View Full Version : Sabots for .36 Caliber Revolver???

January 12, 2013, 11:42 PM
Read this on another site. Is this legit, or something somebody cooked up that isn't safe????

January 13, 2013, 03:56 AM
To shoot what caliber? .32? .30? .22?
Sabots are used to shoot a subcaliber projectile. I haven't heard anything about this for the .36 caliber revolver.
It may be offered for the .36 caliber rifle, which would make more sense. In a revolver? I see problems.
Historically, sabots have been made of wood or some kind of plastic. Either would lack the "stickiness" of lead to remain tightly in the chamber as the other chambers created recoil.

The idea of sabots is not new, dating at least to the 1870s. I seem to recall experiments with the .45-70 service rifle using a wooden sabot loaded with a lead .30-caliber bullet -- something like that.

Anyway, cap and ball revolvers have pecular challenges that cartridges lack.

For one thing, you cannot crimp the projectile into the revolver's chamber, but you can crimp the brass case into the bullet, to prevent shift during recoil.

Also, the seated lead bullet seals off the chamber, preventing flame from reaching powder charges behind each seated projectile. I don't see wood or plastic being nearly as effective as lead.
Perhaps the manufacturer suggests filling grease grooves in the sabot with lubricant, to prevent this. So now, yet another step in the process of loading a cap and ball revolver.
There are already plenty of impatient shooters who want to eliminate steps, not create more, in the loading of their cap and ball revolver.

Most cap and ball revolvers have rudimentary, non-adjustable sights.
Using a sabot means using a projectile that weighs significantly less than normal. Consequently, such a light bullet would strike far below the point of aim. Lacking adjustable sights, this would create a sighting problem.
Considering that cap and ball revolvers typically place their shots high, though, this may not be the problem it appears.

I haven't heard of any sabots being produced for cap and ball revolvers. I wonder if someone unfamiliar with combustible cartridges hasn't seen those, and thought they were sabots for cap and ball revolvers?

Incidentally, sabot is French for "shoe." It's supposedly related to the word "sabotage," stemming from French or Belgian workers (sources vary) being forced to work in German ammunition plants in their occupied country during the Franco/Prussian War of the 1870s.
These workers wore traditional wooden shoes (very effective in mud). The story goes that they'd throw a wooden shoe into machinery and cause production to halt.
Thus ... sabotage.
Etymologists can't agree on the origin, but it makes a good story.
You can see how the holder of a subcaliber projectile came to be known as a "shoe."

But getting back to your original topic: Nope. Not heard of this. And I don't see a need for it, either.

January 13, 2013, 04:03 AM

January 13, 2013, 10:32 AM
I believe that .36 rifles have a smaller bore diameter than the chambers of .36 revolvers.
AFAIK that means that a .36 rifle sabot would fit very loosely in a revolver chamber because they're made to load .375 to .380 diameter projectiles.
It's possible that wadding could be crammed over the sabot to hold it in place inside the chamber like folks do for loading chambers of lead shot for snake loads. Sure that method could probably work as long as the combination of sabot & bullet/ball combo. is short enough to fit into the chamber without sticking out of the front. Folks could even trim the sabot to make it shorter to get it to fit or to be able to fit more powder into the chamber.
Or the person could have loaded only one .36 chamber at time and fired it off as a single shot.
Or the person could have wrapped teflon tape, paper patching or an ultra thin patch around the plastic sabot to get it to fit more tightly into the chamber.
It's known that some competitive shooters load and fire patched round balls from revolvers during NMLRA competition and that they can be very accurate.
However, even though it may be possible to load .36 rifle sabots into a revolver chamber doesn't mean that it's a normal recommended practice and that it's okay to simply load them and fire them off without using special loading methods and taking extra special safety precautions. :)

January 13, 2013, 11:16 AM
I believe that .36 rifles have a smaller bore diameter than the chambers of .36 revolvers.

Yeah, they take a .350 ball.

January 13, 2013, 02:39 PM
a .350 patched ball...

36 cal rifled long guns should have a groove-to-groove diameter of about .358" to .362", while the revolvers should have a groove-to-groove diameter of about .365" to .370". But anything is possible...

January 13, 2013, 03:28 PM
a .350 patched ball...

Well Duuuh!:D

January 13, 2013, 07:22 PM
You and I think duh!, but there's a couple folks here that haven't figured that out yet...;)

January 14, 2013, 12:40 PM
IIRC, the guy was shooting a .30 cal bullet, perhaps a M1 Carbine FMJ????

January 14, 2013, 01:24 PM
It would seem to me that the very limited chamber capacity of a 36 calibre percussion revolver would preclude any percieved benefit. I don't beleive enough velocity could be achieved to make the hassle worth it.

January 14, 2013, 06:25 PM
What will happen is you will lose the sabot in the forcing cone and the undersized bullet will go rattling down the bore like a golf ball in a sewer pipe and probably leave the sabot in the barrel.

January 14, 2013, 07:04 PM
I agree!!!!

I was just curious if my out-dated self was missing something....:)

January 16, 2013, 11:32 AM
What will happen is you will lose the sabot in the forcing cone and the undersized bullet will go rattling down the bore like a golf ball in a sewer pipe and probably leave the sabot in the barrel.

I disagree.
The chambers are smaller than the forcing cone.
With powder exploding behind the undersized sabot, there should be plenty enough pressure to push the saboted bullet through the barrel.
A thin card can be placed behind the sabot to contain even more of the pressure if necessary, and even the hollow base of the sabot can be cut off.
I haven't measured my .36 rifle sabots to see what their overall length is.
But they could be trimmed at the back or front to make them shorter.
They are typically used with .311 - .314 bullets which could be paper patched etc, to fit even tighter in the sabot.
The whole load would be moving forward together, and I believe that plastic would offer less resistance at the forcing cone than a lead conical.
It would be an interesting experiment to see the results of on a target and what would happen.