Field/Farm Use of Cap & Ball Revolver

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Now thats a story I'd like to hear!
well I took my dogs out for their evening constitutional and they bolted away from me into the garage
I ran to see what they were into and I came face to face with a mountain lion that was missing a paw, bone sticking out and it was emaciated.

The dogs were trying to sniff it and I was afraid the cat would get them. I grabbed the little dog ran inside and got the closest firearm I could get and it was my 1851 in fantasy .44. My big fear was the cat would get away and suffer more. Well I got to the cat in seconds and unloaded on it. I felt duty bound to end the cat in that moment. It was suffering more than any good critter should. 20 seconds later it was over.

I dragged it to under a pine tree for the scavengers. It was dark and we were in a blizzard but I had to get it away from the house as it would drive the dogs crazy.

Well after Spring was in full swing I went and checked to see what was left and it was all still there. So I buried it in loose warm soil, then recovered the bones about 6 weeks later. Then mailed them to a First Nations member of this forum. The remains of the cat were then honored with rituals and prayers by Native American peoples, the bones were split amongst a few different groups. I only kept a single fang and a claw. They sit on my alter to the ancients. I did want to keep the skull, but I just felt in my heart I should send it to the native man who asked for it as it just felt right.

I know that god sent that cat to me to help it along to the next world. And I knew in my heart that those bones belonged with the natives who wanted them.


The 1851 fired every chamber I called on in that moment. Now I understand a lot of folks don't cotton to the idea of a BP revolver as a defense weapon. But when the other half of the marriage has a no modern pistols rule in the house there are compromises made*. I know that should I ever need to call on it again for a serious situation I can count on that pistol. I load very carefully, inspecting every component during the process and making sure 100% I got it all right.

*Being with an anti gun spouse has its challenges but I am able to have black powder reproductions and single shot modern rifles and shotguns. While it isn't ideal, it works well enough. I am a decent shot. (I will never win any marksmanship trophies but I am minute of deer out to 75 yards.) Haven't had any situation arise where an 1851 or a Sears Roebuck single shot with a .410 slug couldn't handle the day.
 
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You are talking pennies. If you need to dispatch an animal it should not take more than one or two shots. That should not break the bank. There are so many ammo choices today that you could certainly find something at a reasonable price that would do the job. IMHO
Solid point.

A good 9mm SD round costs about $.90. A typical .454 lead ball can run about $.10, and a typical cap can run about $.10. Add a penny for the powder charge, and you're looking at a total of $.21 to fire one round from a BP revolver. That means there's a $.69 savings firing a shot from a BP revolver instead of a quality 9mm defensive round.

It could be up to $1.00 in savings depending on the upper end of the centerfire round's cost and the lower end of the BP revolver shot's cost. Either way, the cost savings is the cost of a piece of candy someone might drop into a vending machine.

That amount of money is not equal to the increased risk of a failure to fire, minor as it might be under the right circumstances.

The question of voluntarily choosing a BP revolver over a modern firearm for use against living creatures is like voluntarily choosing a stone axe over a modern hatchet to cut wood for a fire. Either one will work, but the modern alternative will make your life a lot easier and be less prone to failure.
 
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Solid point.

A good 9mm SD round costs about $.90. A typical .454 lead ball can run about $.10, and a typical cap can run about $.10. Add a penny for the powder charge, and you're looking at a total of $.21 to fire one round from a BP revolver. That means there's a $.69 savings firing a shot from a BP revolver instead of a quality 9mm defensive round.

It could be up to $1.00 in savings depending on the upper end of the centerfire round's cost and the lower end of the BP revolver shot's cost. Either way, the cost savings is the cost of a piece of candy someone might drop into a vending machine.

That amount of money is not equal to the increased risk of a failure to fire, minor as it might be under the right circumstances.

