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PostSubject: Green River Black Powder   June 11th 2017, 6:04 pm

Green River Black Powder

My friend and former employee of GRRW Carl Walker (custom gunsmith) who is now building guns for GRRW Collectors Association came to my place yesterday to look at an original Leman Indian Trade Rifle I have.


He brought the wife some of his “Walker’s Uinta Basin Honey”. Carl’s son now runs this firm in Roosevelt UT with dad looking over his shoulder. I bet that’s interesting to stand back and watch …. Anyway after handing me the 5lb. container of honey (hell I can take a bathe in warm water with honey, talk about being “lickin’ good”….  I’m still pondering that one ….


Here’s the reason I’m writing about our visit. After Carl gave us the honey he produces a card box with old black powder tins and a plastic bag, “Green River Black Powder”. 







We have all used DuPont, Goex, Elephant, Schuetzen, Swiss, and maybe even Curtis & Harvey, probably a couple more that I can’t think of at this time. This powder brand I’ve only seen pictures of their cans “Green River Black Powder” made by Western Technology, Roosevelt, Utah from back in the 1970's and 1980’s.

Several friends that I hung around with shot it saying “it was wonderful stuff.... clean, consistent, and it was hot”. Western Technology even tried aluminum flaks in the powder, man that one was really hot (powerful) saw one of their folks at a Colorado State Shoot in Leadville Colorado shoot a few rounds.  Western Technology Powder Operation blew up early on, with the loss of several lives, (one of those guys I was told worked at GRRW), they never rebuilt.

I didn’t mention that when Carl brought out the card board box, it had Green River Black Powder one pound cans and a large plastic five pound bag filled with black powder made by Western Technology.  Carl that stuff is old and could be bad news.

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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   June 11th 2017, 7:17 pm

It seems everybody making powder blew up at one time or another. Although I don't remember Swiss doing it. That's what I use. Good powder.

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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   June 12th 2017, 6:52 am

Two of the guys killed worked for Doc White at GRRW.

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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   June 12th 2017, 10:32 am

Ive always wanted to make my own brand of BP. Just all the regulations and crap that follows along with it, killed that idea. Had a name and everything figured out for it.
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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   June 13th 2017, 10:47 am

I never liked the idea of bulk powder in a bag. Just seems like it could build up moisture and sweat if accidentally exposed to the wrong place. I know smokeless powder back in the day used to come in canvas bags, but thats a bit difference than black powder.
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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   June 13th 2017, 11:21 am

In the 80's Hodgdon Powder Company packed black powder in plastic powder horns. A customer was wearing the plastic horn around his neck with a wool shirt, static electric set the horn off. The gentlemen lost an arm and the law suit ended the use of that container.

Bad News: static electric can be created whenever two surfaces contact and separate, and at least one of the surfaces has a high resistance.

Use to see guys wearing their powder horn when in camp around a camp fire, bad idea guys.   :tdown2

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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 19th 2017, 5:53 am

Static electricity won't set off Holy Black.
That's a myth.
Been tested and proven scientifically several times.
Black is coated and an electric static charge will travel around the kernel not
through it.

http://www.ctmuzzleloaders.com/ctml_experiments/sparks/sparks.html
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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 19th 2017, 7:13 am

I read similar information 40 years ago, but everyone one of these companies that loose a plant the "static electricity" term comes up and the old and new articles are disallowed. 

"Green River Black Powder” made by Western Technology reported that one of the employees that died still had his hob nailed engineering boots on (should have been removed before entering the plant per the company rules). This was what was reported along with the "static electricity" term. I knew the guy that the report mentioned, (he knew everything and told you he did), so it was no surprise that he hadn't followed the rules.

Goex and a few others loose a plant every few years, even with all the safety rules followed, then the prices go up again. 

Care and just common sense needs to be followed when the powder is around. A good friends you may have heard of Ron Long (Long's Locks) was in his shop tuning a flintlock years ago with his shooting box 5 feet away. He sparked the lock and the film of black powder on the plastic shooting box lite setting off the one pound powder can inside. It blew the double door off its rails, a ball of flames danced around and put Ron in the hospital for a spell (scary time for an old friend). Later he told me he had done the every same thing hundreds of times, never even crossed his mind. 

