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Gunpowder Tinder

First things first: This could be dangerous. I’m an expert outdoors man with years of experience. Don’t try this at home.

I recently was introduced to a product that is made for pulling bullets out of casings so that the gunpowder can be poured out and used as a form of tinder in an emergency situation.

I was left scratching my head, as I was under the impression that gunpowder would flash pretty quickly instead of burning slow to catch the kindling on fire. I’ve been mulling over this for a couple weeks, and while packing up my backpack this morning to go hide the Triangle Tactical Swag Cache, I grabbed a stripper clip of 5.56×45 and tossed it in the bag.

After hiding the cache, I found a nice spot in the woods to make lunch, and decided to give it a try.

I pulled the bullet with my multi-tool, and it was pretty easy to get it out. No big deal.

I then poured about half of the powder out onto a dry brick, and attempted to light it with my firesteel. I landed gobs of hot sparks onto the powder, and it would not light, which I thought was odd. I then poured the rest of the powder from the casing onto the brick, and flung more hot sparks at the gunpowder. It still would not light.

After pondering this for a moment, I decided that maybe I should scrape some magnesium from my fire starter next to the gunpowder, and see if the heat from the magnesium would be enough to light the gunpowder.

Just one spark from the firesteel had the magnesium burning, which then, finally ignited the gunpowder.

What I found to be very interesting about this was that the magnesium lit first, then the gunpowder, and when the gunpowder was finished burning, the magnesium was still going.


My conclusion is that gunpowder makes a very poor tinder source. There may be other gunpowders out there that ignite easier, but that does not change the fact that it burns very quickly, and I seriously doubt I would have had time to add any sort of larger tinder or kindling to the fire before it was gone, as it literally only burned for a second or two.

Get a good quality firesteel with a magnesium rod like the ones sold at Firesteel.com, and you will have a fire starter that is easier to ignite, burns longer and hotter, and will start thousands of fires.

Save your ammo for shooting things.

About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.

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