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The .45cal 170gr Picket conical Bullet

Discussion in 'Muzzle Loading' started by Rex in OTZ, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. Rex in OTZ

    Rex in OTZ G&G Evangelist

    Mar 21, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Untill recently I'd never heard of the 1848 Colt-Walker revolver firing anything other than round ball, boy was I mistaken.

    One the most visually striking cap and ball revolver conical bullets is the 170gr Picket Bullet.

    Conical bullets are longer than they are wide, so they weigh more than the round balls that served as bullets for several hundred years. But because they’re longer, they can also create more friction with the bore. When they’re loaded from the muzzle, this is a problem because it takes so much more force to seat them down on the powder that the effort will usually distort their noses, adding nothing to accuracy.
    One early solution (ca. 1835) was the picket bullet, which is also called the sugar-loaf bullet due to its shape. It contacted the bore only at a narrow band near the base of the bullet. The rest of the side of the bullet did not touch the bore and, therefore, did not create any friction. Picket bullets were far more accurate at long range than round balls of the day. They pushed the maximum distance for accuracy from about 200 yards out to 330 yards. And they were also heavier in a given caliber, so they were deadlier on game in calibers that were too small for round balls. A .38-caliber round ball might be marginal for whitetail deer, but a .38-caliber picket bullet would be fine.
    The picket bullet looks like a large piece of candy corn. It was a big advance from the round lead ball. Image from Ned H. Robert’s book, “The Muzzle-Loading Cap Lock Rifle.”
    But there was a problem. If you tilted the picket bullet during loading — something that was all too easy to do, it left the bore in a tilted position, allowing gas to escape unevenly at the muzzle. That caused it to fly wide of its mark. Picket bullets were considered very accurate but also very difficult to load correctly.

    walker loads:
    140 Grain Ball Average six rounds Extreme spread
    55 Goex FFFg 1001 fps 54
    60 Goex FFFg 1115 fps 46
    60 Gr./Vol. Pyrodex P 1221 44
    60 Gr./Vol. A Pioneer 974 80
    60 Gr/Vol Swiss FFFg 1278 53
    55 FFg 956 46
    60 Gr./Vol. PyrodexRS 1045 35
    37 Gr./Vol. H 777 1201 72

    200 Grain Lee Bullet
    40 Goex FFFg 927 40
    45 Swiss FFFg 1074 33
    45Gr/Vol Pyrodex P 1087 47

    170Grain Original Pattern Picket Bullet
    40 Grains Swiss FFFg 1031 36
    Energy 402 ft/lbs
    45 Grains Goex FFFg 1026 84
    45 Grains Swiss FFFg 1158 35
    506 ft/lbs
    45 Gr/Vol. Pyrodex P 1035 57

    Gun Review: The Walker Colt | The Truth About Guns

    Attached Files:

  2. winston64

    winston64 G&G Evangelist

    Jan 19, 2011
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    Thanks Rex, love history.
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