Shooting double barrel derringers


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duelist1954
November 12, 2012, 07:28 AM
The Remington double barreled Derringer is one of the most recognizable handguns of the old west. In this video I compare an original Remington Derringer to a 20th century copy, and then do some shooting with the replica using black powder cartridges.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJy6IoODdg8

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PRM
November 12, 2012, 09:51 AM
Mike, As always - great video

I purchased an American Derringer Model 1 in .45LC/.410 with 3 inch barrels in 1990. It's been a fun gun that fills a unique place in my small collection.

I've got Detective Specials, a couple of J Frames, and a Walther - not going to get into on ammo capacity or what is a better SD firearm.

Mine has been on numerous trips with me in the woods. Loaded with .410 field shot at close range, it makes short work of snakes. It is also a fairly close range gun as far as accuracy and within its limitations is effective.

With .45 LC out to about 10 yards its accurate enough to do the job. The .45 LC with Smokeless Powder is a handful. I have .45 LCs loaded with black powder that are very pleasant to shoot and are more fun than the 4th of July on the range. Want to start a conversation on a range - touch off one of those. The flame, smoke, and deep throated boom will bring smiles up and down the line.

The .410, .000 Buck in .2.5 inch shells is a comfortable round in this gun. Out to about 7 yards it too is effective.

I've been very pleased with my American Derringer - and yes those are pre-ban elephant ivory grips on it.

Jim K
November 12, 2012, 03:31 PM
Interesting that the old gun has a brazed hinge. Cracked hinges are very common on those guns, probably due to flipping the gun open rather than to firing it.

One big difference is that the new guns, using center fire cartridges, have much lighter mainsprings than the old guns, which used rimfires and have springs that would be more suitable on a pickup truck than a pocket pistol. I see the actors in movies thumb a Remington derringer rapid fire and conclude that either they have stronger thumbs than I have or the guns are rigged.

Jim

Patocazador
November 13, 2012, 12:15 PM
Mike, As always - great video

I purchased an American Derringer Model 1 in .45LC/.410 with 3 inch barrels in 1990. It's been a fun gun that fills a unique place in my small collection.

I've got Detective Specials, a couple of J Frames, and a Walther - not going to get into on ammo capacity or what is a better SD firearm.

Mine has been on numerous trips with me in the woods. Loaded with .410 field shot at close range, it makes short work of snakes. It is also a fairly close range gun as far as accuracy and within its limitations is effective.

With .45 LC out to about 10 yards its accurate enough to do the job. The .45 LC with Smokeless Powder is a handful. I have .45 LCs loaded with black powder that are very pleasant to shoot and are more fun than the 4th of July on the range. Want to start a conversation on a range - touch off one of those. The flame, smoke, and deep throated boom will bring smiles up and down the line.

The .410, .000 Buck in .2.5 inch shells is a comfortable round in this gun. Out to about 7 yards it too is effective.

I've been very pleased with my American Derringer - and yes those are pre-ban elephant ivory grips on it.
I've got one of those in .38/.357 and the hammer and trigger are a bear to cock and fire. I would have to have my adrenalin level quite high to accomplish either in a hurry. I absolutely hate that stupid push button safety.

loose noose
November 13, 2012, 10:24 PM
I've got an American Derringer in .38Spl. but it is double action, SS, I haven't shot it with BP but I'm planning on it, believe it or not it is pretty accurate out to 7 yards, it does shoot a bit high, in fact in order to hit center of mass, you have to aim at the family jewels.:D

Foto Joe
November 14, 2012, 11:10 AM
This last summer I picked up a Bond Arms 45/.410, my wife calls it "Cute". I guess compared to a Dragoon you could call it that but I definitely wouldn't want to be on the front end of the thing when it went off.

I've fired Federal 000 3" .410's out of it and they're quite managable. I did get my hands on some Winchester SD .410's (can't remember what they're called, maybe PDX?) and those things are obnoxious!! I personally can't imagine having to pull the trigger on one of those in a self defense situation, I think they hurt almost as much to shoot as to be shot with one.

My most favorite thing to shoot out of this thing though is 45 Colt Black Powder Gallery Loads!!

PRM
November 14, 2012, 08:00 PM
I've got one of those in .38/.357 and the hammer and trigger are a bear to cock and fire. I would have to have my adrenalin level quite high to accomplish either in a hurry. I absolutely hate that stupid push button safety.

