How confident are you with cap n ball pistols?


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shephard19
May 20, 2010, 06:11 AM
I realize the vast majority of THR members haven't shot a cap and ball pistol, but I am curious how confident would you be in a self defense situation with say for example a cap n ball revolver versus a modern pistol assuming the situation is not a drawn out gunfight which the vast majority of gunfights are not.

Does anyone have an idea of the actual stopping power of a .44 ball versus 9mm?

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BCCL
May 20, 2010, 09:58 AM
Cap and Ball vs modern, still has the same main keys that modern vs modern does.

It's the man not the gun and shot placement over ammunition.

easyg
May 20, 2010, 10:42 AM
Well, the cap and ball revolver has certainly put plenty of men six feet under.
Heck, even a flintlock pistol can kill a man.
But I just wouldn't feel confident armed with one.

Granted, I don't know alot about cap and ball revolvers, but the lack of a sealed cartridge (nearly 100% weather-proof) is a huge disadvantage in my opinion.

ArmedBear
May 20, 2010, 11:17 AM
You can load bullets in a leverloader, so you are not stuck with round balls.

Personally, I have had more misfires with cap and ball than the worst fixed ammo, but if I were loading for serious use, I could be careful.

the lack of a sealed cartridge (nearly 100% weather-proof) is a huge disadvantage in my opinion.

This is only a disadvantage if you don't seal your caps, which the old-timers did do. Nobody does it now if they're just playing with cap and ball guns, but you still can do it.

The front of the cylinder has to be sealed anyway, against chain firing.

CraigC
May 20, 2010, 11:36 AM
The quality of most of the guns and the nipples' ability to hold onto the caps would be my only apprehensions. They are certainly capable of killing grown men stone dead.

Nushif
May 20, 2010, 11:41 AM
On that note, if they ever designed a cap and ball looking pistol that holds a normal round, somewhat like a modified Derringer I'd totally carry one.
I know it's playing the statistics, but for home defense one shot usually ends the situation as most robbers will run. But again, that's playing the odds.

heron
May 20, 2010, 11:42 AM
I had a .36 that I built from a kit . . . amazingly accurate, considering the sights, and I never had a misfire. Great fun, with all the smoke, and recoil was nearly nonexistent. Also, if you want to be "under the radar," you can buy them mail-order, since BP is not considered a "firearm."

I wouldn't consider it near the top of my SD choices, though.

il_10
May 20, 2010, 12:34 PM
It would be far from my top choice, but I'm fairly confident with my '51 copy. I had some misfires early on, but since I modified the main spring about six months back (piece of rubber between the mainspring and frame) I haven't had one. That's been about 150 rounds ago. They're certainly powerful enough to kill, they don't go through an FFL, and they're far less threatening to a jury if you end up in court over an SD shoot than modern defense guns. I wouldn't carry one for SD specifically, but if it's your only option it's better than a sharp stick. Make sure you know your gun and fiddle with it and work with it enough to make sure you can get reliable ignition; if you use a black powder gun for SD, seal the caps with a thin coat of wax to prevent moisture getting in and you should be okay. OTOH, if staying out of FFLs is your main concern, there are also the conversion kits for BP guns that will get you a perfectly serviceable .38 special or .45 colt (with cowboy loads) delivered right to your door.

David E
May 20, 2010, 01:09 PM
The cap can easily lock up the action on the BP gun, so I'd never seriously consider one for defense.

BCCL
May 20, 2010, 01:44 PM
On that note, if they ever designed a cap and ball looking pistol that holds a normal round

You mean like a Richards-Mason conversion?

http://www.cimarron-firearms.com/Conversions/51R-MConvOpener.htm

Nushif
May 20, 2010, 03:26 PM
I'm thinking an even older style.

ArmedBear
May 20, 2010, 03:31 PM
Older than an 1851 Navy?

Can't get too much older.

Nushif
May 20, 2010, 03:43 PM
O.o Must be thinking of another kind then.

eight433
May 20, 2010, 03:54 PM
I have two FIE .36 black powder revolvers. I am VERY confidant with them. Confidant I won't hit SWAT past 10 yards tops Confidant that at LEAST one of them is gonna lose a cap or fail to fire. Confidant that a guy with a knife could easily bum rush me while I'm fiddling with the weapon.

To the guy who said "it's the man, not the gun" I can only partially agree with. Original colts? I'll agree. FIE? Its the gun, not the man!
These are truly only a half step above wall hanger grade, haha.

GRIZ22
May 20, 2010, 04:11 PM
Does anyone have an idea of the actual stopping power of a .44 ball versus 9mm?

Velocity and energy of a 44 ball (about 145 gr) works out to be the same as a 38 special so you can figure from that.

BHP FAN
May 20, 2010, 04:24 PM
It's too bad you couldn't ask any Civil War veterans.

Snowdog
May 20, 2010, 05:51 PM
I've had tons of fun with my Pietta 1858 Remington and have developed plenty of respect for what it can do. During my fun blasting things, I discovered some interesting things involving the BC of roundball and have little confidence in roundball's ability at ranges greater than 25 yards. Though anything greater than 25 yards doesn't sound like "handgun" range to me.

