BP firearms designed for self defense


April 1, 2011, 01:31 AM
hello everybody! i was wondering if it is legal to defend your home with a cap and ball gun and also is there any particular BP gun on the market today that is specially designed for self defense? i heard once that NAA used to advertise in the manual for their cap and ball revolvers that they can be used for self defense but the ATF forced them to take it out otherwise it could not be sold as an antique. however you can kill with an antique even if it is not a gun. heck, you could smash a 100 year old chair over someone's head and that does not mean they shoudl regulate chairs. sheesh. and does anybody hear concealed carry a cap and ball? i personally feel more comfortable with a cap and ball than a modern gun, but that is just my preference.

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April 1, 2011, 01:49 AM
Everyone has their own thoughts and personal preferences. I tend to think that a double barrel gun with larger gauge smoothbores would best serve for self defense against dangerous and predatory animals like the professional hunters need to deal with in Africa. Stalking wounded game can be very dangerous and they typically use powerful double rifles as back up guns for protecting their clients from an animal charging at them from out of the bush. A double smoothbore would be able to handle balls, slugs or a heavy load of buckshot and can usually deliver 2 shots quicker than anything else.
A Howah pistol could serve a similar purpose. But most folks would probably prefer a revolver because they hold more shots which self defense against several humans might require. But then most revolvers may not be quite as potent as a double barrel smoothie. However a C&B revolver could still serve as a back up if more follow up shots were ever needed while carrying a double. :)

April 1, 2011, 06:06 AM
Depends also on the location of the shooter because some locations even regulate C&B Revolvers & muzzleloading firearms as firearms.

I agree with arcticap that a double smooth bore with Buck Shot or Buck & Ball would be a better suit than just a revolver even though a revolver would have more shots.

April 1, 2011, 07:30 AM
Just regard Bullet shape and weight and type, and, it's FPS, to gauge the prospective viability for various conditoins of SD scenarios.

This, and for the Arm to be comfortable and Natural to one's reflexes and habits, if or when combied with the skill or training to place one's shots accurately under various reasonable distances or possibly harried or difficult conditions, and with alacrity, is the overall criteria.

Whatever Arms, from whatever period in History, which may fit the criteria for an individual, will then fit the criteria for however many of the particular conditions anticipated, probable, or which one may have in mind.

I would be and am completely comfortable with any better grade .44 Calibre Cap & Ball Revolver, original or reproduction, for contexts of Home Defense, Camping or out of Doors conditions, especially if using heavier full Wadcutters and full charges of 'Swiss'.

Mobility in Urban settings, I tend to prefer DA Revolvers, shorter Barrels, easier CCW modes year round, and, Speed Loaders in reserve, which somewhat leans matters then to Metallic Cartridge of course...even if the old Remington design allowed fairly rapid changed of charged Cylinders, I just would feel a little uneasy carrying a couple extra Charged, Capped Cylinders in my pockets all day, when out and about in Town.

45-70 Ranger
April 1, 2011, 11:04 AM
As some of you know I was a cop for 25 years. I was also an investigator for a major law firm for a while after retirement from the PD. In that time, I recall a few cases I investagated where a homeowner used a BP revolver or long gun in home defense.

One case that really stood out was where a man used his Colt Army and shot the intruder two times in the chest with BP and RB loads. The intruder was DOA and I congratulated the homeowner on his tight group. The M.E. stated that both wounds from the weapon were classed as fatal. I remember asking the homeowner if he remembered how many times he fired his weapon. He looked at me and simply said "Twice. I was going for a third shot to the head, but a busted cap dropped in the frame." I chuckled at that and told him I've had that happen to me more than once as well. We turned out to be shooting buddies until years later he passed away... Old Tom was going for the "two in the chest, one in the head" shooting method. My personal favorite as well.

But all in all, I know that BP weapons can be just as deadly and useful now as they were when THEY WERE ALL THERE WAS to defend yourself in their heyday. I have carried a BP revolver off duty more than once and I did not feel like I was unarmed! In fact it was kinda cool...
As it is now, I no longer have a centerfire revolver but I do have 6 BP revolvers. I don't feel unarmed now either....

My point? Yeah, I feel that a well cared for revolver or a ML rifle or shotgun can do the job of dispatching an enemy in your home. Afterall, they did years ago and I believe folks were tougher then than now.


April 1, 2011, 03:04 PM
I would feel safe enough with my Remmie, but would be very hesitant to use it indoors. I would be afraid I would set my home on fire :). Really though, wouldn't it be a bit of a hazard indoors? My BP handguns can throw fire and sparks quite a ways.

Shoot The Moon
April 1, 2011, 03:19 PM
I would feel safe enough with my Remmie, but would be very hesitant to use it indoors. I would be afraid I would set my home on fire :). Really though, wouldn't it be a bit of a hazard indoors? My BP handguns can throw fire and sparks quite a ways.

I've often heard '1st time' C&B shooters say how amazed they were by the smoke and flames - often saying something like 'how did folks shooting indoors ever see the target for a second shot' - so I guess that would be a concern. As for setting the home on fire...well, I see your point, but I guess if you are at the point of shooting to protect yourself or family, the 'post-encounter' state of the decor is going to be a secondary concern!

Phantom Captain
April 1, 2011, 03:27 PM
While not a cap and ball revolver I have to admit that I keep my .45 Single Action Colt clone in the nightstand next to my bed loaded with bullets I cast and handloaded with black powder. I'm sure it would more than adequately do the job! The sole purpose of the Single Action Colt was self defense. Or offense as the case may be.

I love the .45 Colt black powder cartridge as it certainly has plenty of thump. I would love to carry it but it's too big for anything but open carry. I have complete confidence in that pistol and in my ability to use it. :D

.45-70 Ranger, I'm sure the trapdoor next to the bed would make it's point as well eh? Just hope there is only one as reloading may take a sec. ;)

April 1, 2011, 06:52 PM
you know your right, people have been using BP guns for self defense for hundreds of years. i am thinking when i get my concealed carry permit (when i am old enough that is) i will most likely carry a cap and ball. not only do i prefer cap and ball guns over cartridge firing guns but it would probably feel kinda cool. like John Wayne or Roy Rodgers. haha!

April 1, 2011, 08:19 PM
.44-40 was and is no slouch. A .45 round ball backed up by 30 to 40 grains of black powder is no slouch. A dead soft .45 caliber ball hits hard and flattens out nicely upon impact. Big bore bullets hit hard.
A Lyman Devastator .45 hollow point cast from pure lead, over 30 grains of 3f should hit like a ton of bricks. Especially from the 8 inch barrel of a Remington New Army.
Backed by 50 grains of 3f launched from a Walker, and it would be absolutely nasty.

Now, a buck and ball loading consisting of a .61 caliber pure lead ball and some buckshot pellets would be a fantastic load from a Howdah. Then again, either buck or ball from the Howdah hits like a freight train. I was especially impressed by the round ball loads from the Howdah.

April 1, 2011, 10:04 PM
I used to open carry my ROA in a cowboy rig when night fishing in south Miami, years ago. Only trouble I ever had was the Marine patrol warning me and telling me that I was asking for trouble and my reply was if it's illegal arrest me if it's not don't bother me as the people it's meant for will know that I intend to use it and won't bother me. Had some thugs bothering fishermen on a bridge one night until they caught sight of my rig and me removing the hammer strap and they bid a hasty retreat. Never saw them again, but got lots of favorable comments from fellow fishermen.:neener::neener::neener::neener:

April 1, 2011, 10:32 PM
The ultimate would be a Lemat. Wow that would be awesome.

April 1, 2011, 11:36 PM
For a blackpowder cartridge gun, you won't find many more suited to carry than a concealed hammer breaktop.

Here's mine, a 1898 Iver Johnson 2nd old model.