David Chicoine, www.oldwestgunsmith.com did an action job on mine. Well worth the money. I probably have 4 - 5 pound trigger pull with a nice crisp break.

kBob
November 14, 2012, 10:54 PM
Those cross bolt safeties are a good idea. The original .41 rim-fires and many 1960's knock offs were not particularly drop safe if one carried them without using the half cock. There were also "issues" with loading them because of the firing pin protrusion when not on half cock as well as it was difficult to not let the barrels cover anything you did not want to shoot when loading.

At one point in the 1980s some one wsa making one with a Faux lower barrel used to hold a spare round and the operationa barrel chambered in .45-70. In my experience they really stood up in the hand when fired and we joked that the fireball at the muzzle would cook the meat you bullet just killed at western union range

As in "knock knock"

"Who's there?"

"Western union."

Victim opens door and steps up to muzzle to recieve "message"

-kBob

44 Dave
November 25, 2012, 11:56 PM
I have an original Remington .41, yes strong spring but it does a good job on those old rim fires
Also have 2 American Derringers, .45 and 44-40. they have a spring release on the hammer block safety all you do is pull the hammer back and fire.
I have tuned the trigger pull and shoot them with "cowboy loads" or bp.
Also have old Cobray .45 410 with that annoying cross bolt safety. but it is good for racoons in crawlspaces and attics.

Gordon
November 27, 2012, 01:50 AM
I actually carried a very tight nickel late model Remington .41 in the 70s when I was narcing undercover. At first I used pre war Rem-UMC ammo and by the early 80s started using Navy Arms Brazilian ammo. I actually did chronographing and penetration tests on it and found the old Rem ammo had about 580 fps and the Navy Arms ammo was about 620 fps. The Navy arms ammo would almost penetrate a redwood 4x4 and the older ammo about 2.5" of the soft redwood. It was reasonably accurate and I hit police shilos in the K zone at 15 yards to wow the unbelievers.:neener:
I had an older Colt single shot derringer and it had about 100 fps less velocity as the barrel dimensions were larger! So I think the older Remington derringers may have had a looser barrel and gotten the notoriously low velocities reported.I sold the antiques a few years back when I think the market peaked. I got $100 a box for my remaining Navy Arms .41 short stash!
I have two Uberti pre 1968 Maverick derringers; one in .357 :what: and one in .45 Colt. The frames on these well made guns is pretty husky but nicely styled and finished in case colors. The .357 is my "side match" SASS gun and I use wadcutters in it and have filed the sights to be on and lightened the trigger.It is surprisingly accurate:D
In the .45 Colt derringer I had the barrel reamed to 3" .410 in the mid 80s as a snake gun, but ended up an egg collecting gun that was death on rats I would see run in the coop.:evil:
I also have an old Hy Hunter German made .22mag derringer that is a little smaller than an original .41 and since I had it for 45 years is a sentimental favorite that was also carried as a BUG when I was a reservist.
Yes these non safety derringers are dangerous from drop , as they uncannily drop hammer down and barrel up almost everytime!:eek:

Busyhands94
November 27, 2012, 04:10 PM
Gotta love those little over-under derringers. :) Great video as always Mike, and I like that you loaded your cartridges with the correct powder!
For a while now I've been contemplating getting a Cobray .45 Colt kit and some side plates and building one. But I'm thinking along the lines of buffing off the matte black finish and giving it a nice blue, then making some peacemaker style wood or imitation ivory bird's head grips! :D That would be too much fun with BP .410's, or BP loaded .45 Colts!

Basically what I'm talking about is making a modern gun look like it came from the old west!

plumblazy
January 25, 2013, 03:48 PM
I have 2 Am Derr. in .38spl, and a Bond in .45 clt. If you pull trigger straight back as a regular gun, trigger pull is around 11 or 12 lbs. The trick is to pull trigger down wards while pulling back. this make pull easier. around 5 or 6 lbs. Takes a little practice.

