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AR-15 vs. Blackpowder rifle? Which would you choose?

In an extreme survivalist situation (hypothetical) like the total collapse of Western civilization and the chaos arising from anarchy...

Which of these 2 rifles will allow you to survive the longest?

Which of the 2 rifles will continue working under the worst of conditions?

Which of the 2 rifles can your repair, supply, and maintain in extreme survivalist situations?

I personally would pick the Blackpowder rifle, I can always make my own powder (charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate), cast my own bullets out of lead, is a more simple design, and has fewer moving sophisticated parts than the AR-15.

17 Answers

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  • Sam Z
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Blackpowder isn't as easy to make as you you might think it is. Without chemical companies around where are you going to find sulpher and potassium nitrate easily?

    The AR-15 would wins hands down for a few reasons.

    First, unless you plan on living another 100+ years you won't need to worry about the longevity of your rifle.

    Secondly, if properly taken care of the AR-15 will last well beyond your lifetime. I personally have a Remington model 8 in original condition that just turned 100 years old this year and it still shoots as good as it did the day it came out of the factory.

    Modern ammunition also lasts for a very long time. I have over 500 rounds of 1942 manufacture 8X57 mauser ammunition that functions nearly flawlessly through my 1938 Chzech Mauser.

    Smokeless powder and primers also last for a very long time if stored properly.

    So bascially while your blowing your fingers off with a bad blackpowder mix and trying to carve out flints or trying to find percussion caps, everyone else will be hoarding thier own realoading gear and modern ammunition that they will use to shoot your butt off while your still loading your muzzle.

    Source(s): Amature gunsmith / Avid hunter
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    ... well, that's a bit of an oddball question.

    Admittedly, it's based on whatever I can procure at the time. If I were running around scavving in a city, then yes, I would probably take the AR... because it would be more likely I could find ammunition... more practical. Especially if I'm in a city, there are bound to be *way* many more people than I.

    In a rural setting where conflict with armed humans is less likely, then a good quality BP repro would suit my needs very nicely. Yes, you can make your own powder (following, and not deviating from formulas), and yes you can cast your own bullets. Hell, with the tap-o-cap, you can make your own caps.

    Depends. Out here where I am, BP would work great... but for the time being, I'll stick with my 1903 or Krag... and a high place.

    Source(s): Avid shooter/Experienced Machinist/BP is really fun.
  • Mac
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    You didn't say muzzle-loader, so a BP rifle can be as modern as a Winchester lever action.

    But I agree with the AR-15 (or an even better modern rifle), especially for the long-term storage of its ammo. It will also shoot far more accurately in a much more compact package.

    Gunsmithing in survival situations is either something you know how to do or not and something you are prepared to do (with parts, knowledge, tools) or not. Firearm type will be the least of your problems for most things.

    And why did the modern weapon HAVE to be an AR-15? Why couldn't it also be a simple design, like a Springfield Armory M6 Scout Rifle, with a single-shot .22 barrel over a single-shot .410 barrel?

  • 1 decade ago

    I would prefer an AR-15.

    If I run out of ammo and cannot procure more, then I'll extol the virtues of a black powder rifle.

    Meanwhile, I'd like to see the black powder enthusiasts engage multiple targets while exposed to rainy weather.

    While I don't own any smokepoles yet, I'm not against them. I prefer cartridge firearms because they are easier to carry, use, reload and maintain. Also, I prefer not to give away my position by producing a cloud of smoke every time I shoot.

    I see no harm in having knowledge of and access to both black powder and modern cartridge firearms.

    Edit: @Patrick: Good point. Many "modern" cartridges have black powder origins and could be used with their original black powder loads in the rifles and pistols designed for them. That would be preferable to using a muzzle loader, in my opinion.

  • 1 decade ago

    AR-15 most likely. I know how to reload by hand(sorta-with a hammer and some tools) and cast my own bullets, and I can clean an AR-15 in 5 minutes and have it loaded in 1. A black powder rifle only has single shot capability and so if 2 guys are charging you, you have a bit of a problem.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Obviously an AR-15 would be the better choice. Although if given a chance to get an HK 416 I would take that over any other modern rifle out there currently.

    Source(s): me gun owner.
  • 1 decade ago

    If you can reload your own bullets, if you can cast lead, why not keep powder and jackets rather then waiting to reload a black powder gun.

    Best time for a reload under no pressure was 45 sec this why they had a Bayonet attached.

    Also only good to 50 yards out so.

    AR 15 can suppress fire and fire 30 round clips single fire With great suppression control and accurate to 800 yards, do not have to see the whites of their eyes.

  • 1 decade ago

    your point is good, however, i have 1000 rounds of ar ammo already to go, my rifles clean, I would use my rifle only when needed and the ammo would last a long time, I personally have every replacement part i would need for my rifle, except a barrel.

    In a stand off situation I could lay down 30 rounds of lead before you'd get your blackpower rifle loaded.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    i'd rather go with an AK74 and a boatload of ammo. 1k of 5.45x39 is going for $150 or so, for $2.5k i could get 15,000 rounds. 2k is not that much money, considering some people i know put that much into a single AR15 build. i now have more ammo than i can shoot in just about any form of "shtf" survival scenarios. as for spare parts, AKs are cheap. buy a few more at $600ish and you'll be set!

  • C_F_45
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The AR-15 is a much more effective weapon in a survival(SHTF) situation. You can store modern ammo for decades, and you should have a spare parts kit for all your firearms.

    Survival Guns - Mel Tappan

    Life After Doomsday - Dr Bruce Clayton

    Two of the better books on how to survive the worst of times, and how to put together a survival arsenal.

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