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The Gun Crank

Dixie Gun Works "Tower" Dragoon
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Cheap 70's import, but a real blast to shoot.

 
Dixie gun works and a few other companies imported these pistols back in the 70's. Variously sold as "Brown Bess" or Dragoon pistols, they are simple flintlock single shot smoothbores that have an approximately .70 bore. Dixie has no records from when they imported these guns, so any load data I might mention is what I am comfortable using, but it is not officially recomended by Dixie gun works.
 
I got this pistol when I was 9 years old in a crate of junk my neighbor couldn't sell at a rummage sale. The mainspring was broken. I used it as sort of an oversized cap gun for many years, lost the lock and barrel screws, and then lost the other parts down an old couch in my parents basement until just last year.
 
When I remembered the old pistol and realised that it might actually function I went hunting for the parts. I ended up purchasing a few screws from the hardware store and blackening their heads with a blowtorch to replace the lock and tang screw. The tang is separate from the breech plug on this pistol.
 
There is some scuttlebut on the internet saying that some of these pistol have just welded breech plugs. On mine there is a spot of weld on the breech plug that locks it in place, and also holds the tang on, but there are also threads showing on the breech plug indicating that it is also screwed in. I wonder if some people didn't just make an assumption and start a rumor about the welded-only breeches.
 
In any event, my father welded the mainspring and I filed and re-tempered it in an alcohol lamp. The lock is a bit akward. It chews up flints pretty quickly, but it is a dependable shooter.
 
My first load for this gun was 40grs of FFg black powder with 6 00 buckshot, and a cardboard card over the powder and one over the shot. This load shoots soft but has no pattern at 15 yards. I generally shoot a 50 grs FFg load with a cardboard card, then a greased cotton ball, then a 60 grain measuere filled with shot, then another card. This makes a fun "sawed off shotgun" type load, but it is not really that effective. Untill I get a LEE .690 round ball mould I am afraid I will never see the full potential of this pistol.
 
I had the opportunity to use this pistol to finish off a deer last fall. I had 9 00 buck pellets and 50 grs of FFg powder. Only one buckshot struck the deer's head form 10 feet away. I don't believe the pellet even penetrated the skull. I definately need to get that round ball mould.
 
 
A flintlock pistol has some unique uses I think, though. Flintlocks need very little in the way of manufactured products to operate compared to other firearms. I have a goal of some day checking the balistics of this pistol with roundball, buck and ball, and buckshot loads and possibly attempting to harvest a deer with it. For now, though, I will just shoot cans with the fineshot loads. It might also be a good choice for hunting rabbits or grouse in the thick woods. The lag time, and the pistol grip, make shooting any kind of flying target a challenge, but I bet it would take a sitting bird or rabbit with a little luck. Anyways, this pistol is cool, even if it is not useful, and that is enough for me.

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