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Old September 10, 2017, 06:24 AM   #1
duelist1954
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Making the Hickok-Tutt Shot

I’ve been fascinated by Wild Bill Hickok since I was a kid, I’ve read all of Joseph Rosa’s books on Hickok, along with a lot of less well-researched books and articles. His shot in the Davis Tutt fight is one of history’s iconic shots. It is to Colt Navy revolvers what Billy Dixon’s one-mile shot at Adobe Walls is to Sharp’s rifles.

At six o'clock on the evening July 21, 1865, Wild Bill Hickok made the most famous cap and ball revolver shot in Western history, by shooting Davis Tutt through the heart, at a distance of 75 yards, during their gunfight across the city square in Springfield, Missouri.

In this video I'll discuss the history of that fight, and I'll dispel some persistent rumors that have been associated with the affair. After that I'll attempt to re-create Wild Bill's 75-yard heart shot. This video is a bit on the long side, so I hope you’ll stick with it. Let me know if you like it.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7gGgHs2lPU&t=25s
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Old September 10, 2017, 08:28 AM   #2
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Pretty good job of dispelling the myths. Shooting wasn't half bad either. That's a long shot for a .36 when your name isn't Hickok.
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Old September 10, 2017, 02:32 PM   #3
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I grew up just north of Springfield, and heard most of the stories. Thanks for the explanation and video. Well done.
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Old September 11, 2017, 01:04 PM   #4
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It essentially has the ballisticals of a .380 Automatic Colt's Pistol.

Not to be trifled with.
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Old September 11, 2017, 02:31 PM   #5
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It sounds like Wild Bill took the time and effort to:
1. Practice.
2. Know where his revolvers shot.
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Old September 11, 2017, 05:46 PM   #6
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Duelist;

Just watched your video, and enjoyed it a lot. Everything from the hat and the bright red sash to the history lesson was as entertaining as it was informative.

I was told some time in the distant and misty past that the fight was over a debt, so I guess my informer wasn't too far off the mark.

And finally, congratulations on the fine marksmanship. I don't have much experience with BP revolvers so I'm sure I would've missed all six shots at 75 yards. And makes Wild Bill's shot all the more spectacular, since he found his mark with one shot, while his target was shooting back at him. Truly a prince among pistoleers.

Now, I'm off to locate a copy of Mr. Rosa's book on ole Bill. Thanks again for the video.
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Old September 11, 2017, 07:09 PM   #7
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"It essentially has the ballisticals of a .380 Automatic Colt's Pistol."

Certainly depends on what one used. A fella on another forum uses 3F Olde Eynsford with a custom 100 grn conical and gets .380 ACP performance with about 20 grns of powder in an Uberti Colt Police with its smaller cylinder capacity.

It would certainly be rather pathetic if one used standard Goex or another similar powder.

Check out the ballistics on the .36 Remington when using Pyrodex in place of standard Goex (Olde E, Swiss, and T7 would likely outdo the Pyrodex a bit).

http://poconoshooting.com/blackpowderballistics.html
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Old September 12, 2017, 09:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Certainly depends on what one used. A fella on another forum uses 3F Olde Eynsford with a custom 100 grn conical and gets .380 ACP performance with about 20 grns of powder in an Uberti Colt Police with its smaller cylinder capacity.
Where does the police fit in? I don't have a chrono but I notice no difference in power between Pyro RS and Swiss.
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Old September 12, 2017, 10:57 AM   #9
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Pyrodex is a strange powder. In some of the chronographed results I see that Pyrodex produces velocities similar to Swiss. But then in some others it's more like standard Goex.

Omnivore tested his 100 grn .36 cal conicals using 21 grns of 3F Swiss and got an averaged 936 fps with his conical. With the same charge and a .380" ball he got an averaged velocity of 978 fps. With the conical that's right in .380 ACP territory with 195 ft/lbs of energy.

With T7 he got 1127 fps but had a very wide extreme spread eventually (had been doing well until one chamber blew that out the window).

Oh, and apparently I recalled it wrong. This is with his '61 Navy but using a powder charge about what the max is for the Uberti Police. Doubtful the max charge would be all that accurate but then I'd want the shorter 4.5" barrel anyway. I do fancy the longer barrels though...

