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Posted: 4/18/2005 2:02:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/17/2005 10:58:43 AM EDT by jasondcrum]

The story:

While back the wife comes home with a 15 lbs. keg of Green Dot smokeless gunpowder she found in the family storage unit. She thought I could use it. Well, it had been opened and it was old so there was no way I could use it. Now, I have 15 lbs of GP that I can't just throw away (thoughts of a garbage truck/rolling pipe bomb come to mind) so of course I have to burn it in small piles as the disposal instructions state. Being the fun, efficient guy I am, I decide to take it out to our deer lease and burn it one big pile with the help of a tracer round.


My background:
Now I have shot plenty of old, bad blackpowder in 1 lb metal cans with pretty nice results. The Green Dot keg was in a simple (but big, like 5 gal size) carboard container with a push on lid. On the way out to the lease I considered the ramifications of what I was about to do. I had never lit off anywhere close to this much powder but I have shot a lot of Tannerite and had an idea of what a pound of that will do. I have burned several small piles of old powder and it just flamed up quite quickly and consumed the powder with out much to get excited about. The 1 lbs cans in the past were metal and sealed so I assumed they exploded (please see my avitar) quite nice (similar a bottle of tannerite) due to the compression inside the container.

My reasoning:

I was kind of comparing apples to oranges here because of the smokless powder and the blackpowder so I intended to do some research to try to decide what was going to happen. (which I forgot to do last week) Anyway the arguement I had with myself on the way out to the deer lease went like this:

Self 1 "Well, its not sealed at all- it might just flame up in a big way."
Self 2 " Dude, its fifteen pounds- you know exactly what its going to do."
Self 1 "No, I don't , I have no idea what amount of Hercules Green Dot Smokless Shotgun Powder it takes to go from burning rapidly to exploding."
Self 2 "Well, neither do I but I am guessing its less than what you have in the back of the truck."
Self 1 "Thats an assumption, like the dumbasses at work make all the time. Don't make assumptions."
Self 2 "Sorry, your right. Since we only have one 'shot' (heh) at it, we can't slowly step up the amounts, we should just shoot the whole damn thing and monitor the results."
Self 1 "See, thats thinking like an engineer."

(mindlessly flick Marlboro out window, worry about where cig went for the next 10 minutes)


The test:

As I didn't want to burn all of west Texas down I found a place near water and no grass nearby. I set the keg on the dam of a medium sized stock tank. I located some buckets to carry water in case of fire and got my firing postion set up in a way that at least provided a little cover in case I had slightly undershot what was going to happen. I put a tracer in the AR and got ready. I told my buddy not to worry, it was just a little gunpowder, not going to be an explosion or anything. I took aim and fire the tracer into the container of Green Dot. I just wish I had remembered to start the camera. And for that, ARFCOM, I am truly, truly sorry.



The results:

I know a lot of you guys have shot Tannerite and other similar stuff, and I have too. So unless you are EOD or have be shelled at by opposing forces then I am pretty sure you do not understand what happened when that tracer touched off the powder.

I almost blew the dam out of that pond when that fucker went off. Dirt clods and rocks the size of footballs raining down for 15-20 seconds and about 20 1-2 lb. bass floating around stunned for about 5 minutes afterwards. All the trees were stripped of leaves and any plants or grass with any leaves were gone for a 30 foot diameter. The crater was 5-6 ft wide and about 5 ft deep that backfilled with water. We were about 80 yards away from ground zero (which was way too close) and I was covered with dirt and dust about 1/2 inch thick. If you can hear Tannerite for 7-8 mile away then about a quarter of Young county was wondering what the hell just exploded.

The conclusion:

I got in my truck and left. Right then. I just figured it was best to spend the rest of the afternoon hunting on another part of the lease about 10 miles from that section. Although nothing I did was illegal, I was pretty sure that any people around wanted to know which one of the local natural gas plants just exploded. My ears were still ringing about an hour later and the buddy I brought with me didn't say anything for about half an hour. Later, when he had snapped out of what ever trance he was in, just said quietly that it was the loudest, most frightening thing he had ever witnessed. 3 hours later he wanted to know if we could get another 15 pounds of powder so we could try it again. As stated at the start, I had an idea that something neat was going happen but I had no idea that it was going to be 10 times larger than I could have expected.