I will be working on some loads for it soon. A .360 round ball load for shooting and a 200gr lead bullet load for defense (to be carried almost never, probably :) )

45-70 Ranger
April 2, 2011, 12:09 AM
Actually the .45-70 that's next to the bed is a levergun. I always plan for lots of company!:evil: But you're right, a single shot might be a bit slow with more than one target approaching:eek: Thus the short levergun by the bed,and the Dragoon and the .58 Remmy is always ready to go too:D

All my "intruders" thus far here in the woods where I live have been coyotes. I'll plug them with pistol or rifle. Navy, Dragoon,'58 Remmy, they all do a job on "Wood Puppies":D

April 2, 2011, 09:14 AM
As far as the "setting the house on fire" with BP, there was a gentleman on this board who had an encounter with two intruders in his house one night. There was a shootout and both intruders ended up shot several times with a shotgun, and the homeowner got shot with a .40. The intruders expired, the homeowner survived. In any case, the gentleman said that the aftermath of the shooting was really messy. Walls, ceiling damage, furniture and TV destroyed, water pipes punctured by buckshot and leaking. Not to mention blood everywhere. All in all, the insurance had to pony up 60k. So the lesson learned from the post is that once the bullets start to fly, you're causing so much damage to the house it doesn't matter any more. As long as you survive the encounter. Hopefully, the insurance will take care of the bill afterwards.

April 2, 2011, 11:22 AM
I have read some great threads on cap and ball revolvers. One topic not mentioned is a shotshell load for such pistols. I originally got into cap and ball shooting for this very reason. I used to live and hunt deer in Eastern North Carolina in the swamp and flooded timber. I was always conffronted with "Cotton-mouth" venomous snakes. My best remedy after much trial and error was this.
I loaded a Remington, 1858 revolver with 20 grains of 3f GOEX blackpowder, and over powder wonder-wad, a load of #5 shot on top of the wad and powder to almost fill the cylinder, then topped the load off with another .44 cal wonder-wad like the one used on top of the powder charge. Hence you have powder, a wad, shot, and another wad to complete the load.
I have had great success with this load combination. It is devastating on venomous snakes, and likely useful for other vermin. I found it much more effective than factory shotshells, even those made for the .44 Mag/Special.
I caution to never shoot this at a solid backstop or plywood, or without eye protection. As richotets are a real hazard. #5 shot is what I have found to be the best balance between mass and a fuller shot pattern. I have experimented with variations between powder and shot charge weights. I recommened moderate powder charges, and the fullest shot column that will fit your particular cap and ball revolver.
I personally favor the Remington 1858 or Ruger Old Army revolvers. I have used this load in a Colt 1851 replica, but due to the application of combating a venomous snake, this whole concept I tailored for maximum reliability and function.
One last note, is to aim at a low angle and in line with a snake's body to best capitalize on the eliptical pattern created by such a load at practical distances. For my application, I found this load very useful and effective at ranges from 3-10 feet. You may also choose to alternate between a load of shot and roiund ball between cylinders? I have tried all variations I could think of. But I consider this concept a great comparable to the Taurus "Judge" revolver. A simple and effective way to get the most out of our time honored cap and ball revolvers. Good shooting, and always be safe! tdv

April 2, 2011, 12:25 PM
I assume that many cap and ball shooters may have concerns for a chain fire when using a "shotshell" load such as I described in my previous entry. I advocate and have only used cap and ball revolvers of the highest quality and components such as ball, wonder-wads, caps, etc of the highest manufacturing standards.
I have fired over 100 "shotshell" load configurations in a cap and ball revolver. I have never had, nor do I desire a chain fire of any sort! That is why I first started experimenting with this load with the use of both an over-powder wad, and another wad to cover and seal the top of the shot column. Used in a solidly built revolver, with quality loading components and especially percussion caps, I have never experienced any problems with such a load. I again caution, never shoot at a solid backstop or plywood with this or any other "shotshell" load, even from a center-fire handgun. As a companion firearm for general duty in the backcountry, I have found no better sidearm than a quality 1858 Remington cap and ball revolver, loaded alternately with round ball and a sequence of "shotshell" loads. Or if you have a extra cylinder as I have for each of my cap and ball revolvers, you can choose to load one cylinder conventionally with ball or conical projectiles, and the spare with a full "shotshell" load. It is all about innovation to meet your specific application. Obviously in country where you have the threat of bear, lion, or other more dangerous predators, you may choose a more formidable sidearm. But other than a .22 pistol, I have found no better firearm or load configuration to handle the general tasks or problems one might face. Even in relative poor weather, if carried correctly, my cap and ball revolvers have never failed me. My ultimate favorite, is a .44 cal "Buffalo" pistol...an 1858 Remington with a 12" barrel loaded as such. One cylinder loaded with shot, the other with ball...or alternated in each cylinder. Accurate, versatile, and reliable, I have used this to dispatch small game, venomous snakes, etc at ranges of 3-15' with the "shotshell", to 30 yards with a round ball. Very few sidearms offer such performance and versatility. I consider it a solid deterent to two-legged vermin as well. It all comes down to confidence and experience with the tool at hand. Once again, I hope you find this information useful, and of good service! Although modern times have vastly improved firearm technology, the great outdoors remains greatly unchanged. The usefulness and utility of the cap and ball revolver in the field, is as viable as it has ever been. I find them more than up to the task. I argue they may even at times be our best choice! All the best...tdv

DoubleDeuce 1
April 2, 2011, 02:32 PM
Living in California, almost anything within reason could be used to defend your home and family, except for maybe a nuclear device. Age of the object used has no bearing on the legality of it's use.

You will have to contend with the large cloud of smoke inside the house. You could possibly lose sight of your intruder, and he may lose you. That would seriously hamper a good follow-up shot, just in case you needed one. You lose any advantage you might have had. Whatever you put out into the room, you may end up having to breathe for a while. The sound of you coughing from the smoke would give away your position. And as already mentioned, there is the fire hazard. I don't think it would be much of one unless you have a lot of gasoline soaked rags lying around inside your house.

As for carrying one, you'll have to figure on being able to keep your caps dry and in place. If you carry the revolver close to your body, consider the amount of sweat you produce. That moisture can build up and condense on lots of things. Damp caps are never reliable.

If a C&B revolver was absolutely all you had, sure you could do it. And yes a lot of folks have been killed with the C&B technology. There is also a very good reason why we don't go to war with C&B technology anymore.

For me, I would not want to handicap myself with old unreliable technology, especially if the intruder might have modern stuff. When it comes to defending my family and home, the John Wayne/ Coolness factor isn't even a consideration. Being cool may end up getting you dead. There is no second place in a gunfight. It just means you lost first.

April 2, 2011, 02:50 PM
I thought about this too.

Steel frame pietta with cartridge conversion kit is what gets me excited.

Ruger makes a stainless cap&ball revolver that would be perfect but I don't know if there are any cartridge conversion kits for it.

I did once find a double action cap&ball revolver on the internet...cant remember the name of it.

wait, just found it:


Here's the thing about black powder revolvers though...they are so slow to reload...so it's not wise to have only one...best to buy them in pairs.

Shoot The Moon
April 2, 2011, 04:05 PM
While we are on the subject... I have always thought the sound of a C&B - especially if it's got 30+gns of powder in it - would ruin your hearing for a good few minutes - potentially an issue in an HD situation. I'm not suggesting popping your ear defenders on before 'engaging' an intruder, however how bad would that ka-boom be, in the enclosed space of a bedroom for instance? My ears would be ringing!

April 2, 2011, 04:35 PM
Of course, any old RNL Mold can be modified to cast something about like the old 'Devistater' Bullet/Boolit for whatever Calibre/Revolver of choice one has.

