View Full Version : is there a chance of accidental discharge

November 25, 2008, 04:29 PM
without hammer striking cap? im wondering if its safe to keep a cap and ball 1851 navy loaded?

November 25, 2008, 04:43 PM
There's always a chance, but I'd have to say it's pretty low probability. Question is, however, how does one eliminate the hammer striking the cap event? Even carrying with the hammer down on an empty chamber has a finite chance of the hammer being accidently drawn back, rotating the cylinder and then falling on a capped, loaded chamber. The probability of that happening is very low, but it IS possible.

November 25, 2008, 04:48 PM
i was wondering if i kept it my bedside table on an empty chamber but the other 5 loaded and with caps could it go off? or should i load caps on once i hear a bump in the night?

November 25, 2008, 05:32 PM
Fumbling around with caps in the middle of the night is probably not going to work very well. I'd go with a modern cartridge gun for home defense.

November 25, 2008, 05:41 PM
yeah if i was 21 id buy a nice 357, but im settling for a black powder gun now, id mostly use my 870 but cant open doors holding a shotgun well

November 25, 2008, 05:46 PM
With five cylinders loaded, and the hammer down on an empty cylinder, your gun is as safe as any modern pistol. No way it can accidentally go off.
I keep an 1860 Colt by my bed in just this configuration.

You certainly don't want to be fumbling around with caps in the dark.

November 25, 2008, 07:00 PM
With five cylinders loaded, and the hammer down on an empty cylinder, your gun is as safe as any modern pistol. No way it can accidentally go off.
Well, almost, but not quite true, especially when you say there's no way it can accidentally go off.

A modern transfer bar design is safer than the hammer down on an unloaded chamber technique. The difference is small, but finite.

The fact is that the hammer can be pulled back, and if it is, the cylinder will rotate towards the in battery condition. Pull the hammer back far enough and the gun will be in battery and the hammer can drop on the capped chamber. That's a simple fact of geometry and single action revolver design.

Now, can the hammer be pulled back 'accidentally', meaning not under the control of the operator? That's where the 'No way it can happen' proponents hang their hat. I'll concede that it's very, very unlikely, but it CAN happen, and IF it happens the gun CAN fire. There's no point in going through various scenarios, because the debate just becomes an endless series of 'no it won't - yes it will'.

What it boils down to is that one must decide if you're going to eliminate that very, very unlikely possibility or not. Is it worth it when the down side is possibly shooting yourself or a loved one?

November 25, 2008, 09:35 PM
Next you will be counting how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.
In what way is a cap and ball pistol, with the hammer down on an empty cylinder, more dangerous than a fully loaded Smith and Wesson .38 revolver, or a Beretta 92F with one in the chamber?

November 25, 2008, 09:56 PM
Mykeal+1 Read an online account of a guy blowing a big hole in his leg, single action rev. on his hip, hammer caught on barb wire fence boom. with one empty cylinder. Edit: Well two empty cylinders, after the fact.

November 25, 2008, 10:06 PM
SPUSCG is talking about a pistol in a bedside table, he is not talking about crossing a barbed wire fence.

November 25, 2008, 10:32 PM
If the gun falls off of the nightstand there is a slight possibility of one of the caps managing to knock itself against something on the way down (something thin, like the exposed angle iron bedframe that sticks out a little when the box spring isn't pushed up against it). The discharge wouldn't go through the barrel, but rather straight out of the cylinder (one of the chambers that isn't aligned with the barrel at the moment). Certainly velocity would be somewhat less then pumping one down the barrel but I sure wouldn't want to get busted in the noggin by it.

November 25, 2008, 10:34 PM
i never really plan to take it out of the drawer unless a bad guy starts breaking through my front door

November 25, 2008, 11:41 PM
I left my Walker loaded under the seat of my car for 2 years with the hammer down between caps.........never worried about it going off accidentally.

........... I did worry about it NOT going off after all that time but when I took it out of the holster and fired it at a red fox one night on the way home from work it fired just fine, I shot the remaining 5 just to see if they would fire and not even a slowfire.

November 25, 2008, 11:42 PM
Look, guys, let's calm down a bit. Reread what I said - we're talking very small probabilities here. I did NOT say that anyone was wrong or dumb or anything like that for choosing to load 6 and keep the hammer on a between chamber notch. What I did say was that, by the very facts of the gun's design, there is a slightly greater probability of an ND in that condition. All I'm trying to get anyone to do is to just take a calm, rational look at the design and decide for yourself based on facts. Is it worth it, considering what could happen, to have that extra round? That's not something I can answer for you, nor did I try to do so - you gotta do that for yourself. But do it based on real facts, and the statement, "No way it can accidentally go off" just isn't fact.

Do I really have to go through the action sequences of the Colt Single Action revolvers vs a modern revolver with a transfer bar?

November 26, 2008, 10:46 AM
Turkey has a calming effect on most people. Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, maybe YOU should have a double dose ;)

November 26, 2008, 02:20 PM
by the way anyone have stopping power statistics for a .44 round ball and 30gr of pyrodex/777

November 26, 2008, 02:48 PM
Even if there is the slightest possibility of it accidently going off, it's going to happen to you. I know it would happen to me !! Could you live with the consequences of your decision? In the end, it's yours to make. I recall an Admiral saying that there is no way that the Japanese could ever attack Pearl Harbor. As stated, you might want to go in another direction.

Be Safe !!!

November 26, 2008, 03:10 PM
I suppose there is a slight possibility of the revolver firing without the hammer striking a cap, but I think the chances are roughly akin to winning the lottery, or getting struck by a meteor, or my wife giving me another gun for Christmas.

Do what you need to feel secure and do it as carefully as possible.

November 26, 2008, 07:24 PM
or my wife giving me another gun for Christmas.
Now we're dealing in probabilities we ALL can understand!:D

November 26, 2008, 07:59 PM
Now we're dealing in probabilities we ALL can understand!:D:D

I'm not sure why I included that analogy.... it's far less likely than the meteor scenario. :)

Anyway, I'm trying to get the poster to not worry so much and do what needs doing to protect himself. Just do it a safely as he can. I would guess it's more likely a BG would break into your home while you're there, than to have the revolver go off in a freak accident.

November 26, 2008, 09:59 PM
If you're too young to own a handgun like me, then a Mossberg 500 is a viable alternative for home defense. That being said, I ordered an 1851 Navy yesterday and intend for it to be holstered and loaded and kept in my safe. The only reason I see it being set off is a fire or something else drastic.

November 27, 2008, 07:21 AM
by the way anyone have stopping power statistics for a .44 round ball and 30gr of pyrodex/777

The printed data I have seen, depending on ball and barrel size, you should see 750 to 1000 fps or 230 to 370 ft/lbs

November 27, 2008, 10:14 AM
i have an 870, just when i get up ill need something to grab quickly and open doors with. back up gun for when i start hunting will be good too, if i came across wild dogs with a .22 i may need a handgun