Testing Hickoks shot


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brushhippie
December 4, 2012, 05:27 PM
Spent a good while today trying to make the damn shot, but finally got it done. I shot through two layers of cardboard a gallon of water and into a mattress from 75 yards and thats with 15 grains of my powder.....15 GRAINS! You gotta figure he was shooting at least 25 grains....so to answer the question yes indeed a .36 will most certainly kill you from 75 yards away! It is not an easy shot but it can be done.....now if it had been me Mr Tutt was facing, theres a good chance he would have made it!
http://youtu.be/q9Sok14a7VA

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Jim K
December 4, 2012, 11:00 PM
So who raised the question and why would anyone doubt that a .36 percussion revolver could kill a man at 75 yards? I sometimes wonder if the modern "experts" slept through history class. If those "old guns" couldn't hurt anyone, there must have been a lot of heart attacks at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, etc.

Jim

towboat_er
December 4, 2012, 11:13 PM
Good shootin Brushy.

DoubleDeuce 1
December 4, 2012, 11:20 PM
Very good shooting. No doubt in my mind the .36 cal is more than adequate.:cool:

rodwha
December 5, 2012, 12:35 AM
OK, OK, I doubted a little...
But it was only a little.
Did it fully penetrate the mattress too?

rodwha
December 5, 2012, 12:36 AM
I could have sworn I heard the .36 cal was given to the kitchen staff to keep the mice at bay...
75 yds is quite the feat though. And with such a small charge, however more powerful.

Hellgate
December 5, 2012, 01:15 AM
I heard that old WBH used a Dragoon that day. Anybody know it that's true?

brushhippie
December 5, 2012, 06:40 AM
It went into the mattress but not through. I have read it both ways, Dragoon and Navy, also read somewhere it could have been a .32 S&W....I guess the world will never know. There is no longer any doubt in my mind the .36 would do it....heck its just fun to experiment, I love results!

Pulp
December 5, 2012, 09:52 AM
Several of us did this shot as an internet shooting match a couple of years ago. I had bullet holes all over Mr Tutt, but none through his heart. The winning shot was in the heart, but he was using a modern gun and cartridge.

brushhippie
December 5, 2012, 10:00 AM
I had a pretty good breeze, so I was all over the place, it is not an easy shot to make, I think the stars would have to be aligned perfectly for anybody to make two in a row.( a dead on heart shot that is)

duelist1954
December 5, 2012, 03:03 PM
Back when I was a teenager my only handgun was a .36 Navy replica. I carried that gun all the time when I was out knocking around the countryside...which was pretty much every waking minute that I wasn't in school.

I used to have a 55 gallon drum set up in an old gravel quarry, and Id sit up on the rim of the quarry and shoot that drum from 100 yards. Mostly I hit it, and the balls all penetrated the drum.

I wouldn't want someone shooting a .36 C&B at me from any distance.

Hellgate, I have heard the Dragoon stories too, but Joseph Rosa is pretty convinced that Hickok was carrying Navies for the Tutt fight.

Jim K
December 5, 2012, 04:24 PM
I know some of the percussion revolver folks have fired tens of thousands of rounds, so I will have to say that in my more limited experience a .36 percussion revolver (or at least an original*) is fully capable of the same accuracy and power as a .38 Special revolver firing standard loads. True a modern .38's sights will probably be better, one used to the old sights can do some pretty good shooting with percussion guns.

*Many repros are not properly rifled for use with lead balls or bullets.

Jim

J-Bar
December 5, 2012, 10:42 PM
I think Hickok was good enough to hit a man more often than not at that range. But hitting his adversary in the heart with the first and only shot...those are lottery odds.

When you stand on the brass markers in Springfield's downtown square where Tutt and Hickok faced each other, you realize what a "long" shot it was!

DurangoKid
December 5, 2012, 11:19 PM
WBH would have been shooting a bullet or conical. The paper Ctg. was the ammo of choice in CW revolvers of the day. Shooting round balls in CW handguns is more of a modern thing.

Brush Hippie, the stories from the CW claimed a .36 would not shoot thru the heavy wool coats worn by Union troops. The claim was when these coats were wet the .36 bullets would not cause a fatal wound. It would be interesting, what your test would do on heavy wet wool at 10 yards?

rodwha
December 5, 2012, 11:36 PM
I'd certainly be interested too.

GCBurner
December 5, 2012, 11:50 PM
From what I've read of the shootout, Hickock was using a two-handed grip to steady his aim, too.

DurangoKid
December 6, 2012, 12:16 AM
There were many stories about just how far the range was. The reporters who wrote the news of this shooting may have been off on the distance. Accounts of by standers claim that the distance was more like 20 yds. WBH was not always a perfect shot. He killed his best friend by accident during the arrest of a cowboy who had shot a dog. .:uhoh:

Pulp
December 6, 2012, 05:29 PM
In that case, he still hit what he was aiming at, unfortunately he was aiming at the wrong thing. His friend came running up behind him, Hickock turned and fired before he realized who he was shooting at.