If I were able to cycle the loads often and remain in a dry environment, I wouldn't feel too concerned in the pistol failing to do the job (assuming the caps stay on). Though they certainly don't hold a candle to modern handguns IMO and personally I wouldn't consider one to for defensive use.

azyogi
May 20, 2010, 06:42 PM
Out here in the dry I've had cylinders loaded for better than a year fire, with FFFg Goex and fresh caps. Another option is a conversion cylinder, .45lc for colts or remmies. .45acp for a ROA. 2gr of bullseye in a .22 super companion pushes a 30gr conical 1100 to 1200 fps [note only C&B revolver to use smokeless in] Not my first choice for SD but nothing to sneeze at either.

336A
May 20, 2010, 07:19 PM
I guess David McCanles didn't know round balls were so ineffectual since Bill Hickok shot him through the heart at 75yd with his 1851 Colt:rolleyes: Same goes for General Frasier, who was shot by Timothy Murphy at Beimus Heights during the battle of Saratoga. Timothy Murphy was a member of Col Morgan's Sharpshooters during the revolutionary war. He shot General Frasier off his horse at about 250yd with his rifle.

The Lone Haranguer
May 20, 2010, 10:46 PM
Some gelatin testing in a magazine article a few years ago showed the 79-grain, .36-caliber round ball from an 1851 Colt Navy to be the equivalent of a .380 ACP hollowpoint, and the 141-grain, .44 caliber round ball from a Colt Walker to be the equivalent of a .357 Magnum, 158-grain JHP - not too shabby. Would I depend on a cap-and-ball for a self defense gun? Not unless I were forced to. If you need more than the six shots, forget about reloading unless you have a second, loaded one handy. There is also the matter of cap fragments falling into and jamming the revolver's action. There is a reason why the self contained metallic cartridge was such a breakthrough invention. ;)

nalioth
May 21, 2010, 03:34 AM
It is not unknown for modern cartridges to blow out a primer and lock up a revolver cylinder.

Nothing is infallible.

As pointed out early in this thread - It's the man not the gun and shot placement over ammunition.

As seen in this situation: [1] (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=464346) [2] (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=463133)

BullRunBear
May 21, 2010, 04:13 AM
I'm confident about hitting a man size target up to 50 yards with the ROA or Uberti 1860 Army. I rarely have a cap seize up the cylinder (never, so far, with the ROA). If I had nothing else, either of those would do the job and I would feel reasonably protected.

Having said that, I would prefer my Model 29, Model 10 or CZ 75b if only because they are faster to fire.

Sorry I can't help with the RB vs. 9mm comparison.

Jeff

StrawHat
May 21, 2010, 07:00 AM
An interesting thread. Like "modern" handguns, C&B revolvers can be altered for better performance. Even converted to handle cartridges. The problem with caps jamming the action is a relatively simple fix and properly fitting caps go a long way to preventing many problems. And yes, many died from being shot with the old 36s and 44s, about as many as died from the 31s and early 22 rimfire rounds, from infection!

I have of necessity carried an 1860 Colt clone (and would do it again) but much prefer my 45ACP S&W N frame.

snooperman
May 21, 2010, 07:32 AM
cap and ball revolvers for about 46 years and I would not want to have one for home defense or CCW. There are too many other choices of modern guns that are far more reliable that can do the job much better without the inherent problems with caps etc and ignition problems one can encounter with storage of these kind of guns, when they are loaded for extended periods of time. Blackpowder is very Hygroscopic (attracts moisture) and hense is not as reliable as modern powder over time. My 2 cents.

snooperman
May 21, 2010, 07:44 AM
was one of the reasons for the great success of modern smokeless powders. As soon as the modern powder came on the scene , people abandoned blackpowder because of its inherent problems in hunting guns and self defense guns. However , Some of the mountain people of southern Appalachia carried on the blackpowder tradition by hunting with them well into the moderrn era and still do to this day. And, many families still build them the old way, even today in that region. It is a kind of southern art form now.

rkammer
May 21, 2010, 09:19 AM
I have chronograph-ed the 144 grain 44 call ball at over 1000 fps with a stout load. That's easily equivalent of a 38 spl +P. The drawback to any single action revolver is the fact that one must cock the hammer for each shot and this, IMO, eliminates it as a viable SD weapon. :)

danez71
May 21, 2010, 09:22 AM
I did a quick search and didnt find what I was looking for....

Are there any current cap and ball derringers?

Fun novalty use only.

fireside44
May 21, 2010, 09:23 AM
A properly maintained and functioning BP pistol is just about as good as anything.

FLAvalanche
May 21, 2010, 09:35 AM
I am curious how confident would you be in a self defense situation with say for example a cap n ball revolver

Oh, I'm pretty confident you're not going to find me in that situation...

rkammer
May 21, 2010, 09:49 AM
I have chronograph-ed the 144 grain 44 call ball at over 1000 fps with a stout load. That's easily equivalent of a 38 spl +P. The drawback to any single action revolver is the fact that one must cock the hammer for each shot and this, IMO, eliminates it as a viable SD weapon. :)

azyogi
May 21, 2010, 10:01 AM
danez71 the NAA companion and the super companion are .22 cal C&B mini revolvers I'd post a link to I'm loving this super companion [here on THR] if I knew how. They are well made and like the ROA I've never had one jam on a piece of percussion cap.

StrawHat
May 21, 2010, 12:21 PM
snooperman

...problems one can encounter with storage of these kind of guns, when they are loaded for extended periods of time. Blackpowder is very Hygroscopic (attracts moisture) and hense is not as reliable as modern powder over time...

