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Thread: Single shot pistols?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master brewer12345's Avatar
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    Single shot pistols?

    Are these things basically range toys/fashion accessories? How well do they usually shoot? I was half wondering if I could stash a loaded one in my belt to finish off wounded jackrabbits at 15 or 20 yards.
    "If you see me running something has gone poorly, and you should probably run too." - any beekeeper

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Load it with Shot for Snakes, and it might still do the job on a Jack with a head shot.

  3. #3
    Boolit Bub
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    I have fairly low cost .45 cal Kentucky flintlock pistol repro and it is pretty accurate. At 10m I get 3 shot one hole groups. Then my hold usually causes to group to open, but the pistol could shoot one hole at this distance all day long I think. At 15-20 yards after some practice I think it shouldn't be too hard to hit a 2 inch area. I use conical bullets rather than balls with it. Probably many people can do much better.

    However, considering it is only one shot I wouldn't use it for your intended purpose without a secondary backup. It is always possible to mess up a shot. In this regard a lightly loaded .50 cal howdah would probably be a better choice. No doubt there is some irony in using a gun that was originally intended to kill tigers on rabbits. If you load it lightly it shouldn't cause too much destruction. However, a .50 cal howdah is probably a bit too heavy to carry on your belt.

    My suggestion would be to use a cap and ball revolver if possible. My Remington with a 7 inch barrel is almost as accurate as a single shot. Even something like Colt Snubnose 44 with 3.5 inch barrel keeps all shots on a plate at 15m. You would probably need to get into under 10m for a good probability headshot with it though.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Some out here would use them as follow up on bigger game like elk. Heavy pistols. If I had to carry one I'd probably put a shot load in it for snakes.

    I used to carry a cap and ball for the same kind of reason. It was a short barrel Remington .44 Ended up never having to use it.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I have a lyman plains pistol in .50 cal to match my gpr. I would not think twice to take it with me. I also have a tingle with a hoyt .45 barrel. it is a target gun.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have used a 40 calibre flint pistol for rabbits and squirrel with good effect. With a brace they are way good for 20 yards or so. The other gun I use a lot is a Charlyville pistol loaded with shot, With the belt hook it is a handy camp gun. 50 grains of FFFg and a 3/4 oz load of shot is good for critters out to say 15 yards or more and many a hiding bunny has fell to this gun.

  7. #7
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer


    waksupi's Avatar
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    Both of mine shoot well, one rifled, one smoothbore.

    At shoots in this area, you are only allowed to load one cylinder at a time in competitions due to safety factors. That is thanks to a doofus who managed to shoot himself in the shoulder a few years back.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    If you can find one, the T/C Scout pistol came in three calibers; .45, .50, & .54. They can throw a massive load. Capable of hunting large game. I took a 250 pound boar with the .54 cal. Also, the T/C Patriot pistol in .45 is no toy either, and is, by the way, the most accurate BP pistol I've ever shot.

    I've got a barrel, lock, & trigger ready to make up a BP pistol for "coup d'grace" carry when BP hunting during the deer season. Don't know when I'll be able to get it together. I've managed to cut several tendons in my right hand and, since the Frankenstein rebuild surgery, hand work has slowed considerably.

    Depending on the particulars, I wouldn't discount the BP pistol as a viable tool.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    With my .50 caliber Traditions Kentucky cap lock I can get a 2 inch group at 25 yds off a rest. Most of the time I"m the reason the group opens up not the pistol. Haven't tried it out further yet, too many guns and not enough range time. Been told that there are better pistols out there but so far the Traditions works fine for me. Don't hunt anymore so I'm just punching holes in paper. I've a .69 caliber smooth bore which I have tried with #7 shot. At 15 yds the pattern was about four feet which would fit your ticket for a bunny gun. It also is a hoot to shoot.

  10. #10
    Boolit Man
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    +++ for the TC Patriot-super accurate! I love mine and don't get to shoot it as much as I used to. Now I'm motivated to take it out for spin again!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    When I used to hnnt cottontails - many years ago - I often used my Colt '51 Navy. I didn't use a dog and it usually wasn't hard to find a few bunnies sitting that a person could get close enough to to dispatch with a pistol. No reason a single shot wouldn't do the job just as well.

    "Back in the day" - I hate that "term" - somebody needs to define it - LOL - let me rephrase - at the time when single shot flint/percussion were used, common sense dictates that not only did they serve as a seal defense weapon but also that they must have been carried by those who could afford them pretty much for the same reason you'd carry one today - a second shot for "finishing off" or a second shot when being attacked by two legged foe.

    In all the years I've been shooting BP - most seem to shy away from pistol shooting the single shots for some reason - maybe too much "bother" for them or other reasons. It's too bad more don't shoot them. I used to go to a informal round ball group once a month to shoot - all fun and a lot of "joshing" back and forth - but don't remember anyone ever bringing one to shoot. A lot of fun could be had in a group having an informal single shot pistol shoot. Maybe the loading of a short barrel pistol versus a rifle causes some to shy away from hem? I really don't know.

