Do they have gunpowder?
yep - gunpowder
:O isn't that dangerous? Could hurt yout fingers if you burst them in your hand, right?
You need more gunpowder for that.
Gunpowder is not shock sensitive. Or perhaps not enough shock sensitive.
These explosive percussion caps were not originally intended as toys but for use in pistols and rifles, when I was a boy you had to be over 16 to purchase them, I believe they are a mercury compound .
I think that he was talking about those paper "blasting caps" used in some toys. There is too little explosive in those "blasting caps" for use in pistols or rifles. However, they do make a lot of noise. One can smell the burning material after a few of them go off. Some type of must be combustion is going on.
Still, the OP asked a good question. I always thought that it was a minute amount of black gun powder. However, old fashion gun powder is not shock sensitive. It had to be ignited by heat, not hit with a hammer. The toy guns that I remember did hit the paper with a hammer. So now I am curious.
You may be right. The black material on the paper "blasting caps" could be a mercury compound. If so, there may be health problems associated with it. Maybe that is why I haven't seen those paper "blasting caps" recently. Maybe they were banned or replaced with something safer.
I remember shooting a lot of these things off. The smell of burnt paper was very strong. If there was mercury in those things, then the "toy gun" was a lot more dangerous than they appeared.
According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cap_gun it is either red P or S with KClO3 or KClO4.
Indeed the smoke smells like this.
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