Hello, Welcome To Black Powder & Muzzleloading:
This site is about black powder, gunpowder, black powder substitutes, their use as a propellant for all muzzleloaders and muzzleloading.
Did you know that brown charcoal makes the best black powder and that you can buy books on how to make your own high quality propellants.
Black Powder Components:
Black powder consists of a fuel (charcoal), an oxidizer (saltpeter), and (sulfur) for a reduction of the ignition temperature and a stable reaction. The carbon from the charcoal plus oxygen forms carbon dioxide and energy. Black powder is a weighted mixture of potassium nitrate, sulphur and charcoal, potassium nitrate 75%, charcoal 15% and sulphur 10%. The desired characteristics of black powder are achieved by varying its composition, such as the application of different kinds of charcoal. The secret of a good, fast igniting, black powder is the charcoal.
Black powder is an explosive and is the oldest explosive of mankind, the reaction of the components would be slow much like a wood fire or charcoal grill, except for the oxidizing agent. Carbon in a fire must draw oxygen from the air. Saltpeter provides the extra oxygen and makes the mixture burn much faster. A great deal of smoke is produced when black powder is ignited. The smoke is generated by the charcoal and sulfur components of the black powder. Black powder produces a rotten egg smell when ignited, that is sulfur, which produces sulfurous acid or sulfuric acid which is highly corrosive to steel.
Black Powder Substitute Powders:
There are black powder substitutes, which are designed to be used in place of real black powder as a muzzleloader propellant because they are much less smokey, corrosive, and are not classed as an explosive. The 3 common substitutes are Triple 7, Pyrodex and Blackhorn 209, with Pyrodex and Triple 7 being by far the most popular however Blackhorn 209 is the cleanest and most energetic.
A muzzleloader is any firearm into which the projectile and the propellant black powder charge is loaded from the muzzle end of the gun barrel. Muzzleloaders range from Pistols, Muskets, Shotguns, reproductions of sidelock, flintlock and percussion ignition system long guns, to in-line Rifles that use modern inventions such as a closed breech and sealed primers. Mortars and Cannons are muzzle loaded and are a type of field artillery.
Muzzleloading is the term used to describe the sport, or pastime of firing muzzleloading guns or muzzleloaders. Muzzleloading can apply to anything from pistols to cannons but in modern times the term most commonly applies to black powder small arms, more specifically, muzzleloading rifles. It usually, but not always, involves the use of a loose black powder propellant (i.e. gun powder), a projectile, as well as a separate method of ignition or priming the firearm. The powder and projectile are always loaded from the muzzle end of the firearm barrel.