I have been intending to do this for quite a while now, but have not gotten around to it yet.

April 2, 2011, 10:18 PM
I have always thought the sound of a C&B - especially if it's got 30+gns of powder in it - would ruin your hearing for a good few minutes - potentially an issue in an HD situation.

Not any more so than shooting a 45 auto or a 9mm would. They are a lot louder than the sound on TV.

On the other hand, your C&B revolver probably doesn't have tritium sights on it.

45-70 Ranger
April 3, 2011, 03:17 AM
Years ago I was making a building search after finding an open door at a business on the north end of town. My back up was still 5 min. off so I eased into the building to begin my search for possible suspects. Working my way through the building and having "cleared" the office part, I entered the warehouse end of the business. So far, so good.....

Then my assist unit arrived and we continued our sweep of the warehouse. Going up one row and down the other of the tall pallet stacks and boxes we spotted movement on the far end of the warehouse. We had two suspects partly hidden near us. One made a dash for the door (but it was barred and padlocked) so he tried to punch his way through the two of us. The back up officer fired his M870 12 ga. just above the suspect's head. The concussion was something else:what: The fleeing suspect hit the floor. I thought he took a 00 pellet or two and was hit. The other suspect came out from behind the box he was hidding behind and promptly gave up. The one on the ground was still holding his head and was shouting "I give up!" over and over. It turned out he was not hit, but had lost his hearing (I know I almost did as a result of the other officer firing that 12 ga:eek:

For two days my ears rang and the suspect that was down range was said to have complained about his ears ringing for a week in jail:p I can understand how he felt and we later found out that the shot from the 12 ga had punched a few holes in the roof of the warehouse. Someone, and I'm not going to say who......put a B27 target on the cealing of the squadroom above that officer's locker.:neener: It was full of holes to give it more effect...:D

Fun in the old days of police work huh??:rolleyes:


April 3, 2011, 09:07 AM
To fully advocate a cap and ball revolver for self-defense. I can only recommend the use of either a Ruger Old Army, or a steel frame Remington 1858 in .44 cal. I have shot all forms of percussion pistols, and found for total reliability, these two will meet the demands. Use a good load, I strongly recommend 3F GOEX as the propellent for self-defense. Quality caps, 32 gr or so of GOEX 3F, an over powder "wonder wad", and a hornady round ball, and you are armed. I don't use a topping of grease on top the cylinder for self-defense, I prefer to keep the revolver clean and don't risk residue running into the holster, or on my hands when I need a good grip at a moments notice. I do advocate grease, crisco, especially "wonder lube" for range use and extended shooting sessions.
Also, the Ruger and 1858 designs offer a fairly rapid reload with a spare cylinder, much easier accomplished than with a Colt replica. As far a power, I don't worry about it. I have shot enough critters with a .44 cal round ball to know it is a lethal pill at modest range. Lead has a way of doing remarkable damage on impact. I have read all sorts of balistic data, trying to assess the true power of the round ball. I enjoy and trust all the fine work by Sam Fadala, an expert on such matters. Look for his books on BP. My own field use, is that at modest ranges, anything a .38 Special, or 9mm can do, a quality .44 cap and ball revolver in good hands, can achieve the same. Some give the .44 round ball at about 900 fps, a near .45 ACP power factor. I don't go that far. Maybe with a good conical bullet, but I have not found a conical that allowed me at least 30 grains of 3F powder, and a wonder-wad for a load chain. I always use wonder-wads between the powder and projectile, to prevent chain fires. I believe you need at least 30 gr of 3F with the .44 cal to consider it worthy of self-defense. So from my experimentation, these are my own self imposed boundaries to even afford my own confidence in a cap and ball revolver. I also have a Colt Pocket Police in .36 caliber I highly tuned and modified into a snub-nose for concealed carry. It is less powerful, slower to reload, and by design I carry it with the hammer on an empty chamber, so I have only four rounds available. It is though a good back-up gun, especially to my Remington 1858. The little snub-nose is what I would grade a belly gun, and best used at arms length or a "contact" shot. I carry modern pistols generally for concealed carry, but every once in a while, I carry cap and ball pistols. The older I get, the more experience I have with them, the more confident I become. Used within there limits, they will work. I want to encourage anyone that hasn't tried a BP shotgun, to give them a try! If there is any BP firearm that can give it's modern form a run for it's money shot to shot, it is indeed the BP shotgun. You can devise some great load configurations that achieve all the velocity, power, and pattern considerations you desire. For self-defense, a double barrel .12 gauge BP "coach gun" is formidable. Yes, all BP firearms are slower to reload. But considering the true threat you may face in a confrontation, and gaining confidence in their performance, BP firearms are up to all but the most challenging tasks. Good shooting! tdv

April 3, 2011, 02:47 PM
One additional amenity to most Cap & Ball Revolvers, is that they are large.

For what it's worth ( and of course this is pretty mutable ) a large Revolver can make more of an impression visually, on anyone it is or is about to be directed at, than a small one.

Kinda depends on how fast things are evolving of course, too, for that to even matter.

Too, in exigency, many people on either side of the Gun being fired, recall nothing of the report anyway.

I also lean to favor the Remington New Model .44, far as it being handy and at ready for Home Defence situations.

Or, it and Mr. Colt Government Model in .45 ACP, anyway.

Both being positioned for access in their respective places.

April 3, 2011, 03:27 PM
Well, I know some good blackpowder firearms for self defense and home defense. My Walker, my Pietta Remington '58, My Cattleman's Carbine or my Ubert Pocket .31. Just whichever one I happen to pick up first. I'vd picked a couple of them up before and By God I'll do it again when and if I ever need to. And don't tell me they won't smoke some ass because I know better. Thank you....

April 3, 2011, 03:42 PM
that is good that you see that cap and ball guns really are deadly if used properly. in the civil war they did not just go home with .44 welts or bruises. a BP revolver is a very formidable weapon. in fact some consider the Colt Walker to be the original .44 magnum. and even a remmy pocket .31 can easily be used to kill if it is loaded properly. sure it's a small package, but a bullet traveling at high velocities is no joke. from what i have heard it can shoot through a 2X4 with a round ball and a full charge.

April 3, 2011, 04:41 PM
in a jurisdiction outside the US or in strict states ... if a ML
is all you can have, non-sheeple will use their rights.

i mine - itīs single shot ML ....

the sight of me shouldering a KY longrifle will be a deterrent, i think.

Iīm tall. And itīs a Bo-size boomstick.

Of course iīd own a pistol for HD, preferably a 357. revolver.
other than legal itīs hobbyish to not use a modern gun.

(i probably would. Just to do it.)

April 3, 2011, 05:06 PM
i think anybody looking down the muzzle of a 50 or 62 caliber rifle would rectify their misbehavior and comply. and if they are on PCP or something and chose not to behave the rifle will do the talking for you. i think that huge deep BOOOOOOOOMMMMM.... would make anybody think twice. a Hawkin rifle is not exactly a BB gun. although you could load a handful of BBs into it with a wad and you would have quite an effective scattergun at close range. although for longer ranges the rifling will mess up the pattern. most self defense shootings are at a matter of feet, not yards.

April 3, 2011, 10:54 PM
I've often heard '1st time' C&B shooters say how amazed they were by the smoke and flames - often saying something like 'how did folks shooting indoors ever see the target for a second shot' - so I guess that would be a concern. As for setting the home on fire...well, I see your point, but I guess if you are at the point of shooting to protect yourself or family, the 'post-encounter' state of the decor is going to be a secondary concern!

Well that's the best part. You shoot once to hit and a second time to thicken the smoke. Then you sneak your family out the back door using the smoke as a screen.... :D

Seriously? Let's remember that back in the heyday of the C&B revolvers the guns were seen as a secondary weapon and the cutlass or saber was the primarly weapon that lasted well after the palty 5 or 6 rounds were sent on their way. So if you're going to rely on a C&B gun for home defense it really should be sitting next to your trusty saber.