I know that blackpowder residue is hydroscopic. That is why it needs to be cleaned within a short while of firing. I am unaware that the powder itself will draw moisture. BP firearms have been found to be loaded for years and go off with great regularity. I have read of a demonstration where Sam Colt would load a cylinder, cap it, drop it in a bucket of water and later in his demonstration install the wet cylinder in a revolver and shoot it. I have not duplicated this but don't see why it would not work providing the caps fit the nipple.

snooperman
May 21, 2010, 12:47 PM
Black poowder IS HYGROSCOPIC, whether fired or unfired. Take some , early in the morning and just set it out on an empty dish and watch the goo that forms. In damp weather moisture has a way of collecting in microscopic openings. I live in a damp climate and even on early morning hunts our flintlock frizzens are full of moisture before we fire the first shot at a deer. I have hunted with both Flintlock and caplock guns on my farmland for 45 years at deer and wild boar and it is not easy on damp mornings, especially with flintlocks. Try thge above experiment and you will see it for yourself

snooperman
May 21, 2010, 12:54 PM
in a short time is because the moisture in the air leaches the KNO3 or salt out which is very corrosive. The moisture per se is not the problem, it is the salt that the moisture attaches too that is the culprit. Salt peter, will rust the bore in short period of time depending on the degree of moisture the powder is exposed to from the air.In damp climates it occurs rapidly, and in very dry climates, not so fast.

Snowdog
May 21, 2010, 04:54 PM
I've long been under the impression that the corrosive nature of black powder stems from the potassium nitrate (KNO3) that, as it's been said, is hygroscopic and thus attracts moisture that's held to the metal (with the moisture itself rusting the metal).

I nearly lost my first BP firearm this way after having fired a few shots to sight in and forgot to clean for almost a week. The rust in the bore was unbelievable.

Full Metal Jacket
May 21, 2010, 05:13 PM
cap 'n balls are too dependent on the weather for reliability to suit me.

if it rains, or is simply very humid, these weapons can be rendered useless.

snooperman
May 21, 2010, 06:49 PM
you are correct , the KNO3 is a salt and like all "salts" attract moisture. The old name given was Saltpeter. Blackpowder is hygroscopic because of it. Blackpowder is made from Potassium nitrate , Sulfur, and charcoal. As a retired Chemistry teacher 35 years, I wanted to make my own a few years ago and it worked but it was more trouble than it was worth and a mess to boot. Rust per se , is Iron Oxide, but this oxidation process on steel occurs rapidly when moisture in the air is absorbed by the salt on the steel. Steel is an alloy made of Iron, cobalt , chromium , nickel and sometimes other metals. Many kinds of steel can be made by using different quantities of each of the metals for different applications. But , Iron is used the most in gun barrels making them subject to rusting or "oxidation". I want to correct something I said earlier, as my 70 year old mind is not as accute as it once was. I said the Frizzen on my flintlock was full of gunk from the moisture. I meant to say the "pan" as that is where the priming powder is located. The frizzen is the striking plate the piece of flint strikes to get the spark to ignite the priming powder in the pan. Sorry to have rambled.

the-ghost
May 21, 2010, 08:51 PM
The cap can easily lock up the action on the BP gun, so I'd never seriously consider one for defense.
generally a sign the hammer strike is to light and the blow back is forcing the cap off.

BCCL
May 21, 2010, 09:14 PM
To the guy who said "it's the man, not the gun" I can only partially agree with. Original colts? I'll agree. FIE? Its the gun, not the man!
These are truly only a half step above wall hanger grade, haha.

And it was "the man" that chose to buy that junky thing right? :)

Carl Levitian
May 21, 2010, 09:39 PM
"I guess David McCanles didn't know round balls were so ineffectual since Bill Hickok shot him through the heart at 75yd with his 1851 Colt".



If one is going to quote history, please get it right. Hickok was shot by a Jack McCall, while sitting at a poker table in Nuttal and Mann's Saloon Number 10. He was shot in the back of the head, from behind, at a few feet range.

Weevil
May 21, 2010, 10:12 PM
Oh they're like any other gun they'll punch a hole in somebody and if the holes in the right spot you might even kill them.


The problems with a C&B are reliabilty and safety.

They have a bad habit of misfiring and that's just the nature of the beast. Percussion caps are very crude and simple when compared to the primers used on modern center-fire cartridges. They're actually a lot more similiar to a rimfire in that there is no anvil just primer material poured into a cup, and just like rimfire ammo they're not as reliable.

As mentioned any moisture even what's in the air can effect blackpowder and cause it to fail to ignite.

Plus they have to be loaded right, slip up and you could get a chain fire between the cylinders. Don't seat the bullet all the way down on the powder and you could cause the cylinder to burst and possibly have the whole gun blow up in your hand.



So yeah they'll work but there are a lot better, safer, more reliable options available.


True they are just a tool that is an extension of the man using it, but why would you want an old obsolete antique tool when better more reliable and safer options are available???