The question of voluntarily choosing a BP revolver over a modern firearm for use against living creatures is like voluntarily choosing a stone axe over a modern hatchet to cut wood for a fire. Either one will work, but the modern alternative will make your life a lot easier and be less prone to failure.
Not everyone can have modern guns.
Some BP shooters have records that preclude the use of modern firearms, and then there are cases like mine where I keep the peace with my wife by not bringing modern guns into the house.

Is it ideal? Not at all, but it is better than a ball bat or a frying pan.
 
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Not everyone can have modern guns.
Some BP shooters have records that preclude the use of modern firearms, and then there are cases like mine where I keep the peace with my wife by not bringing modern guns into the house.

Is it ideal? Not at all, but it is better than a ball bat or a frying pan.
I fully understand your perspective. I also look at BP weapons as a worst-case scenario alternative besides a fun skill to develop. I mentioned in an earlier post that certain in extremis circumstances could preclude the availability of modern firearms, and that's why I train with BP weapons, too.

I have done training with other more primitive weapons, too. No one should overlook anything that might be a viable option if the preferred option is unavailable.
 
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well I took my dogs out for their evening constitutional and they bolted away from me into the garage
I ran to see what they were into and I came face to face with a mountain lion that was missing a paw, bone sticking out and it was emaciated.

The dogs were trying to sniff it and I was afraid the cat would get them. I grabbed the little dog ran inside and got the closest firearm I could get and it was my 1851 in fantasy .44. My big fear was the cat would get away and suffer more. Well I got to the cat in seconds and unloaded on it. I felt duty bound to end the cat in that moment. It was suffering more than any good critter should. 20 seconds later it was over.

I dragged it to under a pine tree for the scavengers. It was dark and we were in a blizzard but I had to get it away from the house as it would drive the dogs crazy.

Well after Spring was in full swing I went and checked to see what was left and it was all still there. So I buried it in loose warm soil, then recovered the bones about 6 weeks later. Then mailed them to a First Nations member of this forum. The remains of the cat were then honored with rituals and prayers by Native American peoples, the bones were split amongst a few different groups. I only kept a single fang and a claw. They sit on my alter to the ancients. I did want to keep the skull, but I just felt in my heart I should send it to the native man who asked for it as it just felt right.

I know that god sent that cat to me to help it along to the next world. And I knew in my heart that those bones belonged with the natives who wanted them.


The 1851 fired every chamber I called on in that moment. Now I understand a lot of folks don't cotton to the idea of a BP revolver as a defense weapon. But when the other half of the marriage has a no modern pistols rule in the house there are compromises made*. I know that should I ever need to call on it again for a serious situation I can count on that pistol. I load very carefully, inspecting every component during the process and making sure 100% I got it all right.

*Being with an anti gun spouse has its challenges but I am able to have black powder reproductions and single shot modern rifles and shotguns. While it isn't ideal, it works well enough. I am a decent shot. (I will never win any marksmanship trophies but I am minute of deer out to 75 yards.) Haven't had any situation arise where an 1851 or a Sears Roebuck single shot with a .410 slug couldn't handle the day.
I feel you on this point, because when I was away at college years ago, I was an out of state resident and couldn't buy a "modern " handgun. There were a lot of break ins in student apartments and a lot of sketchy people in the part of town where I lived, so as a broke 20 year old all I could get was a Brasser .44, followed by a Pietta 61 Navy and a Uberti Walker. The Brasser was kept loaded under my bed and I kept an old loaded ASM 1860 in my truck.

Sometimes it's all ya got so you have to rely on old technology that the law will let you own without any restrictions
 
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Does anyone carry or use their revolver around the farm/ranch? I typically carry an unmentionable through out my farm and ranch work. Normally to deter predators from livestock and other animals and other various dispatch situations. I've been thinking of carrying my 1851 for this purpose with paper cartridges but have a scenario I'm not sure how to proceed.

