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Old August 28, 2019, 06:28 PM   #1
Cannonfuse
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Blunderbuss pistol

Hello, how were the short barreled blunderbuss pistols (AKA dragons) loaded? An ordinary shotgun load wouldn’t work since the powder burn to slow and the barrel is to short. I guess pistol powder (3F) were used, but in which amount? The powder load of a shotgun, even though it’s 2F, is way more than that in a pistol right? I read that with a short enough pistol barrel a load over 25 grains won’t give any extra velocity, only a huge muzzle flame, unburnt powder will shoot out of the muzzle since it burn to slow to fully combust inside the barrel.

However, how much truth is it in that and how were the short barreled dragons loaded? Which powder and how much of it where used? What kind of projectiles/shots where used?
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Old August 29, 2019, 01:38 AM   #2
bamaranger
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powder

I've not seen or heard the term "dragons" in reference a firearm before. There are such a thing as dragoon pistols.

We also have kicked the topic of "blunderbuss" around a great deal. As most of the blunderbuss type firearms are of a large bore dia, I'd be inclined to use 2F powder which is consistent for use with BP firearms in the larger bore (say .50 and up?).

BP pistol charges often exceed 25 grains. The Walker Colt allegedly could be loaded with 55- 60 (?) gr, and the Colt DRAGOONS were 40 gr plus (I think). Lighter charges are more efficient, but a heavy charge will still boost velocity, but perhaps not proportionally.
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Old August 29, 2019, 06:51 AM   #3
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Ever since I saw Uncle Fester chase an unwelcome visitor from the Addams house with his trusty blunderbuss I’ve wanted one. Looked at the kits, but haven’t added one to the collection. I would guess they were mostly used as boarding weapons carefully loaded with a good measure of powder & shot before use. If loaded during the heat of battle the funnel shape could sure help get a charge in & a handful of whatever was handy down the barrel in a hurry-coins, nails, rocks, etc.
I’m fixin’ to go shoot my new double barrel black powder pistol this weekend for the first time & will be starting out with a 40gr load of Pyrodex RS & 3/4oz of #4 shot go from there.
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Old August 29, 2019, 12:57 PM   #4
T. O'Heir
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"...pistol powder (3F)..." If you're speaking of the 16th/17th Century, there was no such thing as the 'F' rating. There were no "blunderbuss pistols" either.
"...won’t give any extra velocity..." Velocity in a BP anything is more about the barrel length than anything else. Has to do with how BP burns and builds gases.
The best book about BP in general is the Lyman BP Handbook and Reloading Guide. About $20 on Amazon or directly from Lyman for $23.98. It'll answer questions about BP you didn't know you had.
"...the term "dragons"..." Quoted on militaryfactory.com. Totally undocumented, but quoted. Their article on the blunderbuss and 'dragons' comes verbatim from Wikipedia.
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Old August 29, 2019, 08:20 PM   #5
darkgael
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Books about blunderbusses:
James Forman's "The Blunderbuss: 1500-1900"
D.H. Baxter 's "Blunderbusses"
Reference to dragon pistols on page 14 of Baxter.
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Last edited by darkgael; August 31, 2019 at 04:05 AM.
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Old August 29, 2019, 11:07 PM   #6
DockRock
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The dragon was a type of blunderbuss pistol, usually of shorter barrel but possessed of the same flaired barrel as its more well-known cousin. The dragon was particularly popular in naval service in the 17th century and, as such, is often associated with pirates.

Pictured here: at a Website called The Way of the Pirate http://http://www.thewayofthepirates...dragon-pistol/

Dragons and blunderbuss pistols were large caliber but had parallel walled chambers with the bore flaring usually commencing at some 3/4 barrel length. Generally, they were loaded with powder, wad, shot (or multiple musket balls) and wad. As to quantities of powder and shot, the rule of thumb is more or less equal amounts of powder and shot, but what grade of powder and how much will have been used back in the day, is very hard to say. As these were often .72 caliber and larger in chamber size, one would imagine 3 - 3 1/2 drams of powder at least.
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Old September 1, 2019, 06:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Ever since I saw Uncle Fester chase an unwelcome visitor from the Addams house with his trusty blunderbuss I’ve wanted one...


He's back!!!!!

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Old September 2, 2019, 11:17 PM   #8
bamaranger
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.......there be "dragons" there.......

Well there ya go, something else, learned here, that I had not encountered before.

There are such a thing as "dragon" pistols. Glad I qualified my initial response.
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