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Deer Hunting with cap/ball Revolvers

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by warbirdlover, Sep 22, 2005.

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  1. warbirdlover

    warbirdlover Member

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    Here's Wisconsin's rule on using them for deer hunting:

    Muzzleloading handguns .44 caliber and larger with a minimum barrel length of 7 inches measured from muzzle to breech face, that fire a single projectile
    weighing 138 grains or more are legal for deer hunting.


    Since in over 40 years of deer hunting I've got my share using a rifle I'm tempted to try this. I know I could use a blackpowder rifle etc but this has kind of caught my interest.

    In one of the threads in this forum it stated a soldier accidentally shot and instantly killed his horse when his Walker went off. If a Walker can kill a horse a Colt should be able to kill a deer, right? I mean these guns killed Yankees and Rebels alike in the Civil War.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated as usual.
     
  2. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    If by "killed" you mean "gave them peritonitis and/or gangrene so they died in agony after a week," then yes, cap and ball revolvers "killed" plenty of soldiers.

    Then number killed outright was no doubt much lower; the "rules" for ballistic injury via cap and ball guns are the same as any type of firearm. Hitting the central nervous system (brain, upper spine), will result in an instant stop 99% of the time. Other than that, you have to put a big enough hole through a vital enough structure (heart, aorta, both lungs, etc.) in order to kill a person or animal in good time.

    It's certainly possible to kill a deer with a cap and ball, if you place your shot just right. Just as it's possible to kill one with a .32 cal BP rifle, a .22 LR, or an airgun. But would I recommend it? Unless deer in WI are a lot smaller than they are in PA, no way.

    If you're absolutely dead-set on hunting with a cap and ball revolver, I suggest using the heaviest conicals with the broadest, flattest meplats you can find. Use the hottest load you can, while still getting fist-sized or better groups at the distance you plan to be hunting at. Pick your shots as if you were bowhunting; get as close as possible and go for a double-lung shot that passes completely through the deer.

    And take along a buddy with a high-powered rifle, to soften the deer up a little before you take your shot. :neener:
     
  3. unspellable

    unspellable Member

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    BP handguns & deer

    That soldier may have nailed the horse between the eyes where anything would have killed it.

    As for dying later, I know of a deer being shot with one of those plastic bullets propelled by a primer and no powder. It baely broke the skin, but as suggested above, the wound festered and killed the deer.

    I would consider a 50 caliber single shot pistol as providing about the absolute minimum horse power for shooting a deer, and that only in the hands of someone who will hold his shot until he can place it exactly where it will do the job and is then able to so place it. (In other words, a better man than I am.) No cap & ball revolver can match the ballistics of a 50 caliber single shot.

    For myself, I consider a 357 SuperMag or a hot rodded 44 Special as about the lower limit.

    Hunting regulations seldom make much sense. The obvious problem is that they are usually proposed by people who don't know what they are doing, but even if they do, it's pretty difficult to come up with a rule that will cover all the bases. Here in Iowa a 357 SuperMag is legal for deer but a 357-44 B&D is not. Both will propell the same bullet to about the same velocity. A 44-40 is illegal on grounds that it's too powerfull, but a 445 SuperMag is legal o ngrounds that it's not too powerfull. The 445 will propel the same bullet to nearly twice the velocity a 44-40 will.
     
  4. Camp David

    Camp David member

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    warbirdlover: A few thoughts on your post! Yes, you can hunt deer with a blackpowder revolver!

    Although officers of both sides (Union & Confederate) used blackpowder revolvers of several manufactures during the war, as well as the cavalry, they were not as accurate as some might think, and their use was confined to close-in firing... The Colt, either Army or Navy in .36 or .44, was the cherished weapon; contrary to what you may have heard the Colt .44 Walker did not see much Civil War service; it was used earlier in the Mexican war by Walker's Mounted Dragoon cavalry.

    For hunting, provided you use at least a .44 ball with +70 grains of blackpowder, you should have sufficient stopping power. A few suggestions: (1) Shoot pistol often enough beforehand on the range so that you are familar with its average grouping at a standard range (100-300 feet) with a known and consistant powder charge (60-70 grains). Then hunt with those same criteria. (2) Be sure to grease cylinder after loading to prevent multiple fires. (3) Since a blackpowder pistol handles moisture poorly, keep it holstered until you need to fire it. (4) You will need to use a deer stand or put yourself in a position where deer come very close to you to get close enough to use pistol. (5) Several manufacturers make and offer maxie ball .44 ammunition (cast balls) that are superior for hunting; use them.

