View Full Version : Conicals from a single shot pistol? Manual can't be right?

Joey V.
November 3, 2010, 03:33 PM
I have a Traditions William Parker pistol 1-20 twist that I have been playing with and so far it shoots like a dream. The manual said it handles 45 grains of FFF with either round balls or conicals. Something occurred to me last night that how can that be right??? This is a .50 Cal and I shoot 300 - 385 grain conical from it with a 45G powder charge. It is devastating and I like to hunt deer at bow range with this pistol load. Now you can't tell me that the barrel pressure isn't MASSIVELY greater with the conical than the round balls? That being said do you think the manufacturer lowballed the max power charge or am I thinking wrong? Do you guys think this is safe for me to do even though traditions said its ok?

Joey V.

November 3, 2010, 03:40 PM
should be safe.

And 45 grains is a very mild/conservative load, so I wouldn't worry to much about the pressure difference.

Joey V.
November 3, 2010, 03:48 PM
I was wondering about the whole max load thing too with modern pistols. I have a pedersoli Howdah pistol that can handle 80 grains per the manual and the barrels on that SOB are only half the thickness of the William parker.

I remember seeing a Myth busters TV episode where they keep adding a 10 grain charge of BP to a rifle to see if it would actually blow up. Conclusion; it didn't... They filled it the entire way to the end of the barrel and seated a ball. In the end they had to weld the barrel to get it to blow and at that only the nipple blowout.....


November 4, 2010, 12:34 PM
Factory pistols are usually made with the same strength barrels as their rifles so your barrel should theoretically be able handle the same load of powder as their rifles.
The difference in the manufacturer's recommended loads may have to do with liability, accuracy and protecting the wood stock from getting cracked or splintered.
Maybe they figure that there's a percentage of people that will double load their pistol by accident so they cut their maximum charge by 1/2?
Or maybe some of the sidelock pistols just aren't proof tested with the same powder charges as the rifles are?
For instance the Traditions Buckhunter Pro .50 - .54 inline pistols were rated for:

25 - 50 grains for the most accurate load with either ball or conical
80 grains maximum load with either ball or conical


November 5, 2010, 12:05 PM
Noob here, i thought the max charge was also limited by barrel length due to the comparatively slow-burning nature of BP. IOW, the sidelock's barrel might not be damaged by a charge greater than the "max", but it wouldn't be able to burn all of the charge before the bullet left the barrel. Am i confusing myself again?

My only BP gun is a sidelock pistol from Traditions.