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Discussion Starter #1
I am going to hunt with my cap and ball revolver this year for deer. I have a Texas Arms replica of a Walker. I bought one of the Lee conical bullet molds and have started casting some 20 or 30 to 1 conicals. (Range pickup from the BPCR silhouette range.) I'll get out soon and see if I can hit a deer sized vital zone target and at what range.

I took the biggest deer of my life with a Ruger 357 Max last year, so I figure I'll have even more fun this year.

I read through the hunting regs and it's legal to use during our regular deer season.
It should be a hoot.
Joe
 

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Just remember, with the lower starting velocity (you are going to chronograph it, right?) your range will need to be measured almost in feet rather than yards. Even in the Walker, I would be surprised if velocity would break 850fps. Round balls might get you to 1000fps, but not conicals. This is true with black and Pyrodex, not sure about 777.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Blackhawk44
Thanks for the tip, I had not even thought about the velocity. I have a chronograph I can use, so I will test it. I figured if I was shooting less than 50 yards (if I get the appropriate accuracy) with that big of a bullet it should kill cleanly.

As soon as I shoot some I'll come back and post the results, both accuracy and velocity.
Joe
 

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Do you know the trick to shooting BP over a chrony? If not you'll get a bunch of false readings! :eek:

Place a large piece of cardboard in front of the chrony and shoot through it! This will prevent problems with unburned particals/smoke tripping the chrony before the ball actually passes the screens.
 

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I salute you, sir!


I have tow bullet molds on order from Midway. I am getting a Lee .44 remington conical mold that is supposed to throw a 200 grain bullet. I hope to find a nylon washer that the bullet will just barely slip through to scrape off excess bullet lube. I plan on using lard and beeswax melted together and cooled to a soft consistency. I have no lube sizer so I plan on shooting as cast, pan lubing, then pushing them through the nylon washer to scrape off the excess lube. I suppose I could just lube over the top of the cylinder too for safety. I have one of those brass frame buntline remingtons from Pietta. I know it isn't historically accurate for any time period, and it can't take the load an old army or walker could, but it is still a fun accurate pistol. I figured out that my pietta made the same energy with round balls as a .44-40 pistol factory load, but round balls are much lighter so they probably wouldn't penetrate as well. If the velocity drops, but the bullet weight goes up, I might be making about the same energy. I guess I will have to wait for the moulds to come in to find out for sure.

The other mold I have on order is a .690 round ball for my asian copy of a Tower flintlock pistol. I can also load up cheap 12 gauge punkin' ball loads with these round balls, but first I want to work up a load for my pistol and see what energy it might make. I have a chrony, and when I am confident that I can shoot over it without putting holes in it, then I will test my loads and see how they perform.

The moulds will come in friday, so I have until then to scrounge up lead.

I have always wanted to try shooting a deer with a blackpowder pistol of some sort. Even if I just end up filling a doe tag it would still be quite a feat, but I won't even try until I am totally confident. Last year I used a buckshot load from the flintlock to finish off a doe, but the deer probably would have expired just as fast without the last shot. One pellet hit her between the eye and ear and didn't really seem to do very much. She was dropped and down on the spot from a close shot from my .50 plains rifle. I could have let her die from the first shot, but I wanted to try the flintlock and wasn't sure if the doe might get up or not. Turns out the first ball from the .50 went through her spine and into her chest (she was facing on to me with her head down about 15 yards away).
 

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Well, the molds came Wednsday! I immediately prepped them and melted down some wheel weights. I didn't flux them, so I ended up with a pretty soft alloy. I know people always say to only use pure lead in black powder firearms. I read where wheel weights, if air cooled, would be about like the 30-1 alloy used in original black powder cartridges. If i water quench then bullets they are noticeably harder to seat. I did a few of them both ways to see how much of a diference water quenching really makes, and it does make a diference.

I made up a dozen bullets for my .44 and cracked open a new can of Pyrodex P. I just used my standard 30 grain load, but I will probably get a 25 grain spout for my flask and cut back the load a little. There seems to be no big diference in point of impact between round balls or conicals, but if i could shoot tighter groups there might be some diference. i shot a 5 inch 25 yard group, excluding the first shot which was way off (I'm calling it a fouling shot). I would call that deer-heart accurate at swamp trail ranges. I'm going to restock my lead supply tomorrow and get to practicing, and maybe use my measure to try a few 25 grain loads and see where they hit.