    A number of years ago, I hunted with several blackpowder revolvers in New England (upstate VT) using a Colt Army .44 and a Camera. The Colt .44 was carried in a shoulder holster and I just held the camera with telephoto lense., which I used for spotting in heavy conifer brush!
    [​IMG]

    Enjoy!
     
  5. warbirdlover

    warbirdlover Member

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    Btw, Wisconsin deer DWARF Pennsylvania deer. I had a buddy who moved here from Pennsylvania and he couldn't believe the body mass on our deer. Then, of course, you go to Canada and their deer dwarf ours, LOL. 200 lb field dressed bucks are very common. Most field dress over 150 lbs. I see a couple every year 240 lbs field dressed (weighing them on the registration station scales).

    Well, on the killing power of these guns, how did anyone win a gunfight with them if they didn't kill quickly?

    Somewhere I read where you should shoot a modern handgun into a barrel and then a .44 black powder. That the modern gun makes clean round holes and the black powder rips and tears huge ragged holes in the barrel?

    I highly doubt I'll actually use it on deer unless one walks by at 10 yards since I'll have my trusty Ruger stainless synthetic .300 Win Mag rifle along but thought this could make an interesting post.

    I have seen most of the wounding on our deer (harvested during gun season with festering wounds) caused from lousy shots by bowhunters. Nothing against bowhunting (two time Wisconsin state archery champion and shot competitive archery for 25 years) but too many bowhunters don't practice enough to get good enough to hunt. But they're out there anyway.
     
  6. Camp David

    Camp David member

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  7. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    Same way people win gunfights with .380s and .32s. "Oh my god I've been shot!" tends to be more of a factor than actual physiological damage in the majority of human shootings. For instance, the .357 SIG has a much better track record than the 9mm, yet testing in tissue simulant shows that the .357 SIG basically replicates 9mm ballistics, with a small amount more temporary cavitation (which does not contribute to wounding effect at handgun velocities). However, the .357 SIG is considerably louder and flashes brighter than 9mm, making it have more of a psychological effect.

    Same with the .357 magnum vs. .38 SPL. While modern .357 magnum ammo does fine, back in the 70's and 80's, all you had to choose from were softpoints which only expanded some of the time, or hollowpoints which broke into a million pieces on impact. The .38 SPL lead hollowpoints of the time, on the other hand, did just fine; they'd expand and penetrate pretty well. Yet the .357 magnum had a better street record, because they were louder and brighter.

    There are several recorded instances where people (including violent criminals) collapsed unconscious after being shot in the arm or leg (flesh wound only), or even missed entirely. And not just with .357 magnums, though these instances are most common at close range, in dim lighting, with a "flashy" gun. About the same number as all the cases where some dude got hit 20 times and kept running.

    And of course, black powder guns tend to make a fireball that put smokeless powder to shame.

    In a nutshell, "stopping power" amounts to either hitting someone where it counts, or making them panic and/or faint because they think they've been shot (whether they actually have or not). If you hit a nonvital area, and they don't realize they've got a hole in them, or are determined/enraged/just plain mean enough that they don't care, the biggest bullet in the world won't do squat in the short term. And animals aren't going to just give up the way humans do.


    Try doing the same thing with a Red Ryder and a magnum pellet gun, only shooting a pop can instead of a barrel. The Red Ryder will dent the can pretty good, rip a ragged hole out of it, and send it flying. The pellet gun, on the other hand, will just zip pellets right through without disturbing the can much, leaving small .177" holes on either side. Then see which one drops ground squirrels faster.
     
  8. warbirdlover

    warbirdlover Member

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    Well, one thing is missing. Adrenalin. You're in a gun fight (or war) and you can take a lot of damage and still go on.

    My brother had half his calf blown off by a mortar shell in Vietnam and his first reaction was to get up and run. He flopped around like a fish out of water until the feeling came back in his legs and hiked all night to get away using a stick and bleeding profusely. Fainting from fright was the last thing on his mind.

    I think if you were on the receiving end of a .44 black powder revolver you'd be in a world of hurt. It's sure not a bb gun.
     
