Short barrel as powerful as long barrel?

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Powderandball

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According to this experiment Educational Zone #66 - Shooting a Black Powder Pistol - The Box O' Truth
A philadelphia derringer (3” barrel) loaded with 40 grains of BP is as powerful as a Kentucky pistol (10” barrel) loaded with 40 grains of BP.

  1. ”With a standard load, the Derringer was a weak sister of a pistol. It would not penetrate enough to reach vital organs.
  2. With a hot load, it penetrated as well as a longer barreled pistol and reached the required 12 inches of penetration”

My question is, if, with a hot load, a short barreled derringer is as powerful as a long barreled pistol, how come that people back in the days choosed to carry the long barreled clumsy and heavier pistols?
 

mooman76

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More accurate. It should have slightly more power. Longer barrel generally has more velocity(to a point) thus more power.
 

Grenadier1758

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I would have to see the velocity data. One shot is interesting. I would want to see the results of additional shots fired to confirm the power of a Derringer pistol loaded with 40 grains of 3fg.
 

30coupe

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That's a pretty broad conclusion from such a lame "test" if you ask me...no velocity data, one shot per pistol, water as the medium...not exactly a scientific comparison. Each made it into the 4th jug, so perhaps the derringer just broke into the jug, while the Kentucky round bounced off the back of the jug. Using water, there is no way to tell. I'd call that an invalid conclusion.

On the other hand, I wouldn't want to take a .44 cal. ball from across a card table from either pistol :eek:
 

mooman76

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Sounds like they are using the term "as powerful" loosely and just wanted to see if the derringer was powerful enough to go through/reach vital organs. As far as a power factor, I don't think there would be a big differance.
 

Sam squanch

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I think the derringers of old were loaded with today’s equivalent of 4f. A hotload of 4 f, and a dirty, germ infested patch ,would ruin anyone’s day at card table range. I think people back then really tried to avoid being shot. A big clunky pistol also can be used as a club, and with good sights and owned by a good shot, could get dinner on the walk or ride home!
 

MTGUNNER

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It also sounds to me like the powder charges weren't "equal" when comparing the two different pistols.
 

Woodnbow

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According to this experiment Educational Zone #66 - Shooting a Black Powder Pistol - The Box O' Truth
A philadelphia derringer (3” barrel) loaded with 40 grains of BP is as powerful as a Kentucky pistol (10” barrel) loaded with 40 grains of BP.

  1. ”With a standard load, the Derringer was a weak sister of a pistol. It would not penetrate enough to reach vital organs.
  2. With a hot load, it penetrated as well as a longer barreled pistol and reached the required 12 inches of penetration”

My question is, if, with a hot load, a short barreled derringer is as powerful as a long barreled pistol, how come that people back in the days choosed to carry the long barreled clumsy and heavier pistols?
I don’t believe the 3” barrel would produce the same velocity as the 10” barreled Kentucky pistol all else being equal. If it doesn’t produce the same velocity it doesn’t produce the same energy. It will recoil and make smoke and a satisfying boom but that’s the extent of the comparison.
 

Woodnbow

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John Wilkes-Booth killed Lincoln with a 44 cal. Derringer. That bullet changed the history of this nation.
Of course. Nobody doubts that the .44 derringer can be lethal. But there are reasons they’re seldom used at distances beyond conversational rangets. Power and accuracy are chief among them.
 

PastorB

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With equal loads and same projectiles, my 5.5" barrel "Sheriff's Models", get 200/fps average less velocity than the identical revolvers with standard (around 8") barrels. This is true of .36 and .44, whether Colt or Remington repros. Real chronographed velocities, not conjecture, based upon thousands of shots.
 

Woodnbow

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With equal loads and same projectiles, my 5.5" barrel "Sheriff's Models", get 200/fps average less velocity than the identical revolvers with standard (around 8") barrels. This is true of .36 and .44, whether Colt or Remington repros. Real chronographed velocities, not conjecture, based upon thousands of shots.
Bought a F1 shooting chrony the year they first came out. I may have paid 50.00 for it and it has been an invaluable tool ever since.
 

smoothshooter

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John Wilkes-Booth killed Lincoln with a 44 cal. Derringer. That bullet changed the history of this nation.
But I think it only penetrated about 3 inches or so. At point blank range. Like maybe just a few inches away.
I have popped several critters larger than a person’s head over the years with a .44 Army shooting ball loads at ranges up to 15 yards.
All were complete pass-throughs with plenty of power to spare.
Same with a .36 Navy shooting ball loads.
 

Billy Boy

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According to this experiment Educational Zone #66 - Shooting a Black Powder Pistol - The Box O' Truth
A philadelphia derringer (3” barrel) loaded with 40 grains of BP is as powerful as a Kentucky pistol (10” barrel) loaded with 40 grains of BP.

  1. ”With a standard load, the Derringer was a weak sister of a pistol. It would not penetrate enough to reach vital organs.
  2. With a hot load, it penetrated as well as a longer barreled pistol and reached the required 12 inches of penetration”

My question is, if, with a hot load, a short barreled derringer is as powerful as a long barreled pistol, how come that people back in the days choosed to carry the long barreled clumsy and heavier pistols?
I would think that in 44 cal, the 40 grain charge would use up close to an inch of that barrel. I think I bought a Yugo from this guy once...
 

Griz44Mag

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According to this experiment Educational Zone #66 - Shooting a Black Powder Pistol - The Box O' Truth
A philadelphia derringer (3” barrel) loaded with 40 grains of BP is as powerful as a Kentucky pistol (10” barrel) loaded with 40 grains of BP.

  1. ”With a standard load, the Derringer was a weak sister of a pistol. It would not penetrate enough to reach vital organs.
  2. With a hot load, it penetrated as well as a longer barreled pistol and reached the required 12 inches of penetration”

My question is, if, with a hot load, a short barreled derringer is as powerful as a long barreled pistol, how come that people back in the days choosed to carry the long barreled clumsy and heavier pistols?
Physics will not be denied.
40 grains in a derringer (if that is even possible) would not all burn before being pushed out the end of the barrel unburned.
It's also a fact - a longer barrel will produce higher velocities, and that is measurable.
Higher velocity in the same mass will have higher kinetic energy - (ie - more powerful)
The experiment you quote was not an experiment. It was not measured or tested. It was only a layman's observation.
NOW - if the barrel is too long and the powder has expended all of its energy before the bullet reaches the exit point, then drag or friction of the bullet with the barrel will start slowing the projectile down. The only time I have actually measured that was with very low powder charges.
 

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