Gunpowder Missing?


I’m playing the latest experimental build, so maybe I’m missing something…

I’m looking for the recipe for gunpowder. According to the CDDA item browser, there is an existing recipe for it, and it should be available in a number of books. (
I have several of the books in question, but I am yet unable to craft it. I also have all of the required skill levels.

What’s with that?

That is the page for the stable version. Click the “development” button at the top for experimentals. For some reason in the experimental version the recipe is for something completely different (I would guess a halberd).

Ohhhhh geez.

Thanks a bunch - I can’t believe that I missed that.
Much appreciated!
I guess I’m going to have to be without it.

I removed the recipe for modern gunpowder and it most likely isn’t coming back any time soon.
The stuff is incredibly dangerous to make, just do a little reading on it’s history and the limitations on making it even in modern times.
If it is re-added, it will be with a recipe that has a significant chance of going horribly wrong and killing you.

There’s too much historical data to go through. I can’t find any particular reason why it’s supposedly dangerous. I assume some sort of unwanted ignition or combustion is the risk, as opposed to chemical health hazards? Gunpowder is produced by the tons every day, so how dangerous can it be with modern methods?

I like the idea of the possibility of the stuff blowing up in the face. That needs to be a general possibility in CDDA chemistry, or at least in the production of explosives and incendiaries. Disasters are fun. Slight explosions AND resulting fire. Those fire extinguishers would come handy. A lesson in safety for the careless chemists when your beloved base would burn down due to a mishap.

Gunpowder production could also be limited to certain rare locations.

Or if gunpowder was reliably obtainable (purchasable) at a refugee center, for example, after a heap of missions.

I think the move to pull the gunpowder entirely wasn’t the best one. Understandable, but a hasty move, IMO. Not entirely a popular move. Might want to consider bringing it back but make the player work for the gunpowder production. Place high skill requirements, hard-to-find equipment, risk of mild kabooms, etc.

I concede there might be a gunpowder mod somewhere, so…

Regardless, praise the CDDA .
Praise Mr. Granade & co.
Tons of fun have been had thus far and I see nothing but tons of fun ahead in the future.
Thank you.

I would still be in favor of regular blackpowder being autolearned, but I do agree that smokeless powder is potentially beyond the reach of a survivor.

Even then, my suggestion of blackpowder being autolearned was in part also to balance it against smokeless powder, which was at the time craftable but booklearned-only. By making modern powder uncraftable, that balances blackpowder relative to smokeless via a different method.

You can make smokeless powder IRL, it’s just a very bad idea because of how dangerous it is to do so. Primer is an even tougher challenge.

Perhaps a recipe for improvised single-base powder could be added, with a risk of explosion or fire that scales with the cooking skill? For the most part, smokeless powder is made of nitrocellulose, along with some stabilizers to help reduce the chance of a random kaboom. I suppose with the right books and equipment, a very skilled survivor could whip something like that up.

Hazardous results for recipes have been proposed, no idea what progress has been made.

Must…resist…urge to make Russian reversal joke…

Is it theoretically possible? Absolutely. Is it a good idea to do so? Hell no. I said this on GitHub, but if I were going to put in a smokeless powder recipe it would be as a noob trap - it is so dangerous to make your own modern smokeless powder that it’s a horrendous idea, and that’s before you get to the point where you put it in a bullet and then fire it in the gun. Without a ton of pistols & ransom rests, you wouldn’t be able to test it without potentially getting a faceful of M1911 slide.

The nice thing about ammo is that while smokeless powder is ideal for loading cartridges, there is no rule that says it must be. It is entirely possible to hand load black powder cartridges. My friend whipped up some .45-70 gov’t loads using black powder. Aside from decreased muzzle velocity and the need to clean the weapon more often they worked just fine. Pull trigger, rifle goes bang. Mind you this was with commercially produced black powder, probably not the crude stuff a survivor would be capable of scraping together. There are however a number of ways to refine black powder, mostly by using higher quality charcoals. Here’s a fun link describing how to make black powder:

And I still think smokeless powder should be in the game with ridiculously high cooking requirements.

Nitric Acid may be ‘distilled’ from the atmosphere using an electric arc, the resulting fumes of which (NO2) are then percolated through water to produce a dilute nitric acid.


Apply concentrate to paper, cotton, wood… any cellulose product.

Rinse resulting solid well with cool water after several minutes. (This step is the most important to prevent spontaneous decomposition in the curing process.)

Dry Solid

You have now created Nitrocellulose… guncotton, far superior to blackpowder.

Do not expose to flame.

Making it be an involved process would be interesting balancing factor, but unsure if it’d be acceptable.

Actually, we already HAVE nitric acid. So just making that the important item would make guncotton craftable while still imposing a restriction on how available it is.

[quote=“Random_dragon, post:13, topic:10127”]Making it be an involved process would be interesting balancing factor, but unsure if it’d be acceptable.

Actually, we already HAVE nitric acid. So just making that the important item would make guncotton craftable while still imposing a restriction on how available it is.[/quote]

There’s articles from professional chemists that said they wouldn’t do it. It’s that dangerous. Even if you know the components you need to get the ratios right, and then analyze it to make sure you have it right. So where is your mass spectrometer do make sure it’s accurate? Yeah doing all of this without electricity or quality gear would be hard to the precision in which you need in order to not blow yourself up. It’s down to comparing the tiny grain ratio’s.

For example if your powder burns too fast it can cause issues also. The type of primer that goes into a bullet varies based on the bullet.

If you load the wrong type of primer when reloading your bullets you can make the bullet explode and blow your own head off.

Read this link, about a guy reloading an 45-70 rifle bullets. He had a very cool handgun, SSK 475 JD Jones. The barrel marking was #2. Had, it’s republished article from 1995. He’s lucky to be alive. The handgun shoots .500 grain bullets @ more than 1500fps with an energy release of 2600 foot-pounds for that load.

