Test Gun: Colt 1860 Army (replica) by Pietta.
Barrel length: 8 inches.
Ammunition: Hornady .451 138 grain Round Balls, 30 grains Pyrodex P, CCI #10 caps.
Test media: 10% Clear Ballistics Gel
Distance: 10 feet.
Chronograph: Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph G2.
Six shot velocity average: 807fps.
I bought this pistol around 18 or so years ago and took it out to shoot once or twice and it’s been sitting around ever since. I would pick it up and work the action and say to myself how I should take it out and shoot it and I finally did just that. Since it hasn’t been shot in years I needed to gather the necessary supplies.
Pietta recommends a .454 round ball but my local gun store only had .451 but it would work just fine. They did carry black powder so some Pyrodex P was used and of course, don’t forget some CCI #10 percussion caps.
The 1860 revolver was one of the many sidearms used in the civil war and wile the 1860 was considered a Union sidearm it was also used by the Confederacy when captured from Union soldiers and supply convoys. The standard load, if there was one, was a round ball loaded atop 30 grains of black powder but many if not most were loaded with a paper cartridge of which there was no real standard. Some were loaded with round balls and others with conical bullets.
So with that I decided to “replicate” what a Union Officer may have loaded his revolver with and loaded 30 grains of Pyrodex by volume and run it through its paces.
I got a six-shot average velocity of 807fps with a high of 877fps and a low of 776fps. For an extreme spread of 101fps. The sights are pretty crude and the pistol shot high at 10 yards. The target is a reduced size silhouette with a 2.5-inch dot.
The smoke from the shots was giving errors and so no velocity was recorded for the gel shots. The first round exited the block at the 26-inch mark and was found on the table next to the gel. Its recovered weight was 135.8 grains and a recovered diameter of .443 inches. The second round penetrated to 25.75 inches with a recovered weight of 136.3 grains and .442 inch in diameter.
Not having any Confederate uniforms I decided to use my standard heavy clothing for testing. Round one penetrated to 25.5 inches and had a recovered weight of 137.4 grains a diameter of .448 inches. Round two penetrated to 26.5 inches and its weight was 136.9 grains and a diameter of .447 inches. You can see the impression the denim left on the ball when it impacted.
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