Black powder pistol capable of shooting jacketed round?


John Wesley
August 25, 2006, 03:31 PM
I am trying to decide if I want to buy a black powder pistol for fun and possibly for deer season. (I am not thinking about shooting a deer at 200 yards or anything here. It is mainly just an excuse to get me into the field and I want to stay legal.)

Anyway, my question is:

Can a black powder pistol use ANY kind of jacketed bullet or MUST it use pure lead? How about using sabots?

I know this is done in black powder rifles and I would think it might be possible in pistols but I have never heard of it being done.

Is it possible?


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August 25, 2006, 04:11 PM
Possable AINT practical an pure lead slugsa been used ta kill a BUNCHA game.

Ya gots loads a problems tryin this AN ifin ya COULD get tha jacketed slug ta stay tight in chamber youd hava problem with it in tha barrel.

AN that extra pressure ta make er go thru tha riflin means LESS velocity.

Father Knows Best
August 25, 2006, 05:13 PM
You don't need or want jacketed rounds with black powder pistols. For hunting, conical lead bullets out of a .44 caliber revolver work great. The Ruger Old Army is probably your best choice, but the various Colt and Remington replicas can work fine, too. Use 4f powder or Hodgdon Triple Seven to achieve highest velocities.

August 25, 2006, 07:38 PM
If you are talking about single shot blackpowder pistols such as the Encore or Scout, jacketed bullets with sabots will work just fine.

John Wesley
August 26, 2006, 12:01 AM
I was thinking about a revolver. Hmmmmm. I guess lead it is. Thanks guys!

Where I hunt... with all the brush, I have had deer come within 20 feet of me more than once. I might actually try a black powder revolver if I can get some confidence with it first.

Thanks for the responses!

August 26, 2006, 12:49 AM
How would you load a jacketed bullet? If it's too small, it'll just fall out of the chamber. If it's too big, you'll need to get The Incredible Hulk to get the plunger lever to push the bullet in.
When you load a proper lead ball or bullet, you shave off a bit of the soft lead. Have you considered how hard it would be to shave off part of the copper jacket?
I wouldn't try it for safety reasons alone.

John Wesley
August 26, 2006, 04:40 PM
I see what you mean. I hadn't given it enough thought I guess. I was hoping to reduce leading, etc. These guns just weren't designed for this though.

Thanks again guys!

August 26, 2006, 06:32 PM
John I shoot soft lead only in my Revs never have had one that had lead deposits in the barrel. The velocity, groove to land dimensions, ball expandtion factor, and lubdrication...shear nature of the Revs are quite differant from shooting soft lead boolits for a .357 or .44mag cartridge guns with high velosity. Which will lead the barrels.

August 26, 2006, 06:51 PM
Like i said, tha BOSS pushes em at up ta 1592fps and NO leadin!

August 27, 2006, 10:16 PM
You might look into one of the Walker revolvers. I know they're big and heavy, but there's a lot of room in the chambers for a conical and a lot of powder. If you really want some thump, the fellers at Big Iron can make it into a .58 revolver for ya! Yow, I want one! :)

John Wesley
August 27, 2006, 10:45 PM
I assumed that leading would be a mojor problem with these guns (as far as I am concerned anyway.) That makes me feel a LOT better to know it isn't the problem I thought it would be.

I have looked at the Walker revolver's online. Hmmmm. Looks like I need to decide what I want now!

1592fps ?:what:

August 28, 2006, 08:05 AM
Yup! 1592! Was usin sifted H777 and tha medium grains in a STAINLESS ol Army, with deep bored chambers. AINT safe fer yer average blued eyetie special, tha STAINLESS remmies er alright.

1911 guy
August 28, 2006, 11:33 AM
FFFFg will put your pressures wildly high. Your best bet for BP handgun hunting is a Walker clone or one of the Rugers that will handle a larger powder charge. Stick with FFFg and shorter ranges. Also, check your state game regs. Many states will not allow BP handguns.