I have done similar things like Ron (never even gave it a second thought - was lucky). Plus the ass kickin' I would have received if it had gone off from the wife would have been terrible....  Shocked   pale 

I put warning signs on the club's powder magazine we had on stored on our 300 acres farm. You never know what someone will do not thinking. After 70 years plus of being around black powder with my family shooting it I have seen some really stupid people do dumb things with the product not thinking it out.  headslap 

We would travel to WV several times a year from PA back in the 50's to buy/trade for old guns (Colts, Civil War and a little later types). My father would trade new Win. 1894 rifles and ammo for these antiques (still being used - shooting black powder). That was interesting listening to stories about their experiences with the guns and powder.

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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 19th 2017, 11:03 am

Interesting. Man, Buck... You and Carl and the boys sure seem to have your 
foot in the door of all the interesting stuff. 

Thoughts:

1. "Static electricity won't set off Holy Black. That's a myth. Been tested and proven scientifically several times."

You are likely right. But, nature is a fickle mistress sometimes and things that may be hard to recreate in the lab do happen in the field. 
I'm the 'better safe than sorry' sort.

2. "Use to see guys wearing their powder horn when in camp around a camp fire, bad idea guys.   

This one is just plain dumb, but understandable. When you wear something, you forget it is there and walk right up to the camp fire.
When we forget the power of the things we are playing with is when we get careless.

Forgetting is what I have observed as the main safety hazard. When newbies sweep a body with a muzzle before they have gun handling ingrained in them, they are not remembering.

Now, we'd stand on our head to avoid sweeping a muzzle. You don't 'think' about that either. It is just how you handle yourself.

3. I have always thought it would be fun to make some home made 'Holy Black.' I met a guy this weekend who said he was gonna do it some time in the near future. I grinned, thought about it and decided that all my stuff and neighbors were too close. I'll let him do it.

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Last edited by Kentucky Colonel on July 19th 2017, 5:15 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 19th 2017, 11:37 am

I think the static electricity deal was about the BP dust in the air as its made. That seems more likely IMO.
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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 19th 2017, 1:33 pm

I have to agree with both you guys, damn hate to do that ??? (freekin' Muley must have rubbed off on me)?
affraid  bounce  confused

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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 19th 2017, 1:45 pm

In 1959 i graduated from the US  Navy EOD school and reported to the 861 st Ord Det (EOD) at Ft. Bragg, NC along with a classmate.    We had lots of calls involving Civil War explosive ordnance.   We  inerted numerous  Civil War projectiles.   This involved remotely drilling and then washing out the black powder.  

My buddy and i  destroyed a lot of Parrot, Whitworth and other conical projectiles as well as cannon balls up to 20" in diameter.   Most of the powder in those rounds was as good as the day it was made.   We investigated a few incidents involving Civil War explosive ordnance.   One guy was brazing a piece of  chain on a 10" cannon ball when it exploded.   You would not believe the damage that round did to a house, outbuilding and a pickup.   

A friend of mine is a deputy sheriff in Spartanburg, SC.   He is the last USMC casualty of the US Civil War.   He was badly injured when a Parrot round exploded while it was being inerted.    

BTW:   Eustace made some good black powder for blasting rock in a recent episode of Mountain Men.
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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 19th 2017, 4:43 pm

falcon wrote:
BTW:   Eustace made some good black powder for blasting rock in a recent episode of Mountain Men.

I saw that episode, man they had a load of powder in that rock clearing everything for the new road. Looked like they had very little shovel work after that event.

My grandfather would make black powder for blasting like the episode mentioned. He never got that kind of explosion like Eustace did. A friend and myself made some black powder years ago, drilled a hole like seen on the Mountain Men. Loaded that rock up and touched it off, we didn't do much more than make a big "BANG".  The kids got a big kick out of it. That was about good as it was .... Mad   Crying or Very sad

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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 19th 2017, 5:20 pm

I read a book once whose main character had to figure out a way to melt and repurpose 
BP loaded canon balls. Since they blow up under heat, this was the challenge. 

In the book, they poured water into the powder holes until it could hold no more water. 
Then they froze the balls till the frozen water cracked the iron. This allowed them to remove 
any powder. 

I thought it was an interesting story.

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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 19th 2017, 5:29 pm

Neat idea if it really works without blowing your top knot off .... Shocked

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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 19th 2017, 6:39 pm

FrontierGander wrote:
I think the static electricity deal was about the BP dust in the air as its made. That seems more likely IMO.

