to make cap and ball revs legal for small game
here is the letter I wrote to the comm from my region.
Vice President Ronald Weaner
Pennsylvania Game Commission
2001 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797
Re: percussion revolvers and other non-cartridge firearms for small game
Dear Commissioner Weaner:
As a history buff and reenactor, I have been quite interested in the historical development of firearms. I compete in matches with muzzleloaders and other historical arms. Recently there has been some dispute concerning the legality of cap and ball revolvers for small game hunting in Pennsylvania. Some people claim to have been told that such firearms are legal for small game and I myself have been told that they are not. (Cap and ball revolvers such as the early Colts and 1858 Remington do NOT load from the muzzle.)
Current regulations (section 141.22) permit small game hunting with fixed ammunition breechloaders (center fire and rim fire) under 23 caliber, shotguns, or muzzleloaders up to 40 caliber. The problem is that there are literally dozens of firearms that are not fixed cartridge guns and do not load from the muzzle. Cap and ball revolvers are the most commonly encountered guns that fall into this category. In just two years, we will observe the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and there will be a renewed interest in these civil war era arms. There are some other designs that are neither muzzleloader or cartridge guns as well. The breech loading flintlock Ferguson rifle of the 1770ís. The Hall flintlock rifle made in Harperís Ferry loaded from the front of the chamber just like percussion revolvers. The Colt revolving rifle, The Smith carbine, the 1859 breech loading percussion Sharps rifle, the Maynard breech loading percussion rifle and many others. There was even a flint lock revolver. (The breech loading percussion Sharps rifle is probably the second most encountered gun that is not legal for hunting small or big game in Pennsylvania)
Please consider amending the regulation to permit cap and ball revolvers and some of the other historical arms to be used for hunting.
I know that power and safety are two primary concerns of the Commission.
The information below came from Lymanís Black Powder Handbook, 1971, for 31 and 36 caliber replica cap and ball revolvers. From Barnesí Cartridges of the World, 5th ed. 1985, I have included ballistic information for 22 caliber rim fire cartridges to compare.
31 cal C&B rev 36 cal C&B rev 22 lr RF 22 mag RF
Muzzle velocity 697 ft/sec 1097 ft/sec 1335 ft/sec 2000 ft/sec
Muzzle energy 54ft/lbs 216 ft/lbs 158 ft/lbs 355 ft/lbs
100yd drop 46.74 in 20.20 in 3.3 in 1.6 in
I think you can see that cap and ball revolvers have sufficient power to kill small game, and yet since they do not carry as far as 22 rim fire bullets, have much less potential for dangerous stray bullets.
This is the regulation as it currently exists:
(3) A muzzleloading rifle or handgun. The firearm must be .40 caliber or less, that projects single-projectile ammunition.
May I suggest that it be changed to read:
(3) a muzzleloading rifle, muzzleloading handgun, or other non-cartridge black powder rifle or handgun. The firearm must be .40 caliber or less, that projects single-projectile ammunition.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.