Obviously with an unmentionable, should the need arise to fire, the weapon it can be cleared and safe for cleaning. (I clean everything after shooting.) With my 1851 I was thinking of loading five for a safe carry but it maybe several weeks before I shoot all five chambers. What say you in the instances of shooting one or two chambers and what next for proper gun cleaning?

Remove the caps from the remaining chambers and disassemble and clean as required (Cleaning around the unspent chambers.)? Dispatch the remaining rounds (seems wasteful to me) and clean? Leave the gun fouled until the remainder are fired (I cringe at this)? Other suggestions?

How was this done back in the day when this was all that was available, though I suspect EDC was different then as we know it now. Safety being the upmost importance in these scenarios.
I don't think it's a good idea to selectively fire/clean like that. Do what Bill Hickok did; he emptied and reloaded fresh every day! You don't necessarily have to go to that 'nth' degree, but you'd not be wasting rounds if you discharged them at a Target to keep your skills up. Good luck!
 

45D

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I politely disagree. The C&B revolver is not as good as a modern SA. Unless they are manuf. exactly the same, same steel, metallurgy, CNC etc. The modern firearm is amazingly reliable. What is even more reliable is the ammunition. You can use numerous kinds /types of ammo in a modern SA depending on the job at hand. The ammo of today can be bought with sealed primers & necks making them virtually impermeable to weather , or you can do it yourself when reloading. etc. NO C&B can ever claim that. Bump the C&B, dislodge a cap, have a shot cap fall in the action and you are no where. Heck, they test the Austrian Unmentionable G underwater! and it shoots, multiple times! They have shot it with the locking block cracked, no problem, they have shot them over 200,000 rds, no problem. Can't believe we are even having this discussion. C&B revolvers are fun, historical and can be solid shooters, but they are not nearly as reliable as a good quality modern day SA. If you are out and about and there is a chance of serious danger whether 4 legged or 2, It would be prudent to use the best equipment you can get, IMHO

You are polite, but I'll have to disagree strongly!! S.A. revolvers don't have to be CNC'd to be equal as far as reliability. That said, mine are!!! My Dragoons, Army's, Remingtons, ROA's . . . all modern. The steel used needs to be of sufficient quality for the "use of" . . . and all mine are . . . especially the cylinders!!! The action parts . . . all modern and made correctly ( Uberti's action parts are quite nice and of course I do my thing to them as well). Coil and coil-torsion springs are what all current modern S.A. manufacturers use . . . so do I!! The action "setup" is where "reliability" comes from.
My response that you "quoted" was a response to a post from Rifleman 1776 which was more about "obsolescence" and "reliability" than manufacturing so, from my point of view, S A.'s are made today and really the major difference is in the action setup. Mine is like the current production, not the 1st gen production ( flat spring). So, after the testing from hundreds of customers and competition revolvers, the "modern setup" is as reliable as can be made today. So I reiterate, mine are as modern ( reliability as well as materials and process) as any higher end S.A. manufactured today . . . and hold higher tolerances than most S.A.'s manufactured today.
20220416_125244.jpg

Here's an example.


Now as far as ammo, you nailed it!!!
That's what mine shoot !!! (Mine just look prettier doing it!!!!)

Mike
 
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People who are casually into shooting, like friends or coworkers ask how " powerful " the cap and ball revolvers they see at Cabelas or Bass Pro shop are, I'm like , they aren't magnums, they rely on pushing a lead ball or bullet at a moderate speed compared to modern guns. And that lead projectile will certainly kill but it's not a Dirty Harry .44 that takes your head clean off....

I tell them if you need to handle something serious please use something serious. Don't get mangled by a pack of feral coyotes because you shot one with a .31 Pocket that looked cool and was on sale for $240 at Cabelas , and it just gets annoyed

If our forefathers had access to .300 Win Mags and .44 Magnums, they would have used them. Not a one would have kept his muzzleloader
People should temper their expectations as well… you’ll be struck by lightning twice before you’re attacked by a wild animal in the lower 48.
 

