BP .36 and .44 calibers and modern smokeless energy equivalents


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scalper
June 28, 2008, 09:47 PM
Good evening guys. It has been awhile since I posted here. A buddy of mine who recently become addicted to BP like myself asked me about energy comparisons.

He asked me what type of energy (in foot pounds or joules) my .36 caliber C&B revolver was putting out and how it compared to modern smokeless cartridge. I had no idea how to answer that question. I could only go off how the recoil feels. When I load 20 grains of FFFg BP in my .36, it feels about like my .22 LR, so I told him probably in the 100-150 foot pounds range. I guessed I could probably effectively take down about the same type of game as I do with my .22 LR as well (grouse, rabbits, squirrels, etc). Which seemed like a good estimate. Then he asked me about the .44. I didn't have a clue.

Anyone in the forum do any studies based on bullet weight and speed using a chrony? (I need to buy one of these darn things). Seems like maybe the .44 might put out something equal to a modern light .38 special. These are only guesses based on my own "feel", so if anyone has any hard stats, we'd sure like to see them.

Thanks a bundle in advance!

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Donny
June 28, 2008, 10:10 PM
I've done a fair amount of shooting of my cap and balls over a crony and have learned that they are surprisingly powerful.

Of course their power all depends on how you load them. Loaded hot or with a conical they compare favorabley with modern cartridges.

The .36 loaded hot(23 or more grains of powder)is the equivalent of any thing between the .380 or 9mm Mak. Load with a conical and you have the equivalent of a .38 S&W short.

The .44 loaded hot(30 grains or more) with a ball is the same as a .38 special plus P. Load it with a conical on top of 25 grains of Pyrodex P and you have the equivalent of the old .45 Webley which had a reputation as a man stopper. Load hotter with the conical and your approaching the power of the .44 special.

Old fashioned maybe, but very deadly.

Don

oneshooter
June 29, 2008, 12:10 AM
The round ball out of either a rifle or pistol has a stopping factor all out of porportion to it's size. The 36 was a favorite because of it's light weight, handeling, accuracy, and stopping power for it's size. Just ask Wild Bill!!:D

Oneshooter
Livin in Texas

lechiffre
June 29, 2008, 12:15 AM
.36 = .32acp
.44 = .38sp.

i remember this from an old g&a article

mykeal
June 29, 2008, 09:14 AM
The Gun Digest Black Powder Loading Manual (currently in 4th edition) publishes black powder muzzle energy data for a wide variety of rifles, pistols, revolvers and shotguns. It's available at many bookstores and Amazon.com. Hodgdon used to publish such data as well; however, the current tables contain only velocities.

I do not have energy data for smokeless cartridges but they are also published in many reloading manuals.

Here are some data from the Gun Digest book:

Cimarron (Uberti) Colt Walker, .451 180 gr Buffalo Bullet conical, 40 gr fffg Swiss bp: 342 fp ME

Navy Arms 1858 Remington, .454 141 gr Speer rb, 35 gr fffg bp,: 258 fp ME

Navy Arms Rogers & Spencer, .454 141 gr Speer rb, 35 gr fffg bp: 252 fp ME

Navy Arms Colt Walker, .454 141gr Hornady rb, 55 gr fffg bp: 455 fp ME

Ruger Old Army (7 1/2" barrel), .457 143 gr Hornady rb, 40 gr fffg bp: 308 fp ME

Uberti 1858 Remington, .451 180 gr Buffalo Bullet conical, 30 gr fffg bp: 235 fp ME

Colt 1851 Navy, .375 80 gr Hornady rb, 20 gr Pyrodex P: 116 fp ME

Navy Arms Colt Pocket Police, .375 80 gr Hornady rb, 23 gr fffg bp: 149 fp ME

Voodoochile
June 29, 2008, 10:01 AM
Thank you mykeal for the info.
I've found like was mentioned before that the C&B revolvers power was quite sufficient with RB that quite a few persons kept them well into the early 1880's.

I've always used a simple math formula to find my energies out from all my firearms by using the Chronographs velocity data.

