Making Black Powder Ammo in the Woods.

ASUS-DAG

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Something I want to do next summer is make some ammo in the woods from start to finish. I plane to take as little supplies as possible. Everything should fit in a small bag and allow me to make a fire, melt lead, cast bullets, lube by hand, prep cases, charge with a Lee powder spoon and put it all together with a Lymen 310 tool. Going Old West with it. If you’ve done this before, I would love to hear about it [FONT=&quot]and your experience.[/FONT].:topjob:


I have never loaded with BP before, but I have been looking into it. I’ll be using a Marlin 45-70 SBL and Ruger Super Redhawk 454-45Colt. The 45-70 bullet is a 405gr and 255gr SWC for the 45 Colt.


I know the type for powder and how much to use. I also understand the cleaning proses. What I don’t know is what kind of lead to use. Should it be pure lead, Lymen #2, wheel weights or something in-between like range scraps?

[FONT=&quot]
Looking forward to your thought and anything else on the subject you mite have to share. [/FONT]
 

Smitty of the North

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Something I want to do next summer is make some ammo in the woods from start to finish. I plane to take as little supplies as possible. Everything should fit in a small bag and allow me to make a fire, melt lead, cast bullets, lube by hand, prep cases, charge with a Lee powder spoon and put it all together with a Lymen 310 tool. Going Old West with it. If you’ve done this before, I would love to hear about it [FONT="]and your experience.[/FONT].:topjob:


I have never loaded with BP before, but I have been looking into it. I’ll be using a Marlin 45-70 SBL and Ruger Super Redhawk 454-45Colt. The 45-70 bullet is a 405gr and 255gr SWC for the 45 Colt.


I know the type for powder and how much to use. I also understand the cleaning proses. What I don’t know is what kind of lead to use. Should it be pure lead, Lymen #2, wheel weights or something in-between like range scraps?

[FONT="]
Looking forward to your thought and anything else on the subject you mite have to share. [/FONT]

That should be an interesting project.

I've loaded extensivey with the Lyman 310 tools, though not in the woods, and not with BP.

I have a KIT for everything I need to load 280 Remington, and am planning to load at the Range. I could also put together a kit for 30-30, and other cartridges, since I have the dies.

I've not moulded bullets with a campfire, but I DO have a Bag Mould, for Round Ball, and a Dipper that I can put on the coals that has provision for putting a branch on the handle to make it longer. I hope to do it, next summer, first in my yard, and later elsewhere.

As to the Loading, (away from home) the problem is having everything you need with you, because you will no doubt MISS something, and hafta go back for it.

As I've said, Molding bullets on the campfire is not something I've had experience with yet, but I would anticipate difficulties with the unknown. (For example,,,,,

How would you transport the lead?) In my case, I had hoped to carry them in more or less pencil size lead strips, that I could make by gouging out strips in a Hard Wood for a mould.

At the beginning, you might consider bringing the bullets, already made, and sized.

Remember, that BP must fill the space betwixt the bullet and powder. I use BP for Muzzle Loading, but I'm really not into BP for cartridges.

And, make sure your lead or the tools you use for moulding the bullets don't get wet, or any moisture at all. You don't want an SPLOSIONS, or injuries.

Good Luck, I hope it works out well.

Smitty of the North
 

ASUS-DAG

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Thanks for the reply Smitty of the North. I’m excited to do this.I might not wait till summer to do this. I think I have one hold up though. The Lymen 310 Tool used to be the Ideal Tooland it had a hole to size bullets. The310 does not.Do you know of a smallhand tool like the 310 to size bullets after casting?
 

redale

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How do you plan to make your primers and your powder? Where will you find the raw materials? Something the old timers did not have that would make a mighty fine addition to your equipment list is a laboratory face shield. If I wanted to do this in the wild I first do it all in the back yard with someone around for safety as both black powder and fulminated mercury can very dangerous. Best of luck. Let us here on the forum know how you are progressing. Pictures with explanations would also be nice.
 

ASUS-DAG

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How do you plan to make your primers and your powder? Where will you find the raw materials? Something the old timers did not have that would make a mighty fine addition to your equipment list is a laboratory face shield. If I wanted to do this in the wild I first do it all in the back yard with someone around for safety as both black powder and fulminated mercury can very dangerous. Best of luck. Let us here on the forum know how you are progressing. Pictures with explanations would also be nice.

LoL. Well, I don’tknow how to make primers, but I do know how to make BP. There are 3 ingredients in BP and that is Sulfur,Potassium Nitrate and Charcoal. As forfinding the raw materials, that would be really difficult. Finding Sulfur in Alaska would be one hell ofa journey and Potassium Nitrate,,, Well good luck with that one. However, you can order these two itemsonline.
I probably won’t make the powder in the field. I can bring a can of powder, primers and leadingots with me. I should be able fiteverything in an ammo box.
If you want to see pictures, you’re going to have to teachme how to put them on here because I have no clue how to do it. I would alsolike to put a YouTube video link on making black powder, but I don’t know to dothat ether.
 

Smitty of the North

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Thanks for the reply Smitty of the North. I’m excited to do this.I might not wait till summer to do this. I think I have one hold up though. The Lymen 310 Tool used to be the Ideal Tooland it had a hole to size bullets. The310 does not.Do you know of a smallhand tool like the 310 to size bullets after casting?

USTA could buy bullet sizing dies for the 310 tool.

SOTN
 

Armymark

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Good bed of coals to last and maintain temperature.
Don't forget a small spoon to take the junk off the molten lead.
Using a small cauldron makes it easier to purify rather than trying to remove dross form the dipper. A hook or something to move the cauldron around in the bed of coals.
dont use an ingot, like previously mentioned your lead should be shavings or small chips so it will melt quicker.
Tricky part might getting the mold at the right temp and keeping it there so you don't get wrinkled or flaws in the bullet.
make sure no water dripping from trees or rain can drip into the molten lead.
Consider what you'll drop the hot bullets on/in.
Dont forget something to knock the mold open and cut the sprew.
thick glove and eye pro.
Dont burn the forest down.
Sounds like fun!
 