April 3, 2011, 11:49 PM
That is so dumb, at least to me..Oh, yessir! I can just see John Wesley Hardin, James Butler 'hiccup'. William Bonny Atrim, Buckskin Frank Leslie, and all he other hundreds that lived back then all walking around with their cutlasses and swords. Why, who needed that damned ol' .36 or that 1860 Army or that Remington '58?... "S***, just watch this. I'm gonna walk right over there and carve his gizzard out with my trusty ol' cutlass here. Then I'll take one swing and decapitate his unsuspecting ass"....PS..Some of us good ol' boys out here know how to shoot and we don't scare and panic too damned easy....

April 3, 2011, 11:52 PM

Someone is confusing black powder arms with flintlock arms. In the days of single shot flintlock pistols, yes, the cutlass was the primary sidearm.

April 4, 2011, 12:00 AM
that was back when there were the old fashioned pirates. the "Arrrghhh, Ahoy maytee arm ye' cannons" kind. but in the civil war i suspect that 6 shots of .44 black powder was better than 1 musket ball. the Colt Walker is a big gun. don't quote me on this but i think it was probably the most powerful handgun until the .357 was invented.

April 4, 2011, 12:07 AM
They already had the henry rifle in the US civil war. The henry rifle was a large bore rimfire lever action rifle. Revolvers couldn't hold a candle to that. Revolvers were valued because they could be operated one handed while on horseback.

April 4, 2011, 12:16 AM
i thought they still used muskets back in the civil war. when did they invent the Henry rifle? if i remember correctly a Henry rifle was pretty expensive back then.

April 4, 2011, 12:20 AM

they weren't standard military rifles. People took their own personal rifle to war if they could afford something better. They were coveted. The rebels described the henry thus:

"that damned yankee rifle you load on sunday and shoot all week"

April 4, 2011, 12:25 AM
i think i need to watch some more History channel stuff about the civil war. i don't really watch TV all that often but i like the history channel because they usually have something good on.

April 4, 2011, 12:31 AM
There was all kinds of stuff used in the civil war. Muskets probably were used by some people. Remember, the gatling gun was invented during the civil war by the north. This was the very first machine gun.

April 4, 2011, 02:19 AM
Heck, someone actually advocating bringing an edged weapon to a gunfight? ;-)
I am still amazed how many Civil War vets turned lawman or outlaw, wreaked so much continual havoc with BP firearms and cap and ball revolvers. Even the Mountain Men kept their hides from man and beast alike for years, and under the harshest conditions. These situations far exceed the general home and personal defense scenario even today. Yes the Colt Walker was considered the most powerful handgun of it's era until the arrival of the .357 mag. The .357 mag is still one of the benchmark defense cartridges for lethality on the streets. Progress was made most in reliability and firepower, not as much in pure lethality. A .50 to .58 cal percussion pistol of the type used by men on the frontier, have tremendous balistic value even today. Slow to reload, yet devastating to the recipient of the initial shot. The pure terminal effects rival our magnum center-fire cartridges. Maybe one day we will devise paint ball rounds for BP guns? Imagine a .58 cal, 500 gr paint ball traveling at high velocity, and striking you in the chest. Not many dudes would keep fighting claiming they didn't realize they were hit. Heck, they would be covered in paint as well. Maybe I'm on to something? Cap and ball, "OLD West" style quick-draw contests with .44 cal paintballs! Sign me up, sounds like a lot of fun! BP is about as romantic and nostalgic, as it is effective. Keep on shooting them! tdv

DoubleDeuce 1
April 4, 2011, 03:42 AM
i think anybody looking down the muzzle of a 50 or 62 caliber rifle would rectify their misbehavior and comply. and if they are on PCP or something and chose not to behave

When you mention someone on PCP, that is a whole other animal. Behaving is not on the list of things to do. You can blow chunks off of them, and if they don't feel like complying you will be in for a long haul. Someone on PCP has virtually not threshold for pain. Staring down the barrel of some large caliber firearm, means absolutely nothing.

Dave Markowitz
April 4, 2011, 10:18 AM
Were I restricted to muzzleloaders for self or home defense my choice would be either a Remington, Rogers & Spencer, or Ruger revolver. I'd use a max load of 3Fg Triple 7, hot caps, and a dry-lubed wad between a round ball and the powder. I'd also seal the caps and chamber mouths with wax to keep out moisture. I'd also make sure that the loading lever was secure so it doesn't drop and jam the gun. I've had the lever drop when firing my .44 Remingtons, but not with the R&S or Ruger. If necessary I'd put a twist tie around the lever holding it up against the barrel.

If a good BP arm is all you have then it will certainly work. However, going out of your way to choose one when reliable metallic cartridge arms loaded with smokeless powder are available for not much money doesn't make sense. Remember that folks in the 19th Century and earlier used BP guns because they were the only firearms available. Once metallic cartridges and smokeless powder became widely available, people who depended on their guns for sustenance and defense adopted them as soon as they were able.

If I need to defend myself I want the most efficient and reliable weapon available. My goal is to prevent bodily harm to myself and my family. I don't care about style points. I care about survival. I'll choose the arm that serves as the best weapon for the circumstances. For home defense I've settled on a Mossberg 500 12 gauge pump while my wife has a SIG P225 on her side of the bed. For concealed carry I usually choose a Ruger SP-101 or a S&W Model 640, or a Springfield XD9, depending on my attire.


April 4, 2011, 10:42 AM
I use my Walker with packed 40 grains of pyrodex topped with two balls. I have the caps sealed with fingernail polish to prevent any danger of hang-fires.

Shooting for a body mass two balls will drop any meth-head warped on tweek. I have done some research on wound channels. It seems that balls like to bounce around and frankly I trust my Walkers ability to knock down and keep 'em down power as much as a 1911's.

My only concern in home defense is over-penetration and I never think about fast reloading. As blood and brains all over the wall where a partner of his was once standing and breathing suddenly changes the idea that I am an easy target to anyone; plus if they want to push the point I have another five cylinders full. :neener:

dodo bird
April 4, 2011, 11:03 AM
I will chime in..... I would have no problem at all with a C&B revolver for at home or out and about. They are very intimatating weapon when you see those round balls with the hammer cocked. I would not feel undergunned with one.

45-70 Ranger
April 4, 2011, 11:13 AM
Dave made a very valid point. And I agree with him 100%. Yes, C&B revolvers and such fell to the wayside rather quickly after cartridge revolvers and such appeared on the scene. Personally I always favored a 4" S&W M29, but I sold all my cartridge handguns over the years after I retired to fund projects. I still have 1/2 dozen C&B revolvers and a couple cartrige long guns. So, for me, if I need a handgun I am restricted to the weapons in this thread. But if I had an old M29, then the choice would be simple....

It is, for me, a matter of choice, as it is for others that have only BP weapons. Yes, they are effective, we all know that. My 2nd Mod Dragoon is a strong weapon and hits hard enough to have killed many hogs with one shot. But if I had my choice in a gunfight (I've been in three as a cop, and did two tours in Viet Nam with the Rangers) I'd use the best killing weapon I have. A nice large frame DA revolver or a 1911 .45ACP would be my first choice...

It is a simple matter of choice....we use what we have...


April 8, 2011, 12:59 PM
Forget the little cap and balls. BCrider is correct, they were designed to augment a cavalry rider's saber and war horse. Some used them for pistol fights, but then again some folks hacked foes to death with swords. John Brown springs to mind. The handgun was nowhere near as important in the actual conflicts of that period as the Sillywood Western would have us believe.

To answer the OP's question:

is there any particular BP gun on the market today that is specially designed for self defense?