Example from my Pietta 58 NMA with 5.5" barrel
Bullet weight: 143 = .457 ball
X
Bullet Velicity: 875fps
X
Bullet Velicity: 875fps
X
.000002218
=
Energy: 242.83 Ft. Lbs

scalper
June 29, 2008, 10:23 AM
Thanks to all for the answers. This is exactly what we needed, hard data. I guess I really should get a chronograph. Probably would really aid evaluating my smokeless hand loads as well. Thanks again for the data.

arcticap
June 29, 2008, 10:36 AM
I remember a news story about an old fellow in Poland who robbed a store at gunpoint with a .36 Colt. The gun accidently went off and the ball hit the lady clerk in the chin only to bounce off. She was basically unhurt and the gunman escaped. He must have been too poor or too pius [religious] to load the pistol to full capacity while using it in the commission of a crime.
It just goes to show that it depends on how you load 'em. ;)

44-henry
June 29, 2008, 11:24 PM
I've always heard that an 1860 is the equiv of a 38 special, but that just doesn't sit right with me. My main problem is that the difference in the size of the wound channel, with no expansion you are basically dealing with a difference of about .075". The other factor is that roundballs made out of close to pure lead are going to flatten pretty easily so in most instances you can bet on some expansion. I do know that the roundball is a pretty lethal projectile on deer within its range limitations, probably alot more so than some so called muzzleloading experts would have you believe.

Pulp
June 30, 2008, 12:16 AM
I've gotten 1000fps out of both an '51 style .44 and Walkers, with RB. My .38Special snubbie might make 1000fps with Fed. 125 grain +P loads, but I doubt it. The Walker will do more, but I've never pushed it. That was only a 40 grain load of FFFg.

So comparing a .38Special with a .44 cap and ball, I'd be inclined to vote for the .44. Slightly heavier bullet and similar velocity. On the other hand, I can't put a Walker in my blue jean pocket without it being just a bit noticeable.

Voodoochile
June 30, 2008, 09:39 AM
I've gotten 1000fps out of both an '51 style .44 and Walkers, with RB. My .38Special snubbie might make 1000fps with Fed. 125 grain +P loads, but I doubt it. The Walker will do more, but I've never pushed it. That was only a 40 grain load of FFFg.

So comparing a .38Special with a .44 cap and ball, I'd be inclined to vote for the .44. Slightly heavier bullet and similar velocity. On the other hand, I can't put a Walker in my blue jean pocket without it being just a bit noticeable.

You're right but what I remember reading years ago in terms of C&B ballistics in the numbers not the actual outcome.

Ballistically "numbers wise" my 1860 Army, 1858 NMA & even my 5.5" barreled 58' NMA firing a 30gr. charge of FFFG & a 143gr. .457 ball is similar to a standard 6" barreled 38spl. firing a 158gr. LRN bullet.

38spl. ballistics of their 158gr LRN similar to the old police load of the 1950's fired from a 4" barrel:
755 fps. - 200 ft. lbs.

By looking at the numbers the .44 caliber C&B firing a round ball is similar to a .38 special load in which they were referring to & to be honest the recoil is near similar too.

ltetmhs
July 1, 2008, 02:43 AM
Here are rough muzzle energy equivolents in modern smokless from what mykeal said:

"Cimarron (Uberti) Colt Walker, .451 180 gr Buffalo Bullet conical, 40 gr fffg Swiss bp: 342 fp ME -- 9 mm para 115 grains (350 fp)

Navy Arms 1858 Remington, .454 141 gr Speer rb, 35 gr fffg bp,: 258 fp ME ---9mm Makarov 100 grains (260 fp)

Navy Arms Rogers & Spencer, .454 141 gr Speer rb, 35 gr fffg bp: 252 fp ME -- see above

Navy Arms Colt Walker, .454 141gr Hornady rb, 55 gr fffg bp: 455 fp ME --.40 S&W (460 fp) (Loaded to full capacity, the Walker can come close to the energies of a .44 mag.)

Ruger Old Army (7 1/2" barrel), .457 143 gr Hornady rb, 40 gr fffg bp: 308 fp ME --- ..44 special 246 grains (310fp)

Uberti 1858 Remington, .451 180 gr Buffalo Bullet conical, 30 gr fffg bp: 235 fp ME -- .38 special 110 grains @ 235 fp[/B]

Colt 1851 Navy, .375 80 gr Hornady rb, 20 gr Pyrodex P: 116 fp ME
--less than .22 LR(40 grains 140 fp) and 32 acp (130 fp)

Navy Arms Colt Pocket Police, .375 80 gr Hornady rb, 23 gr fffg bp: 149 fp ME -- see above

These are just muzzle energies, not really cartridge equivolents(sp?). These cartridges would obviously not have the same effect, so it is kind of useless. I believe felt recoil would be lighter on black powder of same energy b/c of burn rate. It sucks but I tried.

AdmiralB
July 1, 2008, 08:44 AM
Loaded to full capacity, the Walker can come close to the energies of a .44 mag.

That is highly...unlikely, I think - at least for more than one shot. The Walker can come close to full-house .357 energy, but the .44 can nearly quadruple that number.

Besides, full cap on a Walker is about 60gr, isn't it? Not significantly more than the 55gr quoted.

sundance44s
July 1, 2008, 09:23 AM
Yep the Walker was out powered with the invention of the 357 mag .not the 44 mag. but a 357 isn`t near as much fun to shoot as a Walker !

fineredmist
July 1, 2008, 10:00 AM
Please refer to:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=164202

sundance44s
July 1, 2008, 10:34 AM
Good info ..I`ll have to get the book .

