Poudre B was the first practical smokeless gunpowder created in 1884. It was perfected between 1882 and 1884 at “Laboratoire Central des Poudres et Salpêtres” in Paris, France. Originally called “Poudre V” from the name of the inventor, Paul Vieille, it was arbitrarily renamed “Poudre B” (short for poudre blanche—white powder, as distinguished from black powder) to distract German espionage. “Poudre B” is made from 68.2% insoluble nitrocellulose, 29.8% soluble nitrocellulose gelatinized with ether and 2% paraffin. “Poudre B” is made up of very small paper-thin flakes that are not white but dark greenish grey in colour. “Poudre B” was first used to load the 8mm Lebel cartridges issued in 1886 for the Lebel rifle.

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