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Walker Colt

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by WheelMan, Aug 19, 2003.

  1. WheelMan

    WheelMan Well-Known Member

    A fellow on the history channel just now (didn't catch his name) claimed that a .44cal walker colt from 1846 had more "power" than a .44 magnum. What's he talking about? He saying a blackpower cap n' ball compares favorably to the .44 magnum? Am I missing something?
  2. WheelMan

    WheelMan Well-Known Member

    looks like I finally beat that "new member" rap. :)
  3. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Well-Known Member

    I saw that too, and it's wrong.

    A Walker will accept a load of 60 grains of black powder and a round ball. Powder charge will be reduced a bit if using a conical. The Walker will generate muzzle enegry comparable to a .357, if I remember correctly.

    A .444 Magnum is considerably more powerful than a Walker Colt.
  4. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    A .22 long rifle round "compares favorably" to the .44 magnum—or it can be "unfavorably compared," too. "Compares favorably" is a completely unquantifiable phrase.
  5. WheelMan

    WheelMan Well-Known Member

    You know I thought about rephrazing that to save someone the trouble of posting something like that... regardless I think the context supplies the meaning.
  6. Wil Terry

    Wil Terry Well-Known Member

    The fellow who made that stupid statement is one

    Phillip Schreier, argueably the stupidest gun museum director in the history of the world. Every blinkin' time I see him on the tele I wonder what stupid thing he'll say now. He NEVER disappoints me either. His profoundly ignorant statements on firearms boggle my mind, guys! This comment on the Walker's power exceeding that of the 44 MAGNUM is one of the best examples I have ever seen of the man being as qualified to speak on the subject of firearms to the public as I am to go on the lecture tour speaking on flying the space shuttle.
    This show and his comments were a repeat; the last time I heard him say this I wrote a letter to the TV show telling them to find someone, ANYONE, who knew at least something about firearms to interview as Mr. Schreier was an ignoramous of profound stature suffering from a severe case of rectal/cranial[sp] inversion.
    Never got an answer...geesh, can you believe that, guys?
  7. Preacherman

    Preacherman Well-Known Member

    Actually, the Walker Colt is surprisingly powerful for a black-powder handgun. In the third edition of Marshall & Sanow, there's a very interesting article comparing the old BP revolvers to modern handguns in terms of power, energy, etc. The Walker, with a full 60gr. charge behind a round ball, came out right up there in .41 Magnum territory. Very impressive, considering the primitive metallurgy of the day...
  8. 444

    444 Well-Known Member

    I tried to look up the actual numbers but was disappointed to find that I can't find anything right off the bat. The Lyman Blackpowder Handbook doesn't list load data for the Walker, the hottest load they list is 36 grains in an 1860 Army.
    I find a comparison to a .44 Mag to be very hard to swollow.
    #1 The ball is not nearly as heavy as a .44 Mag bullet, even a 180 grain bullet.
    #2 I can't see how you could generate .44 Mag velocities with blackpowder out of a handgun. If I am not mistaken, my .50 BP rifles generate about the same velocity as a .44 Mag handgun when using a maxi-ball.

    Surely someone can give us real numbers on the Walker. This is something that is likely in the back of the Dixie Gun Works catalog.

    I actually have a repo Walker Colt. I have never fired it. It was part of a multi-item trade and I put it in the safe and have never got around to playing with it. Massive revolver.
  9. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    Who is this Schreier guy and why isn't one of us holding his job? Whose son is he that he should get that job. One of us should have it. Benefits? As curator, you get to "fondle" your collection. :p
  10. BigG

    BigG Well-Known Member

    I am not an expert, nor do I play one on tv.

    It is laughable to compare a BP round ball load to a modern jacketed smokeless load, especially in a full house magnum cartridge.

