One area I have very little coverage of here on Forgotten Weapons is that of black powder muzzleloading firearms. I would like to get more into these at some point, but right now I am more interested in smokeless cartridge guns. Well, if you would like to see more on the older guns, I would definitely recommend a YouTube channel that a friend recently pointed me to: CapAndBall.eu. The channel, and its associated web site, are run by a Hungarian gentleman named Balázs Németh, who operates a gun and reloading shop in Budapest (it’s important for us Americans to realize that while we have some of the best gun laws in the world, that doesn’t mean there are no shooters anywhere else).
What I really enjoy about Balázs’ videos is that he discusses all aspects of the gun he is looking at – historical, mechanical, and practical. A great example is this video on the Savage Navy revolver:
Did you know that there is a toggle link hiding inside the action of that design? I didn’t. Another interesting one that just published last week was this comparison of an original Colt 1851 Navy with a Uberti reproduction of the same design:
The biggest surprise in there for me was the fact that Colt revolvers originally used gain-twist (aka progressive twist) rifling. I had no idea. Want one more example? How about a Whitworth rifle?
If you have any interest in black powder shooting and technology, this is definitely a channel to watch. Native English speakers may find Balázs’ accent a bit distracting at first, but he is by no means difficult to understand. As an aside, he does have a standalone web site (capandball.eu, which redirects to kapszli.hu), but it does not appear to have been updated for about a year, and has some technical issues, at least when I try to use it. But that also does not detract from the quality of the information in the videos.
I like seeing a comparison of modern replicas (which I own), and the real McCoys (which sadly I don’t!)
I have a Pietta LeMat 9 shot cylinder with center shotgun barrel; talk about not being under-gunned…
While the idea doesn’t have much practical use, but I can’t help thinking that an updated version of the savage design would allow for a practical silenced revolver without the heavy trigger issues of the Nagant, or need for special ammunition. While the original design has some leakage, I’m sure modern manufacturing could take care of that.
Also I’ve got another youtube channel to follow…
You might think, but unfortunately, you’d be wrong: per Peter Schiffers’ book _Civil War Revolvers: myth vs. reality_ the Savage was ranked 10th out of 11 “ordnance” [ie, actually contracted for & taken into service, typically .44cal, but of course, the Savage is only .36…] CW revolvers. It is the heaviest by a fair margin [over 3#! That’s Walker Colt territory, in a MUCH weaker chambering!] with an unbelievably heavy trigger pull. Nagant owners laugh at the poor fellow w/ a Savage… 😉
Wow! Well done indeed!
I too own a Whitworth and also a Daw. Both were used as sniper weapons during the Civil War. The Whitworth was used more by Union forces and the Daw was issued through the Confederacy. Mine came via New Orleans. Both were considered “sporting rifles” in England where there was a great deal of debate as to which was more accurate. Both sides did a lot of “scrambling” to purchase anything they could in the beginning and throughout the war. Both are in excellent condition and are still quite accurate and a joy to shoot.
I wonder if your Whitworth came from Cohen in New Orleans. He had one in his shop some time back (with the Malcolm-type scope)and I wanted it, badly, but it was already sold ( I came home with a Sharps instead). Did you get my Whitworth? 🙂
Awesome videos. I am not as big into BP either, but my grandfather was an avid Civil War collector and I inherited his collection. Not to be picky, but those revolvers in the center video are 1861 Navys, I think, not 1851.
Thanks for the info. I have been shooting black powder since I was a kid (75 years old now) including a .41 cal. J. Hnery & Son,a W. C. Scott & son 9 gauge double shotgun. and a Japanese Hand Cannon to name a few. I now have three .50s but mostly use a .45 Hawken reproduction with a Green Mountain .45 slug barrel. When I was much younger my grandfather was a “government hunter” who hunted predators like bear and mountain lion with the likes of Ben Lilly. Jim used a .45 cal Whitworth Double Rifle and that was my first experience with a black powder weapon. It had a complete set of tools including a set of casting molds for the slugs. It was the most accurate muzzleloader I ever shot and one of the best built.
