded weights, no or very little grain size control, local gunsmith testifies that he sees lots of destroyed weapons due to the ammunition... That the ammo was not "Russian surplus" was discovered AFTER the users had frequent problems. I suspect either this propellant was manufactured much as some of the "pizza cutter" grains earlier in this thread, or perhaps it may even be broken up high explosive shell filler, mining explosives or something else cheap, explosive and equally inappropriate that was to hand up by the Khyber Pass. The OP of that thread did post a video of burning factory 7.62x39 stick powder and a sample of this "weed" powder as he names it. The burn rate of the improvised powder is way faster. http://vid1270.photobucket.com/albums/jj613/zainulabdeen/IMG... http://vid1270.photobucket.com/albums/jj613/zainulabdeen/fak... I did ask some questions, but the original poster has some more pressing business of late. Staying alive, primarily. He's a government official in Pakistan, and some locals recently decided he needed to be abducted/murdered. Be glad, those of you who live where propellant chemistry is an amusing hobby. [Edited on 2-11-2015 by Bert]

I haven't spent much time reading this thread since I took a break from propellant research and experimentation. The last few posts needed some discussion some time ago.

Bert posted the following link on the last page of this thread, which showed pictures and discussed damage done by what was described as homemade propellant in Pakistan.

I am a bit insulted actually to be compared to this. I did good research I think and was honest about the limitations and shortcomings of the propellants I made. We know very little actually about what these Pakistani loaders/reloaders were using for propellant. We do know by looking at the first few pictures that they couldn't even be bothered to make the loads even approximately consistent in weight which means that scales were likely not used at all when loading, which is actually the easy part, so what does that likely say about everything else done by them.(?) Although the grain size and shape actually don't look terrible to me, the huge variance in color between many of the grains suggests to me that the composition is likely not consistent as well (poor mixing or different materials altogether in different grains?).

1. Greater efforts should be put into making a more suitable grain type (cylindrical rather than flake probably), with consistent particle size, especially if it will be used in large rifle. At the very least flake size should be consistent and of suitable dimensions for the caliber.

2. Stability needs to be examined more, if it will be stored for long and especially if stored in quantity and especially if stored sealed.

Actually, unless storage was a big issue, number one is the only one that really concerns me to a large extent. Composition is also very important but it can be easily controlled. Actually particle shape and size likely can be easily controlled too once a little more effort is put into working a process out. As I said before, it would be hard to match high quality commercial powder without a lot of knowledge and work, but something serviceable and safe could be done, especially by those scientifically inclined, in my opinion.

[Edited on 20-3-2016 by Hennig Brand]

"A risk-free world is a very dull world, one from which we are apt to learn little of consequence." -Geerat Vermeij
Bert
27-10-2016 at 18:57
Bert

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I lost track of this thread, a year or more back, some thought it worth stickying and giving a more fitting name.

Boom.
The explosion removed the windows, the door and most of the chimney.
It was the sort of thing you expected in the Street of alchemists. The neighbors preferred explosions, which were at least identifiable and soon over. They were better than the smells, which crept up on you.
-Terry Pratchett, "Moving Pictures"

It is essential that persons having explosive
substances under their charge should never
lose sight of the conviction that, preventive
measures should always be prescribed
on the hypothesis of an explosion.

Marcellin Berthelot - 1892 Explosives and their power - Page 47
Jimbo Jones
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 Quote: Originally posted by Bert In at least one place, the manufacture of improvised powder IS regularly done: Khyber pass! http://www.rimfirecentral.com/forums/showthread.php?p=518568... Found this posted by a Pakistani of another forum I'm a member of, with pictures of re-manufactured 7.62X39 rounds using spent cases with home made bullet, primer and POWDER. They are NOT careful reloaders nor accomplished powder makers... [Edited on 1-11-2015 by Bert]

Looks like crashed Cordite or similar propellant of that type. I highly doubt that someone will invest so much effort to produce it from the basic ingredients.
Hennig Brand
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I picked up a nice Italian stainless steel pasta maker at a thrift store for about $20. I only fully appreciated how well it would work for making nearly uniform flake propellant once I had it in my hands and examined it. The one I got either didn't have or was missing the spaghetti attachment, but it does have an attachment which can make two different, appropriately sized strips (different widths) and the set of rollers with adjustable spacing of course. Maybe I will crank out some propellant with uniform particle size in the near future (pun intended). "A risk-free world is a very dull world, one from which we are apt to learn little of consequence." -Geerat Vermeij PHILOU Zrealone International Hazard Posts: 2867 Registered: 20-5-2002 Location: Brussel Member Is Offline Mood: Bis-diazo-dinitro-hydroquinonic  Quote: Originally posted by Hennig Brand I picked up a nice Italian stainless steel pasta maker at a thrift store for about$20. I only fully appreciated how well it would work for making nearly uniform flake propellant once I had it in my hands and examined it. The one I got either didn't have or was missing the spaghetti attachment, but it does have an attachment which can make two different, appropriately sized strips (different widths) and the set of rollers with adjustable spacing of course. Maybe I will crank out some propellant with uniform particle size in the near future (pun intended).

Nice idea and inspiration...
I also have one, but never thought to use it for that purpose...so thank you.

PH Z (PHILOU Zrealone)

"Physic is all what never works; Chemistry is all what stinks and explodes!"-"Life that deadly disease, sexually transmitted."(W.Allen)
Hennig Brand
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Very welcome. The pasta maker idea was mentioned by Bert and one or two others IIRC earlier in this thread, but I was more focused on other aspects of manufacture at the time and was still developing an understanding of the significance of particle size and shape.

"A risk-free world is a very dull world, one from which we are apt to learn little of consequence." -Geerat Vermeij
PHILOU Zrealone
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It has to be devoted to that process ...
otherwise it must be cleaned thoroughtly unless we want cardio-pastas (nitric esters you know...)

PH Z (PHILOU Zrealone)

"Physic is all what never works; Chemistry is all what stinks and explodes!"-"Life that deadly disease, sexually transmitted."(W.Allen)
Hennig Brand
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A little lowering of my blood pressure is sometimes welcome

Ok, I was thinking about safe testing of homemade propellants. Obviously the low tech methods of starting with a small caliber overly build single shot rifle with a strong mechanism such as a tough .22 cal. is a good first move, as well as starting with a light propellant load and gradually and cautiously increasing while looking for signs of excessive pressure (there are normally at least a couple). However, it looks as though modern strain gauges and computers and readily available, or easily made software, would allow us to actually measure chamber/barrel pressure and graph the pressure curve for the firing event.

First article found while googling attached.

[Edited on 26-7-2017 by Hennig Brand]

"A risk-free world is a very dull world, one from which we are apt to learn little of consequence." -Geerat Vermeij
Fulmen
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I'm very fond of my old Pressure Trace unit, in fact I find it hard to develop loads without it. Definitely one of the better routes to go.

The simpler one is a standard rifle and a long rope. Measuring either pressure ring or case head expansion won't give as much info as the PT but it should provide usable data.