Re: [Revlist] black powder quality
- I had conversation about making gunpowder with some friends of mine and one
of them shared think link...
It has a lot of neat historical information and recreation of black powder
and early weapons. Most of it is prior to the Colonial era, but its
interesting none the less.
On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 1:41 PM, The Hairy Loon <
> The formula of "black powder", or Gunpowder to give it the original British--
> name, has evolved over a very long period of time, for instance Bacon in
> the 1260s had a ratio of 7-5-5, which is roughly 40%-30%-30%.
> This altered through the ages until the mid 1600s, when the French formula
> was 75.6% P, 13.6% C and 10.8% S, whilst the English used 66.6%, 22.3% and
> It was not until about 1800 that a so called standard was brought into
> place, this being 75%, 15% and 10%.
> Even then quality differed depending on what wood was used to make the
> charcoal, willow, which is best, alder or blackthorn as used by Britain
> from 15th to 19th century, or cottonwood, as used by the Confederate
> Even after the formula was "standardised", it was altered, by the 1880s,
> the French was using 75-12.5-12.5, whilst the British still had 75-15-10,
> but later the British MkVII Gunpowder using 65-20-15.
> The alterations, for the most part, came about because of the different and
> evolving ignition systems, from firelock up to percussion, but also as it
> was learnt about the different roles each chemical had in the end result.
> Basic corning was developed in the mid 1400s, but was vastly improved after
> 1800 by compressing the powder before corning it.
> So no, the powder prior to 1800, at least, possibly up till about 1820 or
> more, was not as good, it picked up moisture quicker, it burnt dirtier, and
> left more fowling.
> All this is apart from the so-called quality control from various
> On 1 January 2013 14:59, glenn <Glenn@...> wrote:
> > I see this kind of statement frequently: "black powder was not as good
> > back then as it is now".
> > This is not exactly true. The formula for BP has not improved.
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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