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How confident are you with cap n ball pistols?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by shephard19, May 20, 2010.

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  1. rkammer

    rkammer Member

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    I have chronograph-ed the 144 grain 44 call ball at over 1000 fps with a stout load. That's easily equivalent of a 38 spl +P. The drawback to any single action revolver is the fact that one must cock the hammer for each shot and this, IMO, eliminates it as a viable SD weapon. :)
     
  2. danez71

    danez71 Member

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    I did a quick search and didnt find what I was looking for....

    Are there any current cap and ball derringers?

    Fun novalty use only.
     
  3. fireside44

    fireside44 Member

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    A properly maintained and functioning BP pistol is just about as good as anything.
     
  4. FLAvalanche

    FLAvalanche Member

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    Oh, I'm pretty confident you're not going to find me in that situation...
     
  5. rkammer

    rkammer Member

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    I have chronograph-ed the 144 grain 44 call ball at over 1000 fps with a stout load. That's easily equivalent of a 38 spl +P. The drawback to any single action revolver is the fact that one must cock the hammer for each shot and this, IMO, eliminates it as a viable SD weapon. :)
     
  6. azyogi

    azyogi Member

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    danez71 the NAA companion and the super companion are .22 cal C&B mini revolvers I'd post a link to I'm loving this super companion [here on THR] if I knew how. They are well made and like the ROA I've never had one jam on a piece of percussion cap.
     
  7. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    I know that blackpowder residue is hydroscopic. That is why it needs to be cleaned within a short while of firing. I am unaware that the powder itself will draw moisture. BP firearms have been found to be loaded for years and go off with great regularity. I have read of a demonstration where Sam Colt would load a cylinder, cap it, drop it in a bucket of water and later in his demonstration install the wet cylinder in a revolver and shoot it. I have not duplicated this but don't see why it would not work providing the caps fit the nipple.
     
  8. snooperman

    snooperman Member

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    Wrong...

    Black poowder IS HYGROSCOPIC, whether fired or unfired. Take some , early in the morning and just set it out on an empty dish and watch the goo that forms. In damp weather moisture has a way of collecting in microscopic openings. I live in a damp climate and even on early morning hunts our flintlock frizzens are full of moisture before we fire the first shot at a deer. I have hunted with both Flintlock and caplock guns on my farmland for 45 years at deer and wild boar and it is not easy on damp mornings, especially with flintlocks. Try thge above experiment and you will see it for yourself
     
  9. snooperman

    snooperman Member

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    The reason it has to be cleaned...

    in a short time is because the moisture in the air leaches the KNO3 or salt out which is very corrosive. The moisture per se is not the problem, it is the salt that the moisture attaches too that is the culprit. Salt peter, will rust the bore in short period of time depending on the degree of moisture the powder is exposed to from the air.In damp climates it occurs rapidly, and in very dry climates, not so fast.
     
  10. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    I've long been under the impression that the corrosive nature of black powder stems from the potassium nitrate (KNO3) that, as it's been said, is hygroscopic and thus attracts moisture that's held to the metal (with the moisture itself rusting the metal).

    I nearly lost my first BP firearm this way after having fired a few shots to sight in and forgot to clean for almost a week. The rust in the bore was unbelievable.
     
  11. Full Metal Jacket

    Full Metal Jacket member

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    cap 'n balls are too dependent on the weather for reliability to suit me.

    if it rains, or is simply very humid, these weapons can be rendered useless.
     
  12. snooperman

    snooperman Member

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    Snowdog...

    you are correct , the KNO3 is a salt and like all "salts" attract moisture. The old name given was Saltpeter. Blackpowder is hygroscopic because of it. Blackpowder is made from Potassium nitrate , Sulfur, and charcoal. As a retired Chemistry teacher 35 years, I wanted to make my own a few years ago and it worked but it was more trouble than it was worth and a mess to boot. Rust per se , is Iron Oxide, but this oxidation process on steel occurs rapidly when moisture in the air is absorbed by the salt on the steel. Steel is an alloy made of Iron, cobalt , chromium , nickel and sometimes other metals. Many kinds of steel can be made by using different quantities of each of the metals for different applications. But , Iron is used the most in gun barrels making them subject to rusting or "oxidation". I want to correct something I said earlier, as my 70 year old mind is not as accute as it once was. I said the Frizzen on my flintlock was full of gunk from the moisture. I meant to say the "pan" as that is where the priming powder is located. The frizzen is the striking plate the piece of flint strikes to get the spark to ignite the priming powder in the pan. Sorry to have rambled.
     
  13. the-ghost

    the-ghost Member

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    generally a sign the hammer strike is to light and the blow back is forcing the cap off.
     
  14. BCCL

    BCCL Member

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    And it was "the man" that chose to buy that junky thing right? :)
     
  15. Carl Levitian

    Carl Levitian member

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    "I guess David McCanles didn't know round balls were so ineffectual since Bill Hickok shot him through the heart at 75yd with his 1851 Colt".



