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Old February 18, 2013, 10:56 AM   #1
deerslayer303
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Killing Lincoln, Derringer Penetration

I watched the Documentary Killing Lincoln last night. I was in awe of the penetration they proclaimed. The depth the ball from the derringer penetrated into Lincolns skull was impressive. I would have never thought it would be as effective with such a little powder charge. Although JWB was at no more than 5 feet. And if you've seen it, What was the rifle Booth had in the woods and in the Tobacco barn? Looks like some form of Spencer? I never could figure if he shot himself with the Spencer, or the Troops shot him. And I also do not think that at that time the troops would have been that nice trying to apprehend him. After all he just killed a VERY respected Leader. Good Documentary though. I think they tried to use all the facts and Literature available.
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Old February 18, 2013, 01:50 PM   #2
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I believe he was carrying a sharps carbine but it could be a spencer.
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Old February 18, 2013, 03:52 PM   #3
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Booth was armed with a Spencer carbine. Also he was shot in the neck by Sergeant Boston Corbett of the 16th New York cavalry. Corbett was arrested for going against orders not to shoot.
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Old February 18, 2013, 04:00 PM   #4
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Corbett was also supposedly a religious nut who castrated himself because he'd had impure thoughts...
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Old February 18, 2013, 04:26 PM   #5
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The two-hour presentation was one of the best, most detailed things on the subject that I've seen, and I've seen several. It's well worth your time to watch.
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Old February 18, 2013, 04:55 PM   #6
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^^ yeah I thought it was Great! Although the one on Washington that came on after that, I didn't care for too much.
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Old February 18, 2013, 06:39 PM   #7
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Thomas "Boston" Corbett only castrated himself to avoid the temptations of prostitutes.. And he used a pair of scissors to boot..

Corbett was offered money for the side arm he used to shoot Booth, but of course he could not sell government property and turned down several offers, But one night the side arm was stolen as he slept...
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Old February 18, 2013, 08:10 PM   #8
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"But one night the side arm was stolen as he slept..."

Funny how often that sort of thing happens...

Kind of like the "Honest, babe, I didn't buy this new highly-customized 1911! Somebody broke into my car and left it..."
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Old February 19, 2013, 08:45 AM   #9
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That was one of the little errors in the show, Lincoln was actually shot from about six inches. The way I understand it, Booth waited until the laughter from a particularly funny line, pushed open the door stepped in and fired immediately. He did not stand in the back of the box waiting as depicted on the show.
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Old February 21, 2013, 05:23 PM   #10
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I'm building one of these Derringers from a Traditions kit right now. No rush, just a little sanding and fitting of parts when I feel like it. Should be ready when the weather changes. Bought a couple boxes of balls for it. Looking forward to shooting it.
I have always questioned why Booth used a single shot weapon for his venture. I find it strange with the prevalence of six shot guns at the time. Certainly it worked, but why risk having only one round?
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Old February 21, 2013, 06:05 PM   #11
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Last night, on Lords of War, the tv show, they demonstrated one of these same Deringers.
(Note the correct spelling - Nag, nag).
It easily put a round through, and fractured, a large water melon.
It's not a wimpy weapon.
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Old February 21, 2013, 06:35 PM   #12
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Haven't shot mine yet as I'm building it, any idea what load the tv show used? I've seen some videos where the gun appears to be anemic compared to others of the time. Loadings were not specified.
And, yes, there is only one r in the name. Tell that to the spell checker in my phone. Not worth the time to bother changing it back. The instructions with the kit even spell it rr.
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Old February 21, 2013, 07:26 PM   #13
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With that short barrel, I would imagine if you put too much good ole black, you won't have much usable barrel left?? I was thinking about 10-15 grains maybe.
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Old February 21, 2013, 07:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
And I also do not think that at that time the troops would have been that nice trying to apprehend him. After all he just killed a VERY respected Leader.
Many of those troops had fought in battles in a war that cost 600,000 American lives. Just weeks before, 2000 Union soldiers a day were dying around Petersburg.

I don't anyone of them would have considered Booth's life any more valuable than that of a rattlesnake.

Too bad they did not bring Booth back alive. His trial and hanging would have done the country good. For decades there were the same sort of theories, conspiracies and nuts that we have had after Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy.
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Old February 21, 2013, 09:00 PM   #15
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oh, I don't know, I think you can still get a healthy charge in em. I have a colonial which ain't much longer, and I can stuff thatun pretty full!
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Old February 21, 2013, 09:33 PM   #16
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Got mine as a kit when I was 16. Put way too much powder in it. Thought it was a piece of junk. Well, it kind of is, but 20 grains fffg works ok in mine.
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Old February 21, 2013, 09:54 PM   #17
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I'm not super impressed my kit gun either. But I will make it work. For $100 its a fun project. Figure 10-15 gr FFFg will work.
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Old February 22, 2013, 02:07 AM   #18
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I have had one for 40 years. I shoot 35 grs. In mine. Yes it kicks.
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Old February 22, 2013, 05:40 PM   #19
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I think twenty grains is what they used on the tv show.
Lots of flame out of that short barel - oops, make that barrel with two Rs.
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Old February 22, 2013, 07:15 PM   #20
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I would shoot at least 25 grains, not 10 or 15. that's wayyy too anemic!
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Old February 23, 2013, 07:17 PM   #21
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At first, I shot 25-30 grain loads and the gun seemed rather anemic. Later, I tried 10-15 grain loads and the gun actually seemed more powerful, like it needs the extra barrel length more than it needs the extra powder. If you really want to get the most out of the Philadelphia Derringer, try 10-15 grains of FFFFg instead of FFFg.
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Old February 23, 2013, 07:43 PM   #22
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I've read that when doctors tried to treat Lincoln one probed the wound and said the bullet had gone towards one eye while another probed the wound and said it went towards the other eye.
In Boothe's Diary he had written that he had double loaded his deringers. They've always taken this to mean that he had used a doubled powder charge, but if he instead had used two balls instead of one that would explain a twin wound track through the brain.
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Old February 23, 2013, 08:23 PM   #23
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It always seemed odd to me that those Jukar Philadelphia Derringer kits didn't have a rear sight, yet the barrel was rifled.

I wonder if the original was a smoothbore, I really don't see the point of rifling a gun like this.

A little internet research answers the question, not only was it rifled, it had a left hand twist, and it was a .44 caliber, probably shot a .433 patched roundball.

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Old February 23, 2013, 09:13 PM   #24
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BLE, that was my thinking. A charge of 25-30gr would be overkill in barrel that short. Not that I won't try it, just thought the ball would be more stable in flight with a smaller charge. Been wrong before, not afraid of being wrong again. I will play around with it and see what works in this gun.
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Old February 23, 2013, 09:49 PM   #25
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Well, I now only have a couple of BP guns. I was always told that black powder needed a longer barrel to be able to burn all the powder. A short derringer would probably be more effective with a smaller load, say 15 or20 grains rather than 35 or 40. Most of the unburnt powder would just be blown out the front. In that era it was felt that short barrel derringers didn't need sights, they were designed to be used no farther than the length of a card table or closer. IMO , in a rush and adrenaline pumping, I'm surprised that Booth was able to hit President Lincoln at five feet. He had to be closer.
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