September 3, 2006, 07:52 PM
Find the 8th edition of Handloader's Digest (1978) for detailed answers to your questions.
On page 46 is an article by John Lachuk entitled, "Caplock Revolvers and Jacketed Bullets."
Here's the gist:
1. A Ruger Old Army, Hawes Remington 1858 reproduction and a reproduction Colt Walker, made by Navy Arms, were used.
2. A .451 inch fluted reamer was used to open the Walker and Remington chambers, so they would accept a .451 or .452 inch jacketed bullet.
3. The chambers of the Ruger Old Army measured .450 inch, so Lachuk polished the chambers to .451 inch.
4. Without reaming the chambers to a larger size, the jacketed bullet could not be seated --- so don't try to seat a jacketed bullet without this modification!
5. Bullets used were the Hornady 185 gr. hollow point, Sierra 180 gr. hollow core, Speer 200 gr. hollow point, Speer 200 gr. swaged lead bullet and Lyman 137 gr. cast lead ball.
5. Both FFFG and FFFFG black powder were used. as was Pyrodex (a recently introduced propellant back then).
6. Lachuk used FFFFG black powder but I don't advise it. This finely grained powder has shown, time and again, a propensity for jumping pressures. Couple that propensity with the harder, friction-creating jacketed bullet and you may blow a chamber.
7. Lachuk also used a small priming charge of Bullseye smokeless powder, in the chamber, next to the nipple. Again, a very dangerous thing to do. Black powder revolvers, no matter what their year of manufacture, are not designed for the pressures of smokeless powder. It's a matter of their design, not metallurgy. Anyone who uses smokeless powder in a cap and ball revolver is a damned fool.
8. Velocities: I know you're all slobbering and chomping at the bit to hear about velocities, so here goes

The 185 gr. jacketed bullet delivered 938 to 1,069 fps, depending on the load.
The 200 gr. Speer hollow poing ranged from 878 to 1004, depending on the load.
The 200 gr. swaged lead semiwadcutter delivered 840 to 960 fps, depending on the load.
The Lyman 137 gr. lead ball delivered 942 to 1,089 fps, depending on load.

The 185 gr. Hornady hollow point delivered 904 fps.
The 185 gr. Sierra delivered 994 fps.
The 200 gr. Speer hollow point delivered 909 fps.
The 200 gr. Speer lead semiwadcutter delivered 841 fps.
The Lyman 137 gr. lead ball delivered 990 fps.

Navy Arms Colt Walker
The 185 gr. Hornady hollow point delivered 1,100 fps.
The 185 gr. Sierra delivered 1,167 fps.
The 200 gr. Speer hollow point delivered 1,075 fps.
The 200 gr. Speer lead semiwadcutter delivered 984 fps.
The Lyman 137 gr. lead ball delivered 1,172 fps.

9. The cylinders of each revolver had to be loaded on an arbor press. It was not easy to seat the very hard copper jacketed bullets or, in the case of the Walker and Remington, there was too little space to get the bullet under the revolver's rammer.
This makes the project very specialized and certainly not much good for field use.

10. Lyman cap and ball grease was squeezed over the jacketed bullets after loading.

11. A Ransom Rest was used for the revolver; grip adapters not being made for the Walker or Remington. Accuracy testing was confined to the Ruger; Lachuk didn't say what kind of accuracy he got with the Remington or Walker.

12. At 50 yards, jacekted bullets were consistently more accurate than lead balls. Ruger 10-shot groups ran 4 inches, center to center, for the Hornady, Sierra and Speer bullets.
The best 50 yard group was with Sierra Jacketed Hollow Cavity bullets, at 2-3/4 inches.
At 25 yards, jacketed bullets and round balls both clustered 10 shots around 2 to 3 inches.

While it was an interesting experiment, doing so would require some alterations to the revolver and specialized equipment (arbor pressa and .451 inch fluted reamer with lathe or drill press). I don't think it's the kind of thing the typical cap and ball shooter would find easy or appealing.
And it should be noted that jacketed bullets create far more friction than lead. This friction can dramatically increase pressures.
I wouldn't want to risk any of my revolvers, or my flesh, for a project of dubious value.
Lead balls or conical bullets work fine, whether for plinking or hunting. I can't see much advantage to using jacketed bullets in a cap and ball revolver, when you consider all the prep work that must be done, and the danger of higher pressures that accompany the practice.

John Wesley
September 3, 2006, 11:31 PM
Wow! Great information!

I have learned a LOT!

BTW - It is legal to hunt deer in Kentucky with BP revolvers. Again, I just want to be legal in the field. I wouldn't take a shot unless it was practically at point blank range. (yes, where I hunt this happens more often than you think.)

Thanks again to everyone for ther GREAT information!!!!

(Gatofeo, that was an especially awesome post!)

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