Those Old Smoke Poles
remember the old poster that hung in Turner Kirkland's office at Dixie Gun
Works in Union City TN. My father would make the journey from eastern PA
to see Turner once a year. I was about 7 or 8 years old and would sit in
the office while the two of them would look at old guns parts, lots and
lots of gun parts.
That old poster
(seen on the left) said;
dirty, smoky, smelly & a pain to clean-up, yet still the preferred
propellant of many."
That said, I'm
sure you are aware that Hodgdon Powder Company has purchased Goex. A move
that we all should applaud. Goex had gone through some hard times in
resent years with unexpected explosions at several of their facilities. If
I was an owner or stock holder in Goex it would be wonderful news to know
the brand will continue under Hodgdon
Author and columnist for Guns & Ammo magazine Garry James has
written several articles of the problems and his continuing support of their
products. Garry has been a black powder shooter for years and has
supported many such events with coverage and his appearance on the firing
line. This is one writer we should all support by reading his editorials
in Guns & Ammo magazine, well worth the effort.
As Mr. James
wrote ".... smokeless powder is a Johnny-come-lately"
when compared to black powder. The Chinese makes reference to it as early
as the 11th century in their early attempts at sending projectiles at
their targets. It is not clear if the Europeans achieved success as early
In fact black
powder was referred to as "gun powder" up to the 1870's.
The French in the 1880's came out with their smokeless powder calling it
"poudre B" ("B" for "blanc" or
white), older powder (black powder) was referred to as "poudre N"
("N" for "noir" or black).
I'm sure if you
have any experience with "poudre
N" you are aware of its makeup of the three substances: charcoal,
potassium nitrate and sulfur. All that is needed is oxygen, fuel and heat,
"BANG" it goes off = black powder.
scholar Roger Bacon wrote of gun powder in 1267, we are assuming it was not
uncommon by then. Early mixtures were ineffective, dangerous and unpredictable.
Guns & Ammo magazine July 2010 has a very good article "BLACK
Is Beautiful" written by Garry James that goes into debt on
the subject. A good reference article for those new to this sport as well
as the seasoned shooter.
To cut down on "flashes-in-the-pan"
(flintlocks) and "misfires" with percussion guns Hodgdon
entered the market with "Pyrodex" (varies
equivalents for the grades). A few years later "Triple
Seven" appeared as a cleaner burning powder using 15% less powder
The newer powders aren't
the same to me as the old Goex powder brand. Must be the smell of rotten eggs
and burnt black powder fumes in your nostrils. Guess I'm like so many
others that are purists at heart?
did you smell that boyz, she's a cookin' "
for your time