LightningMan
May 21, 2010, 10:49 PM
I wouldn't want to rely on a Black powder pistol for home defence or any other type of self defence, but they will kill. I am at this moment watching 20/20 and younger man killed his childhood molester with a Remington C&B clone revolver. Probably a .44 cal. but I didn't hear or they didn't say, as I can remember. LM

Lastmohecken
May 21, 2010, 10:56 PM
I have a Ruger cap and ball old army, that I would trust, if I had to, And I have left that gun loaded for a year at a time, and it always goes bang, when I decide to shoot it. Plus I have left cap and ball rifles loaded from one year to the next, on occassions when I didn't fire it on the last day of a hunt, and left it loaded. I never remember one not going off, when I finally decided to shoot it. Of course, if the gun has been shot and not cleaned, then I never leave one loaded for any length of time, before shooting it out, and cleaning it. But I have left clean guns, loaded for long periods of time. It's probably not the best practice, but I have not really noticed any ill effect.

StrawHat
May 22, 2010, 07:12 AM
Carl Levitian "I guess David McCanles didn't know round balls were so ineffectual since Bill Hickok shot him through the heart at 75yd with his 1851 Colt".



If one is going to quote history, please get it right. Hickok was shot by a Jack McCall, while sitting at a poker table in Nuttal and Mann's Saloon Number 10. He was shot in the back of the head, from behind, at a few feet range.

Both of these snippets are true. Hickock did kill McCanles and McCall did kill Hickock.

mustang_steve
May 22, 2010, 10:12 AM
I'd be confident in my navy colt replica, of course the hammer would be on an empty chamber and I'd better be in an OC state, as this thing is simply massive....it has to go into the pistol safe angled to fit at all, and even then it barely fits. That means concealment.....about as stealthy as a fat man hiding behind a single corn stalk....

azyogi
May 22, 2010, 11:46 AM
I just dug out my tap-o-cap still works with the caps I put in an ammo can for Y2K. Ammo shortage? What ammo shortage?

RyanM
May 22, 2010, 12:12 PM
One thing that bears mentioning is that, legally speaking, though BP firearms can be purchased in most states as though they were any old piece of metal, once loaded, a BP gun does tend to become a firearm in the eyes of the law. So if you're somehow legally barred from owning a firearm, using a BP gun isn't going to alleviate any legality problems except in very specialized cases (like in PA, you can get a non-resident New Hampshire CCW at age 18, but cannot purchase a normal handgun, even on the used market, unless it's from your parents or spouse, though you can legally posess a handgun at age 18-21, as long as it's bought paperwork-free from one of the aforementioned parties; so in PA, if your parents and spouse refuse to sell you a gun, your only option for CCW before age 21 is a non-resident NH permit plus a cap-n-ball).

Oyeboten
May 22, 2010, 02:43 PM
From my experience with the Cap and Ball Revolvers I have, I would be confident in them for SD contexts...but a Double Action Metallic Cartridge Revolver or Automatic would have several important advantages of course, over them.

I have had no mis-fires other than one time, one Cap had to be struck a second time), and no jams or other troubles.


The Revolver's length when having long Barrels, or in some cases length and weight, and that the ones I have are all Single Action, would make them less fast and easy to handle in some ways, than a shorter Barrel modern Revolver of equivelent power.

Reloading takes longer...

I only have .44 Caliber ones...so power wise, with standard Ball, and regular Black Powder, these are on par with .357 Magnum.

Been thinking of carrying one as a Car Gun.

tommyS4
May 22, 2010, 05:08 PM
Well I have two .36 cal, one .44cal and a .50cal rifle. The 36's will do the job, if the fire coming out the barrel don't scare the hell out of 'em, when the lead hits 'em that will do the trick !

batjka
May 22, 2010, 05:54 PM
For a home defense gun, have no doubts. It will do the trick, no problem.

For a carry piece, I'm not sure. Powder might get wet, there are too many variables. However, there are people on the Black Powder board that do carry pocket cap and ball revolvers and have full confidence in them.

As far as the caps jamming the action, get a Remington, not a Colt. Remingtons do not jam, at least in my experience. Colts, however, do every time.

kopcicle
May 22, 2010, 06:14 PM
I just dug out my tap-o-cap still works with the caps I put in an ammo can for Y2K. Ammo shortage? What ammo shortage?
Odd you should use that date . One of my '51 Navy clones has been loaded since that time and I'll get back to you with the results some day . The balls are sealed with clear fingernail polish and bee's wax and the lube replaced from time to time . The caps are preceded onto the nipple by viton "O" rings and are also painted in place . The area facing the rear of the cylinder has been carefully deburred and tested over years of use . The '51 in relatively constant use has been loaded for as long as 3 years in this fashion and has never failed to fire .

Oddly enough the .36 I have seems to be a bit more finicky about being kept loaded . It's usual malfunction being a dud cap that once replaced fires as expected .

Accuracy ? Out to about 40yds from bags on the bench the '51 is about on par with any of my 1911's save for a race gun . Past 40yds it seems that there is the expected vertical stringing from variations in charge but it only really begins to open up past 60yds . I have hit things I intended to @ 100yds but with a fat blade on one end and a notch in the hammer on the other my realistic 10" bull hit distance isn't much more than 20yds off hand , 40yds rested and quite a bit less if in a hurry or low light .

Terminal ballistics? in the three cases where I have fired on and dressed out the animal the .44 produced a wound channel that would have to be seen to be believed . At the same distances I don't think a 30.30 flat tip or the .35Rem round nose is capable of that kind of damage .

