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From: (murr rhame)
Newsgroups: rec.pyrotechnics
Date: 6 Apr 1996 12:36:59 -0500 (F Brennion) writes:

>Tom Peregrin wrote:

>>M80's are outlawed by Federal Law...  a lot of companies manufacture
>devices that resemble M80s in shape and size, but contain the legal amount
>of explosive material and are much less powerfull.   Some companies sell
>illegal products.   But nobody sells "legal M80s".<

>So what is the definition of an "M80"?. Is it a certain number of grams of
>KCLO4 and German aluminum black?  What constitutes  a "REAL" M-80 as
>opposed to a poseur M80 ? Where's the line between a legal and an illegal
>amount of explosive powder?

Real military spec. M-80s contained 3 grams of a mixture of aluminum
flake, antimony trisulfide, potassium perchlorate flash powder in a 1/2"ID
2" long tube.  There is a more exact mil-spec.  John Conkling published
what he claimed was the exact M-80 formula.  I'm too lazy to grab his book
and look it up.  I don't have all the details of the full mil-spec.  As a
practical matter, 3 grams of hot flash powder is the most important
specification.  I doubt that all M-80 makers used the exact same formula
when they were sold legally nor is it likely that the illegal makers have
agreed on a specific flash powder formula. 

There are M-80 brand crackers sold in the US which contain the standard
50mg of flash for consumer crackers.  There are several other M-XXX brands
which also contain 50mg of flash.  Some of these M-XXX brand crackers have
a large diameter tube and a visco fuse but no additional powder.  

A 50mg cracker will not normally break the skin or even leave a mark if it
goes off in your hand.  It does smart quite a bit as I can attest to from
personal experience.  Some people claim to have been bruised or cut by a
50mg cracker but I have not personally seen this happen.  A 3 gram M-80
can tear flesh from your hand and might even remove a finger outright if
you were unlucky.  At the very least you would need medical attention if a
real M-80 went off in your hand.  Class B and or illegal ground salutes
may contain any amount of flash powder. 

              murr rhame  /\/\ |_| |~ |~
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