Black powder instead of Smokeless

This is possibly a candidate for dumb question of the year but I’m going to ask it anyway :)

Would an Armalite M16 or an AK47 (as examples of a modern gas operated firearms) function if the ammunition was loaded with blackpowder instead of smokeless ?

I’d guess the answer is no, but…

In a blowback/recoil operated design, probably
In a gas operated design, it’s unlikly you would have enough port pressure to operate the system (not to mention the joy of cleaning said system afterwards)

Black powder simply won’t burn fast enough to generate the velocity or the pressure no matter what the case capacity is. The pressure curve is far too slow. Max you could probably get with a .223 case to is about 1400fps and pressure somewhere on the 20s

I know there were higher velocities than that generated with black powder, for example the original loading of the .303 but when we tried loading .303s with black powder we couldn’t get anywhere near the official velocities.

The BP loaded .303 rounds used a compressed pellet of powder which was inserted before necking the case (like cordite). You cannot get enough loose powder into the case to get anything like this load.


Gravelbelly, nice to see you back .