Self defense ? If relegated to the '51 or it's ilk I would strive to make it reliable and practice with it . Wait , I already do that :D . It sits by the door as a third option behind a 1911 and a camp carbine . That said I don't think I'd engage at much past 7yds by choice but feel reasonably confident that the fire, brimstone and smoke from a discharge would give an assailant pause , produce some fleeting cover from the smoke and might possibly even hit something out to 20yds .

The whole family loves to shoot it , hates to clean it and is as proficient with it as natural ability allows . It is a crowd favorite at family shoots and range trips .

~kop

mec
May 22, 2010, 06:27 PM
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=58043&stc=1&d=1179069596

These can still be found in kit form if you look hard enough. Quite reliable. Unlike most replicas, these come from Spain. The Lincoln Derringer made by Palmetto is much more expensive and very poorly made


C&B revolvers have a fair amount of power-energy of a .44 compares closely to a standard velocity 38 special. They are often easier to hit with than many modern defensive handguns.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=41132&stc=1&d=1150302000

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=37795&d=1143741604
They are more prone to broken springs, cap jams and other problems than more modern revolvers but can be pretty reliable. There are circumstances where you can have one of these but not anything else. This was true ( until recently and possibly still) In south africa and england. In those cases, they will work.

batjka
May 22, 2010, 09:26 PM
As far as the ballistics go, there have been figures published on the Black Powder forum stating velocities up to 1150 fps with round ball and 700s with 220 gr conicals. These are not to sneeze at and do reach 45 ACP/ 45 LC energy levels.

Oyeboten
May 22, 2010, 09:50 PM
The right Caps for one's Revolver's Nipples alleviate the often heard complaints of Caps falling off and jamming, Caps not igniting, Caps too hard to fit on fully, Caps too loose, pinch the too loose Caps, on and on...


I do not know why people do not trouble themselves to understand that every brand of Nipple is not the same, and every brand of even supposedly same size Cap is not the same, and, one has to find the best particular Brand and Size Cap to fit the actual Nipples one's particular Revolver has.

Right Caps, right Lube, right use of right Lube, and making sure the Arm is proberly regulated/adjusted and in good condition, and instantly then, nearly all the troubles one hears of as contributing to un-reliability, are instantly gone.

Oyeboten
May 22, 2010, 09:55 PM
The Dragoons or Walkers, with their longer Cylinders, and long Barrels, should easily exceed .45 ACP Ballistics...and equal or surpass any Standard .45 Colt ones.

Yarddog
May 22, 2010, 10:33 PM
I've had no problems with my 51' Navy 44 cal. Killed a manr of hogs & few deer with it ; ) PS Never had a missfire!
Y/D

batjka
May 22, 2010, 10:42 PM
Well, for example, let's look at mec's figures posted above:

45 gr of 777, .454 ball (weight - 144 gr) gives us velocity of 1157 fps. That equals 427 ft.lb of energy.

Standard .45 ammo gives us between 352 and 518 ft.lbs of energy according to wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.45_ACP

The above load can be done in a standard 1858 Remington, not necessarily only in a Dragoon or Walker.


And once we start talking conicals, the energy figures will exceed .45 ACP and be solidly in the .45 LC territory.

So judge for yourself if these things are adequate for SD and HD.

Weevil
May 22, 2010, 10:47 PM
The right Caps for one's Revolver's Nipples alleviate the often heard complaints of Caps falling off and jamming, Caps not igniting, Caps too hard to fit on fully, Caps too loose, pinch the too loose Caps, on and on...


I do not know why people do not trouble themselves to understand that every brand of Nipple is not the same, and every brand of even supposedly same size Cap is not the same, and, one has to find the best particular Brand and Size Cap to fit the actual Nipples one's particular Revolver has.

Right Caps, right Lube, right use of right Lube, and making sure the Arm is proberly regulated/adjusted and in good condition, and instantly then, nearly all the troubles one hears of as contributing to un-reliability, are instantly gone.





Or you could just get one of those fancy modern pistols that shoots them thar newfangled metallic cartridges and not have to worry about all that.


:D

tominct
May 23, 2010, 02:31 PM
Some time ago, I loaded up my 2nd Model Dragoon for hunting (legal where I was at the time), thought I'd get out again that season, so it went into the gun box loaded. Five rounds only, hammer on an empty chamber, just like the old days, with beeswax on the chamber mouths and caps.
Some personal issues caused me to move several times without the ability to get to the range...... Fast forward 6 years, I took it to a buddy's farm, and the first round went off like I'd loaded it yesterday. Two others went off, but were squib loads. The other two required re-capping, but they touched off as well.

I was sort of complaining to him about that (not sure why), and he said, "Yeah, but if you'd REALLY needed it to protect yourself, that first one lit off just fine, didn't it?".

I wouldn't give up a modern pistol in favor of the Dragoon for SD, but if it's all I had, and I loaded it carefully, I wouldn't be too concerned about its utility, either.

