Nanocrystalline metal powders comprising tungsten, molybdenum, rhenium or niobium can be synthesized using a combustion reaction. Methods for synthesizing the nanocrystalline metal powders are characterized by forming a combustion synthesis solution by dissolving in water an oxidizer, a fuel, and a base-soluble, ammonium precursor of tungsten, molybdenum, rhenium, or niobium in amounts that yield a soichiometric burn when combusted. The combustion synthesis solution is then heated to a temperature sufficient to substantially remove water and to initiate a self-sustaining combustion reaction. The resulting powder can be subsequently reduced to metal form by heating in a reducing gas environment.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 This invention was made with Government support under Contract DE-AC0576RL01830 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.