    However, Elmer Keith who burned more BP in old capnball sixguns than most of us have shot smokeless in any guns said the old RB in Colt sixguns had stopping power all out of proportion to it's size and weight. He especially said the .36 Navy was a big time killer on game. Mebbe that's why Bill Hickok stayed with it so long. The Walker was a good killer but being made of wrought iron, it could not contain pressures and was known to blow a cylinder from time to time.
  11. tex_n_cal

    tex_n_cal Well-Known Member

    I had one of the Uberti Walker replicas, and while I never chrono'd it, I expect it did 1100 fps or so with the 60 gr load and .433 round balls. No problem shooting 2-3" groups at 25 yards, either, the big Walker just hung there.

    Of course, after the first cylinder the barrel was so badly leaded, it stopped shooting well.:D

    I foolishly gave it to my brother, who was so mortified by the thing he sold it at the next gun show.:fire:
  12. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    The point is there was NOT a pistol around that took a 60 grain charge.

    Maybe the 357 was close, but thats a LOT of powder.
  13. Wepstec

    Wepstec New Member

    47 Walker Colt

    The Model 1847 Walker Magnum does indeed fire a 60 grain load. I own an Uberti copy and routinely fire 60 grain loads with a .457 dia round ball and a wonder wad. However, the gun shoots much more accrurately using a 50 grain charge.

    If you wish I can demonstrate this via video. I use the gun extensively. Yes it is massive, far bigger than the 1860 Army 16 1/4" long with a 10" barrel and weighing in at 4 1/2 pounds.

    "In 1846, Captain Samuel H. Walker, former Texas Ranger and captain of the United States Mounted Rifles, ordered 1,000 revolvers of an improved design from Samuel Colt. Tested on the battlefields of the Mexican War the formidable four pound, nine ounce Walker, with its .44-caliber bullet propelled by a heavy charge of black powder, remained the most powerful handgun until the introduction of the .357 Magnum in the 1930s." -from Uberti.com

    A freind of mine chrono'd the .457 cal 90 grain roundball / 60 grain blackpowder load at 1200 fps. I personaly think 60 grains is a bit too hot so I shoot a 50 grains. I have used a 50 grain Pyrodex load with both the 90 grain roundball and the 180 grain conical which is as powerful as the blackpowder load, Pyrodex being somewhat more powerful. You should not use more than 50 grains of Pyrodex.

    The weapon's Owner's Manual recommended these loads. This is in an Uberti copy... I would not reccomend even shooting an original. One sold at auction not long ago for $137,000.
  14. mec

    mec Well-Known Member

    The History Channel's Wild West Tech is a lot of fun but they get one or two things wildly wrong every week. Last week they showed WB Masterson lightening the trigger on his colt by filing away at the hammer spur.

    My 60 goex fffg charges only do 1040s in a Uberti Walker while the same volume of pyrodex p gets into the low 1200s with a 140 grain ball.
  15. mec

    mec Well-Known Member

    OK See the attached thumbnail The gun in the picture is an original Company E number 39 and is one of the best examples of the hundred or so known walkers. Couldn't resist putting it in thepicture but we used a Uberti for the chronography.

    We recently clocked it with 60 grains Goex FFFG and a .454 or .457 ball and got some wild velocity spreads. The highest reading was in the 1100s but it appeard that the gun wanted to put the balls out at about 1050. 55. grains was much more consistent and Pyrodex P is the only thing that approached the velocities usually reported for the gun. Even then the energy figures are closer to the reported numbers for the .45 colt than any atomic rocket magnums.

    The chamber/barrel throat measurements on this revolver are .450" and it is getting plenty of compression. We recovered a couple of balls after shooting them through some hog meat and into rolled up carpet. They had expanded to .54 and 58 caliber.

    In truth, we don't know what kind of performance they were getting from contemporary powder- though there are a lot of unsupported theories saying that old powders were better and just as many saying it was not as good.

