Smoothbore revolver question

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by LonesomePigeon, May 31, 2022.

  1. LonesomePigeon

    LonesomePigeon Member

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    Would it be feasible to make a smooth bore barrel for a cap n' ball revolver so it could be used with shot? Would such a gun be effective for small game and pest control?
     
  2. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I've used birdshot and BB in percussion revolvers with some success. The trick is finding something that will hold the shot in place. I used card wads ands cork wads, which work well enough at the range, but probably wouldn't hold up if carried in a holster for any distance. Patterns, of course, were awful, and a smooth bore would probably go a long way toward fixing that problem.

    I never used them on any critters. Milk jugs and empty soft drink cans reacted to them with maybe a bit more energy than with .22 shotshells, but not as much as with .38 and .44 shotshells. I figure they should serve the same purpose as .22 shotshells, ie. for close range rattlesnakes and such, but I wouldn't count on them for much else.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2022
  3. AlexanderA
    • Contributing Member

    AlexanderA Member

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    The LeMat reproduction has a central smoothbore barrel, around which the cylinder rotates. Seems like that would fill the bill.
     
    gobsauce, Seiyoujin and .38 Special like this.
  4. Danaidh

    Danaidh Member

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    feasible? probably not......FUN, oh yeah!
    I load with a stiff over powder felt wad, my old polishing media and a stiff tight fitting overshot felt wad. This load is good in an Uberti 1860 army .44 with an old worn out barrel missing most of the rifling for wing shooting carpenter bees. One should get decent patterns for small critters with a smooth bore barrel and small shot like #12 shot (Rat shot).
     
    The Old Redneck likes this.
  5. SlowFuse

    SlowFuse Member

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    The cost to send the barrel off to be reamed/sleeved would be prohibitive IMO for something that may not work that well. But, if you have the machinery/know-how to do it yourself and an old barrel laying around, i'd try it!

    I have loaded "snake shot" loads in 36 and 44 cal revolvers (rifled) and the max effective range i'd say is 3 or 4 yards. Anything farther than that spreads out in a hurry. Also, lighter loads tend to produce tighter patterns.

    One effective combination (on paper) that I have made with a smoothbore .54 cal pistol is 15 grains 3F and 1/2 or 3/4 oz of #9 shot. It patterns ok out to about 7 or 8 yards with both weights of shot. More powder (over 15 grains on this example specifically) opens up the pattern drastically. I've never had an opportunity to shoot any pests with these loads, but they punch through full drink cans and such completely at reasonable distances. Use cards and wads to hold the powder and shot in place. I have sealed the chambers on the revolvers with candle wax poured over the shot.
     
  6. paul harm

    paul harm Member

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    I'd use a OS card and white glue to hold it in place. Maybe the right size carbide tipped drill would work to remove the rifling.
     
  7. Jackrabbit1957

    Jackrabbit1957 Member

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    As soft as most of the barrels are I wouldn't think carbide is necessary, a good carbon steel bit that's properly sharpened would do it followed by a polishing.
     
    Dave Markowitz likes this.
  8. denster

    denster Member

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    On the 44s a 45 copper gas check over the powder and over the shot works pretty good with a smoothbore barrel. It's not hard to ream out the rifling with adjustable reamers just go slow a couple of thousandths at a time and lots of oil. Something to give meaning to one of the cheap brasser fantasy guns.
     
  9. paul harm

    paul harm Member

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    Shooting BP shotgun shells or muzzle loading shotguns it's always been recommended to use a thin - .028 - OS card. If using something thicker you run a good chance of having a hole in the center of your pattern. At one time I tried a .062 OS card so it wouldn't have to be glue in - big mistake. On the pattern plate there was a 16" hole in the center. Didn't hit hardly any clay birds that day.
     
  10. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    I think it would work fine. I used to take grouse with the Speer .44mag/spl shot loads, also made them myself with the little plastic thingies Speer used to sell. Had a hunting partner that used them in his .357, and he took as many birds as I did with the .44. That was with rifled barrels, so a smooth bore would work pretty good. As I recall they worked out to ten yards at least. I used to throw in a few #4 shot, when I rolled my own, and one time I took a shot at 25 yards and dropped a grouse. He had one hole in his head where one of the #4's got him. No other hits. !!!!
     
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