Powder Horn




Introduction: Powder Horn

In this instructable I'll show you how to make a powderhorn for use with gunpowder.  This is how the pioneers carried their gun powder and kept  it dry.


Longhorn cattle horn
piece of scrap 2 X 4 about 3 inches long
cedar wood
2-eyelet screws
3 foot long suede leather lace
piece of string

bench grinder
drill and bits

Contest Questions

What did you make?

I got the idea to make this powderhorn because I had the horn and I had just bought a muzzleloader. I got my horn from a veterinarian that had dehorned some cattle. I often see history reenactors wearing powderhorns like this.

How did you make it?

First off, I did not have to clean out the inside of my horn.  It was already empty inside.  I cut about 3/4 of an inch off of the small tip of the horn with a hacksaw.  Next, I drilled a hole through the small end of the horn with a 5/16 drill bit, so powder could be poured out of it.  This is the step that I had to be very careful that I didn't ruin my horn. The larger end of the horn is more brittle, and I had to cut 2 1/2 inches off of it so it would be straight and wouldn't break as easily if dropped.

Now I had to make a removable wooden plug for the small end.  I made it 2 inches long, out of cedar, and used a bench grinder to shape it to size. I made it larger than the hole, so I could grind it until it was small enough to fit.  I made a groove around the end of the plug that would stick out of the horn, so I could attach a string.  That way if you drop your plug, it is attached and you won't lose it in the woods.  My dad helped me with the large end.  We used a piece of 2 x 4 to make the plug for the large end.  We used a jigsaw and cut a round piece out the 2x4.  We used the bench grinder to shape it to size.  We had to make sure it was a pretty tight fit so the gunpowder wouldn't leak out.   We used epoxy glue to glue the plug into the horn.   

I had to add 2 eyelet screws to attach a strap to my horn so it can be easily carried.  I drilled a pilot hole in the center of the large wooden plug.  I drilled it just smaller than my eyelet screw.  I did the same thing in the side of my horn about 2 inches from the small end.  The way the horn is shaped, and how I wanted to wear it, determined where to drill this hole.  I screwed in my eyelet screws.  I tied a  suede leather strap to the eyelet screws.   I also attached a strong piece of string to the eyelet near the spout, and tied it around my removable wooden plug on the small end.

Where did you make it?

I made this at home using internet sites, and my dad's old powderhorn as my guide.  It looks good with my muzzleloader.

What did you learn?

My biggest challenges were making the wooden plugs for both ends,  and that the dog had chewed on the horn before I claimed it for my project.  I had to sand the outside surface to make look nice and smooth.  I am proudest of the fact that I made most of it without help.  If I had to do it again I would probably use my dremel instead of the bench grinder. In addition, if I make another one, I'll get a horn the dog hasn't chewed.

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    2 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    if you put the horn in hot water and you make the plug a little to big the water makes the horn playable you can hammer the plugs in makes it easier and a better water tight seal