.44cal Cap and Ball Pistol - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-24-2012, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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.44cal Cap and Ball Pistol

Hey guys i have a .44 cal black powder revolver and i was wondering if it would be legal for me to harvest a deer with it during the regular firearms season?
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post #2 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 01:15 AM
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Re: .44cal Cap and Ball Pistol

Sure, IN MARYLAND. Not in PA.

If A CONVERSION CYLINDER IS MADE FOR YOUR GUN, TO SHOOT 45 COLT, IT WOULD BE LEGAL WITH THE CARTRIDGE CONVERSION.
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post #3 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 03:51 AM Thread Starter
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Re: .44cal Cap and Ball Pistol

Hm i dont see why you wouldn't be able to use it?
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post #4 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-25-2012, 02:16 PM
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Re: .44cal Cap and Ball Pistol

Pa law permits, for deer, archery, centerfire and muzzleloaders. A cap and ball revolver does not load from the Muzzle. A muzzleloading handgun for deer must be at least 50 caliber.

I have written several times to both the PGC and my legislators about cap and ball revolvers. All to no avail.
Maybe if you added a letter or two.


Maryland expressly permits them for deer. There is a whole group of hunters who feel (quite wrongly) that muzzleloader pistols are neither powerful enough or accurate enough to use for deer.

Trying to get folks to accept a 44 cal cap and ball handgun as a serious game weapon, will be an uphill battle. Today white tail are tougher than 50 yrs ago. They have evolved and we need elephant guns and super mag handguns to shoot a deer.
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post #5 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 03:59 PM
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Re: .44cal Cap and Ball Pistol

Unless it is a Dragoon model I think it would be under powered for deer. I have had a Lyman 44caliber Remington copy for about 30 years and once fired it into the side of an old clothes dryer at about 10 feet and the soft lead round [censored] flatted on the sheet metal making only slight dents.
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post #6 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 04:00 PM
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Re: .44cal Cap and Ball Pistol

I can't beleive the common word for a sphere needs to be censored!?
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post #7 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 03:54 AM
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Re: .44cal Cap and Ball Pistol

You think a deer's skin is as tough as a piece of structural tempered enameled sheet metal meant to take years of rigorous vibration and wobbling?

Deer must really be tough in your neighborhood.

We can use a 50 cal muzzleloader pistol, and there's no guarantee that the result on the appliance will be different.

50 years ago some Police railed against the 38 because it couldn't penetrate windshields. Depending on the slope of the window, neither could a 357.

they certainly aren't powerhouses. But I think the knock down power is greater than many give them credit for. My Ruger Old Army with round [censored] can put a severe hurting on a tree trunk and I know the deer skin isn't as tough.
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post #8 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 10:51 AM
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Re: .44cal Cap and Ball Pistol

Can they be loaded with something more like a bullet instead of a round ball? To get the weight up around 200 grains or so.

The deer didn't disappear.... the 250,000 guys who used to walk around and make the deer move did.
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post #9 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 04:36 PM
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Re: .44cal Cap and Ball Pistol

Zimmer, It used to be the objective of deer hunters to humanly kill their quarry not just punch a hole in it. Penatration is important and not being able to penetrate thin sheet metal at 10 feet says something important( a 22 rimfire or a 38 special revolver would both do it easily). Soft bullets expand rapidly at high enough velocity but also need to penatrate, which the expansion resists. As a long time cast bullet shooter I am aware the the "striking energy" of a cast bullet made as soft as they can to reduce fouling, is recommended at the mimnumum to be 1000 foot pounds. 1000 FP at 50 yards requires a bullet of aproximately 200 grains aerodynamically designed not to shed velocity and a striking speed of, at least 1700 fps. The 325 foot pound MUZZLE velocity of a cap n ball revolver makes it a fun gun to shoot and good for small game but IMO inhumane for deer hunting. The same reason the 22 magnum with a muzzle energy of 300 ft-lbs is illegal for deer.

