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 Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?

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RonC
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PostSubject: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 16th 2017, 6:49 am

I picked up a used Pedersoli Kentucky pistol for a very reasonable price. It is a smoothbore. In fact, I bought it because I had no smoothbores and wanted to try one.
All the descriptions of Pedersoli Kentucky pistols I can find on the net say that it is rifled. I can find no mention of a smoothbore version.
The barrel seems to have all the proper Pedersoli markings.
Was this pistol ever made in smoothbore? Perhaps the barrel is an aftermarket replacement.



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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 16th 2017, 7:03 am

Just my opinion, but it look like a bored out garden variety Pedersoli .45 pistol. Since the barrel is straight octagon, the barrel wall thickness at the muzzle is the barrel wall thickness at the breech. By itself that would dissuade me from shooting it but it gets worse. The dovetails cut for the sights make the barrel walls critically thin. Find another barrel somewhere.
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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 16th 2017, 8:06 am

Very interesting, Randy. Perhaps that explains the very low price of the pistol. I wonder if it is of decent enough quality to be worthy of purchasing a new barrel.
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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 16th 2017, 11:10 am

That wouldn't prevent me from shooting it at all. You should have seen how thin my shotgun barrel on my cva hawken was. This is a pistol that most likely will shoot no more than 30gr 3fg with a patched ball.

That barrel has plenty of meat in it. Hell, my traditions kentucky 50cal only has a 7/8" barrel and a max load of 105gr 3fg.

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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 16th 2017, 12:27 pm

Look at the front sight and try to visualize a straight line from the bottom of the dovetail to a corresponding point at the muzzle. The same thickness is what exists where the rear sight - and higher pressures are. I would be willing to bet thickness of the barrel at that point is a sixteenth of an inch at the most. Suit yourself, but I like more meat than that between the burning powder and myself.
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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 16th 2017, 12:45 pm

I have a .45 long rifle that has a very deep dovetail for the front sight in a 13/16" barrel. I worried about the thickness so I removed the sight and measured it with a caliper. It was .012". I have since shot 70 grs, of 3F regularly with it with a PRB.

Tap out the sight, Ron, and measure it. That's better than guessing.

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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 16th 2017, 2:59 pm

maximum barrel thickness for sights/drilled holes for sight bases is .007"

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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 16th 2017, 3:30 pm

I'll tap out the sight a measure. Thanks for the tip.

I learned that smooth bore Pedersoli pistols were made for the European market where rifled guns were not permitted.
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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 16th 2017, 3:45 pm

While you're at it, measure the bore diameter. If it has been bored, it would measure more than .45 inches.

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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 16th 2017, 6:08 pm

The bore is exactly 0.5".

Barrel wall thickness is 0.125", or 1/8" or 3.2 mm .

Depth of the front sight wedge is about 0.055 to 0.06" or 1.6 mm.
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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 17th 2017, 3:18 am

It sounds like you're good to go, shooting a .490 with a .018 patch.

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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 17th 2017, 6:16 am

Thanks, Bob!
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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 17th 2017, 7:04 am

go to trap of the wolf and see if they have a liner in the right diam that would fit in, cost would be low. or get the oregon rifle barrel co to make one and install your hardware on the new one. it may be safe to shoot but why take a chance. every time you take a chance in life at one point your going to loose. also find a old barrel and machine your own barrel liner of the perfect diam. im doing that with a muzzle loader of mine right now. red or green locktite will hold the liner in place forever.
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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 17th 2017, 10:08 am

I'd really be tempted to load that sucker with some 7 1/2 bird shot! What a fun little grouse getter that would be!

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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 17th 2017, 11:50 am

Ron, just to be clear, the 0.125 measurement was taken from the bottom of the sight dovetail, right?

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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 17th 2017, 12:03 pm

Bob,
The .125 was from the inside of the barrel to the outside of the barrel. The length from the inside of the barrel to the bottom of the dovetail (thickness at the location of the dovetail) would be 0.125 - 0.06 = 0.065"
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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 17th 2017, 12:25 pm

Oh, that's kind of chancy then. Perhaps a liner or new barrel would be the way to go.

