# Where should I buy 4Fg black powder?

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#### UPscaler

##### New Member
I'm in idaho and for some reason you can't buy real black powder here. Just the substitute stuff. Would that work? If not, where can it be shipped from? Preferably somewhere that doesn't require the purchase of 5-10 cans at once.

Thanks

-BC

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#### bobkrech

##### Well-Known Member
Pyrodex(R) burns much slower than BP so the only way it works as an ejection charge for a rocket is if it it confined in a canister that allows pressure to build up and increase the burn rate.

Bob

#### WillMarchant

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Pyrodex(R) burns much slower than BP so the only way it works as an ejection charge for a rocket is if it it confined in a canister that allows pressure to build up and increase the burn rate.

Bob
Pay close attention to what Bob says! People have success with Pyrodex but you need to be careful. And, as always, ground test!

#### Stymye

##### Well-Known Member
I get the 4F from a gun shop. It wasn't a problem.

#### THier

##### Well-Known Member
Gun shops, hunting shops ect. It is getting harder to find,, but look around.

In Maryland, Bass pro shops, Dicks Sporting goods, and a local tackle - hunting shop are some places to find it. Just don't offer too much info what you are useing it for,, I am lucky enough to shoot BP firearms,, so I don't have to lie.

Tom

#### TheAviator

##### Well-Known Member
A gentleman at the club I fly with here in Cleveland recently did an article on ejection charges that function the same as BP and e-matches without either. What he got was Quest Q2G2's and a BP substitute called HODGDON Triple Seven FFFG. I'm not really sure what it is, but I do plan to ask him next time I get out to a launch. He claims that you can use it as a straight BP substitute without any of the issues you get with Pyrodex.

If you want to see the article, it's called "Look mom! No E-matches!" The MTMA Flyer it is in can be found here: http://www.mtmarocketry.org/files/MTMA Flyer 2009 2.6.pdf

#### bobkrech

##### Well-Known Member
A gentleman at the club I fly with here in Cleveland recently did an article on ejection charges that function the same as BP and e-matches without either. What he got was Quest Q2G2's and a BP substitute called HODGDON Triple Seven FFFg. I'm not really sure what it is, but I do plan to ask him next time I get out to a launch. He claims that you can use it as a straight BP substitute without any of the issues you get with Pyrodex.

If you want to see the article, it's called "Look mom! No E-matches!" The MTMA Flyer it is in can be found here: http://www.mtmarocketry.org/files/MTMA Flyer 2009 2.6.pdf
Aviator

That's an excellent article but the author fails to note that the reason why he can use Triple Seven(R) with his recovery package without modification is that he has ejection charge wells built into his bulkheads to provide confinement for his ejection charges. This setup works equally well with Pyrodex(R).

Both Pyrodex(R) http://www.hodgdon.com/pyrodex.html and Triple Seven(R) http://www.hodgdon.com/tripleseven.html are BP substitutes made by Hodgdon for muzzle loaders. The smaller grain FFFg grade is what you need for ejection charges. BP substitute ejection charges burn slower thanb BP so they must be loaded into a container that allows the pressure to build up for a fraction of a milliseconds before it releases or you will not get the pressure burst require to push your recovery gear out of the rocket.

Black Powder contains Potassium Nitrate, Charcoal and Sulfur. The sulfur makes BP very easy to ignite, but make the residue corrosive because sulfuric acid is produced when sulfur burns. Because of it's low ignition threshold (which makes it quite hazardous, and supposedly raises the insurance rates of retailers that stock it), and the availability of less sensitive BP substitutes for muzzle loaders, BP is getting harder to find in many locations.

Pyrodex(R) is a BP substitute that is more energetic than BP, and it is less sensitive than BP so it is somewhat safer to handle. Pyrodex(R) was designed to be a direct 1:1 replacement for BP on a volume basis for muzzle loaders who use powder scoops to measure their charges. Pyrodex(R) contains Potassium Nitrate, Charcoal and Sulfur like BP but also has Potassium Perchlorate which is a stronger oxidizer. There is less Sulfur in Pyrodex(R) than BP so it is not as easy to ignite, and it burns slower Than
BP. and requires confinement for ejection charge use. However because it still has some Sulfur, the residue is corrosive because sulfuric acid is produced when sulfur burns.

Triple Seven(R) is a BP substitute that is more energetic than either BP or Pyrodex(R), and it is less sensitive than BP or Pyrodex(R) so it is somewhat safer to handle. Triple Seven(R) contains Potassium Nitrate, Charcoal and Potassium Perchlorate which is a stronger oxidizer,but no Sulfur which is corrosive. Triple Seven(R) residues are much less corrosive than BP or Pyrodex(R) and be clean away with water. Because it does not contain sulfur, it is harder to ignite and burns even slower than Pyrodex(R) and requires more confinement. http://www.hodgdon.com/PDF/MSDS Files/Muzzleloading/TripleSe7en.pdf

The new Quest Q2 igniters are a great e-match substitute, and because they activate with only 0.12 A so they will work fine with almost any pyrocircuit.