I haven't shot the flintlock yet, but the roundballs make dandy 12 gauge slugs which I have shot a few of.
 

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30 grains of Pyrocrap "P" grade might get you a tad over 800 fps with round ball in the anemic .44 cap 'n ball revolver.
The 200 conical might break 725 f.p.s.
Accuracy tends to fall off over 25 to 30 grains.
30 grains of T-7 gets me 900 p.f.s with r.b. from my .44's.
That is a weak propsotion for even small deer at any range.

Might be a good idea to do some terminal ballistics testing befor venturing out with a bullet that hits not much harder tahn a .22 mag rimfre.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the advice, I'm planning on getting out this Saturday for accuracy and velocity testing. The pistol I have is a replica of a Walker and I'm told I can go up to 40-45 grains of powder. I would think that should have plenty of power to break the shoulder of a doe or spike at 25 -35 yards. It all depends on the accuracy I get and the velocity. I won't use it if I don't think it is up to the task. I figure I owe it to the critter and to the hunt to be responsible.

I'll post my initial results as soon as I can.
Thanks
Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Preliminary results are in and it looks very promising.
I shot the revolver this weekend with the 200 gr Lee conical and it printed 4 shots into 3 inches at 20 yards offhand. The other 2 shots went into less than 5 inches. I'm certain the last two shots were aiming error since I was having to hold below my target.
It shoots 8 inches high at 20 yards. I will modify the front sight to get it to print point of aim. and I will check the velocity when I adjust the sight.

I think it should have plenty of power since I was using 40gr by volume of Pyroxex P. It sure whacked the steel target hard enough.

The lee bullets have a smaller band near the base and they drop into the cylinder and seat straight every time. Really nice to load.

I found out this pistol is not a replica of a Walker but of a Dragoon with a 7 1/2" barrel. The loading lever popped loose on every shot but I put a stronger spring in the catch to hopefully fix that.

This is going to be a fun hunting season.
Joe
 

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I would begin to think of ranges as 20-25 yards rather than 25-35 yards. Round balls loose velocity rapidly and conicals don't have that much to start with. As said, a piece of cardboard or a sheet of plastic (like bedding comes in) needs to set between the chrono and you to catch unburned powder, wads, etc. Which brings up another thing. Why aren't you using greased felt wads under the ball rather than smearing grease all over the cylinder? That gets messy, screws up a holster, runs all over you...you get the idea. Grease the conicals with a fairly firm grease and set them up to let it pretty well dry so they won't be so messy to handle. Buy or punch felt wads, smear something like Bore Butter on them, set in the sun to soak in, towel off the excess and store in a zip-lock. Don't have to carry a grease gun with you. Often improves accuracy.
 

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Willsjeep134, try to find some pure lead instead of the wheel weights. I think you will find loading easier and accuracy should improve. I know that killing power will go way up since the pure lead will expand almost every time while the ww will simply punch through. Seach the phone company, plumbers and scrap yards for lead pipe and old cable sheathing. It will be hard to find since most industries went to more modern materials some years ago, but its worth the effort.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Blackhawk, I was smearing the bore butter into the grease grooves in the bullet and then seating them. The only thing that made them messy was that it was almost 90 degrees outside.
I suppose I could try to harden up the lube a little by adding some beeswax but it wasn't that bad.
Very little grease anywhere except the front of the cylinder even after firing.

I'll check the velocity and then decide how far I'll be willing to shoot. As far as accuracy goes, I think it is plenty good enough and should be even better when I get it set up to shoot point of aim.

The pistol performed very well (better than I expected) and I am quite pleased with the early results.

You don't think 40gr of Pyrodex P is enough to kill cleanly at 25-35 yards?
I guess we'll know more when I get out the chrono.