Rachen
July 1, 2008, 04:59 PM
Paper ballistics may tell one story, but actual performance is just as important. I usually load my 1858s with 30 grains of 777 or 35-40 grains of my own homemade non-sulfur, high nitrate blackpowder. Both combinations got me an average of 1000 fps, sometimes a little higher, in the 1050 range. Couple that with a 190 grain Buffalo Ball-et, you receive about 500 foot pounds of energy. That is close to a traditionally loaded .45 LC or a low powered .357 magnum.

In MEC's book Percussion Pistols, there was an article at the end about one fellow who turned his old replica 1858 into a truly devastating hunting gun. Some modifications, and the gun enabled the author to take a trophy hog during opening season.:D

With performance listed above, the 1858 is definitely capable of taking wild hogs or deer.

Navy Arms Colt Walker, .454 141gr Hornady rb, 55 gr fffg bp: 455 fp ME --.40 S&W (460 fp) (Loaded to full capacity, the Walker can come close to the energies of a .44 mag.)


A low powered .44 magnum, probably. A .44 Mag+P , aka Buffalo Bore, produces an equivalent of a .454 Casull. there is no way a Walker can stand such pressures without being torn into ribbons.

Tomahawk674
July 1, 2008, 06:40 PM
How come in all the reading I've done, the 1861 Navy is always stated as being more powerful than the '51, when both are .36 cal with 7.5 inch barrels?

Phantom Captain
July 1, 2008, 06:48 PM
Tomahawk674 said:
How come in all the reading I've done, the 1861 Navy is always stated as being more powerful than the '51, when both are .36 cal with 7.5 inch barrels?

Please, where have you read this? I've never read such a thing. The only difference between a '51 and '61 Navy are aesthetics. I've never read or heard of anyone claiming there was a difference.

Maybe you are thinking of the '60 Army in .44 and the '51?

Rachen
July 1, 2008, 06:55 PM
Please, where have you read this? I've never read such a thing. The only difference between a '51 and '61 Navy are aesthetics. I've never read or heard of anyone claiming there was a difference.

Maybe you are thinking of the '60 Army in .44 and the '51?

I heard the same things before. The reason why they refer to the 61' as "more powerful" than the 51', is because of construction materials.

The 51' Navy was built using iron. Simple iron. Formula: Fe.
Iron is weak, and like the Colt Wakers, are prone to devastating blowups if loaded too much. Therefore, the 1851 navy cylinders sport very heavy construction, which leads to limited chamber space.

However, by 1859, the Bessimer steel processing method has been proven, and began to be used throughout the United States and England. As a result, revolvers built using carbon steel are much more durable than the previous iron models. As a result, the 61' navy was built with much lighter, and thinner construction, as well as being durable. The Model 62 Police was even built using very thin fluted cylinders. All of this is possible using steel.

Tomahawk674
July 1, 2008, 07:06 PM
You're right, hmm, I can't recall where I got that idea, but here's some chrono data:

1851:

http://www.civilwarguns.com/0210.html

1861:

http://www.civilwarguns.com/0111.html

I probably got mixed up with the different projectile sizes and weights.

edit: just read the post above, makes sense.

Voodoochile
July 1, 2008, 08:22 PM
The 51' Navy was built using iron. Simple iron. Formula: Fe.
Iron is weak, and like the Colt Wakers, are prone to devastating blowups if loaded too much. Therefore, the 1851 navy cylinders sport very heavy construction, which leads to limited chamber space.

However, by 1859, the Bessimer steel processing method has been proven, and began to be used throughout the United States and England. As a result, revolvers built using carbon steel are much more durable than the previous iron models. As a result, the 61' navy was built with much lighter, and thinner construction, as well as being durable. The Model 62 Police was even built using very thin fluted cylinders. All of this is possible using steel.

Sorry but the Bessimer process was to solve the problem of manufacturing large quantities of steel initially for very large cannon & eventually steel for construction & rail, we have been making Steel for over 500 years prior to the Bessimer process in open kilns for the manufacturer of Hand weapons like Ax heads, Knife blades & Sword Blades & also for small arm barrels including the barrels & cylinders of the 1847 Walker, 1848 Dragoon & 1851 Navy revolvers, the few examples of exploded weapons were due to mostly excessive powder charges in some slightly defective steel manufacturing of the time in these revolvers.

The fact that the 1861 had a slight velocity advantage over the 1851 was possibly due to better manufacturing processes & slight difference in tolorences between the two weapons.

