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Old November 2, 2012, 10:53 AM   #1
Ben Towe
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Dragoon powder charge for whitetails?

I've got a little bit of a crazy idea. I am considering using my Dragoon during muzzleloader season this year and I was wondering what powder charge y'all would recommend? I was thinking two Pyrodex pistol pellets behind a round ball but this may be over charging a Dragoon as I can't remember the maximum safe charge. I know it's 60 grains in my Walker but I can't remember about the Dragoon. It is a Colt, 3rd Model Cavalry. Thoughts and opinions?
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Old November 2, 2012, 11:50 AM   #2
Slamfire
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I think 40 grains is the max you can put in one of these chambers. But, based on my chronograph data, even the big Dragoon is not a good choice for hunting, the velocity and power is not there. You want a clean humane kill.

These are velocities I got in my Dragoon and the round ball is coming out at 38 Special velocity.

Does anyone recommend a 38 Special for deer? Probably not.


Quote:
Colt 3rd Model Dragoon


142 gr .454 Round Ball 40 grain Volumetric Measured GOEX FFG RWS cap

July 1999 T= 99 -100 ° F


Ave Vel =785
Std Dev =30
ES =73
Low =741
High =814
N =4


142 gr .454 Round Ball 40 grain Volumetric Measured GOEX FFG CCI#11 cap

24 July 1999 T= 99 -100 ° F


Ave Vel =837
Std Dev =18
ES =56
Low =814
High =870
N =8


142 gr .454 Round Ball 40 grain Volumetric Measured Pyrodex Rem #1 cap

July 1999 T= 99 -100 ° F

Ave Vel =920
Std Dev =0
ES =0
Low =920
High =920
N =1

too many solids caused chronograph to malfunction
.
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Old November 2, 2012, 02:21 PM   #3
Captainkirk
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Not Enough mojo

I agree; not enough mojo behind a Dragoon. Max charge is 50gr and that ain't enough oomph even with a conical to humanely bring down a deer IMHO.
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Old November 2, 2012, 02:34 PM   #4
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Old November 2, 2012, 03:02 PM   #5
Rigmarol
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I'm no hunter so I'm probably speaking out of turn but... wasn't the Walker, and the Dragoon spec'd out to specifically take down a horse not just a rider? I thought that was the reason the gun was made big. Is a horse easier to kill than a whitetail?

Again, I'm no expert and will gladly step aside for those who actually know.
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Old November 2, 2012, 03:12 PM   #6
Strafer Gott
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Horse wears them, not you!

The holsters go on the horse. Thus the "Horse Pistol".
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Old November 2, 2012, 04:45 PM   #7
rep1954
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Quote:
wasn't the Walker, and the Dragoon spec'd out to specifically take down a horse not just a rider?
Quote:
the holsters go on the horse. Thus the "Horse Pistol".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colt_Walker

http://www.uberti.com/video/index.ph...ef3e937a3e2ef3

Thus you both are right. I myself would feel very confidant in using a Walker with a full charge for hunting Michigan sized White Tail within 50 yards.
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Old November 2, 2012, 06:03 PM   #8
Beagle333
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Use the Walker.

From the above Wikepedia link:
Quote:
The Colt Walker was quite powerful, with modern replicas firing modern FFFg black powder producing energy levels in excess of 500 foot pounds with both picket bullets and 0.454-inch-diameter, 141-grain round ball bullets. The black powder Colt Walker has a muzzle energy nearly exactly the same as a 4-inch-barreled handgun firing a .357 Magnum
I've seen a deer taken down with a 4" .357 and it was impressive. And Illinois requires a minimum of 500 ft/lbs at the muzzle for handguns. So a Walker would do it (I'd keep it to bow-hunting range shots), but prolly not a 3rd model Dragoon.
http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/...mmunition.aspx

(I only linked Illinois regs 'cause they're the first ones I found during a quick search)
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Old November 2, 2012, 09:31 PM   #9
freedom475
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Take your time and get in close for the shot and you will have a great hunt with your Dragoon. CLOSE!!! I mean VERY close...not 40-50 yards close.

Plenty of power for the whitetail. As long as you get close, take a perfect broadside shot, and KNOW exactly where your shot will hit. The relatively slow, soft lead ball will easily deform or deflect so the shot has to be "Square" not quartering, or up/down hill.

My only problem with the Colts is the poor accuracy repeatability since they all shoot very high and often left and right....the front sight being seperate from the rear sight and held together with a tapered wedge is the design flaw for precision accuracy and predictablitly.