  9. Beartracker

    Beartracker Member

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    Warbirdlover has it right here when it comes to being on the recieveing end of the .44 cap and ball.
    Over the years I have taken many deer with my .45 Kentucky long pole with 70g fffg and none of them went over 30 yards.
    Was hunting squirrel one year with my .32 long pole with 40gr. fffg and deer season was still in. I forgot that I was hunting with the .32 and shot a 6 point at 30 yards. The deer made two jumps and dropped dead.
    Don't ever think that the cap and ball will not drop large game and the the .44 is no exception. It just matters where you place the shot.
    Any solider who was shot in the chest, lungs , heart area did not dye from infection. He died from the wound.
    I do believe that any Civil war solider would have a good laugh at some of the under rating statements made today about his cap and ball guns and what they would do to there own or there foe ;)
     
  10. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    Obviously then, your brother has a lot more fortitude than the average criminal that gets shot by the cops. Click this link and scroll down to "Emotional Fainting: An Involuntary Psycho-physiological Mechanism of Collapse." This is an informative read as well.

    Same goes for a .22 LR, .17 HMR, or even a .10 Eichelberger Dart (.10 caliber, uses a necked-down .25 ACP case). Having holes put in you hurts. And if that hole happens to intersect with a sufficiently vital organ, it's lethal.


    Actually, even as far back as the revolutionary war, uncomplicated lung shots were among the least lethal wounds. As long as the bullet did not hit a major blood vessel, the heart, or shatter a rib, all you'd have to do is patch the holes and get plenty of bed rest, and you'd be as good as new.
     
  11. Beartracker

    Beartracker Member

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    RyanM, You may be right but I have never heard of an uncomplicated lung shot before. Maybe we have a Doc on here who can wad in on the subject. When your lung has a hole in it not many people make it without medical help . You drowned.
    I'm sure there are many cases of people living without any medical attention but I do believe many more died without it.
    Some of you may find this link interesting as it gives a little insight into what a C&B .44 can do.
    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=111091&highlight=.44+remington+ballistics
     
  12. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    I haven't found the exact reference I was thinking of yet, but was able to find one reference to the wounding ability of the old .30-40 Krag. I'll keep looking.
    http://www.fen-net.de/norbert.arnoldi/army/wound.html

    And the play-dough results really aren't that impressive. It hasn't been calibrated against ballistic gelatin, or with any bullet of known penetration, so the 17" figure just means that the bullet goes 17" in playdough. Only data I know of is from Stopping Power (and so could be as much as 30% off in either direction, penetration-wise, since Marshall never calibrates his gelatin); Colt Walker, 141 gr @ 1287 fps, 17.8" penetration, recovered diameter .53".

    Assuming the flattened roundball is as effective at crushing tissue as an expanded hollowpoint, the Colt Walker with roundball is only slightly more effective than a 9mm with the poorest quality hollowpoints. Would you hunt deer with a 9mm pistol and ultra-cheap hollowpoints, in a non-emergency?
     
  13. Beartracker

    Beartracker Member

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    We need to look at facts not just statistics or data or data gathered through lab eprk. Here is a fact that I know about. Fact one is that A deer will fall from a .32 round ball from a muzzle loader. Fact two: A deer will drop from a .45 round ball as well. Fact three: many men have fallen from a round ball from all of the above including others like the .36 Navy, .45 army, .44 Remington has taken down many a man and critter.
    Would I have a problem useing a 9mm. I would not if I was useing Cor-Bon (89% one shot stops) and a .40 would be much better if useing Cor-Bon ammo with a rate of 98% one shot stops.Why do you think that most states only require that you hunt with a bullet of .38 or larger for deer or bear?
    The ammo used in the 30-40 craig was the problem , not the caliber. If they were to shoot a round ball from the 30-40 the out come would have been very different, I'm sure.
    No matter what is used it all boils down to shot placement much more than caliber, balistics, or bullet style for the weapon to do the job. Mike
     
  14. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    Okay, so if something happens once, it's automatically a "fact?" Gee, now I feel really stupid for never buying a lottery ticket. The "fact" is that even the old .30-30 has lots a ton of deer. Shot placement is everything, but weaker rounds give you far less of a margin of error.

    A .45 roundball at 850 fps is not in the same league as a .45 ball at 1600-1800 fps.