Rachen
July 1, 2008, 08:27 PM
Sorry but the Bessimer process was to solve the problem of manufacturing large quantities of steel initially for very large cannon & eventually steel for construction & rail, we have been making Steel for over 500 years prior to the Bessimer process in open kilns for the manufacturer of Hand weapons like Ax heads, Knife blades & Sword Blades & also for small arm barrels including the barrels & cylinders of the 1847 Walker, 1848 Dragoon & 1851 Navy revolvers, the few examples of exploded weapons were due to mostly excessive powder charges in some slightly defective steel manufacturing of the time in these revolvers.

But by the time the War Between the States started, steel was already being used for many, many things, like revolvers, for example. True, the Bessimer process was developed for big time construction and weaponry, but one of the unintended consequences of any technological innovation is that it will be reproduced quite rapidly.

Revolvers built after 1860 used a compound called "Silver Spring Steel". And the fluted cylinders of the 1862 Pocket were also prone to blowups, because the fluted chambers were constructed so thin, they were unable to handle the pressure from the burning powder.

dwave
July 1, 2008, 08:35 PM
Also the replica 1861's (at least from Pietta) have a 8 inch barrel vs. the 1851 which has a 7.5. The 1/2 isn't much, but it can add a little power.

Voodoochile
July 1, 2008, 09:38 PM
But by the time the War Between the States started, steel was already being used for many, many things, like revolvers, for example. True, the Bessimer process was developed for big time construction and weaponry, but one of the unintended consequences of any technological innovation is that it will be reproduced quite rapidly.

Revolvers built after 1860 used a compound called "Silver Spring Steel". And the fluted cylinders of the 1862 Pocket were also prone to blowups, because the fluted chambers were constructed so thin, they were unable to handle the pressure from the burning powder.

True but my point was that the Bessimer process was not the reason for the increased velocities between the 10 year difference of the weapons.

My point of the fact that we had been producing steel since around 1400BC for mostly wepons & agricultural uses & ofcorse when firearms were produced Steel was an alternative & eventually primary material to manufacturer the weapons.
We as humans till well into the Civil war were not able to perfect the composition of the Steel in which we used to keep it uniform through out its process.
It has been till the 20th century where we were able to produce the Steel in a variety of Aloys to suit the needs of the end users, so imprefections are possible from piece to piece till even recently.

Also there were a reason in which Colt halted production of the fluted cylinders for their 1860 Armies due to the flaw of the steel that produced them till more control was possible in the manufacturing process well into 1872.

ltetmhs
July 1, 2008, 10:32 PM
I guess I fell for some bad information from someone who was a little to proud of his gun. I found it hard to believe myself, but that is one big gun. Plus, I said close:o. But, is it true that a bp gun w/ the same energy would have less percieved recoil b/c of burn rate?

Pulp
July 2, 2008, 01:10 AM
Comparing two .44-40 cartridges, one loaded with Tite-Group and one loaded with BP and both producing the same velocity, the BP will kick harder. At least in revolvers. The reason is it takes 30-35 grains of BP, as opposed to 5.5 grains of Tite-Group. Your setting roughly 6 times as much powder into motion with the good stuff, hence more felt and actual recoil.

On the other hand, those that are fortunate enough to have big bore single shots say the recoil from smokeless is a sharp punch and from the good stuff a push. I can verify that is true when comparing smokeless and BP shotgun loads.

So I reckon this has been a very long way to say recoil is not a reliable measure of power.:)

Gun Slinger
July 14, 2008, 09:34 PM
After reading this thread with great interest I was wondering if there was any 'set standard' for what the 1861 Navy can be expected to do in terms of a "maximum velocity" when pushing an 79-80 gr. .375 RB over a maximum load of powder?

While I realize that each gun is a "law unto itself", I have been operating under the impression that the average "ball-park" maximum performance to be expected of a 1861 Navy is in the ~850 fps/128 fps range. Is this a realistic expectation?

Thanks for any input,

mykeal
July 14, 2008, 09:50 PM
From the Gun Digest Blackpowder Loading Manual 4th edition by Sam Fadala, page 232, the Colt Second Generation 1851 Navy with 20 gr of Pyrodex P under a .375 80 gr Hornady round ball and a grease chamber seal will produce 809 fps MV and 116 fpe ME.

Mike Cumpston in Percussion Pistols and Revolvers, History, Performance and Practical Use, reported on page 103 substantially higher numbers: with 22 gr of Pyrodex P under the same .375 80 gr rb he got 1092 fps MV.

Gun Slinger
July 14, 2008, 10:32 PM
mykeal,

Thanks.

OK. So somewhere between 809 fps and 1092 fps. That narrows it down somewhat... :D

Seems like each gun being a "law unto itself" rings true afterall.

Regards,
:)

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