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Colt Dragoons Purpose?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by jmar, Aug 29, 2016.

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  1. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    In any of the shooting sports, with the possible exception of air guns, they're some who want the absolute biggest bang! So when it comes to cap & ball revolvers the Colt Walker replicas offer the biggest and most everything else you can get. The Colt Company itself admitted that prior to the arrival of the .357 Magnum its was the most powerful revolver they had ever made, bar none.

    So if the biggest bang floats your boat it is probably the answer. But it should be remembered it was intended to be carried by a horse, and not a human - certain fictional movies not withstanding. And it will certainly lower one's powder supply faster in big gulps.

    That said, the idea is to have fun, which is defined differently by different people. Unquestionably it has an interesting history, and it's quite probable if Sam Walker hadn't come along only a few historians would remember who Sam Colt was. No one was more aware of this then the inventor himself. ;)
     
  2. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    "If you spread an old bed sheet or tarp in front of the muzzle you'll find some unburned grains of powder. That and some of the delightful muzzle flash that so may enjoy is powder that is still burning outside the barrel with the ball well on its way."

    This is one thing mentioned that baffles me, especially in a pistol. If BP burns readily in a quick POOF! how on earth can a little bit be ejected through a large fireball and make it unscathed onto a sheet? I could possibly see this happen in a muzzleloader where a lot more powder can be crammed into it.

    Having seen chronographed results from a Walker showing plenty of additional velocity I find it rather hard to believe that the midpoint of a Dragoon can't do much with the meager increase.

    I had asked a fellow who cut down his Remington to something like 3.5" and he said, through testing, that that seemed to be about as short as you can get and still burn the full charge. He used a sheet in front of him.

    I'd certainly love to see some chronograph tests comparing a Remington NMA/Colt Army with a Dragoon and Walker using the same lot of powder.
     
  3. Fingers McGee

    Fingers McGee Member

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    Percussion Revolvers - A guide to their history, performance and use by Cumpston and Bates has chronograph comparisons - Do not know about powder lots though
     
  4. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I'll have to go back through it. I had forgotten about it.

    I'd venture to guess, for most results, the used the same powders. At least it's a reasonable assumption, and even if not from the same can it's quite possibly the same lot.
     
  5. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    Going through their chronographed loads and comparing max charges of Swiss 3F with a .454" ball they got:

    Walker - 1278 fps
    Dragoon - 1217 fps
    1860 - 1042 fps
    1858 - 1104 fps

    A good bit more than a mere 25 fps...
     
  6. Curator

    Curator Member

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    Shooting any gun loaded with black powder at night shows burning powder grains. There is considerable evidence that a column of compressed black powder burns more slowly, beginning at the rear (in the case of a C&B revolver) and part of the unburned charge follows (or pushes) the bullet down the bore. Shooting my Walker replica over my Chrony damaged the display screen with unburned powder grains. It looked like a shotgun had shot it plus grains of powder had gotten into the electronic "eyes". Some part of the higher velocity we get with heavier charges in pistols is from the extra weight of the powder and increased resistance creating higher pressure and more efficient combustion of that part of the charge that does actually burn inside the gun.
     
  7. jmar

    jmar Member

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    Do you have a source link, can they be trusted? Sorry but i'm very skeptical about those number especially considering the NMA cylinder is a quarter inch smaller than the Dragoon and is 114 FPS less. While the walker looks to be a half inch longer, with longer barrel and gets only 61 FPS more... What i've learned is that everyone gets different numbers for some reason, for the walker i've heard, 900-1400.
     
  8. jmar

    jmar Member

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    Thread needs some pics, here's a comparison between the 1858 and Dragoon.


    Measuring the difference. Slightly less than 1/4 inch.

    IMG_1462_zpsc6ldcoc0.jpg

    IMG_1461_zpszlrj8aqv.jpg

    IMG_1470_zpsrfd8mnp5.jpg

    IMG_1471_zpsxwyisomw.jpg




    Here you can see the inefficiency i keep talking about. If you were to remake a Dragoon cylinder it could be a 7 or 8 shot i reckon.

    IMG_1465_zpshk46xtra.jpg

    IMG_1463_zpse8raz3j3.jpg



    So does that look like 10 grains? I wouldn't know i don't have a powder measure, i just use a 44mag cartridge to dump my powder in haha.
     
  9. Panzerschwein

    Panzerschwein member

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    A lot of Civil War guys like Colt's Dragoons since they were actually used in that conflict a great deal, and are more powerful and "impressive" than the smaller Colt and Remington belt pistols in use during that conflict. Maybe a fistful of Walkers also were used, but the VAST majority of big "horse pistols" were Dragoons.

    It's just another option for those who want to own a repro of a historic U.S. military horse pistol that saw widespread use during our Civil War.
     