Thanks for all of the help, It's going to be a fun hunt.
Joe
 

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jc, sounds like you're coming along. Another hint on the conicals- smear a thin coat of Bore Butter on them then let them stand on end in the shop a few days to dry then do another thin coat, etc until it suits you. The Bore Butter will dry a fair amount, but not totally, and won't be near as tacky to handle. For hunting loads, you might try a dried on wax lube and greased wads underneath. Won't be as messy to handle in the field, easy to load, no mess in the holster and the wads will help prevent chain fires. Just a thought. BOL
 

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One suggestion, for the most in power from black powder try Swiss 3f, don't know how it compares to 777, but it is a good bit hotter than other black powder's I've tried. It burns a bit cleaner and the fouling is softer than other powders I've tried to. The bad news is that it's twice as high as other powders. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
 

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Swiss and T-7 3fg are about identical in performance.
The rouble come is with acuracy.
I managed to get 35 grains of T-7 and Swiss 3fg in my Pietta Rem '58 .44 clone and velocities ran near 1100 f.p.s with round ball.
However accuracy was around 6" at 25 from a solid rest, kick was noticable but not punishing, caps simply vaporized and muzzle/cylinder blast was something to behold.
30 grains of milder Elephant gets me in the 750 f.p.s range with r.b. and accuracy can be wonderful.
My best, once and once, only was 1" at 25 for six shots.
Most groups with the milder load run 2 to 3" with 2" being normal and in my opinion, quite good.
Bear in mind this particular Pietta is the S.S. with adj. sights.

Hardly authenitic but just as much fun.
Really I don't consider any cap 'n ball revolver deer worthy by any stretch.
Maybe as an insurance shot, or to distpatch an immobile wounded animal, but as a primary hunting weapon????????????????????????
Please consider the lowly roundball at 750 f.p.s. as a PEST round only.
I've shot one fox squirrel and one raccoon with the Pietta .44 and the 'autopsy' showed almost NO wound channel, very, very, little tissue disruption, just a small hole in and out.
If deer hunting with such an arm one would have to center shoot the heart, break the spine,(iffy there) or brain the thing at 20 yards or less.
Please think about it and do your own pentration and accuracy tests.
Keep us posted as your results are interesting.
 

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Per the Hodgdon website using 3f 777, not 2f out of a Ruger Old Army: .457 roundball(148gr) w/ 35gr of 3f 777 pushes 987fps. About the power factor of a .38 Spcl +P, although a 16% larger hole.

That roundball with that load still leaves room for more. So my preferred load is the 200gr Lee conical hollow point, 1 wonder wad sitting on top of 35gr of 3f 777. I have chronographed this load several times, 960fps with a std. deviation of 27fps. Accuracy at 25yds is 4". Power factor of a .44 Spcl. It will pass through 150# whitetails boiler, no problem.

I don't push shots past 25 yds so I know that I'm under 30.
 

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osceola:
That's pretty impressive performance.
I wouldn't hesitate to use that load in a Ruger, but it's wayyyyyyyyyy to much for a replica. :eek:
 

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jeager106;

Exactly, I noted the ROA data from Hodgdon's site because the load is gun specific. Let me clarify as there is a paragraph change, the Lee Conical load is also being shot out of a ROA.

One can never be too carefull with load data and always approach another person's info with caution.
 

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osceola:
yup.
I doubt you can get enough black or faux black into a Ruger to hurt it.
If I were to pick a cap'n ball to hunt with it would have to be the Ruger as it's built well enough to handle any black powder loads.
The only reason I went ht heavy charges in the Pietta was due to it being stainless steel and probably not as soft as carbon steel.
The thing still locks up tight, but it operates much better with 30 grains of Elephant 3fg at around 750 f.p.s. with r.b
That's a pretty anemic load for deer don'cha'think?
I shot one squirrel and one racoon with that gun/load and the ball simply passed thru wih no hydrostatic damage at all.
Tests in water jugs showed simple pass thru, no blown up jugs, just a leaking hole and recovered balls could almost be loaded again.
That was the 750 f.p.s. load, a good bit less gee-whiz than a .38 special.
I consider this a 'pest' and tin can, paper punching proposition and of course fun.
It's accurate enough if you've got sights you can see as I once and once only got an even 6 shot 25 yard group at 1".
Most groups run around 2.5" which is still very good.
The heavy loads ran 6" and worse.
 
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