M. De Land

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You are polite, but I'll have to disagree strongly!! S.A. revolvers don't have to be CNC'd to be equal as far as reliability. That said, mine are!!! My Dragoons, Army's, Remingtons, ROA's . . . all modern. The steel used needs to be of sufficient quality for the "use of" . . . and all mine are . . . especially the cylinders!!! The action parts . . . all modern and made correctly ( Uberti's action parts are quite nice and of course I do my thing to them as well). Coil and coil-torsion springs are what all current modern S.A. manufacturers use . . . so do I!! The action "setup" is where "reliability" comes from.
My response that you "quoted" was a response to a post from Rifleman 1776 which was more about "obsolescence" and "reliability" than manufacturing so, from my point of view, S A.'s are made today and really the major difference is in the action setup. Mine is like the current production, not the 1st gen production ( flat spring). So, after the testing from hundreds of customers and competition revolvers, the "modern setup" is as reliable as can be made today. So I reiterate, mine are as modern ( reliability as well as materials and process) as any higher end S.A. manufactured today . . . and hold higher tolerances than most S.A.'s manufactured today.
View attachment 164850
Here's an example.


Now as far as ammo, you nailed it!!!
That's what mine shoot !!! (Mine just look prettier doing it!!!!)

Mike
 
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People should temper their expectations as well… you’ll be struck by lightning twice before you’re attacked by a wild animal in the lower 48.
I just Googled Black Bear attacks in my state to prove to a lady I work with that they aren't dangerous.....after some deep diving it appears that, since records were kept there were 3 "possible " deaths since 1923 due to any bear attack in my state and only 1 was verified because a guy tried to keep a Black Bear as a pet in like 1983 and it killed his wife. The other 3 were sketchy , as in "in 1937 Enos Smith was found dead in the woods with wounds that may be a bear attack " so likely not. He probably just got murdered .

Everyone is so terrified of being killed by a bear but yes, the odds of winning the lotto are greater.

If I had to choose a hogleg that I currently have to protect myself against a dangerous predator I'd go with my pair of Walkers, topped off with 60 grains of 3f , Johnston & Dow conicals and CCI #11 Magnum caps , after I made sure my chambers were bone dry before loading. I'd plug the bear with a full cylinder and pray at that point , hoping it wasn't a bear Ambush and they aren't rolling in Squad strength because after my 12 beans are gone I'll just roll up in a ball and play dead I guess.
 

Coolhand

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Maybe keep a good belt knife too, it won’t run out of shots. Would make for a way cooler story to tell if you won the fight.
 

M. De Land

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I make all these various springs Mike along with winding coil springs in the lathe. Wire springs are more reliable than flat springs made of 10 series spring stock but I have had factory coil/ lever springs break in my own guns made of wire. Nothing mechanical is fool proof but I have to say the bolt/trigger springs I show in the build thread are at least as reliable as wire and probably more so. When forming and shaping them with grinder and cut off wheels they are so tough that they have to be worried apart if not cut completely through. Standard Piano wire doesn't hold a candle to toughness in comparison. You simply cannot part it with shears or side cutters and only carbide will drill a hole through. It's not particularly hard just tough and springy beyond normal which is what makes it so reliable.
Also flat springs are faster responders than are coil lever springs both from cross section shape and the shorter compressive impulse lost in the wire coil purchases .
One more point, I think if you keep pushing the pressure envelop on open frame guns, eventually one of these days your going to send a barrel, wedge and end of arbor down range because there is no way that a wedge in an arbor slot has the same pull strength that a V thread through a solid frame gun has.
The area of steel contact in a threaded shank resisting barrel pull through a solid frame is many times that of the material contact in a wedge and slot arrangement or the reduced cross section of the arbor in the slot area. I've never seen a wedge ( not even the custom fit ones I make) make a full contact across the arbor slot. My guess is on average there is less than 50 percent of actual full contact with arbor slot end from the appearance of the wedge wear bar.
Again , although you can't seem to see it, the non connective joint at arbors end precludes any strengthening benefit you think your getting from end fit compression and harmonics.
The spring job in the picture looks reliable but it also looks like a needlessly complicated solution in search of any real problem if the right flat spring material is used.
 