The English style big bore blunderbuss. That was its primary function, whether for home defense or to prevent the car jacking of the 18th century. And even today, looking at the business end of one, it's difficult to argue against it.

4v50 Gary
April 9, 2011, 12:51 PM
is there any particular BP gun on the market today that is specially designed for self defense?

I do not believe there is any particular BP gun designed or marketed for self-defense today. The exception may be the flintlocks made by the Dogon people who live south of the Sahara. That said, black powder guns have been used to hunt and kill for hundreds of years before the invention of nitrocellulose firearms. The latter is still relatively young.

April 9, 2011, 04:27 PM
i heard once that NAA used to advertise in the manual for their cap and ball revolvers that they can be used for self defense but the ATF forced them to take it out otherwise it could not be sold as an antique.

Not exactly. Someone may have addressed this, didn't read all posts, but NAA used to advertize that you could fire Bullseye (a smokeless) instead of BP. Now, Bullseye wakes up that Super Companion to .22 mag levels, but NAA had to quit advertizing the fact. I shoot nothing, but Bullseye in mine and have carried it. Neat thing about the gun is that if you buy a spare 40 dollar cylinder or two, a reload is quicker than its cartridge firing bretheren. One problem, though, gotta carry it loaded with four, hammer down on a bare nipple. The way the head of the hammer is shaped, there's no safety notches between the cylinders.

April 9, 2011, 09:55 PM
is there any particular BP gun on the market today that is specially designed for self defense?
Of course. Several. Any of the .31 cal pocket revolvers and the deringers. They were intended to be carried on the body for personal defense. They certainly weren't intended for issue to troops.

April 10, 2011, 01:06 PM
I would get the Ruger if I wanted a C&B gun for home defense. Years ago they made an adapter nipple that took a pistol primer. I would look for a set of those too. With caps the plastic retainers would be mandatory for me. I would probably use my Uberti Open Top in 38 Special instead.

April 10, 2011, 02:33 PM
I have NEVER had a percussion cap fail to pop on my ROA. :rolleyes: I don't see the need to convert to anything. Just learn how to load and care for black powder and that right there is a big learning curve. Once you're comfy with the care and keeping of black powder firearms, I don't see why a BP gun cannot be effective for self defense if you can conceal it, and hey, that right there is a big problem with an ROA :D The .31s are handy, have a Remmy replica. But, a Navy with 5.5" barrel could be carried OWB or IWB concealed with proper leather. There's also a Remington 58 on sale for 200 bucks at Cabelas, a Pietta. It's a 5.5" barreled one that would be easier to carry than longer barreled versions.

Now, all that said, I'll stick with my modern .38 and .357 revolvers and my auto pistols, but I'm just sayin' I don't believe BP revolvers are necessarily just toys for the enthusiast. They can be effectively carried for self defense.

April 10, 2011, 10:44 PM
The Gatling gun was not invented by the North. It was invented by Richard Jordan Gatling of North Carolina. Military Gatling gun use in the war of Northern aggression is largely a Hollywood fabrication. The military brass were not crazy about the idea.
In fact, the Confederacy showed more initiative concerning machine type guns during the war, both in design and use.

April 10, 2011, 11:11 PM
Gatling gun was invented by Richard Jordan Gatling of North Carolina.
Union Brass wasn't enamored of the idea.
The Confederacy showed great initiative in machine type gun design and use. They also had the most powerful, best artillery gun in the world at the time. It was the Brooke gun and it was recognized domestically and internationally as the best there was. It had twice the range of the Parrott gun. It was cast of semi-steel, not cast iron as Wikipedia has incorrectly stated. The multiple wrought iron bands were used because of the strength and resistance to fracturing compared to cast iron. Not because there were no foundries in the South that could cast the bands. Cast iron bands are brittle, wrought iron bands are not.
The Brooke would be a great self defense gun. A little difficult to limber, but it gives a guaranteed one shot stop, regardless of what drugs are in the bloodstream of the violent felon.

For a CC gun, I'd prefer a large bore, centerfire revolver or auto. Charter Arms Bulldog .44 Special, or one of many available .45 ACP compact autos would do the job.
I'd really like to see a small DA revolver the size of the old breaktop H&R/IJ/S&W .38 S&W Long "Suicide Specials", except that I want it chambered in 9mm Makarov. 5 or 6 shot. Break top or swing out cylinder. Small, short, light, handy. I could get excited about one.

I don't exactly feel naked when I'm carrying my Howdah or Pietta 58 Rems, though. True, I only carry them when I'm shooting them, but I feel pretty well protected by them, especially after having shot them a few times. They hit pretty hard.

April 10, 2011, 11:11 PM
Jaymo's right...case in point, the Williams gun.Not really a ''machine gun'' by our standards, but an 1 1/2'' hand cranked rapid fire cannon, no magazine, but a gunners assistand dropped in rounds each time the gunner cranked the breach open, and it could fire rapidly enough that it could sieze up from the heat, and the metal expanding.

April 10, 2011, 11:16 PM
when i started this thread i was meaning a firearm that is produced today for the purpose of self defense, i know that BP firearms in the past were the only guns you could use for self defense, however other than the NAA companion cap n' ball is there any other guns?

April 11, 2011, 12:39 AM
As far as I am concerned, NOTHING beats a scattergun for home defense. As you know, it fires out a "cone" of shot proceeding out from the barrel muzzle, so, just point anywhere in the general direction and you will nail whats in the way. You can also, in a pinch, load them with just about anything on hand, tacks, bits of old snipped up tin cans, pebbles, snipped up short lengths of small jewelry type chain, whatever fits down the barrel. Just don't overload the gun, and you will be fine.

In the old days, some people loaded them with non-lethal but very painful loads, such as rock salt... OWIE !!!, For those pesky neighbor kids that snuk into the fields to steal thier apples or cherries, or whatevers... (Back in the day when kids expected to receive punishment for misbehaving, and parents regularly delegated it out.)

So my advice to you, is get a scatter gun, available from numberous sources, either in a smooth bore large caliber pistol, or, a an actual single or double barreled shotgun.

Here is a helpful little chart for figuring out Gauge sizes by Caliber.

Gauge Milimeters Caliber
06..... 23.3......... 0.92
10..... 19.7......... 0.77
12..... 18.5......... 0.73
14..... 17.6......... 0.69
16..... 16.8......... 0.66
20..... 15.6......... 0.615
24..... 14.7......... 0.58
28..... 14.0......... 0.55
32..... 13.4......... 0.526






Or... if you want something a little more modern, and compact, take a gander at this little jewel, it is made of pure surgical stainless steel, comes with all the nifty little accessories, shown below, and is available in either a standard 22 caliber version, $215.00, or a magnum 22 calliber version, $235.00 both are 5 shot, single action revolvers.


The NAA Companion is available for sale without going through an FFL Dealer in the United States because it is a black powder firearm. However, you will need to fill out and send us the Cap and Ball Waiver form below (under Quick Links) if your residence is in:
District of Columbia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, or Washington


ElvinWarrior... aka... David, "EW"

April 11, 2011, 01:08 AM
i actually have one of the NAA super companions coming to me in the mail from Midwest hunter's outlet. however the gun is on backorder status :banghead: and to be honest i don't want to wait forever to get my freakin gun. this is taking so long.

4v50 Gary
April 11, 2011, 01:42 AM
The Gatling gun was not invented by the North. It was invented by Richard Jordan Gatling of North Carolina. Military Gatling gun use in the war of Northern aggression is largely a Hollywood fabrication. The military brass were not crazy about the idea. In fact, the Confederacy showed more initiative concerning machine type guns during the war, both in design and use.

