Author Topic: Shooting accident!!  (Read 17619 times)

Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2009, 04:05:58 AM »
When black powder is press densified in the powder manufacturing process its burn rate is slowed as a result.  If you take black powder directly from the wheel mill its burn rate can be very fast.  But mill cake is low in density.  As a propelling charge it would be faster.  But at the same time it would give high initial breech pressures and it would not be very accurate in a gun.

Press densification slows the burn rate, makes it more manageable in the gun.

So if you wet commercial finished powder to the point where it goes to a mush and then dry it out again you are simply reversing the press densification and returning it to something akin to wheel mill cake.

In press densification you are reducing wheel mill cake volume by about 40% of the starting volume.  You get more powder into a smaller space which gives higher velocities and more uniform velocities.  Along with a lot better accuracy.

Candle Snuffer

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Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2009, 04:19:15 AM »
MM, here's a question. 

I can't remember the documentry exactly but the man who stumble across wetting the powder down and rolling into balls to dry out before recrushing,,, if I remember correctly one of his main ingredients was manure, and I'm thinking (if I remember this right) he used manure because at that time (early gun powder history in England) he was unable to get Salt Peter...  I wish I had paid better attention to this documentry and took notes.  If I recall it was on one of the History Channels?

Any way to the question; do you have any insight on this manure usage?  It was said that the more he re'wetted it and dried out the powder - the stronger it became,,, and I don't think they were talking about odor... :)
« Last Edit: January 18, 2009, 04:22:17 AM by Candle Snuffer »

Offline Larry Pletcher

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Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2009, 04:20:04 AM »
Steve Chapman and I did an experiment last summer in which we attempted to see how compression affected accuracy.  We used a stop on the ramrod and measured compression in fractions of an inch.  We started with no compression, then moved the stop in 1/16" intervals.  We tested 1/16, 1/8, and 3/16" .  Both flint and percussion in the same gun shot the best groups with 3/16" compression

Regards,
Pletch.
Regards,
Pletch
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Offline Jerry V Lape

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Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #28 on: January 18, 2009, 06:37:02 AM »
Doug,  it wasn't the range officer that loaded the additional charges on top of the misfires.  It was a 16 or 17 year old senior student who was supposed to be supervising another student a couple years younger.  Apparently it eventually dawned on him there was something bigger going on and took the gun to the range officer.  Apparently he misunderstood the process of recapping the misfired load, taking that to mean reloading the charge as well.  The whole affair was so poorly supervised I am just grateful that no one was injured.  We will be on top of the event this year or we will shut it down!  There will not be a student shooter without an experienced adult shooter (most will be qualified instructors) and there will be several trainers overseeing sections of the line as well as the range officer.  If we can only cover a few shooting points properly that will be the maximum number of points used.  Rifles will be cycled off the line to the cleaning and reinspection area on a fairly frequent basis and other ready rifles cycled into use.  Powder will be GOEX FFg in target range charges.  There will be an CO2 discharges available and I will see to having a grease gun setup handy if we get a difficult one needing unloading.  There will also be a soaking trough in the event we need to kill a charge.  This event isn't going to have an accident this year - period. 

Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #29 on: January 18, 2009, 07:04:42 AM »
MM, here's a question. 

I can't remember the documentry exactly but the man who stumble across wetting the powder down and rolling into balls to dry out before recrushing,,, if I remember correctly one of his main ingredients was manure, and I'm thinking (if I remember this right) he used manure because at that time (early gun powder history in England) he was unable to get Salt Peter...  I wish I had paid better attention to this documentry and took notes.  If I recall it was on one of the History Channels?

Any way to the question; do you have any insight on this manure usage?  It was said that the more he re'wetted it and dried out the powder - the stronger it became,,, and I don't think they were talking about odor... :)

That is utter nonsense.  Then as now, there have been a lot of writings on BP that are utter nonsense.

When you look at industrial chemistry books from the first half of the 19th century you will see chapters on "Manure Salts".  Up into the late 19th century manure piles were the main source of a number of chemicals.  With the exception of the sodium nitrate fiels in Chile all of the potassium nitrate consumed in the world came out of manure piles.  Add to this salts such as ammonium chloride.  Most of the ammonia based chemicals came out of manure.  As did a host of nitrates.

The English into the early 19th century were not noted for their powder making technology.  European countries were far ahead of them.  Spain, Italy and France being ahead of England.

The English powder makers did not understand the need to purify saltpeter going into gunpowder until late in the 17th century into the early years of the 18th century.