I shot a whitetail doe last weekend with my 1860...and I am making jerky as I write this.
Many deer have fallen to my cap&balls... my prefured hunting weapon for Whities'

This one was taken a few years ago with my Remington 58



The slow velocity can be easily fixed by using 4ffff black powder. I use 26grains of 4ffff in my Remington 58 for hunting and the velocity went from 750fps with 3fff to 930fps with the 4ffff...Just right!

Before I am jumped about the 4f...You are wrong I have worked this info with a ballistics lab and the load is completely safe....the only time we could get any overpressure in the testing barrel using 4f was when the powder column was over 3 inches long,,,Not going to get that in a revolver.....

Pyrodex will give you a little more pressure than the 4ffff...but I would stay away from the pellets because they will prevent you from being able to costomize your load for the most accuracy.

Use a cronograph and work up your load for accuracy...Velocity will NOT kill as well as shot placement.


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Last edited by freedom475; November 3, 2012 at 12:18 AM.
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Old November 2, 2012, 11:41 PM   #10
Captainkirk
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Not saying it can't be done, only that it would not be MY choice of a humane kill on a whitetail.
Lots of folks take whitetails with .22 cal firearms every year, some with a .22LR, more with .223 or 5.56 chambered firearms.
I wouldn't do that either unless there was no other choice.
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Old November 3, 2012, 07:15 AM   #11
Ben Towe
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I may have to pick up a jug of powder and do some load work ups. I have some Triple 7 but I don't trust it. A little too much powder compression causes a noticeably weaker report in my Walker (I have one of those too, but I'm not sure I trust it like the Dragoon as it's a Uberti and it's not built nearly as well as the Colt) and I'm betting that equals poor ballistics downrange. I might take it out and make some smoke today and see if I can get some acceptable accuracy. If so I will give an update later today. Thanks guys!
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Old November 3, 2012, 08:13 AM   #12
MJN77
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A dragoon would be fine. You're basically shooting a .45 colt. 45 ball on top of 40 grains of powder. Don't know why folks think guns/loads that killed well 150 years ago can't do it now. You do not need the latest "magnum" whatever to deer hunt. You just need to know your limitations and be sure of shot placement. I have hunted with a replica Henry in .44-40 for the last twelve years or so and killed plenty of deer. Never had any get away. Lot of people will tell you that a .44-40 isn't powerful enough for deer. The deer never felt that way.
As for the Uberti Walker, I am on my third one. I stupidly sold the first two I had. I have no problem with accuracy out to 50 yards.
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Old November 3, 2012, 08:51 AM   #13
Rifleman1776
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Quote:
Don't know why folks think guns/loads that killed well 150 years ago can't do it now.
The ligher load and smaller calibers back then were no more effective than they would be today. But, the big difference is today we have good medical care. 'back then' even what we would consider just a wound would likely be fatal.
As to the original question. Yes, it can be done. But ranges need to be very close, like no more than 25 yards. And, unless you are a well practiced shot with the Dragoon, I say leave it at home. If you don't know what charge to use that suggests you are not a very experienced shooter with that old timey style banger.
If you are determined, use as much real black powder as you can get under the round ball without crushing it.
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Old November 3, 2012, 09:44 AM   #14
DD4lifeusmc
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powder charge

Just finished reading the entire thread. Gleaned some good info.
Most states hunting regs tell you the minimum caliber, FPS, ft# and powder
charge.
Unfortunately Wyoming does NOT have a Black Powder only hunt. Unless they just put it in and I haven't seen it yet.
But I was looking at either the walker or dragoon. Was looking at the dragoon because of the loading rod catch.
But the Walker for the larger load and longer barrel.
Was wondering the dragoon latch could be installed on the walker?
Is the latch mounted by a post or a dovetail?
Reading the link to the wiki and they said some had used a piece of rawhide. That would be simple enough to do.

But anyways I enjoyed the thread!
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Old November 3, 2012, 11:13 AM   #15
MJN77
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Quote:
But, the big difference is today we have good medical care.
What exactly does this have to do with killing a deer? A dragoon revolver is more than adequate for a deer. Look around, people kill them with Remington replicas. A dragoon carries a much bigger powder charge than a remington. People also use .45 colt handguns for deer. A full 40 grain load in a dragoon mirrors the original BP load for a 45 colt.
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Old November 3, 2012, 05:05 PM   #16
Ben Towe
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Rifleman1776, I am far more familiar with a Walker than the Dragoon which is why I was unsure on it's maximum powder charge. Rest assured I will not take to the woods with it unless I am confident I can make a clean shot.
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Old November 3, 2012, 11:42 PM   #17
Captainkirk
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Was wondering the dragoon latch could be installed on the walker?

