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From: (H Keith Henson)
Newsgroups: rec.pyrotechnics
Subject: Re: FAQ progress? Was re: Grumpy, aren't we?
Message-ID: <>
Date: 18 Nov 91 05:22:19 GMT

Grant Waldram quoting me:

>> Another one is making NH4KClO3, either on purpose or by accident.

Sorry, a misplaced K in the middle, correct to NH4ClO3.  My CRC says
under "melting point"  exp.,102.

Grant makes the suggesting of a section in the FAQ:

>       "Incredibly unsafe substances and mixtures, which you might have
>       otherwise assumed to be safe"

I like this suggestion.  To make the consequeces more graffic, I think we
could find people who have either first or second hand stories about all
of these "substances and mixture."   The one on red phosphorus and NH4NO3
can be fished out of the rec.pyro archives.

I can contribute one about red phosphorus and KClO3.  Several actually.
Almost everyone I knew who made this stuff got hurt.  Grinding it in a
mortar is as sure to set it off as lighting it with a match--and for that
matter has a *lot* in common *with* lighting a match!  Friend who did
this in high school went around with healing burns for quite a while.

But the most impressive case shows how uncertain such mixes can be.  One
friend of mine used to carry the ingredients and mix them on the spot by
putting a half teaspoon of each into a paper pill box and turning the box
over slowly a few times.  He would then throw the thing, which would
almost always go off with a resounding bang (cherry bomb class or
better.)  Once he gave one of these to a friend of *his* who turned it
over a few time and pitched it.  It might have hit something too soft, or
not well mixed, or just been perverse, because it did not go off.

The guy who threw it was going to try it again, but, not being completely
stupid, didn't want to pick it up with his hand.  So he got a couple of
chunks of newspaper, and scraped the box up onto one piece with another
one.  So far so good, but as he started to lift the little box off the
ground, it fell off the paper--about 6 inches.  That was enough.  The guy
was left holding a bunch of shredded paper, and the blast broke both of
his eardrums, folded his eyelids back over his eyebrows, and put a number
of strange breaks in his skin.  I think his ears mostly quit ringing
after a few years, and there was no permanent damage to his eyes, but a 6
inch fall setting it off, after a 20 foot toss failed, may give you an
idea about why I consider this mix a *very* bad idea.

Keith Henson

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