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BP firearms designed for self defense

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by Busyhands94, Apr 1, 2011.

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  1. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Member

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    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.
     
  2. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    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. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  3. Voodoochile

    Voodoochile Member

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    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.
     
  4. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Member

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    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.
     
  5. 45-70 Ranger

    45-70 Ranger Member

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    Have seen it done

    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.

    Wade
     
  6. drftrman

    drftrman Member

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    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.
     
  7. Shoot The Moon

    Shoot The Moon Member

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    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!
     
  8. Phantom Captain

    Phantom Captain Member

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    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. ;)
     
  9. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Member

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    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!
     
  10. Jaymo

    Jaymo Member

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    .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.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  11. robhof

    robhof Member

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    robhof

    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:
     
  12. scrat

    scrat Member

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    The ultimate would be a Lemat. Wow that would be awesome.
     
  13. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Member

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    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.
    [​IMG]

    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 :) )
     
  14. 45-70 Ranger

    45-70 Ranger Member

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    Hey Phantom Captain, you're on to something!

    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
     
  15. batjka

    batjka Member

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    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.
     
  16. tdv

    tdv Member

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    shotshell

    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
     
  17. tdv

    tdv Member

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    More on a shotshell load for the cap and ball revolver.

    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
     
  18. DoubleDeuce 1

    DoubleDeuce 1 Member

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    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.
     
  19. Remo223

    Remo223 member

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    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:

    http://www.marstar.ca/gf-pietta/Pietta-1858-Starr.shtm

    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.
     
  20. Shoot The Moon

    Shoot The Moon Member

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    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!
     
  21. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Member

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    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.
     
  22. avan47

    avan47 Member

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    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.
     
  23. 45-70 Ranger

    45-70 Ranger Member

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    Indoor shooting is a might loud

    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:

    Wade
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2011
  24. tdv

    tdv Member

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    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
     
  25. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Member

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    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.
     
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