Preparation of Lead Picrate

Lead picrate is used as a primary explosive in the fabrication of detonators (Section VI, No. 13). It is to be used with a booster explosive such as picric acid (Section I, No. 21) or RDX (Section I, No. 15).


  • Litharge (lead monoxide)
  • Picric Acid
  • Wood alcohol (methanol)
  • Wooden or plastic rod
  • Dish or saucer (china or glass)
  • Teaspoon
  • Improvised Scale
  • Containers
  • Flat pan


  • Section I, No. 18 or plumbing supplies
  • Section I, No. 21
  • Paint removers; some antifreezes
  • Section VII, No. 8


1. Weigh 2 grams each of picric acid and lead monoxide. Place each in a separate container.

2. Place 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) of the alcohol in a dish. Add the picric acid to the alcohol and stir with the wooden or plastic rod.

20 1 Preparation of Lead Picrate

3. Add the lead monoxide to the mixture while stirring.

CAUTION: At this point the solution is a primary explosive. Keep away from flame.

4. Continue stirring the mixture until the alcohol has evaporated. The mixture will suddenly thicken.

5. Stir mixture occasionally (to stop lumps from forming) until a powder is formed. A few lumps will remain.

20 2 Preparation of Lead Picrate

CAUTION: Be very careful of dry material forming on the inside of the container.

6.Spread this powdered mixture, lead the picrate, in a flat pan to air dry.

20 3 273x300 Preparation of Lead PicrateNOTE: If possible, dry the mixture in a hot, not boiling, water bath for a period of 2 hours.

20 4 Preparation of Lead Picrate

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