Bob

#### dave carver

##### Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
Where you at in Idaho? I'm in Boise :cyclops: and if your from around here then Schapel's Gunshop on N. Liberty north from Fairview has it and I think Intermountian Arms on Vista does too.

#### n5wd

##### Well-Known Member
Do you have a Bass Pro Shop around within reasonable distance? They carry the 1-pound ffffg cans in stock (you have to ask one of the counter people to get it - it's not on the shelf but rather stored in the back), but they don't mail order BP from what I was told by a gun department manager at the store here in DFW.

#### Swampworks

##### Well-Known Member
I think the stocking of BP by stores like Bass Pro is a territorial thing. Bass pro here in La does not carry the real stuff. In fact, calling around to most sporting goods/hunting/gun stores around here, apparently nobody carries the real stuff.

I'd love to be corrected though.

#### troj

##### Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
I think the stocking of BP by stores like Bass Pro is a territorial thing. Bass pro here in La does not carry the real stuff. In fact, calling around to most sporting goods/hunting/gun stores around here, apparently nobody carries the real stuff.

I'd love to be corrected though.
It's also a function of local ordinances, and likely, demand.

-Kevin

#### powderburner

##### Well-Known Member
You should know that as far as license, LEUPs, storage lockers, paperwork, and our good friends at ATF, the blackpowder substitutes still require the whole nine yards if you are not using it in firearms, etc.

Bob Krech already gave you a good explanation of the principal differences between "real" BP and the substitutes. The key point is that all contain potassium nitrate and that particular substance is on the government list of "explosives," both by itself and as "mixtures" containing KNO3. They gotcha either way. (Although I have never heard of potassium nitrate, by itself, exploding....or even burning the least little bit.....but then that would be questioning the technical qualifications and competence of our government friends to make such rulings, and we aren't allowed to do that here?)

If you have the "paperwork" part all squared away, and the only problem you are worried about is that you literally can't find BP and you need a substitute, then yes the substitutes will work. Bob was also correct to point out that the substitutes need to be restrained in a low-pressure vessel (with an intentionally designed weak spot to port the ejection gas, such as bursting through a taped-over cap) to ensure good combustion, otherwise if the substitutes are left loose you will only get partial ignition and ejection may not occur.

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#### UhClem

##### Well-Known Member
You should know that as far as license, LEUPs, storage lockers, paperwork, and our good friends at ATF, the blackpowder substitutes still require the whole nine yards if you are not using it in firearms, etc.
If true this would require that the dealer have an ATF explosives permit along with all of the paperwork required. Dealers openly sell these products which is evidence that the ATF does not regulate them. It is the same agents enforcing both explosives and firearms laws so you would think they would notice something like this. I purchased some Pyrodex P several years ago from Arlington Arms. It was stored on a shelf with the rest of the smokeless powders where any customer could fondle it. I asked about BP and they did not carry it because they did not have and could not get an explosives permit.

Bob Krech already gave you a good explanation of the principal differences between "real" BP and the substitutes. The key point is that all contain potassium nitrate and that particular substance is on the government list of "explosives," both by itself and as "mixtures" containing KNO3. They gotcha either way. (Although I have never heard of potassium nitrate, by itself, exploding....or even burning the least little bit.....but then that would be questioning the technical qualifications and competence of our government friends to make such rulings, and we aren't allowed to do that here?)
Potassium nitrate explosive mixtures are on the list, not potassium nitrate.

Potassium chlorate and lead sulfocyanate explosive.
Potassium nitrate explosive mixtures.
Potassium nitroaminotetrazole.
Smokeless powders (and presumably BP substitutes) are exempt as components of small arms ammunition. Unlike the BP exemption, this exemption (27 CFR 555.141(a)(4) ) has no conditions on intended use.

#### bobkrech

##### Well-Known Member
Potassium nitrate explosive mixtures are on the list, not potassium nitrate.
And that's a good thing. Hot dogs contain potassium nitrate and they will not explode.

My club, CMASS, sells a lot of hot dogs at our launches and it was quoted in a BOSTON SUNDAY GLOBE article from several years ago, that CMASS runs on hot dogs.

So we may logically conclude that without hot dogs, and potassium nitrate, no organized rocket launches are possible in the state of Massachusetts.

Bob :roll:

#### UPscaler

##### New Member
Where you at in Idaho? I'm in Boise :cyclops: and if your from around here then Schapel's Gunshop on N. Liberty north from Fairview has it and I think Intermountian Arms on Vista does too.
That's right up my alley! thanks!

#### powderburner

##### Well-Known Member
Potassium nitrate explosive mixtures are on the list, not potassium nitrate.
You are correct, I was going from memory.

And I think I may have been remembering an old list, but I'm pretty sure that plain KNO3 was on there, phrased something like "potassium nitrate and mixtures of potassium nitrate." Obviously I will have to do some digging through old files, and it may be a moot point if it's not on the current list.