This thread is pretty much worthless without pics, and again I am sorry I forgot to start the camera.


Link Posted: 4/18/2005 2:07:56 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/18/2005 2:08:38 PM EDT by Housefull]
That is the funniest thing I have read in a long time. Been there, done that but with only a 1 lb'er.
Link Posted: 4/18/2005 2:26:24 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/18/2005 2:28:09 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/18/2005 2:30:55 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/18/2005 2:33:18 PM EDT

Originally Posted By David_Hineline:
Smokless powder burns slowly and progressivly, that is why it is stored in cardboard or plastic containers, without a tight container to seal it in which will not split open and vent pressure it just burns, I am not calling you a liar, but if it exploded then what you had was not Hercules Green Dot.



That is correct.
Link Posted: 4/18/2005 2:38:54 PM EDT
Did you get the fish?
Link Posted: 4/18/2005 2:45:06 PM EDT
Green Dot is a Double-base propellant and will not detonate with out strong containment.
Black powder will not reliably go bang in a fiber container. As a kid many-many years ago, we made hundred’s of pounds of Black Powder.
Link Posted: 4/18/2005 2:54:02 PM EDT
Dang it, now I gotta go get some gun powder.
Link Posted: 4/18/2005 2:54:26 PM EDT
No way that was green dot if it exploded in the way you said. It would have had to be something else. Good thing you didn't reload with it.
Link Posted: 4/18/2005 3:00:39 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/18/2005 3:04:14 PM EDT


Did you look to see if it actually was Green Dot (little green flakes of powder)?
Link Posted: 4/18/2005 3:05:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By bookertbab:
No way that was green dot if it exploded in the way you said. It would have had to be something else. Good thing you didn't reload with it.



Same thing I was thinking...
Link Posted: 4/18/2005 3:06:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/18/2005 3:08:56 PM EDT by TxLewis]
Are you anywhere near Brouhaha?

It seems he had something shaking his house today.

TXL

eta

www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=344046
Link Posted: 4/18/2005 3:26:54 PM EDT
See- I was thinking along the same lines, the powder needed to be contained to explode. Thats why I went ahead and lit it off. I looked at the powder- it had been opened before but very little if any was used. I guess it is a possibility (since it was open) that it could have been something else but it looked exactly like green dot and it would be highly unlikely that my wife's father would have mislabed anything, much less propellent. (He was anal like that). I am sticking with the story- it sure as hell exploded in the manner described. And like I said I see no reason it wasn't Green Dot.... My working theory is the sheer volume of propellent didn't allow the gases to expand fast enough to simply burn off., resulting in a quite powerful reaction. Man I wish I had recorded it- that was my initial plan to shoot it and post the vid.

Damn
Link Posted: 4/18/2005 3:27:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TxLewis:
Are you anywhere near Brouhaha?

It seems he had something shaking his house today.

TXL

eta

www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=344046





Yeah I posted on that thread- this was on Sunday. heh.
Link Posted: 4/18/2005 3:37:00 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/18/2005 3:43:02 PM EDT
Best post of the day. My stomach hurts from lauging so hard. Your internal dialouge is great.
Link Posted: 4/18/2005 3:45:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/18/2005 3:48:53 PM EDT by Daytona955i]

Originally Posted By jasondcrum:
See- I was thinking along the same lines, the powder needed to be contained to explode. Thats why I went ahead and lit it off. I looked at the powder- it had been opened before but very little if any was used. I guess it is a possibility (since it was open) that it could have been something else but it looked exactly like green dot and it would be highly unlikely that my wife's father would have mislabed anything, much less propellent. (He was anal like that). I am sticking with the story- it sure as hell exploded in the manner described. And like I said I see no reason it wasn't Green Dot.... My working theory is the sheer volume of propellent didn't allow the gases to expand fast enough to simply burn off., resulting in a quite powerful reaction. Man I wish I had recorded it- that was my initial plan to shoot it and post the vid.

