How To Make The Absolute BEST Black Powder (For Firearms)

Key insights


Willard McBaine introduces a guide to making a cleaner, more powerful version of sporting black powder than Swiss black powder.


Emphasizes the critical importance of using high-quality, pure ingredients and the necessity of refining potassium nitrate for superior powder performance.


Details the process of making your own charcoal, highlighting the influence of the carbon source on the powder’s burn rate and efficiency.

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Describes the crafting of a ball mill using a treadmill for optimal efficiency, allowing control over speed and ensuring a finely milled powder.


Explains the switch from lead to brass media in the milling process as a significant step towards producing cleaner black powder.


Recommends a milling time of 24 hours to achieve a balance between milling efficiency and powder quality, noting that longer milling times can improve powder performance.


Highlights the process of compressing powder into pucks before breaking them into granules to enhance the powder’s performance and consistency.


Stresses the importance of uniform density in the powder pucks to ensure consistent shot performance and reduce velocity spread.


Emphasizes the significance of meticulously sorting the powder by granule size to minimize burn rate variability and achieve superior quality.


Mentions literature for further reading on black powder production, including works by Brett Gibbons and Captain FM Smith of the Royal Artillery.

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What makes the black powder developed by Willard McBaine cleaner and more powerful?

β€”Refinement of process and ingredients, including pure technical grade potassium nitrate and homemade charcoal, results in cleaner, more powerful black powder than Swiss.

Why is it crucial to use high-quality ingredients for making black powder?

β€”High-quality ingredients ensure the powder's effectiveness and safety. Using inferior materials like hardware store items can result in poor and unsafe powder.

What is the recommended ratio of ingredients for making black powder?

β€”The basic formula is 75% potassium nitrate, 15% charcoal, and 10% sulfur, with slight adjustments possible for specific needs.

Why is pressing black powder better than the screened method?

β€”Pressing black powder, as opposed to the screened method, results in a more consistent and denser product, improving its performance significantly.

What is the significance of milling time in the black powder making process?

β€”Milling for 24 hours is found to be a happy medium for achieving well-incorporated and consistent black powder, affecting its burn rate and cleanliness.

Timestamped Summary


00:04 "Howdy I'm Willard Mcbaine and you're watching Everything Black Powder. In today's presentation, we're going to give you a comprehensive look on how we make sporting black powder that is cleaner and more powerful than Swiss black powder."


00:31 "Now I notice some new folks that might sound like a tall order, and that's because it is. When we first started this uh powder making Excursion a few years ago it was uh it was really really lousy black powder."


01:39 "As most people know the basic formula for antique muzzle loading propellant is 75 Parts potassium nitrate, 15 Parts charcoal, 10 parts sulfur."


02:04 "Do not I repeat do not go to the hardware store and buy stump remover and Kingsford charcoal bricketts and the Sulfur powder slug repellent stuff. I cannot stress the importance of having high quality ingredients for your powder."


03:01 "If you do have stump remover that's actually potassium have to refine it, you have to if you want powder that's going to perform reasonably well."


05:29 "Charcoal it's pretty much that simple... your charcoal which is the fuel that burns has a lot to do with the velocity and the fining that your powder is going to get."


08:41 "We started off using a Harbor Freight rock tumbler...we made a ball mill out of a treadmill a while ago and it works exceptionally well."


11:25 "Milling time I Mill all of my powders for 24 hours solid...24 hours is kind of the happy medium."


14:02 "So after your powder is milled for 24 hours it comes out of the mill looking like talcum is a fork in the road you can make screened powder or you can make compressed pucked black powder."


16:39 "Now some things you're going to need for that are a pucking dye and some kind of press. We use a 20 ton hydraulic press."


22:59 "So after your stuff is sorted we put it through this bag here and then this gets all the dust off it just takes all the dust off works out really well."


27:41 "After your powder is glazed for a few hours or however long you like we dust it off again so we sort it by size because you will get some fines and some dust that comes off of there."


31:59 "So after you have your completed finished glazed powder the last thing to do is to try it out and see what you get."

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34:00 "So why would you go through the trouble of making your own powder...if I'm going to go through the trouble of making black powder I want to make the absolute best black powder that I can make."


45:43 "Some literature you might be interested in if you want to read some more on this topic are two particular books one is Like Fire and Powder written by my friend and fellow YouTuber Brett Gibbons."


42:53 "Now you're probably thinking that this guy stood here for 45 minutes with a long winded speech about how to make black powder and didn't mention any of the safety precautions, right?"

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