Smokeless powders (and presumably BP substitutes) are exempt as components of small arms ammunition. Unlike the BP exemption, this exemption (27 CFR 555.141(a)(4) ) has no conditions on intended use.
Ah, but I have actually asked an ATF agent (by mail) and an FBI agent (who goes to my church). According to them: this wording refers to use of these materials (and other firearm components) for use in firearms. When used for other purposes, all bets are off.

And as far as them enforcing their own rules on a uniform basis, are you really holding your breath for that to happen?

#### Handeman

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
You are correct, I was going from memory.

And I think I may have been remembering an old list, but I'm pretty sure that plain KNO3 was on there, phrased something like "potassium nitrate and mixtures of potassium nitrate." Obviously I will have to do some digging through old files, and it may be a moot point if it's not on the current list.

I really don't think KNO3 is on the explosives list. You can buy "Saltpeter" at most drug stores and that is pure KNO3. There may be a limit on how fine of grain it can be sold as. The drug store stuff is pretty course.

#### UhClem

##### Well-Known Member
You are correct, I was going from memory.

And I think I may have been remembering an old list, but I'm pretty sure that plain KNO3 was on there, phrased something like "potassium nitrate and mixtures of potassium nitrate." Obviously I will have to do some digging through old files, and it may be a moot point if it's not on the current list.
It would have to be older than 1994.

Ah, but I have actually asked an ATF agent (by mail) and an FBI agent (who goes to my church). According to them: this wording refers to use of these materials (and other firearm components) for use in firearms. When used for other purposes, all bets are off.
They are not well known for consistency or even being correct. There is apparently at least one in the Austin area that believes that BP is exempt for all sporting and recreational purposes.

18 USC 845(a) Except in the case of subsections (l), (m), (n), or (o) of section 842 and subsections (d), (e), (f), (g), (h), and (i) of section 844 of this title, this chapter shall not apply to:

(4) small arms ammunition and components thereof;

(5) commercially manufactured black powder in quantities not to exceed fifty pounds, percussion caps, safety and pyrotechnic fuses, quills, quick and slow matches, and friction primers, intended to be used solely for sporting, recreational, or cultural purposes in antique firearms as defined in section 921 (a)(16) of title 18 of the United States Code, or in antique devices as exempted from the term destructive device in section 921 (a)(4) of title 18 of the United States Code;

#### Swampworks

##### Well-Known Member
I really don't think KNO3 is on the explosives list. You can buy "Saltpeter" at most drug stores and that is pure KNO3. There may be a limit on how fine of grain it can be sold as. The drug store stuff is pretty course.
I've tried that around here. Most of the time, I get a VERY strange look and a response that they don't know what it is, EVEN when you ask for it as "potassium nitrite". What kind of pharmacist supposedly doesn't know what that is? The few that gave a positive response immediately wanted to know what I needed it for. Eventually, after too much frustration, I resorted to brewing my own.

#### RocketBrew

##### Member
After searching all over Tucson and Phoenix, I ended up purchasing Goex FFFF Black Powder mail order from Graf & Sons. http://www.grafs.com/powders/3522

Was only $14 for a 1lb can, but the Hazmat fee was$22.50!

#### bobkrech

##### Well-Known Member
I've tried that around here. Most of the time, I get a VERY strange look and a response that they don't know what it is, EVEN when you ask for it as "potassium nitrite". What kind of pharmacist supposedly doesn't know what that is? The few that gave a positive response immediately wanted to know what I needed it for. Eventually, after too much frustration, I resorted to brewing my own.
Potassium Nitrate and Potassium Nitrite are two different compounds. If you don't know the difference, you shouldn't be buying it. Making you own BP is dangerous because it will explode if you do not process it properly.

Potassium Nitrate = KNO3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_nitrate

Potassium nitrate is sold as a fertilizer in your local garden shop with NPK label of 13-0-44. It is also the main ingredient in stump rotter.

Potassium Nitrite = KNO2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_nitrite

#### MClark

##### Well-Known Member
After searching all over Tucson and Phoenix, I ended up purchasing Goex FFFF Black Powder mail order from Graf & Sons. http://www.grafs.com/powders/3522

Was only $14 for a 1lb can, but the Hazmat fee was$22.50!
Thunderbird Cartridge in PHX has black powder. I think you need to call first so they can bring what you want from there large mag.

#### Swampworks

##### Well-Known Member
Potassium Nitrate and Potassium Nitrite are two different compounds. If you don't know the difference, you shouldn't be buying it. Making you own BP is dangerous because it will explode if you do not process it properly.

Potassium Nitrate = KNO3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_nitrate

Potassium nitrate is sold as a fertilizer in your local garden shop with NPK label of 13-0-44. It is also the main ingredient in stump rotter.

Potassium Nitrite = KNO2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_nitrite

Sorry for the typo........I even looked it up to verifiy first before I typed it Hmmmmmmmm.

Anyway, I did end up using stump remover as my source but I tried finding the fertilizer version for a while. Problem was I could only find 40lb bags. Since I was looking to make my own igniter dip, I couldn't justify 40lbs.