Deer and Hog Hunting Loads for Modern Percussion Revolvers

These Buffalo bullets were one of four types that were tested in two revolvers to develop effective deer and hog hunting loads.

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Experimentation with two modern percussion revolvers reveals that they will muster the 500 ft./lbs. of energy usually considered to be the threshold value for taking deer-sized game. Testing with Cabela’s stainless steel .44-caliber cap-and-ball Buffalo revolver with its 12-inch barrel and adjustable sights along with Ruger’s stainless Old Army demonstrated that the use of  Hodgdon’s Triple Seven powder enabled this threshold value  to be obtained with bullets as heavy as 240 grains.

  These revolvers are individualistic. The Italian-made Pietta Buffalo sold by Cabela’s has slightly tighter chamber and barrel dimensions that the Ruger. Without question  the now discontinued “Old Army” is  the better-made gun, but the longer barrel (12-in. vs. 7 1/2) of Pietta’s Buffalo gives it a ballistic advantage. The Pietta uses a  slower twist which is advantageous  with round-ball loads, whereas the Ruger’s faster twist  allows it to shoot heavier, and longer,  bullets with greater accuracy.

  While these tests were limited, they did demonstrate the power of these pistols, and I will use them on game later this Fall. A table giving the load and test results appears below.

Hunting Load Development

Black Powder Revolvers


Pietta. Cabela’s Stainless “Buffalo” with 12-in barrel and adjustable sights made by Pietta. These loads are not recommended for the brass-framed version of this pistol.

Bullet   Weight  Powder  Charge gr.  L. vol. H. Vol. Av.vol. ME  

         Grains.         Vol/Wt.     fps.    fps.    fps.    ft./lbs


.454 RB.  141*   Trip-7**40/30.7     1037    1123    1074   361

.454 RB.  141*   Trip-7**42.5/33.0   1092    1294    1139   406

.454 RB   141*   FFFg       35/36.5         847       876      864    234

Buffalo   180    Trip-7**42.5/33.0      981    1087     1031    425

Kaido***  240    Trip-7**32/26.1      832    1020       952     483

Kaido***  240    Trip-7**30/22.6      801     867         823    361

Kaido***  240    FFFg       25/28           609     666         638    217

Ruger Old Army Stainless with 7 ½-inch barrel and adjustable sights.

.457 RB.  145*   Trip-7**40/30.7      916    1008     963   299

.457 RB.  145*   Trip-7    35/28       1000    1011    1004   325

.457 RB.  145*   Trip-7     35/?  Hodgdon  data         987   314

.457 RB.  145*   Pyro.P  40/31.3      977    1061    1019   334

Buffalo   180    Pyro.P    40/31.3     1127    1176     1156   534

Lee Real  250    Pyro.P  30/23            NA      NA         866   416

Lee Reel  250    Trip-7  30/22.6      894        912        904   454

Kaido***  240    Trip-7  35/28         961        999        987   519

* A felt lubricated Wonder Wad was used under the round balls. When velocities increased to the point where these wads were destroyed accuracy suffered.

** This was a 3-4 year-old old jar of Triple Seven that had apparently somewhat deteriorated in Georgia’s hot, humid atmosphere. With fresher powder the velocities increased a significant amount. In the Ruger Old Army, 35 grains of the fresh powder produced higher velocities/energies than 40 grains of the older powder. If your Triple Seven has lumps or cakes up in your container, it may not produce best results.

*** This was the first shooting of “Kadio’s C&B Revolver Hunter” which is designed to be a universal bullet for percussion and cartridge revolvers that will provide longer-range performance. This first lot of bullets was both lighter weight, 240 vs. 255 grains, than designed and slightly undersized. The heavier, larger bullets would be expected to give better performance in the Ruger Old Army.     

 A video was shot over the three days that the guns were being tested and cut to give an eight-minute overview.  Many products used in the video were furnished by the manufacturers. It  may be seen at:  if you have any problems viewing it below: 

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