You will see in old English writings that the King had first shot at and saltpeter produced in the realm or imported into the country.  Now present day re-enactors relate that directly to the need for saltpeter in gunpowder production.
Few know that in 1550 the then King of England ordered the acid producers in London to cease fouling the air or remove themselves from the city.  Mineral acid production was a big item in London at that time.
England used a large amount of nitric acid which requires saltpeter as the source of nitrogen.  This nitric acid was a vital part of the purification of silver found in lead ores mined in England.  The ore was concentrated, then treated with nitric acid.  The silver in the ore would be converted to silver nitrate.  Leaving the lead alone.  This silver nitrate was then heated.  The fumes, lower oxides of nitrogen, would be given off when the silver nitrate decomposed under heat.  The fumes given off were recovered to fortify new acid.  The resulting silver being required to support wars that used gunpowder.

If one were to mix manure with sulfur it would burn very slowly at best.  If you added saltpeter it would burn a bit faster but still be far from strong enough for use as a gunpowder in a firearm.

Basically the relationship between manure and gunpowder was the fact that manure would produce calcium nitrate is properly treated with ground limestone.  Then converted to potassium nitrate via wood ashes from hardwoods.

If you look in an older copy of Lange's Chemistry you see a host of different names for calcium and potassium nitrate.
Norway saltpeter was calcium nitrate from Norway.  Said to have been collected from the walls of stables.
Then you have Bengal saltpeter which was potassium nitrate exported out of the port of Bengal in India.
Then there was Chile Saltpeter which was sodium nitrate exported out of Chile.  And there are others in the list.

The amounts of saltpeter produced in India during the 19th century was huge.  In 1860 Lammot duPont purchased roughly 1 million pounds of it in England for war powder production.  This was in excess of what England required in their powder plants while they were up to their ears in the Crimean War or other adventures around the world.
But when you read up on saltpeter in the Encyclopedia Britannica in the late 1800's they tell about it being found as crystals on the surface of the ground in dry areas in India.  Victorian English couldn't deal with the thought of large numbers of poor in India making a bare living out of mucking about in manure pits.
India was producing in excess of a million pounds a year of potassium nitrate. That would be a lot of people running around arid desolate areas picking up tiny crystals off the surface of the ground.

About 2,000 years ago the Chinese were masters of certain types of chemistry.  Manure pile chemical production was one of their more advanced industries.  Then India learned it from the Chinese.  Picked up by the arab traders in their contacts with both India and Chine.  Then the "technology" migrated across the Med to Italy.  Then up through Europe.  With England being on the far end of this technology exchange chain.

If you look at a copy of Hoovers' translation of Georgius Agricola's De Re Metallica written in 1556 you see a lot of this info on saltpeter and nitric acid detailed.  This served as the main mining and engineering text book into the 1700's.

E. Ogre

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2009, 07:06:03 AM »
Steve Chapman and I did an experiment last summer in which we attempted to see how compression affected accuracy.  We used a stop on the ramrod and measured compression in fractions of an inch.  We started with no compression, then moved the stop in 1/16" intervals.  We tested 1/16, 1/8, and 3/16" .  Both flint and percussion in the same gun shot the best groups with 3/16" compression

Regards,
Pletch.

You should see if the compression is upsetting the balls. While a barrel is not exactly like a drop tube it is similar and will pack the powder to some extent and 3/16 is about were the pressure needed to compress the powder (assuming one of the softer brands) really starts to increase.
It is possible the if the ball was being upset slightly, squeezed to fit the bore tighter, and this could increase the load inertia and or make a tighter fit in the bore that could increase accuracy and/or result in a more consistent shot to shot velocity. This should be tried with hardened lead to see if it also increases accuracy with balls that will not easily upset.
Excess compression begins to damage the powder grains. Something that was taboo back in the day. The guys that shot ML rifles or the brass suppository type for ACCURACY back in the day were phobic about not crushing the powder grains. This effected accuracy. They used to sift out all the finer granules because having a uniform grain size made the guns shoot better.

If you decide to retry something like this try making a hard copper tube that will fit down the bore to within 3" or so of the breech. This can be adjusted with a clamp to prevent the tube from entering the muzzle. You will likely find this will increase accuracy as well compression or not.

When one starts to do things of this type there are things that are produced that make it seem like one thing when its un unintended consequence that has produced the effect.
Greener (W not W.W) back in the 1830s was worried that the powder being compressed against the projectile, either shot or ball, would not burn properly and burned like a rocket motor since no space existed berween the grains under this very high compression.
I am pretty sure that very wet patches keep the powder right at the base of the ball from burning at all.
I was testing some beeswax/sperm whale oil patch lube (about 1:3 BW to oil by weight) and found that in a 40 caliber shooting a 132 gr picket bullet that the grease on the patch (Iwas just smearing it on one side with a finger tip) had unburned powder grains on still stuck on the patch when I recovered them. This was in a 36" 40 caliber barrel with 80 grains of FFG.
I will likely try this with 50 grains or so to see of it still leaves unburned powder on the patch.
Time to eat.
Dan
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Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #31 on: January 18, 2009, 07:08:02 AM »
Excuse the bit of a mess up on the quote in my last posting.  Turned 67 yesterday.  Getting tougher to run two trains on a one-track mind!