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stephenprops1

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I always consider the least expensive alternative. Obviously, the gun costs more than a few rounds of ammo. If I have shot a round or two and the day is over, I would always empty the remaining unfired cylinder chambers and give the gun a proper cleaning.
 
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We love our old, beautiful firearms but never once during my deployment as an 11b did I think I'd be better off with a '61 Springfield :D

Today I was shooting a pair of my cap and ballers and brought along a single action Uberti and Ruger "unmentionable " , and firing both in the same range session it became clearly apparent to me what a technological leap forward even the Colt 1873 was.

2 cylinders in I had a FTF , pop - no bang with my cap and baller , I'm like, if I were in combat I'd just obviously recock and try the next chamber. If that were my last one, I guess I'd hope I had time to recap and load at least a few more chambers with some nitrate cartridges. Even capping is not something I'd want to do under extreme duress.

But they did what they had to back then .

I was thinking what it must have been like to be a Trooper on the Frontier during the Indian Wars circa 1873 or so, and seeing a crate full of new Colt Model P's getting popped open, lining up to turn in my beat up 1860 Army to get a new Colt .45 from the Quartermaster.

Back then there was no internet, not much communication and people weren't really informed of new technology all the time so being able to shove a self contained metallic cartridge into the chamber and not have to worry about rain as much, would have been mind blowing vs ramming paper cartridges, capping and praying it goes bang when you need it.

I don't think many if any Professional soldiers missed their percussion hoglegs if they were around for the changeover.
 

M. De Land

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We love our old, beautiful firearms but never once during my deployment as an 11b did I think I'd be better off with a '61 Springfield :D

Today I was shooting a pair of my cap and ballers and brought along a single action Uberti and Ruger "unmentionable " , and firing both in the same range session it became clearly apparent to me what a technological leap forward even the Colt 1873 was.

2 cylinders in I had a FTF , pop - no bang with my cap and baller , I'm like, if I were in combat I'd just obviously recock and try the next chamber. If that were my last one, I guess I'd hope I had time to recap and load at least a few more chambers with some nitrate cartridges. Even capping is not something I'd want to do under extreme duress.

But they did what they had to back then .

I was thinking what it must have been like to be a Trooper on the Frontier during the Indian Wars circa 1873 or so, and seeing a crate full of new Colt Model P's getting popped open, lining up to turn in my beat up 1860 Army to get a new Colt .45 from the Quartermaster.

Back then there was no internet, not much communication and people weren't really informed of new technology all the time so being able to shove a self contained metallic cartridge into the chamber and not have to worry about rain as much, would have been mind blowing vs ramming paper cartridges, capping and praying it goes bang when you need it.

I don't think many if any Professional soldiers missed their percussion hoglegs if they were around for the changeover.
I have given some thought to what a game changer would have been wrought at the Little Big Horn had even one SAW and a half dozen AR's with plenty of ammo, been present . Ooops , wait those were black powder cartridges, lets change to Pickets charge at Gettysburg. Same result I would wager.
It would have been over in the first wave as the Redman or Picket saw the front ,second and third rows go down like wheat in front of a combine.
 