Damn



15 pounds of powder packed in like that will make some good pressure, because of that I won't rule it out and call you a liar ( I wouldn't anyway). If you just burn gun powder it just lights and burns slowly depending on the type of powder. Black powder is very violent however. Although the gun powder that is being compressed into the center when using smokeless powder could possibly create gasses that gets trapped in the inside of the burning powder and create enough force while trying to escape to send more burning, exploding gun powder out with a lot of power.

Compounds like smokeless powder usually will break down over time if exposed to moisture. If not exposed to any moisture, compounds like gun powder could act in unusual ways. Kind of like when dynamite has been sitting (old dynamite that used saw dust) and the nitro would ooze away from the saw dust and could explode on its own. Many some settling occured.
Link Posted: 4/18/2005 4:37:37 PM EDT

3 hours later he wanted to know if we could get another 15 pounds of powder so we could try it again.


I'm still laughing about that comment!
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 3:02:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jasondcrum:

The story:


snip

My ears were still ringing about an hour later and the buddy I brought with me didn't say anything for about half an hour. Later, when he had snapped out of what ever trance he was in, just said quietly that it was the loudest, most frightening thing he had ever witnessed. 3 hours later he wanted to know if we could get another 15 pounds of powder so we could try it again. As stated at the start, I had an idea that something neat was going happen but I had no idea that it was going to be 10 times larger than I could have expected.



Now THIS, THIS is the kind of story I was talking about! 80 yards away and still far too close! What a RIOT!
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 3:06:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By samsong:

Originally Posted By jasondcrum:

The story:


snip

My ears were still ringing about an hour later and the buddy I brought with me didn't say anything for about half an hour. Later, when he had snapped out of what ever trance he was in, just said quietly that it was the loudest, most frightening thing he had ever witnessed. 3 hours later he wanted to know if we could get another 15 pounds of powder so we could try it again. As stated at the start, I had an idea that something neat was going happen but I had no idea that it was going to be 10 times larger than I could have expected.



Now THIS, THIS is the kind of story I was talking about! 80 yards away and still far too close! What a RIOT!



Marty, when this baby hits 88 MPH you're gonna see some serious shit!
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 3:14:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/18/2005 3:15:22 PM EDT by Keith_J]
It was NOT a pressure containment issue. What you experienced was a true detonation. Any double-based powder WILL detonate given enough shock, just like Tannerite will NOT detonate when ignited but will detonate when shocked.

Even single based powder will detonate if shocked sufficiently but it takes a very hot blasting cap and the powder needs to be dead pressed into a single mass.

The nitroglycerine in the Green Dot provided enough sensitivity for a bullet strike to be sufficient.

Try putting a few grains of DB powder on an anvil and hitting it with a 24 ounce ball peen hammer. You will get a crackle from the NG.

ETA: 15 pounds from 80 yards? Wow, that is far closer than the old 1 pound per 100 yards rule.
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 3:16:47 PM EDT
You do realize that smokeless powder is not hydroscopic and extremely stable, so that 15 lbs of Green Dot was perfectly fine?
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 3:19:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ODA_564:
You do realize that smokeless powder is not hydroscopic and extremely stable, so that 15 lbs of Green Dot was perfectly fine?