E. Ogre

Offline Tom Cooper

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Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #32 on: January 18, 2009, 08:20:46 AM »
As a club this is how we deal with the safety issue.

When as a club we are asked to introduce greenhorns there are about 5 beginners with each supervisor, the supevisor does all of the loading, even on a trail walk, the supervisors are ALL adults period. If there are some in the group that have experience it is the descretion of the supervisor as to whether or not to allow the participants to load for themselves.

Unfortunately when you accept that kind of responsbility you must treat the beginners as if they need protecting, as ultimately YOU are rsponsible, whether you load or they do it.

as a matter of fact we are working with a Venture Group this spring 
Tom

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Offline Longknife

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Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #33 on: January 18, 2009, 09:24:32 AM »
Quote
I can't remember the documentry exactly but the man who stumble across wetting the powder down and rolling into balls to dry out before recrushing,,, if I remember correctly one of his main ingredients was manure, and I'm thinking (if I remember this right) he used manure because at that time (early gun powder history in England) he was unable to get Salt Peter...  I wish I had paid better attention to this documentry and took notes.  If I recall it was on one of the History Channels?
Dont believe everything you see on the "History" channels!!!!!!!
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arcticap

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Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #34 on: January 18, 2009, 02:32:09 PM »
Despite the belief that bad powder was used at this shoot, I would like to know more about dieseling and whether that could lead to an increased probability [however remote] of having an accidental discharge whenever black powder is loaded?
If it does increase the probability, then I won't mince words. While using black power is an honorable choice for anyone to choose to use for themself, choosing a substitute powder like Pyrodex would seem to be a much safer alternative when the safety of a large number of children are at stake. Even if that means choosing Pyrodex P because it ignites better in percussion guns, or using magnum percussion caps so there's a few less misfires.
Using a substitute powder would seem to actually back up promises for more safety in the future with a commensurate level of action. True or false, wouldn't that effectively lower the probability of having an accidental discharge directly related to simply having loaded with black powder?   ::)
« Last Edit: January 18, 2009, 02:45:36 PM by arcticap »

Candle Snuffer

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Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #35 on: January 18, 2009, 02:50:40 PM »
Quote
I can't remember the documentry exactly but the man who stumble across wetting the powder down and rolling into balls to dry out before recrushing,,, if I remember correctly one of his main ingredients was manure, and I'm thinking (if I remember this right) he used manure because at that time (early gun powder history in England) he was unable to get Salt Peter...  I wish I had paid better attention to this documentry and took notes.  If I recall it was on one of the History Channels?
Dont believe everything you see on the "History" channels!!!!!!!

Very true!  I've seen shows on those channels that I know for a fact they did not do their research on yet reported away with a story.  The manure I wondered about, but as I said I didn't pay that close attention to.  Mad Monk seems to know his powders very well so I yeild to his knowledge in this area, and if he says "not so" that's good enough for me. :)

Tom, I agree...  Limiting the number of greenhorns to supervisior ratio is a good idea.  I rather think 5 is too many and the number should be IMHO no more then 3 as this would mean more hands on for the newcomer.  Still, you're doing a good job of helping introduce the new comers. :)

In the past when I've helped folks get started who come into this sport, (whether they have their own rifle as yet or not,,, (and it's one on one), I never let them load until they have seen me go through the motions a minimum of 3 times, and alway tell them to get use to saying each time with me as I/we load; "Powder, Patch, Ball, And That's All," as we go through the motions.  

I think it helps for them to see "live" repetition of loading - then walk them through it as they do it, once again saying, "Powder, Patch, Ball, And That's All," then we prime/cap at the line and they take their shot.  I also stress the point that its all common sense combined with safe firearm handling, and if they are unsure of something in the loading process, stop and ask, don't continue until you know for sure everything is right with the firearm.

I haven't taught many, but the ones I have seem to grasp the idea and function well with their muzzleloader with seldom ever a problem.  Of course this is dealing with the new folks one on one and it's much easier IMHO to convey to them the proper ways when you have one on one.  Not always possible, I know.  

