I am interested in the Colt Walker or Dragoon as a sidearm in the unfortunate event that I must trail a wounded hog or black bear with. It seems the Dragoon is a bit underpowered, but the Walker prone to dropping the loading lever and jamming the revolver. Has anyone here added a loading lever catch or do you tie a piece of leather around it and the barrel as they used to do back in the day?
I have a Uberti Walker and like it very much and would prefer it over the Pietta. I have broke a trigger/ bolt spring over the years but not a mainspring (yet) Actually, for your use, I would prefer a Ruger stainless Old Army. I use an elastic band for the loading lever on my Walker in order to avoid modifying the original 1847 design. You will be pleased with the Uberti Walker. The Colt 2nd generation Walker's are very nice if you can find one. I picked one up years ago for $650. The Walker uses a v-type mainspring which is more prone to breakage than the single leaf type used in the later dragoon models. I bought my Uberti thru Cimmaron Firearms. Good luck.
It seems the 1858 OA and 1860 Army both hold less than 40 grn charges with a round ball. Since I am looking for good penetration I have decided the conical is the way to go. Therefore the decision to carry a Walker or Dragoon.
I'm not too keen on a 9" barrel and most definitely not a loading lever prone to dropping and jamming. Even 7 1/2" is a bit much. I don't like the idea of modifying much, but under the circumstances...
My understanding is the Walker using conicals is comparative to a 44 Spl ballistically. If that is so the Dragoon seems a bit anemic in the horsepower department. I haven't found any accurate velocity specs.
The second or third model dragoon might be a good choice. A round ball in my Walker will reach over 1080 fps with a full charge of 3F and actually is more accurate than the conical. A round ball, within a reasonable range, has very good penetration, at least that has been my experience. The old black powder guns are more effective than what is indicated by the paper ballistics. BY modern standards, the 44 Spl, unless handloaded up in a strong revolver, is pretty anemic. Good luck
I wholeheartedly approve of your plan! I have a Uberti 1st Model Dragoon for exactly the same purpose. Though I haven't chony'd a full load (50g FFFg) yet it seems pretty stout - even thought the loading lever has a catch, 50g would still undo it. After punching out the catch's retaining pin and shimming the spring, it does fine. Other than that issue the piece functions flawlessly. I am going to stick to round ball to keep it simple. And the gun is just fine to carry in terms of size, fits nicely cross-draw... Go for it.