    Some good ones already mentioned. I know that some are a bit "pricey" but just as much fun can be had with one of the single shot "Kentucky" pistols that were put out as kits or cheaper pistols - seems like they're ought to be quite a few "laying around" that get little or no use at all. If your state's game laws allow it, makes perfect sense to tote one along for a second put down shot or even to take another varmint while you're pursuing a whitetail.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Dueling pistols were single shot BP pistols.
    Doesn't sound like they were a Range toy Back in the Day.
    I am sure that pirates loved them for boarding ships.
    Heck, we even lost a President to a single shot pistol.
    So keeping the history alive is a great thing.
    Use them if you have them, and don't just use them for Decorations.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    That's a rather broad question. I can't imagine the pirate looking pistols with no real grip, and no sights to speak of are any good for hunting. On the other end is the target style pistols like the TC scout pistol. At 50 yards my 54 caliber scout pistol will shoot a round ball into 3" at 50 yards under good conditions. My rifles don't do much better than that. The 45 caliber version would be great for what you want. It's not small though. It can be carried on the belt, but it is about the same size as a TC encore 10" handgun.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    At our monthly pistol matches we have several single shot users. The most accurate is one from England that won several world championships. Bill got them in the estate sale after the owner passed away (old). The stock fits his hand like a glove, uses a custom made lock and a 2# trigger pull (English rules) and shoots a 45 caliber round ball and can outshoot many rifles! Another is a modified under hammer made from a rifle that had a problem at the muzzle end of the rifle barrel. He said it took him 3 months to cut and shape the hand grip.
    John

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy

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    They are not toys. Even the "pirate looking" plow handle pistols.
    This is a Lyman Plains 54 cal. . The doe was an honest 50 yd shot (with a rest), using a Lee REAL bullet. The coyote was a 20 yd trotting snap shot with a patched round ball.
    The pistol was a kit gun, and I browned it. With a rest and younger eyes, it will shoot baseball size group at 50 yds.

    If you miss, you just set them on fire and follow the smoke trail!
    Dan



  16. #16
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by oconeedan View Post
    They are not toys. Even the "pirate looking" plow handle pistols.
    This is a Lyman Plains 54 cal. . The doe was an honest 50 yd shot (with a rest), using a Lee REAL bullet. The coyote was a 20 yd trotting snap shot with a patched round ball.
    The pistol was a kit gun, and I browned it. With a rest and younger eyes, it will shoot baseball size group at 50 yds.

    If you miss, you just set them on fire and follow the smoke trail!
    Dan
    Wow, that's pretty cool. Can I ask how many grains of powder did you use for the shots?

    I tested my .45 cal single shot flinter with 30 grains and the round ball didn't get all the way through a 7 inch thick piece of fire wood, but I felt that it probably would've if I doubled the charge.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy

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    Quote Originally Posted by flynth View Post
    Wow, that's pretty cool. Can I ask how many grains of powder did you use for the shots?

    I tested my .45 cal single shot flinter with 30 grains and the round ball didn't get all the way through a 7 inch thick piece of fire wood, but I felt that it probably would've if I doubled the charge.
    I used 50gr FFFg Goex with both REAL bullet and denim patched .530 rb.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    At 44 feet, my .54 Lyman Plains Pistol set a nice 8 point buck on his drt derriere with a .530" prb and 65grs PyroP. Under 50 yards, I'll hunt with it.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  19. #19
    Boolit Master pietro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 725 View Post

    the T/C Patriot pistol in .45 is no toy either, and is, by the way, the most accurate BP pistol I've ever shot.

    I used to regularly shoot (and win) muzzleloading matches with my .45 Patriot, so not a toy.

    .
    Experience is a wonderful thing - It lets you recognize a mistake, when you make it again.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I have a .50 and .54 Lyman plains pistol, the .54 with a PRB and 50 grs of 3fffg will shot into 1 1/2 inches at 25 yds laying loose across a sandbag or treestand rail, and can hit a tennis ball 3 of 5 at 45yds, the other 2 shots were close enough to move the balls, just grazed them. I have taken deer with both, and 2 deer with a Ruger Old Army, and 35grs of 3fffg with a 210 gr conical I cast. The Ruger shoots great out to 50 yds. One of the deer I killed was one I was trailing up for a buddy, and ended up head shooting it at 20 yds off hand, only shot I had! The other was a huge doe, that I shot broadside 15 yds from my treestand, she turned and took 3 steps up a steep bank and paused, the second shot hit her between her shoulder blades, spine shot and came out her chest, DRT! A lot of experts will tell you not to hunt with a pistol and the charges due to low Kinetic energy, but I have found out that is not the case in the field.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check