A single shot 50 caliber muzzle loader will hold more powder than 40 grains, but even if it is packed with twice that, most of it will be blown out the muzzle of the short barrel before it does any good.
I'm betting the original poster wants to harvest a deer, not just shoot a hole in one? You guys do what you want. I'm an ethics advocate not an enforcer.
Data reference: Lymans Black Powder Handbook and Lyman's Cast Bullet Handbook.
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post #10 of 51 (permalink) Old 06-29-2012, 01:40 PM
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Re: .44cal Cap and Ball Pistol

Whether a spear with a tempered nail tip would penetrate the steel, has little bearing on whether the shock value of the hole made will kill the deer. If all we went on was ft lbs of energy, there never would have been an archery season. The archers are required to use broad heads to assist in the creation of blood loss and shock.

According to Lyman's tests a Ruger old Army loaded with a 457 round ball and 41 grains of 4fg Goex, produced 1036 ft per sec and a muzzle energy of 340 ft pounds. (BTW, a Ruger is probably the only cap and ball revolver strong enough to handle a load of 4fg.) Adding a conical to the mix, reduces the amount of powder that can be loaded into the chamber and then reduces both velocity and muzzle energy. But the muzzle energy is on par with the factory loads for 9mm Luger. On par with the hotter of the 38 S$W Spec factory loads. Also about the same as the factory loads for the 44 S&W Spec. and only slightly (about 12%) less than the energy of the 45 Colt factory loads.

TC's max load for a 45 cal Patriot pistol is 35 grains, which produces similar velocity, but slightly less energy because the round ball is lighter.

But ft pounds of energy does not account for the size of the hole and accompanying blood loss and shock. A small high speed bullet that passes through a few inches rear of the heart & lungs and that deer can run for 100's of yards even miles before stopping. So a pass though is not all that determinative of humanely killing a deer.

That same humane kill argument has been put forth to try to outlaw the use of round-[censored] in muzzleloader pistols and rifles. (Oddly the most vociferous voice was a guy whose sponsor was the in-line and substitute powder folks. )

As for muzzleloading pistols, not all are equal. A TC Scout pistol in 50 caliber, shooting a round ball, according to TC, with 70 grains of fffg results in 1479 ft per second and muzzle energy of 850 ft pounds. Boosting the powder to 80 grains increases the velocity to 1624 ft/sec and 1063 ft/lbs muzzle energy. That is about double the energy of the 357 Mag. and just over some factory loads for the 44 Mag. That is a huge increase in power by just increasing the powder from 70 grains to 80 grains, in a pistol yet. So contrary to your statement, not all the extra is just blown out the muzzle. It depends on the design of the breech, barrel length and the caliber.

And for years those hunters who tried to humanely kill a deer, used such cartridges as 44-40, 38-40, etc. Guns that were no more powerful.

I'll agree that a cap and ball revolver is on the low side of the spectrum. But when they are more powerful than many pistols that are legally used and carried during deer season, you have to wonder. (My dad got a deer with a 38 snubby.)

I read a statistic many years ago, that the average shot at a deer in PA is something like 35 yds. With the advent of more open territory, super mags and big scopes that may have changed. But I have no trouble staying in the black at that distance with either the cap and ball or the muzzle loader. I also have a Hawkeye scoped muzzle loader pistol which I would have no problem using to 100 yds. I have no ballistic tables for it, but with a 12 inch barrel and direct ignition it would have no problem beating the Scout's ballistics.

According to Barnes Cartridges of the world the 22 Mag only surpasses 300 ft/lbs of muzzle energy in a rifle. (210 ft lbs in a 6.75 inch barrel pistol)even so it is more powerful than a 38S&W Spec., which is legal. But the authorities outlawed the use of all rim fires even though rim fires over 25cal were legal for deer into the 1970's. The 41 Swiss rim fire is as powerful as the 30-30. the 22 Win Auto rim fire gave over 1,000 ft lbs of muzzle energy. So to use the rational that the 22 mag rim fire is illegal because of muzzle energy is only partially correct. At the time it was developed, lower powered rim fires over 25 cal were legal. Also, the 22 mag was never made illegal, it was developed AFTER the rules for 25 and up rim fires went into effect. So the assumption that the 22 Mag is illegal because of it's power is fallacious. The 25 Stevens RF was legal for deer through all those years of intending to kill deer humanely with it's mere 208 ft lbs of ME. The 22 mag simply came along too late.

If I can legally use a 38 S&W or 357 Mag, there is no reason to bar use of a 44 or 45 cap and ball revolver.

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