Author Topic: Black Powder and fire danger  (Read 707 times)

Offline powderhombre

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Black Powder and fire danger
« on: August 11, 2020, 03:49:38 PM »
Living in Colorado there seems to always be a fire danger. Does anyone know of a fire being started by black powder exiting the barrel ?

Offline Drydock

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Re: Black Powder and fire danger
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2020, 03:57:27 PM »
Well, back in the olden days of SASS, I set some paper targets afire when firing blackpowder loads across a table. 

Mostly though, for cartridge guns, this is no real danger.  HOWSUMEVER!  Muzzleloaders using wads of some sort, or musket paper cartridges, have been known to set grass fires in very dry conditions.  But it is the wadding or paper that does this, not the powder itself.
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Offline hellgate

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Re: Black Powder and fire danger
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2020, 08:42:48 PM »
The major source of fire has been the use of overly greased lube wads in cap and ball revolvers. Powder adheres to the underside of the wad and a flaming sizzling wad follows the ball into dry grass.
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Offline Major 2

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Re: Black Powder and fire danger
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2020, 09:03:40 PM »
I was at a CW reenactment once , and fire stared from a volley fire ( Blanks and paper cartridges )  it was dry grass ....
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Offline Bunk Stagnerg

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Re: Black Powder and fire danger
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2020, 09:36:23 PM »
Hellgate,
To prevent fires like that I will quote Texas Ranger Captain Leander McNelly
"I don't want men who miss"
So don't miss the target, don't set the grass on fire.
Respectfully,
Bunk

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Re: Black Powder and fire danger
« Reply #5 on: Today at 01:33:46 PM »

Offline Abilene

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Re: Black Powder and fire danger
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2020, 11:01:22 PM »
When I had a larger guncart I carried a small fire extinguisher in it.  Some but not all of the CAS ranges around here have extinguishers at each stage.

Offline greyhawk

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Re: Black Powder and fire danger
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2020, 01:02:34 AM »
The major source of fire has been the use of overly greased lube wads in cap and ball revolvers. Powder adheres to the underside of the wad and a flaming sizzling wad follows the ball into dry grass.

Yep ! done that one ----- set fire to a paper target at 15 yards with lube cookies under the ball

Look at some of the nighttime pictures guys post of blackpowder guns with the flamethrower effect six feet out the front - you would have to be nuts to do that in dry grass country on a hot windy day. 

Offline Ranch 13

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Re: Black Powder and fire danger
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2020, 08:52:34 AM »
 I have seen patch pans set on fire at BPTR matches, when the sparks set off the dirty patches in the pan. One shooter that uses cotton balls to wipe the bore with is particularly noted for that..
Have also seen cease fires called at BPTR matches that the firing points weren't maintained very well and the grass has grown to close.
 A few years back we had a wild fire that originated off of Camp Guernsey that burned around 15 thousand acres after a training exercise with M60's and their tracers went a sour when one of those tracer rounds went bouncing out across the hinterland.
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Offline DJ

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Re: Black Powder and fire danger
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2020, 01:35:44 PM »
The pistol ranges where I shoot have covered concrete pads at the firing points and gravel out to the target.  Most people shoot smokeless.  Apparently, a significant amount of unburned smokeless powder accumulates in the gravel in the few inches just off the edge of the concrete--probably either falls there or gets swept there off of the concrete. 

I have twice ignited this accumulated powder with stray sparks from black powder cartridges--no grease wads, cards, or paper in the cartridges.  The first time caused a little bit of pucker as it lit in the middle of the firing point and starting burning both directions toward the wooden walls.  It was a pretty small flame, but hard to stomp/kick out, because that just seemed to kick in more unburned powder.  Fortunately, being smokeless (and probably somewhat weathered), the flame moved pretty slowly. 

The second time it happened we just immediately went to the left and right edges of the pad, kicked up fire breaks to keep it away from the wood, and let it burn itself out rather than trying to extinguish the flames.