ZVP
January 25, 2013, 06:39 PM
I spent a couple decades with a Davis .22LR derringer and have used it for snakes, feral dogs and even headshot a Ground Squirrel with a CB Cap! WHat a neat little gun! A bit anemic for SD use but better than a knife
The hammer draw is very hard due to the strong rimfire mainspring and the LR cases swell where you need an object to push thru the barrel to eject it, I use a long Golf Tee.
In spite of this I highly recommend getting one because of their portability!
Secondly I own a Cobra .38 Special Derringer which has become the replacement for the .22. Both guns are near identical except for size and operation is alike.
The Cobra is a powerfull pocket gun much more so than the .22RF!
Hammer pull is difficult due to a strong mainspring, the trigger is as stated above, best pulled back and DOWN to fire it easilly. Repeated use softens it up and smooths it up. I have shot mine a lot and now it's not bad at all!
I have tried several loads including some custom low recoil handloqads that were made-up for me specially.
Remington Factory LRN bullets recoil smartly but due to the addition of thumb grooved Rosewood Factory Grips ( $13) the grip is far superrior now. The 158Gr LRN is a good load as is the Remington 130Gr Jacketed, Both recoil smartly and I would only use either for socisl work. For this use as well may I suggest the WWLRN Cowboy load that claims 250fp ME and is a powerfull load!
For Fun Loads (low recoil) A friend made some90 gr light loaded rounds that recoil very light Not having a chrony I can't state velocitys. I would guess at 480-500fps with a low ME but yet very dangerous.
I also bought some sweet CAS reloads at a Gun Show that fire really light out of my Vaquero and likewise very nice in the Cobra! These are 158gr RNFPreloads firing smartly but much slower than the WW Cowboy loads,
I have both the 90 gr and the Gun SHow lbullets set aside for fun use with the .38 Cobra. I shoot them sparingly and am confident that the Gun Show bullets could be deadly!
I purchased a set of "Longbore" barrels from Cobra to build a longbore version but the upper firing pin is short for the standard barrels and sometimes misfires the top barrel of the longbore. If shooting handloads you must inspect ammo and find flush fitted primers for best ignition. I would not suggest using the longbore barrels for anything but plinking and fun shooting, Use the short Factory fitted barrels for serious work.
Speaking of the firing pins, I always set up the hammer to fire the top barrel first and it does, then the lower barrel 9the long firing pin). YThis setup is necessary because of the hinge mechansim and not pre detonating a round while closing the bbl's.
I carry the Cobra on 1/2 cock (to ease cocking effort before firing) and with the safety on. I can be assured of safety with this set-up. Thumbing off the safety gets easier with use and after around 300 rounds, my safery is worn-in about 59%. I expect it'll loosten as did the Davis after around 600 rounds. It will NEVER be easy to turn off but maybe that's better and safer in the pocket.
I bought the SHiney Nickled version of the big Cobra and it's a very nice looking pistol with those factory rosewood grips!
A 2 shot over/under is not the ideal self defense gun but it is a truely nostalgic and definatelly effective gun to carry. @ rounds of .38 Special are flying out the barrels about the same speed as from a 2" revolver! Trouble is that you just have 2 and reloads are a bit slow.
The sighta are a joke, hitting over a foot high @7 yards pretty well centered though The .22 LR sights are closer to POA but still high.
You must pratice to be even near proficent with these derringers. they are true point and shoot belly guns! aim center mas aand pull em off! The second shot depends on how tough your thumb is and if you use a two haabd hold, you can shoot pretty fast!
There you have it the truth about the highly versitle .22 RF (they shoot everythingCB thru Stingers) and the >38 Special, full size derringer.
If you can, buy both and have some nolstalgic fun and rest assured that they can be applied S"Socially".
ZVP

kBob
January 25, 2013, 08:58 PM
When I carried a .38 german made over under style for self defense I always set it up to fire the LOWER barrel first as this caused the pistol to recoil pretty much straight back and so it was easier to get the second shot of quickly and accurately. Firing the top barrel first generally resulted in the pistol rolling back in the hand to the point that the lowered hammer was against the web of the hand betwist the thumb and fore finger and necessitated repositionimg the hand to cock and re fire the pistol.

As the barrels were not as well regulated as I would have liked this also gave me some hope of knowing where each shot would go instead of having a fifty percent chance of guessing it right if I had not specifically set up the bottom barrel to go first

The issue of the lack of a safety other than half cock and firing pins that were longer than the breach and so not inertia types was a serious deffect i the design that required much attention to detail and is why I do not recomend them. The newer models with a cross bolt type safety are an imprvement in that respect.

Wonder how the pressure of a load of BP under a flush seated DEWC would compare to a factory standard velocity 158 grain RNL .38 SPL.

-kBob

BHP FAN
January 27, 2013, 04:39 AM
http://i989.photobucket.com/albums/af11/hut-man/remingtonset1.jpg

44 Dave
January 27, 2013, 03:46 PM
178524
Notice the hammer block on the American Derringer, shoot this 44-40 with bp loads some times.
I did lighten trigger pull to about 3 lbs on this gun.

178525
Only have a limited number of rounds for the Remington .41

I carry either of these, there have to be a million hours of of Remingtons carried on 1/2 cock I ain't worried!

Thanks kBob, for the tip on having it set to fire the bottom barrel first.

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