DuncanSA
May 23, 2010, 03:01 PM
I enjoy shooting my 3 cap and ball revolvers and a flintlock rifle, but my carry and home defence weapon is a 1911 model .45 Colt auto (genuine Colt of course!).

gordy
May 23, 2010, 03:53 PM
I shoot a urbirty colt in 45 cal and it will shoot hand size groups at 20 yards, With 21 grains of triple 7 and cci caps it runs around 950 to about 980 fps. with ball. This is on the mild side and I could hop it up a bit. but I like to keep it mild.
It does a number on water jugs. But they are not hp's

sonier
May 23, 2010, 08:13 PM
i carry one a LOT on the farm for carry, I load 2 with bb shot and 3 with round balls, its an 1851 cap and ball, i have no doubt that if you get hit with it it will work well, the mass of that round ball and the impact energy is just scary.

sonier
May 23, 2010, 08:15 PM
oh post thought can you imagine carrying a dragoon , i know many complain about there revolvers and 1911s being heavy, but seriously the dragoon tops the cake that thing is nearly a rifle.

StrawHat
May 24, 2010, 06:31 AM
Weevil

Or you could just get one of those fancy modern pistols that shoots them thar newfangled metallic cartridges and not have to worry about all that.


Best of both worlds.

http://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc194/StrawHat/RichardsConversion002.jpg

MCgunner
May 24, 2010, 10:22 AM
I'm quite accurate with my Ruger Old Army. It's HUGE, though, more of a hunting revolver than for any sort of concealment. My new 51 Navy is very accurate, too, but shoots WAY high. I have to shoot for the crotch at 25 yards for center mass, but it would work well for concealment with its 5.5" sheriff's length barrel. My .31 pocket remington is quite practical as a pocket gun, though I normally carry my Kel Tec or P64 or Taurus 85 (modern guns). It's paper plate accurate at 25 yards, SOMEWHERE on the paper plate. :D

My NAA super companion, accurate off hand to 15 yards for center mass, to 21 feet for head shots off hand, is THE cap and ball that I actually use for carry. I load it with 2.0 grains of Bullseye, yes, it will handle that charge of smokeless just fine. It fires a 30 grain .22 caliber bullet. I have a spare cylinder for a quick reload. It has a folding holster grip which I much prefer on these little guns. It fires that 30 grain pill at 1250 fps. It is my uber concealment gun, rarely have occasion to carry it, but now and then. I consider this gun actually MORE practical than its cartridge siblings. It reloads faster with its spare cylinder and it's actually a little more zap than the .22 mag versions.

StrawHat
May 25, 2010, 06:44 AM
StrawHat

Quote:
Carl Levitian "I guess David McCanles didn't know round balls were so ineffectual since Bill Hickok shot him through the heart at 75yd with his 1851 Colt".



If one is going to quote history, please get it right. Hickok was shot by a Jack McCall, while sitting at a poker table in Nuttal and Mann's Saloon Number 10. He was shot in the back of the head, from behind, at a few feet range.

Both of these snippets are true. Hickock did kill McCanles and McCall did kill Hickock.

I just reread this, I was mistaken. Hickok killed DAVE TUTT at 75 yards. And as reported in the autopsy report, the bullet completely passed through the ribcage.

McCanles was another bit of trivia. Sorry if I mislead anyone.

PRM
May 26, 2010, 07:20 AM
Like most everything else we have, from cars, to home improvements, and guns - newer may be improved, sleeker, faster, and even have a higher degree of reliability. But, older does not always equal obsolete.

I have owned and been shooting Colt 2nd Generation C&B revolvers for well into 3 decades now. Carried them a lot on the farm and in the woods, to and from ranges, and there are a couple loaded in my house right now.

Have I ever felt at a disadvantage with a C&B - NO / The places I go are typically non-confrontational. Not a lot of gun fights at the local SONIC over burgers, stopping at the local bait shop enroute to a fishing spot, or headed to the range.

Would it be my first choice for SD - NO / I have no doubt it would do the job and do it well. My biggest concern in an SD situation would be reloading time. My guns are meticulously cleaned and loaded and I have experienced very few malfunctions over the years. I do CC a Colt Police Positive Special, mainly for convenience sake, and on occasion a custom made Colt Bisley . However, having said that, I do plan on doing some hog hunting in the near future with a .44 Walker. I don't believe in magic bullets especially out of a handgun. Its shot placement that trumps all other factors.

BLACKHAWKNJ
May 26, 2010, 03:45 PM
From what I have read when he was sheriff Wild Bill Hickock fired his cap and ball revolvers every morning, then reloaded them, so every day he had fresh loads. I also read-forget where of course, that for whatever reason nipples on modern cap and ball revolvers are a little on the small side, it's a good idea
to pinch the firing caps to keep them in place. Also remember that sighting on cap and ball revolvers is quite different from modern guns, the old ones seem to have been sighted for 75 yards or so, I recall shooting one, it was about 8" high at 25 yards-been a long time. My personal favorite is the Colt Dragoon, it's like firing an S&W N-frame.
Not my first choice but as 2 of the Gun Gurus of our days would say:
1. Jeff Cooper-"First rule of gunfighting-have a gun."
2. Elmer Keith responding to a reader's letter asking about a "mouse" gun-"not my cup of tea but it sure beats your fists."

scotjute
May 26, 2010, 04:12 PM
My '61 Navy Colt replica has been very reliable. Carried it in Louisiana once for 3 days in drizzle when inspecting timber. Every cylinder fired at the end. Its reliable, accuarate, and somewhat potent. Its also more of a hassle to keep it ready to shoot. I'd be confident of it, but prefer modern double-action revolvers : lot less hassle keeping the gun ready for action, quicker reloads, more potent ammo, etc.