« Last Edit: January 18, 2009, 02:53:59 PM by Candle Snuffer »

Offline Mad Monk

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Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #36 on: January 18, 2009, 05:55:49 PM »
Despite the belief that bad powder was used at this shoot, I would like to know more about dieseling and whether that could lead to an increased probability [however remote] of having an accidental discharge whenever black powder is loaded?
If it does increase the probability, then I won't mince words. While using black power is an honorable choice for anyone to choose to use for themself, choosing a substitute powder like Pyrodex would seem to be a much safer alternative when the safety of a large number of children are at stake. Even if that means choosing Pyrodex P because it ignites better in percussion guns, or using magnum percussion caps so there's a few less misfires.
Using a substitute powder would seem to actually back up promises for more safety in the future with a commensurate level of action. True or false, wouldn't that effectively lower the probability of having an accidental discharge directly related to simply having loaded with black powder?   ::)

The dieseling thing came out of an incident at Friendship some years back.  A bp pistol shooter.  When he fired the gun the percussion cap went off but not the main charge.  Recapped it and tried to fire it again.  Still no shot.  He put the pistol back into the loading holder, took the rod and went to push the ball back down onto the powder charge as the pressure created by the two caps had moved the ball foreward in the bore.  When he pushed the ball down onto the charge the gun discharged.
Now none of those present could conceive of a hangfire of that length in time.  So somebody theorized that when the ball was pushed back down the bore it compressed the air under the ball which raised the temperature of the air high enough to ignite the powder.  Sort of like an old fire piston.
Trouble with that theory is that the air is heated uniformly so any heat getting to the powder would have been uniform over the surfaces of the grains.  No way would that act create enough BTU's to raise the surface temperature of the powder grains to the ignition temperature of the powder.

There were a number of similar incidents at the time involving considerable lengths of time between the firing of the percussion cap and the discharge of the firearm.  In one incident the guy could not get the gun to fire so he leaned it up against a tree while he dug through his pouch for some tools.  The rifle discharged while leaning up against the tree.

These incidents involved lots of GOEX BP made at the Moosic, PA plant during periods of extreme drought.  When the powder produced lacked an acceptable degree of chemical stability.  As the chemical changes proceeded in the powder the surfaces of the grains became increasingly more difficult to ignite.
Chuck Dixon had cans of GOEX returned to his shop where it took a propane torch to ignite the powder.

The purity of the water used in BP production will make or break the chemical stability of the finished powder.
I had looked at this chemical stability thing in the lab after reading an article in a chemical industry magazine on how to identify if smokeless had been used in a blown up ml gun.
I collected a lot of black powder samples.  This would be leached with acetone.  The leaching would then be evaporated and reconstituted with dilute sulfuric acid.  Several drops of Diphenylamine would be added.  Then watched for a blue color to form.  This has long been used as a quick test to look for lower oxides of nitrogen.  If the black powder had undergone any chemical decomposition it would give the blue color in the test.  If it had not suffered any chemical decomposition there would be no blue color formation. The drought production GOEX out of Moosic gave a stronger color than my IMR used in my .223 loads.

In looking at these different powder samples something came to light.
During the 18th century powder makers used only distilled water in the powder during powder production.  Most were purifying their own saltpeter where distilled water was a must.  Once they began to use purified saltpeter they purchased they drifted away from distilled water and used plain plant water.  This change showed up in the diphenylamine test.

E. Ogre

Offline ehoff

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Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #37 on: January 18, 2009, 07:58:34 PM »
Lots of good information in this post, thank God no one was killed. Its like my machine shop teacher always said "you got to have respect for the machine". Same thing holds true for any gun you have to have respect for it and treat with respect reguardless of the type as it can cause you or someone to be injured or killed.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2009, 07:59:46 PM by ehoff »

Daryl

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Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #38 on: January 18, 2009, 08:20:56 PM »
The comments on BP deterioration with time and exposure are interesting and very practical.

It went up in a fluff of smoke and flame just like any  other PB. My insight, don't depend on time or exposure to make BP any weaker than you might expect from new stuff. It deserves proper respect no matter how old. Reminds me of myself being now long in the tooth. DOC

Of course, this reminds me of the 3 pounds (in an original 5 pound can) of American Deadshot I aquired many years ago. It was the cleanest with no dust (once I removed the rusted steel from inside the can) shiniest, hardest, most uniformly sized, best shooting black powder I've ever used.  I found the Deadshot powder mill blew up in 1898, so this powder was very old.  I shot it all up around 1975. THAT's the powder I used in that 38" twist Bauska barrel for 1", 5 shot groups at 100 yards. All that is old, is not feeble. It was also the cleanest burning.

roundball

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Re: Shooting accident!!
« Reply #39 on: January 19, 2009, 03:24:43 AM »
"...ANYTIME you touch someone's gun you take a risk..."

An excellent reminder for everyone...