This is his bullet:

http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_...=38-100C-D.png
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Old September 12, 2017, 06:02 PM   #10
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Great video Mike, one of your best. Love the history, I too have read all of Rosa's books. One of his best is "The Gunfighter."
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Old September 13, 2017, 06:10 PM   #11
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I had read somewhere that WBH used a Colt's Dragoon rather than the Navy for the shot. (Maybe I need to watch the video first)




OOPS! Maybe not. Nice, informative, authorative narrative. Thanks again, BDM.
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Old September 13, 2017, 09:52 PM   #12
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Has anyone calculated what the energy of Bill's bullet was at 75 yards? Being a heart shot it may not have needed to be much but I'm curious.
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Old September 13, 2017, 10:30 PM   #13
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I can't find it now or maybe I read it in a book but the only argument that would back up the dragoon theory is that Tutt was hit in the left side(meaning he was left handed?)between the fifth and seventh ribs and exited out the right side between the fourth and fifth ribs. I don't think a .36 would have that kind of energy at 75 yards. On the other hand I don't see him carrying anything but the navies. It wasn't like he was expecting a long range gunfight. Or was he?
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Old September 13, 2017, 10:55 PM   #14
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Maybe it was a 36 conical. The old CW ammo was pretty pointy and might have been able to slip through. I can't see an 81gr ball going all the way through at that distance either.
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Old September 13, 2017, 11:39 PM   #15
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I'd venture to guess that Wild Bill would have likely preferred a more energetic powder. Hazard's Pistol Powder, which was used in some of the Civil War paper cartridges, was found to be quite similar to Swiss powder of today. The cartridges then were loaded with 4F.

Looking at Mr Cumpston & Jonny Bates book Percussion Revolvers we see the 22 grn charge of 3F can achieve about 1100 fps. This could be viewed as a more accurate load as these pistols would hold closer to 30 grns with a ball.

Quite frankly his loads could easily have been much faster if he used 4F and a heavier charge nearer to max. But I haven't a clue as to what his loads were like. Anyone?

The BC value of a .375" ball is 0.053 and with my ballistics calculator set at 900' above sea level I figure that's probably fairly close to the same altitude.

At 1100 fps it starts with a mere 212 ft/lbs and at 75 yds it is traveling at 842 fps with just 124 ft/lbs. This doesn't sound like much, especially with a poor sectional density. However an older military video in which they compared black powder arms to what was new military arms in ballistics gel with human bones embedded shows that even a slow moving lead ball is good at penetrating.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hQnVfyhVJ-Y

Note how slow the .44 Colt's ball is beginning at and yet still has no issue with penetration. Without bone a ball at that speed could likely pass through a chest cavity I'd imagine. Especially when the lungs take up much of that space and provide next to no resistance.

As these guns are said to be zeroed at 75 yds I decided to see what the trajectory looked like as people often claim 12" high or so at 15-25 yds. It's only 2.3" high at 25 yds. This would mean they are sighted in around 225 yds to be a foot high at 25 yds.

Last edited by rodwhaincamo; September 13, 2017 at 11:47 PM.
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Old September 14, 2017, 09:55 AM   #16
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Hickock's lucky day, Tutt's unlucky day.
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Old September 14, 2017, 11:44 AM   #17
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I have somewhere buried in the basement one of the early "Black powder Handbook" or something similar that gave FPS & pressures of various C&B revolvers including using 4F in revolvers and IIRC there was not a big difference between 3F & 4F in the Navy.

(... 10 min search & rummage .... )

OK, here's the data from the early edition Lyman Blackpowder Handbook:

Lyman 1851 Navy 36 cal revolver

.375/81gr ball: FFFFg Goex 14gr=752 FPS
FFFFg Goex 29gr=1097 FPS
FFFg Goex 14gr=884 FPS
FFFg Goex 27.5gr=1090 FPS

150gr conical FFFFg 15 gr= 787 FPS
FFFg 15gr = 668 FPS
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Old September 14, 2017, 01:48 PM   #18
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Quote:
As these guns are said to be zeroed at 75 yds
Navies aren't sighted in that far. I don't know what range they are sighted for but all of mine have been pretty close to POA at 25 yards. The Colt repros for some reason keep the original sight height but Remington sights have grown about 1/8 inch.
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Old September 14, 2017, 03:20 PM   #19
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I'm rather surprised that the velocities were lower when using 4F.

A fella on another forum had found his velocity increased when using a Buffalo Bullet/Ball-Et (not exactly sure what it was but weighed 180 grns IIRC) vs a .45 cal ball in a revolver using the same powder charge. Figured it may have been due to increased friction creating more pressure prior to moving which makes sense.

Is it just the Colt .44's said be sighted for 75 yds? It seems all too common to read people state.

My 2013 Pietta NMA shoots a bit low at 15 yds. Eventually I'll file down the front sight once I configure a load as I'm considering reworking my Accurate Mold bullet to be longer having found it's accurate powder charge leaves a bit of empty chamber, and what better to fill it with than lead?
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Old September 14, 2017, 06:44 PM   #20
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Quote:
Is it just the Colt .44's said be sighted for 75 yds? It seems all too common to read people state.

My 2013 Pietta NMA shoots a bit low at 15 yds.
Remington and Colt .44's both were sighted in at 75 yards. Uberti and Pietta have both made their Remington front sights taller but Pietta's front sights are obscenely tall.
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Old September 14, 2017, 08:06 PM   #21
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My Pietta 1858 Remington Shooters Model is dead on at 25 yards with the tall sight.
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Old September 14, 2017, 08:57 PM   #22
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Thanks for the video. 'Enjoyed it!
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