Can a black powder pistol be a self defense weapon?

Discussion in 'Black Powder Shooting / Muzzleloaders / Handguns' started by WilkieWashington, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. WilkieWashington

    WilkieWashington New Member

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    I know it isn't a glock... but a 44 caliber black powder revolver - what's the power? Can it drop a person, or is it just a toy?

    I know the rifles can be used very well for hunting, but I'm talking about the pistols. Thanks,

    Wilkie
  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Hundreds (more probably thousands) of people were killed with 44 caliber black powder revolvers, since 1847. Even more were killed with 36 caliber black powder revolvers. And we can't forget the many that were killed with 31 caliber black powder revolvers.

    No, they are not toys. A 44 round ball weighs 140 grains. A full charge (35 grains) of FF will push that about 750 fps out of a Remington 1858, or about 700 out of a Colt 1860.

    That's close to a factory 38 Special. Will a 158 grain 38 special drop a person?
  3. WilkieWashington

    WilkieWashington New Member

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    I wouldn't want to be on the end of that... Can it be used humanely for hunting, or is it just too small, and I should step up to the rifles? Thanks,

    W
  4. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    As I said, it is about the power of a factory 38 special. If you can hit, accurately, on small game - rabbits, squirrels, foxes, quail, turtles, turkeys - things of that size, sure, it would be humane for hunting. Deer size game? If you have a Walker, or a Ruger Old Army, using conical bullets, yes, I think so. Out to maybe 50 yards. If you have a Remington, or a Colt Army, then I don't think so. It will kill deer - of that I have no doubt. Will it kill deer cleanly and humanely? Not consistently.
  5. WilkieWashington

    WilkieWashington New Member

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    Thanks - I'll get a rifle, then. If I'm going to kill something, I want it to be a bolt of lightning - no point, just close the book. Game over.

    W
  6. Larry in Michigan

    Larry in Michigan New Member

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    I have a Ruger Old Army and with a load of 45 grains of 777 it delivers
    more than enough power to kill a deer cleanly. BUT...shot placement
    is the primary consideration in deer hunting, and you will do a much better
    job with a rifle than you will with a pistol. I thought I had bridged that
    gap when I put a scope on an S&W .44 Magnum. But alas, when the
    moment of truth came and two bucks walked by about 40 yards out, looking back over their shoulders at distant hunters, I couldn't keep either slowly moving animal in the scope and didn't get a shot. I'm sure I could have killed either animal with almost any kind of rifle, scoped or not. I have never again depended upon a pistol for deer hunting again. I may take the Ruger out
    during muzzle-loading season here in Michigan, though, but I will have
    to have a clear shot at reasonable range before I try a kill.

    Larry in Michigan
  7. Southern Boy

    Southern Boy New Member

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    I regularly take wild hogs with my Ruger old army pistols. They are out of the way on my side as I ramble through the heavy brush, and will roll a 300+ lb. hog with ease. Of coarse this is close range hunting, and if I were in the open, would use a rifle for long range shooting. I have never wounded and lost game with B.P. sooo They of coarse will do a nice job of filling the freezer.
  8. AL MOUNT

    AL MOUNT New Member

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    Ask Wild Bill Hickock or Jesse James.... :eek:...:D
  9. Trouble 45-70

    Trouble 45-70 New Member

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    If freshly loaded it should do any reasonable job you want it to do. If I had my druthers though, I would prefer a large bore cartrige gun for anything other than paper or cans. I know several people who keep one or more by the night table. Me, I keep a .45 acp but if fired in a dark bedroom, it wont shoot a foot and a half of flame and set an assailents shirt on fire Like my Army model Colt and Rem. .44s would. Wonder how many times that has happened. Gangbanger with a polyester shirt on fire cralling down the hallway. Can anyone do a cartoon of that?
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2009
  10. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    wouldnt want to burn your house down because of it though trouble 45 70
  11. Maximilian II

    Maximilian II New Member

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    Black powder handguns are not, as you stated, state of the art. They are, however, veteran killers. They've "done the job" for more years than the current generation has, and are definitely capable of doing it again.
    I'd still reccomend the Glock. Or Colt, S&W, Ruger, Springfield, Beretta, Taurus, Webley, FEG, Walther, Mauser, etc., etc., pretty much ANY 20'th or 21'st century handgun is more efficient at "doing the job" than a black powder revolver. Just a matter of technology. Humans are good at killing each other. Just give us some time and we'll get better at it.
  12. WilkieWashington

    WilkieWashington New Member

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    Thanks all, I appreciate it!

    W
  13. tiberius10721

    tiberius10721 New Member

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    I shoot my Uberti 1858 remington 44 about every two weeks.In my opinion if a bad guy was shot with this pistol he would be screwed!These .454 lead round balls flatten out niceley.I keep my black power pistol loaded at all times and I would feel confident using this gun for self defense.Great thing about bp guns is powder ,lead and percussion caps are still easy to find unlike modern day ammunition and reloading supplies.
  14. Pustic

    Pustic Member

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    Don't forget the 1847 Colt Walker was the most powerful handgun until the .357 Mag. came out in the early 1930's.
    You don't really want to keep it loaded all the time with loose powder and ball, so what you need is an R&D conversion cylinder to go from .44 RB to .45 LC. It's a lot easier to load cartridges than loose powder and ball. Then it makes a very nice self defense weapon. That's what I use, an 1858 Remington with an R&D Cylinder. http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=292272
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2009
  15. tiberius10721

    tiberius10721 New Member

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    why not keep it loaded with powder and ball all the time? I leave mine loaded for months at a time and have never had a problem.Now I must admit Im talking about leaving my pistol loaded in my nightstand of my house where the temp is always cool and my bp pistol is not moved around much unless I take it out shooting.
  16. vern hodgson

    vern hodgson New Member

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    Hang a nice thick costco steak from a tree branch and see if you can put a hole in it!! That will tell you a lot.
  17. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    Many people are leery of the fact that blackpowder is hygroscopic (soaks up moisture from the air.) If the ball leaves a nice ring of lead when you ram it, the caps are fitted tightly and sealed with candle wax, you can leave the thing loaded for a looooong time without problem. No air, no moisture to soak up.

    Pops
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2009
  18. WilkieWashington

    WilkieWashington New Member

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    Do the pyrodex pellets soak up moisture from the air?

    W
  19. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    My 2c? I dont think the question is whether they can do the job, they have in the past. The issue for me would be inability to reload, easily, and the reliability. Even pinched percussion caps can fall off, especially helped by recoil and perhaps brushing against clothing.

    An interesting foot note is that in some countries with strict gun laws, percussion weapons are not controlled. Thus a black powder gun is a viable weapon of self defence. This is the case for example in France. Though not here, where Black Powder guns are controlled as strictly as centre fire. Insane.
  20. WilkieWashington

    WilkieWashington New Member

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    What is that, a "2c"? I'm new to blackpowder, and don't know what that term means. Thanks,

    W
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