Writing a fantasy story where my protag has knowledge of modern day Earth technology. Magic also exists but it can't just create things in and out of existence and uses the body's energy for it to work e.g. you can crush earth to make hard rock or perhaps craft small objects with earth in hand but it'd take too much energy to exert enough pressure to make diamonds or craft a mansion.
So with that in mind, I have a couple of questions:
What is the closest to smokeless powder could we get? Chemicals made in factories are clearly out so we'd be looking for something that would be simple or moderate difficulty to create. Even if we can't make it that far what's the best optimisation of black powder could we do with modern day knowledge?
The gun itself, I'm thinking the end game would be a simplistic bolt action rifle (maybe with inbuilt silencer but that might be too much) with a magazine. Design would be in stages, for example, first she'd make a smooth bore then later on figure out with magic perhaps how to carve the rifling incrementally. Though if we made that possible, would that essentially make semi-auto and full auto possible if that level of precision was possible with magic?
A wood stock with magazine well should be more than feasible. It'll be the main body of the smooth bore gun or rifle and the manufacture of the bullets which I'm not too sure of. I'm assuming that the parts of a bolt action are a lot simpler than modern semi or full auto rifles?
Thanks for any advice.
Silencer/Suppressor: As Dragongeek pointed out my ammunition would most likely be subsonic, at least for the most part until later perhaps (tbd) and the protag would wish to ensure not bring too much attention to herself.
Gunpowder is part of the overall question about gun manufacturing as of course without it, we have no ammunition. Smokeless is the modern day equivalent and I wanted to show progression. Our protag is the super knowledgeable about weapons person so I was hoping we could see progession from black powder to something even a little better but as Dragongeek stated, if the only real downside is fouling the barrel more often, then maybe there's no need (low power bullets are fine in the setting I'm in).
Protag would only be making one gun and for herself, to eke out an advantage in a world where she's not in a good spot. Masses of ammunition wouldn't be an issue, just enough for herself.
To try and clarify the magic system. Essentially I'm thinking of it using up the body's natural energy to manipulate the atoms/particles in the world. As long as it's nearby you can manipulate it. The further away the greater the energy required. I can create fire in my hand, increase it's heat enormously by manipulating the elements such as extracting the oxygen around the air and adding it (but taking it to ridiculous levels such as the temperature of the sun, no). I can condense and join atoms to create water, slowing down the atoms to freeze it (but nowhere near to absolute zero). I can energise the elements in the air to create wind but not a typhoon. Raise and manipulate the earth to create barriers of stone but no one is making any earthquakes.
With regards to gunsmithing. Our protag, after much training, magic manipulation could probably, with the materials roughly in the shape of what she's looking for, could perhaps smooth out the barrel of the gun (later on rifle it but it would take many attempts). Take a roughly designed body (receiver?) and smooth out any imperfections. she could probably with the magic strengthen the metal to a certain degree.
Essentially I'm thinking that without the magic, and tech set roughly somewhere in the early middle ages even a bolt action, magazine fed, smooth bore might be a bit too hard even for a very knowledgeable protag. With magic able to smooth out some kinks, perhaps offer a little bit of precision since I've seen a few questions on what kind of gun could be made way back when (I've done some research) and they all make mention that precision machining is required. No precision machining and you couldn't even make a semi-modern gun. Or that's what I'm lead to believe.
Again thanks any insight.
Wouldn't think it was a duplicate as I'm not looking for the earliest gun, I'm looking for the most advanced gun for preindustrial era with magic. Edited title, though that doesn't seem to have changed anything. Any ideas?