Cannot sell it as no one will buy opened containers. Cannot use it. Why not dispose of it?
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 3:23:09 PM EDT
Damn! Now I want to try that!
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 3:28:16 PM EDT
You have failed us, now you must go back and get pics of the blast site.
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 3:45:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/18/2005 3:46:11 PM EDT by Sodie]
Smokeless power is hard to ignite with out a primer type contained ignition system but I've personally noticed a big difference between rifle extruded, pistol ball and shotgun flake powder. The shotgun quick burning flake powder is very volatile and is easy to light. The ball and extruded powder is pretty damn hard to light, I even extinguished a match trying to light a small pile. I had to let the match burn to a good flame first then drop it onto the pile before it lit. It smoldered for a little while and then sparked up. It burned very slowly compared to the shotgun flake which went up in one flash. Yes, I too had some old remnant cans that needed to be "disposed" of properly.
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 3:49:17 PM EDT
That was frikken funny!!!!
I call no BS it was too naturally written and has the total ring of truth.
Perhaps it behaved like a dust explosion. When the tracer hit the container of GP it mechanically exploded just like a container of flour would. As it atomized and lit on fire it reached the proper mixture of fuel and air to make a violent explosion, like FA bomb or dust explosion.
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 3:53:44 PM EDT
Where in Texas are you at?
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 4:57:48 PM EDT
Self 1 "Well, its not sealed at all- it might just flame up in a big way."
Self 2 " Dude, its fifteen pounds- you know exactly what its going to do."
Self 1 "No, I don't , I have no idea what amount of Hercules Green Dot Smokless Shotgun Powder it takes to go from burning rapidly to exploding."
Self 2 "Well, neither do I but I am guessing its less than what you have in the back of the truck."
Self 1 "Thats an assumption, like the dumbasses at work make all the time. Don't make assumptions."
Self 2 "Sorry, your right. Since we only have one 'shot' (heh) at it, we can't slowly step up the amounts, we should just shoot the whole damn thing and monitor the results."
Self 1 "See, thats thinking like an engineer."


THAT WAS HILARIOUS!!! Thx!!
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 7:27:30 PM EDT
hilarious!!!LMAO
Link Posted: 5/18/2005 7:43:28 PM EDT

I told my buddy not to worry, it was just a little gunpowder, not going to be an explosion or anything.


That has to be the funniest thing that I've read on here in a while.... My ribs hurt from laughing so hard,
and I woke Mrs. Tanker up, who wondered why I had tears running down my cheeks.

Link Posted: 5/18/2005 7:56:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Tanker06:

I told my buddy not to worry, it was just a little gunpowder, not going to be an explosion or anything.


That has to be the funniest thing that I've read on here in a while.... My ribs hurt from laughing so hard,
and I woke Mrs. Tanker up, who wondered why I had tears running down my cheeks.






Truly, a 'Hold-My-Beer-And-Watch-This-Shit' moment.


Link Posted: 5/18/2005 8:23:19 PM EDT
Actually I heard/read of the demise of one Bushnell Smith of the 1930/40 fame as a gun writer and gunsmith. He apparently was chambering a 250 Savage round in a bolt gun that he had in a vise on his work bench. Unfortunatly it went off. On the other end of the bench was a keg of smokeless. it appaently got hit with the bullet. The keg exploded and killed Mr Smith.

The impact of the bullet was enough of a shock wave that compressed the powder to detionation.

I don't think it would have mattered if it was a tracer or ball round.

Other people have killed themselves or others by compressing smokless. A benchrester got a tight loaded case stuck in this rifle. He took it back to the saftey bench to clear it . He took the bolt out of the gun and put a cleaning rod down the muzzel and taped it with his hand. Bench resters always like a full case of powder. It went off blowing the rear of the case into his wife. She died. The primer of the case when recovered was still live.

Another stuck case, cleaning rod, no bolt, ramming it against a basement wall produced the same effect, one dead guy.

Don't mess or compress smokeless.
Link Posted: 5/19/2005 7:23:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ODA_564:
You do realize that smokeless powder is not hydroscopic and extremely stable, so that 15 lbs of Green Dot was perfectly fine?




I believe that the manufacturer stated that age, exposure to atmosphere and exposure to extreme temperatures were all factors in powder stability. Although, I might have read that from another powder manufacturer. Regardless of the powder's ability to absorb water I was not going to reload with it- I have 4 shotgun reloaders in the attic and have never even set one up to load. Rifles loads are about all I do.