Capandball is indeed highly recommended! and Balazs accent is an extra reason to go.
I have a safe full of cartridge guns spanning types from a .35X55 Low-Wall to a S&W Model 39 .44 Mag (unfired) still in the presentation case. But as far as interest in diversity you cannot beat the old black ppowder guns. Often they can give you an idea to modernize and fill a need. For instance, the old 4 Bore Doubles with Express bullets; they had a powder charge in the projectile and a primer in the nose. They were very effective on elephant and rhino. A modernization gave me a .45 ACP with a hole reamed in the nose of a Remington Cup-Nosed Hollow Point. Into this hole went an unfired .22 short case filled with PETN (the stuff in Det-Cord). Fired from a .45 with a Sionic they were very effective for “tunnel rats” in Nam. If they were reloads with 3-5% Calcium Crabonate (to minimize muzzle flash) mixed into Bullseye they got rid of the muzzle blast (Sionic) and flash (CC). They left a small hole on one side and no side at all on the other. I still use a variation of this in my .45 TC Hawken mentioned previously when hunting boar hogs but cannot get PETN so I use 4-F Black. For deer I use a hollow point .357 lead slug with a Buffalo sabot in the same gun and barrel. One shot kills.
Apropos of European gun laws,in most of the EU black powder guns are defined as “relics” since they can’t fire modern ammunition. So shooters can own them when more sophisticated arms are prohibited. In some places, notably France, reproductions of 19th Century cartridge arms are similarly somewhat less frowned upon by the authorities since they are not defined as “modern”.
Trivia note; The late H. R. (Hans Rudolf “Ruedi”) Giger (1940-2014), artist, sculptor, and designed of the Xenomorphs and etc. in the Alien movies, was an avid percussion revolver collector and target shooter.
Hey, thanks for the factoid on H.R. Giger! What creative brilliance, despite the often macabre & unsettling aspects of his work [most of his oeuvre NOT what I’d want for home dec! 😉 ] Just finished reading a book on firing *actual* CW relic handguns to rank for practical purposes, & found out that most of the CW era handguns from the U.S. that are still in firing condition are in EU, partly because of the reasons you cite, & also largely because of f/x from Franco/Prussian war scooping up any available arms for French cause at a time when everyone stateside was looking to upgrade to cartridge arms. Interesting history, that I never would have learned w/o wondering how the originals compared w/ modern repros…
Yes, I’ve been subscribed to his channel for a while now. I learn something new from all of his videos, no matter how well the topic has been covered elsewhere.
The person behind that lever action mystery revolver carbine which I saw on this site once, had probably seen that Savage revolver design.
Oh, yes. He has some of the most useful videos I’ve found on the web.
Besides yours, of course.
Credit is due to be given to the European hobbyist who made the presentation. In a way it is a challenge to his American fellow old gun fans but also a homage which falls in line with the rest. Good work Balasz and thanks for video!
@Ian: Just a note for consideration in producing videos:
The picture-in-picture video technique showing the target time-synced to the main picture during the shot was very effective, I recommend you and Karl consider it for inrange.tv (and for FW as well!)
Dear Forgotten Weapons Team!
Many thanks for this article! You made my day! I am honoured!
very interesting. I’ve gotten a desire lately, to get into cap and ball revolvers.
I don’t suppose anyone makes a reproduction of that Savage revolver.
This is an absolutely fantastic channel you’ve made here Balázs! Great collaboration bringing this to the Forgotten Weapon’s website, Ian and Balázs!! One of my new bookmarks and favorites… Both my wife and I really enjoyed the channel–Köszönöm szépen! Oh. One more thing. Baläzs, my wife thinks you look just like the “dread pirate Roberts” from the U.S. film _The Princess Bride_!
Thanks for the tip, another great channel with a great “nonpolitical” attitude. An aspect I thoroughly enjoy and respect.