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Old 04-06-2010, 11:26 PM
Standup Karmic Standup Karmic is offline
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Does gunpowder smell like...gunpowder?

The last time I shot a gun was a couple of decades back as a teenaged air cadet. I'd like to make some "joke" soap that smells like that just-fired-rifle odor. Would adding gunpowder to a soap base (just like if one was making any of their own fancy soaps) add that odor? I've never smelled raw gunpowder that's outside of a shell or bullet, so don't really know what it smells like (if anything).

Guidance?
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  #2  
Old 04-07-2010, 12:03 AM
njtt njtt is offline
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Remind me never to wash my hands at your place.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:47 AM
Oslo Ostragoth Oslo Ostragoth is offline
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Look to sulfur compounds. I don't know if potassium compounds have any distinctive smell.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:48 AM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
Remind me never to wash my hands at your place.
Or at least not to dry them by the fire.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:54 AM
opmike opmike is offline
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Well, "gunpowder" is sort of vague. Most modern (post 1900) cartridge ammunition uses smokeless powder. Muzzle-loaders use black powder, but even a lot of those users are using black powder substitute.

In any case, none of this stuff is particularly strong smelling in my experience at all, especially in it's unfired state. I have several containers of Unique and Bullseye powder (smokeless powder) that I use for reloading and I don't see how it could be used to add an "odor" to something.
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:17 AM
kombatminipig kombatminipig is offline
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From personal experience (having handled both smokeless and black powder), gunpowder has very little smell.
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:59 AM
gazpacho gazpacho is online now
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I always thought the smell of gunpowder was the smell of things after the gun had fired. Burnt gunpowder was the smell not the powder itself.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:09 AM
Squink Squink is offline
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Sulfur dioxide gas is the primary smelly component of burnt gunpowder. It's pretty reactive stuff, so will probably turn into something else fairly quickly if you add it to soap.
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Old 04-07-2010, 10:04 AM
TerpBE TerpBE is offline
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Remind me never to wash my hands at your place.
Especially if you're going to be taking a flight in the near future.
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Old 04-07-2010, 10:11 AM
kopek kopek is offline
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Don't ask me how I know this but gunpowder added to the soap won't give a gunpowder smell to your soap. What you really want is the residue of burnt gunpowder. In the case of black powder you won't need very much to get that trace-rotten-eggs smell all us muzzleloaders know and love but with smokeless it is tons harder. The result of just burning the powder in an open pan doesn't have the same "nose" quality as it does burned down a barrel but you would need to clean a couple hundred guns to get enough residue to give you a good batch.

(if you flash black powder in a pan or such be sure to do it outside and use a very very long match. This ain't Hollywood and the stuff burns tall and FAST)
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:18 AM
Standup Karmic Standup Karmic is offline
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I think it's safe to call this one asked and answered. Thanks all for your input! Decision: no making of gunpowder soap.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:17 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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The smell I most associate with gunpowder seems to be a nitrate smell, not a sulfur-based smell. Or at least, I've smelled similar things that had nitrates but not sulfur in them.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:20 PM
VernWinterbottom VernWinterbottom is offline
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As I tell school children when I demonstrate firing my flintlock rifle, "Gunpowder is made of three very common ingredients--which I'm not going to tell you. . ."

One of them, though, is sulfur. That's the smelly part.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:23 PM
Nava Nava is offline
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Black powder does not smell the same as burnt black powder, but in any case it should not be added to anything someone may strike.

I haven't smelled other gunpowder varieties.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:53 PM
Dag Otto Dag Otto is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Standup Karmic View Post
I think it's safe to call this one asked and answered. Thanks all for your input! Decision: no making of gunpowder soap.
Wait, there is one unanswered question: How was this supposed to be a 'joke' soap?

1. Lace soap with gunpowder smell.
2. ???
3. Laughs!
  #16  
Old 04-07-2010, 01:02 PM
Ludovic Ludovic is online now
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
The smell I most associate with gunpowder seems to be a nitrate smell, not a sulfur-based smell. Or at least, I've smelled similar things that had nitrates but not sulfur in them.
I think you're on to something. The entrance to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico smells like bat guano and also has a slight gunpowdery smell to it.

So maybe the OP can try to procure artificial old guano scent?
  #17  
Old 04-07-2010, 01:17 PM
Scumpup Scumpup is offline
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Smokekess powder will sometimes have a vaguely ether-like odor of which one can catch a whiff when opening a cannister of powder or an ammo can. Different formulations have different aromas when fired, but most of them smell something like ammonia to me.
Blackpowder doesn't smell like much of anything to me in its unburnt state but, as stated above, blackpowder smoke does have a pronounced rotten egg note to it from the sulfur.
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Old 04-07-2010, 01:37 PM
PatriotGrrrl PatriotGrrrl is offline
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I love the smell of gunpowder in the morning. It smells like.... fun.
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Old 04-07-2010, 03:19 PM
Rodd Hill Rodd Hill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VernWinterbottom View Post
As I tell school children when I demonstrate firing my flintlock rifle, "Gunpowder is made of three very common ingredients--which I'm not going to tell you. . ."

One of them, though, is sulfur. That's the smelly part.
You're safe, as long as they aren't Star Trek TOS fans.
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Old 04-07-2010, 05:21 PM
PlainJain PlainJain is offline
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I always though the smell associated with gunpowder was burned cordite.
  #21  
Old 04-07-2010, 06:29 PM
Scumpup Scumpup is offline
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Cordite is, itself, a smokeless propellant developed to replace gunpowder. It was never widely used outside the UK and precious few people today (outside milsurp enthusiasts) would recognize the smell of cordite.
  #22  
Old 04-07-2010, 10:51 PM
Martini Enfield Martini Enfield is offline
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The closest smell that I can compare modern smokeless powders to is English Mustard, if that helps.
  #23  
Old 04-08-2010, 09:50 AM
kopek kopek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatriotGrrrl View Post
I love the smell of gunpowder in the morning. It smells like.... fun.
Just be sure the range is closed for pulling and posting when you call in sick to work. Again, don't ask me how I know this but -------------
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