    If one is going to quote history, please get it right. Hickok was shot by a Jack McCall, while sitting at a poker table in Nuttal and Mann's Saloon Number 10. He was shot in the back of the head, from behind, at a few feet range.
     
  16. Weevil

    Weevil Member

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    Oh they're like any other gun they'll punch a hole in somebody and if the holes in the right spot you might even kill them.


    The problems with a C&B are reliabilty and safety.

    They have a bad habit of misfiring and that's just the nature of the beast. Percussion caps are very crude and simple when compared to the primers used on modern center-fire cartridges. They're actually a lot more similiar to a rimfire in that there is no anvil just primer material poured into a cup, and just like rimfire ammo they're not as reliable.

    As mentioned any moisture even what's in the air can effect blackpowder and cause it to fail to ignite.

    Plus they have to be loaded right, slip up and you could get a chain fire between the cylinders. Don't seat the bullet all the way down on the powder and you could cause the cylinder to burst and possibly have the whole gun blow up in your hand.



    So yeah they'll work but there are a lot better, safer, more reliable options available.


    True they are just a tool that is an extension of the man using it, but why would you want an old obsolete antique tool when better more reliable and safer options are available???
     
  17. LightningMan

    LightningMan Member

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    I wouldn't want to rely on a Black powder pistol for home defence or any other type of self defence, but they will kill. I am at this moment watching 20/20 and younger man killed his childhood molester with a Remington C&B clone revolver. Probably a .44 cal. but I didn't hear or they didn't say, as I can remember. LM
     
  18. Lastmohecken

    Lastmohecken Member

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    I have a Ruger cap and ball old army, that I would trust, if I had to, And I have left that gun loaded for a year at a time, and it always goes bang, when I decide to shoot it. Plus I have left cap and ball rifles loaded from one year to the next, on occassions when I didn't fire it on the last day of a hunt, and left it loaded. I never remember one not going off, when I finally decided to shoot it. Of course, if the gun has been shot and not cleaned, then I never leave one loaded for any length of time, before shooting it out, and cleaning it. But I have left clean guns, loaded for long periods of time. It's probably not the best practice, but I have not really noticed any ill effect.
     
  19. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    Both of these snippets are true. Hickock did kill McCanles and McCall did kill Hickock.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2010
  20. mustang_steve

    mustang_steve Member

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    I'd be confident in my navy colt replica, of course the hammer would be on an empty chamber and I'd better be in an OC state, as this thing is simply massive....it has to go into the pistol safe angled to fit at all, and even then it barely fits. That means concealment.....about as stealthy as a fat man hiding behind a single corn stalk....
     
  21. azyogi

    azyogi Member

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    I just dug out my tap-o-cap still works with the caps I put in an ammo can for Y2K. Ammo shortage? What ammo shortage?
     
  22. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    One thing that bears mentioning is that, legally speaking, though BP firearms can be purchased in most states as though they were any old piece of metal, once loaded, a BP gun does tend to become a firearm in the eyes of the law. So if you're somehow legally barred from owning a firearm, using a BP gun isn't going to alleviate any legality problems except in very specialized cases (like in PA, you can get a non-resident New Hampshire CCW at age 18, but cannot purchase a normal handgun, even on the used market, unless it's from your parents or spouse, though you can legally posess a handgun at age 18-21, as long as it's bought paperwork-free from one of the aforementioned parties; so in PA, if your parents and spouse refuse to sell you a gun, your only option for CCW before age 21 is a non-resident NH permit plus a cap-n-ball).
     
  23. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Member

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    From my experience with the Cap and Ball Revolvers I have, I would be confident in them for SD contexts...but a Double Action Metallic Cartridge Revolver or Automatic would have several important advantages of course, over them.

    I have had no mis-fires other than one time, one Cap had to be struck a second time), and no jams or other troubles.


    The Revolver's length when having long Barrels, or in some cases length and weight, and that the ones I have are all Single Action, would make them less fast and easy to handle in some ways, than a shorter Barrel modern Revolver of equivelent power.

    Reloading takes longer...

    I only have .44 Caliber ones...so power wise, with standard Ball, and regular Black Powder, these are on par with .357 Magnum.

    Been thinking of carrying one as a Car Gun.
     
  24. tommyS4

    tommyS4 Member

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    Well I have two .36 cal, one .44cal and a .50cal rifle. The 36's will do the job, if the fire coming out the barrel don't scare the hell out of 'em, when the lead hits 'em that will do the trick !
     
  25. batjka

    batjka Member

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    For a home defense gun, have no doubts. It will do the trick, no problem.

    For a carry piece, I'm not sure. Powder might get wet, there are too many variables. However, there are people on the Black Powder board that do carry pocket cap and ball revolvers and have full confidence in them.

    As far as the caps jamming the action, get a Remington, not a Colt. Remingtons do not jam, at least in my experience. Colts, however, do every time.
     
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