For those that don’t want to read the article.

It was brutal to shoot he wanted to use a lighter load to plink with. What happened instead was it blew apart, up, front, and sideways… he’s very lucky it didn’t blow back @ all.

Fine example of what would happen if you mixed up your ratios for the type of powder you were making. If you were successful to begin with and could get through the process. And this had a happen ending. He lost a rare gun, but he’s alive.

Most of the type it maims or kill someone with the blowback of the rifle/handgun coming apart.

Agreed. I mean it’s doable as in POSSIBLE, not doable as in feasible, sane, or gameplay balanced. XP

The article describes how light loads can explode. It doesn t talk about how making your own smokless powder is dangerous. I do not see how this is relevant.

Let me spell out his argument for you:
Making your own smokeless powder without modern quality controls leads to the output having wildly varying potency, even if ‘successful’ (not blowing up while making it).
Here’s an example of simply reducing the power of a load destroying a gun in a potentially life-threatening way when used.
Obviously overpressure loads are dangerous and can have the same effect.
Even if you can manage to hand-make modern smokeless powder, you’re not going to be able to do so in a manner that leads to a reliable outcome.

This provides more detail for the argument I’ve been making against having modern gunpowder production in the game ever since I looked into it.
Making modern gunpowder is incredibly dangerous.
On one hand, it shouldn’t be manufacturable without that element of danger (the current status quo).
On the other hand, if we DID add that element of danger, people would (rightfully) complain that it’s an annoying game mechanic and makes trying to make your own gunpowder pointless.
This makes adding the features necessary to add it to the game pointless work that will most likely not be appreciated.

Bottom lines:
A gunpowder recipe that doesn’t reflect the danger of making it isn’t going into the mainline game.
I’m personally not interested in adding the features for making the recipe dangerous, or making the resulting loads dangerous.

Agreeing with Kevin here. Possible, yes. Safe? Hell no. We really need hazardous crafting outcomes before this can be thing.

What else do you need for quality control besides a mass spectrometer? Mass spectrometers could be lab, university or even hospital equipment. A simple matter of adding a tool into the game, be it a mobile tool or a deconstructable vehicle part, such as minifridge.

I’m not even convinced that mass spectrometry is needed. There should be chemistry-based tests that would confirm the properties of the product, or the ingredients.

The lesson in having the handmade powder blow up in your face during production would be to use proper protective gear, and to manufacture the powder at a safe distance from anything valuable. Furthermore, once the player finds the recipe for smokeless powder, warnings could be added to its description: “Producing this stuff is risky, even if you were a seasoned chemist. Use heavy protective gear, and for the love of all that is holy, don’t attempt production near anything flammable, combustible or valuable.” Personally, I think the omission of a detailed warning would be hilarious.

I don’t exactly understand the difficulty of measuring the ingredients. Just produce bigger batches - it’s easier to measure the ingredients when you have to use larger amounts. :smiley: A flat 1% chance of detonation would suffice, I would think. The bigger the batch, the bigger the explosion.

I don’t see danger. I see only the lack of safety precautions once risks have been identified. If things can be done once, they can be done again. The knowledge of manufacturing smokeless gunpowder (or primers) is out there, and it should be for the player to find and study, same as any other information.

Failures in chemistry should absolutely be a thing. These failures could vary between smoke, toxic fumes, acid spills and explosions. All of that stuff is already in the game. Toxic fumes could even be a normal side effect of in-game chemistry. (Use a gas mask, yo.)

Modern gunpowder is based on nitrocellulose, with a high nitrogen content. Handling nitrocellulose is a job for experts. In the dry, unglazed, unstabilized form, nitrocellulose is one of the most sensitive and erratic compounds on the planet – extremely dangerous. There is at present only one plant in the U.S. that makes weapons-grade nitrocellulose.

[quote=“The Internet”]Cellulose is nitrated by putting it in blend of concentrated nitric acid and concentrated sulfuric acid. Water is added to slow reaction rate (and temperature). The nitric acid reacts with the cellulose to produce nitrocellulose. The sulfuric acid is to absorb the water that’s produced as a by-product. Once the reaction is complete, the acid is removed by washing and centrifuging.

Lots of things affect the chemical and mechanical properties of the nitrocellulose: reaction time, particle size, neutralizing sollution PH, temperature… Small batches are made, tested, and blended to get the desired performance for the intended final product.

To make it into powder, the nitrocellulose is disolved in ethyl acetate. In a mixer, add nitrocellulose and water to a solution of ethyl acetate (solvent), diphenylamine (to remove residual acid in the nitrocellulose), and calcium carbonate (to neutralize acid in the water). When the nitrocellulose is dissolved, add a colloid like starch or Gum Arabic is added and spin it up until it starts to lump together into little blobs. When the ‘blobs’ are the right size, drive the ethyl acetate off by heating to harden the nitrocellulose into kernels.

The kernels then have to be dried, sorted by size using a sieve, surface-coated (to modify burn rate), tested for burn rate, and then blended back together in the proper ratio to produce the finished powder.[/quote]

A clever survivor with a college chemistry textbook could produce smokeless powder, but it wouldn’t be usable as a small-arms propellant, because he couldn’t hit a desired burn rate, he couldn’t hit a desired burn rate progression, and he couldn’t make two batches the same. The question you’d be faced with would be, “How much powder of unknown characteristics do you put in a .308 Win with a 150 gr. bullet?” The only sane answer is, “NONE”.

Edit: In conclusion besides me now being on several government watch lists because of this research, I whole heartily support Kevin and the team’s decision to not implement a recipe for producing modern smokeless powder.