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Testing Hickoks shot

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by brushhippie, Dec 4, 2012.

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  1. brushhippie

    brushhippie Member

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    Just the fact that it took 10 days on average to die from a gunshot wound would make me question the power of the delivery system (Black powder delivery system...thats a good one!) I had read a discussion on one of the forums on what he used or didnt use or what wouldnt work at that distance, so I wanted to see for myself.
     
  2. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    If you buy the book I recommended (Great Gunfighters of the Kansas Cowtowns - 1867-1886 by Nyle H. Miller and Joseph W. Snell.) That if passing wasn't instant, it did happen in less then 10 days, although it could take months. The reason was that medical technology had not progressed to anything near to what it is today, and they had no understanding about the cause of infections, or ways to stop internal bleeding. Under the same circumstances today's popular cartridges might not have done any better.

    If you get into contemporary documents, written during the 19th century, you will find that "long shots" with fatal results were not all that unusual. But you can’t convince some people today who believe that 15 yards (or less) represents a long distance. Marksman skills have dropped dramatically in some quarters.
     
  3. J.T. Gerrity

    J.T. Gerrity Member

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    In expanding on what Old Fuff has written, sanitary conditions of the day weren't even close to what you have now. Consider just the bullets, balls or what-have-you themselves. Not considering pre-made ammo for the moment, most ammo was made in the field under the poorest of conditions, then stored in skin or leather pouches that were hap-hazardly tanned and cured. In addition, smearing rancid tallow on them for lube introduced all kinds of little beasties into the mix, followed by the fact that the personal hygiene of the shooters themselves usually left much to be desired at that time; so that, if the shot didn't kill you outright, you could easily die of infection of the wound. It's a fact that more people died of disease and infection during the Civil War then were killed out-right in the field.

    Paper-patch bullets were particularly nasty as the lube soaked up all kinds of stuff while being carried in a belt. Kind of like having a Kimodo Dragon in a holster...
     
  4. kBob

    kBob Member

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    Look the power of a .36 Navy and its bullet effects might well be compared to a .380ACP, 9mm Curto, 9mm Kurz whatever name you want to use you know what cartridge and guns I am talking about when used with FMJ RN bullets.

    Anyone think that won't put a hurt on you at 75 yards?

    As to handgun wounds in general......during the late 1980's a survey of medical data indicated that only about one in eight people shot once in the upper trunk do not recover. Leathality and ability to cause a thinking human being to stop doing something are two different things.

    As it happens a single round of FMJ RN .380 to the torso has close to better than a four in ten chance of stopping a fight, flight, or public poetry reading of ones own poetry, based on Marshall and Sanows admittedly flowed research.

    While a .36 Navy would not be my first choice for self defense I have no difficulty believing a 75 yard shot, if for no other reason than the capability was there and luck also exists.

    As to how far it really was, what gun and what charge was used and whether participants used mustache wax .....Not a one of us was there so this is just spinning our wheels.

    The shot was and is physically possible with a .36 Colt 1851 Navy.

    -kBob
     
  5. Pancho

    Pancho Member

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    Early in this thread the ? was posed "Who would question the shot?". If you skip up a couple of forums to the handgun forums you will find a lot of people think that the least lethal round in a conceal carry gun is a 45 acp. I myself carry and have confidence in a .380 partly due to the WBH/Tutt event.
    Instead of the 75yds. as told in the event I'm concerned with 3 to 10yds. A "defensive" shot taken at 75yds. would end up with my butt in jail facing murder charges.
     
  6. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    That's not necessarily true, but it's popular with those who haven't practiced enough to attain the skill it takes to make effective long shots.

    The circumstances dictate the correct answer. If an engagement happened at such a distance would you be able to withdraw or evade without taking risk to yourself or others? If the answer was, "no" and you were being subjected to a potentially lethal attack your shooting would constitute a legal use of deadly force.

    Not long ago an off-duty officer was eating lunch at a shopping mall when a gunman started shooting people at random. The officer drew a .38 snubby and engaged the shooter at about 80 yards, and so drove him to cover where his shooting was neutralized until reinforcements arrived.

    No, his butt is not in jail, and he is not facing murder charges.
     
  7. Pancho

    Pancho Member

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    Old Fuff, to go into this further would send us off of this forum. What I said was an aside.
    The bottom line was that that the WBH/Tutt engagement is a powerful argument for calibers less than .45
     
  8. 72coupe

    72coupe Member

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    In rodwha post about the difference between modern powder and the powder available to 19th century shooters he tells about the powder used in revolvers of the time.

    It is likely that the powder that Hickock used was substantially more powerful than all but the best powder common today. He speculates that the pistol powder of the time was most likely as powerful as 777 is today.

    I know that my little 1862 Pocket Police 36 caliber seems as powerful as my 38 special revolver even though I have not chronograhped my loads yet. This is judged by recoil.

    I spent a month in 1968 teaching myself instinctive shooting with an 1860 Army and a 2nd Model Dragoon. At the end of the month I could hit a 20 inch plow disk from the hip at 20 yards with either hand virtually all the time.

    If I had spent a lifetime shooting this way I have no doubt that Hickock could have made this shot.
     
  9. brushhippie

    brushhippie Member

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    What makes you think the powder he was using would be better? Just curious
     
  10. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    According to these velocity results, even Pyrodex P can perform as good as some of the best Swiss black powder that's made today.
    Perhaps Pyrodex P is even as good as some of the best black powder that was made in the old days too.
    It could be that Pyrodex P is simply one of the best revolver powders ever.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  11. Jaymo

    Jaymo Member

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    It's entirely possible that WBH was the recipient of good-old dumb luck.
    We've all made those one-in-a-million shots that we can't hope to repeat.
    ISTR he was going blind from the clap or syphilis.
     
  12. dickydalton

    dickydalton Member

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    My 1862 Pocket Police, over the chrono was 820 to 840 FPS with 18 grains of Swiss 3F a lubed wad, ball and #10 remington cap.
     
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