DurangoKid
December 6, 2012, 06:21 PM
Pulp. that was my point. Shooting under stress he lost complete control. I have to wonder what the stress level was when he shot at Tutt? I don't know when he started going blind? We know at the time of his death he was almost completely blind. His friends had to help him move about after dark. He had left his wife in Ohio for one more adventure to the gold fields.

Old Fuff
December 6, 2012, 07:25 PM
Shooting under stress he lost complete control.

Not really.

In 1871 Hickok was serving as City Marshal in Abilene, Kansas. One night in October a saloon owner/gambler from Texas named Phil Coe fired a revolver after the Marshal had calmed down a disturbance that occurred in front of the saloon.

Believing that the previous incident had flared again, Hickok rushed to the scene and encountered Coe with a drawn six-shooter within a group of mostly hostile Texas cowboys. Words passed between the two men, who were surrounded by the aforementioned cowboys, estimated to number around 50.

As Coe started to raise his gun the Marshal quickly drew two revolvers and both he and Coe fired at each other, with Coe being fatally hit. As he fell others in the crowd drew guns and a man behind Hickok rushed up through the bunch with his pistol drawn. Wild Bill caught the movement in the corner of his eye and in the dark thought the man was about to attack him. He turned and fired, and then discovered he had hit and killed his own deputy, who he had specifically told not to do what he did.

rodwha
December 6, 2012, 07:37 PM
"...a man behind Hickok rushed up through the bunch..."

Certainly not a very smart thing to do under such circumstances!

Old Fuff
December 6, 2012, 07:54 PM
Especially after he as told not to.

I strongly recommend the following book:

Great Gunfighters of the Kansas Cowtowns - 1867-1886 by Nyle H. Miller and Joseph W. Snell.

The format is unusual. The authors researched newspaper and court records to find contempory articles concerning a number of famous (and some so much) gunfighters of that era, with the story of various incidents as they were reported at the time.

Each of the subject gunfighters is featured in a seperate chapter, with all of the articles about them reproduced in order by date.

If for example, you are interested in the Hickok-Tutt fight you can read the same newspaper reports that were printed at the time.

Do not expect everything you read to agree with everything you thought you knew. :uhoh:

brushhippie
December 6, 2012, 08:11 PM
Thanks Fuff, Ill check that out.

Old Fuff
December 6, 2012, 08:23 PM
On the subject of Wild Bill Hickok, any book or magazine article written about him by Joseph G. Rosa is worthwhile, but in particular, They called him Wild Bill. Also if you like pictures (mostly in color) of the real, original guns used during the frontier period buy: The Taming of the West - Age of the Gunfighter by the same author

BHP FAN
December 9, 2012, 03:12 AM
''So who raised the question and why would anyone doubt that a .36 percussion revolver could kill a man at 75 yards? I sometimes wonder if the modern "experts" slept through history class. If those "old guns" couldn't hurt anyone, there must have been a lot of heart attacks at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, etc...''

Jim, that's exactly the point I was trying to make on the ''would you carry a cap and ball'' thread, but better put. Well said!

brushhippie
December 9, 2012, 07:44 AM
Just the fact that it took 10 days on average to die from a gunshot wound would make me question the power of the delivery system (Black powder delivery system...thats a good one!) I had read a discussion on one of the forums on what he used or didnt use or what wouldnt work at that distance, so I wanted to see for myself.

Old Fuff
December 9, 2012, 10:50 AM
Just the fact that it took 10 days on average to die from a gunshot wound would make me question the power of the delivery system (Black powder delivery system...thats a good one!)

If you buy the book I recommended (Great Gunfighters of the Kansas Cowtowns - 1867-1886 by Nyle H. Miller and Joseph W. Snell.) That if passing wasn't instant, it did happen in less then 10 days, although it could take months. The reason was that medical technology had not progressed to anything near to what it is today, and they had no understanding about the cause of infections, or ways to stop internal bleeding. Under the same circumstances today's popular cartridges might not have done any better.

I had read a discussion on one of the forums on what he used or didnt use or what wouldnt work at that distance, so I wanted to see for myself.

If you get into contemporary documents, written during the 19th century, you will find that "long shots" with fatal results were not all that unusual. But you canít convince some people today who believe that 15 yards (or less) represents a long distance. Marksman skills have dropped dramatically in some quarters.

J.T. Gerrity
December 9, 2012, 12:55 PM
In expanding on what Old Fuff has written, sanitary conditions of the day weren't even close to what you have now. Consider just the bullets, balls or what-have-you themselves. Not considering pre-made ammo for the moment, most ammo was made in the field under the poorest of conditions, then stored in skin or leather pouches that were hap-hazardly tanned and cured. In addition, smearing rancid tallow on them for lube introduced all kinds of little beasties into the mix, followed by the fact that the personal hygiene of the shooters themselves usually left much to be desired at that time; so that, if the shot didn't kill you outright, you could easily die of infection of the wound. It's a fact that more people died of disease and infection during the Civil War then were killed out-right in the field.