However, while Dr. Richard Gatling may have been a southron by birth, he was in the nawth and had it produced in the nawth. Beast Butler bought a couple and is reputed to have fired on the Corn-feds. It seems he was not happy about being penned up in the Bermuda Hundred by them. One of the newspapers in New Yawk city also bought one and had it placed menacingly facing the street to deter the draft rioters from burning down their building (it worked).

The Southerners did develop a revolving cannon which looked like an overgrown revolver. It still exists today and may be seen at the Siege Museum in Petersburg, Virginia.

Getting back to the original question, my choice of self defense firearm would be a 5 1/2 inch barrel fixed sight Ruger Old Army. You can leave it loaded with all six cylinders and because of its design, you can leave the hammer down on one of those safety notches. Alternatively, you can cheat and put one of those 45 LC cylinders in it for faster reloading ability.

April 11, 2011, 11:28 AM

The only other modern BP gun that is compact, light enough, and has a great deal of power is FMJ BP derringer. They come in either single shot or SxS and are in .45 cal. You can pick one up for about $130. And it fits in the pocket. These pistols are pretty rough-looking, but are pretty much indestructible. There were some threads on this in this and other forums. The BP FMJ (or Cobray, they are the same company) is identical to their cartridge version, just loads differently. There are a few youtube videos showing a regular FMJ derringer, just to give you an idea.

April 11, 2011, 12:31 PM
There's a used single barrel Cobray Derringer for sale on Gunbroker with an opening bid of $49.99. These are break action with a .451 rifled barrel, a sliding safety button, a removable breech plug, and the latest version uses a 209 primer. I'm not sure about which ignition the one being auctioned has.


April 11, 2011, 08:35 PM
i like those Cobray derringers, i might have to get one someday! preferably a side by side BP derringer.

April 11, 2011, 11:37 PM
Scattergun, scattergun, scattergun. My go-to home defense gun is a mossberg 590 12 gauge pump.
I pray to God that I NEVER have to shoot anyone. However, I'm realistic enough to know that I bear responsibility to protect my family should the need arise.

A .45-70 Gatling would be an effective anti-home invasion device. A bit messy, though.

Heck with it, just go to Home Depot and buy a chainsaw. Worked for Bruce Campbell in the Evil Dead movies. And we all know that Hollywierd is just like real life:rolleyes:

I certainly can't argue against the ROA or 58 Rem.

If you're old enough to buy a BP gun, you're old enough to buy a 12 gauge pump.

April 11, 2011, 11:50 PM
i am thinking about getting an 1851 navy in .44 caliber, they seem to be within my price range! and besides, brass looks so sweet on guns!

April 12, 2011, 03:27 AM
The only problem with a BP scattergun is trying to explain to the cops, after the fact, why you reloaded and pumped 6 more loads into the guy, when, you nailed him solid with two blasts right from the start.

"Well, officier, he kept twitching on the ground... I thought he was going for a gun or something !!!"

LOL !!!


ElvinWarrior... aka... David, "EW"

April 12, 2011, 08:38 AM
Does anyone know the laws for carrying a BP gun concealed. I have a license for CCW. Here in NC, there are laws about the length of a concealed knife. Although it is rarely enforced and frequently violated. Since most states don't regulate BP guns, I am wondering if laws prohibit their carry concealed? I imagine if you use deadly force with one, lawyers would pull out all sorts of stuff. I have a few buddies who teach CCW classes, but there is no concensus on how BP are regulated for concealed carry.
But like the BP shotgun, you can legally purcahse and own one sawed off...like the Howdah. So the laws for BP guns are favorable. Thoughts?

April 12, 2011, 08:48 AM
If the BP gun is loaded, it's considered a "deadly weapon" in most states, and "deadly weapons" are regulated.

Dave Markowitz
April 12, 2011, 09:02 AM
Nalioth is correct. Muzzleloaders are not Federally regulated for the purposes of transfer. Some states treat them differently, e.g., New York and New Jersey, and regulate them similarly to breech loading guns.

I cannot think of a state in which a muzzleloader would not be classed as a weapon if used or carried as such.

April 12, 2011, 09:11 AM
i shoot much more with my black powder than my other firearms so it has
become natural to grab as a home and farm defense.

i dont feel i need more power than what i get out of my pietta 58
and i can reload quicker using the spare cylindars than i can
reloading my rugar blackhawk in 45 colt.

the 45 colt conversion for the pietta gives me another option as well

April 13, 2011, 07:28 AM
That is what I assumed, yet in my state of residence, few laws are specifically oriented to BP firearms. No debate that use of a BP firearm even in self defense would be considered use of a deadly weapon. From a legal standing, it is best to consider BP guns as any other firearm. I'm certain the courts will.

April 13, 2011, 08:35 PM
EW, I wouldn't reload and fire six more times with the Howdah. If the 2 Howda barrels don't do the job, I have 2 58 Rem Piettas and a 51 Navy Pietta. 2 Bbls of Ball/Buck/Buck&Ball + 12 .44 balls + 6 .36 balls should stop the most determined intruder.
If not, he'd be so weighed down by all that lead that I could outrun him.
I reiterate, I pray to God I NEVER have to shoot anyone for any reason. I am prepared to defend myself and my family if necessary. I just hope it never becomes necessary.

April 14, 2011, 02:03 PM
Jaymo, I was joking, I wasn't serious.

I have been in two situations so far in my life where it was absolutely necessary to pull out my 44 BP pistol and fire. But, I fired into the ground, right in front of their feet, and they stopped dead in their tracks.

Then I cocked the gun again, they heard it, and I yelled at him, (In both instances this was out in the open, and they were about 10 feet away)... "One more step in my direction, and the next one puts a 1/2" hole right through your head !!!"

Thankfullly, both times, they turned and ran, and l didn't have to actually shoot them.

Like you, I hope I never have to shoot anyone, living with all the aftermath would be hell I am sure.

In both of my cases, they were a little over 10 feet from me when I came to the realization they had severe bodily harm on their minds, and I had a little time, and a little distance, to get off a warning shot, with my 44 BP revolver belching flames and smoke.

Had they been closer, and rushed me, well, I would have done what I felt I must do.

There was one scene, with Mel Gibson, from the movie, "The Patriot", Which I am sure is every BP Flinters fav movie these days. Well, Mel is planning his revenge against the Colnell who had shot and killed his young son... He had been carrying around with him, a lead soldier, that had belonged to his son, and melted it, and cast it into a ball. When he came across the Colnell on the battlefield, he loaded his pistol with that ball, and fired, hitting the Colnell in the shoulder. If I ever have to shoot someone, ever, I will be thinking of that scene, that moment, where that father was seeking his revenge on one hand, and, protecting his remaining children with the other. A very poignant moment in that film, indeed.



ElvinWarrior... aka... David, "EW"

Sam Cade
April 14, 2011, 02:25 PM
If I ever have to shoot someone, ever, I will be thinking of that scene,

I really hope not.:rolleyes:

April 14, 2011, 02:49 PM
i think i might have to see that movie sometime! although children's toys made from cast lead... kids put stuff in their mouth all the time, so that is probably not the wisest choice of materials to make toy soldiers out of! haha!

April 14, 2011, 11:08 PM
EW, that movie was an instant favorite. I watched it 5 times in a row on pay per view. I have it on DVD.
I've had to pull my pistol on 3 occasions. I've been lucky, in that I've never had to fire it..

April 14, 2011, 11:20 PM
i hope i never have to shoot anybody, however i will do it if someone is endangering the life of anybody i love. was it hard to get your weapon out on the 3 occasions you drew it? i mean from all the stressfulness and the adrenaline?