Oyeboten
May 26, 2010, 04:50 PM
In comparing Percussion Caps to Center Fire Primers - with Percussion Caps, the Nipple they fit on, is the defacto 'Anvil'...hence, the Caps do not have, nor need, an internal Anvil like a Metallic Cartridge Center Fire Primer has.


Very short little Video showing how one may quickly re-load the Remington 'New Army' design Cap and Ball .44 -



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3rj89cqQQ8&feature=related



Also, may originaly designs, and most reproduction examples, the Cylinders have provision for the Hammer to be 'down' between Chambers. There is no need to only load and carry 'five'.

The Colt Walker, and the Colt Dragoons had and retain such provision.

As did the original Remington .44s soon after being in production...as do their reproductions.

Just look at your Cylinder and see.

thorazine
May 27, 2010, 03:51 AM
I'm confident about hitting a man size target up to 50 yards with the ROA or Uberti 1860 Army.

Even one that is moving, ducking and shooting back at you?

When your one shot is exhausted what next?

batjka
May 27, 2010, 03:08 PM
Even one that is moving, ducking and shooting back at you?

When your one shot is exhausted what next?
When one shot is exhausted you follow up with the other, then the other, then the other, then the other. These are 6-shot revolvers, but if you're carrying one it's safer to load 5 and lower the hammer on an empty chamber.

goon
May 27, 2010, 03:58 PM
The lethality is definitely there. You start out with a .454 lead ball which weighs about 150 grains. It's only carrying about .38 Special power, but its soft lead and already starting out at .45 caliber.
For reliability, that is gun specific. But if you have a good clean gun with well fitting caps and that's been carefully loaded, it will get off six shots. If it can be done with six shots, a cap and ball revolver would do it.

BTW - my Remington (which I hope to have sold soon), will hold six with the hammer down in a deep safety notch between chambers. That hammer isn't going to jump out of that notch without help. I would feel safe carrying it that way if it came to it.

golden
May 27, 2010, 05:02 PM
I would take the cap and ball only if I could not get another gun. It would beat a club or knife, but reliability is a BIG ISSUE.

Remember, it only a decade for these guns to be phased out of general use after the introduction of large caliber handguns like the COLT PEACEMAKER.
If cap and ball revolvers were of any real value, they would not have been dropped by virtualy every law enforcement office and military that quickly.

Compared to a used S&W model 10, the model 10 has better:
1. SIGHTS.
2. DOUBLE ACTION TRIGGER.
3. GREATER RELIABILITY AS THE AMMO IS SEALED.
4. NO SMOKE CLOUD TO BLIND YOU OR HIDE YOUR OPPONENT.
5. AMMO IS COMMONALLY AVAILABLE (just walk into most WALMART stores), BLACK POWDER IS MUCH MORE LIMITED.
6. RELOADING SPEED, ESPECIALLY WITH A SPEED LOADER.
7. STOPPING POWER, I WOULD PUT MY MONEY ON A .38 SPECIAL +P LOAD WITH A HOLLOW POINT BEFORE I WOULD GAMBLE ON A ROUND BALL. ROUND NOSE LOADS HAVE A LONG HISTORY OF FAILURE TO STOPS.

Also, Bill HICKOCK was a cold blooded killer and crack shot who was known to shoot for the head of his opponents. Unless you are in his catergory of gunfighter, you cannot use his results.

If you are living in one of the police states, like NEW YORK and are considering a cap and ball, think again, you might get prosecuted just for using something really unusual on the theory that you were looking for a fight.
Also, I knew a prosecutor who said that state concealed weapons law (for FLORIDA) would still allow him to filed a a case against someone using a cap and ball gun because it is a weapon, even if not considered a gun by ATF.

Consider the so-called BROOKLYN SPECIAL. A nice hunting or plinking rifle, like the MARLIN 1894 or 1894C. They hold 50% more shots, are not effected by moisture or weather nearly as much. Also, the ammo, either .357 or .44 magnum is far more effective. Having one around the house would not be a problem in a handgun hating jurisdiction.

Good luck,
Jim

goon
May 28, 2010, 12:15 PM
Can't really say that in regards to cap and ball revolvers...
They were of enormous value, but compared to a cartridge handgun they are generally lacking.
Naturally, they fell by the wayside as better technology became available, just like the S&W Model 10 was replaced by semi-auto handguns with more than twice the ammunition capacity. Still, IIRC the 1849 Colt was made in huge numbers and production continued until 1873. Elmer Keith apparently had no difficulty obtaining powder, cap, and ball so percussion revolvers must have continued to be in fairly common use for quite some time.

Compared to a Model 10, a 1858 Remington...
Sights - both have similar sights but the Remington's are finer and further apart. I think the Remington is superior. I've outshot guys with modern handguns at the range with my Remington copy.
Double Action Trigger - an advantage to me and to you, but I'm sure there are those who could make us both quiver with fear with a single action handgun.
Greater Reliability - generally I agree with you but the rumor I've heard is that Robert E. Lee's revolver, which had been loaded since the end of the Civil War, fired all six chambers reliably after being loaded for several years. With care I'd have no trouble relying on it for a few months at at a time. You need to practice anyhow, so carefully reload it once a month.
Commonly available ammo - maybe a concern, maybe not. Depends on your area, but I've never had trouble getting BP in my area.
Reloading speed - definitely a weakness. When it's empty, it's a club. It is technically possible to swap cylinders on a Remington in about 15 seconds and be firing again, but I doubt I could do that under stress. Plus carrying a capped, loaded cylinder is more dangerous than a speedloader. No comparison here - but for the six shots you have, a reliable percussion revolver will deliver them.
Cloud of smoke - As soon as the revolver cracks the smoke is gone. I've never had a cloud of smoke form around me or obscure my sights or target. It does smoke more but after about 140 shots through my revolver in cold, heat, windy and calm days, I don't see it as a big deal.
Stopping Power - a soft lead round ball is different from a cast lead bullet. You can't call one the same as the other. Another poster already noted the effect they have on game. You are underestimating what they're capable of. Then entry wound from a .44 revolver will already be half way to the size where a .9mm or .38 JHP is trying to get - it can only get worse after that. I can't imagine not dying if you took two of them to the chest.

