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Old 03-19-2007, 09:29 AM
slaphead slaphead is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Streatham Common
Posts: 2,896
Originally Posted by Cisco
I'm still curious where the oxygen comes from; I looked up gunpowder in Wikipedia expecting it to be oxidized but I'm still unclear on whether it is or not.
I seem to remember that in traditional gunpowder it comes from salpetre (KNO3) - nitrates contain plenty of spare oxygen with which to oxidise the charcoal and sulphur, once they have been persuaded to decompose into NO2 etc. Modern propellants use the same principle, but using different chemicals.

It's the sort of question that most people familiar with ammunition or guns would regard as too obvious to answer - let's face it, if firearms relied on sucking air down the barrel past the bullet, or through holes into the firing chamber, it would be pretty noticeable.