Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Binary Primaries?

OneEyedPyro - 7-10-2015 at 20:13

Hi all, this is my first post here but I've been a long time lurker and a huge fan of the forum.

I was wondering if anybody had ideas for a fuse sensitive binary, I'm not too concerned about how effective of a primary it is or how sensitive it is but other than highly refined FPs and armstrongs mix I'm drawing a blank. I see Dornier335A has quite an interest in such compounds on youtube and I've seen him on here if I'm not mistaken.

The reason I ask is because I recently got caught touching off a 4 kilo ammonal charge by a game warden way out in the middle of nowhere :o (on my own property I might add).
He creeped up on me and immediately hand cuffed me saying I had a lot of explaing to do etc, with a little quick thinking I produced the story that I had only been blowing off tannerite and that I used a fuse sensitive binary so everything was legal.
He made a couple minute phone call out of earshot before returning with a smile, he uncuffed me saying what an awesome explosion it was :D and how he'd have to get some of that stuff.

Anyway it got me thinking, why not just do it all legally.

Bert - 8-10-2015 at 04:16

If you want to stay legal, you had best start by learning the federal explosives laws.


You may not need to invent a new technique that no one here admits to knowing how to do safely...

As far as federal law is concerned- It is entirely possible in USA to legally make and use (on the same day) high explosives on one's own property. One only must not improperly store explosives (even over night), distribute explosives to others or use explosives in a business without a federal license. That's why your Tannerite is legal.

See "The Orange Book" for full details.

And believe it or not, you can just CALL BATFE AND ASK how to do it legally... Concept, huh? Your posting IP would fall under the same office as my business. I have never been treated badly by the St. Paul office of BATFE.

Re: DOT, PHMSA, etc.

There are a whole raft of legal requirements for moving explosives over the public roads as well- Hazmat driver qualification, company registration, insurance, EX# testing for devices, and on and on! You probably don't want to go there as an amateur, and the emergency responders will not appreciate you moving explosives improperly if they have to deal with the wreck you got into. Neither would I, if I were on the same road... Please keep it at home.

My, sure are a lot of MN based amateur HE questions the last 2 days. Fishing not good lately?!

OneEyedPyro - 8-10-2015 at 04:52

Thanks for the reply.

The problem is that I live in town and my rural property is 30 miles away, bringing the chemicals and glassware to synthesize a primary is a bit impractical not to mention the time it would take to dry said primary.

I was just hoping someone would know a good chlorate based primary HE or something but oh well :(

The fishing and hunting's been awful for the record :P

Bert - 8-10-2015 at 05:11

Nope. No "binary primary" I can think of that I would care to handle, particularly assembled to a charge.

It is said that some have initiated fairly large (8"? BIGGER?!) amonal bottom shots in aerial shells with a 3" flash powder salute. I have not done this, nor am I convinced of the technique's reliability/uniformity, particularly if storage & settling of charges have occurred.

Not that an amateur chemist/pyro wants to hear about it, but- If you're making and storing energetic materials and pyrotechnic chemicals in town, do you think you're in compliance with local laws??? It won't matter until you screw up, of course. Then it may matter a great deal.

Maybe put a small type 2 magazine on the property and get yourself a permit to manufacture HE. $200.00 permit fee + cost of getting someone to take your fingerprints. BATFE will stop out, look at the magazine and bless you. Then get a picnic table & a cheap canopy for a work area at your magazine site. It's real pretty out in the woods right now...

You said "get legal". That's the cheapest, simplest route I can map.

If you're a pyro in MN, you probably know who I am. Call me if you need to ask more questions-

KesterDraconis - 8-10-2015 at 06:31

I had a friend come to me the other day and say this "So, I have a couple relatives coming up from further south this weekend. They were wanting to shoot some tannerite, and I was wondering if there were any more powerful and impressive explosives we could make and shoot?"