April 15, 2011, 07:15 AM
Busyhands94...I recommend a Pietta Rem 1858, with a 5 1/2" barrel. Also with a spare cylinder.
Cabelas carries them, including the leather pouch to carry the cylinder. I carry mine in a cross-draw holster. It shoots great and is well made. It is much quicker to reload than the 1851 you mentioned you may buy. Cabelas also sells the 1851 in a 5 1/2" barrel configuration. Another reason I prefer the 1858 over the 1851 is that they shoot closer to point of aim. Maybe you just have to have one of each! Good shooting!

April 15, 2011, 12:13 PM
Well a lot of us shoot these single actions more than we shoot anything else and that makes a fine platform to base your defense upon. Yes they are slow to reload but incidents have proven that most gunfights are done within 3-5 shots. This places a BP revolver right in there.
Making sure your gun is reliable is the key. If you have good powder and caps and the caps stay put, then theBP revolver ought to be a viable choice. Yes the current batch of Hi Capacity semi-autos may be better bur if yiu are comfortable with and have a powerfull enough revolver you stand a good chance.
Actually nearly each version of the Colt or Remington were built to be fighting handguns and served their owners well. Today the bg has a distinct advantage with Hi Cap Mags and if you use a BP gun, make sure that you pratice!
Otherwise I think a B/P gun is a viable defensive weapon.
Boy the courts will have a heyday with it!

April 16, 2011, 09:58 PM
High capacity is nice, but only hits count.

My .61 caliber roundballs for the Howdah are dropping at 350 grains. Pure lead .60 caliber ball should be about 410 grains. According to Forefather's Casting Shop.
I know the balls I cast for it aren't pure lead. They're a bit harder and penetrate very well.
However, either my cheap digital scale is off or my alloy has more tin and such than I thought.
They should make great coup de grace shots when hog hunting.

April 19, 2011, 09:29 AM
I am certain I might offend some of the folks on this list, but why would one trust their life and perhaps their loved ones with less technology than a perpetrator might have? I love BP guns and am accruing quite a number of them. They are a blast to shoot and I am certain would do well if absolutely necessary, but modern centerfire ammo in a semi-auto or even a 357 magnum or 38 spl revolver would at least offer close to 100% reliability. I am specifically addressing cap and ball here, and believe a Colt SAA would do just fine with self-defense. It wouldn't be my first choice, but it would certainly be reliable and one probably wouldn't need to worry about firing more than once or twice and it would be relatively close range.

April 19, 2011, 02:29 PM
.....but modern centerfire ammo in a semi-auto or even a 357 magnum or 38 spl revolver would at least offer close to 100% reliability.
If a cap and ball firearm is maintained and loaded properly, it is just as reliable as even the newest firearm design. The determining factor is not the weapon of choice, it is the knowledge, skill and proficiency of the shooter.

April 19, 2011, 04:05 PM
The original post may have been meant for just cap and ball but the 45 colt cartridge
using BP is just as reliable and powerfull as any modern cartridge of similar balistic
properties when you consider what others have said about 3 to 5 shots being the norm
for self defense shots fired.

same goes for all the other BP loads including shotgun.

like blackpodersmoke just said its all practice i shoot so much more with BP revolvers
than modern it has become more of a liability to have a modern revolver in my hands because i am much more likely to treat it and shoot like it was my BP if i was under
the stress of self defense.

April 19, 2011, 10:32 PM
With all due respect to all, we have two groups of people in regards to cap and ball firearms.

One group believes these firearms to be less reliable than modern firearms. After all, their cap and ball firearms misfire often enough to give them just cause to question them.

Then there are some of us that don't have such problems. Our cap and ball firearms perform just as well as any modern firearm we have ever owned or handled.

Do you suppose that those in latter group are just lucky or skilled at sniffing out the duds? Or do you suppose that when it comes to caring for and loading their cap and ball firearms, they could be doing something differently than those in the first group?

April 19, 2011, 11:31 PM
Well, I have a shotgun, or a BHP I'd grab first for any serious ''social encounter'', but If I had my Colt BP snubby or Remington on me when things started to go bad, I'd use those. I'd use the tools at hand.

April 20, 2011, 02:13 AM
any BP firearm in the right hands with the right load can be lethally used. a .44 ball traveling 800 FPS is still going to kill if it hits vitals. a sicko or a bad guy will be no less dead if he is shot with a cap and ball than if he were shot with a modern .38 or a 45. dead is dead. as i said i sure would never want to be staring down the cold barrel of a colt walker, seeing those blue wrestlers staring me down from the cylinder, and hear the deadly >click< of the hammer being cocked. if i were a bad guy i would be no less discouraged from attacking than if it was a .38 special. if i were a bad guy i would reform my childish behavior for the sake of not getting blown away. a cap and ball is still a firearm. and with the stress of the situation it would not matter if the gun was modern or not, to a criminal looking down the barrel it is very obvious that it is a gun whether modern or not. now a flintlock might not be so believable unless you are getting mugged by a confederate soldier as it might not be taken seriously due to the fact that you only have one shot and it looks like a pirate pistol.

April 20, 2011, 10:52 AM
You brought up a valid point in regards using cap and ball for defense, that is the possibility of not being taken seriously by an uninformed scumbag. Though one should be prepared to use a weapon when it is drawn, an intimidating weapon may defuse the situation without having to shoot the person who it is about to be directed to. That is why....

I refer the more modern looking 58 Remington over all, although a Colt is no less, if not more intimidating to most. (especially the HUGE Walker).

Though gooped lube being unnecessary is the primary reason my chambers are not white from Crisco being gooped in, there is an appearance factor. To the uninformed, it does look less intimidating.

! avoid antique worn or rusted finishes. I remember several months ago showing my stepson pics of a 58 Remington that had been finished with salt and vinegar to produce an old, rusted look. His response was, "Will that old thing still shoot?"....

Finally, though flintlocks are quite lethal and reliable in capable hands, they shoot only once and as you pointed out, stand a chance of not being taken seriously by an uninformed scumbag.

April 20, 2011, 11:30 AM

I know how you love to tinker, and how you love to build kits and even home build guns from scratch...

The following pic, is a finished, working model, the original fired 45/70's, and I think the somewhat scaled down kit version, fires 45/70's as well.

You can either buy, a full kit, a partial kit, which has the major custom machined parts all finished off, or, just the plans, with no parts at all. I am not positive, but I think they also offer it alrready built and ready to go as well...

Imagine this little puppy, sitting in your living room, angled towards the front door, promenantly displayed....

Should do the trick !!!

If it were mine, I think I would break with tradition just a little bit, and add a little mini steam engine on the side, to turn the crank for me... Lots of steam engine kits out there, some big enough to power a small boat !!!



There are Center Fire BP cartridge guns as well, and centerfire conversion cylinder kits for nearly all models of the old classic revolvers. I have even heard of some people building their own conversion cylinders for some of the more odd types of revolvers out there. And let us not forget the old lever action rifle classics... Ever watch the old TV series "The Rifleman"???... That's an 1873 Winchester, 45/40 BP Cartridges, nice little bush gun that !!!....

Make ya feel any better about some BP guns yet?



ElvinWarrior... aka... David, "EW"

April 20, 2011, 11:34 AM
Well, I know this. I have a good Christian heart. I will try to help someone that need's help and God know's I will feed anyone I can that's hungry. That's how I am...I like my '58 and my '47 and I trust them and myself with them absolutely. I'm just like anybody else out there who's got good sense. Don't want to get involved in anything like that although sometimes things happen. If somebody breaks in or sneak's in on me they are shot. Straight up. I'm real good with my guns although I'm not quite as fast as I used to be. I'm sure the first shot will positively do the job, but it wouldn't make a damn to me. I'd still hammer a couple of more through the sonofab**** and that's a fact. I can guarantee anybody that I'll give him 6 feet of Wyoming that no one will ever take away from him....