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45D

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I make all these various springs Mike along with winding coil springs in the lathe. Wire springs are more reliable than flat springs made of 10 series spring stock but I have had factory coil/ lever springs break in my own guns made of wire. Nothing mechanical is fool proof but I have to say the bolt/trigger springs I show in the build thread are at least as reliable as wire and probably more so. When forming and shaping them with grinder and cut off wheels they are so tough that they have to be worried apart if not cut completely through. Standard Piano wire doesn't hold a candle to toughness in comparison. You simply cannot part it with shears or side cutters and only carbide will drill a hole through. It's not particularly hard just tough and springy beyond normal which is what makes it so reliable.
Also flat springs are faster responders than are coil lever springs both from cross section shape and the shorter compressive impulse lost in the wire coil purchases .
One more point, I think if you keep pushing the pressure envelop on open frame guns, eventually one of these days your going to send a barrel, wedge and end of arbor down range because there is no way that a wedge in an arbor slot has the same pull strength that a V thread through a solid frame gun has.
The area of steel contact in a threaded shank resisting barrel pull through a solid frame is many times that of the material contact in a wedge and slot arrangement or the reduced cross section of the arbor in the slot area. I've never seen a wedge ( not even the custom fit ones I make) make a full contact across the arbor slot. My guess is on average there is less than 50 percent of actual full contact with arbor slot end from the appearance of the wedge wear bar.
Again , although you can't seem to see it, the non connective joint at arbors end precludes any strengthening benefit you think your getting from end fit compression and harmonics.
The spring job in the picture looks reliable but it also looks like a needlessly complicated solution in search of any real problem if the right flat spring material is used.
Well M. De Land, I'm glad you think my spring job looks reliable and oddly enough it isn't nearly as complicated as you might think. You said yourself in your post that wires were more reliable than the flats that come in these assembled kit guns. That right there is the "real problem" that my springs solve. I have yet to set up any competition revolvers with flat springs. Customers don't trust them, they get beat with Rugers powered with coils. So, they leave here with coils to win against Rugers . . . and they do! I have absolutely no interest in going back to flats in a single action. I still tune the flats ( that what I was taught) if that's what the customer wants but it's pretty rare these days. Everyone wants something that won't break every time they go out with it.
It took some time to come up with my setup - what diameter, how many coils, left wind or right wind, how to anchor the fixed end, what "parts mods" to make . . . The Colt action was fairly straightforward while the Ruger got a whole new design with an " in the frame" trigger spring, new bolt spring and upgraded hand spring / plunger. Now some of the Ruger guys have an edge on the "factory" guys!!! The hardest of all was springing the Remington but I figured it out as well so all 3 of these platforms run with coil actions. All 3 have won championships so I'm content, my customers are happy, my non competition customers enjoy trouble free shooting on range day.
The only "fast" spring needed in a S.A. revolver is the main spring. It needs to move a heavy payload a good distance. The flat main is perfect for the job. That's why you'll find one in a Freedom Arms S.A. The coil main of the Ruger is it's biggest drawback for cap gun purposes. I do have my own "tweak " to it though . . .

As far as the wedge thing again . . . arbor contact under TENSION (which all mine and my customers have and yours apparently don't since you use it as an adjuster) is the key for longevity . . . Not strength!
The point is, I understand totally what you're pointing out perfectly
What you don't understand is why if my barrel goes down range, it'll go with the arbor PULLED from the frame, not torn at wedge slot. Which is why NONE of well over 500 open tops haven't had either of these things happen. Many of my customers are military that enjoy Walkers and trip 7! They like the BOOOOM not one failure.
It's a mystery . . .

Mike

PS If my arbor slot was stretching, why doesn't my wedge get loose? or my endshake change

If the endshake changes ( longer arbor= increased endshake), that will be the signal

If the wedge takes a beating, it will deform as well as barrel slot material.

None of this has happened since correction.
 
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I have given some thought to what a game changer would have been wrought at the Little Big Horn had even one SAW and a half dozen AR's with plenty of ammo, been present . Ooops , wait those were black powder cartridges, lets change to Pickets charge at Gettysburg. Same result I would wager.
It would have been over in the first wave as the Redman or Picket saw the front ,second and third rows go down like wheat in front of a combine.
Someone wrote a book about this back in the 90s, about alternate history like this.......

I also wonder if in 200 years people will be looking at SAWs and M16s in museums like we look at Flintlock muskets , all like "people used those things to fight???"
 

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