I see a few non believers posting, I understand- this is the internet. I need to get another 15 lbs and video it. The top of the keg had "$106.95" on it. It was probably 10 to 15 years old, based on wifes best guess so I would assume the price is quite a bit more now.
Link Posted: 5/19/2005 7:25:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By NoMoAMMO:
Where in Texas are you at?




You're the ATF, look me up. I live in Carrollton, but ground zero was near Graham.
Link Posted: 5/19/2005 7:38:24 PM EDT
Very good story!!! As you said, i'd love to see video of the next one.

I had a one pound can of FFF that I decided to dispose of, and was wrapping small amounts in paper which I'd just drop into a small fire behind the house. I got tired of playing with small amounts, so I put the rest in a sandwich bag and tossed it in. The resulting POOF was quite impressive. (From 10-20 feet away).
Link Posted: 5/19/2005 7:43:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jasondcrum:

Originally Posted By NoMoAMMO:
Where in Texas are you at?




You're the ATF, look me up. I live in Carrollton, but ground zero was near Graham.



Next time invite me, I am in DFW. Lets shoot the keg 500 instead of 80
Link Posted: 5/19/2005 7:58:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GoGop:
Very good story!!! As you said, i'd love to see video of the next one.

I had a one pound can of FFF that I decided to dispose of, and was wrapping small amounts in paper which I'd just drop into a small fire behind the house. I got tired of playing with small amounts, so I put the rest in a sandwich bag and tossed it in. The resulting POOF was quite impressive. (From 10-20 feet away).



<--- My avatar is a 1lb can of FFF with a tracer at 70 yds. It was pretty impressive but like I said, a Blackcat firecracker compared to the Green dot.



Next time invite me, I am in DFW. Lets shoot the keg 500 instead of 80

I still have about 10 lbs of Tannerite left...
Link Posted: 5/19/2005 8:19:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By usma89:

Originally Posted By jasondcrum:

Originally Posted By NoMoAMMO:
Where in Texas are you at?




You're the ATF, look me up. I live in Carrollton, but ground zero was near Graham.



Next time invite me, I am in DFW. Lets shoot the keg 500 instead of 80



just make sure you guys get pictures this time dammnit!
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 6:27:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jasondcrum:
See- I was thinking along the same lines, the powder needed to be contained to explode. Thats why I went ahead and lit it off. I looked at the powder- it had been opened before but very little if any was used. I guess it is a possibility (since it was open) that it could have been something else but it looked exactly like green dot and it would be highly unlikely that my wife's father would have mislabed anything, much less propellent. (He was anal like that). I am sticking with the story- it sure as hell exploded in the manner described. And like I said I see no reason it wasn't Green Dot.... My working theory is the sheer volume of propellent didn't allow the gases to expand fast enough to simply burn off., resulting in a quite powerful reaction. Man I wish I had recorded it- that was my initial plan to shoot it and post the vid.

Damn


I've read that when disposing of old powder by burning it, you should spread it out so that it won't detonate. Old powder can decompose a little, if it's stored in poor conditions (allowed to bake in a hot garage, etc.) and will have an acrid smell if it is going bad.

I don't know if 15 pounds is enough to worry about detonations when burning it, but shooting a tracer into the middle might provide enough of an impetus to make it go off with a bang.

I wish I'd been there. Now it's gonna cost about $200 to buy enough Green Dot to replicate the experiment.
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 6:42:46 AM EDT


Tagged for when you buy and shoot another 15lbs and video tape it.
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 6:51:03 AM EDT

Originally Posted By captainpooby:
Perhaps it behaved like a dust explosion. When the tracer hit the container of GP it mechanically exploded just like a container of flour would. As it atomized and lit on fire it reached the proper mixture of fuel and air to make a violent explosion, like FA bomb or dust explosion.



I was thinking the exact same thing.

I wonder if red dot would do the same thing. I've got about the same amount in the same type of container and it's real old too! Red dot burns faster doesn't it? What do you think, 90yds be enough?
Link Posted: 5/20/2005 6:59:15 AM EDT
This thread needs to be moved into this thread: What is the craziest/stupidest/most humorous thing you have done with explosives? MJD
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