Red or White Powder Propellant

“Red or White Powder” Propellant may be prepared In a simple, safe manner. The formulation described below will result In approximately 2-1/2 pounds of powder. This is a small arms propellant and should only be used in weapons with 1/2 in. inside diameter or less, such as the Match Gun or the 7.62 Carbine, but not pistols.


  • Heat source (Kitchen stove or open fire)
  • 2 gallon metal bucket
  • Measuring cup (8 ounces)
  • Wooden spoon or rubber spatula
  • Metal sheet or aluminum foil (at least 18 in. sq.)
  • Flat window screen (at least 1 ft. sq.)
  • Potassium nitrate (granulated) 2-1/3 cups
  • White sugar (granulated) 2 cups
  • Powdered ferric oxide (rust) 1/8 cup (if available)
  • Clear water, 3-1/2 cups


1. Place the sugar, potassium nitrate, and water in the bucket. Heat with a low flame, stirring occasionally until the sugar and potassium nitrate dissolve.

9 1 Red or White Powder Propellant

2. If available, add the ferric oxide (rust) to the solution. Increase the tame under the mixture until it boils gently.

NOTE: The mixture will retain the rust coloration.

9 2 Red or White Powder Propellant

3. Stir and scrape the bucket sides occasionally until the mixture is reduced to one quarter of its original volume, then stir continuously.

4. As the water evaporates, the mixture will become thicker until it reaches the consistency of cooked breakfast cereal or homemade fudge. At this stage of thickness, remove the bucket from the heat source, and spread the mass on the metal sheet.

9 3 Red or White Powder Propellant5. While the material cools, score it with the spoon or spatula in crisscrossed furrows about 1 inch apart.

9 4 300x184 Red or White Powder Propellant

6. Allow the material to air dry, preferably in the sun. As it dries, rescore it occasionally (about every 20 minutes) to aid drying.

7. When the material has dried to a point where it is moist and soft but not sticky to the touch, place a small spoonful on the screen. Rub the material back and forth against the screen meBh with spoon or other flat object until the material is granulated into small worm-like particles.

9 5 300x177 Red or White Powder Propellant8. After granulation, return the material to the sun to dry completely.

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