Overall, I'd much rather have any cartridge revolver, but if a reliable percussion handgun (meaning one that I knew the "quirks" of and was experienced with) was all I had available, I wouldn't feel too concerned about it.

Oyeboten
May 29, 2010, 07:40 AM
As Belt Pistols, when carried on the front, tucked behind one's ( sturdy ) Waist Belt, the Remington New Model .44, or the Colt 1860 .44, seem light and natural and easy.

The Colt Dragoons or the Colt WALKER for all their weight, seem to pretty well disappear in their way, and do not seem a bother or to be weighing on you when likewise carried.

Granted, these latter ones were Horse Pistols, to be carried ( usually ) off the Pommel.

But, as Belt Pistols, they ride fine.

I have tried carrying thus around here, doing chores and so on, and, they seem very comfortable that way.

One sees this of course in many period Photographs, and, once tried, one will understand why.


Anyway, far as my experiences with the few Cap & Ball Revolvers I have, I would be comfortable if I had to rely on any of them for a fracus...even appreciating as I definitely do, the advantages of a 1911 .45 Auto, or, any of various good Double Action Revolvers.

I do not have a lot of practice all tolled with the Cap and Ball Single Actions compared to these other two, but, I am confident that those who may, and those who have learned rapidity in successive fire or to fan for a first round or other, would be very formidable indeed.


They were in their day...and, would be now.

golden
May 29, 2010, 12:48 PM
GOON,

We will have to agree to disagree on this subject.

The REMINGTON was a late entry into the C&B market with many improvements that the COLT revolvers lacked. SIGHTS come to mind, but you are comparing apples to oranges as the vast majority of C&B's were made by COLT or copies of the COLT. So it is the COLT sight I am comparing to the model 10 S&W.

For cost reasons, I buy a lot of ammo at WALMART. I have not seen any black powder there or in most sporting goods dealers in my area. It is available, but I can get .357 magnum anywhere, not so with black powder.

Those who make you quiver with a single action would be quivering if someone was armed with a BERETTA 92 or 1911 or AR-15, so it really does not matter. I have to carry a gun for my job and if I worried about how good someone was with a gun, I would not be able to do it. If they present a big threat, call for backup.

Overall, I cannot imagine a reason to use a C&B for defense if you have anything else above a .32 caliber.

Jim

Oyeboten
May 29, 2010, 04:57 PM
For most self defence situations and the distances and urgency of the condition, the Sights never come into play anyway, and or I would think, that time spent trying to acquire a sight picture, would have been better spent dispatching effective rounds into effective close-enough-up places of the beegee ( 'BG' ) with ability in point Shooting, no matter what kind of Handgun one has.

goon
May 29, 2010, 05:06 PM
golden - I can't imagine why you'd want to use one if something better was available either.
I suffer from no romanticism about their effectiveness, but a gun is still a gun. Even a Colt (which are said to be slightly more reliable than the Remington pattern because of the Remington's weakness for fouling more easily) is still accurate enough to put lead on target if the sight are regulated. Check out the BP forum here if you suffer from disbelief. Even the most mediocre sight picture can put a bullet in the vitals across the living room. Two holes in your chest will still put you in the ground whether they get put there with a Beretta 9mm or a Navy Colt.
As far as "quivering", you take what I said too literally. But there are guys who can run a single action. There are guys who can put that first shot in your forehead with one. If they kill you while you're trying to mug them, it doesn't matter what they use to kill you. It's one less criminal either way.

I'm not saying I'll be trading in my SP-101 to carry one, but if the only thing I had to defend myself with was a reliable Uberti 1860 Army replica, I still wouldn't be defenseless.

Oyeboten
May 29, 2010, 06:18 PM
Short little video showing the alacrity of use for SAA...same would hold true for a Cap & Ball Revolver, assuming one has practiced some, anyway...Lol...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8bJ3TLEbZw&NR=1&feature=fvwp


I don't think anyone is saying that a Cap and Ball Revolver would be their first choice for an all round SD Arm.

But if the question ( as I undestood it, ) is would one feel confident in one's C&B Revolver, the answer among those familiar with right practices, does seem to be a qualified 'Yes'.


Fouling is not an issue with any of the old Makes or a good reproduction, when one uses right Lube methods.

dtvburns
January 6, 2011, 09:39 AM
10 shots in three seconds with a single action. WOW!



I know old post but we are frozen in here and I am waiting for the snow to at least slow down so I can go tot the range with my pistols today.

NMGonzo
January 6, 2011, 12:08 PM
Cylinder conversion on a dragoon would be fun.

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