It could. But my Uberti Dragoon drops the lever with anything more than 40gr anyway.
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Old November 4, 2012, 06:44 AM   #18
darkgael
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Deer hunt

Quote:
A dragoon revolver is more than adequate for a deer. Look around, people kill them with Remington replicas.
Yes, people do that. Yes, it can be done.
Hunters doing this kind of thing post about their success. I wonder, though, about how many failures and wounded deer there are that we don't read about. How often do people post about their misses?
Yes, one can flub a shot with a more powerful weapon as well, I know that; it just seems to me that opting for the minimum in a hunting situation is asking for trouble. One can do it but just because you can, doesn't mean that you should.
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Old November 4, 2012, 07:44 AM   #19
Doc Hoy
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Here is another thought....

... I must also hasten to say, I am not nor have I ever been a hunter.

But I know that in Southestern Virginia the average deer is about two thirds the size of a deer in my childhood home state of PA. They are like big dogs.

I think the size of the deer in Tennessee (If that is where you will be hunting) is part of the picture.

Also, in PA deer hunting is accomplished differently from hunting in in Southeastern VA. The shots are shorter in both states than they might be in TN. I could be wrong because I don't know about the terrain.

Just some thoughts.
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Old November 4, 2012, 09:42 AM   #20
DD4lifeusmc
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what powder

Capt. Kirk.
I was only wondering. I figure if I had problems, I'd opt for the cheap easy route that
does not change the original config.
However, I have never owned a gun, I didn't make some modification that fit me better.
But I am cheap!
Seriously considering a Walker next month as a gift to me for Christmas.
Being single, I can do that!
while the walker can handle 60 gr what have others experienced to be the more accurate.
30 40 50 60 gr?
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Old November 4, 2012, 09:52 AM   #21
Doc Hoy
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My Walkers and Dragoons....

don't seem to like more than about 40 grains.

They are all ASM manufactured revolvers in cood condition. I shoot only 777.

What I find is that accuracy suffers above 40 grains. I think I remember shooting about 1050 fps at fifty grains and about 950 at forty grains. I don't know what is it about the system that makes it less stable with the higher volume of powder. I suspect it might be things that are going on just outside the muzzle when the round is in its first three to five inches of travel outside the barrel.

Not smart enough to know for sure.
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Old November 4, 2012, 07:50 PM   #22
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robhof

Someone had posted tests with sheets in front of the gun, on the ground and various charges and with the Walker; from 50gr up, there was residue on the sheets, consistent with unburned powder. They also had rifle tests and found those 150gr loads put out large amounts of unburned powder residue. Even relatively fast powder like real b/p can run out of room in a barrel.
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Old November 4, 2012, 10:23 PM   #23
Captainkirk
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My Dragoon Likes.....

.....45gr of Pyrodex P behind a .454RB or hand cast Lee conical. The RB's are tighter grouping, but the punch of the conicals launched with 45gr P is astounding. Steel gongs that rock and sway when shot with a RB jerk and jump when pranged with the Lee.
This load, unfortunately, is just strong enough to drop the loading lever almost every time.
Anything over that just wastes powder, and accuracy suffers.
Some guys just twist one of those ladies stretchy hair elastic thingies or a rubber band around the barrel/loading lever to combat the LL drop.
Being a 'real man', I just deal with it.....LOL!
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Old November 5, 2012, 03:10 AM   #24
Ben Towe
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Doc, the terrain varies. You can have up to and beyond 1000 yard shots in bottom land to some thick stuff that will limit shots to near point blank and anything in between.

Quote:
Most states hunting regs tell you the minimum caliber, FPS, ft# and powder charge.
Tennessee regs only require .36 caliber and higher for big game (black powder, any centerfire for modern), rifle or handgun.

I believe I will hit the range tomorrow (didn't make it today) and work up some loads and put myself and the Dragoon through the paces.
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Old November 5, 2012, 09:20 AM   #25
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Quote:
Rifleman1776, I am far more familiar with a Walker than the Dragoon which is why I was unsure on it's maximum powder charge. Rest assured I will not take to the woods with it unless I am confident I can make a clean shot.
Ben Towe, good. Glad to hear you are concientious on that point. I am very aware of just how hard accurate shooting with a handgun of any kind can be. I used to shoot competitively with my Ruger Redhawk in .44 mag. and was braggin' good. Then shoulder injuries, surgery, etc. took me away from serious handgun shooting for several years. Now, I have to admit, my accuracy abilities with a handgun are simply not suited for hunting. Whether it be with yer ole timey replica or my modern magnum banger, practiced accuracy is necessary for successful and humane hunting.
Good luck.
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