Black Powder

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Black Power Gun can of Black PowderBlack Powder

 A Black Powder Gun or MuzzleLoader can be a lot of fun to shoot. But you should always use gun safety rules and handle your black powder with the caution that it deserves. Remember it black powder is a EXPLOSIVE! Do not smoke when handling or loading your black powder guns. Black powder will burn at a very fast rate when out in the open. Also do not load out of the can. Use a smaller container to pour your powder in to the measure with. This way if you do have a accident you will not have a pound of powder in your hand.

For you who have not yet gotten your muzzle loader and supplies, the picture to the left is of a can of black powder. This is a FFgrain size. Black powder comes in 4 different grain sizes (F) used for small cannon and very large bore guns, (FF) used for 45caliber to shotguns and small cannon, (FFF) used for 44 caliber and smaller bore rifles and pistols, (FFFF) used mainly for priming flash pans on flint lock guns. You can use larger grain powder sizes in smaller sized calibers with less accuracy, but you should never use small grain powder in the larger bore guns. The smaller the grain size the faster the powder will burn, you can blow up your gun and get injured also.

A Little History

Black powder use invented by the Chinese around the 9th century. The rest of the major population centers of the world had found how to made black powder by the 12th to the 13th centuries. From around 1780 to now, the formula mixture of 75% potassium nitrate, 10% sulfur and 15% charcoal are used for firearms. There can be slightly different mixtures for blasting powder used in blasting rock.

The size of the grains of the black powder will also determine the burn rate of the powder. The smaller the grain the faster the burn rate will be. This is why it is important to use the correct grain size in your firearm. You would never want to use FFFF black powder except for charging a flintlock flash pan.


Pyrodex is a black powder substitute made for black powder guns.  PYRODEX is safer to handle and to make. Pyrodex is a lot easier to find today than Black Powder is. You will also get about 30% more volume per pound and you still use the same amount in volume to load your gun with. More shots per pound. It is said to burn cleaner and be easier to clean up after than black powder. It is also classed as a flammable solid and not as an Explosive like black powder is. I have never used Pyrodex so I am only going by what I have read about it. You can go to their web site to get the full scoop on it,

After shooting your muzzle loader you need to clean it right away. You can not leave the cleaning job off for a couple of days. The powder residue from black powder and Pyrodex is corrosive. It will eat way at your barrel. If you get pits on your bore you will fine it harder to ram a ball down on the powder when loading and it will tear the patch going down and also when you shoot the gun. You will loose accuracy. Plus it will corrode on the outside of the gun also ruining the finish. Best I have found to use on this residue is good old hot soapy water. Dish soap works the best due to it will cut any oil left on your gun too.

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