Static electricity has sure blown up a lot of silos filled with grain dust, so I'm with you on it being the dust.  Here is an article about controlled tests trying to ignite granular black powder with static sparks. scary damn photos. No boom.
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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 22nd 2017, 8:53 pm

There have been many explosions of fine dust in air, flour among them, but that isn't
what is being addressed with Holy Black.
Static won't set it off.
Black is coated with graphite. Any static charge goes around the kernel not through it.
A.C. electricity flows around a conductor, not through it.
Well, mostly.
D.C. can behave differently but my degree aren't in physics.
Other explosives act differently than Holy Black.
I worked in an explosives mill when just 17 making anpho. (Ammonium nitrate)
No smoking in the plant.  Mad
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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 22nd 2017, 8:58 pm

Buck, I'd like to hear a little more about that aluminum in the powder. Black aluminum powder?
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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 22nd 2017, 10:04 pm

Re aluminum: Aluminum explosives are most common are potassium perchlorate and aluminium powder.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_powder


Acquire aluminum powder and potassium perchlorate. There are U.S. federal restrictions on these items. For example, aluminum powder is limited to two pounds a year without a ATF High Explosives Manufacturing license, and a potassium perchlorate could get you investigated by the Fed and/or the Consumer Product Safety Commission. They mean business.


Not me, I want to be invisible to the Federal gov't as much as possible.
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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 23rd 2017, 7:26 am

Thank you, you saved me some time "jeager" answering Jon.

Western Technology (GRRW Gun Powder Co.) made a few sample cans of the black powder mixed with aluminum powder. I was at the Colorado State Shoot in Leadville and these guys show up with a special can of powder from Western Technology and they are looking for me. They wanted me to shoot this blend of powder knowing I would write about it and how the idea worked. I was editor of several state associations journals at the time.

To make a long story short that was the hottest black powder I had ever shot or been around. The recoil was like shooting a modern cartridge (45-90 range) and it was fast and accurate. After shooting a few rounds I started thinking this is like proofing my rifle each shot. pale

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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 23rd 2017, 11:44 am

i've made black powder with aluminum powder added.    Stuff is very brisant compared to regular black powder.  

A crazy old Army EOD guy and myself were instructors at EOD school.   We made all the explosives in a book entitled Explosives like Grand Paw Used To Make.   Some of the nitration  was tricky. 

BTW:  With the exception of BH 209 all the black powder substitutes contain potassium perchlorate.   The reason is easy:   Adding potassium perchlorate is a cheap way to boost  power.
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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 23rd 2017, 3:05 pm

falcon wrote:
i've made black powder with aluminum powder added.    Stuff is very brisant compared to regular black powder.  

A crazy old Army EOD guy and myself were instructors at EOD school.   We made all the explosives in a book entitled Explosives like Grand Paw Used To Make.   Some of the nitration  was tricky. 

BTW:  With the exception of BH 209 all the black powder substitutes contain potassium perchlorate.   The reason is easy:   Adding potassium perchlorate is a cheap way to boost  power.


My manager of our muzzle loading/mountain man store was an ex-seal from Seal Team One. He was always playing with combinations of powder, still dreaming of the Composition C-4 I think? He made some pretty good stuff before passing on to the other side a few years ago.

I called a few old explosive experts we knew to go through my building and his apartment that we furnished him. You never know what goes through some guys brain with the dreams he would have about his time in Vietnam. He never forgot and wanted to go back to get even all the time, sad he couldn't forget. Dunno

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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 23rd 2017, 4:12 pm

My principal hunting pard has been a brown bear guide for close to 50 years now, preceded by an army tour in Nam as a forward observer. Delightful character to sit around and jaw with, but he moves through the woods like no one I've seen before.

The mantle of folks looking for him and shooting at him comes right to the front, and it can be a little unnerving at times. He sees, hears, smells and reacts to things before you even register them.  Makes for a good bear guide for sure, but it's always best to have him in the lead on personal hunts.  He's just a wee bit too twitchy to have walking along behind you!  Frankly, I'm glad he wasn't playing with explosives back then.
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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 23rd 2017, 4:17 pm

Aluminum powder makes it burn bright white. Found that out today.

My mix still isn't worth a damn however. Followed it to the T and its a grey color, lights off like pyrodex and burns slow, but steady.
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PostSubject: Re: Green River Black Powder   July 23rd 2017, 4:31 pm

FrontierGander wrote:
Aluminum powder makes it burn bright white. Found that out today.

My mix still isn't worth a damn however. Followed it to the T and its a grey color, lights off like pyrodex and burns slow, but steady.

Don't blow off any important parts...

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