    I just got back from the local gun store. Looked at the Walker Data in the Lyman Bp book Interestingly the highest velocities theywere able to get with black powder were in the 900 fps range. Goex seemd a bit faster than Elephant black but this varied among the various revolvers they used. In all cases, they both performed pretty close to the same.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  16. Gatofeo

    Gatofeo Well-Known Member

    I missed that program, in which it was said that the Walker Colt rivaled the .44 Magnum in power.
    It used to be said that the Walker Colt rivaled the .357 Magnum. Don't hear that so much anymore, but the script writer probably didn't know a Magnum from a marmot and figured they're the same.
    I don't own a Colt Walker reproduction, but I'm surprised to read that it will take 60 grains. I had always believed that the limit was about 50 grains, perhaps 55.
    Was this 60 grains actually measured on a scale, or thrown from a calibrated measure, or thrown from a measure merely marked 60 GRS?
    Not long ago, I became curious as to what my flask spouts actually threw. I put them on a flask containing Goex FFFG black powder, measured 10 throws separately and averaged it out.
    Flask spouts are fairly consistent, certainly consistent enough for use with black power in all but the most demanding target shooting.
    Found out that my spout marked 40 GRS actually threw about 38 grains. Similarly, my 24 GRS spout threw about 23 grs. and so on.
    Anyway, should you get bored some evening try weighing what your spouts throw. I think you'll be surprised.
  17. mec

    mec Well-Known Member

    Both. Thrown from calibrated measures and weighed. We check them and find them bang-on with goex fffg. The first few times we shot this revolver,it looked like there was no way that 60 grains would allow seating a ball. We chickened out. Then I asked around if anybody could really get 60 in the Walker and 50 in the Dragoons and got so many positive responses that we bit the bullet and tried it. Sure enough, it fit and it seemed like the balls had a good grip on the chamber walls. Over the chronograph though, the velocities reall spread out compared to what we were getting with 55 grains. It looks like the additional seating depth is needed for the right ball grip on the chamber walls. It looked like 60 grains was trying to go about 40 fps on the average, faster than 55.

    With the Uberti Dragoon we were getting. 881 fps/ 19fps extreme spread with 45 grains of goex fffg and 890/37 with 45 grains. All this, of course, might change if we did it again and it would certainly change if we used a different gun.

    In any case Gat, you need to get you a good third model dragoon. Not only are they pretty and have interesting historic connections but they hang very well out there on the end of your arm and turn in good target results.
  18. Gatofeo

    Gatofeo Well-Known Member

    Oh, I've thought of getting a Dragoon or Walker. Kitswee (Chinook jargon for "money") is kinda tight right now. Got some medical and dental bills to pay.
    Besides, from what I hear of the Walker and Dragoons ... I'd have to get a trailer to haul it around .. a crane to raise that ponderous barrel to align the sights ... a hydraulic ball seater ... a brass garbage can for a powder measure ... sounds like a lot of bother just to leave a few cans lying label-down in the dust ... :D :neener:
  19. Wepstec

    Wepstec New Member

    47 Walker

    Oh but it is HUGE fun to shoot! 4-5' of smoke and fire from the muzzle and what it does to gallon jugs of water or watermelons on the business end! Certainly statisfies one's more base intincts and er.. proclivities.

    I use 90 grain .457 round ball. Shoots more accurartely than a conical. Besides, it is what those Rangers used in those days and a weird conical kinda shaped like a football. The .457 is a little egg shaped after you seat it. I have shot the thing with two 30 grain Pyrodex Pistol Pellets. Don't reccomend trying this, its a bit scary. 50 - 55 grains of Pyrodex P will do nicely.

    The 44 mag was inspired by it, I have read, but the two are apples and oranges. Still, it hung at the top all alone for a very long time.

    I missed a nice 120 + class buck two season's ago because I under-estimated the range. Had to wait for the smoke plume to clear to see if I got him or not. The 5" pine tree that was behind him will never be the same. Had to cut my shirtail on that one. My fault completely. Still like to hunt with it. It normaly does a superb job.

    You can get a Uberti copy for about $320 + $350. Its dirty and a pain to care for and its slow, heavy and all that, but there's nothing else like it.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2005
  20. Saginaw

    Saginaw New Member

    How do I change Cylinders

    I just purchased a walker 1847 and I am having a hard time figuring out how to change out Cylinders. I dont have an owners guide.

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