Smitty of the North

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usta???>>>>

When I buyed my first handloading tools, a 310 set for 280 Rem., it included a 7mm bullet sizing die, bullet mould, etc.

You (used to) be able to buy them, separate from the 5 reloading dies.

The Lee sizer set includes a bullet sizing die, which you should be able to use, separately with a HAMMER instead of the press.

"Don't force it use a bigger hammer".

Smitty of the North
 

Smitty of the North

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I don't know where you're at, in the process, but assuming you are at the beginning,

On careful consideration, and influenced by my own experiences, I would not recommend that you Mould bullets around a campfire, I would suggest you purchase a supply of cast bullets from Lee Stoner.

I suggest you try the handloading first. Get your loading equipment and components together, and make sure you have EVERYTHING you will need or want to do it. That means trying it first.

Neither, would I recommend trying to make BP out there. I have studied on that since I was in High School, and it's more than just mixing ingredients, although that will result in an explosive effect.

In the early days BP was made that way, more or less, but it became more effective, and safer, and reliable when they found a way to Granulate it. It was huge breakthrough.

I have a really great book on the history of BP.

There are U Tube videos on how to make BP. If you haven't checked them out already.

SOTN
 

JOAT

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Molding lead isn't so hard and hand priming, charging and seating cartridges isn't difficult. However, you can't just mix 3 ingredients together and make BP. It's quite a bit more complicated than than. Saltpeter is actually not that hard to make, though now you're getting into acids and hazardous chemistry that shouldn't be tried without proper knowledge. And the equipment to grind the components under pressure into a usable black powder is notable. Not really something you just do in a little bowl with a spoon, if you know what I mean.
 

ASUS-DAG

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I don't know where you're at, in the process,


I appreciate your concern for my safety Smitty. I’ve been loading for 5 years and casting for a year now. I do have a Lee bottom pour. Great piece of equipment, but if the power goes out, it’s just a paper weight. (With that in mind) I heat my house with wood with an old boxes stove, so one day I wanted to see if I could cast a bullet using my wood stove. It worked and it was done safely. All the fumes you get from melting alloys went up the flow. No fires, no injuries and no electricity. Now I would like to do it the field.


I like to learn and try new things. That’s why I’m going to get into some BP shooting. And yes, there is a lot more than just mixing the ingredients. That would not be a smart thing to do, nor a safe thing to do. I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but you won’t catch me trying to field dress a moose with a spoon.

What's the name of that book about the history of BP? I bet that's a good read.
 

ASUS-DAG

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Molding lead isn't so hard and hand priming, charging and seating cartridges isn't difficult. However, you can't just mix 3 ingredients together and make BP. It's quite a bit more complicated than than. Saltpeter is actually not that hard to make, though now you're getting into acids and hazardous chemistry that shouldn't be tried without proper knowledge. And the equipment to grind the components under pressure into a usable black powder is notable. Not really something you just do in a little bowl with a spoon, if you know what I mean.

I Agree!,,,,,,
 

Smitty of the North

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ASUS-DAG:

You probably know more about making BP than I do

I just thought the process was complex enough that you wouldn't be doin it around a campfire, unless of course, you were camped for an extended period of time.

The book is,,,,,,,

GUNPOWDER Author: Jack Kelly

Alchemy Bombards, & Pyrotechnics:

The History of the Explosive that changed the World.

SOTN
 

ASUS-DAG

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Ok. I finally got out to do some camping. Went out and spent 4 day at one of my favorite spots. I used the camp fire to melt some lead ingots and cast a couple dozen 45Colt 255gr. SWC’s and then prepped the brass with the Lyman 310 Tool, lubed and charged with BP. It worked great. It took a little time, but it gave me that feeling of accomplishment of knowing that I can load anywhere, giving the conditions & components. Give it a try sometime. All my equipment fit into a ammo can. Sorry, No pictures. Now I want to get a 310 tool for my 45-70. Oh Yeah!
 

rbuck351

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If you decide to make the black powder as well, the ingredients are not hard to get here in Anchorage at Anchorage Mill and Feed. They sell potassium nitrate in 1 pound bags and sulfur in 5 lbs boxes if I recall. Charcoal can be made easily or bought at Wal Mart in the garden/flower section
 

Smitty of the North

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Ok. I finally got out to do some camping. Went out and spent 4 day at one of my favorite spots. I used the camp fire to melt some lead ingots and cast a couple dozen 45Colt 255gr. SWC’s and then prepped the brass with the Lyman 310 Tool, lubed and charged with BP. It worked great. It took a little time, but it gave me that feeling of accomplishment of knowing that I can load anywhere, giving the conditions & components. Give it a try sometime. All my equipment fit into a ammo can. Sorry, No pictures. Now I want to get a 310 tool for my 45-70. Oh Yeah!

What did you use to resize the bullet? OR, did you need to do that? What about Lubing the bullet? How did'ja accomplish that? I used the "Cake Cutter" method.

There seems to have been some evolvement regarding the Lyman 3 Tong Ten tools.

Originally, the handles were made of steel and were cartridge body specific, then they came up with alloy handles that use a "ring" to align the cartridge case.

NOW, I notice that the die for decapping also resizes the case neck. It is a combination die. (My sets have separate dies for decapping and resizing the neck.)

They don't make the dies for ANY cartridge anymore, but I think that they've added a few old Black Powder cartridges to the mix recently. ???

Smitty of the North
 
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