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We happenned upon a derringer pistol today and the discussion started...it was a .50 (I think, or there-abouts), percussion cap and it had a 3" bbl on it. It was about the size of a sharpie pen in total length (6" or so). What sort of fps would one expect out of the lead ball.
 

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I don't have any experience with a weapon such as the one you described, but i wouldn't expect it to shoot more than about ~600 fps... possibly not even that much.
 

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Because derringers were short range weapons at best, they were loaded with small charges of powder, and depended on concealment as their edge, the speed of the projectile would not be much. 600 sounds right. There are some derringers that use 10-15 grains of powder. Their goal was to put a hole in something.
 

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Never chrono'd one, but it would be interesting to see. I would think 600 is probably about the best you could get with the stubby barrel. I think if I had to depend on a caplock deringer for self defense, I'd be looking for something more like a .58! :)
 

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I test fired a .45 caliber ML derringer with the recomended 15 grain charge. I set up a stack of scrap lumber to stop the ball but didn't need it. The ball bounced off the first board, came straight back and smacked into my chest. I incresed the charge to 40 grains of 3f at which point it would just penetrate a pine 2x4 at 10 paces.
One of my cousins had an old Remington double derringer and some scarce .41 rimfire ammo. He fired it at a telephone pole and it also bounced off.:D
 
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