Paper-patch bullets were particularly nasty as the lube soaked up all kinds of stuff while being carried in a belt. Kind of like having a Kimodo Dragon in a holster...

kBob
December 9, 2012, 01:12 PM
Look the power of a .36 Navy and its bullet effects might well be compared to a .380ACP, 9mm Curto, 9mm Kurz whatever name you want to use you know what cartridge and guns I am talking about when used with FMJ RN bullets.

Anyone think that won't put a hurt on you at 75 yards?

As to handgun wounds in general......during the late 1980's a survey of medical data indicated that only about one in eight people shot once in the upper trunk do not recover. Leathality and ability to cause a thinking human being to stop doing something are two different things.

As it happens a single round of FMJ RN .380 to the torso has close to better than a four in ten chance of stopping a fight, flight, or public poetry reading of ones own poetry, based on Marshall and Sanows admittedly flowed research.

While a .36 Navy would not be my first choice for self defense I have no difficulty believing a 75 yard shot, if for no other reason than the capability was there and luck also exists.

As to how far it really was, what gun and what charge was used and whether participants used mustache wax .....Not a one of us was there so this is just spinning our wheels.

The shot was and is physically possible with a .36 Colt 1851 Navy.

-kBob

Pancho
December 9, 2012, 02:13 PM
Early in this thread the ? was posed "Who would question the shot?". If you skip up a couple of forums to the handgun forums you will find a lot of people think that the least lethal round in a conceal carry gun is a 45 acp. I myself carry and have confidence in a .380 partly due to the WBH/Tutt event.
Instead of the 75yds. as told in the event I'm concerned with 3 to 10yds. A "defensive" shot taken at 75yds. would end up with my butt in jail facing murder charges.

Old Fuff
December 9, 2012, 04:40 PM
A "defensive" shot taken at 75yds. would end up with my butt in jail facing murder charges.

That's not necessarily true, but it's popular with those who haven't practiced enough to attain the skill it takes to make effective long shots.

The circumstances dictate the correct answer. If an engagement happened at such a distance would you be able to withdraw or evade without taking risk to yourself or others? If the answer was, "no" and you were being subjected to a potentially lethal attack your shooting would constitute a legal use of deadly force.

Not long ago an off-duty officer was eating lunch at a shopping mall when a gunman started shooting people at random. The officer drew a .38 snubby and engaged the shooter at about 80 yards, and so drove him to cover where his shooting was neutralized until reinforcements arrived.

No, his butt is not in jail, and he is not facing murder charges.

Pancho
December 9, 2012, 04:55 PM
Old Fuff, to go into this further would send us off of this forum. What I said was an aside.
The bottom line was that that the WBH/Tutt engagement is a powerful argument for calibers less than .45

72coupe
December 9, 2012, 05:28 PM
In rodwha post about the difference between modern powder and the powder available to 19th century shooters he tells about the powder used in revolvers of the time.

It is likely that the powder that Hickock used was substantially more powerful than all but the best powder common today. He speculates that the pistol powder of the time was most likely as powerful as 777 is today.

I know that my little 1862 Pocket Police 36 caliber seems as powerful as my 38 special revolver even though I have not chronograhped my loads yet. This is judged by recoil.

I spent a month in 1968 teaching myself instinctive shooting with an 1860 Army and a 2nd Model Dragoon. At the end of the month I could hit a 20 inch plow disk from the hip at 20 yards with either hand virtually all the time.

If I had spent a lifetime shooting this way I have no doubt that Hickock could have made this shot.

brushhippie
December 9, 2012, 06:05 PM
What makes you think the powder he was using would be better? Just curious

arcticap
December 9, 2012, 06:55 PM
In rodwha post about the difference between modern powder and the powder available to 19th century shooters he tells about the powder used in revolvers of the time.

It is likely that the powder that Hickock used was substantially more powerful than all but the best powder common today.



28 Grain Pyrodex P 966
28 Grain Goex FFFG 795
28 Grain Swiss FFFG 959
35 Grain Swiss FFFG 1089
40 Grains Swiss FFFG 1104
40 Grains Pyrodex P 1125
.454 ball- Uberti 58

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=193394&highlight=velocity



According to these velocity results, even Pyrodex P can perform as good as some of the best Swiss black powder that's made today.
Perhaps Pyrodex P is even as good as some of the best black powder that was made in the old days too.
It could be that Pyrodex P is simply one of the best revolver powders ever.

Jaymo
December 10, 2012, 07:00 PM
It's entirely possible that WBH was the recipient of good-old dumb luck.
We've all made those one-in-a-million shots that we can't hope to repeat.
ISTR he was going blind from the clap or syphilis.

dickydalton
December 10, 2012, 10:14 PM
My 1862 Pocket Police, over the chrono was 820 to 840 FPS with 18 grains of Swiss 3F a lubed wad, ball and #10 remington cap.

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