With the grass and weeds at the edges of the range, a windy day during summer could have complicated things quite a bit.

Offline greyhawk

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Re: Black Powder and fire danger
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2020, 04:05:58 PM »
The pistol ranges where I shoot have covered concrete pads at the firing points and gravel out to the target.  Most people shoot smokeless.  Apparently, a significant amount of unburned smokeless powder accumulates in the gravel in the few inches just off the edge of the concrete--probably either falls there or gets swept there off of the concrete. 

I have twice ignited this accumulated powder with stray sparks from black powder cartridges--no grease wads, cards, or paper in the cartridges.  The first time caused a little bit of pucker as it lit in the middle of the firing point and starting burning both directions toward the wooden walls.  It was a pretty small flame, but hard to stomp/kick out, because that just seemed to kick in more unburned powder.  Fortunately, being smokeless (and probably somewhat weathered), the flame moved pretty slowly. 

The second time it happened we just immediately went to the left and right edges of the pad, kicked up fire breaks to keep it away from the wood, and let it burn itself out rather than trying to extinguish the flames.

With the grass and weeds at the edges of the range, a windy day during summer could have complicated things quite a bit.

Our blackpowder club range is a no go zone from end of November to end of february (our high summer) The range sits in 1600 acres of grassy woodland - and we operate on the theory its too late afterwards

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Re: Black Powder and fire danger
« Reply #10 on: Today at 01:33:46 PM »

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Black Powder and fire danger
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2020, 10:28:00 AM »

 :)  Well Now   :D

I was shooting a Regional Match some Lustrum ago, which featured a "Dummy" seated in a chair as the first target on the first stage.  One of the BP Warthog guys came to the line and Set the Dummy on Fire.  The dummy was admittedly, some close.  We needed a new Dummy.   ;D

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Offline powderhombre

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Re: Black Powder and fire danger
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2020, 10:37:42 AM »
The range I use is National forest and although a designated place to shoot, it is unimproved with no facilities. They do close it when there is a local fire ban in effect. Yesterday it was open. I put a canvas tarp on the ground in front of me in case any hot powder residue hit the ground and had on hand two fire extinguishers. NO problems occurred of course but I figured I would be at the ready and take precautions.

Offline Ranch 13

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Re: Black Powder and fire danger
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2020, 10:51:07 AM »
 Always best to be prepared.
 While starting a blaze with blackpowder guns isn't a common occurrence, in the severe drought and intensity of the red flag warnings, a small spark can turn into a major catastrophe in the blink of an eye.
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Offline Major 2

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Re: Black Powder and fire danger
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2020, 01:51:12 PM »
:)  Well Now   :D

.......  We needed a new Dummy.   ;D

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hmm .... bet I know a few folks up to the task  ;)
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Offline paperchaser

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Re: Black Powder and fire danger
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2020, 02:52:34 PM »
Living in Colorado there seems to always be a fire danger. Does anyone know of a fire being started by black powder exiting the barrel ?

Yes, indeed.  One very hot and dry summer my BP shooting pard and I just happened to start a small grass fire with our shotguns.  Fire
quickly extinguished of course. 
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Offline Crow Choker

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Re: Black Powder and fire danger
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2020, 09:16:47 PM »
I intentionally did one time using a cap and ball 44 Navy on a pile of leaves I was going to burn. Match is handier.  Around 50 years ago this Labor Day some of my shooting friends and I were lighting cherry bombs and propelling them via a wrist rocket sling shot. One of the cherry bombs set a pile of corn husks on fire. The half dozen or so of us quickly became a fire brigade. ;D I saw a cotton patch smoldering once after shooting my 45 caplock muzzle loader rifle. It was near some dry grass in a sandy area that had maybe a dozen stems burn, no other grass nearby. Quickly stomped any remaining danger. Remember "Only You Can Prevent Black Powder Started Fires"  ::) ;D ;D
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