I told him that he was better off just buying tannerite from a seller. Its not that there weren't more powerful explosives available, its just that the power, reliability, and expense of those could vary a lot. Furthermore, even though its totally legal, if they did get "caught" or were injured, they could just show the label from the container of their tannerite mixture and get off just fine for it.

On a side note, in response to Bert, I've never understood people who make stuff in town or store it. I make everything in one day and get rid of it in that time as well (or try to, one time I did leave something overnight). I would get a permit, but the money amount of money I have to get a magazine and the chances of a BATFE giving an 18 year old like a me a permit are both low. (imagine I say "Hey, I think energetic materials are interesting, I want to synthesize/learn more about them!" responded to with "Yeah kid, you wanna blow shit up. Read a book if you want to learn, bye!")

Bert - 8-10-2015 at 09:36

$200.00 plus cost of a small magazine are WAY cheaper than the legal fees/fines/lost work time/loss of job opportunities as a newly minted felon...

You need to be 21 to get the federal license, so you've got a couple of years to save up.

BATFE does not actually care WHY you want the license. They only care that you fulfill the requirements of applying, passing background check (no felony convictions!), paying fees, having a properly sited and constructed magazine and that you are keeping an accurate record of explosive materials logged in/out of your magazine, and of their final disposition.

I know PLENTY of hobbyists with licenses and explosives magazines!

James Ikanov - 12-11-2015 at 13:12

Related questions I figure I'll post here while I'm at it.

Does the law differentiate between low explosives and high explosives?

Also, I've heard that the law partly differentiates between different high explosives with different rules.

Also, is there a "constructive intent" type stuff where you may be charged for having precursors but no explosives?

I hate the idea of skirting the law but I'm in essentially the same boat as phrased in the original post. I stay mostly in the realm of only ever making low explosives or thermitic or incendiary mixtures, but as I've continued I keep getting more and more interested in various high explosives as well. I'm not old enough to get a permit from the ATF (yet) and I'm not sure I'd be comfortable giving them my fingerprints and personal information either.

No offense, but it seems like if you applied without a particularly "good" reason, you'd get moved to a very short list post haste, but perhaps that's just me being uninformed. I am very much not confident in the professionalism of the ATF as an agency.

If all this can be found in the orange book then I'll certainly go read it, but the last time I attempted to find a readable copy I got lost in the most boring parts of the internet.

Bert - 12-11-2015 at 15:41

Go read the orange book. Ignorance of the law isn't an excuse, and you had best not proceed without at least knowing what it even is.

Yes. Low explosives are treated differently from HE. Blasting agents are treated differently from either. Different storage requirements, tables of distances per weight, magazine construction standards.

Trying to follow the law is a big plus on NOT getting excessively fucked with, actually-

The whole "constructive intent" thing will come up if you have a DA pissed at you over something else, yes it has happened. Best not to piss off enforcement while playing with explosives and chemistry... And where you live, what you do and how much publicity the DA is hungering for around election time have a LOT to do with how these kinds of things shake out, in USA.

Blow up a plastic soda bottle via over pressurization in a tetchy area, have a batshit DA charge you with "weapons of mass destruction". Freaking blow up your garage, have the house catch fire, tell the cops you were making rocket fuel and have the DA not bother to press charges or cops even call BATFE in another state/city. There is NO uniformity in local law enforcement attitudes or charging.

Piss of the federal government? Pretty uniform charging. Uniformly over the top, that is... They will throw every possible thing at you to get you to settle and plead to something. Prosecution likes having a nice publicity fest, but they really don't want to waste their time in court.

One very good way to go up on federal charges? Attract BATFE's attention by improper storage of explosives, doing such things as making "destructive devices" (a big firecracker will do), and having local police notice, call BATFE/bomb squad in to make sense of your chemistry set and putative arsenal.

It was a lot less crazy even 40 years ago. If you didn't hurt someone or cause property damage, hand slaps were about it. Cops might even just laugh it off as "boys being boys". Not so much now.