With shot it might be OK since the pressures built up wouldn't be as high as with a patched ball.

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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 17th 2017, 4:10 pm

guys, there is zero pressure there. If this were a smokeless centerfire or even a modern muzzleloader shooting huge loads of powder, it might be a little thin, but pedersoli knows what they are doing.

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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 17th 2017, 4:33 pm

@FrontierGander wrote:
guys, there is zero pressure there. If this were a smokeless centerfire or even a modern muzzleloader shooting huge loads of powder, it might be a little thin, but pedersoli knows what they are doing.
IF Pedersoli is who did it. 
The barrel walls on this pistol are 1/16 of an inch thinner than any .50 caliber barrel made by any full time barrel maker I can find. While similar thickness is encountered with swamped barrels, the thinner sections are well down the length of the barrel and well distanced from the higher pressures at the breech. If the rear sight dovetail on this pistol is cut as deep as the front sight dovetail you have a spot near the highest pressure that is only .07 thick. If you think that is fine then bore a .45 pistol out to a .50 smoothbore (I would bet that is what has happened here) and shoot it all you want. However, I have been in this game for almost half a century now and everything I have seen and read says shooting a muzzleloading firearm with barrel walls an eighth of an inch thick is a bad idea. When you cut dovetails near the breech in that eighth of an inch it's a REALLY bad idea. 
I will be quiet now.
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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 17th 2017, 4:35 pm

@Randy Johnson wrote:
@FrontierGander wrote:
guys, there is zero pressure there. If this were a smokeless centerfire or even a modern muzzleloader shooting huge loads of powder, it might be a little thin, but pedersoli knows what they are doing.
IF Pedersoli is who did it. 
The barrel walls on this pistol are 1/16 of an inch thinner than any .50 caliber barrel made by any full time barrel maker I can find. While similar thickness is encountered with swamped barrels, the thinner sections are well down the length of the barrel and well distanced from the higher pressures at the breech. If the rear sight dovetail on this pistol is cut as deep as the front sight dovetail you have a spot near the highest pressure that is only .07 thick. If you think that is fine then bore a .45 pistol out to a .50 smoothbore (I would bet that is what has happened here) and shoot it all you want. However, I have been in this game for almost half a century now and everything I have seen and read says shooting a muzzleloading firearm with barrel walls an eighth of an inch thick is a bad idea. When you cut dovetails near the breech in that eighth of an inch it's a REALLY bad idea. 
I will be quiet now.
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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   October 17th 2017, 6:52 pm

After all the valuable advice and comments, I now am beginning a search for a new, rifled barrel. It may or may not be necessary, but I think I will take a conservative approach.

While looking for a barrel, I saw some mention of Pedersoli Kentucky pistols in kit form that were 50 cal. But even those were rifled. Maybe I can find a barrel from a kit pistol.
Thanks,
Ron

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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   Yesterday at 11:45 am

I certainly am not second-guessing any advice here, and am indeed concerned with the thin areas underneath the Sight Dovetails.

On one hand, a tight-fitting Sight may actually reinforce the area.

On the other hand, that Sight may just make a fine PROJECTILE when the Barrel bursts right underneath it !

Has the O/P contacted Pedersoli or an Authorized US Distributor for advice ?

However unlikely, this Pistol may be a genuine Pedersoli variation from some era.
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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   Yesterday at 11:49 am

If we wish to be extra critical here (and with firearms that is always wise), what material remains between the very bottom of the hole that is drilled and tapped for the Fore End Cap Screw and the Bore ?

Likely very little indeed.
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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   Yesterday at 11:51 am

Thanks for those thoughts!
I am going to contact a dealer, perhaps Cherry (they are a seller of Pedersoli rifles and pistols), and ask. I don't know why I didn't think of that before.
Ron

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PostSubject: Re: Pedersoli Kentucky Pistol - was it ever a smoothbore?   Yesterday at 12:35 pm

@FrontierGander wrote:
I'd really be tempted to load that sucker with some 7 1/2 bird shot! What a fun little grouse getter that would be!

Agreed Jon.....

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