    Okay, so first you say this magical ammo will stop someone 89% of the time, no matter what, even if you miss, or even if you throw the bullet at them instead of shooting it. :neener: Then you say that shot placement matters more than caliber and junk. Make up your mind!

    FYI, Cor-bon ammo tends to penetrate 9" or less, and usually loses 30% or more of its weight. Some don't even make it 6". Given that deer have much thicker skin than people, I seriously doubt that a regular Cor-bon would even make it halfway into one lung. You seriously need to read http://www.firearmstactical.com/pdf/fbi-hwfe.pdf
     
  15. warbirdlover

    warbirdlover Member

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    I don't know, I just get tired of the "magnum" mentality nowdays where you can't kill anything unless it goes 2,000 fps and has 3,000 ftlb of energy. Example are "turkey loads" for shotguns. They used to kill turkeys with normal shells but now you have to buy these special expensive ones.

    I think at 10-20 yards a .44 black powder will kill a deer (and not by festering). Period.

    Whether I will actually try it I don't know. I started this thread for some fun and I don't care if I "win" the discussion or not, LOL.

    :uhoh:
     
  16. Beartracker

    Beartracker Member

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    RyanM:

    "Okay, so first you say this magical ammo will stop someone 89% of the time, no matter what, even if you miss, or even if you throw the bullet at them instead of shooting it. Then you say that shot placement matters more than caliber and junk. Make up your mind!"


    Wow, You sure don't read very well do you? No where did I make that statement as you have written it above.
    This could go on forever so I'm going to drop it.Take care and have a good one, Mike
     
  17. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    Wow, someone doesn't look at smileys very well. The whole "one shot stop" thing is just utterly ridiculous no matter what your criteria for a "one shot stop" is.
     
  18. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Black powder deer

    There are a couple interesting things about American hunting. We killed moose and elk long before the advent of the 30-06 yet now consider that to be the minimum. The .36 was a very common caliber in the "old days" but we're now debating the effectiveness of the .44. If I were interested in stopping deer in their tracks every time I'd use a rifle that fired sledge hammers. I don't mean to sound argumentive, but sometimes I think we overthink things.
     
  19. Texfire

    Texfire Member

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    :what: Whew! I'm trying to imagine the size of the muzzlebrake you would need for that monster. Talk about perceived recoil... ;)
     
  20. PowderBurn

    PowderBurn Member

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    Wisconsin's rule is a little tricky. What you quoted does pertain to muzzleloading handguns. But the general rules for muzzleloaders apply to handguns as well. One of them states that your muzzleloader (handgun or long gun) must have a solid threaded breach plug, which your revolver does not have.

    When I first read Wisconsin's regs on this matter a year ago, I had the same assumption you did. But I wrote to the DNR and was told that muzzleloading revolvers were NOT legal during muzzleloading season, but WERE legal for regular firearms season. Sounds odd, but the message was very clear.

    I'm not suggesting or discouraging the use of a percussion revolver for this purpose, but wanted to make sure you didn't get a rude surprise from a DNR officer in the field.

    Good hunting!
     
  21. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    I have posted on this subject before but here goes:
    I have killed exactly one deer with my Ruger Old Army.
    The large doe was about 15 yards from the base of my treestand and with my butt on the platform, my back against the tree and pistol resting on my knees, I placed the round ball right behind the deers ear.
    All conditions were suitable and the Old Army is of course a very accurate handgun.
    Respectfully, Zeke
     
  22. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    I think, with a high enough skill level, almost any firearm is adequate. With a fairly high skill level, some firearms are preferable.

    Unfortunately, the way to be listened to here is NOT to quote "one shot stop" data. Not only is the data flawed, it is meaningless to a discussion about an entirely different animal.

    Regards,

    John
     
  23. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    Mr Shirley,
    I do not wish to start a flame war but in my last post, I stated all conditions prior to my shot.
    I consider myself a very disaplined hunter and if I did not convey the said disapline in my post, I apoligize.
    Handgun hunting, while a challange, is not for everyone and the black powder segment makes it even more so.
    No offence intended.
    Respectfully,Zeke
     
  24. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Shucks, Zeke, I wasn't directing anything at you. :confused:
    The Old Army is a very sturdy handgun, and it sounds like you used it well. :)

    Best,

    John
     
  25. Zeke/PA

    Zeke/PA Member

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    John,
    I am at fault for taking your comments the wrong way.
    No harm done.
    Respectfully, Zeke
     
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