Ming Dynasty black powder formulas

MODERN (SWISS) BLACK POWDER FORMULA
75.02% Saltpetre (Potassium Nitrate) : 15% Softwood charcoal : 9.97% Sulphur
*Note: Shown here for comparison purpose.



FORMULAS FOR MATCHLOCK GUNS
Ji Xiao Xin Shu (《紀效新書》) c.a. 1588AD
75.76% Saltpetre : 13.65% Softwood charcoal : 10.61% Sulphur


Wu Lue Shen Ji (《武略神機》) c.a. 1562AD
78.74% Saltpetre : 13.39% Softwood charcoal : 7.87% Sulphur


Shen Qi Pu (《神器譜》) c.a 1598AD
(For use at North China) 83.33% Saltpetre : 12.50% Softwood charcoal : 4.17% Sulphur
(For use at South China) 80.66% Saltpetre : 13.70% Softwood charcoal : 5.64% Sulphur


Bing Lu (《兵錄》) c.a. 1606AD
75.75% Saltpetre : 13.65% Softwood charcoal : 10.6% Sulphur


Wu Bei Zhi (《武備志》) c.a. 1621AD
(Formula 1) 75.76% Saltpetre : 12.88% Softwood charcoal : 11.36% Sulphur
(Formula 2) 93.53% Saltpetre : 3.89% Softwood charcoal : 2.29% Sulphur : 2.29% Cantharidin
*Note: Formula 2 is dysfunctional and very likely used in incendiary shell, not powder charge.


Jin Tang Jie Zhu Shi Er Chou (《金湯借箸十二籌》) c.a. 1630AD
81.16% Saltpetre : 7.25% Softwood charcoal : 11.59% Sulphur


Huo Gong Qie Yao (《火攻挈要》) c.a. 1643AD
81.16% Saltpetre : 7.25% Softwood charcoal : 11.59% Sulphur
*Note: Co-authored by Johann Adam Schall von Bell, a German Jesuit missionary.



OTHER FORMULAS
(Incendiary) Shen Huo (神火, lit. 'Divine fire')
Primary ingredient: Saltpetre, Softwood charcoal, Sulphur
Secondary ingredient: Cinnabar, Realgar, Orpiment


(Incendiary) Fei Huo (飛火, lit. 'Flying fire')
Primary ingredient: Saltpetre, Softwood charcoal, Sulphur
Secondary ingredient: Cinnabar, Orpiment, Calomelas, Dried aconite root, Purging croton


(Incendiary) Jie Ying Huo (劫營火, lit. 'Camp-raiding fire')
Primary ingredient: Saltpetre, Softwood charcoal, Sulphur
Secondary ingredient: Tung oil, Rosin,


(Incendiary) Lie Huo (烈火, lit. 'Raging fire')
Primary ingredient: Saltpetre, Softwood charcoal, Sulphur
Secondary ingredient: Ginkgo, Rosin


(Incendiary) Ming Huo (明火, lit. 'Bright fire')
*Note: Formula unknown, it is possible that this is a catch-all term for all incendiary gunpowder, or synonymous to Shen Huo.


(Incendiary) Peng Huo (噴火, lit. 'Spitfire')
59.70% Saltpetre : 10.45% Ash : 7.46% Sulphur : 22.39% Fine sand fried in oil


(Incendiary) Hui Huo (回火)


(Smoke) Ni Feng Huo (逆風火, lit. 'Headwind fire')
Primary ingredient: Saltpetre, Softwood charcoal, Sulphur
Secondary ingredient: Wolf feces, Sambong, Powdered finless porpoise bone, Finless porpoise oil


(Fragmentation) Lan Huo (爛火, lit. 'Festering fire') 
Primary ingredient: Saltpetre, Softwood charcoal, Sulphur
Secondary ingredient: Iron pellets, Porcelain fragments, Cantharidin
Tertiary ingredient: Borax, Soap bean, Winged prickly ash


(Incendiary and poison smoke) Du Huo (毒火, lit. 'Poisonous fire') 
Primary ingredient: Saltpetre, Softwood charcoal, Sulphur
Secondary ingredient: Arsenic, Sal ammoniac
Tertiary ingredient: Human feces, "Silver rust" (leftover pollutant from silver mine)


(Tear gas) Fa Huo (法火, lit. 'Magic fire') 
Primary ingredient: Saltpetre, Softwood charcoal, Sulphur
Secondary ingredient: Orpiment
Tertiary ingredient: Arsenic, Ginger, Soap bean, Pepper


(Primer?) Bao Huo (爆火, lit. 'Explosive fire')
91.32% Saltpetre : 1.83% Ash : 6.85% Sulphur


(Propellant) Qi Huo (起火, lit. 'Rising fire')
(Formula 1) 60.98% Saltpetre : 18.29% Softwood charcoal : 1.83% Sulphur : 24.39% Lithargyrum
(Formula 2) 72.46% Saltpetre : 25.36% Ash : 2,17% Sulphur
(Day use formula) 52.63% Saltpetre : 47.37% Ash
(Night use formula) 76.19% Saltpetre : 19.04% Ash : 4.76% Sulphur

(Propellant) Xing Huo (行火)
(Propellant) Tui Huo (推火)

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