  10. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Member

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    I prefer the Dragoons, all models over the Walker as they handle better and their loading lever arrangement is a lot better. Plus they make "The Goon" happy and that's a good thing for us. :)
     
  11. jeepnik

    jeepnik Member

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  12. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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    Hey there Crawdaddy!!! Thanks!!! (And, they do!!)

    Mike
    www.goonsgunworks.com
    Follow me on Instagram @ goonsgunworks
     
  13. LonesomePigeon

    LonesomePigeon Member

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    All of these repros typically have undersized chambers. Would velocities be increased if one were to bore out the chambers to .002 over bore size? The question is could one bore out these chambers and still safely use a full charge?

    According to Dixie Gun Works 2016 catalog the bore sizes are:

    Pietta 1858 Remingtons .450
    Pietta 1860 Army .452
    Uberti 1858 Remington .460
    Uberti 1860 Army .452
    Uberti various Dragoons .456
     
  14. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    Sorry. Those figures came from the book mentioned by Fingers.

    The figures of ~40 grns for the '58 and '60, 50 for the Dragoon, and 60 for the Walker seems to be rather common from what I've seen. I guess we need someone with all 3/4 who can measure it by volume and weight to chime in.

    I don't think my Pietta NMA can hold quite 40 grns of Olde E as that's near max in my ROA and it holds nearly 5 grns and with a ball and Olde E it maxes out somewhere between 40 and 45 as I had to shave a bit off when I tried 45, which worked fine with T7 as it compresses much more.

    And of course each measure will throw a little bit different volume/weight. I use a brass CVA adjustable measure meant for a rifle with increments of 10 grns making 5 grn additions an eyeballing thing. It certainly throws much differently than the cheap measure in the Cabellas starter pack.
     
  15. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    My 2013 Pietta NMA has a .452" bore.

    245jxq0.jpg
     
  16. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Member

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  17. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Member

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    You're very welcome Mike. You do a great job tuning these beasts.
     
  18. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    For ''big'' I like the ROA... it makes my Remingtons feel like pocket pistols.
     
  19. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    I see some folks have their mind made up and won't be swayed by facts.

    The Walker is not "vastly" more powerful, any more than the Dragoon is "vastly" more powerful than the smaller .44's. However, that quarter inch you keep trivializing is a significant difference.

    Folks think the Dragoon is better because it's a thrice improved version of the Walker. Handier and almost as powerful but with all the kinks worked out.
     
  20. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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  21. jmar

    jmar Member

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    I don't know what "facts" you are referring to. All that has been said in this thread is opinions by me and everyone else. If you say the Dragoons quarter inch is a significant difference then the 3/8 inch cylinder, and the 1.5 inch longer barrel the Walker has on the Dragoon is a significant difference. There's a fact. I guess i can just win this debate by getting a Walker and cutting down the barrel to make it as "handy" as the Dragoon;)
     
  22. 45 Dragoon

    45 Dragoon Member

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    Jmar, it won't be handier. The barrel lug and arbor are longer than a Dragoons.

    If you really won't THE "best of both worlds" a Walker cylinder fitted to a Dragoon is the way to hot rod um !! Dragoons handier size coupled with a Walkers 60 gr. charge. There ya go.

    Mike
    www.goonsgunworks.com
    Follow me on Instagram @ goonsgunworks
     
  23. Crawdad1

    Crawdad1 Member

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    No thank you. I like all that "inefficiency" meaning all of that extra thick chamber wall on the Dragoon.


    45 grain 3F Pyrodex 190 grain conical 1023 ft/s 441 ft-lbs
    50 grain 3F Pyrodex 143 grain, .457 ball 1207 ft/s 462 ft-lbs
    35 grain Triple Seven 140 grain, .454 ball 1174 ft/s 428 ft-lbs
    40 grain Triple Seven 140 grain, .454 ball 1229 ft/s 470 ft-lbs

    These are some potent loads and easily fitted into the Dragoon chamber. Or, in other words, if I'm going to shoot these loads I want all the chamber wall I can get.
     
  24. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Obviously the Walker was more powerful then the Dragoons that followed it. The issues that led Colt to shorten the cylinder don't apply today.

    That said, is the difference enough to make some prefer the heavier revolver? The answer is some say "yes," while others say "no."

    If you absolutely have to have the biggest possible BOOM! with no other considerations, go for it and be happy. ;)
     
  25. Panzerschwein

    Panzerschwein member

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    Wow... I seriously can't believe someone on here is complaining about how a Dragoon's chambers are too thick! Are you kidding me?? It's a 160 year old design! And the repros are just that, made to be close to the originals!

    If you want a modern C&B get a ROA! Geemenetly...
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016
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