April 20, 2011, 12:01 PM
Elviv warrior -if you add an steam engine to that it becomes a machine gun

Cop Bob
April 20, 2011, 01:58 PM
TE-HEE-HEE.... I have been there... Several times... Funny stuff... it is what kept me showing up for work...

As far as dependability of Black Powder for self defense... no question, it will work and work well.. as far as current production guns, dang if I know.. I do know that before I joined the police department, for a while I carried an 1871 New Army (Original) in 44-40 with BP loads for protection around the office.. Did this several times.. gun was a family heirloom so I decided not to carry any longer, did I have faith it would do the job? Absolutely!

Cop Bob
April 20, 2011, 02:19 PM
Naolith: "If the BP gun is loaded, it's considered a "deadly weapon" in most states, and "deadly weapons" are regulated."

Dave Markowitz: "Nalioth is correct. Muzzleloaders are not Federally regulated for the purposes of transfer. Some states treat them differently, e.g., New York and New Jersey, and regulate them similarly to breech loading guns.

I cannot think of a state in which a muzzleloader would not be classed as a weapon if used or carried as such."

I absolutely concur... It's transfer and purchase are FEDERALLY REGULATED, but it use is regulated by the STATE.... in fact ALMOST ANYTHING can be classified as a "Deadly Weapon" by "The manner of it's intended use" an example would be, a Shovel, a Pool Que, a length of chain, I have even had Aggravated Assault Deadly Weapon charges filed against someone who used a ball point pen to stab someone.. (yeah, even the DA laughed about the old Pen Vs. Sword reference). As well as in at least 5 cases where a BB gun was used.. (You don't shoot 4 and 5 year olds on a playground with a BB gun, one we chronographed at 1000fs!)

The feds lay out the rules for its purchase, but it is the States than control the rules for its use...

April 20, 2011, 02:23 PM
I always thought about using a BP revolver would be cool!
It's a "real gun" afterall but there are certain parts of a load (like the Caps) with which one must be very carefull. You want it to go BOOM and a lost or loose cap really messes things up!
Cartrige conversions with BP loaded cartriges, would be great. Totally period correct and totally dependable.
I know in the old days shooters would carry Colts and Remingtons without a worry because they had the best technology at their side. Today the bad guys are just as tough and many subscribe to the pray and spray philosophy, so a CAS shooter or a who is praticed with his/her BP revolver is at the advantage because they will hit their mark! A shooter who is familliar with a BP revolver also has the know-how to keep one running and hopefully is up on all the little tricks it takes to keep the gun serviceable.
When at the Club just target shooting, I know when I have done a good cap seating and have the gun ready to go just right, this is the way you'd have to prepare your self-defense revolver. You know when you set it up right...
There are a number of excersizes you'd have to go through to get to a second chamber if one failed and you'd have to regulate your sights down to closer range etc.
I have my 5 1/2" Remington '58 zero'd to 21ft dead center. I filed it so because I wanted a plinker that would be set-up for close range blasting! The gun is well centered and to shoot at extended ranges, I use the Keith Method of lowering the rear sight. No problems with this sight setup. It has sure suprised a lot of Glock owners when I pull up and knock the center out of a combat target! This sight set-up would likely be correct for combat shooting with this revolver too! With a round ball above 30 gr of powder it hits HARD!
I carry BP afield but am aware it's shortcomings.
My short barreled Remington is easier to carry while fishing either in a sholder holster or a high ride hip holster. It's just about the same size as my Vaquero.
I wonder if it would be better to load one of the substitute Powderws that might be less affected by moisture than real Black Powder? Might be something to think about.
Is Pyrodex more resistant to moisture?
A big .44 was and still IS a manstopper!

April 20, 2011, 04:26 PM
The Colt pocket pistols in .31 and .36 caliber and the Derringer pistols come to mind as designed for self-defense up-close. In a sense, all the pistols were designed for self-defense in those situations when you could not get to a rifle or shotgun.
Personally, I do not think the sight of a percussion pistol staring you in the face would not be taken seriously. They are large pistols and look dangerous.
I have no heart-burn with depending on mine except that I prefer smokeless cartridge pistols due to ease of reloading and less clean-up. Like the way the old pocket pistols are so easily concealed.

April 20, 2011, 08:05 PM
.31 is a fine little piece. I use the Uberti (Colt) Pocket .31 with the 4 inch barrel..I like it a lot. I seldom use it with a holster. Just drop it in my pocket and go on about my business. .31 will damn sure put a bad hurting on somebody..I have my '58's and Cattleman Carbines proofed up and all. I use Triple Seven 3fff and keep them loaded all the way around with load's equal to .44-40. They'll knock the living snot out of damn near anything. The '47's are tuned and polished and set, and not much ever need's to be said about one of them..

April 21, 2011, 07:48 AM
ZVP...I encourage you to stick with 3F GOEX in your 58. I used Pyrodex for years in all my BP guns to reduce fouling. But all things considered, I have much more confidence in GOEX. It goes bang every time. I don't ever have ignition problems with it.
I get good results and accuracy in some guns with Pyrodex, and have hunted with it successfully. But every once in a while I have ignition problems. This is especially critical if you are using your 58 for self defense.

April 21, 2011, 07:57 AM
Cop Bob...good summary on the legal side of BP guns. The laws and lawyers are aggravating at best. To them, a hot cup of coffee is a deadly weapon. Still it is convenient to be able to freely purchase and exchange BP guns in most states. I think there is extra justice served in ending a life threatening encounter with lead round balls and a cloud of smoke!

April 21, 2011, 08:11 AM
BP power is for real. If you have a cap and ball pistol, shoot some steel targets with it. I have a rack of head plates, and various other spinning steel targets in my backyard range. My BP guns knock the snot out of them!
I was shooting at one particular steel target yesterday that is rated up to 30-06. I was shooting with BP loads with my Uberti 1873 at 30 yards, and broke the target. It sheared off, a clean break. Those 250 grain bullets out of a 30" barrel thump the heck out of my steel targets! I shoot that particular target all the time with my AR-15, and haven't broke it yet. Five rapid-fire shots of heavy lead did it in. Whether cap and ball, BP cartridge guns, a BP shotgun, etc...dead is dead.

April 21, 2011, 10:27 AM
As far as the intimidation factor, I have taken a buddy that never shot a gun before with me to the range. I had a 1858 Remington, another buddy was shooting a P226. My non-shooting buddy's was MUCH more impressed by the Remington, which he thought was intimidating and made very impressive holes in the target. The 9mm, he was like "meh, nothing scary". So a .44 cal will make someone think twice about continuing their unlawful activities.

April 21, 2011, 11:14 AM
Ever watch the old TV series "The Rifleman"???... That's an 1873 Winchester, 45/40 BP Cartridges, nice little bush gun that !!!....

Actually the rifle Chuck Connors used was a modified 1892 Winchester in .44-40. They were commonly used in TV shows and movies of the time, probably because they were plentiful and back then, there was less concern for authenticity than later.
Both the 1892 and the '73 would have made good brush guns though.

April 21, 2011, 03:49 PM
If your Cap and ball revolver was loaded and stayed in your house for say six months, would the powder still be good? What about in a humid climate?

April 21, 2011, 07:24 PM
If your Cap and ball revolver was loaded and stayed in your house for say six months, would the powder still be good? What about in a humid climate?

Yep, if the caps are the proper size and snugly fitted onto the nipple and the ball has a uniform shaved ring, the powder will remain dry through the humid months, and for years...

April 29, 2011, 11:07 AM
If it were mine, I think I would break with tradition just a little bit, and add a little mini steam engine on the side, to turn the crank for me... Lots of steam engine kits out there, some big enough to power a small boat !!!

As bubba mentioned, adding an engine would make this an automatic weapon, and therefore, Federally regulated. And you would need to get ATF approval and pay the tax before getting the engine, much less connecting it.


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